Transmedia Storytelling is Creative Opportunity

Transmedia storytelling is geared toward maintaining audience interest through the creation of art allowing for creative opportunity. Media companies reap the benefits of fan culture and implement transmedia storytelling to do so. This is not necessarily done to create more commerce but rather to continue capturing audience support.

NBC and Metrodigi have already begun the process of transmedia storytelling with the show Grimm. Their collaboration resulted in the creation of an eBook titled Grimm: The Essential Guide , which enables fans to: poke through the various artifacts contained in a trailer that had passed on to Nick Burkhardt (the lead character) from his Aunt Marie, view behind the scenes activity, browse the most complete compilation of Wesen creatures, and use an interactive glossary of terms to understand the Grimm universe. To bring every fan up to speed, the guide provides viewers with interactive photo galleries, videos, quizzes. However, this is just a small step toward expanding its transmedia storytelling. While being interactive it lacks a real avenue for participation.

In Henry Jenkins “Convergence Culture”(2006), Jenkins defines participation as being shaped by cultural and social protocols where consumers not producers are in control. Interactivity is limited by technology and designers structure the environment provided. Participation on the other hand allows consumers to interact in the production and distribution of material.

Character backgrounds have already been established but entry points should be open for consumers to expand the story. I say this because the show lacks interesting dialogue even though the characters are entertaining. Clearly, the show could benefit from its consumers contributing to plot holes. We want to know where Adalind Schade’s baby is and what Nick’s mother is doing with her. This is where additive comprehension could come into play.

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Jenkins mentions additive comprehension, which is described by Neil Young, as “the expansion of interpretive possibility that occurs when fictional franchises are extended across multiple texts and media. As previously mentioned, we have an eBook but an avenue for animation production would be an important extension in creating scenarios that would draw continued interest in its fan culture. Creating a experience where fans can construct stories for these plot holes will keep them engaged. Another alternative would be for producers to promote a Wesen newspaper where fans contribute stories for plot holes. Grimm could build off the stories to better entice fans and inevitably contribute to the show’s success.


What is Convergence Culture?

Henry Jenkins, author of “Convergence Culture” (2006) defines convergence culture as “where old and new media collide, where grassroots and corporate media intersect, where the power of the media producer and the power of the media consumer interact in unpredictable ways.”

Computers, cell phones, and the Internet encourage almost limitless communication providing opportunities for a new cultural experience. Convergence culture is representative of a cultural shift where consumers encourage information and connections dispersed among various media platforms. The result is participatory culture. No longer can the consumer be described as simply a passive spectator, but rather a participant who interact with media producers. When consumers take information from the media and use it for social interactions with other consumers then an incentive is built to continuously talk about the media resulting in collective intelligence. French cyber-theorist, Pierre Lévy is credited with coining the term collective intelligence. Conversations amongst consumers are a collective process valued by media industries.

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Media industries gain more power by using these conversations for advertising purposes and to build their fan base. This has changed the way media is produced and the way it is consumed.

One example of convergence culture between the television industry and consumers is the NBC app. In this app a consumer is able to further their viewing participation. Take for instance the NBC’s show Grimm. Viewers are able to visit the “spice shop” and uncover secrets. By clicking on highlighted items details about objects used in the show are revealed to entice viewers. Viewers can also tour the Grimm set. You can even view creature profiles and explore Nick’s books. This encourages fans to talk and predict what will happen in the upcoming shows on their fandom Sites. The feedback on such Sites allows for producers to understand their audience and thus construct future shows   to keep their audience coming back for more.