More on the BBC’s Sherlock and Transmedia

sherlockSince I’ve mentioned the BBC’s Sherlock TV series in both this week’s post on transmedia and the week before’s post, I thought I’d direct you to a great resource if you’re interested in learning more. The StoryForward podcast publishes biweekly interviews with writers, producers, actors, and others involved in transmedia projects. One of their first episodes discusses Sherlock and how it was designed to be a transmedia experience from the beginning. From StoryForward:

In this special episode of StoryForward, co-host Steve Peters talks with Joe Lidster, a television writer best known for his work on Torchwood, The Sarah Jane Adventures and most recently, the online story content for the BBC series Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. They talk about the unique process behind the TV show, which, in true transmedia storytelling fashion, simultaneously spans your television screen, multiple websites and more. —StoryForward.com

Hope you enjoy this great interview!

Sharing Joy on the Writing Road

patrick-ross-casual-2012

One of the things I love about writing is that the writing community is so incredibly generous–both in their willingness to celebrate with others’ successes, and their willingness to share the ups and downs along the way. Patrick Ross, over at The Artist’s Road, is a great example of an author/blogger who has shared his ups and downs, struggles and triumphs, in the years since he publicly committed to an art-committed life more than four years ago.

So it’s with great delight that pass on his recent good news: his memoir, begun September 2010, will be published this fall. From his blog:

The Artist’s Road Memoir will be Published this Fall

MAY 12, 2014 BY PATRICK ROSS

So it’s official. I’ve signed with an enterprising independent publisher and my memoir–four years after I first started working on it–will be published this October. So many readers of The Artist’s Road have traveled with me as I’ve chronicled this pursuit. I’ve shared my highs and my lows, and there were a fair number of the latter. But you’ve always supported me, and so this triumph is in part yours.

The original banner of The Artist's Road blog, taken on the road trip on Wyoming's 1-80 West.

The original banner of The Artist’s Road blog, taken on my 2010 cross-country U.S. road trip on Wyoming’s 1-80 West.

I plan to share more details about the publishing plans–and the book itself–in future posts. What I can say for now is that Committed: A Memoir of the Artist’s Road will be available in print as a soft launch from Black Rose Writing on October 16th, 2014, and in print and ebook formats a few weeks later in stores and online retailers such as Amazon.

For now, I think it’s worth looking at those highs and lows, in the hope that it is helpful to someone moving forward on a long-term creative project.

  • September 2010: complete a five-week cross-country U.S. road trip in which I interviewed creatives of all types. I had drifted away from my own creativity, but the artists I encounter inspire me to return to the path of the art-committed life. I give notice to the board of directors of the nonprofit I run, and agree to serve through the end of the calendar year as they recruit a successor.
  • October 2010: launch The Artist’s Road blog in part to share my story, but also to hold me publicly accountable to my new commitment to creativity.

To read more of Patrick’s inspiring journey from idea to publication–and his growth along the way–visit his blog, artistsroad.wordpress.com. And join in the celebration!

Media Options for Transmedia Storytelling

TRANSMEDIA2 Last week, we kicked off a series of posts on transmedia storytelling–what it is, how it works, and how you can use transmedia storytelling techniques to reach more readers and provide readers with a deeper, richer story experience. (If you missed last week’s post, you can check it out here.)

Multiple Media Options

Transmedia storytelling uses multiple media platforms or channels to communicate a message or story. To get specific, that means transmedia storytelling can include pretty much any communication method you and your target audience can access. Social media? Check. Web content? Sure thing! Posters? Stickers? Fictitious ads or announcements? You bet! The table below lists some of the possibilities, but your options are limited pretty much only by your imagination.

Print Materials Digital Content Direct Communications Social Media
  • Books & magazines
  • Flyers
  • Posters
  • Postcards
  • Stickers
  • Comic books
  • E-books
  • Website content
  • Fan fiction
  • Podcasts
  • Video
  • Video games
  • Text messages
  • Chat or instant messages
  • FAX
  • Email
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Tumblr
  • Fan fiction and other forums

Are you getting the picture? Transmedia can deliver messages to your audience in lots of different ways!

