“Let’s face it,” Jenkins mused, “we have entered an era of media convergence that makes the flow of content across multiple media channels almost inevitable. The move toward digital effects in film and the improved quality of video game graphics means that it is becoming much more realistic to lower production costs by sharing assets across media. Everything about the structure of the modern entertainment industry was designed with this single idea in mind-the construction and enhancement of entertainment franchises.”
Fast forward to 2009, when the revenues from video games sped past the film industry. Then this in 2013: the game ‘Grand Theft Auto V’ hit $1 billion in sales in the first three days after its release.
A wake-up call?
Creators who focus on developing content for one medium and one medium only – regardless of it being web, gaming, television or film focused – should absolutely be thinking about the way people consume content now, and more importantly, how they’ll do so in the future. Content will more and more be developed for multiple platforms, and consumed through a variety of different experiences.
Matthew Thomas Maloney, Savannah College of Art and Design’s professor of digital media, thinks that he has the answers.
“Although at first glance multi-channel may seem to complicate the development process,” says Matthew Thomas Maloney, “through deeper exploration of the relationship between story and discourse, we can better understand the nature of transmedia narrative.”
Challenges and solutions
Technology has been the biggest ally of successful transmedia storytelling. If we look at the history of film making and gaming, technological advances in sound, image quality, playback and distribution have steadily advanced the structure and types of stories that can be told and experienced.
In a recent Indiewire article, Ingrid Kopp, Director of Digital Initiatives at the Tribeca Film Institute, shared the 15 things that she’s learned about transmedia storytelling. She noted that “we are having to collaborate across industries and across disciplines now to make interactive work. This is not easy and requires a lot of translating, patience and new skills.”
In his talk on “Digital Diegesis: Multiplatform Story-World Development” at WebVisions Barcelona, Matthew Thomas Maloney will explore the challenges of transmedia storytelling and examine how story, content, technology and collaboration can simplify the development process. He’ll also talk about how to present the value of transmedia to clients, and how “fluid structuralist thinking” can help creators develop multiple narrative experiences based on a singular and focused story-world.
Matthew is a freelance digital artist and digital media professor at Savannah College of Art and Design. He also makes some seriously asskicking jewelry.
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