Transmedia is storytelling across multiple forms of media with each element making distinctive contributions to an audience’s understanding of the storyworld. It’s a powerful and profitable storytelling method that has developed out of extreme cultural shifts, which have made traditional storytelling methods outdated and ineffective with today’s YouTube-driven Generation Z.
The way people are consuming media has changed (and it’s still changing). Today’s young people, the so-called “digital natives,” are growing up in a connected world with technology that seems completely natural to them. They and others are changing and rewriting the rule book of what is possible. Even though the age of mainstream transmedia has only just begun, it’s clear that this new form of storytelling here to stay.
Transmedia is a genuinely unique approach to entertainment, taking a single story idea and growing and expanding it into an ever-increasing creative sandbox where the whole story transforms into a project greater than the sum of its parts.
Basically, the model makes 1 + 1 = 3 instead of boring old “2.” We always describe a great transmedia project as a photo mosaic. Each picture in the mosaic has its own, independent value and contribution. However, the magic happens when you step back and see it’s not just a bunch of independent photos tossed together - there’s a bigger, more rewarding picture to be seen.
The transmedia model naturally produces a variety of creative, business and experiential benefits, including:
Relevance to the 21st Century Consumer
Multiple Points of Entry
Increased Revenue Streams
Additional Demographics Pierced
Rapid Community Development
Increased Audience Immersion
Super Story is a specific entertainment approach we developed as a way to take the benefits of traditional franchising (profitability and multiple entry points) and forge them with it with the benefits of pure transmedia (incentive and engagement), leaving behind the detriments of each.
Traditionally, the goal of creative franchising has been to create additional revenue streams by repurposing creative content. What’s great about this approach? Profitability through added consumer entry points. What’s wrong with this approach? Content is largely repurposed (with “repurposing” being anathema to the transmedia model), instead being replaced by quality story expansion.
However, contrary to some opinions, this doesn’t make franchising the sworn enemy of transmedia. Actually, in the commercial space, if transmedia attempted to come to blows with traditional franchising, neither would win. They’re each strong and weak in their own ways.
What’s great about transmedia, particularly east coast transmedia, which takes one story and spreads it across multiple mediums? There’s tremendous incentive to move from one platform and medium to the next.
We believe we’ve developed a way to take the benefits of traditional franchising (profitability and multiple entry points) and forge them with the benefits of transmedia (incentive), leaving behind the detriments of each.
With the Super Story approach, we build the story of the world in a very deliberate, strategic way. This optimizes it for expansion and connects with fans through high levels of engagement and participation. We then build communities around the entertainment brand in a way that shapes conversations and builds awareness in an indelible and impacting way.
Our model is explained more in depth in our transmedia design book, Make Your Story Really Stinkin' Big.
Our process has four distinct phases.
The Creation Phase is where we create and design the story components around an original concept.
The Immersion Phase, where we design and plan experiential and immersion support for the story components through thematic merchandising and media blurring.
The Advancement Phase is where we design a grassroots, promotional strategy that ties back to and strengthens the narrative.
The Community Phase, where we build communities through online engagement and interactivity as well as implement social outreach, which springs from the original purpose and theme of the project.