What is TransMedia Syndication and Distribution? Fiction Without Limits …

Posted on April 24, 2011


TransMedia stories, at a most basic level, are stories told across multiple media platforms.  At the present time, the most significant stories tend to flow across multiple media platforms which give rise to new revenue models where broadcast and narrowcast models converge in a new integrated business plan.  Cross-platform integrations give rise to new Story Worlds.

TransMedia storytelling is not just a symbolic exercise:   Transmedia storytelling –> More $$$$$$

How does TransMedia connect with a shared story world environment?  What are the economic opportunities for content creators, producers, distributors, and syndicators in 2011?  For those with a creative mind, the answers are now seemingly limitless.  Can TV content libraries be re-purposed and inserted into a larger story or narrative which takes that broadcast serial content, dramatic or news content into the fabric of a much larger and new Story Narrative?  The answer is yes and we call it TransMedia, particularly when it involves multiple integrated screens from digital signage, mobile devices with ARG (augmented reality), web site embeds and Connected TVs .  An re-mixing which observes intellectual property rights is permitted … in fact it’s advisable in this brave new frontier of TransMedia:

It is sometimes called a shared “Story World”  approach where transmedia strategies explore new creative and economic opportunities for monetizing every new view of the shared and new content.   When audiences are invited to contribute to an entertainment experience in a variety of ways, multiple opportunities for Anchor Sponsor and advertiser engagement arise that cannot be found in a tradition Broadcast environment.

Such a new Story World often begins with a single story and a single property.  It could be a novel, a graphic novel, a movie, a TV serial, dramatic or news program.  And it may begin as a serialized narrative:  say, a TV show, a comic series, or a movie or documentary property.  It may also represent only art forms (i.e., images, photographs, etc.), role-playing or alternate reality gaming properties, or an animated cartoon series.  Irrespective of the mediums involved (i.e. and the medium is the message)  or the source content (new or re-purposed), a shared Story World narrative is not the same as a single work.  As its label describes, it is an entire is a world a new universe of story based economic opportunities diversified and strong enough to support multiple new monetized, creative works but flexible enough to encourage and support audience participation.

Documentary + Game = Independent TransMedia Project called “The Great Work” — a project consulted on by Lance Weiler

“The Greak Work” is a documentary by two Swedish filmmakers, Oskar Östergren & Fredrik Oskarsson (details at the end) about 30-year-old Christer Böke from Malmö, Sweden. He has taken one year off from his well-paid job as an IT-salesman to become a full-time Alchemist.  The film concerns mankind’s eternal ambition of wealth and immortality and one mans dedicated struggle to solve “The secret of all secrets”. This struggle is known at The Great Work.

What’s particularly interesting about this project is that the filmmakers have teamed up with an independent game designer, Niflas, to create a game to complement the movie.

The Great Work was screened on SVT (Swedish Television) as a 58 minute version, winter 2011.

Lance Weiler is considered to an early adopter and cutting edge developer in the world of TransMedia.

THE EVOLUTION OF STORYTELLING.  Technology is impacting the art and craft of storytelling. As the industry shifts and audiences move from passive to active collaborators, how does the art of storytelling change? How does one develop stories and characters that can travel across screens and devices? What will emerge as new formats and how will they be funded and distributed? Lance Weiler, director of The Last Broadcast and Head Trauma, details the story architecture that he employs to build story worlds around his film, TV and gaming projects.

Early this year production company Vectorform says it went down the transmedia rabbit-hole with award winning writer/director Lance Weiler.  They popped up at the Sundance Film Festival–where they helped unleash Pandemic 1.0, a fictional story of a viral outbreak that took the festival by storm.  Spanning film, mobile, online, real world and more, Pandemic 1.0 was a digital virus that spread— or receded–based on player interaction. Vectorform created a mobile experience featuring Near Field Communication (NFC) integration for 50 Nexus S devices, and a Microsoft Surface dashboard for Mission Control.

The Witness – The first movie in the outernet

In Augmented Reality Film, Your Smartphone Solves the Crime.  In “The Witness,” viewers become participants in a clever fusion of filmmaking and augmented reality.  Why does Europe get all the cool stuff?  Here in America, all we get from SyFy are bad monster-movie mashups; but in Germany, SyFy (or rather, its parentborg, NBC Universal) mounts innovative original fare like “The Witness,” which blends gritty drama with immersive augmented reality. Forget the internet — they’re dubbing this “the first movie in the outernet.”  “The Witness” works like a smartphone-centered fusion of a traditional thriller and an interactive ARG:  German viewers applied to participate online, and the “winners” got to enter a real-life version of the movie in which they play a role, using their phones to watch snippets of the film that play out like a virtual layer over the physical scene they’re standing in. For example, when the “film” begins in a Berlin hotel at the scene of a kidnapping, the player/viewer is literally standing in the same room where the scene took place, holding their phone up over it like a window to watch how it plays out — and then interact with it like a Choose Your Own Adventure book, as The Visual News explains…. You can either choose to solve the crime and save the day, or (intentionally or not) end up a red stain on the concrete.

The Truth About Marika as a Cross-Media Production – Extraordinary Results

The Truth About Marika (Swedish title: Sanningen om Marika), is a cross-media production by Sveriges Television (SVT) and The company P. It is an alternate reality game and a TV-series first aired in Sweden during the autumn of 2007. The Truth About Marika was marketed as a “participation drama” and had a high amount of viewer participation.  The viewers of the TV-series were invited by a young woman to participate in the search for her lost friend and the search took place online and all over Sweden.  The Truth About Marika took place on television, national radio, the internet, mobile phones and in the streets. Each week the theories of the search for Marika were discussed in a live TV-debate.  The events depicted on the television show was partially altered by the actions of participating viewers.

Collapsus is the future of storytelling – It is the Definition of TransMedia

Collapsus is a project that combines animation, interactive fiction, and documentary film.  This story follows how the impending energy crisis affects ten young people, while international powers battle with political dissension and a fearful population during transition from Fossil fuel to alternative fuels.  Set in the near future, Collapsus was initialized to raise awareness of the global issue of peak oil.  Collapsus was developed by SubmarineChannel, with the Dutch public broadcaster VPRO, who produced the associated Energy Transition documentary the project is based on. Collapsus is directed by Tommy Pallotta, who produced A Scanner Darkly (film) and Waking Life.