Transmedia storytelling

Through the Erasmus Staff Mobility programme, Prof. María del Mar Grandío Pérez, whom I have become acquainted because of the EU COST Action ‘Transforming Audiences, Transforming Societies’, visited University of Salford on 12-15 November and gave a guest lecture on transmedia storytelling. The well-received guest lecture introduced key characteristics of transmedia storytelling in TV dramas and transmedia strategies that are designated, developed and deployed to include fans / audiences in the making of TV dramas. Quite a few classic examples of transmedia storytelling in contemporary Western TV dramas were featured:

– Twittersodes (written by PR staff supervised by scriptwriters, best exemplified by BBC’s Sherlock with @SherlockSH and @WatsonJW conversing on Twitter)

– The intersection of graphic novels and TV drama (e.g., Heroes)

– Webisodes (unbroadcast clips circulated online) e.g. an unshot scene by Chris Chibnall about what happened to Rory’s dad and the Ponds

– Audience-contributed / user-generated content (e.g., “How LOST should have ended“, GOT140.com – Game of Thrones in 140 characters)

Maria reminded us that to successfully devise a transmedia project, one has to know the platform(s) well, know the language of each platform well, and know the (fragmented) audience groups well. At the end of her talk, we discussed some interesting questions: what are the differences between cross-media and transmedia? Are there risks of lost in translation if content are over-remixed (lost the original meanings or off the original topic)? Is journalistic production more like cross-media production while TV fiction or films or games more like transmedia?

It was week 7. Maria’s lecture neatly summarised most of the course content I have covered so far: transmedia idiosyncrasies (e.g., connected platforms, fragmented audiences, new ways of storytelling, transmedia narratives, co-production, value-adding). I observed that there seems to be an analogy between lecturing and cross-media content making: The fact that the same theoretical concepts can be lectured / delivered through different lecturers resembles that the same content being mediated / broadcast through different mediums on different platforms. Funny to think that lecturers (or performers) are kind of mediums, storytelling tools.

I’d like to thank Maria for delivering such an interesting lecture – definitely a good storyteller.

Prof. Dra. María del Mar Grandío, Lecturing at the Digital Performance Lab, University of Salford, MediaCityUK, 15 November 2012.
Prof. Dra. María del Mar Grandío lecturing at the Digital Performance Lab, University of Salford, MediaCityUK, 15 November 2012
First-year BA students on the Creative Media Analysis module listening to Prof. María del Mar Grandío lecturing at the Digital Performance Lab, University of Salford, MediaCityUK, 15 November 2012.
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