The entertainment business is engaged in nothing less than the reinvention of narrative, and the leading edge is something called transmedia. It’s in this corner of storytelling that a next wave of developers, gamers, filmmakers, writers and composers are creating immersive story-telling experiences that employ a variety of media, delivered across platforms. But here, “cross platform” means more than just on your console one minute and your smartphone the next. It means on your phone, your PC, your iPod, your TV, in the theater.
Who’s Doing It?
Companies engaged in transmedia can be grouped into three general sectors. First, there are native companies whose focus is original content across mediums. Next are marketing companies who create a wide range of original content around an existing product — think Game of Thrones orHunger Games. And finally are the tech businesses who create platforms that other people can use to distribute content across mediums.
Most of today’s players are in the marketing sector since transmedia tends to end up as extensions of a brand that are meant to keep users engaged, as opposed to generating revenue themselves. One of the most successful companies in this arena is New York City’s Campfire. (Its early claim to fame: The founders produced The Blair Witch Project.)
Following the Community
Steve Coulson, Campfire’s creative director, says the company thinks more in terms of medium and platforms than technologies. Its goal is to get stories into where fan communities congregate and in ways they’ll consume and participate with them. Sometimes the solution is technological, like an app or a game.