By Chloe Stites, October 26th, 2010

This blog post focuses on the intersection of transmedia and learning. Presented in 4 segments, we will look at how transmedia is revolutionizing media creation and presentation. As modes of human communication continue to change, so too does the concept of audience, and the projects envisioned and produced. Through a case study on Collapsus, an Energy Risk Conspiracy project, I will expose components necessary for building a successful transmedia project, along with the capabilities and influence accessible through employing such processes. Gain access to exclusive storyboards and scripts, behind the scene details, and interactive interviews as WorkBook Project delves deeper into the process of transmedia.

I. What does it mean to experience a Transmedia Project?

Almost a year ago (November, 2009) Alison Norrington, for Wired News, posed the question: “The value of a good story remains; the question is will you prefer to read, listen, watch, or do?” (Wired UK: Transmedia Tales and the Future of Storytelling)

Since this publishing, how has the relationship between media and consumers changed? As the print to screen revolution continues, so too does the process, and production, of the content delivered. At the time of Norrington’s writing, transmedia had been introduced to many, but had yet to conquer the attention of general audiences.

Now a growing buzzword, transmedia can be defined as an approach to content delivery that weaves various storylines across multiple platforms intending to further immerse their audience within a specific media experience. (Seize The Media: What is Transmedia?)

This process transforms the viewer into somewhat of information “detective.” Transmedia projects have the potential to develop a relationship of trust between consumer, content provider, and the product delivered. Because the concept of transmedia is grounded on utilizing multiple outlets to distribute a variety of information, content producers need to immediately develop credibility to ensure a project’s success. Interest is the participant’s motivation, learning digitally no longer a passive role. A well-anchored vision can instill reliable participant relations.

Exposing accurate information through a multitude of well-designed media platforms give players/viewers the tools to build their own infrastructure of knowledge around a communal topic. To ensure a fluid audience while working with multiple media endeavors, pioneers in the field like Lance Weiler, plan “for multiple platforms from the start. They design fictional universes that are consistent however the audience engages.” (Wired: What is Transmedia) This leads to one of the best benefits to the transmedia approach: The cliché “there’s no ‘I’ in team.” Each participant gathers a “data-bank” of unique information that is bettered by employing other participant’s results. (Henry Jenkin’s article) Community building can be fostered and encouraged.

This innovative platform has shifted the production of culture and has revolutionized the concept of storytelling. Weiler recently helped to script Collapsus, a transmedia project developed by SubmarineChannel, with the Dutch public broadcaster VPRO. Collapsus signals a new experience in transmedia storytelling. Through documentary, fiction, animation, players interact within the narrative, choose his/her own perspective, and make decisions to affect the global energy crisis.

Does the innovative production of Collapsus signal a change in consumer choice as Norrington predicted? Yes- the meme spawned around the potential energy crisis reveals that to choose transmedia is to utilize options. Check out the project at http://www.collapsus.com.

Stay tuned for Part II: Why is Collapsus an example of a transmedia project? How is this a useful tool?
Delving into the significance of employing various media outlets in transmedia projects, taking a closer look at Collapsus, the creators behind it, and the capabilities of transmedia as a tool to inspire.

Source Links:
http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2009-11/25/transmedia-tales-and-the-future-of-storytelling?page=all
A brief education, this article breaks the surface of how technology is directly affecting writing and reading stories.

http://seizethemedia.com/what-is-transmedia/
A basic definition on transmedia accompanied by helpful info graphic. Check out the article’s home site to learn more on Chief Story Architect Lance Weiler.

http://www.wired.co.uk/wired-magazine/archive/2010/08/features/what-is-transmedia?page=all
Entertaining article that details the origin of transmedia storytelling and its progression to the mainstream market.

http://www.submarinechannel.com/articles/item/543
Submarinechannel.com is an interactive production studio based in Amsterdam. This article featured on their site details the development of the project Collapsus.

http://henryjenkins.org/2010/06/transmedia_education_the_7_pri.html
Henry Jenkins speculates on the future of transmedia education.

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Posted in audience-building community cross-media design experience storytelling transmedia

Chloe Stites grew up in the Florida Keys. An avid reader of everything print and digital, she favors lyrical writing and Murakami-esque sentences. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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By robert pratten, October 13th, 2010

Welcome to Transmedia Talk a new podcast covering all things story. Transmedia Talk is co-hosted by Nick Braccia and Robert Pratten and looks to shed light on the topic of transmedia storytelling with commentary, interviews and tips on how storytelling is moving into the 21st century.

