The source of transmedia...is it the story?
"BBC Digital Human, Radio 4 Aleks Krotoski looks at whether how we tell stories has changed with the digital world. And it looks like it has much more to do with our distant past that we might think."
All the usual conversations around who has control (writers for, digital evangelists against) but most interesting is how some folks got to producing content that was 'transmedia' without realising it. For me I'm most focued on the way by people qualify or define terms. I still question whether story is the route source or rather a vehicle through which we build frames from the interrelationships between human beings through which we explore universal themes. I've often argued that if we wish to develop experiences beyond our more traditional story platforms (TV, books, cinema) then we need to paddle upstream to the source and branch out from there.
I also liked the mention of the 'Gutenberg parenthesis'. The notion that the printing press created a small pause of around 500 years or more, where storytelling moved from local, oral traditions to become the bastion of the few, those that could write and control access to stories through books, radio, film and then television. The piece suggests that the internet has taken us out of that bubble, but where scarcity has turned into abundance and your network or story providers has expanded from your local priest and your neighbour to the whole world. That said, the piece still honours the special qualities possessed by good story tellers. We can't all be good storyteller. But one such clever storyteller is a good friend of mine, leading German author Mario Giordano. When approached by a commissioner, Mario dives straight into exploring relationships between human beings, the characters which will then become the framework onto which and through which he can weave the themes that first excited said commissioner. This makes me wonder whether such an approach is the function of an expert storyteller, who understands how book, film and television formats works. That these human relationships are Marios' way to create the vehicles through which he can explore such universal themes. Luckily for Mario and the German publiching industry, he's an incredibly bright chap, skillful and able to think upstream in order to create the universes that can generate the offshoots for which the industry appears to be craving.
So this leaves me with the question. Should we use the term 'transmedia storytelling' if storytelling is simply one vehicle through which we explore the world, us humans and universal themes? Isn't transmedia the umbrella term to describe a multifarious range of activities which explore, challenge and playout experiences around what it is to be human, of which storytelling is one, but extremely crucial part?
Well worth listening to.