Monday, December 5, 2011

The Challenges of Designing Transmedia Narratives

The nature of transmedia narratives brings with it a host of information design challenges. The individual elements of a transmedia narrative – text, images, audio, video, and other forms of media – present their individual opportunities and challenges.
“Each medium has its own affordances, its own systems of representation, its own strategies for producing and organizing knowledge. Participants in the new media landscape learn to navigate these different and sometimes conflicting modes of representation and to make meaningful choices about the best ways to express their ideas in each context.” (Jenkins, Purushotma, Weigel, Clintion, & Robison, 2009, pp. 87-88)
The creation of transmedia narrative involves not just how to work with different media, but also working with the production cultures associated with those media. For example, there are significant production culture differences between film, TV and theatre production, digital media production, and book production (Jeffery-Poulter, 2001, p. 155).
“In transmedia projects that involve distinct media which are part of existing creative production cultures, a practitioner needs to not only understand the affordances of the medium, but be able to negotiate the associated industries.” (Dena, Transmedia Practice: Theorizing the Practice of Expressing a Fictional World Across Distinct Media and Environments, 2009, p. 64)
In addition to the affordances of the individual media in a transmedia narrative, a whole new set of challenges occur when trying to integrate several different media into a cohesive and coherent overall narrative. The diverse set of knowledge and skills required to author a transmedia narrative is a major challenge.
“These works require a different kind of knowledge and skill. A creator may be well versed in writing novels and screenplays, but not necessarily skilled in writing stories that begin in a novel and continue in a film, in the rhetoric necessary to guide their reader to become a player, and even in understanding the combined effort these media platforms have on experience.” (Dena, Transmedia Practice: Theorizing the Practice of Expressing a Fictional World Across Distinct Media and Environments, 2009, p. 5)
The process of creating a coherent story or set of stories across multiple media is significant.
“One very large and persistent problem has always been creating authentic transmedia stories – natural story arcs and bridges that lead you onward through a long format, multi platform experience.” (Hayes, 2010)

Much is still unknown about the process of creating effective transmedia narratives. The current stage of transmedia narrative has been compared to the silent film era when new creative approaches for moving pictures were being developed (Kohn, 2011). From a creative perspective, transmedia narrative projects will require changing how storytelling is done and transform the art of storytelling (Hoefs, 2011). The aesthetic criteria for evaluating transmedia works are still poorly defined (Jenkins, Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide, 2006, pp. 96-97), presenting another challenge as the field develops.

No comments:

Post a Comment