So far I have shared with you an explanation of transmedia and cross-platform storytelling, as well as the differences between using multiple platforms to tell a story rather than just as a marketing ploy. However, wrapping your head around creating a story that has multiple avenues can be a daunting task and hard to get one’s head around. To do that I would like to share some ways of thinking about this type of storytelling, as well as a wonderful tool created by Robert Pratten to help standardize the cross-platform/transmedia pitch process.
The first thing to think about would, of course, be the story that you want to tell. This is of foremost importance because, in order for people to care about your story and follow it through multiple platforms and delve down deeper into the layers, the story must be strong and compelling. Just like in every aspect of entertainment creation – story must be paramount.
Next, you want to think of the different characters that are part of the story. From there you can create character profiles. Then you can add your social transmedia layers. Which platforms would each character naturally gravitate toward? Which platforms would they avoid all together? How would the platforms be used differently for each character and, how would they move the story forward?
With a general idea of how the story will go and how the characters will interact of on various medias you can then start to think of the major plot points of the story and how those could transpire both through various means of media as well as, possibly, in the physical world. For example, if one of the characters is a writer and at one point she releases a short story, that story could then be available for download or purchase, or even ordered as a physical copy.
By thinking of these different aspects of the story, and plotting them out, you can create a transmedia narrative that feels organic to the audience and that the audience will then genuinely care about.
Robert Pratten, CEO of Transmedia Storyteller Ltd., has recently created a one-sheet in order to help standardize the explanation of transmedia stories. This “Project Pitch Sheet” also includes an excellent explanation on how to use the document. It breaks the process down into:
- How the multiple layers of the story interact with each other
This is part of Robert’s Active Story System for Transmedia Storytelling. I highly recommend this for anyone interested in creating a story that takes place on multiple platforms. He even has an interactive PDF that allows you to fill in the fields for sale for only $2.25.
Another amazing reference is “A Creator’s Guide to Transmedia Storytelling” by Andrea Phillips. This is credited as the first how-to guide to transmedia storytelling. I heard Andrea speak at SXSW in 2012 and her stories of creating compelling transmedia projects was inspiring. One of the most important take-aways is that instead of being afraid of telling your story due to multiple issues you should just tell it. There are so many free services that can assist you in telling your story (which we may go over in future articles) that there is really no reason you can’t find a way to tell your story now.
Hopefully, this article can help you jump start your imagination and create amazing stories that are told in new and interesting ways. I know it has me thinking about the story that has been floating around my head for multiple years now, just waiting to be put to paper.
“Tales in Transmedia” posts so far from Angelique:
Storytelling vs. Marketing: http://msinthebiz.com/2013/06/10/experimenting-with-stories-transmedia-storytelling-vs-marketing/