A Literacy of the Imagination

a deeper look at innovation through the lenses of media, technology, venture investment and hyperculture

Are you transmedia ready?

I borrowed the title for this post from Karine Halpern, Paul Burke and Cynthia Jabar, who created a card game asking the same question. I won't go into details - you should visit their site and see how this plays out for yourself - but I can tell you that it is a fun (and for those who are unfamiliar, a somewhat sobering) look at what it takes to develop and execute a transmedia or multi-platform narrative. Contact them directly and order a deck!

Speaking of narrative, the always colorful Steve Peters released this snarky gem, which also questions the validity of any initiative dubbed "transmedia storytelling"... and all the questions we must ask ourselves along the way, such as: "What the heck is this thing anyway?" Steve is widely considered to be a pioneer in the space, so his jabs are all in good fun.

To that end, while the notions of transmedia storytelling are widely varied, the need for term definitions are coming to a head, particularly as transmedia is becoming more and more of a mainstream descriptor. The good news is that companies are starting to see that there are great alternatives to storytelling practices and their use of coordinated media. The not so good news is that it still leaves many of us scratching our heads over things like attribution, discipline types, licensing dynamics and what actually consititutes a commercial franchise... or not.

Maybe we should all just stick to the Lance Weiler school of thought and keep transmedia storytelling an experimental practice, something that constantly endeavors to remove the boundaries imposed by media buying and selling practices. Lest we forget that media companies still rule the world. This is quite a challenge we have here!

Well, it just so happens that many if not all of these issues will be tabled in late October when the StoryWorld Conference commences. I will be speaking on a couple of panels there, so if you can make it out for the event, it would be great to connect with you. Huge props to Alison Norrington for spearheading this.

In the meantime, here is a video clip of a session I did on immersive media back in May at the Miami Ad School (the talk covered off on the same material I presented at the PSFK Salon LA event a few weeks earlier). We had a great group of students from all over the world, who really invested themselves in asking the broader questions around where media, culture and technology can take us through a refined storytelling lens. 

A final note: I'm consulting an old pal on a time-travel storyworld construct called "Gates of the West". It's an educational ARG platform that places the player in different time periods within modern history in order to unlock mysteries of various phenomena, such as the deaths surrounding JFK and Leonard Peltier. More to come on this later ;)

Until then, ask yourself... Are you transmedia ready?