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Production of Transmedia as a Writer

Written by Laura Fleming
June 17, 2011

Whatever the media that are employed, the root of all transmedia stories are the characters, conflict, settings, and plot that comprise the stories themselves. Transmedia storytelling allows us to build environments and worlds to connect technologies, languages, cultures, generations, and curricula while urging our learners to thrive. Students will make connections to themselves and to the world that surrounds them. Such scenarios provide all learners with a voice, with everyone listening together poised to add to a common theme or storyline. Each part of the story is discrete and plays to the strengths of media platforms, classroom practices, and resources while cohesively linking them together. Transparency, connecting learners directly to the storytellers allows for powerful opportunities for co-creation. Learners themselves become multiplatform producers by mashing-up commercial content or by creating their own original content that helps to extend the overarching narrative. In order to be successful, students need to have a strong understanding of the theme or message of the story and the characters. Once embraced, contributing to the story world will provide satisfaction and a sense of achievement.

Writing instruction in school these days has become formulaic. Students are accustomed to writing linear stories- stories told in order from beginning, to middle to end. Producing transmedia means that the writer must have certain freedoms to think about the story they would like to tell in a non-linear fashion and decide which platforms would be best suited to relating it. Students need to think bigger than a flat story on one platform and build a world for their plot, characters, and setting, and theme to exist. The object of writing in a transmedia space isn’t just to recreate the original story on various platforms; it is to say something new, using the existing themes and characters. A writer needs to feel empowered to make a choice as to how their story should unfold. Stories do not have to be limited to just static text that tells the story in order. Transmedia writing allows for a flexible approach allowing for each platform to be a vehicle for the narrative. For example, in additional to traditional text, a writer may choose to extend their story through audio recorded dialogue or a website with links. Stories can also be extended into the real world. Students may choose to have situations in which participants interact with their narrative in a very real way. For example, a game or an activity can be designed that helps the story to unfold.

Transmedia Storytelling

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