The Transmedia Gardener

So, spring is in the air, finally. I’ve been holed up in a studio and have had no time to blog at all. Which is perfectly fine, as I’ve instead been able to actually DO something. Always a nice feeling, especially if the end result will be as good as I think it’ll be. Will post on the project in due time!

Spring is in the air, the snow had melted (partially at least :P) and it was time to sharpen all necessary utensils to get to grips with what passes for a garden around these parts. Standing there, looking at the devastation revealed by the receding snow, my mind started turning around the similarities between that and what I do for a living.

See, gardening and transmedia development, they’ve got a lot in common. No no, hear me out! Like with gardening, where the soil is the one most important aspect – more important than, say hours of sun or how much you water your plants – the foundation needs to be strong and needs to be built and prepared in the right way for any transmedia project.

All that soil-work then, is laying the foundation for the planning work you’ll do for your garden. This then, is totally dependent on the location you’ve got for your garden. Is it a spacious one, where you can spread out and imagine different settings, different themes, different … well, yeah, Entry Points? Is it a narrow ledge, with room for only the barest necessities, like some herbs and suchlike? Is it sunny, is it shady? What are your possibilities, and what are your limitations?

In a transmedia setting, this is equivalent to both your a) budget and b) project. Naturally, what resources you have will affect what you can plan for your project. But more importantly, the project itself will tell you what can – or rather should – be done in the context of the project. Do not order an iPhone app just ’cause it’s cool, if it doesn’t fit your project naturally and logically. At the same time, make sure you don’t order that pine tree plant if all you’ve got is a 3 m2 patch of grass behind your house.

Now, if you look at a garden, you need to plan for longevity or short bursts. Is it going to be an explosion of colors in spring that will then fade away, not needing maintenance, or do you prefer a garden where different things are in bloom at different times of the spring, summer and autumn? When developing transmedia, you need to take these things into consideration as well – are you merely marketing a major release later on, so a quick, massive burst will do? Or are you in it for the long run, maintaining your stories and your story world for months and years on end? Be prepared though – it’s extremely easy, in gardening as in transmedia, to underestimate the time and effort needed to complete a vision and maintain it properly.

I could go into how you chose your plants correlates with how you chose your platforms, but I won’t. Instead, I will end by saying that gardening could learn a thing or two from transmedia as well. I’ve yet to see an immersive, interactive, crowdsourced garden, for instance. If there is one, I’d love to see it.

Now then, MacBook and spade in hand – off to the garden! Or was it the study??

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