What is Transmedia Storytelling?

by , Friday March 31, 2017
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What is Transmedia Storytelling?

What is Transmedia Storytelling?

An introduction written by the Intelligence Divison

 

 

A little while ago, I read a book called ‘Convergence Culture’ by a bloke called Henry Jenkins. In this blog, I’m going to focus on a particular bit of Jenkins’ work – his research into ‘transmedia storytelling’.

 

Possibly the most significant bits of this book for creators like ourselves  are the ideas that it proposes in regards to the future of digital storytelling, which, btw is what we’re all doing, posting stories (i.e. storytelling) online (a digital platform).

 

Jenkins discusses an idea called ‘Transmedia Storytelling.’ Transmedia storytelling is a method of telling stories whereby you spread multiple storylines that all eventually mesh together to form one big story out over different media and platforms. You don’t just take a film and turn that film into a couple of graphic novels – you write the film and the graphic novels together, and spread the story out over them.

 

Probably the two biggest examples of this that we’ll all have heard of right now are The Marvel Cinematic Universe and Star Wars. Pretty familiar? Thought so ;P The MCU has different films about different characters – and then they all come together in ‘The Avengers’ – and then they all split up again, and face it, it’s really cool. Star Wars has comics, films, books, and games, all of which add something new to the story. Star Wars was never designed as a transmedia story, but over the years it has slowly become one as more and more gets added to the story every time something new comes out.

 

Another common (although not always entirely necessary) feature of transmedia storytelling is the use of games, decision based systems, and Augmented Reality Games (ARGs) that really make viewers feel involved in the story.

 

At the moment, there are a lot of very famous/clever/interesting people are very keen to research and experiment with transmedia storytelling, so there’s lots of advice to be found online, possibly more advice than there are genuine examples, although if you look around, there are ‘bits’ of transmedia storytelling everywhere, from adverts to comics to walking into really old buildings.

 

If you’re looking for some interesting/informative examples, I’d recommend starting with (other than of course Marvel) ‘Zoe Trapp’ (and ‘Phrenic’ therein), who can be found with some quick google searching.

 

 

So far, transmedia storytelling is something that’s really only been done by high budget creatives. But that’s unlikely to be the case for much longer. If you get a deal with a publishing house, it’s increasingly common that they’ll aim to turn your work into a transmedia story in order to increase participation and readership.

 

It also so happens that yours truly helped to create (as far as I can tell) one of the first truly zero-budget transmedia stories, which you can find out more about here.

 

Aside from all that, what can Movellas do with this? Well, I’ve been playing with these ideas for a couple of months now and in the next blog post, I will reveal all...

 

Thank you to The Intelligence Division for writing this intro and Infinite_Exho for designing the banner 

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