I am currently working and writing on an experimental form of storytelling, that probably would fall under the ”transmedia” category. I am not yet sure whether it will all bear fruit or not; I’ve taken an old pet project of mine and am trying to translate it into a whole new form. If I can get it to work properly, I believe it’ll be pretty interesting; basically it’s about bringing the storyworld closer to the audience in every instance of the narrative.
Still, working on this project – and also enviously following the Twitter feeds from the Storyworld 2012 conference in Hollywood, and the Pixel Market in London – has made me acknowledge one thing that is as true for transmedia as for any other art form out there. It’s as much about what you leave out as about what you put in.
The saying ”Kill Your Darlings” has seldom been as true as when it comes to transmedia projects; it’s so very easy to overelaborate your content and your multiplatform strategies, into totally – for the audience – unnecessary detail and scope. Use what makes sense when it makes sense and scrap the rest. The key is, as always, to be able to know what it actually is that makes sense. I actually wrote something on that earlier.
But leaving out does not only mean that you kill your darlings and streamline your content. Leaving out stuff can also mean that you open up possibilities for the audience to come in and create things themselves. If there is one area where I believe the future lies for media as a whole and transmedia in particular, it’s in engaging the audience in meaningful ways, to participate, co-create and co-distribute our content.
That the 1-9-90 rule should read more like a 1-900-9000 rule (according to Steve Peters over Twitter from SWC12) doesn’t strike me as that ominous; I believe the barrier when it comes to co-creating and participating is growing thinner and thinner by the day, and soon (if it’s not already actually done) the audience that likes and loves your content will rip holes in your content themselves, to be able to take part, no matter what you as a creator had planned. It’s just simply time to get used to this and plan for it.