In a temporary departure from our usual format while Robert was in the UK, we present the second of two interviews from leading practitioners in the UK. In this podcast Hazel Grian – leading light in the transmedia world for her ARG work with Star Trek (and here), The Red Cross and 221b for the Sherlock Holmes movie (and here) – and specialist in interactive narrative and AI.

Download Adobe Flash Player.

download

Or Subscribe iTunes

NB: If you’d like to give  us feedback, recommend yourself as a guest or suggest topics to cover – please email us at talk@workbookproject.com or Tweet away with the hashtag #tmediatalk

Hosts
Nick Braccia from Culture Hacker
Robert Pratten from TransmediaStoryteller.com

Guests
Hazel Grian

Video for two of Hazel’s projects…

Tweeture

Daemon

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Posted in Transmedia Talk arg audience-building design experience experimental podcast storytelling

robert pratten Robert Pratten is CEO and Founder of Transmedia Storyteller Ltd, an audience engagement company and provider of Conducttr, an pervasive entertainment platform. He has more than 20 years experience as an international marketing consultant and has established himself as a thought-leader in the field of transmedia storytelling. He is author of the first practical book transmedia storytelling: Getting Started in Transmedia Storytelling: A Practical Guide for Beginners. http://twitter.com/robpratten

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By robert pratten, October 12th, 2010

This is a quick post but I thought this template might be useful for some people when they’re explaining their transmedia project. You’ll notice that this is focused on the experience rather than the technology: there’s no mention of platforms or business case or even audience. So there’s more that needs to be communicated to get the full picture but this is a cool way to get your point across in certain circumstances.

This is my Transmedia Radar Diagram – use it to communicate your transmedia experience to interested parties… but probably not your audience ;) Note that there’s no absolute scale for the four axes, it’s their strength relative to each other. Of course, if you’re comparing projects then they need to compare across projects too.

Transmedia Radar Diagram

Here’s a few examples to illustrate how you might use the radar diagram…
Transmedia Radar: Example 1

Transmedia Radar: Example 3

Transmedia Radar: Example 2

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Posted in arg audience-building community cross-media experimental gaming marketing transmedia

robert pratten Robert Pratten is CEO and Founder of Transmedia Storyteller Ltd, an audience engagement company and provider of Conducttr, an pervasive entertainment platform. He has more than 20 years experience as an international marketing consultant and has established himself as a thought-leader in the field of transmedia storytelling. He is author of the first practical book transmedia storytelling: Getting Started in Transmedia Storytelling: A Practical Guide for Beginners. http://twitter.com/robpratten

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By robert pratten, September 29th, 2010

Welcome to Transmedia Talk a new podcast covering all things story. Transmedia Talk is co-hosted by Nick Braccia and Robert Pratten and looks to shed light on the topic of transmedia storytelling with commentary, interviews and tips on how storytelling is moving into the 21st century.

In a temporary departure from our usual format while Robert has been in the UK, we present the first of two interviews from leading practitioners in the UK. In this podcast Mike Dicks, Senior Policy Exec at PACT (kind of the UK equivalent to the US’ producers guild) talks about transmedia, Dr Who, Canvas/YouView, getting your work financed and selling your finished product.

Download Adobe Flash Player.

download

Or Subscribe iTunes

NB: If you’d like to give us feedback, recommend yourself as a guest or suggest topics to cover – please email us at talk@workbookproject.com or Tweet away with the hashtag #tmediatalk

Hosts
Nick Braccia from Culture Hacker
Robert Pratten from TransmediaStoryteller.com

Guests
Mike Dicks, PACT

Download Adobe Flash Player.

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Posted in audience-building cross-media podcast social media storytelling transmedia

robert pratten Robert Pratten is CEO and Founder of Transmedia Storyteller Ltd, an audience engagement company and provider of Conducttr, an pervasive entertainment platform. He has more than 20 years experience as an international marketing consultant and has established himself as a thought-leader in the field of transmedia storytelling. He is author of the first practical book transmedia storytelling: Getting Started in Transmedia Storytelling: A Practical Guide for Beginners. http://twitter.com/robpratten

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By robert pratten, August 30th, 2010

This is a two-part blog post with this being the first part. The second part is here. And you can get a PDF of the full piece, including my earlier associated work on Content Strategy.

