Sunday, September 6, 2009

INSIDE STORIES PODCAST 02: TRANSMEDIA STORYTELLER JEFF GOMEZ

LISTEN ONLINE HERE, OR BETTER YET SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE ON iTUNES HERE.

This week's podcast episode is a conversation with Jeff Gomez, the president and CEO of Starlight Runner Entertainment, and an all-around cool guy. His company produces "transmedia franchises." What's that, you ask? In a nutshell, a transmedia story is one that crosses various media platforms -- comic books that are transformed into video games that allow players to become the story's characters, movies that invite viewers to go deeper through online portals. In the podcast, Jeff talks about work he's done with Coca-Cola, the "Halo" video game, a documentary film on nuclear proliferation, and about the upcoming television series "Flash Forward" as examples of how stories can be told across different media, and how they can involve viewers/readers in new ways. Jeff talks about this much better than I do, so take a listen!

I can't help but wonder how transmedia storytelling might be applied to other, existing stories as well. Since I just blogged about "Hamlet," let's take that as an example. What if different parts of "Hamlet" were presented in vastly different media, at different times and places? Forget the practicalities for a moment, and imagine the "to be or not to be" speech coming over a PA system on a busy street corner, as if the voice of God. The graveyard scene might be an actor digging an actual grave in a park. The bedroom scene could be related as a scandalous article in a fake tabloid newspaper. The play-within-a-play could take place in an actual theater. Hamlet's love of Ophelia might be conveyed in a sheaf of love letters (containing Shakespeare's original language, of course) that people can sort through at the local library. A theater company that put on such a production would let audiences know how and where to access the different parts of the play. There would be plenty of logistical challenges with such a production, but you see the point -- you can only get the whole story through various media. And that's part of what I think is exciting about transmedia storytelling -- people can receive or even participate in the story in uncommon ways. (I still think a book or a play can be just as engrossing as a transmedia story, but it does present some intriguing possibilities!)

Alright, let's make this a transmedia event right now. You've read the blog post, now go listen to the podcast already! Again, I hope you'll get subscribe to the podcast for free on iTunes by clicking here. Or post a comment about your experiences with stories told in different media. 

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