Transmedia storytelling

Usha Sharma

Storytelling has been an important part of our lives since time immemorial. We use it to communicate and feel connected. Good stories become part of our lives our culture.

Today we have a plethora of mediums to share stories on.

“Transmedia storytelling, as it is defined by Henry Jenkins, represents a process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience. Ideally, each medium makes it own unique contribution to the unfolding of the story.” (Convergence culture , Henry Jenkins 2006)

Transmedia is way of telling a story across these various mediums in a way so that not only can the viewer connect to it with more enthusiasm but also contribute and change it as per their interest. Previously when a book was made into a movie the viewer would almost always be disappointed, as the movie did not offer anything new to them. Similarly when a movie was converted into a game it would disappoint viewers, as there was nothing new to experience. Transmedia has completely transformed this experience for the viewers as now we can use multiple platforms to tell the story and we can thus include and engage viewers in the story. The story can start in one medium and end into another completely different medium.

“Transmedia is a powerful, immersive and fans-generating machine, because it creates better than other narrative strategies a strong emotional bond between a Brand and its audience.”

Each part of the story is unique and placed according to the strength of the medium. The result is a new kind of narrative where the story flows across each platform forming a rich experience, which manifests into an array of products with multiple revenue streams.

“This was possible by the multitude of producer- users/“produsers” active on social media sites (YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook) who were willing to engage with new topics and push the boundaries of storytelling/distribution. With the “convergence” of media and information technologies, the emergence of the “produser,” and the liberation of the means and mode of production of mediated storytelling, “produsers” were able to distribute and engage with multiple media incarnations of narrative storyworlds across multiple media platforms.” (Marie-Laure Ryard and Jan-Noel Thon, (Eds.) )

The audience can participate accordingly into any medium of their choice, as there is such a wide platform to choose from. The key is the viewer engagement.

One good example of transmedia is The Avengers, which is a 2012 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. We can  see a video clip of the series below. It was also adapted into a video game.

References:

Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide By Henry Jenkins (New York university press 2006)

http://www.stateofdigital.com/complete-guide-transmedia-storytelling/

http://www.inter-disciplinary.net/probing-the-boundaries/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/MelissaLeePrice-story9-wpaper.pdf

Marie-Laure Ryard and Jan-Noel Thon, (Eds.) Storyworlds Across Media: Toward a Media- Conscious Narratology. (Lincoln, NE and London: University of Nebraska Press, 2014).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marvel_Studios

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