The art of limiting

File this brief post under ”basic things that are really good to keep in mind at all times”. When it comes to cross media creation and transmedia storytelling development, the sky is the limit. You could make a good case for almost any media platform to be included. You could develop strategies for all existing social media platforms to be integrated as vital parts of the audience engagements structure. You could target the broadest of audiences and aim for the fence.

This doesn’t mean that you should.

I come up against this frequently. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, all possibilities should be evaluated and the ones that offer the most to the overall project, the overall narrative, should be included (possible budget constraints aside, of course).

The challenge lies in actually knowing which platform it is that is certain to outperform another, also over time. This is where you must have limited yourself in another way already, by defining your target audience and your reason for having them as your target audience, way before you reach this point. The data from and knowledge about your target audience can give you the information necessary to tip the scales in one solution’s favor or anothers.

Your strategies for social media can also give you pointers – are you in need of stunning visual content to be shared by loyal members of the audience? A well-funded TV series might be your best best. Would you rather have two-way communication between your audience and your characters, influencing the story as it plays out, fluent within the ramifications set out at the beginning of the development process? Short blog posts paired with and influenced by Twitter interaction with the characters might be a good way to go.

To sum it up – know your audience. That way you will more assuredly manage to do what always has to be done; slash the unnecessary parts from the story, along with the unnecessary media platforms.


Simon Staffans is a content and format developer and media strategist, employed by MediaCity Finland. He works with multiplatform storytelling, transmedia development procedures and great stories. Contact him at simon.staffans(at) or follow him on @simon.staffans.

4 thoughts on “The art of limiting

  1. Simon,

    It´s important to think about the platforms, but isn´t more important to think about the “layers of interativity”? Like “watching”, “playing”, “connecting”, “participating” and “experimenting”? There are degrees of interaction, from the most superficial to the most profound. Covering this layers aren´t more important than know if you´re gonna use videos, games or mobile phones?

    best regards,

    • Hi Mauricio, thanks for your comment. It’s definitely very important to think about the engagement of the audience, what level of interaction you’re striving for and at which points in the narrative these would happen. I think that is the topic for another blog post though. The post you commented on came from experiences I’ve had where the plan for the audience engagement is pretty much there already, but an urge to utilize as many or as complex platforms as possible detracted from the story itself. Both are important, but both come from slightly different angles.

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