After working in a field she had dubbed "cross-platform consulting," Swanna MacNair has launched a new company, called Electric Yarn, that will be dedicated to developing intellectual property across a multitude of platforms. Electric Yarn, which got a plug at Digital Book World on the panel "Hollywood Meets Publishing," which MacNair appeared on, is, she said, a "next generation transmedia firm."
Through MacNair's first company, Creative Conduit, she was also focused on transmedia projects. Leveraging her contacts in publishing and Hollywood--she had worked as a producer before becoming a book packager--she was consulting with publishers and other creatives to develop projects that could live across mediums. While MacNair said she will continue to package IP for publishers through Creative Conduit, Electric Yarn will be something new and, she noted, predominantly grew out of demand.
"It was clear pretty much right out of the gate that there was market and demand for my services as a 'conduit,'" she said. Calling the consultancy approach "limiting," MacNair launched the new company after meeting with co-founders Elizabeth Chapin and Lorna Curtis, with the realization that the trio could "drive projects from concept to market."
Curtis, who is based in Santa Barbara, Calif., has a background in product design, while Chapin, based in San Francisco, was most recently a Web/app/social programming marketer at Apple. With Electric Yarn, unlike Creative Conduit, MacNair said the group can "actually deliver mobile apps and e-books, digital video and games," in addition to making the kinds of partnership deals she was setting up before.
To that end, the first project Electic Yarn is working on is built across apps and games, with no traditional book tie-in...yet. Working with what MacNair called "new IP," Electric Yarn is building a series of storybook apps around a character called Josie Robin, created by filmmaker and former teacher Drew Filus. The apps will be released by Electric Yarn as the series "Josie Robin, Science Fiend," targeted at six- to nine-year-old girls. The thrust of the series is an educational one, as it focuses on getting girls interested in science. (The plucky young heroine loves science and uses it to solve all matter of problems.)
From the apps (created by an outside game development company), Electric Yarn will then seek to leverage other deals featuring the character, with filmmakers, schools, and book publishers, among others. MacNair said Disney Publishing and Pottery Barn Kids have both expressed interest in Josie.