On Writing

Transmedia

I’m an idea girl. I get tons of ideas for stories and creative works all the time. I don’t think I’ll ever have enough time to get to them all. Maybe in Heaven someday. 🙂

At any rate, one of the reasons I don’t have as much time as I could have is because I tend to find these independent YouTube series and then I binge watch them. One of the more famous of these is Lizzie Bennet’s Diaries, which is a vlog, updated for the current century, based on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The one I just finished binging on is called The Moonstone, which is based on the Wilkie Collins novel of the same name from 1868 (considered one of the first detective novels).

One of the interesting things about these series is that while they are a YouTube video vlog series, they also use what is called transmedia–that is to say, they use several platforms to tell their story.

So while they have videos on YouTube, they also have characters using Twitter and Instagram accounts, each account furthering and developing a piece of the story. And it makes it more audience-interactive, because the creators will dialogue with the audience, and responding, in character, to the people who watch the vlogs. The Moonstone even gave puzzle/code clues within their story to have the “Collective Detective” solve together as a community to help the characters inside the story finish their mystery.

It is so intriguing to me to see the way that creators can adapt to all sorts of changing environments and use the tools of the trade to get a story crafted and out to an ever changing audience.

I also have noticed, in other ways, that the more things change, the more things stay the same. Back in the 1930s, radio shows were very popular. Often, there were serial stories that got told over weekly broadcasts. This was, of course, an updated medium using the same format as weekly literary magazines like the ones Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle published their stories in. And while the mediums update (TV shows? Weekly podcasts?), the stories remain a constant.

And a lot of the emphasis (at least in my life at the moment) on transmedia makes me curious about exploring such a way to tell a story. Could such a story like that be done if you didn’t have the YouTube aspect? Would readers find that interesting?

And it’s also a lot of work to keep it up, too. We did a transmedia sort of experience in the Jix community way back in 2004 when we did crossovers of character visits on different members’ blogs as well as a Bob-White blog that a few of us kept up with Bob-White dialogue and posts on the message board.

It was a lot of fun to do, but it was for a specific purpose (promoting that year’s St. Louis trip) and really was a lot of work. But that was for a short burst of time.

I keep coming back to ideas like this, tossing them around in my head. I still would like to program a visual novel computer game some day, and I also have had an idea for a story with interactive audience parts like a mystery in a box (similar to something like you can find at The Mystery Experiences Company where you can play along as you read.

Like I said, lots of ideas. Not enough time and energy to do them all. LOL!

How about you? What do you think of transmedia? Good idea? Hard to implement? Not your bag of tea?

Oh, and if you’re looking for a fun way to spend a few hours and immerse yourself in the transmedia experience, Screen14 Pictures’ Marshall House Mysteries (of which the Moonstone is one) is a great way to do it.

One Comment

  • Dana

    That sounds really cool but a lot of work! I’m not really a YouTube/Instagram/Twitter person, so it’s not something that interests me personally to do myself, but when I get some free time, I might check it out and see if I like being a consumer of it. Honestly, even just following all of that stuff sounds exhausting to me!

    I think you could absolutely rock it, though! I know you have so many ideas and so little time, but if you ever did venture in that direction, I know I would absolutely love whatever you produced!

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