Transmedia : Definition? by Mandi Allen

Mandi Allen

Definition?

Hello, I am researching for my doctorate in Transmedia and would love to know you interpretations of the subject. To me this term is now lacking, especially with regards to my research. While my work is still based on a single narrative it doesn't encapsulate the 'usual' mediums covered. Do you you think the media/mediums used should be part of the definition or should it be just about developing a single narrative to reach a larger audience. I'm tailoring mine to a specific age range.

Karen "Kay" Ross

Hey, Mandi Allen! GREAT question! I full anticipate unpacking it for a while before I give my direct response, but in the meantime, I'd recommend reaching out directly to some of the past contributors to this lounge. I definitely think you should message Ian Buchanan (https://www.stage32.com/profile/807025/about), Stephano Pavone (https://www.stage32.com/profile/673482/about), Debbie Croysdale (https://www.stage32.com/profile/248912/about), and Kacee DeMasi (https://www.stage32.com/KaceetheAmazing).

I'm going to invite some from the Screenwriting Lounge and Authoring & Playwriting Lounge to jump in! BRB!

Mandi Allen

I think a lot of people easily confuse Transmedia with a franchise or adaptation of their which, of course it might include but is not specifically that.

Ian Buchanan

Hi Mandi, this is a great question. For me, the answer is largely in the inception of the project. As you note, there can be adaptations of media which would not necessarily be “transmedia” in a pure sense. So to me, an authentic transmedia project would incorporate multiple mediums from the offset of the project, to the degree that additional mediums can be clearly defined as a part of the wider strategy rather than just “we could make a game to go with the film”. I also think the better examples of transmedia will show examples of narrative variance between media. An example of this could be the Matrix computer game which focuses on the same world of the films but features unique characters and plot, which are later woven into the larger narrative. Actually, I’d say The Matrix is a definitive expression of a transmedia project. Film, animation, video games, all working in unity to bring about a single vision.

Debbie Croysdale

Houston Howard rocks on the subject, I did zoom on line but I think he's got some public domain blogs ETC on web. I did Transmedia at London Film School years back and only recently found Howard.

Debbie Croysdale

@Mandi I'm in the process of turning three rough books of notes into one succinct PDF about Transmedia in today's world, which combines many masterclasses. Message me if you want me to email it around end of month. @Ian Excellent example of Transmedia The Matrix, they had twenty animated shorts and in one a question was raised where audience had to find answer in one of the main films. Some have gone further with audience participation EG Dark Knight. Make up classes to look like Joker took place in Central Park, planes with banners flew in sky and phone boxes rang out, who picked up phone got a clue where to find an envelope with a clue to solve a riddle. Transmedia is an Eco System of content on multiple platforms, each layer offering up new and unique information that cannot be found in the story elsewhere on other platforms.

Christian Nommay

Transmedia is about several stories/media that are all linked to a unique storyworld. Each of these stories expands the storyworld by exploring different aspects of the world or characters, and sometimes it can even form a bigger story once all the stories are connected. The best example is what the Wachowskis have done with The Matrix or more recently the MCU with how the movies and TV shows are connected. I hope it helps.

Ian Buchanan

I think what the new Star Wars venture is becoming is another great example, and one I’m paying close attention to. They have been taking parts of the old property, novels and previously regarded non-canonical works and assimilating them into the “main canon” in various ways (The Knights of Ren for example). I think transmedia could offer a creative space, a sandbox for fans and if handled correctly the property could draw inspiration from that sandbox - it’s a concept I’m looking to develop in my own project.

Tracy Elise

Hi Mandy, There is a great book out there https://youtu.be/n_2OLiQWfbM and a YouTube vlog about Transmedia https://www.superstory.works/ by Houston Howard He’s got a brilliant way of viewing it and also addresses many of the dangers of pitching Transmedia when you haven’t sold your first tent pole project which causes people to enter the world you are selling. I highly recommend his materials

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