A Creator’s Guide to Transmedia Storytelling: How to Captivate and Engage Audiences Across Multiple Platforms

In an 2008 Narrative Media online class, my professor assigned the class to individually create a synopsis for an Internet video game. The game was to be based on a synopsis for a movie script about a true World War I story. It was my first hands-on step into the trendy world of transmedia.

Transmedia, the technique of telling a story across multiple platforms/media, has been a buzzword for a while now. Seen primarily in association with commercial fiction, transmedia means stand-alone projects that are connected. While the projects are complete in and of themselves, when they are experienced together the sum will always be greater than the individual parts.

Transmedia was brought to wider attention by Dr. Henry Jenkins in Convergence Culture. As a life narrator considering applying transmedia to a particular story from my life, I turned to Andrea Phillips book and found three beginning criteria: “multiple media, a single unified story or experience, and avoidance of redundancy between media.”

Life story often begins like instant coffee; a one-word prompt is tossed into your brain and boils into a story from your life on the spot. To be transmedia, this story would have to be accompanied by at least one other stand-alone element that could be consumed alone. If we continue with our coffee illuatration that might be millk. Both coffee and milk are complete alone. But they can be a richer experience when consumed together.

Transmedia isn’t for the faint of heart. But if you are considering transmedia, Phillips’ book is worth the investment.


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