For the topic of Transmedia, I felt it was effective to use Star Wars as an example when talking about the different aspects of Transmedia. I created a YouTube video explaining what Transmedia is, how it works, and how you can look at Star Wars in order to understand this. I felt it was important to discuss the origin of the concept of Transmedia, and how this concept is implied in the Star Wars Universe. I also discussed how Trasmedia Storytelling can lead to effective collective intelligence networks, as well as how Transmedia helps develop fandoms of a particular story. My video featured quotes from Henry Jenkins, a pioneer in the emergence of Transmedia as a concept, as well as on screen information based on my own knowledge of the topic, and various images and clips from Star Wars to keep viewers engaged.
Feel free to watch my YouTube video below:
Attached is also the text version of my YouTube video so you can follow along while watching:
Transmedia is defined by the media scholar Henry Jenkins as “a process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience. Ideally, each medium makes its own unique contribution to the unfolding of the story.” (Jenkins, Transmedia Storytelling 101, 2007)
Transmedia storytelling is becoming increasingly more efficient in the produser age of media consumption, as media users, who also take on the active role of producers, find themselves with countless entry points into one story.
The perfect example to explore the concept of transmedia storytelling with is Star Wars,
Star Wars was first introduced to the public in the form of a theatrical film: Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope in 1977, this has since spawned 6 more main saga films (with the next set to release this year) hundreds of books, comics and video games, as well as multiple tv series and anthology movies. Each of these mediums and their respective content contribute to the overall story within the Star Wars universe.
If an individual is exploring Star Wars in 2017 for the first time, they might find themselves at a completely different entry point compared to someone else in the same situation, and that’s okay. Transmedia storytelling gives creators the ability to sell the story through various mediums, attracting different types of audiences, all at the same time.
For example, (with Star Wars in mind)
We have a film enthusiast who is a great fan of George Lucas’ Indiana Jones films, he decides to watch the Star Wars films, another of George Lucas’ most popular work.
We then have an avid video gamer, who happens to love playing the game Battlefield 1, who chooses to also play the Star Wars Battlefront game, as they’re both developed by EA DICE.
Thirdly we have a book reader, who enjoyed reading a few Star Trek novels, and would now like to stay in the sci fi genre and read some Star Wars books.
All three of these individuals become seemingly more interested in Star Wars and began to explore the story through other mediums, the book reader may star watching the movies, the film enthusiast may try his hand at some Star Wars video games and the gamer may pick up one of the novels, and then all three of them begin exploring Star Wars through every other channel.
The beauty of transmedia storytelling and Star Wars is that these are all perfectly good examples of how someone new to the Star Wars universe can enter the story, they don’t need to necessarily start with the feature length films that are generally seen as the main aspect of Star Wars.
This is why transmedia is a powerful marketing tool, the sense of engagement an individual gets when exploring the different channels and mediums increases due to the fact they are controlling their level of exploration into the story, they become more attentive and more attached to the story, which will lead them to engaging in the other mediums that the story is immersed in. The more flow each channel has, the more the story can sell, each channel can lead an individual onto the next, running them into ads and more of the story, which that could potentially spend money on.
Jenkins also expresses that “Transmedia storytelling is the ideal aesthetic form for an era of collective intelligence.” (Jenkins, Transmedia Storytelling 101, 2007) Meaning that transmedia allows like-minded individuals who see themselves as fans of the story world, can develop their own mediums to continue the transmedia paradigm within their universe. For example, YouTube has become a popular platform for Star Wars fans to create numerous videos discussing different aspects of the Star Wars universe, some explore theories, some answer questions that the casual fan of just the movies wouldn’t know and some re tell the stories that were originally told through other mediums. Videos like these add to the transmedia paradigm within Star Wars, allowing a further network of information for fans to access.
This leads to another reason why transmedia storytelling is so effective as a phenomenon, because individuals naturally want to gain further knowledge regarding things they’re passionate about, and the world of Star Wars provides the means to do this.
For example, in the famous Cantina scene in Episode 4, we are introduced to various alien species that we come to recognise throughout the films and the expanded universe, however, next to none of these species are actually named in the films, yet people like me can name every single alien here off the top of my head, how you say? Through the other channels of the Star Wars universe, as you can see here, EA’s Star Wars Battlefront lists this aliens species as a Rodian, which is the species of the character Greedo from the Cantina scene.
This bounty of knowledge within the Star Wars universe continues to add to the collective intelligence aspect of Star Wars transmedia and populates a fandom of the Star Wars Universe, where highly passionate individuals collaborate with their special knowledge of the story and continue to consume the product of Star Wars
Thanks for watching this video discussing Star Wars as an example of transmedia storytelling, feel free to like and subscribe, and leave a comment below, and may the force be with you.
Jenkins, H 2017, Transmedia Storytelling 101, viewed 1 May 2017, <http://henryjenkins.org/2007/03/transmedia_storytelling_101.html>.
Mitew, T 2017, Transmedia stories: from blockbusters to hybrid and distributed content [BCM112], viewed 1 May 2017, <https://prezi.com/qamsobbqimlf/transmedia-stories-from-blockbusters-to-hybrid-and-distributed-content-bcm112/>.