Transmedia : What is transmedia anyway? by Vasco Phillip de Sousa

Vasco Phillip de Sousa

What is transmedia anyway?

I used to think Transmedia was the kind of online-world experience, that Blair Witch Project, The Matrix, the "mutant watch" website from the first X-Men movie, and Simian Flu from Planet of the Apes were about. You know, interactive experience that adds to the film's world. Now, I see people talking about using Twitter and virtual reality as "transmedia." So, what is this transmedia?

Rustin L. Odom

It seems to me "Transmedia" is a temporary throw away word for the nebulous "other" of entertainment that is not quite defined yet. We're heading into uncharted entertainment territory so you're going to see a lot of experimentation and instead of saying "miscellaneous' or "experiment" entertainment, it's a lot more cool to call it "Transmedia." Most commonly though, "Transmedia" has been used in conjunction with extra content outside the main staple of a story. An example, the main story, or spine of a created world would be the Dark Knight feature film. All the connected Alternate Reality Game and scores of "extra" videos accompanying it would be considered Transmedia. That's an example of a marketing move before the film hit theaters, but now you're seeing it spread to television. An example, Agents of SHEILD releasing small videos and websites that support or further explore the story line created in that particular Marvel Universe. It could be argued that Fear of the Walking Dead is a branch of Transmedia to support the original The Walking Dead series. We're seeing more and more studios hire Transmedia Producers. More times than not, it's extends to social media as the characters themselves take on Twitter and Facebook accounts. The webseries The New Adventures of Pete and Wendy have done this and it too is considered a more "Transmedia" approach. That said, there is a solid core group of Transmedia Producers that want to break out of the stigma of "extra" content or "marketing pieces" and consider Transmedia to stand on it's own. When you mention "Transmedia" being the choice word for virtual reality, to me, I just hear the word "miscellaneous." Eventually something will work in all these experiments and whatever that will be called, that will be the word we'll use. For now... We'll call it "Transmedia."

Jonathan Kramer

By definition, Transmedia is interactive storytelling across multiple platforms. I would suggest you read Transmedia 101 by Henry Jenkins who many feel is the originator of the concept: http://henryjenkins.org/2007/03/transmedia_storytelling_101.html One of the first books on the subject was written by Nuno Bernardo, Founder/CEO of bActive. Secondly, Rob Pratten, founder/CEO of Conducttr, has written two outstanding books on the topic. I would have to insert that while Rustin makes interesting points his definition of Transmedia is rather loose. In transmedia a story WORLD is constructed rather than a linear, one dimensional story line. If you view this world as a jigsaw puzzle where EACH platform narrative can stand on its own, yet when added to the others, you have a much broader world for the audience to immerse within. We use the term 'gamification' of story in order to put the audience FIRST encouraging them to interact with story and character and rewarding them much like a game does on the leader board. The wonderful thing about Transmedia is there aren't the sort of 'industry standards' as there are in film, TV or theater. It's far more creative and franchises like "Batman", "Star Wars", "Avatar" and others have embraced it. Jeff Gomez, Starlight Runner Entertainment, has many You Tube videos which you might watch. 42 Entertainment produced an amazing Transmedia franchise 18 months prior to the release of "The Dark Knight" which pulled in 20 million followers across 75 countries sending them out on 'tasks', hunts etc and was called..."Why So Serious?" Amazing stuff! There have been countless other successful projects and now with the addition of VR and potentially Google's Project Tango there's no limit to what can be achieved in this exciting format.

Susan Furey

I also suggest you check out with Emmett Furey, award-winning Transmedia Producer in L.A. www.emmettfurey.com

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