Producing Transmedia

I recently started working on a new transmedia project. Technically, we’re in the pre-production stage, but the story has been conceived of and we’re slowly breathing life into it. My collaborators are Jake Corcoran and Brooke Maggs. I approached them to work with me on the project primarily because they love to tell stories. In addition to this, both are creative, daring and media savvy. Together, we make a formidable team, like The Three Amigos!…The Three Stooges!…or, Ben Folds Five? We’re still working on a name. The project, however, is called The Game. I won’t reveal too much now, except to say that it’s a science fiction story aimed at young adults (although given how much we enjoy the story I expect that most genre-loving adults will too).

Will you endorse me if I promise you this kitten?

The reason I wanted to blog about this wasn’t only shameless self-promotion. Whilst I have spent a lot of time writing about, talking about and even consulting on transmedia storytelling, I haven’t spent as much time producing transmedia. That being the case, I wanted to share my insights so far. They have reinforced many of the core principles of transmedia design I believe in. Hopefully, this will help others who are pursuing similar goals.


 1. Best fit isn’t always practical fit.

In my previous post I talked a lot about the importance of choosing the right platform/s for your story’s telling rather than following popular trends. There are issues of genre, aesthetics and audience to consider; however, as a young independent transmedia producer  finding access to the resources necessary to tell your dream story is like waiting for your birthday to fall on a Saturday. By lucky chance and the correct alignment of the stars and planets it will probably happen one day, possibly in many years time, but there’s no point delaying your birthday celebrations waiting for it. So, whilst in theory the best way to approach transmedia storytelling is to start with story and then find the best media fit, in reality you have to make do with what you have and what you can afford. Our team has had to learn to “fit” certain elements of the story around available platforms. I’m loath to do it, but it’s a necessary evil when you’r starting at the bottom.

2. Your team needs someone to manage the world.

Whilst I strongly believe that transmedia is best produced in collaboration, given the complex nature of multiplatform storyworlds the team needs a clear leader who holds the keys to the city. This individual needs to know why the story needs to be told, how it should be told and importantly, how the different story elements should be coordinated. Jenkins refers to this as “synergistic storytelling”: a collaborative effort led by a single creative vision. Finding a team who are willing to follow you down the rabbit hole is important. Especially when you’re an independent producer and most of the work will be a labour of love. I got lucky.

3. The story is King.

This one should be no surprise to anyone who tells stories in any capacity; however, the oldest truths are sometimes the most important to reiterate. For all your planning and scheming narrative design is irrelevant until you have a compelling story and you know why it needs to be told. Without good story, your team has no purpose. Your work has no purpose. Tell good stories. We have a good story (I work with good storytellers). Now, we can have fun with it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *