Book Review: Transmedia 2.0

Transmedia 2.0 book coverWe live in world where, increasingly, the devices we use to enjoy media no longer define the media type. We switch between books in hard copy and digital formats; watch videos on tablets as well as TVs; access email and social media on our smart phones while standing in line at the grocery store. It’s a word ripe for stories that span across multiple media channels–in other words, a world ripe for transmedia stories.

I’ve been blogging about transmedia storytelling much of this summer: what it is, why it’s effective, and how authors can use transmedia storytelling to reach and engage readers.

Well, if you’re thinking about attempting a transmedia storytelling project of your own, you’ll want to check out Transmedia 2.0: A How-To Guide for the Would-Be Transmedia Storyteller by Nuno Bernando. Bernando, of beActive Media, has been pursuing transmedia storytelling since 2003. This book shares insights from over a decade’s experience creating multiplatform stories, drawing examples from both successful and unsuccessful transmedia ventures.

Who It’s For

At first glance, Transmedia 2.0 seems to be targeted to producers and small production companies rather than individuals. It would take a team to implement all the strategies and ideas Bernando provides. So is this book a valuable resource for the independent author/creator?

My answer is a resounding YES.

Whether you’re considering a project that’s large or small in scope, Bernando’s book provides a clear overview of the principles underlying effective and engaging transmedia content.

“To my mind, true transmedia describes a storytelling process that imploys individual, complementary media that permeates the daily life of the audience and allow for personal interaction and participation. To achieve this sort of active engagement, transmedia incorporates a range of entry points across various platforms; each entry point provides the viewer with a unique perspective of the overall story.”

What It Covers

The book also provides content creators with a smorgasbord of ideas for implementation of effective and engaging transmedia content…and implementation includes far more than a bullet list of devices and social media platforms for use in transmedia tales. Check out the Table of Contents and you’ll see that Bernando covers the nitty gritty of topics such as how to finance transmedia projects, marketing strategies, and monetization of transmedia content as well as the how-to’s of storytelling and world creation.

  1. The Transmedial Approach to Entertainment Branding
  2. Financing Transmedia
  3. Building Your Storyworld
  4. Planning Your Release
  5. Marketing
  6. Monetizing Digital Content
  7. The Future of Transmedia

My Take

I came to Bernando’s book expecting to learn strategies for keeping an audience’s interest and insights into what makes for a great transmedia storytelling experience.

“Even with a relatively straightforward plotline, well-developed, ‘true’ characters are what sustain a project across multiple platforms.” –from “Creating a Brand: the Essentials,” Chapter 1

The book absolutely delivered on those things. It also helped me to think about which media platforms to use in my current project…

“Whatever technologies you choose to employ, they should serve your story and make it more immersive.”–from “Engaging Existing Communities, ” Chapter 5

…and gave me food for thought in countless other areas as well.

I may not have a team of programmers, writers, and producers at my disposal–and I’m guessing that most of you reading this don’t, either!–but Transmedia 2.0 helped me see which of those hats might be worth donning. Ultimately, transmedia storytelling is about telling a bigger story than would be possible using a single media platform. As an independent author/creator, I love the array of possibilities this book provided me–but even more, I value the fact that I feel better able to prioritize which of those possibilities to pursue. My copy of the book is highlighted and dog-eared with use. If you’re serious about trying a litte transmedia storytelling of your own, I’m sure yours will be, too!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book, which I used for my review. If you decide to purchase your own copy based on this review, I’ll receive warm fuzzies and happy points, but no other compensation. If you read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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