This spring is proving to be an interesting one, if you’re a storyteller focusing on multiplatform storytelling, online storytelling, interactive storytelling or just about any kind of storytelling that expands on more traditional forms of the same.
I’ve already talked quite enough about ”Defiance”, for instance here, but it will be extremely interesting to see how it all plays out over the course of a full season. The hype has been quite considerable, the game has gotten mixed reviews, the TV series seems well-liked and had pretty neat ratings for the premiere… Will it all keep up? I hope so; so far ”Defiance” is proving to be a pretty great case to point to when I want to explain and talk about transmedia storytelling and the principles behind it.
Another great project is ”The Lizzie Bennet Diaries”, which just got close to half a million US$ through their Kickstarter campaign. Goes to show that a) great stories – such as ”Pride and Prejudice”, which LBD is based on – never go out of style, that b) for-online content can be as compelling and professionally produced as any fiction series on TV, developers and producers just need to be aware of the style, possibilities and limitations of the medium, that c) crowdfunding is a viable way forward, as the campaign money will also help pay for the next production, ”Welcome to Sanditon” and finally d) planning for interaction, collaboration and interactivity heightens the experience for the audience – if integrated into the concept from the beginning and executed according to plan.
Myself, I’ve been partly developing TV shows – how they all play out, I’ll be sure to inform here as soon as we hear back from our distributors – and immersing myself in ”The Energy Ambassador”. TEA is a project fusing more than ten global companies from the energy industry to a major storytelling and marketing venture that launched a little over a week ago. My role is that of the storyteller, and I can’t help but rejoice at the chance of getting to use transmedia storytelling techniques for something so ”real” as the need for sustainable renewable energy solutions globally – and finding that the techniques work a treat. It’s basically using what I’ve practiced doing for decades in a new setting. Exciting!
All in all, it seems like we’ve turned some kind of corner with regards to telling stories over different kind of media. What we have now is not a Utopia, which was what some envisioned some years back as the term ”transmedia storytelling” started to take root. We are not living in a world where stories are automatically better than before, where storytellers are naturally using multiple platforms in unique ways compared to before or where commissioners and buyers are eager to pay more for multiplatform content.
What we have instead is a world where practicioners and audiences are finding each other in a more natural, logically connected and, yes, human way. It’s a world where the word ”transmedia” will soon be redundant, as everything produced will be as transmedia as it needs to be, as a natural part of the essence of the product. It’s a world where the user experience is starting to take precedent, and it’s a world where new financial possibilities will allow more content to flourish in new ways.
All in all, it’s a pretty neat world, for a storyteller. And I have a feeling it will only get better.