In class we watched a number of web series, that related to the set readings for the week. We then had to break up into groups and choose one that would work as a multi-platformed story. I am going to use ‘The Guild’ as an example for this. Not only has this been created for a niche target audience, but this is the best audience you could aim at over the internet. It targets internet users themselves, the “outsiders” of society, the gaming population, and those that have friends only via the internet. Take into consideration that everything that we do these days involves the web, which means that this target audience is a niche but huge market, that has been cleverly portrayed as a web series, that could potentially be spread across multiple platforms. The potential platforms where this could go is on a website, where it mimics what it does in the show, and has a live chat room, where the viewers can interact with each other, and become apart of the chat room element. You could create merchandise for the audience to want, and even figurines and collectable material. The website could include behind the scene footage, extra videos exploring just one character and their storyline. The website could be the central hub, and you could have multiple storylines stemming out from the main show ‘The Guild’. It could be another example of marvel, and could introduce another show very similar where the two shows are enemies, and the characters in one show talk about the other. The website could also bring these two shows together, and allow for two target audiences to meet up and create a bigger one. The idea of gaming could also be introduced within the website. Maybe you could play a game with the characters, or make your own real life character and interact with people just from your town or around the world, where you could then feel like you are apart of the web series. The game that is being played could even include rewards. For example, if you reach a level you might unlock a behind the scenes pass which leads you to an interview with the character of your choosing, or you may be able to view the next show before everyone else does. This show could definitely cross platforms, and become bigger than what it is, just by being different already.
There were two readings for the week, and I thought that ‘Web Series: Four things to ask yourself before starting’ by Felicia Day, was the best one to discuss, as I will be picking apart her web series ‘The Guild’ in my WK6 Tutorial post. What I enjoyed in this piece, was not only the tips she had for a successful web series, but how she included the changing of storytelling, and how it needs to be recreated when placed on the web. It should be a place to share stories and introduce characters that haven’t been seen or read, and to make the most of the freedom on the web. She questions why people don’t want to make something non-traditional, and to break the idea of traditional storytelling. You cannot be making traditional stories on the internet, because they don’t work. The internet isn’t TV, and Day states that the internet has 20 million channels rather than 200 like TV. This is why you need to know your audience, and know what they want to get out of a web series, and which platforms would be most effective. You need to think outside of the square, and create a unique piece for a niche market that will then grow if you have recreated a new way of storytelling, and have marketed it correctly. This article leads into the discussion the class had in the tutorials, suggesting how the web series’s that we watched could become transmedia and multi-platformed stories.
Cinema as a convergence meant that the film industry had to be redefined. Marvel is an example of how cinema was produced in the age of convergence, through cultural and critical practices. The reading (‘Cinematic Destiny: Marvel studios and the Trade Stories of Industrial Convergence’ by Derek Johnson) argues the fact that digital technology redesigns social practices, which then effects how films watched and consumed; and it also states that “convergence is not a uniquely digital or technological phenomenon but a reworking of media new and old, and thus the cinema of convergence must be understood in terms of collisions” (Johnson). When Marvel bid for creative independence within the film industry, it formed a convergence between the cinema and comic books, between not only cultures within Hollywood, but surrounding industries. Marvel now engages as a company, changing the way this enterprise will be seen through trade stories and production communities. Marvel is the main example of media convergence, as it is the merging of mass communication outlets, showing media through various digital media platforms.
The second reading ‘Media Marketing and the Evolution of Narrative Structure’ by Kendall Whitehouse, discusses this media convergence in more depth through the eyes of the Marvel enterprise. This reading started with the Avenger’s film, bringing in over $200 million at the box office opening weekend, however this was always going to be a big hit. They knew that bringing in characters from the different story-worlds, and bringing them together will make the consumers crazy, and that is exactly what they became. All of the films, such as Hulk, Iron Man and Thor, bring in a gross value of over $1 billion dollars. It is easy for this to be seen as a marketing ploy. They use the earlier films as teasers for The Avengers, and allow the cross-overs of characters to be noticed, to reach a wider target audience. However this reading suggests that any movie coming out of Hollywood at the moment, has nothing on comic books. This movie was going to be successful from the start, as it is based off comic books. Comic books are created with myriad narrative techniques, which the reading explains to be multi-issue story arcs, cross-overs, and multiple title tie-ins, which has opened the way for a new method of storytelling. The Avengers bring multiple superheroes into a single story, where is allows for techniques like the team-up and the crossover, where the reading implies that “the characters live in a universe larger than that told in each individual story. The characters inhabit a world in which the individual stories are only small slices”. As described in the tutorial post, the Marvel Universe has now become too expansive for individual readers to take in, and there are worlds inside another world, which allows the reader to explore the dimension that is their greatest interest. This is the advantage of having a transmedia story, they will watch one dimension, and then pick up on links to other characters and their story-worlds, so they will begin the cycle throughout the Marvel world. “The series presents a nearly unbounded narrative universe for the reader to explore”.
