Basics | Transmedia Storytelling

Download Basics |  Transmedia Storytelling

Post on 07-Nov-2015




0 download

Embed Size (px)


Short intro to transmedia storytelling. (TMS), 2014I. TMS | what is it about?II TMS | How to do it? III TMS | Which tools and platforms?


<ul><li><p>juttafranzen 2014 | CC BY 4.0 1 </p><p>[3x3 Basics | Transmedia Storytelling] </p><p>juttafranzen | 2014 </p></li><li><p>juttafranzen 2014 | CC BY 4.0 2 </p><p>3 x 3 Basics | Transmedia Storytelling (TMS) </p><p>At the International Summerschool of the CCCLab (, I introduced already some years ago transmedia storytelling (TMS) as a creative way to communicate the issues of climate change. Here again and updated, some basics of TMS. Transmedia is one way of talking about convergence as a set of cultural practices. one logic for thinking about the flow of content across media. (Jenkins 2011) Transmedia Storytelling you now find it almost everwhere: commercials and entertainment use it, and even when sharing their lifestyle or spreading their (political) messages, people like to tell their stories. They do it in a special way, telling the stories across a variety of media, opening many entry points and offering a pervasive and intense, engaging experience of their story. I. TMS | what is it about? </p><p>(1) Definitions </p><p>Since Henry Jenkins in 2002 coined the term "Transmedia Storytelling" (Jenkins 2003) there </p><p>have been numerous definitions to try and explain how it can be understood. Some of the </p><p>most common definitions are: </p><p>Transmedia is </p><p>" telling stories over a number of media platforms, stories that are connected to a higher or </p><p>lesser degree, but always connected and rooted in a common story world. " (Staffans 2012, </p><p>09) </p><p> telling multiple stories over multiple mediums </p><p>that fit together to tell one pervasive big story. </p><p>(One 3 Productions 2011) </p><p> the story-universe does not limit itself to one </p><p>single medium but takes advantage of the strengths </p><p>of every medium to create something new out of </p><p>their symbiosis. (Coelle et al. 2011, thesis 06) </p><p>transmedia 101 | one 3 productions </p><p>In order to have a clear understanding, it is helpful to consider each term closely, which are </p><p>each used partly as synonymous. </p><p>(2) Storyuniverse, storyworld, canon </p><p>Unlike various Grand Stories about progress and </p><p>freedom - which were significant for the Modern Age, </p><p>but ended with the postmodern era (Lyotard 1979) - the </p><p>storyuniverse or the storyworld offers no meta story. </p><p>However, the storyworld provides a kind of narrative </p></li><li><p>juttafranzen 2014 | CC BY 4.0 3 </p><p>superstructure which consists of a canon, a set of binding rules for the storytelling: e.g. </p><p>opinions, principles, figures, and events. (Pratten, 2011 p.61). </p><p>In developing the storyworld and its canon, it is important that the storyworld leaves space for </p><p>variety in history and figures. For transmedia, a storyworld with many different optional paths </p><p>is perfect; as my path = / = your path. What I experience in the storyworld is not precisely </p><p>the same as what anybody else experiences (Wendig 2012, 09) </p><p>The storyworld can be an existing or a fictitious world. It is crucial that it will be widely </p><p>described in its canon with: </p><p> a past and a future, so that the stories are able to look back, tell a vision, and can </p><p>show surprising turns; </p><p> captivating and pleasing figures who are pursuing their goals, delivering conflicts, </p><p>overcoming barriers, and experiencing climaxes and downs etc </p><p> offers to the participation. </p><p>(3) Multiple stories, big story, entry points, rabbit holes </p><p>Each multiple story in the storyworld is related to each other and they fit together to tell one </p><p>big story which is wider than only the sum of </p><p>the separate multiple stories: </p><p>The multiple stories tell supplementary </p><p>insights (additives comprehension, Neil </p><p>Young), and only from them, the whole story </p><p>can be revealed. There is no singular original </p><p>text existing, apart from the multiple stories, </p><p>with a linear narrative from the beginning </p><p>(about the crisis) until the (happy) end, as we are used to in classical story. </p><p>This is a very different pleasure than we </p><p>associate with the closure found in most </p><p>classically constructed narratives, where we </p><p>expect to leave the theatre knowing everything </p><p>that is required to make sense of a particular </p><p>story (Jenkins 2007). </p><p>The multiple stories open up different forms of </p><p>access (entry points, rabbit holes) where </p><p>different ways and connections (bridges) can be followed (Wendig 2012), for example how </p></li><li><p>juttafranzen 