Transmedia Storytelling: Convergent Culture and Hybrid Narratives

Transmedia Storytelling has been around for awhile but who would
have thought that it would have garnished so much interest in the
past few years. As new communication and media technologies continue to
adapt and remediate traditional forms, narrative is also evolving to fit the
parameters of our constantly changing viewing  habits.

It would appear that linear forms are so last century, as we ditch the t.v.
to embrace cross-platform media content which exists across a plethora
of formats and devices. So what is Transmedia Storytelling?

Henry Jenkins, author of ‘Convergent Culture’ states that:

Transmedia storytelling represents a process where integral elements of a fiction
get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of
creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience. Ideally each medium
makes its own unique contribution to the unfolding of the story”

For many new media artists this concept is not so new, perhaps one man’s ‘hybrid
narrative’ is another man’s ‘transmedia story’. But beyond all the jockeying for position
amongst academics and the entertainment industry players, what I find most interesting
is how new media technologies are reconfiguring our relationship with
narrative and shaping our views of what we deem to be entertainment in the 21st Century.

Transmedia narratives continue to chart new territory, pushing the boundaries
of our understanding by introducing new rules of engagement. Entertainment is no
longer confined to a dedicated space, rather it now follows us, concealed in portable
networked devices. The mobile phone has become a microscope capable of detecting
virtual content pinned to co-ordinates within our living spaces. Stories connect and
stretch across multiple platforms and devices, no longer bound by linearity.

So how is Transmedia Storytelling changing our relationship with both media
and Narrative? Is new media simply a a safety blanket, a thumb to suck, something
to spirit us away from the pressures and challenges of the everyday? Or does Transmedia
Storytelling offer artists unique and engaging ways to present narrative content in a
dynamic digital environment?

If you would like to know more about Transmedia Storytelling, check out the videos below.

Henry Jenkins at Toying with Transmedia: The Future of Entertainment is Child’s Play, MIT Media Lab.

Henry Jenkins at The Future of Entertainment 4, MIT Media Lab.

Henry Jenkins old blog

Henry Jenkins new blog

More Transmedia resources:


~ by Dean on June 1, 2011.

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