So, what does it mean?
And I know for sure that this space, this site, while it is designed to be a platform to share my journey and its thoughts—has room for a variety of opinions to be discussed and discovered along the way. (See our upcoming Perspectives Series article for more information.)
I contend that transmedia—though it's a very alien term to a lot of people—is actually the very bread and butter of their daily existence, if you can call it that, culturally speaking. How many parents or children have seen a Disney movie, own a toy from it, and also a storybook? The fact is, we all know what transmedia is—it's nothing new to our experience.
Almost every major franchise or "property" has an ongoing transmedia campaign. Although some may split hairs about technical definitions—most merchandising efforts from popular storyworlds like Star Trek, or Batman is intersectional with transmedia. (Although, to be clear, it is—for me—each new medium that involves storytelling that I consider relevant to our discussion here.)
Transmedia is an opportunity—waiting to happen. There are several legitimate reasons to use a transmedia approach—here are some of them.
- You are a polymathic, multipassionate individual or team, whose free reign of expression cannot be limited to one skillset. Expressing your true gifts in a variety of areas may be just the thing you need. Don't bite off more than you can chew, as they say, but don't limit or pigeon-hole yourself unnecessarily.
- You have a wide, diverse audience with a range of format preferences. Even within the communities of shared interest, such as steampunk fans, space opera ardents, or even the general geek community at large, there will be a plurality of "ingestibility vectors," of ways fans like to consume media. Keeping your options open is not a bad idea.
- Your story, spans multiple 'continents,'* viewpoints or cultures, and would benefit from having multiple plot threads weave in and out of a multiplicity of different viewing formats. (*Locations in time and space, and various other in-world contexts, are all included in my erstwhile use of the term 'continents'.) Emergent properties from the interaction of the whole are what interest you here.
If you don't see any of these reasons as valid—or as applying to you—you may need to consider staying away from multiple formats and keeping your story on a single platform.
Why I Use Transmedia
First, I use the term because it so broadens the horizons of what I can think about and visualize when it comes to longer term creative planning of projects. I did not come to the idea of Launch Your Universe in a vacuum, but instead with the idea that this would be a platform that would allow the Animus storyworld to be, to come into its full existence.
The idea of containing Animus to stories told in only a single medium confounded me. As I alluded to earlier, we are all children of the Transmedia Age. I was certainly no exception.
Secondly, I use transmedia itself because I know it brings in a wider audience, or gives multiple avenues of ingress for the audience I do have. Not just for Animus, but for the Launch Your Universe platform itself (where I have a blog, a video webshow, and a podcast!)
This works not only for gaining a wider audience—as some will be attracted to reading, others listening, while still others watching our show on YouTube—but also to help move audiences with overlapping exposure towards a higher level of commitment. This happens with the rule of marketing impressions. There is a certain number of times, on average, someone has to see or be exposed to something (that they are already interested in) before they buy (or take some other designated action—such as signing up for a course). The number used to be something like 9, and now, in our media saturated age is closer, I think, to 27. Audience members who enjoy different forms of media ingestion will have more options to increase their exposure, and thus the likelihood of greater commitment.
Thirdly, I enjoy the interplay of language, audio and visual aesthetics and data. I love how they form into information, and I know so much can be made of them. The ins and outs of the Launch site and brand have such neat opportunities for these connections. Beyond that, with Animus, my vision is radical—and huge. Stories span multiple eras, worlds, civilizations and more.
Of course these stories need to be told in transmedia.
But is it that way for you?
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"Three Things I Liked About Boston Metaphysical" — Today's Vidtember video-a-day snippet comes from the next episode where I discuss my interview with Madeleine Holly-Rosing of the Boston Metaphysical Society webcomic. Don't forget about her Kickstarter campaign to continue—ending in a week! (No, I don't get any kickbacks from telling you about this. Just trying to support a fellow independent artist!)