Growing Toward Transmedia-Native

I've been thinking some more about my WTF is Transmedia screed, trying to get at the fundamental difference between the spiderweb and sequential models for transmedia. If you recall, this was the sequential model:

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So here's my one-off thought for the morning: I think a sequential transmedia experience is what you get when you take a bunch of traditional, static-media methods of storytelling and apply transmedia tools to them to make them interrelated. You're definitely upping your game, but the result isn't a fundamentally different kind of story.

On the other hand, a spiderweb transmedia experience...

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...is what you get when you're creating a transmedia-native story from inception. Not just a story told via transmedia tools, but a story that could not natively live in a film, a novel, or a console video game. 

Jay Bushman has taught me a lot about film history, of which I am otherwise almost entirely ignorant. He says that early cinema consisted of sticking a camera in front of a stage play; and that's the sequential model. Using new tools, but not actually shifting your paradigm. You don't learn what cinema can be until you start experimenting with close-ups, multiple cameras, and so on and so forth. Likewise, you don't learn what the potential for transmedia can be until you start experimenting and throwing out long-established techniques from related media.

Note that this does not in any way convey a value judgement regarding sequential vs. spiderweb stories; in fact, I think the audience needs to see a lot of sequential stories, because a lot of the audience isn't net-native, either, and they need to learn how to consume transmedia, just like we need to learn to tell stories that way. Baby steps.

But we'll get there, right?


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