Michael Johnston (s3330083)
Jonathon Leschinski (s3328308)
Jonathan Leschinski’s Primary Source
Transmedia Storytelling: Business, Aesthetics and Production at the Jim Henson Company
Oft transmedia is referred to as a modern phenomena, Long provides a refreshing analysis by examining a franchise that is 32 years old. Long does this by first mapping the field of Transmedia, starting with Henry Jenkins’ work as the cornerstone and then expanding to incorporate additional insights by Mark Hanson, Christy Dena, Marc Ruppel, and others. Long goes on to explore how the concepts of worldbuilding and negative capability can use Kristevan intertextuality to guide audiences through transmedia narratives, but perhaps the most useful insight is his repurposing of Roland Barthes’ notion of hermeneutic codes; subdividing them into six possible classes of questions that arise in readers’ minds when reading a text, and how these can be utilised in analysing and improving the links between extensions in transmedia stories. These are, as Barthes describes, lists of “the various (formal) terms by which an enigma can be distinguished, suggested, formulated, held in suspense, and finally disclosed”
As each new question is posed, the imaginations of the audience spark to life, positing possible answers and asking even further questions.
– Cultural hermeneutic codes are questions raised by costumes, architecture, artwork, and other elements that refer to greater cultures.
– Character hermeneutic codes refer to characters or aspects of characters that do not appear on screen.
– Chronological hermeneutic codes concern events that happened in the past, or in the future.
– Geographic hermeneutic codes are questions about important places that either don’t appear in the main story or appear only briefly.
– Environmental hermeneutic codes are references to the flora, fauna, or other scientific components of the world.
– Ontological. Perhaps the rarest hermeneutic codes make the audience wonder about the very existential nature of the story they’re consuming.
the hermeneutic codes should all be fulfilled in the course of the narrative
The takeaway lesson, in Long’s own words is;
A storyteller looking to craft a potential transmedia narrative should carefully craft the world in which that story exists, and then make passing references to other cultures, characters, events, places, sciences or philosophies of that world during the course of the narrative to simultaneously spark audience imaginations through negative capability and provide potential openings for future migratory cues.
Determine whether the story’s world is open or closed; if it’s closed, crack it open.
When scripting and analyzing the core text (or anchor text) try and understand the closed loops within the narrative, and learn them so yo u can break them open and give the consumer a brand new experience derived from familiar origins.
A transmedia story is often the story of a world
Focus on creating a rich world, one that many co-existing stories may transpire, but don’t lose sight of an engaging focused narrative.
Look for ways to graphically and systematically display relationships.
How can you expect the consumer to be able to follow the story and feel rewarded if you get lost in its creation. When sculpting a transmedia environment, nut out a way to visually document the world and its interconnectedness. This may also serve as a useful artifact for testing and execution.
Create gaps throughout the project
Work in areas of intrigue and expansion, so as to always to give the consumer the opportunity to inject parts of their own imagination. This will result in greater levels of engagement, but also provide pathways for further expansion.
Keep it modern
Know your audience, and understand how they will participate in the Transmedia project in with their current media habits.
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