Monday, April 27, 2015

Thoughts on Transmedia Storytelling/Marketing ~ Transmedia Project Proposal

Transmedia Storytelling is quite an interesting new way of connecting with audience across multiple platforms tying everything back to one central story. In recent years, as social media and the internet have become more and more crucial to the marketing and promotional side of entertainment, they've also become more important to the creative side of the process. Audience members are constantly wanting more. When a TV show not only has the show, but also tons of websites, social media profiles, and other elements that enhance the overall story, the audience members eat it all up.

In relation to the audience/creator connection, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries spinoff Welcome to Sanditon allowed for audience members to add to the "world" of the show, ultimately leading to audience-created elements being entered into the show's "canon." Another example would be the incredible Pottermore website. This website allows for audience members to feel involved in the world and even gives fans updates, new stories, add-ons to the world, etc. Transmedia gives creators the chance to either explain certain parts of their world, expand on it, and/or allow audience members to get involved in the world.


I am personally most drawn to the marketing end of transmedia storytelling. I really dug what HBO did for their online promotional elements for the first season of their hit show True Blood. They totally immersed potential viewers in the overall world with fake news reports, articles, vlogs, interviews, etc. This was super fascinating and interesting. A film that had a similar marketing strategy was The Blair Witch Project. Back in the 90's, before most films even thought to use it to their advantage, Blair Witch created a fake world surrounding the film. It had news articles, other footage, pictures, etc. that made potential movie-goers totally engaged in the idea that three student filmmakers got lost in the woods while making a doc about an urban legend. The idea of "found footage" was totally real here and explored to its fullest in the film's marketing.

A piece of marketing that has come up related is the "viral video strategy." Some could classify this as transmedia marketing but I don't think it is in certain cases, particularly the viral prank videos that are usually tied to horror films. For example, the 2013 remake of Carrie, had a viral video where a girl uses telekinesis to make things go haywire in a coffee shop to promote the film. The video showed real people walking into a staged coffee shop and witnessing a girl with Carrie-esque powers freak out. The reactions were priceless and at the end of the video, a 2-3 second tag with a picture of Chloe Grace Moretz as Carrie and the film's release date clued viewers in to what the video actually was. While this is quite the cleaver marketing strategy, it doesn't add to the story of the film and shouldn't be classified as transmedia storytelling.

Overall, I think the idea of using multiple platforms to enhance something creatively is genius. If you look back before the internet became popular, you'd see comics tied in with movie franchises, books that tied in with their movie counterparts, etc. This idea of transmedia storytelling has been around, it's just been really enhanced by the internet. I hope that in the future, more stories use multiple platforms to draw in their audiences.

For my transmedia creative project, I'm going to make a YikYak for a city from Game of Thrones, probably King's Landing. It'll be over the course of one episode, or multiple, or even an entire season. I'm not sure yet. I'm basically gonna explore how the public opinion of certain events in a city changes over the course of time.

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