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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Henry Jenkins @ComicCon: Transmedia 202: Further Reflections

"The above video was shot by Scott Walker during one of my presentations at San Diego Comic-Con, during which I spoke about some of the controversy which has surrounded the definition of transmedia over the past six months or so. I've largely stayed out of these conversations, though you can find a very good summary of the debates here.

I've been focusing on other projects and also I've been more interested in the shapes these discussions take than seeking to intervene in them directly, but over the summer, in a range of venues, I've been pushing and proding at my own definitions to see if I can capture some of my own shifting understandings of transmedia, especially as I am preparing to teach a revamped transmedia entertainment class at USC. Today, I am going to try to put some of this still evolving thinking into writing in hopes that it helps others sort through these issues.

Much of this is covered in the above video so if you process things better in audio-visual than in print, you have your options. I've heard some gossip that Jenkins was going to issue a "new definition" of "transmedia": this is no where near as dramatic an overhaul as that, just some clarifications and reflections about definitions. This definition still covers, more or less, what I mean by transmedia storytelling:

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 it own unique contribution to the unfolding of the story.

So, consider what follows Transmedia 202, to compliment my earlier Transmedia 101 post.

Given the sheer range of people who have embraced (latched onto?) transmedia, we should not be surprised that:

  1. different groups of people are defining a still emerging concept differently for different purposes for different audiences in different contexts

  2. some of those who talk about transmedia are less immersed in the previous writings and thinkings as we might wish and thus can bring a certain degree of fog

  3. some groups are strongly motivated to expand or blur the scope of the category for self promotional and self advancement purposes.

  4. So, let's start at the top with convergence, which in Convergence Culture, I describe as a paradigm for thinking about the current moment of media change, one which is defined through the layering, diversification, and interconnectivity of media. Convergence contrasts with the Digital Revolution model which assumed old media would be displaced by new media. Aspects of this convergence model are shaping decisions of media producers, advertisers, technologists, consumers, and policy-makers, and thus convergence has many different aspects and consequences...."

Thanks Henry for posting! Thanks Scott for shooting video!

Posted via email from Siobhan O'Flynn's 1001 Tales

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