Transmedia “decoded”


by Nicolas Bry, published on 7.07.2009

Drawing on G. A. Long’s dissertation (yep, there are dissertations on transmedia!), “Transmedia Storytelling” (May 2007), we can attempt to define transmedia content according to the following criteria:

- A story whose chapters are distributed on various media (TV, film, web, mobile etc.)
- Every chapter is conceived specifically for the media distributing it (hence, allowing for participation when writing web content)
- Multiple points of entry into the story
- Each chapter builds on and adds to the previous one rather than repeating the narrative
- And each chapter is “canonical”, meaning it bears reading on its own, independently of the original story

=> And all that to create a unified transmedia experience that gives a sense of entering another universe !

So this points up the distinction between transmedia and transfiction: in transfiction, the stories are circulated on various media, but each text, each website, is not autonomous; the story depends on every piece of the puzzle, you don’t get it without following every chapter, e.g. TV series in which the only way to participate is to take a quiz on the web or on a mobile.

Moreover, transmedia differs from adaptation, transposing a story from one medium to another, like the adaptation of Tolkien’s novels in Peter Jackson’s movies.

In sum, the definition of transmedia is demanding, to be sure – but only to free up creative resources that are all the more vast !

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author Nicolas Bry

Nicolas Bry a fondé le Transmedia Lab en 2009 chez Orange Vallée.