Monday, April 27, 2015

Transmedia Storytelling

I think that it’s really cool how transmedia storytelling involves the audience because the story becomes a part of something bigger than just the film, tv show, or book. I think that the True Blood example is super creative because I don’t believe that it mentioned the characters, which made it really realistic. Because that story took place as a national incident and not just involving the TV Show. This also probably helped it get new followers instead of just engaging the current ones further. Although this is super creative and fun, it makes me wonder if at any point does it become more about the fact that you’re doing something across a bunch of different platforms rather than about the actual story? For example the original idea for the Lizzie Bennet Diaries was to base it off of The Diary of Anne Frank, though when they realized it wouldn’t work for various reasons, the switched to Pride and Prejudice. While it’s not necessarily a bad thing, I don’t feel that the best way to choose a story is based on how well it fits with your hook or ‘gimmick’. One example of “marketing” that isn’t transmedia storytelling is Game of Thrones. While it is in a literature format and is also a tv show, this isn’t transmedia storytelling because you don’t have to use both versions of consuming it to get the entire story, and I’m sure some people feel that it’s worse to both watch and read it. I feel that you can tell a piece is transmedia storytelling when it goes across multiple platforms that are connected. Transmedia storytelling did exist before the internet. For example, there are several video games that had telephone numbers that you had to call so that you could get a clue so that you could forward in the game. In addition, The modern day treasure hunt goes across multiple platforms without using the internet, and has done so for years before the internet. The Post Hunt, for example, has clues in their magazine, the newspaper, and in real life. 

My proposal for my transmedia project is an interactive "episode" of Law and Order SVU where you play as Olivia Benson. The platforms it would stretch across are facebook and youtube, with the addition of also having some physical pieces to it.


  1. I agree with your saying that it should be about the STORY. I think because transmedia is such a new medium, a lot of people are experimenting and doing it for the sake of doing it (or for marketing) rather than because it is the best medium for the story. Though I think transmedia as a medium has the potential to develop and we may start to see really good stories form through transmedia. In fact, we may live to see transmedia story legacies as technology develops at an almost exponential rate over time.

  2. Thanks for the thoughtful response, and for being specific about some of the examples on the page. I think you’ve actually done a great job giving some more definitive ways to recognize truly Transmedia pieces, but also showing how Transmedia does not have to be just “online.” I do think, however, it’s good for any storyteller to think about the way in which they are telling a story and how best to tell that story - meaning a very internal story that is exploring the psyche of a character might be more difficult to tell through cinema than through a fiction piece, or the challenge would be think about how to make it cinematic. So I don’t think that the creators of the Lizzie Bennet Dairies were being “slaves” to the medium, they just realized that telling a serious story through these different platforms may be more challenging than something more comedic - and also I think that the fact that they had more characters to follow in various ways AND had more world to follow in Pride and Prejudice was part of their decision. If you think about the Diary of Anne Frank you have some limits since much of it takes place in their hiding space. However, I do like the idea that you might be bold and take on the challenge of figuring out how to tell that as a Transmedia story. It makes me think of a woman who was on one of the panels at the Transforming Hollywood conference - she is a game designer and says she “makes games that make people cry.” For example - she made a game called “Train” which forces the players to put people on the trains to Auschwitz. You can read about it here: