Task 1 – “Barbie as TM”

Ezra May Aringay (3379387)

Joyce Khoo Mun Ling (s3355395)

TRANSMEDIA PROJECT ANALYSIS

“Barbie as a Transmedia Story”

Direct Link: https://present.me/view/160433-barbie-as-a-transmedia-story-j

SUMMARY – Joyce Khoo Mun Ling (s3355395)

Reading: Henry Jenkins “We Had So Many Stories to Tell” : The Heroes Comics as Transmedia Storytelling

The Heroes comics emerged as a retrospective form of transmedia storytelling to the initial “heroes” television series. Comics (in general) are considered financially viable medium for constructing alternative transmedia narratives. The ‘Heroes’ comics (released on a weekly basis) were fully integrated into the flow of the series, but each franchise remained self-contained and can be enjoyed individually. However, the comics act as mediums for alternative narrative construction, viewers that partake of it are rewarded with a richer (transmedia) experience. The comics are coordinated with the writing of the series, they were broken into shorter chunks each week, filling in back stories and occasionally offering foreshadowing. With the influence of central figure Hanna Gitelman (“Wireless”), consumers are encouraged to process a variety of information across multiple platforms to grasp the fuller picture of the series. Though she remains a scarce character on air, she plays a major role in the comic. The comics provide a medium with “no limits”, allowing portrayal of ‘out-of-the-world’ scenarios. Often, these transmedia extensions (not limited to comics) are considered ‘promotional stunts’. The process of finding aesthetic language to further elaborate on story narratives has still yet to be fully ‘exploited’ in this day and age of convergence culture.

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SYNTHESIS – Joyce Khoo Mun Ling (s3355395)

~Transmedia storytelling can be dubbed the entertainment for the age of media convergence (collective intelligence), this form of storytelling incorporates multiple levels of texts to create a narrative that cannot be fully contained within a single medium.

~Each franchise within the story has to be self-contained and any product is a point of entry into the franchise.

~“Synergistic storytelling” involves creating a story that has a consistency and depth that can be further explored through different platforms, where an ideal transmedia experience (viewer’s conduct their own prior research) results in the viewer’s ability to see the connections “Co-creation” exists when companies sells off partial licensing rights which leads to “collaborative authorship”( best when a single creative unit maintains control).

~“The art of World- Making” stresses on the importance of having sufficient consistency to ensure the viewers can immediately recognize the installment despite its flexibility of being portrayed through different styles.

~ “Additive comprehension” incorporates the idea of fan fiction; it creates a space for the audience to search for meaning beyond the intentions of the producers and is left in control of their own viewing experiences. Transmedia storytelling exposure teaches next generation to contribute to a more sophisticated knowledge culture.

~ “Transmedia” as a term may be fairly new but in terms of exposure to transmedia storytelling, many individuals in this era of collective intelligence have been actively involved in transmedia in one way or another. Most significantly through the ‘Pokemon’ craze.

SUMMARY – Ezra May Aringay (s3379387)

Reading: Calbreath-Frasieur, Aaron (2012) Transmedia Muppets: The Possibilities Of Performer Narratives, Vol. 5, Issue No. 2, University of Nottingham

In his article, Transmedia Muppets: The Possibilities Of Performer Narratives, Aaron Calbreath-Frasieur explores another form of transmedia storytelling through the successful “Muppets” franchise. For over fifty years, The Muppets have become well known through television, film, comics and the internet. Calbreath-Frasieur refers to them as being “performer narratives”, meaning that they often engage in transmedia storytelling, but do not need to follow a tight narrative like other transmedia stories. This is due to the nature of the characters; we tend to learn specific, identifiable things about them every time they appear, but the ways in which they appear do not necessarily advance the narrative. For example, the Muppet characters often star in movie adaptations. In the adaptation of A Christmas Carol, Kermit the Frog portrays the lead character Bob Cratchit, while Miss Piggy plays his wife Ms. Cratchit. The well known “on-and-off” history between Kermit and Miss. Piggy affects audiences’ perceptions of them as love interests in the Muppet’s Christmas Carol. In saying that, there is a high degree of self-reflexivity in every Muppet-related production, making their narrative an ongoing one. The ongoing narrative may not be chronological or linear, but The Muppets exemplify a multi-platform property that engages in transmedia through such iconic characters.

Word Count: 205

SYNTHESIS – Ezra May Aringay (s3379387)

· A story may not necessarily classify as a “transmedial” work, however that does not mean it cannot be analysed in terms of transmedia. A good example is a story that begins in one form and then purposefully evolves into a multi-platform work. One of the best examples would be the Harry Potter books/films being extended through fanfiction, especially with the development of Pottermore.

· Transmedia storytelling refers to telling a coherent story over multiple platforms, however “transmediality” refers to the “industrial practice of using multiple media technologies to present informational concerning a single fictional world”. From this, I understand that “transmedia storytelling” must be carefully planned and distributed in order to ensure direct ties between each platform, whereas “transmediality” can be used to describe a world, that is, a fictional place that exists over multiple platforms that don’t necessarily need each other to operate, in a sense. I believe the Barbie World website and social media links are a good example of transmediality.

· It is difficult to determine what is actually “transmedia storytelling” without first clarifying the definition of “story” or “narrative”, rather. In Aaron Calbreath-Frasieur’s article on The Muppets, he discusses how the Muppets often break the fourth wall, for example, Kermit the Frog appearing as himself on television talk shows. He refers to this as a “meta-narrative” because of the fictional Muppet world and the real world converging. We observe Kermit’s behaviour and presence, adding to the knowledge we already have of him (a nice frog who loves to sing and is in love with Miss Piggy). This was an interesting insight, because now that Kermit has appeared on something like Late Night with David Letterman, it becomes a part of Muppet history and thus, part of the ongoing Muppet narrative.

· The Muppets are a particularly interesting franchise to analyse, because they so frequently interact with humans that it becomes difficult to know when their fictional world stops and the human world begins. With the extensive knowledge we have of the Muppets, it should be easy to conclude them as an example of transmedia storytelling, however theorists such as Henry Jenkins and Elizabeth Evans have such specific views on what constitutes transmedia storytelling that it becomes complicated.

REFERENCES (Joyce and Ezra)

Calbreath-Frasieur, Aaron (2012) Transmedia Muppets: The Possibilities Of Performer Narratives, Vol. 5, Issue No. 2, University of Nottingham

Dr. Dena, Christy, A Primer on Transmedia Writing and Design (PowerPoint) (2014) RMIT University, March 2nd 2014

Phillips, Andrea (2012). “What is transmedia anyway?” in A Creator’s Guide to Transmedia Storytelling: How to Captivate and Engage Audiences Across Multiple Platforms. McGraw Hill Professional, USA

Jenkins, Henry (2006) “Searching For The Origami Unicorn: The Matrix and Transmedia Storytelling” in Convergence Culture. New York University, USA

Jenkins, H. (2007) “We Had So Many Stories To Tell” in The Heroes Comics as Transmedia Storytelling. URL: http://henryjenkins.org/2007/12/we_had_so_many_stories_to_tell.html viewed March 26th, 2014

Scolari, Carlos A. (2009) “Transmedia Storytelling: Implicit Consumers, Narrative Wrolds, and Branding”. University of Vic, Spain

OTHER

The History of Barbie Dolls, Mary Bellis (2012), URL: http://inventors.about.com/od/bstartinventions/a/The-History-Of-Barbie-Dolls.htm viewed March 19th, 2014

The Official Barbie Website

URL: http://www.barbie.com

Barbie on Twitter

URL: http://www.twitter.com/Barbie