From Bizarro-Lizzie’s introductory video, to her relationship with Darcy, and even to the finale of the year-long “Mightier than theSword” series (which Lizzie refers to as her ‘video diary updates’), viewers got hooked on Lizzie Bennet’s story.
Between vlogs and other social media, followers got a window into Lizzie’s life and it became easy to forget that she was fictional. Originally created by Jane Austen in the 1800’s, this immersive approach to storytelling helped shape new narrative worlds.
Transmedia storytelling requires you to create an entire world, every detail of which takes on new life. When done well, it’s so immersive, your audience can’t help but fall in love with it.
A transmedia project may also include many media forms, with all parts of the project working together to create a wider world for the story. This type of storytelling is quickly expanding with projects like The Lizzie Bennet Diaries
Transmedia stories are expanding video, text, and audio into social media, interactive games, and live events. New possibilities are arising for content creators struggling to engage their audiences.
“More and more creators are discovering the advantages of tapping into the power of transmedia storytelling ,” Andrea Phillips, game designer and transmedia writer, wrote in her book. Transmedia creates richer, deeper stories. Fans who love your creation want to see more of it. They want to be a part of it.”
One tool used by the production company, Pemberley Digital, is social media. Instead of viewing social media as a mere platform for presenting content, their strategy involves taking full use of social media as a way to shape new narrative worlds.
Jay Bushman, the transmedia producer for The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and its follow-up series Welcome to Sanditon, explains that social media did more than just participate in navigating the story’s narrative. It also gave fans the freedom to shape their own story experience. The power of Twitter is how it compels people to add their own context to what they read.
Social media and transmedia narratives use the power of spaces in between individual updates to create meaning or tell complex stories. Comic writer Scott McCloud notes how in comic books, the audience’s imagination is the driving force behind the action and emotional reaction, much like Twitter and other social media like Instagram story.
More than a decade ago, transmedia emerged as an interactive form of storytelling. Alternate reality games, or ARGs, allowed for intense audience involvement.
Transmedia storytelling is the practice of bathing your identical content in different mediums to create new narratives. An early alternate reality game, The Beast (2001), was created by a team at Microsoft to promote Steven Spielberg’s film A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. Set in the year 2142, project participants were compelled to be their own sleuths, hunting for hints buried on the internet, in phone calls and fax messages, even in skywriting.
The Beast offers an offer of how to use transmedia storytelling to create explicit storyworlds. According to Social Week, interested readers can see the effects of this form of narrative development in modern day social media.
Tina Bushman, director of the Austin Center for Ethical Hacking discusses how transmedia storytelling sequences can shape wholly new narrative worlds. Becoming interested in how the stories produced extend beyond a singular narrative, as was the case with The Beast and A.I.
Commercials, TV sitcoms, and even existing blockbuster movies have been expanded into separate products to create a cohesive narrative by including more content in different mediums, such as radio plays or video games, in order to personalize a transmedia component for a story.
Bushman leveraged social media in his storytelling process. He was involved in interactive dark comedy series Dirty Work and a steampunk rebooting of Dracula with Fourth Wall Studios.
When Bushman, along with producers Bernie Su and Hank Green of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, first began their project, they had no idea just how well it would catch on. After niche niche success on the Youtube channel alone, the series suddenly had a huge audience across all of its platforms.
Transmedia storytelling works both ways, shaping an ever-growing world for the audience to explore. It’s not enough that audiences can see or hear transmedia stories – now they work to create their own worlds that are consumed by others.
The success of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries has proven that transmedia content can not only be popular but also marketable. The story about Lizzie Bennet told through interactive digital posts, books, DVDs, and comics has shown that there is a demand out there for this kind of story telling.
With a fictional premise like Pride and Prejudice at its core, the Lizzie Bennet Diaries has a lot of room for fabrication in setting its parameters.
Kevin Moloney shares his perceptions on transmedia storytelling and how it shapes new narrative worlds. Journalists need to rethink the way they tell stories in order to capture people’s interests within new formats like sensory technologies.
Journalists can now tell stories in new ways as they capture how people consume information and share it through different channels such as social media.
For example, you could create a multimedia story that integrates journalism with other forms of media to tell an engaging, captivating story.
Transmedia storytelling develops new narrative worlds with character development and explanation through video, text, and games. One way it works is by grouping content into sections like News/Editorial, Film / Video, Photo / art Direction etc.
Transmedia storytelling, or the creation of integrated worlds shown through more than just one medium, for example many different stories on copypaster.com, is on the rise. A savvy journalist could coordinate between stories between for more immersive worlds to appeal to a broader spectrum of readers and viewers.
With unique transmedia content, storytellers can connect more closely with audiences. If you’re interested in exploring the field of transmedia storytelling, consider attending one of 2014’s TEDx Transmedia Conferences, Hosted by IDEX. During this conference, there will be seminars, panels, and meetups for creators. There are guides online for how to get started with the field of transmedia storytelling; if you would like to explore the many facets of this exciting business then take a
With every step that technology and social media take to reshape our world, the need for transmedia storytellers is more evident. Creativity is celebrated through new mediums, but the real prize is the world of diverse storyworlds waiting to be born.