Segment II: Why is Collapsus an example of a transmedia project? How is this a useful tool?
The concept of transmedia is grounded in the delivery and curation of specific information across various platforms. As compared with traditional media’s pattern of distribution (the same set of images relayed to viewers repeatedly through the same modes of communication) the innovation of transmedia is grounded in choice: developing successful projects means inspiring viewers to follow subject matter from one media platform to another. Information is provided as a reward, acting as an agent of incentive to produce sustained interest within the viewer. These “messages” act as a resource independent to a greater whole. (Culture Hacker: Transmedia Storytelling Getting Started) Content, therefore, has the capacity to enrich the spread of entertainment across multiple platforms.
Segment II of this blog series will examine what platforms the brand-new, transmedia project, Collapsus utilized. The distribution of factoids within this project highlights the benefits of using alternative methods to expand a project’s reach beyond traditional audiences.
A basic breakdown of existing communication reveals reading, listening, interaction, and watching to be the modern foundation of possible sensory content application. Reading (books, comics, ebooks), listening (radio, mobile, online), interaction (online, mobile, social, console, ARG) and watching (TV, theatre, mobile, live performance, online) are all media sources useful in releasing information and encouraging viewers to seek further analysis. (Henry Jenkins: Transmedia Education)
Inspiring viewers to self-reflect in the context of a project’s subject matter is directly related to the availability of information within a transmedia project. In Collapsus, “visitors to the Collapsus site can cut away from soap-opera-like webisodes to learn about energy issues through an interactive map, view fictional newscasts on the Citizenergy Channel, or watch real interview clips with experts, analysts, activists and journalists.” (Mq2: Collapsus)
Executing platforms that support and encourage choice is imperative in creating and sustaining viewer interactivity. As the sole content provider, producers control exactly what information is released, at what time, and to which audience; they guide the story (or project) as it unfolds. What exactly does this mean? It speaks to the nucleus of the transmedia experience: widened exposure equals more choice, and, more choice equals widened exposure. This implies a need to thoroughly understand one’s projected audience: who would be most interested in this material? What are the best modes of communication for conveying this on multiple media platforms?
Collapsus was produced with the goal of exposing a broader audience to the information found in the traditional documentary, Energy Risk, released by VPRO. See the original doc HERE
With an idea of audience in mind, creators and producers of the project conceptualized a multi-linear experience that blended genres of documentary, animation, fiction, and interactivity. Producer Tommy Pallotta explains, “This hybrid approach allows us to look at a serious documentary subject, but also to shift from the usual talking head approach to something that better reflects our time.”(MQ2: Collapsus)
Citizenergy, the Youtube channel for the original Dutch documentary, compliments the transmedia project, Collapsus: The Energy Risk Conspiracy, and is an example of this approach to media multi-tasking. (See the channel HERE) The CitizEnergyChannel provides several video segments linked to Collapsus’ theme of risk; clips provide expert analysis on the danger of a growing dependency on fossil fuels. Each video on Citizenergy is packaged content, the producer actively chose what was delivered to audiences. Utilizing Youtube and other video sharing sites give a lot of information to viewers, while allowing them to review at their convenience.
In transmedia projects the audience must chose to further his/her knowledge through exploring subject matter, playing games, and chatting with others. The endeavor of exploring a specific topic through various media can inspire a “community” culture of individuals working with a cohesive goal. When players are able to pool their knowledge with others, audience capacity multiplies. For Collapsus, this directly relates to the project’s undertone of social responsibility. As players and viewers interact with the material, they consult each other on personal methods to approach content. This allows for alternative modes of thinking, and the development of a furthered sense of self in a global community. A global community means increased global communication and a wider audience.
In researching the intersection of education and transmedia I came across an example of a school in Texas that utilized multiple media platforms to integrate education and technology. On August 22, 2009 in Rio de Janeiro, NAVE (Ncleo Avanado em Educao – Advanced Education Center ) a Brazilian high school, hosted Heroes and Smallville’s associate producer Mark Warshaw to teach a lesson on Transmedia Storytelling. The event was live streamed and interactive, as the audience, both live and online, participated in an interactive SMS game. The release of the Descolagem App later that day furthered the audiences span. The audience was literally guided through a lesson on transmedia storytelling through an actual transmedia experience. Beto Largman, who curated the event, hopes the format of the lesson displays the process as a resource; a strategy evolved to distribute content personally to a mass audience. (Transmedia Experience Streamed At Highschool )
The choice to pursue more components of a project is the apex of transmedia success. The interactive component of Collapsus’ narrative is directly linked with the information provided by the clips on Youtube. Soap-opera-like webisodes, an interactive map, fictional newscasts, along with the Citizenergy Channel, provide players with a platform of knowledge on the energy crisis, which gives them the ability, and inspiration, to interact within the overall narrative of the game. The goal clearly defined: Reviewing Collapsus for Public Radio Makers Quest 2.0, Julie Drizin states, “Truthfully, this is the kind of media that is better experienced than explained.”
Experience Collapsus HERE.
Director of Collapsus, Tommy Pallotta, will be interactively interviewed in Pt2:
Investigating the Possibilities of Transmedia; Collapsus, a Case Study.
Interview questions will come directly from reader comments to Tommy- the questions and his responses will be included in next weeks feature. Previously, he produced Waking Life, the first independently financed and computer animated feature produced, as well as A Scanner Darkly, and a multitude of other projects. Let’s delve into his animation process of rotoscoping, and understand how imperative it is to develop successful visual reaction in transmedia and cross-media projects.
Email any questions to Tommy: email@example.com
Please subject with: Tommy Pallotta questions
Posted in audience-building cross-media design storytelling transmedia
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.
A brief education, this article breaks the surface of how technology is directly affecting writing and reading stories.
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.
Entertaining article that details the origin of transmedia storytelling and its progression to the mainstream market.
Submarinechannel.com is an interactive production studio based in Amsterdam. This article featured on their site details the development of the project Collapsus.
Henry Jenkins speculates on the future of transmedia education.
Posted in audience-building community cross-media design experience storytelling transmedia