Skip to 0 minutes and 8 secondsIn the previous lecture we talked about building a worldview and creating a core story from there, which are two incredibly important aspects of transmedia storytelling. Mark Wolf, who came up with the notion of “world building,” proposes that to systemize space, time, the backbone of an incident, and character, which all play an important role, it is worthwhile to make a map. What he means by this is imagining the land like one would on a map. Another proposal is to create a historical timeline. What happened in the past and what will happen in the future are drawn in a timeline. He also suggests establishing a genealogy for each character, much like one might make a family tree.

Skip to 1 minute and 22 secondsKnowing how the characters are related can help us achieve diversity when the tree branches slowly spread out or the leaves, flowers, and fruits come to life. This understanding can also aid in creating a setting for these components to move as a unified worldview and a unified family tree. The details of the story play out in a comprehensive narrative universe spanning multiple platforms, multiple human relationships, and its own organic timeline. In short, transmedia storytelling encompasses a single story spread across a very free and flexible array of mediums transmedia storytelling. Each platform creates another setting in which the individual story unravels. Let’s say the character builds a relationship based on the family tree.

Skip to 2 minutes and 41 secondsThe personalities of the individual characters are presented slightly differently from how they were imagined in the analog period. We wonder what the most important aspect of a character is? their looks, their personality, or their goals in life. In the past, their personality and life goals were the biggest priority. In the era of script storytelling, how the character behaved in order to achieve their goal was of the utmost importance. Next came what kind of person he or she was, exemplified in Hamlet’s indecisiveness and the now famous line? "To be, or not to be?" Compare this character to ones you encounter in games you play. What do you see? Characters in digital contents hardly touch upon psychology.

Skip to 3 minutes and 50 secondsAvatars in computer games do not talk about what’s going on in each other's minds; they don’t talk about how they feel today. Instead, appearance became heavily important, as did their performance. Their qualifications, level of performance, how these abilities are used to achieve their goals these are what became important. This is what is required of characters in transmedia storytelling. It may sound like a whole new concept, but it is related to what was mentioned briefly in our class

Skip to 4 minutes and 29 secondson the history of media: Media are what define them. In the era of images, appearance mattered most, so an iconized character was crucial, but in the era of script, the art of written expression was valued more. For example, a French realist novelist would devote 16 pages just to the description of a room, as seen in the work of authors such as Balzac. That was the power of expression given by the era of script. Now, such details could be replaced with a single photograph? wallpaper, a window, what’s behind the window, a fireplace, a woman sitting with a specific facial expression and outfit. all of these can be described in a single snapshot, through film language.

Skip to 5 minutes and 42 secondsTo express this degree of accuracy in words, however, requires 16 pages of text. This is one of the reasons for abandoning a large portion of external description and putting a greater emphasis on the psychological part. But a new concept became available that could not have existed in the era of the image, thus allowing them to focus more on the mental description. Such internal description? namely, the character’s personality and their rationale for doing something? became critical in building a character. With the return of photography, the film and digital era was ushered in, and the language of the image era regained authority. This allowed descriptions to shift from a character’s internal traits to their appearances and psychological state expressed through external behaviors.

Skip to 6 minutes and 54 secondsAvatars in games are not typically identified by how they feel, but they are evaluated based on their qualifications, performance, and behavior. As such, the key characters in transmedia content are known to reveal their personalities through action. When understanding a character’s personality, 50 percent of our perception relies on their more visual features, while the other half on his or her actions, qualifications, and performance. This shows that the portion based on his or her personal description is diminishing, being replaced by his or her actions and appearance, suggesting the reason why the key characters in transmedia content are profoundly related to the plot.

Skip to 7 minutes and 59 secondsSince the old times, one strategy used to track a character's personality was to use every moment in accordance with the timeline. In a way, it seems quite simple. This simplicity helps consumers, who are creators at the same time, to identify with the character more easily. For this reason, a lot of people successfully identify themselves with avatars in games. In a similar way, even though the character is not an independent entity with complex psychological description, users can identify with them as they do their own avatars. It’s like hanging a uniform on a hanger today and putting it on again tomorrow? consumers who are also creators enter and exit the character.

Skip to 9 minutes and 8 secondsThis is a characteristic of the modern transmedia content and their characters.

The components of transmedia storytelling

In this video I talk about how characters in the digital world are presented differently from how they were imagined in the analogue period.

We wonder what the most important aspect of a character is? Their looks, their personality, or their goals in life? In the past, their personality and life goals were the biggest priority. In the era of script storytelling, how the character behaved in order to achieve their goal was of the utmost importance. Next came what kind of person he or she was, exemplified in Hamlet’s indecisiveness and the now famous line, “To be, or not to be?”

Compare this character to ones you encounter in games you play. What do you see? Characters in digital contents hardly touch upon psychology.

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This video is from the free online course:

Transmedia Storytelling

Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU)