StoryWorld 2011 in San Francisco: Day 1

In case you couldn’t make this year’s StoryWorld Conference in San Francisco, I’ll be offering a few short re-caps of key talks and themes throughout the next three days. Here we go.

DAY 1 – Morning

Key Themes:

  • The story remains crucial to transmedia. A transmedia project should not originate from the desire to make use of new technology, but from the desire to tell a captivating story.
  • After centuries of ‘broadcasting’ (radio, TV, film, publishing, etc. – offering mass content to isolated consumers) storytelling now returns to its social roots, particularly due to new media’s possibilities to share content.
  •  The audience now expects more content, and audience participation is a) inevitable/an indicator that you are doing everything right, and b) necessary to keep a storyworld alive whilst trying to keep pace with audience’s insatiable demand for additional content. Continue reading “StoryWorld 2011 in San Francisco: Day 1”

DIYDays in LA

Needless to say, today’s workshops at DIYDays LA were filled to the brim with great speakers and innovative perspectives. For those that couldn’t attend today’s workshops, here’s a re-cap of the most important bits:

Common Points

There were a few common themes mentioned in almost every talk I attended, and they were all based on experiences (good and bad) from existing projects:

1. Your audience consists of three main groups: Casual consumers (around 70% of your audience), active consumers (25-30%) and enthusiasts (5-10%). Your transmedia strategy must try to lead your audience members from casual to active consumers, and ideally on to enthusiasts. Casual consumers are relatively passive, active consumers engage with your content on a frequent basis, and enthusiasts are your most dedicated fans and torch-bearers. Continue reading “DIYDays in LA”

Creating a Transmedia Narrative II: Storytelling

My last post on ‘Creating a Transmedia Narrative‘ ignited a lengthy discussion in one of my LinkedIn groups. It seems that some of my readers thought that I was trying to establish that transmedia narratives follow different narrative norms/ no longer need to be based on traditional conventions of telling a story. This is not what I was trying to say. I merely pointed at parallels found in successful story worlds, narrative universes that withstood the test of time and continue to invite producers and audiences to expand their stories across different media. In order to last for decades or more and be expandable across different media, any narrative needs to have a ‘larger-than-life’ aspect to it, and I used my blog post to break this ‘larger-than-life’ aspect down into its individual, more accessible parts. Continue reading “Creating a Transmedia Narrative II: Storytelling”

Creating a Transmedia Narrative

How do you construct a transmedia narrative? Does it differ from stories told in film, books, TV shows, computer games, etc. until today? Yes and no, in my opinion. As a media consumers myself, and having observed and researched several successful and lasting story worlds such as Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Star Trek, Buffy, various mangas/animes, and, of course, classics such as The Illiad and The Odysee, I noticed several important elements that allowed these respective universes to live on for decades (or millenia, in the case of the latter two) and to inspire not only re-tellings of existing stories, but also expansions of the worlds themselves, even years (or, again, millenia) after they were first conceived of. Continue reading “Creating a Transmedia Narrative”

Developing a Transmedia Strategy

As the concept of transmedia storytelling becomes increasingly mainstream it is important that we do not lose ourselves in continuous debates on what transmedia storytelling is and what it is not. It is relatively easy to theorize and predict with no end; what is considerably harder, however, is to turn all this transmedia theory into practical advice. Granted, we are still experimenting a lot with what works and what doesn’t, but I do believe that it is important to begin to compile transmedia successes, basic economic mechanisms, and common-sense into manuals, guide-books, and/or best-practice sets. What follows is my attempt to do so, in the form of a draft that remains subject to change. Continue reading “Developing a Transmedia Strategy”

Amazon & YouTube’s Announcements Significantly Change Distribution and Level the Playing Field

Today saw two very important and very similar announcements by two key players in the entertainment industry: YouTube announced the launch of Merch Store, a tool that allows artists sell their merchandise, concert tickets, and more, whilst Amazon declared that it will also start publishing – both digitally and physically – starting with 122 books coming this fall. These two revelations come only six months after Netflix announced its plan to enter the original content business, and less than two weeks after YouTube publicized its original content deal with Tony Hawk and Warner Bros., amongst others. Continue reading “Amazon & YouTube’s Announcements Significantly Change Distribution and Level the Playing Field”

Transmedia vs. Franchise Development

Last week I had a very interesting conversation with Kathy Franklin, President Franchise Development at Lightstorm Entertainment. Kathy has a long-standing background in franchising after having worked at Disney for almost eleven years and now heading the franchising efforts for James Cameron’s Avatar. During our chat, Kathy pointed out a very important challenge for traditional franchise development in the face of transmedia: Until recently, the goal of developing franchises was usually monetization through repurposing, whereas the concept of transmedia storytelling focuses primarily on the (more costly) expansion of the story itself. While this was, of course, no news to me, Kathy’s statement stuck with me for a while. In a way, I had somehow assumed (naively, maybe) that transmedia was really the next step in franchise development. Continue reading “Transmedia vs. Franchise Development”


Yesterday afternoon I attended the ‘Storytelling Through Advanced Mobile Content’ panel at the CTIA Enterprise & Applications Conference in San Diego. The panel featured four case studies from Transmedia LA members and a ‘fire-side chat’ between Seth Shapiro, Principal at New Amsterdam Media and Partner at Media Valuation Partners, and Albert Cheng, Executive Vice President Digital and Chief Production Officer at Disney ABC Television Group. Needless to say, it is impossible to recount all presentations and discussions in their entirety, but I would like to highlight a few points I myself found the most relevant: Continue reading “TLA@CTIA Re-cap”

Kent Nichols: Ground Rules for Self-Distribution Online

At last night’s Transmedia LA meetup, Kent Nichols, Partner Outreach at, shared a few very important ground rules for producers trying to self-distribute online. Kent is a videomaker and producer himself, and some of his projects include the award-winning series Ask A Ninja as well as the all-new The Guilty Crafter. specializes in serialized online content, and as Partner Outreach Kent helps producers (for free!) to identify the right set of practices to find an audience online, an more particularly, to find their critical mass. Continue reading “Kent Nichols: Ground Rules for Self-Distribution Online”