The world of Marvel – well, first of all, what a world! The storylines, the characters, the links, the entrances and the massive amount of content surrounding the films, tv shows and mini series. These somehow all link together, they all appear in most of the films in someway, to show the links between their individual story worlds. In class we went to the website called ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’, as we had to draw a map of how every element in the marvel universe links together and at what stage they do so. First of all, I grew up with a younger brother, so I have had my fair share of watching superhero films, and most of these I have watched multiple times, maybe not all the way through, but I knew about every character. When my brother was so invested I didn’t know why, I thought that he just loved all of the characters. little did I know that it was a massive world, that allows the viewers to interact with every component they released, whether that be films, tv shows or computer games. This website just reinforces how big this phenomenon is, and just how many links there are between the characters. The links are through the characters, their motivations, objects, events/history, organisation and location. These allow for this universe to work so well, along with the different tones/genres, high concepts, it is easy to digest, there is a simple plot, and multiple genres. The Marvel world is an example of a successful transmedia story that crosses different platforms such as film, tv, games, and comic books. It stands over all of these platforms and becomes a stronger piece as it does so. It is like a snow ball rolling down a hill, collecting everything in its path, getting bigger and more unstoppable. This universe backs my PB2 essay, saying that story isn’t dead. If the story in all of these components were lacking, it wouldn’t work, the content wouldn’t be as strong, the links not done properly, and most of all, without a good story you have no way of intriguing the viewer, and allowing them to understand what is happing throughout this epic story world.
What if you could see what it was like to live in the past? What if you could have something similar to a time machine that could allow you to see what a place was like, who the people were, and most of all, how life has changed from then and now. Would you want to interact with the history of your own country?
The concept of our group’s project is to create an augmented reality application for smartphones and tablets. It will present an augmented reality of historical settings around the city of Melbourne. This app will be focusing on the historical character John Mitchell Christie (1845-1927), a Victorian detective and customs officer, illustrating his life through story, images and webisodes.
This story will be covered over multiple platforms using historical sources throughout this transmedia piece. We will incorporate videos, sound, images, webisodes, the app, and also a website (the central hub of the story). The different platforms that are on offer will allow the audience to connect with the content, and allow for different target audiences to come into the story and to understand what is happening. These will act as entrances into the story. The engagement levels will differ, depending on what interests them. The viewer might just like to use the app and see the historical representations of settings; or they may want to delve deeper into the world on offer, and read more into the story and other relevant historical information.
My job is to not only be involved in all of the other stages of this project, but to also produce the website, help create the app, and design the poster and project logo. The app is the centrepiece of this project – and without it, this piece all of a sudden becomes very difficult to create. The app will allow the user to see what it was like to be around when John Mitchell Christie was. The user can watch their phone come to life. As the viewer, you will be able to hold your phone up to a building and the phone will show you a historical representation of that setting, through sound, video or imagery. When you are walking around Melbourne you will receive a notification from the story world, notifying you about an event that happened there. If this app doesn’t work, we will be working with google maps and using a pin drop with photos at every location point.
The website is a place the user can go if they want to further their understanding on this subject. It is where the story comes alive and becomes an interactive story, however, it is non-fiction. Everything that is gathered or produced will be factual and respectful to the original person/character and their life stories. The website will contain written information, extra footage, webisodes, and audio pieces. It will have links to other websites (historical sights) that will further the viewer’s understanding on this topic. It is here that the user can link into the social media sights that we have on Facebook and Twitter.
This transmedia story is the new way of retelling history, and is a modern approach to storytelling. Not only is it informative, but you are able to interact with the subject, and go on the adventure with them. The direction of this project is to inform people of what has happened around Melbourne, by telling a story using multiple media platforms and using the augmented reality feature. Throughout this project I wish to learn new and innovative ways of making a website/app, and to understand the powerful role of transmedia storytelling. Throughout the semester thus far, we have been taught about this concept, have been shown examples of these stories, and now it is time to make one. This will also help me understand the future of storytelling, and get in touch with online and interactive media such as webisodes. This “Pocket Museum” allows you to engage with historical storytelling, and get in touch with the iconic landmarks, events and characters around your city. This is a project where we have specifically made room for expanding any element of this story, where this app could potentially go nationally, and then globally. It can be used anywhere you go, wherever there is enough history. We are just starting with one story, in one city. John Mitchell Christie, in the city of Melbourne. Learn, discover, enjoy, interact, play. Welcome to the modern day digital museum at the touch of your fingertips.
