Transmedia Manifest

There's a Transmedia Manifest going around on Twitter this morning. I won't be signing it.

That's not to say it isn't a good list of guiding principles, because it certainly is. If you follow all eleven of these theses, you'll probably come away with a great, workable structure for a transmedia project. But... it's not the only one. Not the only good one, not the only one that works. It's possible that it won't even wind up being the best one, a hundred years gone when the dust has settled and we know what we're doing.

So I take great pause at the thought that a transmedia project has to conform to them in order to adhere to best practices. We're in a toe-curlingly wild period of liberation. Filmmakers and novelists have decades, centuries of experience mapping out where the oases are, where the best fishing is, where there be dragons. 

But us? We can journey toward the far edges of story form and make our mark on the wilderness. It's incumbent on us to take that journey. We brave explorers who have first come to this crazy place shouldn't stay huddled around the campfire in the one outpost we've made. What mountains and valleys are out there, just waiting for the first creator's footsteps?

There may one day come a time for neat bullet-pointed lists of what you must do, when we have a firmer grasp on the things that work and why. For now, though, structure should be considered in the same way as the twenty-page menu at a late-night diner. Sure, you could include interaction and location-based activity the way you'd put together a burger and fries. But if that's not what you're hungry for -- if that doesn't suit the story you're trying to tell -- you don't have to order it.

We have so many choices. So many places to go. Don't you want to know what else is out there, too?


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