Production Analysis: The Blair Witch Project
Elizabeth Evam, “Transmedia Television: Audiences, New Media, and Daily Life”
Georgina Brown: s3334348
Transmedia story telling involves a narrative being told over several different platforms. Usually the narrative is shaped and constructed through a core media platform such as film or TV then the experience is enhanced by supporting platforms for the audience such as books, video games and websites.
Transmedia as a form of story telling has been used for decades through poems, pictures and drama. However the term has now developed and adapted to modern society. More platforms are available for a coherent narrative experience. The modern consumer now has the expectation to be able to hunt and gather information across several different platforms. “Children are taught to become consumers and inturn attempt to ensure the commercial success of the product.” The main focus in Transmedia narratives is now not the individual character or the events but the creation of a universe for the consumer that is complex and vast. Transmedia elements do not involve telling of the same events on different platforms; they involve the telling of new events from the same story world. As Geoffrey long observes, “Retelling a story in a different media type is adaptation, while using multiple media types to craft a single story is trans mediation”.
Transmedia narratives are so large and detailed that they can’t be contained in one text
Transmedia story telling is not simply about creating a plot and characters; it’s about creating a whole world for the audience to consume.
– You shouldn’t be retelling the same story across all of your platforms, each one must add to the audiences experience in their own important way
– You must have continuity through your platforms and be able to take into account different paths that audiences may take.
Jordan Di Stefano: s3377071
Evans (2011) describes the experience of transmedia as the creation of “a wider, coherent fictional world” (2011, p.20), as each platform serves to provide audiences with a bigger insight or piece to the story.
In this text Evans examine how transmedia has shifted over time as she acknowledges that this concept isn’t entirely new and radical. She explains that throughout history many texts can be said to be transmedia, for example The Bible. (2011, p.19). (Because biblical stories are told through art, drama, and text there are academics who argue this is in fact transmedia.)
Evan’s main focus is how transmedia story is produced and distributed
and claims that has added a new dimension to the narrative experience for an audience. It is not the same story being told through multiple platforms, but stories are being created and dispersed for the purpose of being told across multiple forms of media.
Evans, E 2011, ‘Understanding Transmediality’, [in] Transmedia Television: Audiences, New Media, and Daily Life, Routledge, NY & UK, p.17-19.
Key points I have learnt:
· Each transmedia project needs a clear well thought out and developed structure.
· The platforms you choose need to be essential in telling your story in the best way possible/to your advantage.
· Planning and development is the key to a successful transmedia narrative
· In the case of the Bair Witch Project it goes to show how an innovative and creative way of marketing and creating an interest through a myth can get a community following. It has been said that although the documentary itself wasn’t of the highest quality film wise, it was the way the producers sold their story that made it of high standard.
· The story MUST be engaging across all platforms.
Anna Downie: S3378326
The key components of transmedia storytelling are narrative, authorship and temporality. These components offer a way of both recognising the history that this mode of storytelling has developed from and how it has taken cross-platform narrative a step further.
The first use of the term ‘transmedia’ was primarily promotional practice, which involved merchandising, adaptations, sequels and franchising.
It is the episode narrative that distinguishes transmedia storytelling from practices like marketing and merchandising. ‘It cannot be constrained within a single medium.’ An example is having a game; it allows viewers to enter the fictional space of the text and explore/ interact with it’s inhabitants.
Another difference between the old and contemporary model of transmedia is the process of production; they have a unified author. Jenkins says that in this new model, ‘companies collaborate from the beginning to create content they know plays well in their sectors,’ in comparison to the old model, the central media company would sell the rights to manufacture products.
Thirdly, within specific moments of transmedia storytelling, the various production schedules are aligned to ensure a coherent temporality across the various platforms involved, which keeps viewers constantly engaged. Therefore, unlike earlier multi-platform expansions of television texts, transmedia storytelling is defined by a combination of narrative, author and temporal coherence.
When creating a story always begin with a protagonist
– The protagonist must contain willpower for a certain desire
– The story must have a controlling idea
– The story’s structure should first express an idea, then prove it, without explaining it
– Elizabeth Evans, (2011) Transmedia Television: Audiences, New Media, and Daily Life (pg 19-29)
– Lynn Higley, S, & Andrew Weinstoc, J (eds.) 2004, Nothing that is: Millennial Cinema and the Blair Witch Controversies, Wayne state university press, Michigan.
– Mathjis, E & Sexton J 2011, ‘Fandom and Subculture,’ [in] Cult Cinema, Blackwell Publishing, United Kingdom.
– Olivier Godest 2011, ‘The Blair Witch Project, a Transmedia Reference?’, Case Study 3rd March, viewed 15th March 2014, <http://www.transmedialab.org/en/the-blog-en/case-study-en/the-blair-witch-project-a-transmedia-reference/>
– Velikovsky, JT 2013, Two Successful Transmedia Case Studies: The Blair Witch Project (1999) and The Devil Inside (2012).