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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