If This Be Wednesday...

By | Wednesday, April 27, 2011 4 comments
... this must be a link-blog!
  • So you've heard people throw around the term "transmedia" or maybe "transmedia storytelling" but you really don't get what they're talking about? Dr. Pamela Rutledge has this excellent and concise summary of what it is and why it's significant in the 21st century over at Psychology Today.
  • Charles Forceville has a blog set up called Adventures in Multimodality. "Multimodality" is just a fancy term for "using multiple forms of communication." Like, say, words and pictures. Several of his posts focus specifically on comics and, while I haven't read them yet, the abstracts make them all sound fascinating. (via Neil Cohn)
  • The theme of the latest issue of Image & Narrative is "Visual Language of Manga." Again, I haven't read everything there yet, but several articles look good. (again, via Neil Cohn)
  • These next two are actually from Stumptown, but I don't recall seeing them making the usual rounds, so let me point to the Stumptown Trade Review's video interviews with Carla Speed McNeil and Nate Simpson.
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I've tossed out the phrase "transmedia storytellng" a number of times to describe the expression of my character in social networks, videos, comics, blogs, etc I realize that's an atypical use of a term that's mostly used in the context of mass media and commercial marketing. But hey, power to the people. Or to the avatars.

Multimodality is a fun word and a definite adventure. MY favorite creative workflow these days is Tweets-->Blog-->video or comic. It's been really interesting to see how different mediums invite one to transform the prior content, sometimes in surprising and significant ways.

Matt K said...

That "transmedia" item is frankly amazing for the sheer chutzpa involved in trying to hoot about the importance of "authenticity" and "meaning" while, itself, amounting to nothing more than a vacuous mass of buzzword-packed hype.

If it weren't so long it could almost be an item in The Onion.

@Botgirl - Actually, I very much think of your work in a transmedia frame of reference. The term is generally for mass media, but there's absolutely no reason it's not viable on a more personal scale. Though it raises an interesting question in that while Botgirl is, in essence, a digital fiction across multiple platforms, how is that differentiated from, say, myself, where I'm still trying to construct a personal narrative through the same channels AS WELL AS the analog real life component? Does "transmedia" apply to real people like myself who make a conscious and concerted effort to have only one story? Is "transmedia" only applicable to fiction?

@Matt - Consider the audience it's intended for, though: readers of Psychology Today. People who have an interest in psychology, but not so much that they're readnig academic journals. They're likely not as familiar with media topics, so it has to be deliberately high-level, hence the buzzwords. It's not meant to be particularly deep or overly insightful; it's more of a "Hey, jackass! Wake up to the 21st century already!" piece and I think it does a decent job on that front if you haven't been paying attention to that type of material. (Which, I daresay, is probably a LOT more people than you might think! I'd be willing to bet that only 1 or 2 people at most of the 75-ish folks in my marketing department have heard the word "transmedia" before.)

It's interesting to try to parse the differences between transmedia storytelling and branding in the context of a person/character versus a specific storyline. For instance you have Batman or Superman in comics over diverse different story arcs, many of which are self-contained.

Transmedia storytelling also seems to be closely related to branding, but the story is less about plot/narrative and more about creating the sense of a visceral sense of identity.