Interested in transmedia storytelling, my role in The Digital Director was both of a creative and a team leader. Heading the social media team, our goals were materialised by the influence and interest in expanding our tacit knowledge around digital mediums. Inspired by the current motivations in many film or media campaigns, I wanted to use my time in The Digital Director studio to explore the techniques of telling a story-experience across multiple platforms and formats. Curating and using digital technologies – particularly the social elements of a project – I was passionate about the construction of a transmedia narrative and how it could be harnessed to encourage multiplatform storytelling through different online facets.
During the early beginnings of the studio, I researched how in a convergent media landscape, digital marketing may be the transmedia phenomenon that holds the key to box-office success. Focusing my research around the case study of Cloverfield (Matt Reeves, USA, 2008), I had come to the conclusion that from fan theories, online blogs and online video contests, Cloverfield had treated spectators as active cultural producers; where, only with their participation, allowed the pre-campaign to ‘buzz’ and curate multiplatform success. Through this discovery, my interest in the inner-workings of an interactive marketing campaign came to fruition.
Making the original suggest to work through these motions, I decided to break down my team into individual channels, championing their capabilities and voices. While I have had experience handling handfuls of people in a team/project environment, I wanted to create a conversation that would encourage my team to ask questions and challenge any suggestions. Actively listening to their responses, I would have to reflect how successful this approach was: when problems arose we worked through them, led by an overarching goal to make the project – and our collaborative work – the best it could be. From character profiles, character blogs and the making of memes, my group worked together with the one key message leading our work: inspire audiences to become involved with the campaign as more than passive viewers.
Although this regard for transmedia storytelling was in the forefront of my planning, I was also incredibly excited to create the platform assets, character personalities and an overarching brand aesthetic for the entire team. Choosing a selective colour palette of soft blues and cool beige’s, I set out to drive Sketchy Students as visually intelligent, open to communication, trustworthy and efficient. With each platform retaining this aesthetic in some way, the time we had all invested saw each different layer building a strong brand; our campaign developing characters and style beyond the video medium. Personally, I loved being able to expand my tacit knowledge on how to manage and cooperate alongside a wellrounded social media team.
By managing our Facebook page as the “alpha channel”, I found myself creating, maintaining and curating an online space that connected our whole class and team together. However, alike many large projects, there were hiccups as I felt many of my peers trying to control not only my work, but my team’s. With suggestions fuelled by a need for control and a clear inexperience around social media, I often felt I had to coordinate and please many of my peers, even if their ideas felt like contradictions. Many times I felt conversations were going in circles, to the point I had to explicitly say “no” or “I have no invested interest” to stop certain people from guilting my choices (and knowledge) into what they wanted. Alternatively, there were folks who would purposefully kept me out of the loop to tighten their control, but expected me to be on the same page as them when it suited them (like when presenting statistics to class or not sharing class notes from meetings). In future projects, I’ll always try to work with a team that puts their egos second to what’s best for the final product, but it was effectively rewarding because of these frustrations that my team had built a project from the ground up
Still incredibly interested in transmedia storytelling and practice, I can reflect back on this learning experience as a worthwhile opportunity. It gave me the opportunity to take charge and reflect on my own expertise in the work field. I felt that the social media team overall celebrated these connections and deliverables, where we discussed the implications and issues of branding throughout the project. Indeed, while I did place myself in a supervisory role for the timeline, learning to really trust a close team was something I found beneficial. I am personally quite obsessive about my own social media and work ethic in my own workplaces, so being able delegate tasks was a substantial and rewarding learning curve.
Overall, these past few weeks have allowed me to showcase and strengthen my skills, working alongside my team of extraordinary students. It’s interesting to see everyone’s personality in the work too, which strengthened the brand’s overall reception as they really added their own creativity through the transmedia campaign. I will continue to pursue my love for transmedia storytelling across digital mediums and perhaps even work towards treating social media as an extensive part of my skills as a media professional.