The mixing of Real and Not Real in Transmedia

(the musings continue, now with something I’m struggling with right now)

One particular challenge that I face while developing transmedia, is the thin line between being just about enough fictional, but not too fictional. I don’t work – or, should I say, I do not at the moment work – with drama-based transmedia projects; instead, the ones we’re working on now are music projects, game shows, kids formats, etc.

As I see it, one key element of any transmedia venture is the classical ”willful suspension of disbelief” (love the phrase, btw). You know that you have your narrative superstructure in place, it’s solid and will be a fine, nurturing growth bed. You have some – three, then, to go by PGA’s rules for a transmedia producer – different media platforms utilized. The different pieces of content support each other, either directly or indirectly, but are not duplicates of each other. What you need now is for the consumer / participant (the ”consupant”? sounds a bit constipated…) to go into your story, your narrative superstructure, and embrace the willful suspension of disbelief and engage him-/herself.

This is a bit easier when building a drama-based transmedia setting, as anyone connecting to the mythology of the story knows and has accepted that it is a story. When blending ”real” stuff with a narrative that contains fictional elements, the cracks are a lot easier to spot.

What I’ve found out so far is one fairly simple thing, yet hard to stick to while developing, writing and scripting. Simply – be as true as possible. If you embark on the mission to include real stuff – be it persons, objects, physical landmarks or whatever – in your transmedia project, these different kinds of stuff will be a lot more credible if they, to as large an extent as possible, base themselves and present themselves as their real selves. What you don’t want is for these characters and stuff to show any light shining through them. They need to be as solid as possible – which is only possible if they are, for the main part, grounded in who or what they really actually are.

The only thing you need to add are the small fictional things that lets these real persons and real places function within your transmedia venture.

I’ll update with an example of ours as soon as we’ve got stuff to show ☺

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