Here is the link for the trailer:
To start off, this reading reiterates the notion that spreadability is determined by the processes of social appraisal. People that have had success in transmedia, will understand what they need to master in regards to the technical aspects and content, which will most likely spread. This leads into the desire of people wanting to share this information within the social groups and communities. Within the era of digital editing, there are technical aspects of content that is shared, those being: Available when and where audiences want it – Suggesting that producers need to send material to where the audience most wants it; portable – The audience wants their content to be on the go, so that it can be moved; easily reusable in a variety of ways – When creating content that needs to spread, you need to be able to open to a variety of audiences; relevant to multiple audiences – the producer needs to create content that will be relevant to various target audiences; part of a steady stream of material – Having your content across multiple platforms that are expected to generate “exponential” hits.
Going into a more personal level, the content viewed by individuals and they might not want to spread this throughout their community, however some content may become more spreadable, because they it is interesting when perceived by social value. When members then choose to pass along the content, it demonstrates that they belong to a community, which can share the common interest.
“Without the means to reach wide audiences through broadcast channels and often working with very limited resources, many of these groups hope their calls for action communicated through online media can motivate supporters to help spread the word”.
Signs, Systems and Complexity of Transmedia Storytelling
This reading was quite difficult to understand, with concepts that sounded like a science experiment, and I guess this is a bit of an experiment, the way transmedia storytelling works, and how it then becomes successful. “A transmedia story unfolds across multiple media platforms with each new text making a distinctive and valuable contribution to the whole”. This reading does however talk about a transmedia story, where it depicts it as a narrative that tells multiple stories over multiple platforms. It suggests that it is not about offering the exact same content in different media platforms, it is about creating and building upon a world experience where the content evolves with new content.
The types of systems:
TS (super-system): The story, experience, platform, audience – community of people who share common thoughts of the story world.
Story (System): The plot, characters, world, genre and settings
Character (Sub-system): The demographics, location, connection, role and journey.
An open system allows for ultimate viewing for the user. We have grown up with multiple platforms – we are producers of the next generation, looking for a way to model and shape and plan these types of stories.
Getting my story read by another one of my peers is daunting, and I didn’t know whether I had written a good story, or if they thought that it was good enough. I guess it was about putting my writing ability on the table for all to see, thats scary! However saying this, I thought that getting feedback from them was great! After I read my feedback I was pleased with myself, my peer had given me prompts to work off, and how to improve. At the end of the day, they are the ones who read the same articles as me, and learn the same content, I guess they know better than anyone how I am feeling, and what readings I had to draw inspiration from. While processing my peer’s work, I found it useful, I could see how someone else in the class writes, and what content within the readings they drew from. What I found interesting was how they found their inspiration, and what roads they took to reach their final storyline.
From this, I learnt that storytelling, can be nearly anything you make of it, however I saw how a short story comes together. Where is it located, how it has the protagonist, and it demonstrated what the readings were saying. Reading someone else’s story, gives you a short snippet into their creative process, and how they unlock their imagination, this is interesting. How they get from one point in the story not another, is what drives a good story. I found that when I was critiquing another person’s work, I learnt more; as I had to discover for myself why they wrote the way they did, what they drew from the readings, and how they then put this into action. This activity, overall, was very beneficial.
We took the 3 systems from the weekly reading and wrote down the positive and negative reasoning beyond them. From doing this exercise, I now have a clearer understanding of what they all mean, and how they work within a multi media platform situation.
- THE SUPPORTIVE SYSTEM:
-positive- Self contained (it is in its own little world), constantly portraying specific message, always brings you back to the project, the viewer can come in at any entry point, faithful to original story.
-negative- Becomes repetitive (can become boring), has similar content (people rely on content being the same or different, cant change it half way through), the secondary components could become more important (could also be supportive depending on what you are after).
E.g- Adaptations, marketing, merchandising, and spinoffs.
- THE COMPETITIVE SYSTEM:
-positive- People are going to explore the world and become more investing, could make for a more powerful marketing campaign, derversify target audience, audience engagement.
