Wednesday, November 09, 2011

The NOT of Transmedia

Late yesterday evening, as I sat writing on a transmedia mystery/horror novel I like to keep at hand as my own personal pet project – a combination of jet lag and a full moon helps no end when you want to work nights, see – I had a small revelation.

I had written a couple of pages and felt pretty good about myself, so I started looking over the mindmap of all extensions from and to the novel and from and to the story world the novel is based in (and trust me, as with all transmedia projects, these are legio) and a pattern suddenly emerged before me. It had a big fat headline as well, that pattern – a headline that said ”NOT!”.

You see, as I gazed at the arrows and the dots and the squares and the texts, I realized that transmedia is as much about what you decide NOT to use, as what you eventually end up actually USING. As was stated at the Storyworld conference – all stories can be developed in a transmedia direction; not nearly all need or deserve it.

If your project does need and deserve to have transmedia methods applied to them, it is very important to evaluate your project from the angle of ”what makes sense”. I.e., even though you’ve already registered the YouTube channel and you really want to produce them awesome webisodes and put them out there – if all your project needs is a blog, an automated e-mail response system and a novel, then that’s what your project should use.

The same goes for interaction with the audience. I know many who argue that an inherent trait of transmedia storytelling is the activating and incorporating of the audience, inviting them to take an active part in the storytelling. I would disagree, as I believe you can deliver fullfledged transmedia content without the audience doing much more than choosing what to consume on which platform. I.e., use UGC or user interaction when it makes sense, NOT when it doesn’t!

The list goes on, but I’m sure you get my point. Your transmedia project will be defined as much by what you did NOT utilize within the scope of it as by what you DID utilize.

Best of luck :)


toenolla said...

Right on!

I had a similar experience looking at my story map for R&D - although I was really thinking more in terms of "oh my gosh, is this project a manageable size?"

Then I started listing my "NOT"s. This plan does NOT include a video game. NO augmented reality app. NO integrated webisodes on YouTube. NO Facebook game. "Pervasive" does not mean "in every medium."

Andrhia said...

Yes, you are completely correct.

You can also reframe this as a positive: For every medium you use, make sure it is adding something distinct and necessary to your story.

Simon said...

Haley, Andrea, thanks for commenting. And yeah, agree on both counts, it's NOT "in every medium", and it should always be adding necessary things to the story.

So, here's to NOT TRANSMEDIA!, wait.

Scott Walker said...

Could not agree more (and see you in the gutter).

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.