I’m taking a free online course through FutureLearn about Transmedia Storytelling. I aim to reflect every now and then on some of what I am learning or thinking about.
This is not the first time I have been exploring this concept of Transmedia — of how different media platforms might be used collectively to tell a story, and how each platform (think: from blog to social media to image to audio to video, etc.) might be utilized for its own attributes to help a ‘reader’ experience the story in different media and different mediums.
Here are some quotes from the first week’s segments that stood out for me:
This is a key concept: the idea that a writer views multiple media and multiple platforms one of of the same, and not as separate parts, in a composition (although some suggest that the parts of Transmedia should be able to stand on their own, too, separate from the whole. I’m not sure about that.)
I imagine this concept as a painter with a canvas, and the painter is using not just paint, but other materials. The canvas is the composition, but the materials are the different elements that will bring the larger vision to reality. With Transmedia, the ‘composer’ views all of the platforms as possible places to thread a story. The story itself is the canvas. The platforms, and how we compose there, is our ink and paint.
Transmedia has the possibilities of collaboration — between writer but also between writer and reader, narrowing that gap between who creates and who responds to the creation. The course notes that shifts in technology have allowed more of this to happen, particularly as more mobile technology has emerged. Many apps blend experiences, opening the door for potentially interesting interactions.
This is also how many companies are now marketing products to consumers, leveraging our attention into cool storytelling techniques with product placement and immersive commercials. We, the reader, have to be aware of how our storytelling senses can be manipulated by corporations in this way.
This concept of Transmedia is rather new (although forms of it have its roots in earlier designs — such as the Magic School Bus series of picture books that became a television show that became video games, etc.) and the technology possibilities are becoming more and more available to more and more creators. But having examples – mentor texts — is a key element here, and we are learning from each other how to do this, and why one might do this.
In one year’s Digital Writing Month (the site is now offline, alas), I tried my hand at a Transmedia piece. Want to see it? Follow the leaf.
Peace (shifting spaces),
Story hint: Literally, follow the leaf with a mouse click and clues to where to go next will emerge … some of the platform may not work well on mobile devices .. sorry …