Entertainment has been bringing us crossover products for a while. There are (and have been for some time) novelisations of movies and television programmes. (Publisher Random House has just announced the launch of Random House TV which will develop TV shows based on its publishing output.) Then there are the genre mash-ups that bring together the regency heroines of Jane Austen with zombies or re-invent Abraham Lincoln as a vampire slayer. And, born out of multi-channel, always on lifestyles, we have transmedia narrative.
Transmedia storytelling unfolds narrative across a range of media, for example film, video games, social media tools, television and websites, with each element contributing uniquely to ‘the whole. (Think Pottermore.) The key is reader/user engagement and choice as to how much they wish to immerse themselves into the story.
An interview on the Knowledge@Wharton website with Andrea Phillips outlines some interesting features and examples. Transmedia storytelling:
- Provides a broader picture of the same narrative
- Can provide an in-depth story to those who are using all media – but doesn’t exclude those who don’t participate
- Has both an ‘east coast’ and a ‘west coast’ style (!)
- Is being used by TV shows to ‘spin-off’ elements of the story
- Is NOT the same as gamification
The interview shows how some people are interacting with ‘content’ and story almost irrespective of its delivery medium. It’s well worth reading.