Over 3 fascinating days Anita Ondine, Lance Weiler, David Beard and Inga Von Staden walked us through the mostly practical (but sometimes theoretical) process of creating a transmedia property. From media architecture and storyworld bibles to manipulation of metadata, management, the future and more.
As is usual in workshops, we were broken into smaller focus groups - the objective – write a pitch for a transmedia project.
All pretty straight forward, but for the added excitement of having to acquire our ‘brief ‘ by cracking a series of clues, revealed via code, web links, voice mails and notes pasted in toilets (seriously).
I have run panels, written about and been enthused by the theory of transmedia storytelling for sometime – but in practice it was a challenge. It was difficult to think about metadata, RFDI chips and code breaking in the same context, or environment as storytelling.
We had to rewire our thinking back to a simple place where story was central – but then apply the basics of that to an audience who consume story so very differently. Keep it simple, but then make it complex enough to engage on new, immersive and constantly evolving levels of engagement. It’s a bit of a head fuck.
I was lucky to debrief over coffee with Alison Norrington (PHD researcher, transmedia writer, storyteller) and we touched on the difficulties facing writers who want to work in this new environment. Is there a new breed coming? There needs to be.
Lance Weiler called transmedia storytelling the return to a more ‘campfire scenario’ where stories become passed down, elaborated on, reinterpreted, and retold. So here we have flashes of Barthes ‘Death of the Author’ – since text and author are even less related under new storytelling methodology.
As a writer, or a storyteller, once again your creativity is at the heart, but ownership can’t be.
Theory aside, writing the pitch was fun and remarkably easy for this very reason. After a difficult day and a half, one smart member of our group (the very clever Jean Pierre Magro) pulled our heads out of the digital ‘cloud’ and back to the story. When the story came, the rest followed with relative ease. (oh, and we won the pitch… !)
So there the course left me. Pondering story and authored environments. Invigorated and inspired.
At the lovely venue over looking the Thames, delegates could post transmedia related questions on the window, which other delegates were invited to answer.
It was there, written on a yellow post-it note, I found my perfect description of transmedia storytelling: ‘Permanent imbalance’.
* Photos c/o Tom Evans