In this week transmedia designer Christy Dena had to answer our questions about “Why Transmedia?”
In 2009 Christy Dena submitted her PhD titled “Transmedia Practice: Theorising the Practice of Expressing a Fictional World across Distinct Media and Environments”. You can find it online here for further research. Now she is running her own company called Universe Creation 101, where she develops creative projects and entertainment services, as well as consulting on cross/transmedia projects. On the blog You Suck at Transmedia she is sharing the real war stories, fun and sincere reflections, and the frustrating and downright bad stuff. You can also follow her on twitter, but don’t forget to read her answer to our questions here 😉
As a researcher and creator of meaningful playful stories – why transmedia?
To be honest, I think in the beginning it was psychological. I was working on a short story for print, and decided to expand it so it continued on the web, with the chatbots. I had/have a love of both illuminated books and interactivity (especially character-based interactions), and this was a way to bring together my two loves. After years of keeping all my different interests so very separate, I felt I was becoming whole. I also love working on things that involve the writing of the map – carving out a path through things that haven’t been done before. And so I’ll always find new ways to create that challenge for myself (like my latest project, AUTHENTIC IN ALL CAPS).
What’s driving the sudden activity and buzz around “transmedia”?
As you know, the buzz has been around for years. New people keep finding out about it and so the buzz continues. Sometimes people are attracted to something new for the sake of it, and sometimes it is because transmedia truly resonates with them. A pretty good sign of why someone enters transmedia is found in how they define it! And that is why the definitions are pretty diverse. ?
Can you think of any examples of content, either mainstream or niche, that are great case studies for how things should play out?
I don’t like the idea of telling people how things should play out. Instead, I’m keen for creatives to go nuts with their own ideas and skills. The area has been too heavily influenced by what other people are doing. While this is understandable and important at the early stages when we’re all learning how to do this, we’re at the point now where people can smash/progress the rules. Learn from what the creatives you respect say, from experiments you do (paid and unpaid), analyse what you love and hate about other people’s projects, and sink your hands into what challenges you.
Do you think that only Hollywood and big networks are able to realize “cool” transmedia projects?
There are some talented people in Hollywood, but there is also a culture that doesn’t really facilitate getting the best out of a story (or game). There is also a strong push back against transmedia (or anything digital or different), and so that makes it harder for the project to be treated with respect. Success in that regard is the same for all projects – respect the story, respect the artform, respect the artists, and respect the audience.
What do you wish for upcoming transmedia projects?
I would love to see more serious tales. I don’t mean sad drama, but stories that really come from a personal place. I also would love to see more creatives get a larger audience size or player base, and keep them! I’d love to see the entry-level conversations be complimented with more conversations about design and cultural issues.
What is the transmedia scene in your country like?
It is slow to come to the table. While there have been education programmes happening here for years, the industries in Australia are very conservative. They don’t adapt until…they don’t adapt. There have been some great projects created in Australia (and in the very early days too), but it is accomplished practitioners who have worked outside the system (or know how to play it), and the new emerging ones that will help break ground.
Thank you very much for taking the time and answering our questions, Christy!
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