Of course, no single transmedia project will include ALL those communication platforms. Often transmedia stories will be told primarily in one format (film, video, comic book, etc), with additional content available in another format for those who want to dig deeper.

Transmedia Storytelling Examples

Sherlock

Take BBC’s Sherlock TV series, which I mentioned briefly last week. The primary storyline is told in the TV episodes. If you want to dive more deeply into the Sherlock universe, though, Dr. John Watson’s blog adds details that you can’t get just from watching the show.  

The “blog” contains other media elements as well–photos, a slideshow of Watson’s wedding photos, commentary from other characters (including a “hacked” blog entry from Moriarty), and the occasional video content, such as this news spot reporting on Sherlock’s return from death:

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

Another great transmedia story, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, is told primarily through vlog (video log) posts, with additional content that unspools via Twitter, Instagram, and Lookbook. (The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a modernized retelling of Pride and Prejudice, in all its glory. If you’ve never heard of it, watch a bit. Now. You’ll get your giggles for the day!)

There are lots of other great transmedia storytelling examples out there, which use lots of different types of media to expand their story worlds. We’ll look at more in the coming weeks.

What transmedia elements appeal to you, as a storyteller or a story consumer? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

 

Transmedia Storytelling for Writers

What if I told you that the film and television industries had discovered a new paradigm for communicating with their audiences? A framework that helps them to

  1. Reach broader audiences
  2. Deepen audience engagement
  3. Encourage audience participation
  4. Foster a base of loyal, passionate fans who are deeply invested in their “story world,” plot, and characters

What if I also told you that this framework wasn’t limited to the big budgets and massive marketing machines of Hollywood? In fact, many of their techniques are particularly well-suited to helping fiction writers reach more readers and provide readers with a deeper, richer story experience

Wouldn’t you want to know more?  

That’s what I want to talk about over the next few weeks–a concept that film, television, business, and marketing industries have been using with great success for the past decade, but has seen only limited use in the publishing industry.

TRANSMEDIA2

What Is Transmedia?

Transmedia simply means using multiple media platforms or channels to communicate a message or story. We’re going to focus on transmedia storytelling, a type of transmedia that’s particularly well-suited to writers’ needs and natural skills.

Transmedia stories are those that “unfold across multiple media platforms, with each new text making a distinctive and valuable contribution to the whole” “—Henry Jenkins, Convergence Culture 2005

In other words, a transmedia story might be told primarily in one format (film, video, comic book, etc), but have additional content available to fans in other formats.

Take BBC’s Sherlock television series. It’s terrific on its own–you don’t need to go anywhere else to feel like you understand the story. If you’re passionate about the show, though, and want to dig deeper, Dr. Watson’s blogs (the ones mentioned in the show) are actually published in tandem with the television episodes.

Dr. John Watson's blog

This is only one example of transmedia storytelling. Next week, we’ll look at more examples and dig more deeply into what transmedia storytelling is and isn’t.

Why Writers Should Care About Transmedia

If you’re anything like me, though, you already have plenty of non-writing items on your to-do list. SocialMedia

Why should you want to add one more thing? Especially something that–let’s be honest here–looks like it might consume more of your valuable time and energy?

Because, when done right, transmedia storytelling can help writers to:

Creating multiple “points of entry” for readers
→ to reach a broader, more diverse audience 

Increase audience engagement and participation
to create a base of loyal, passionate fans

Not only that. Transmedia storytelling can also provide purpose and direction for all those social media platforms that we’re “supposed” to be using as writers.

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to take a closer look at transmedia storytelling. I’m not an expert in transmedia. I’m just another writer–a writer who is passionate about reaching more readers and engaging with them more deeply. I’m convinced that transmedia storytelling provides a set of underused tools that can help writers to accomplish these goals and more.

I’m SO convinced about this that I’ve altered my fiction publication goals and timeline to accommodate a transmedia project (which is currently in the works!)

I hope my enthusiasm rubs off! I also hope that, as I share examples, ideas, techniques, and resources over the course of this blog series, I’ll inspire you to try a transmedia tie-in for your story world. I can’t wait to see what transmedia experiments arise over the next few months!

Please share your thoughts on transmedia–possibilities, ideas, experiments, hopes, whatever!–in the comments.