You can expand your story world online in various ways. By taking your story offline and bringing it into the physical world you can experiment with many exciting and varied techniques to reach new audiences that may not connect with your project otherwise. Here are some ideas (big and small) to help bring your story experience into the real world.
Character events: I have noticed that many fans of transmedia storytelling love to interact with the characters of the world. Is it possible for you to have a in-person event with one of your characters and a small group of fans? This could be to solve a puzzle, uncover a mystery, etc. While this involves trusting your actors know the characters inside and out, it also provides a very personal experience for a small group of fans who can then potentially become fan ambassadors.
Story Events: Is there a major event that takes place in the story that would translate well to the physical space? This could be a poetry reading, concert, or even a staged event that is part of a larger (non-storyworld) event. The advantage of this type of event is it can not only bring in your fans to meet in a real world environment, but it could also potentially bring in a new audience that may have never heard of the work.
Physical artifacts: No, I don’t mean merchandise. This could be a replica of a prop, or a comic book from the story that is actually published. This creates a tangible item that a fan can touch, hold, and collect.
ARG (Alternate Reality Game): While most people think of online environments when they think of ARGs these games also take place in real world physical environments. Examples include the Tron experience at San Diego Comic Con a few years back in which there was an actual Flynn’s Arcade to experience, the Dark Knight “Why so serious?” campaign in which select Domino’s would create pizzas with secret messages on them, and The Optimist ARG ran by Disney Imagineering as a precursor to the announcement of the Tomorrowland movie. Not only did these experiences enhance the storyworld for their participants, but they created a community of fans around the games which would work together (both online and off) to solve the puzzles and progress the story.
All these ideas could not only enhance your storyworld but could also create a deeper connection with the fandom. This is important, as with the amount of “noise” in the entertainment space an active and dedicated fandom can help spread the world about your story infinitely better the a single voice in the crowd.
Have any ideas on how to expand your stories in the real world? I’d love to hear them! Leave comments below.
More of my articles on transmedia storytelling can be found here.