Transmedia “decoded”

Geoffrey Long is a Media analyst/scholar/author/narrative designer exploring the future of entertainment at Microsoft.

Drawing on his Transmedia Storytelling these – May 2007 (yep, there are dissertations on transmedia!), we can attempt to define transmedia content according to the following criteria:

  • A story whose chapters are distributed on various media (TV, film, web, mobile etc.)
  • Every chapter is conceived specifically for the media distributing it (hence, allowing for participation when writing web content)
  • Multiple points of entry into the story
  •  Each chapter builds on and adds to the previous one rather than repeating the narrative
  • And each chapter is “canonical”, meaning it bears reading on its own, independently of the original story

=> And all that to create a unified transmedia experience that gives a sense of entering another universe !

So this points up the distinction between transmedia and transfiction: in transfiction, the stories are circulated on various media, but each text, each website, is not autonomous; the story depends on every piece of the puzzle, you don’t get it without following every chapter, e.g. TV series in which the only way to participate is to take a quiz on the web or on a mobile.

Moreover, transmedia differs from adaptation, transposing a story from one medium to another, like the adaptation of Tolkien’s novels in Peter Jackson’s movies.

In sum, the definition of transmedia is demanding, to be sure – but only to free up creative resources that are all the more vast !


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