Friday, January 6, 2012

Storyworld Level Design Tasks - Taglines & Genres

Storyworld Tagline

The storyworld tagline, like the transmedia project tagline, is a single sentence that hooks potential users into the storyworld. The storyworld tagline should be closely related to the transmedia project tagline and, in the case of a project with a single storyworld, may be the same. Transmedia projects in which more than one storyworld exists (e.g. multiple storyworlds that serve as “alternate universes”) should have a separate but related tagline for each storyworld.

Storyworld Genre

The genre selected for the storyworld will define the similar settings, content and subject matter, themes, plots, central narrative events, styles, structures, recurring icons, situations, and characters (Dirks, 2011) for all stories within that storyworld. It will also define the expectations of your audience and will have a significant role in defining who your audience will be. Examples of genres include action/adventure, comedy, crime and gangster, drama, epic and historical, horror, science fiction, musical or dance, war/anti-war, and westerns. Within these genres are a numerous sub-genres and hybrid story types. There is no single “official” list of genres; rather, a number of different lists from a variety of sources exist. While there may be differences across media, the main genre types have many similarities.

Understanding a genre and its conventions is important for the author of a transmedia narrative as each genre has a unique set of conventions that shape the story design, and the audience for a particular genre has a set of expectations based on those conventions (McKee, 1997, p. 89).

Genre study is best done in this fashion: First, list all those works you feel are like yours, both successes and failures…Next, rent the films on video and purchase the screenplays if possible. Then study the films stop and go, turning pages with the screen, breaking each film down into elements of setting, role, event, and value. Lastly, stack, so to speak, these analyses one atop the other and look down through them all asking: What do the stories in my genre always do? What are is conventions of time, place, character, and action? (McKee, 1997, p. 89)

McKee was referring specifically to genres for film, but the approach for studying genres for novels, comic books, and other media would be similar.

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