WHAT IS TRANSMEDIA STORYTELLING?


Journalist Kevin Moloney defines it as "designing a story to unfold across multiple media — analog, digital and even brick-and-mortar — in an expansive rather than repetitive way."

Graphic novels, graphic short stories, e-books with embedded content, and so much more.

Often used in journalistic storytelling, transmedia storytelling can be an effective tool for story creation in general.  

Take a look at Cinderella 2.0 for an excellent overview of transmedia storytelling. 


eSchool News Daily Tech News and Innovation calls transmedia storytelling a trend "poised to rock education":

"Transmedia storytelling [...] involves a story experience that crosses multiple forma of media, and each delivers a unique or specific contribution to the overall story experience. It has the potential to transform student engagement, especially because today’s students thrive on using multiple technology tools and platforms simultaneously. In fact, students’ brains today are wired differently, and students have come to expect and anticipate this immediate satisfaction and stimulation."

Transmedia storytelling may or may not involve active audience participation. The embodiment of the story in each medium must be able to stand alone as a satisfying story experience. Each medium adds richness and detail to the overall story. The whole story, told through different media, remains "more" than the parts comprising it. 

Margaret Looney of PBS' Mediashift explains transmedia storytelling as "dividing chunks of a story across multiple platforms to form one cohesive narrative. [...] It lets you take advantage of multi media in unique ways."

Looney makes the following recommendations:

1. Use different media to tell different parts of the story, instead of repeating the same information on different platforms.

2. Make sure that the story interfaces are simple so the reader knows where to engage. Looney calls this providing a seamless point of entry. Take a tour of A Short History of Mexico City for an easy of a simple interface.

3. Collaborate. Transmedia storytelling lends itself well to collaboration. Different strenghths, different technical skills, different perspectives! Take a tour of Aatsinki, the Story of Arctic Cowboys for an example of collaborative transmedia storytelling.

4. Be sure that the story reigns supreme. That is, don't let the technology get in the way of the story. Use it to tell the story.

As Kevin Moloney asserts: “By telling interconnected stories we can embrace the nuance and complexity that exists in any story world. Through multiple forms we can engage the different parts of our story-loving brains." 



Examples of transmedia storytelling


A TED Talk peek at the interactive digital version of Al Gore's Our Choice

Bear 71

Welcome to Pine Point
Alice for the iPad
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (Moonbot Studios) An interactive app is available for this story and others by Moonbot Studios, through iTunes.
Raconte-moi les forêts (in French)
Le Prince charmant (in French)




Henry Jenkins blog for his USC class on transmedia storytelling

















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