YSA Creating a You Suck At Transmedia Website

Posted by admin on June 16, 2010 in Design, Development, Production |

I had a friendly query from a colleague the other day. He wanted to know the range of projects that will be covered here. He probably forgot that I have championed all types of transmedia for years, from any industry. But his query alerted me to the fact that perhaps should overtly outline the range that will be covered here. so, here are what I consider the four key types of transmedia. I discuss these types in my PhD (I give them big word terms, so we need to come up with industry-friendly terms as well), and I will be discussing the different story design techniques one employs for each one of these types when I mentor at the Pixel Lab in the UK in July. But here is a quick overview:

Clear as mud? That is why I spoke about films and live events, as well as ARGs in my first two posts. That is also why I’ll talk about and encourage discussion about projects that are designed to be transmedia at the very beginning, and those that become transmedia after a mono-medium one has been created.Let me know if I should elaborate or if you have some other views.

I also want people to know that if you post here, you can cross-post on your own website at the same time. Also, I’d be happy to repost some of the great posts that have already been published by others elsewhere, but which may not have reached the readers of this site.

Anything else suck?


  • ZenFilms says:

    Hey Christy, what do you think of my approach to classifying transmedia projects: http://zenfilms.typepad.com/zen_films/2010/06/t

    Do you think it matters that much how or when the entertainment becomes transmedia if the final result is the same? I mean, you could take a mono-medium book and then develop it into a transmedia entity if it were done right… or?

    • christydena says:

      Hello Robert,

      Chats like this are a bit difficult for me because I don't want to negate newcomer enthusiasm! I too used to classify transmedia projects in a manner similar to the way you are. You wouldn't believe how many charts and tables I've created. But I realised that defining transmedia projects according to the end-point doesn't work. I spent 100,000 words arguing the point in the my thesis — so feel free to read that if you can plough through it! 🙂

      And yes, it matters a lot at what point a project becomes transmedia. I don't mean in a hierarchical sense (one isn't automatically better than the other). But when I work on projects that started mono-medium, there are some different strategies and skills that are needed than projects that are transmedia-native. For instance, an existing mono-medium project is quite simply, designed to be mono-medium. So when I come in to help develop it to be transmedia, what is possible is constrained by what already exists. I can do this, but can't do this. In addition to this, a transmedia-native project requires particular skills that not many have. For decades, most projects that run across media have been developed to be so by different people. So you have one team/person doing work on one medium, then another team/person doing work on another medium. What I'm interested in is the skills involved with those practitioners who work on more than one medium for a project. Not people have those skills. That is also why everyone isn't just going out there and doing good stuff right off the bat. We're learning how to do it, and do it well.

      • ZenFilms says:

        You say it doesn't work but it depends on the objective.
        My objective was to clarify a type of transmedia, not to prescribe an approach.
        I appreciate that different projects start at different places and require different skills and approaches.

        • christydena says:

          It does depend on the objective. As you know, I've spoken about the different ways you can expand your world across media — you even favourited my slideshows from years ago talking about these. So, yes, there are the different strategies you can use (such as moving to a different time and place, sub-character, same characters, different POV, and so on). Anything you can do in a normal story (and game) can happen across media.

          This is just semantics though, but I don't think you're talking about types, just narrative techniques and strategies. Your approach is based on the idea championed by Henry Jenkins and many others, that transmedia can be understood by the relationship between in the media at the end point. Transmedia is not adaptation or repurposing, it is always an extension. As soon as you get into that territory, then how can you tell what is transmedia and what isn't? I mean, a fan can choose to extend a story created by a studio – is that transmedia?

          But in the end each of the types of transmedia all have a different goal or objective as you say. I don't think yours are in competition with mine. They have different roles. I'm talking about the different strategies and issues that arise according to the when and how a transmedia project is approached. This is based on my experienced working with all four approaches.

          I did use to define transmedia the way you did, and so that is why I said I find these conversations hard. I don't want to dissuade you. I found that line of thinking fruitful and essential. I have uploaded one of my old talks in which I talk about categorising these kinds of projects like the first chart you offered: http://www.slideshare.net/christydena/towards-a…. It is written for academia in my clumsy way at the time, not for general audiences. But I think you get the idea. I've also uploaded my essay that went with it here as a PDF.

          So, what I need to say repeat is I find these conversations difficult. I know what you're doing with your charts (I for instance have been using the time-based transmedia documentation for years, just never shared it publicly). So I know the path you're on, and it is great! I just find it difficult to pretend as if I haven't never thought of these things. I guess I should just say, great stuff and leave it at that?

          Also, Robert, I don't think I'm prescribing at all. I'm sharing what I've learned as I've found that helps others. Just as you're sharing what you've learned. What else can we do?

          For me, I'm paying someone a compliment if I'm engaging with them and talking honestly with them. If I simply said nothing about what you're doing then that means I don't think our conversations can be fruitful. I'm being honest with you and sharing my experience of the situation. Do you want me to pretend to be anything else? I don't think you do. I perhaps just need to figure out ways to be honest in a nicer way? Is that it?

          In the end, I think the best thing for the transmedia area is for people to have strong different views based on experience. Different views based on ignorance is stupid. But different views based on what you've done in transmedia is good. And this is happening, so all the types of transmedia just represent the growing divergence of experiences. Great stuff. :))

  • […] momentos parece importante entender que existen diferentes tipos de transmedia (Behnan Kabbasi y Christy Dena aportan bastante sobre el tema), que no es lo mismo hablar de transmedia desde el concepto […]

  • […] Dena provides us with the following graphic to help illustrate the different types of transmedia on her website: […]

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