This was a very exciting piece of news that i picked up from the NY Times.
“Guillermo del Toro Opening a Boutique ‘Transmedia’ Studio
Transmedia storytelling, according to Wikipedia is “a technique of telling stories across multiple platforms and formats”. From a media and content perspective this can include film, television, online, print, radio etc.
- the TV series Heroes. It is based on television, but on top of that is a bunch of other stuff such as comics, website and books that cover the same characters and are set in the same universe. Same again for Lost.
- Almost anything Disney has done lately
- Isa TKM. This Venezuelan TV serial is about a schoolgirl in love with a musician. the show launched with websites, Facebook and MySpace pages, phone ringtones and downloads, and a music album,
The magic of great transmedia is that a casual fan can enjoy the basic offering (such as the TV show) while a more passionate fan can ‘drill-down’ into the universe and satisfy their desire for more detail.
In the past, these sort of expansions happened organically. A show was successful, so producers started looking for spin-off options. A more modern view, is to plan for these expansions right from the start.
This is the role of Transmedia agencies. They are not necessarily experts at any one media channel, but rather try to coordinate between the different channels, knowing what bits of the story will work best on different platforms.
Personally, I love this stuff and have been reading about it for a while. I don’t write about it much, primarily because it is still a heavily ‘academic’ subject which means that the people who do write about it sound much smarter than me 🙂
The reason the article caught my eye was the involvement of Guillermo del Toro the writer, producer, or director of many great films, including Pan’s Labyrinth, Blade 2, and Hellboy. The company he has partnered in, Mirada, “will house all of the tools that filmmakers need to create entertainment that lives partly on the Web, partly in movie theaters, partly in video games under one roof.”