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Designing transmedia content

Learn how to design transmedia content.
Week 6, Lecture 1 I have given today’s lecture on understanding transmedia storytelling the title“House Building.” The reason I wanted to use this concept in the title was because while the notion is different from making space for a room, it is about building a new structure or house. This is not about adding rooms one by one. Instead, this is about having a vision from the very early planning stages regarding what kind of land a certain kind of house should be built on.
And in that house, there will be spaces for a variety of purposes: spaces for relaxing, working, sleeping, studying, laundry, and more. What I want to say is that transmedia storytelling must be designed with the concept of house building. Our goal is to create good stories, but what does that mean? “Good” can mean something positive, though it can also be used to describe something “suitable.” There are stories that are good for opera and those that are good for a drama. One might find a good story for children, or for bedtime reading. The standard of “good” would change depending on the audience or the situation.
So, depending on the medium, the degree of “good” differs, as does the plot, thus, simply aiming for a “good” story is meaningless. First, we have to develop an understanding of what purpose the story best serves, and what medium it suits best. I have created an image to give you an example. This piece of beef looks appetizing. This must be “good” beef, but what is it good for? Is this good beef? Yes, it is of good quality?good color and top standard. This would be great for steak or for other grilling purposes. But cooking a stew or boeuf bourguignon with this is not a good idea, as this is expensive, high-quality meat.
When producing a story, the concept of “good” can change depending on the final goal and the ultimate form of that content. It’s not about whether or not the meat is of high quality; it is about what recipe it is good for, and what kind of a good story we can make. Let’s look at the next image. This is a slightly different to the beef image. This image of an entire cow looks entertaining and scary at the same time. There are different parts in the cow, and a butcher can tell which part is good for what purpose. We don’t just talk about one part of the cow on its own, but we look at the entire cow to plan.
We look at the bigger picture, and that is what transmedia storytelling is about creating an entire picture with varying potential. Not just one part of a cow, but the entire cow. Not just one room, but the entire house. The key here is that there is potential for collective creativity and participation. Many compare collective creation to how American TV series are made, but I would like to take a step away from analyzing them in this way. Take 24, for example. When creating an American TV series, a number of writers will be involved, but the creative concept behind transmedia, however, is much more open than that. Creation and participation occur on a collective level.
What I mean by this is that transmedia is not created when several writers come together to write something. Instead, it is about having one writer in the United States, one in Europe, one in Japan, and one in Korea; writers from all parts of the world can collectively produce at the same time. Rather than simply hiring someone to help them, the main planner with the key idea seeks out a team with which they will collaborate for a collective production. That is what transmedia pursues when it talks of creativity and co-production. A sense of collective intelligence must be incorporated into the audience’s enjoyment of the content as well.
A group of intelligent minds with simultaneous access will participate in the production process with their own idea and expertise, similar to projects such as Wikipedia. Each contributor will come up with ideas, participate in production, and also get involved in consumption. Securing this system is very important component of transmedia storytelling. This is why a digital-based world becomes the key setting for these works. When it comes to transmedia storytelling that builds a world in a universal language, we go back to the idea of house building.
“I will decorate this small room in the corner with this story,” we might say, or “I am going to expand on this story and make the balcony more special,” or “I will use my expertise to attach a solar panel on the roof.” These ideas come together simultaneously and the basic blueprint of the potential house is slowly built. This idea will be opened to people all across the world, inviting them to be part of a collective production. On a smaller scale, transmedia storytelling involves experts in different areas creating various types of content at the same time. The future of transmedia storytelling, in a wider sense, will seek out collective participation that leads to open sharing and creativity.

In this video I talk about how to design transmedia content using the analogy of house-building.

This is not about adding rooms one by one. Instead, this is about having a vision from the very early planning stages.

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Transmedia Storytelling

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