When I First heard of the concept of transmedia storytelling, I immediately thought of AMC’s The Walking Dead. However, after reading up on this topic I can see this franchise only checks part of the boxes for transmedia storytelling. This new innovative way of storytelling has been taking the market by storm and leaving the old multimedia storytelling in the dust. There are so many examples of transmedia storytelling these days it really isn’t funny. Stories like: The Matrix, Star Wars and World of Warcraft have extravagant backstories that have been expressed through multiple forms of media leading and building up to the one big story in the end.
This has gotten me thinking. After looking at these examples, I wonder what is the best way to describe Transmedia story telling? Henry Jenkins stated “Transmedia storytelling represents a process where integral elements of fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience” (Jenkins,2007). I like the way he worded this. For me it explains transmedia storytelling so easily that any average Joe could read this and understand the concepts of it.
This is different to multimedia platforms that have one story spread over a number of media platforms (for example, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings). These are just the one story retold over books, video games and movies/TV shows. There is no character development or more story development other than the natural progression in the main story. BORING!!!! (lol) Transmedia storytelling is there so nerds like me can go and read and view little things that help develop the characters in the show.
So, how am I going to remember what this is? Well, the best way I learn is through an example or 2 that I am familiar with and the 2 that come to mind are the Halo and Gears of War franchises. These are 2 very popular video games that millions of people enjoy worldwide, but are you aware that they both have a series of books that explains the backstory of the games a bit? Are you aware that this past year Halo brought out a 5 part series called Forward Unto Dawn (A live action movie like webseries that is a prequel to Halo 4.) If I am going to remember what transmedia storytelling is, it is going to be because of these 2 video games.
I feel that transmedia stories get a lot more of a core fan base than multimedia stories. I mean, multimedia stories are really good and obviously have a lot of work put into them, however, the idea that multiple stories based in the same universe can come together and make a bigger story is amazing. I have also found that video game developers are using the transmedia storytelling better than most movie/TV producers. Video game developers thrive off creating a world filled with numerous stories. I find anything Blizzard Entertainment has produced has the potential to be a transmedia story. World of Warcraft did well by through transmedia storytelling. I mean, they have a MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) and books to tell the story of Horde Vs. Alliance. Really, any story driven game with a backstory has the potential to profit big time from this form of storytelling and consumers like me will fall into this technique and read, watch and play anything they produce for their story (provided it is interesting and captivates their audiences well)
So what am I saying in all this? Besides the fact that I love video games with a good story, I’m saying the use of transmedia storytelling is awesome as well. I love going online and researching shows and finding this sort of storytelling. I love being able to watch extra stuff online and read up about TV shows or movies. It’s something to do and if you really like the show you will want to read it. Producers should consider this type of storytelling more often, it gives their stories extra publicity which we all know is good as well as more depth to the story.
Jenkins, H 2007 ‘Transmedia Storytelling 101’, weblog post, Confessions of an Aca-Fan, The Official Weblog of Henry Jenkins, 22 March, accessed 18/04/2013,http://henryjenkins.org/2007/03/transmedia_storytelling_101.html
Mitew, T 2013, Transmedia narratives: from blockbusters to g/local content flow, BCM112, Convergent Media Practices, University of Wollongong, delivered on 15th of April
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