-negative- Requires further time and money, decreases efficiency, audience could lose interest because of the competitive nature, could become out of control (could become overwhelming), not as many coherent entry points (audience could get lost more easily).
- THE OMNIVOROUS SYSTEM:
-positive- More accessible to audiences, most effective communications system, it has a centre point/anchor (it wont lose its importance), giving the audience a little extra.
-negative- More competition, if amateur it might lose viewers, only works if you have a strong fan base, too much content, if you don’t have that strong point it could collapse.
The key points that I took from this reading would be the formats of storytelling, and the shapes that are used to describe these. It talks about the “shape” of the universe, where “pre-setting the shape of a communicative system is a fundamental operation in the creative and editorial process of distributing a story in new media”. A fundamental system: FLAT: The forces are subjected to move on a single infinite plane, where everything happens in order; CURVED: The forces are subjected to move and take on different forms, where it is not predictable, and it allows for organic growth. Another main point that relates to the works that we will be working on later in the semester , can have two shapes: A SPHERE – a system based on perfectly balanced communication between the various media, and A SADDLE – a multimedia system in which the mass of bodies tend to spread out and enlarge, where it tends to disperse (if spread too thin, the audience can become bored). The reading goes on to say the mass of the bodies depends on the richness of their contents and the media changes within a project. The way this reading talks about ‘The Dark Night’ film was so fascinating to me, in the way they used multiple platforms, in order to reach a wider audience and to engage the user throughout the different elements. It was a way of involving the audience into the up and coming film, so therefore a marketing strategy.
The Matrix and Transmedia Storytelling
This reading talks about how a transmedia story will unfold across various platforms, with each new element making a valuable contribution to the overall storyline. Janet murray os thinking that we will all lead into the next step of narrative, because us, as an audience, try to seek out a story beyond its limits. When transmedia franchises become successful, it is when a single creator maintains all of the control. “Stories are basic to all human cultures, the primary means by which we structure, share, and make sense of our common experience; rather we are seeing the emergence of new story structures, which create complexity by expanding the range of narrative possibility rather than pursuing a single path with a beginning, middle and end”.
Depression Quest led me on a journey, not just any, but an emotional one. It is designed in a way that the reader became the protagonist, connected the viewer with the story created. They give us the options to play with, and to determine the fate of our character, instead they have written different ways of introducing the next chapter. It was created to show the user what it is like to be someone that is depressed, and how we would feel, making decisions that were all bad.
I was hooked from the moment the story started giving me options to choose from, which was two or three pages in, which meant that I was engaging with the story early on, so that I was paying attention the whole way through, and didn’t loose any interest. The beginning was even interactive, as in they didn’t have options to choose from, but included links to another section of the story, or background information. This helped to set up the story, and how we could relate to the protagonist, giving us the right amount of information to then be placed in his shoes.
Throughout the interactive story, the character is developed from what the reader chooses, an example of cause and effect. What we chose had an outcome on the following page, allowing us to peel yet another layer of this character, to keep trying to understand what his desires are, and what the outcome of this story might or could be. I think that an interactive story is one of the best way to engage with the characters, because we have to choose their path. However to choose the different paths, we have had to come across information that has stuck in our minds. The way the creator has crossed out the positive outcomes when it is our turn to decide the next path of the journey, it means we are left with all bad choices, that we would never pick. This means we are then picking ones that we think the protagonist should choose, in order to get his life back on track. However we are then faced with more negative outcomes. This gave me a real sense of being emotionally damaged, as the protagonist is, and at the end I felt sad, and unable to come to terms with how someone could ever feel like this.
Depression Quest has used narrative, audience and technology to relay the story, where the narrative is shown through the different platform, where it is similar to choose your own adventure. It is a way of engaging the audience by having the narrative submerged into the game on multiple platforms and levels. This story works with the technology, due to the links being so accessible, meaning the user just has to click on a word to reach another segment of the story, allowing the simple and easy to use feature a positive aspect for this transmedia storytelling. Technology is a way to reach out to users on a larger scale, through the internet, where it is easier to engage with, and also the story is more coherent.
After interacting with this game, it just showed me how powerful something like this could be if it was executed correctly, and the character development was strong enough to handle the narrative. With interactive platforms, the last thing you want is for the user to become bored of the content, you want them to be engaging with it the whole way through. This is an element that I think could be very useful to my original story idea, where the user is lead to believe they are contributing to the overall narrative, and what they choose can determine the fate of the storyline.