An interview with Alexander Knetig, interactive commissioning editor at ARTE

After our Storycode Paris interactive workshop last October,  Alexander Knetig kindly answered a few questions asked by our friend at (a French news site dedicated to interactive documentaries): learn more about the state of interactive creation in France, what interests ARTE, how to pitch a transmedia project, and why should you participate to Storycode events.

I know, I know, the interview is in French but we’ve added some subtitles, click on the icon below the player and then select “Translate subtitles”. Or just check out below the transcript I made (forgive the English, it’s only Google Translate, didn’t have time for a cleaner one. 
See the transcript in english

My name is Alexander Knetig is I am responsible for interactive programs within the web division at ARTE France .

The development of interactive works is clearly towards formats more ambitiou , more complex and at the same time less complicated . There is a real need to simplify interfaces, always ask why do interactive programs , why on the web, what are the uses of the web that might match it .

From our strategic point of view, there is more and more projects. We meet once a month to discuss the web projects , share them with our colleagues in program units. While at the beginning when I arrived , it was at the time of Prison Valley, we had maybe 5-10 proposals per month , there are between 20 and 40 proposals per month now and sometimes it goes up to 60 proposals per month. Generally before the summer, just before everyone goes on vacation , we are sent many projects.

The best way to present a project? If you find yourself in front of me , I think the best way to pitch a project is to present me a great idea, and not only present before me a marketing plan distribution. Sometimes you end up with presentations with 40 or 50 pages talking about Facebook , Twitter , Tumblr, three community managers at the end you say ” this person really knows disseminate its contents ,” but we finally ask “what is this content?”. What interests me is the ideas first .

What is the role of the author? We work course hand in hand with management companies of collective rights such as the SCAM to find the most appropriate solutions. For the authors on transmedia , web documentary , interactive programs , it is primarily an exercise in humility to say that there is a lot of people , there is a big team that will contribute to the creation of this work . There are authors who bring the project, the original idea, that is clear. For interactive docs there are of course journalists but there are also people who design the interface, there are even some developers who offer creative solutions so you could almost be considered as co -authors . So for us the notion of authoship is clearly to be interpreted in the broadest possible sense , to match the most to the operational reality. This operational reality is that there is a lot of people who contribute with ideas for these works. It’s a real challenge for the future : how will we define this status without switching to a status of collective work , which is a very difficult status. We see very well with the authors in the field of video game suffer.

The advantage for you of a Storycode event ? For me the interest is double, triple even. First I get to meet new projects that I have not seen happen. This is a part of my job . This is one of the great privileges of my job. Then , find new talents which we are not yet be used to work with. And finally a bit more personal interest in seeing people tell stories combined with technology.

And for an interview of Alexander in english, you can check this one out (2012).


This post is also available in: French

  • Interactive and transmedia storytelling. By Benjamin Hoguet.