Blurring the line: Transmedia storytelling

Transmedia storytelling is a common way to target different audiences by interest. Transmedia is a particular narrative structure that expands through both different languages and media, and it is not just an adaptation from one media to another (Scolari 2009).

For example, the Batman story in comics, literary novel, film, drama and game are different from each other.

transmedia batman
Batman stories in transmedia storytelling

In some points of view, transmedia storytelling is shaping the contemporary entertainment realm including branding. In nowadays business world, the story, worldview and characters have become the product. Transmedia storytelling even introduces a mutation in which the brand is no longer inside the fiction, but rather the fiction is the brand (Scolari 2009)

Some transmedia storytelling may provide support and insights into the initial story, like the Gotham TV series focus on the young James Gordon and other characters in the Gotham City. Jenkins (2010, p. 945) mentioned that some story products may only ‘have a limited contribution to make to our understanding of the narrative or the world of the story’.

I agree with both Scolari and Jenkins’s ideas. As an audience, I sometimes think that those companies just want to make more money by introducing stories in different mediums. Fans may not be satisfied by the story, so they create fan fictions, videos and artworks to expand the story by adding new situations and characters. Those fan works also gain a lot of audiences and supporters. The relationships between consumers and producers have been blurred. Therefore, the research and analysis of fictional world expansion should not exclude the co-creation of content by audiences (Scolari 2009).

Transmedia storytelling is more complicated than I thought before. But story tellers shouldn’t blindly tell the story across multiple platforms. The story itself is the most important thing in storytelling.

References:

Jenkins, H 2010, ‘Transmedia Storytelling and Entertainment: An annotated syllabus’, Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, vol. 24, no. 6, pp. 943–958.

Scolari, C 2009, ‘Transmedia Storytelling: Implicit Consumers, Narrative Worlds, and Branding in Contemporary Media Production’, International Journal of Communication, vol. 3, pp. 586-606.

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