Notes from Alison Norrington’s DBW workshop, Transmedia Development for Editors and Authors
“Organic, fluid storytelling that retains relevance and continuity across platforms and is infused with the fun of gaming behaviors.”
Always keep in mind fun and gaming behaviors
I like fun – it’s one of the yardsticks by which I measure my existence – so the fact that Alison put fun front and center in the definition of transmedia projects made me settle in happily. Her presentation, one of the few aimed at authors, was supported by great visuals and punctuated by several writing and brainstorming exercises. She used her own experience with successful transmedia publishing projects as examples and drew heavily on Henry Jenkin’s transmedia structure. The link to Jenkins, his work and books was one of the most valuable take-aways from the workshop. That man is a deep and thoughtful well. Alison’s inroduction:
The 8 defining characteristics of transmedia
Content is originated by one or very few visionaries. – nail that story down very tightly.
• Implements across media
• Content is distributed to three or more media platforms
• Content is unique, adheres to platform-specific strengths and is not repurposed from one platform to the next.
• Content is based on a single vision for the story world
• Concerted effort is made to avoid fractures and schisms – be in control of your timelines, that will be most helpful
• Effort is vertical across company, third parties and licenses. Nurture a situation where all parties, you or third parties, are all working with the same effort toward same goal. Committed partners.
• Rollout features include audience participatory elements including: web portal; social networking; story guided user-generated content
7 core concepts of transmedia storytelling
• Predictability vs. Drillability
• Continuity vs. Multiplicity
• Immersion vs. extractability
• Subjectivity – POV of characters. Tell stories from multiple viewpoints
Anatomy of Transmedia
• Story at center and it has to be a great story
• Business model
Transmedia is the sweet spot in the middle of story, participation and gaming
• Establish yourself in the landscape of the storyworld you are building: similar blogs and other social media outlets, other creatives doing this kind of work, the people you want to involve in yoru storyworld – audience.
• Alison stressed authenticity – readers are consumers who are very savvy about advertising. They can smell a sell a mile away, so operate from a true desire to interact with the storyworld and readers.
• Ask: What would you do? Reach out to your audience with requests for assistance and involvement, rather than simply directing them to your sites.
• Work with valued professionals with whom you have a level of trust.
• All the puzzle pieces of your storyworld need to fit, happen at the right time and launch seamlessly so that they may be entered and experienced easily (see last item).
• Have fun – otherwise, what’s the point?