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YSA Sucking

Posted by admin on September 4, 2010 in Design, Development, Execution, Production, Writing |

I find it interesting that there has predominantly been two types of responses to this website. Beginners always ask how they can avoid ending up here, how they can avoid sucking at transmedia; while people who have worked in the area for a while are really excited about the idea of sharing the times they suck, their “war stories”, “lessons learned” and so on. This, and a few events in my life, has got me thinking about the weird but (to me) undeniable reality of working in transmedia (or perhaps any area really): things will always go wrong.

I remember when I started in this area, I thought that if I could learn all I can about the craft of transmedia I could therefore create great stuff. But I then realised that you don’t get anywhere in this industry/artform (or any) without also understanding the business — working with people, the politics, marketing, and so on. That is why you have services like Marvin Acuna’s Business of the Show Institute, helping writers understand the business side of screenwriting.

But another thing it took me a long time to realise was that no matter what level of knowledge and amount of experience you have in the area, things will always go wrong. There will always be things that happen that are outside of your control, like weird occurrences, client decisions, things you didn’t foresee, technical failures, unplanned audience responses, and so on. And just about every member of the team (including yourself) will make some mistake some time.

On reflection, I realise that I also had another assumption working in the back of my head. I thought that if I follow my dream, my life will become easier. I’ve learned that I am more satisfied with my life when I do what I want, but things do not get any easier. In fact, I’ve found the more unique and different your ideas and methods, the greater the obstacles will be thrown at you. Things get harder, they really do. (Or maybe it is just me?)

What is the point of all this? I want to highlight something that I think many people who work in the area already know, but those new to the area are trying to avoid: without a doubt, things will suck. Do you best to avoid what you can, learn to recognise when something is sucking, respond and learn from what is sucking immediately, and try not to repeat it. And in the end, the best thing you can do is enjoy the ride. Don’t wait for a time when everything doesn’t suck, because it will never happen. Instead, make identifying what sucks and dealing with it part of the reality of your process and not some uninvited imposter. And then ultimately, you’ll be more likely to enjoy it all.

2 Comments

  • Scott Walker says:

    Sage advice, Christy. Hard to remember, harder to follow, but sage advice nontheless. Thanks for the reminder and encouragement!

  • modelmotion says:

    There is also the possibility of “dynamic interactivity”, at least in game, where you take something that goes wrong unexpectedly and adapt to it in real time to enrich the experience. This means that the game designer needs to be prepared to change their game plan in real time. This is, however, exciting because it demonstrates to the players that the interactivity is not “on rails” creating a sense of realism in the community.

    But, how many “clients' are well enough educated or willing to hand over this level of responsibility to those running the game?

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