Transmedia Ramblings

Do you remember the first time you saw the map montage used to show the long plane trip in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark? That’s the kind of thing that gets me excited – seeing perfect new uses for a medium. For me, transmedia is about finding those perfect uses and harnessing the best ones available to tell each part of a story.

Sometimes you want to dig right into a character’s thought process. You want to detail his every impulse and emotional response. At times like that, I believe prose is an ideal medium (or poetry if you want to be a bit more abstract).

Other times you want to show an epic battle scene where your characters show off their supreme bad-assery. The motion and perspective control of video is a great way to convey the excitement and drama of sequences like that (though a series of images like a graphic novel is sometimes even better at getting to the drama of a fight scene).

Transmedia also presents us with options to dramatically portray what could otherwise be long boring passages (like the long journey in Indiana Jones).

Though it puts you in danger of crossing over from story to game, some events can benefit from an interactive component. The trick is to write specifically with this in mind. Transmedia lets you choose the right moments for interactivity and narrate the rest.

Any medium can potentially benefit from a musical score. One of the techniques we’ll need to master is how to invisibly loop music with text passages so that the reader is experiencing the right sound at the right time. I’m not sure how to do that… yet… but I know it needs to happen.

The other thing that excites me about transmedia storytelling is that we’re making it up as we go along. The best practices of prose and cinema are pretty well established, but no one knows what is going to work best when you’re trying to mix them together – let alone what will happen if you throw an interactive sequence into the mix.

This is a new artistic language, and I hope to help create some of the vocabulary.

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