I’ve pitched enough ideas and projects and tenders to enough possible buyers and collaborators and clients to know that one of the most important things to do is to NOT confuse them.
As one of the hardest working sellers I know use to say – selling IP to someone as reluctant as your average media buyer (especially in the world of television) is all about removing the reasons to say ”no”, so that all that is left after your pitch and your discussion is for them to instead say ”yes”.
The convergence of media today, the blurring of the lines between media platforms and between fiction and reality, and the constant shifts in the practice of storytelling, makes this even more important today.
When I talk to our possible clients, the ”transmedia” term is used with extreme caution. It is precisely the kind of term that has the chance of either making the conversation veer off in an undesireable direction (”what’s your definition of…?” etc) or making the client/buyer back off, since they don’t fully understand it and therefore cannot sign off on it in good conscience.
The key, I’ve found, is to bring it back to ground level. Everyone is convergent today. We watch series on our iPads, we tweet on our Lumias, we collaboratively build Westeros in Minecraft on our laptops… we use all media for all purposes already. The only things transmedia storytelling methods actually bring to the table are a bit of structure, some guidelines and some assistance when it comes to creating for this convergence.
That’s where we meet our clients and our partners; in the knowledge that there is no magic transmedia wand to wave about and create immersive stories that fly over the boundaries between media platforms, dragging the squeeling audience with them in their wake.
What there are are great stories that want to reach an audience and use whatever media platforms are the most suitable for these stories and their audience. What there is is a knowledge about which platforms are best for what kind of content or interaction. What there are are sound strategies for how to engage that audience and celebrate their engagement
There’s no trick to it, there are no gurus that create the infallible concepts, there is no general fix for all and sunder.
But there is and audience, thirsty for great stories. There is a wealth of talent and creativeness, that will take some form at some point, and why not in connection to your story? And there is a world – including buyers and possible clients – that floats organically over all media platforms, serving the greater good – the final experience.
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)gmail.com or follow him on @simon.staffans.