When creative people get in the zone they generate a ton of ideas for content and experiences that could all work with their transmedia world. However, with resources always limited, these ideas have to be whittled down to essentials, nice-to-haves and stuff-for-later. One approach is to optimize the mix of content such that it (a) maximizes audience engagement and (b) the longevity (or likelihood of traction) of the experience. In this context I’m using “content” to mean all the things and tools that the audience has at their disposal – from videos, images and text to forums, chat rooms, leaderboards and so on.

If we are to design transmedia projects that engage audiences then we need to understand what it means to be engaged. Most would agree that it’s more than just “a view” and that there are probably degrees of engagement ranging from “doing something” (like a click) to “creating something” (like remixing a video).

Audience engagement is explained in the next section.

1.1.1 Measuring engagement

In 2006, Ross Mayfield stated in his blog:

“The vast majority of users will not have a high level of engagement with a given group, and most tend to be free riders upon community value. But patterns have emerged where low threshold participation amounts to collective intelligence and high engagement provides a different form of collaborative intelligence”.

He coined the term “The Power Law of Participation” which is shown in his diagram below (Figure 1).

Figure 1 Power Law of Participation

This participation curve can also be applied to transmedia worlds and will be evident to those who’ve run an ARG. Figure 2 shows the participation law at work in Mike Dicks diagram “Rules of Engagement” in which he expects that only 20% of the audience will engage in the gaming content of a cross-platform experience compared to 75% with the “sit-back” media.

Figure 2 Audience Participation with Content

What this means is that if there’s less effort involved in participating in the storyworld (for example watching a video vs remixing a video) then more of the audience is likely to do it but you can’t say that they’re as engaged with world as those who are expending more effort. More effort on behalf of the audience implies that they must be more engaged, right? Well, yes and no.

It depends on how the individual audience member derives his or her pleasure from the world. Not everyone wants to or feels able to remix videos or contribute user-generated content yet nevertheless may be a strong advocate for the world – telling friends, family and strangers that they really ought to check out the content. Surely that’s an engaged audience too?

Forrester Research identifies four measures for engagement with media content: involvement, interaction, intimacy and influence. Developing this for our purposes of understanding engagement with a transmedia world, we should measure not only the audience’s interaction and contribution but also their affection and affinity towards the world – that is, what they say and how they feel about it.

Taking this approach, a Facebook “Like”, while taking such little time and effort, ranks pretty well on the engagement scale. It’s more than just any click. It’s a show of affection.

But to get that “Like” or to get a “Share”, you need to provide the mechanism and the content.

Figure 3 shows the three stages of engagement – Discovery, Experience & Exploration – that inform your content choices across my five levels of increasing engagement:

  • Attention
  • Evaluation
  • Affection
  • Advocacy
  • Contribution.

Figure 3 Measuring Engagement

Stages of Engagement Discovery Experience Exploration
Level of Engagement Attention Evaluation Affection Advocacy Contribution
Content Type Teaser Trailer Target Participation Collaboration
Goal for your content Find me.

Fan comes to site and consumes low-involvement free “teaser content

Try me.

Fan increases engagement and consumes free “trailer content

Love me.

Fan spends money and decides that what I offer delivers on the promise, is entertaining and is worthwhile.

Talk about me.

Fan tells friends.

Be me.

Fan creates new content

How Be relevant Be credible Be exceptional Be spreadable Be open
Measurement views, hits, time spent per view, number for content viewed (per channel & content (e.g. emails, blogs, videos, Twitter etc.) clicks, downloads, trials, registrations purchases, ratings, reviews, comments, blog posts, Twitter follows, Likes, community sign-ups, other memberships, subscriptions, repeat purchases

referrals, reTweets, forwards, shares, embeds, satisfaction polls & questionnaires

Offline: focus groups, surveys

uploads, remixes, stories written, collaborations, fan moderators for forum, events held, other UGC

This post continues here.

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Posted in audience-building storytelling transmedia

robert pratten Robert Pratten is CEO and Founder of Transmedia Storyteller Ltd, an audience engagement company and provider of Conducttr, an pervasive entertainment platform. He has more than 20 years experience as an international marketing consultant and has established himself as a thought-leader in the field of transmedia storytelling. He is author of the first practical book transmedia storytelling: Getting Started in Transmedia Storytelling: A Practical Guide for Beginners. http://twitter.com/robpratten

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