Multiple lives: Transmedia storytelling

Transmedia is rapidly becoming a more well-known term, and has been THE buzz word for new films, games, TV shows and web series for awhile now, but do you know what it is? And if you do, do you have a transmedia component to your film?  In short, transmedia is the multiple lives your story can have across multiple media: apps, graphic novels, interactive websites, web series to support a TV show, game to support a film, etc.

I’m not sure what the U.S. film and TV industry expects in terms of transmedia, whether we’re ahead of, behind or right in line with many other nations, but I know that in Canada, most TV networks won’t give you much time if you don’t come to them with a transmedia component fleshed out when you pitch your story.  This year, a couple of transmedia efforts have caught my eye, and I just stumbled across an awesome transmedia wiki set up by Transmedia L.A.

THE FUTURE (2011)

Directed by Miranda July

Visit July’s site for her latest flick, The Future, and you can click on “Your Future” which directs you to the “oracle,” a multicolored mosaic-like circle.  You click on it and it acts like a fortune cookie, producing a cryptic or humorous piece of advice for you to follow.  You can “spin” the oracle once to have your future told and then sign up to get daily fortunes via email.  I think this is a brilliant idea, one which really keeps the film fresh in potential audience members’ minds.  Even if people don’t see the film, or can’t, depending on whether it’s playing in their local theatre, it’s a great way to build and hold onto an audience.  Each person’s email goes into a database and can be used in future (no pun intended!)

Look into your future — click here to visit the oracle:

http://thefuturethefuture.com/oracle.php

 

DREAMS OF A LIFE (2011)

Directed by Carol Morley

Interactive experience: Dreams of Your Life

If you read this blog at all, you know that I’m a supporter of British filmmaker, Carol Morley’s new documentary Dreams of a Life.  The film recreates and explores the life of Joyce Carol Vincent, a resident of London who died in her flat and wasn’t discovered until three years after her death.  It’s a haunting story.  I haven’t yet seen it, but it was released in U.K. cinemas starting December 16 and is playing all over the country at least through March 2012.  One reason I find this story so fascinating is because it explores the life of a woman whose experiences are all too common:  how we live our daily lives, many in isolation, perhaps taking for granted people are alright, living their lives the same as us.  So, how does something like an unnoticed death happen?  Who’s responsible?  How can we better keep tabs on one another, to check in on each other, just to see if we’re doing alright?  Vincent died of an unknown cause, her TV blaring, surrounded by Christmas presents it looked like she’d been wrapping, and other bags of items as if she’d just gotten home from shopping.

To support her film, an interactive experience (a “sister project”) has been launched called Dreams of Your Life, which takes you through a conversational type of exploration of what we like to keep private, what we share, what scares us, and intersperses bits of information about Joyce Carol Vincent throughout.  You’re also asked for your name (though you can make one up), which you can type into a box, and later on, an email if you’d like to give it.  Of course, these go into a database for future communications regarding the film.

Choices are also given when the player is asked a question, both “yes” and “no,” responses, but also ones which encourage further exploration of some of the topics of the experience, the background, though static in terms of design, begins to age and change: a vase of red flowers wilts, withers and dries;a sunny day turns cloudy and rainy; a green bush changes color and then becomes bare, etc.  It’s quite a self-reflective game that allows you the opportunity to delve into some subjects which we don’t always open ourselves up to exploring.

Check out the Dreams of Your Life interactive experience here:

http://www.dreamsofyourlife.com/

 

TRANSMEDIA L.A. WIKI

While I’m not versed in transmedia — I know what it is, though — I’m really keen on learning more.  I came across this resource from Transmedia L.A. which has put together a wiki to allow people to share resources.  Think of it as a type of clearing house where you can just click through and find things you might spend hours trying to find through google searches.  The group has focused on the following topics to include in its wiki:

– games

– publishing

– social media

– technology

– transmedia

– writing

Almost any story can have a life on multiple platforms, and as someone who writes and is developing my own TV shows and screenplays, I can’t forget about the importance of transmedia.  I’ll be using this resource to make it easier to imagine how I might tease out storylines to design a game, or explore a situation through a map, or whatever might be appropriate.  Have any of you dear readers used this resource?  Can you suggest any more useful transmedia links?  Please do!!!

Check out the announcement of the Wiki here, with profiles on four tools to use:

http://transmediala.net/2011/12/profiling-our-new-wiki-a-collaborative-toolkit-for-transmedia-storytellers/

Check out the Transmedia L.A. Wiki here:

http://transmediala.pbworks.com/w/page/48427037/FrontPage

 

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