Experimenting With Stories: Indie Film and Cross-Platform Storytelling


Angelique Toschi smallOne of the biggest questions I get is – why? Why should I tell my story across multiple platforms? What is the value in doing so when it can take extra time and money? Why is this type of storytelling valuable for my project?

Now, not every story needs or should have a transmedia campaign. Not all stories necessarily have a storyworld that would add to the narrative in a compelling way. However, if you are teetering, trying to decide if it is worth it for you to expand your story beyond film, here are five reasons that you might want to consider taking a multi-platform approach to your story.

1) You have more story to tell.

Is the story you are trying to tell bigger then what you are putting on film? Is there a epilogue or prologue that would add meaning to the overall piece? Another thing to consider when asking yourself this question is if your project is a standalone project or will have sequels. This could help you decide if you want to extend the story across platforms because it would allow you to maintain interest and your fanbase in between the chapters of the story that are told on the screen.

2) It lends itself well to other medias such as comics, novels, etc.

Certain types of stories (or parts of stories) lend themselves well to other forms of media. If your project does this you may want to consider running with that idea as it will seem more natural.

3) There are stories you want to tell with non-main characters of the project.

One of the benefits of establishing a storyworld is that it allows you to focus on side stories and characters that are not featured within the main piece. This allows fans to have a better understanding of these characters’ motivations in the main plot, and establishes a stronger relationship between the fans and the story.

4) The format of the story itself lends itself to multi-platforms.

Are there things within the story that you could easily bring into the “real world”? Do the characters have social media presences that you could physically create that fans could then visit and interact with to get a more in-depth story experience? A simple example of this is the ABC show Nashville. The fact that the series is about musicians lends itself to both digital downloads and a concert series that they had over the summer. Not only did this allow for additional income for the series, but it kept the series, characters, and storylines alive for the fans before the new season started.

5) You are amassing an active fan base that wants to immerse themselves in your storyworld.

Creating a cross-platform storyworld is a great way to start growing your fan base before your project is released. It also helps you acquire fans who are deeply invested in the story and who will share their experience and excitement with others. In addition, it allows you to gain buzz and excitement for your project, in addition to a traditional marketing campaign.

In all, growing your storyworld through multiple platforms allows you to tell a broader range of stories in multiple ways with all of them benefiting the core project. Something to consider if you are creating a deep storyworld with multiple layers.

More of my articles on transmedia and cross-platform storytelling can be found here.