The NOT of Transmedia

Late yesterday evening, as I sat writing on atransmedia mystery/horror novel I like to keep at hand as my own personal petproject – a combination of jet lag and a full moon helps no end when you wantto work nights, see – I had a small revelation.

I had written a couple of pages and felt pretty good about myself, so I startedlooking over the mindmap of all extensions from and to the novel and from andto the story world the novel is based in (and trust me, as with all transmedia projects,these are legio) and a pattern suddenly emerged before me. It had a big fatheadline as well, that pattern – a headline that said ”NOT!”.
You see, as I gazed at the arrows and the dotsand the squares and the texts, I realized that transmedia is as much about whatyou decide NOT to use, as what you eventually end up actually USING. As wasstated at the Storyworld conference – all stories can be developed in atransmedia direction; not nearly all need or deserve it.
If your project does need and deserve to havetransmedia methods applied to them, it is very important to evaluate yourproject from the angle of ”what makes sense”. I.e., even though you’ve alreadyregistered the YouTube channel and you really want to produce them awesomewebisodes and put them out there – if all your project needs is a blog, anautomated e-mail response system and a novel, then that’s what your projectshould use.
The same goes for interaction with theaudience. I know many who argue that an inherent trait of transmediastorytelling is the activating and incorporating of the audience, inviting themto take an active part in the storytelling. I would disagree, as I believe youcan deliver fullfledged transmedia content without the audience doing much morethan choosing what to consume on which platform. I.e., use UGC or user interactionwhen it makes sense, NOT when it doesn’t!
The list goes on, but I’m sure you get mypoint. Your transmedia project will be defined as much by what you did NOTutilize within the scope of it as by what you DID utilize.
Best of luck 🙂

5 thoughts on “The NOT of Transmedia

  1. Right on!I had a similar experience looking at my story map for R&D – although I was really thinking more in terms of "oh my gosh, is this project a manageable size?"Then I started listing my "NOT"s. This plan does NOT include a video game. NO augmented reality app. NO integrated webisodes on YouTube. NO Facebook game. "Pervasive" does not mean "in every medium."

  2. Yes, you are completely correct.You can also reframe this as a positive: For every medium you use, make sure it is adding something distinct and necessary to your story.

  3. Haley, Andrea, thanks for commenting. And yeah, agree on both counts, it's NOT "in every medium", and it should always be adding necessary things to the story. So, here's to NOT TRANSMEDIA! …eh, wait.

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