I first learned of the term Transmedia during a radio interview with Sheila English on Readers’s Entertainment.
As you’d expect, there’s a lot of variance in what people think the term means since it was invented after transmedia had already been a method of storytelling for over a century.
From my perspective, it simply means telling a good story using different media |
Why do all this?
Because it’s fun!
Also, people respond very differently to a story depending on how they experience it.
Sound & Vision
Did you read the book before seeing the film, or vice versa?
Similarly, did you see the live performance before reading the book?
Or if you prefer a very different experience: did you hear the song before reading the book?
Which did you prefer and why?
These questions bring us to the question: who is your audience?
Some people prefer imagining the story in their mind and filling in the blanks themselves. Likely, these people will gravitate toward abstractions which usually means the written word, an obtuse or instrumental song, and an avant garde film.
Other people prefer everything clearly explained. This is more of a mainstream film or video experience where the context is clearly explained and only a few minor plotlines are left intentionally murky.
Meta and Transmedia
Meta is a word that’s been adopted to usually mean either beyond/above or about/self-reference within a story.
And here’s where we come back to transmedia. If you plan to tell your story from the start across multiple media, you can create a meta-story that bridges all of the ways in which you communicate your story. By meta, I’m using the term in the original Greek definition of “above”–a story that spans all of the stories.
The challenge is to make each story stand on its own. And if your audience takes the time to read, watch, and listen to all of your stories, they’ll see an even larger story unfold.
Example of Meta | Issac Asimov did this purely as a book author by essentially tying all of his books together in one meta-story. Granted, he did this in hindsight and not as a plan from the start. It takes a lot of reading to understand the depth and breadth of his story, but it’s well worth it.
In Part 2, we’ll look at a combined Transmedia and Meta project.
This story is an excerpt from Concept, my upcoming photography book. To learn more about my books and classes and to receive a discount, you’re invited to subscribe to my List by clicking HERE.