While many of the sessions were of interest to those in the gaming industry, one session that intrigued me was the panel on Transmedia. Transmedia is taking one story and telling it across many media platforms. So, instead of just coming up with a screenplay and making a movie, that same story will be also told through a video game, a comic book and possibly other forms of media. We've already seen this with Lost, True Blood and Avatar to name a few examples.
A good question was raised during this discussion. What is the difference between what was called "synergy" in the 90s and what is now "transmedia"? The synergy they were talking about was when, to help promote a movie, the company would sell related toys or books. Here is how the panel differentiated the two:
- Synergy - Done just to make more money. Quality wasn't of uppermost importance. Exploiting the media window.
- Transmedia - Done to enrich the world of the story and the characters. Expands the creative output. Done for the fans.
The panel all felt that transmedia storytelling will be the wave of the future and all forms of media will be involved. An example might be characters from games being downloaded to your mobile phone app for you to make changes and transport them back to the game. One of the biggest challenges in transmedia is that all of these different forms of media production have very different timelines, so getting them ready at the same time, if that is the goal, can be a difficult one.
Going through my email later that night, I found a press release from Warner Bros. with this "Warner Premiere today announced it is creating two live-action, multi-platform digital series with top Hollywood talent. Warner Premiere continues to be committed to developing cutting-edge content for a new generation of consumers who fluidly watch content on multiple screens. Both these series capitalize on the flexibility of digital platforms to both present unique stories in short bites, and to also offer viewers additional complementary content that further flushes out the stories’ mythologies and characters’ backgrounds...The first titles produced under this agreement will be the futuristic survival tale H + from blockbuster Director / Producer Bryan Singer, and Aim High, the High School action, thriller from multitalented Producer and Director McG."
Is the future of entertainment already here?
To keep up with transmedia projects, follow the Transmedia Tracker Blog. I thank them also for the wonderful graphic above.
The speakers on the transmedia panel were:
Jeff Gomez, President, Starlightrunner
Allen DeBevoise, Chairman & CEO, Machinima.com
Danny Bilson, Exec. VP, Core Games, THQ
Frank O'Connor, Franchise Development Director, Microsoft Halo
Moderator: Ted Cohen, Managing Partner, TAG Strategic
Sony Virtual World Free Online Games for Teens and Tweens