2014 | CC BY 4.0 4 </p><p>the rabbit hole of Lewis Carrol's "Alice in the wonderland" introduces the depth and </p><p>complexity of the wonderland. The multiple stories offer attractive access from which non </p><p>linear and tied up paths into the story can be experienced and entertained. Story bridges </p><p>and rabbit holes - places they can cross knowingly or spots they can fall into the narrative </p><p>unexpectedly - are necessary components to the infrastructure. (Wendig 2012, Point 18). </p><p>II TMS | How to do it? </p><p>(1) (Endless) telling </p><p>TMS is, above all, the "telling", and the process of developing a story. With the storyuniverse, </p><p>a horizon is outlined which is open to a </p><p>continuous adding of parts, re-editing, </p><p>and so on. The big story in principle </p><p>finds no definitive end, but stays open: </p><p>The story-universe has the potential to </p><p>become a breeding ground for a never </p><p>ending story through sequels, spin-offs </p><p>and perpetual re-use of story-</p><p>elements. (Coelle et al. 2011, Thesis </p><p>09). </p><p>(2) Collaboration </p><p>Due to its open and diverse structure, TMS is the ideal format for collaborative storytelling. </p><p>"Transmedia storytelling is the ideal aesthetic form for an era of collective intelligence...A </p><p>transmedia text does not simply disperse information: it provides a set of roles and goals </p><p>which readers can assume as they enact aspects of the story through their everyday life. </p><p>(Jenkins 2007). </p><p>Different forms of knowledge, from the everyday experience to the particular academic </p><p>knowledge, can feed into the multiple stories. It is highly impossible to put all this on one </p><p>persons shoulders much better (and much more true!) to give key people the mandate to </p><p>interact with each other and with the audience, within the context of your story and story </p><p>world. Youd be amazed at what springs up. (Staffans 2012a, 31) </p><p>The integration and coherence of collaborative story telling will be protected by the canon of </p><p>the storyworld as a common and obliging reference point. </p></li><li><p>juttafranzen 2014 | CC BY 4.0 5 </p><p>(3) Participation, cheese-holes, sandboxes. </p><p>Actively involving the audience is the next step of the collaboration. Your audience is your </p><p>audience, but at the same time they are your co-creators, investing themselves in your story </p><p>and inevitably bringing change with them, engaging the audience (Staffans 2012a, 07). </p><p>"Cheese holes" or "sandboxes" (Staffans 2012b) invite the audience to participate with </p><p>their own stories. Usually, the cheese holes are various social media such as blogs, social </p><p>networks (Facebook, Twitter) and platforms for different media (Instagram, Pinterest, </p><p>YouTube, Soundcloud). (Miller 2012 Slice 12) </p><p>You can measure five levels of increasing participation in your TMS project: </p><p> Attention: people find your story and read it. </p><p> Evaluation: people reflect on your story. </p><p> Affection: people are touched by your story and show it, becoming followers or </p><p>friends. </p><p> Advocacy: people share your story, telling friends. </p><p> Contribution: people tell and add their own stories. (Pratten 2011, 23) </p><p>While the first two stages attention and evaluation comprise of a more passive </p><p>participation by reading and forming one's own opinion, active participation starts with the </p><p>"affection" e.g. when you like a post on Facebook, followed by advocacy, when you share </p><p>on Facebook or retweet on twitter. Strong participation means to contribute to the storyworld </p><p>with a story of your own. </p><p>Not each TMS project must engage the audience until the last level of participation, and the </p><p>mode of participation can also vary during the project. (Pratten 2011, 07) </p><p>My ideal transmedia project tells a story that is striking and resonant with its audience, </p><p>fostering their participation and creative expression within the context of the story world, but </p><p>also sparking dialog between us all outside of the story world. The power of this technique is </p><p>that it triggers action, whether that is the action of "liking" something on Facebook or the </p><p>action of taking an insight from the story and your dialog with the story world and applying it </p><p>toward improving your life in the real world. (Jeff Gomez in: Staffans 2012a, 16). </p><p>III TMS | Which tools and platforms? </p><p>(1) Media </p><p>The storyworlds multiple stories imply a variety in media. In the ideal form of transmedia </p><p>storytelling, each medium does what it does best-so that a story might be introduced in a </p></li><li><p>juttafranzen 2014 | CC BY 4.0 6 </p><p>film, expanded through television, novels, and comics, and its world might be explored and </p><p>experienced through game play. (Jenkins 2003) </p><p>Medium and message, medium and story, build a strong relationship as the medium is not a </p><p>neutral transmitter, but leaves its traces to the message: Medium is the message (McLuhan </p><p>1964) The media at the same time generate what they transmit. (Krmer 2005) So it is </p><p>important to tell your story by the medium that fits best to the message which is being told. </p><p>Using different forms of media - text, picture, video, audio transmedia storytelling takes </p><p>advantage of the strengths of every medium to create something new out of their symbiosis. </p><p>(Coelle et al. 2011 Thesis 06) </p><p> For example, a main character can be introduced on a social media network by a </p><p>personal profile with pictures, personal news, friends and interests); background </p><p>information on places or locations can be provided by maps; an exciting sequence of </p><p>events is shown within a video, but quiet considerations are written in a blog article etc. </p><p> (2) Platforms </p><p>Platforms are the combination of media plus technology. So YouTube and ITunes would </p><p>be two different platforms even if they can both deliver video. A printed book and the Kindle </p><p>would be two different platforms. A cinema, a living room and an outdoor public space are all </p><p>different platforms. (Pratten 2011, 28) </p><p>There is no universal rule for selecting the right platform, but you should consider two </p><p>points: </p><p>- The strength and weakness of each platform, scored by these criteria: </p><p> Cost (including time) of delivering content </p><p> Ability of platform to enable social spread of content </p><p> Remarkable features as popularity, timeliness, quality. (Pratten 2011, 28) </p><p>- Think about your audience: </p><p> Where and how do the people hang out who should experience your story? Which platforms will appeal to your audiences lifestyle? </p><p> How skilled is your audience in using media and specific platforms? Do they like to go online or do they prefer print media and events on site? </p><p> What are the interests of your audience and on which platform do they share them? </p></li><li><p>juttafranzen 2014 | CC BY 4.0 7 </p><p>A mix of currently existing and </p><p>popular platforms is recommended, </p><p>such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, </p><p>vimeo, Instagram, SoundCloud, Tumblr </p><p>and Wordpress. </p><p>In a storyboard, the media, platform </p><p>and scenes can be organised in order </p><p>to facilitate the coordination of the </p><p>multiple stories for making a big story. </p><p>(3) storify: Build and share your story </p><p>To arrange the multiple stories to a big story, you can use a platform such as or </p><p>storify. </p><p>Storify is used by numerous NGOs to tell and spread their stories on the web. A storified </p><p>TMS can be a documentation of current events, a call for action, a personal experience, or a </p><p>fictitious story. Transmedia is one way of talking about convergence as a set of cultural </p><p>practices. one logic for thinking about the flow of content across media. (Jenkins 2011). </p><p>Screenshot: </p><p>Storify makes it easy to build, publish and share your story. The story is always editable, </p><p>open for adding new elements and stories. Storify helps your story go viral, too. All the </p><p>people whose stories you add, will be notified and you can share and embed your story </p><p>anywhere on the web. </p><p>jf 2014-06-18 </p></li><li><p>juttafranzen 2014 | CC BY 4.0 8 </p><p>Resources </p><p>Coelle, Maike, Kristian Costa-Zahn, Maike Hank, Katharina Kokoska, Dorothea Martin, Patrick Mller, Gregor Sedlag, and Philipp Zimmermann,. 2011. Transmedia Manifest - The Future of Storytelling. </p><p>Jenkins, Henry. 2003. Transmedia Storytelling | MIT Review. MIT Technology Review. </p><p>Krmer, Sybille. 2005. Turning Viewers into Witnesses. Reflections on the Context of the Performative, the Media, and Performance-Arts. Inst. fr Philosophie, FU Berlin und Helmholtzzentrum fr Kulturtechnik, HU Berlin. </p><p>McLuhan, Marshall. 1964. Medium Is the Message. In Understanding Media - The Extensions of Man, edited by Marshall McLuhan, Reprint 1994, 0721. London: Routledge. </p><p>Miller, Carolyn Handler. 2012. Transmedia Storytelling - What It Is and How It Works. Entertainment &amp; Humor, May 17. </p><p>Pratten, Robert. 2011. Getting Started in Transmedia Storytelling Transmedia Storyteller. </p><p>Staffans, Simon. 2012. One Year in Transmedia. January 11.;utm_medium=ssemail&amp;utm_campaign=download_notification. </p><p>Transmedia 101 by One 3 Productions. 2011. YouTube.;feature=youtube_gdata_player </p><p>Wendig, Chuck. 2012. 25 Things You Should Know About Transmedia Storytelling. Terribleminds: Chuck Wendig. </p></li></ul>