在文檔中 Transmedia Storytelling for Television in Taiwan: Do Audiences Want to Engage? (頁 11-16)



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Chapter 2: Literature Review

This section will explain what transmedia is and is not. It will provide the historical background for transmedia storytelling projects and will also provide some key terms and definitions that are used in academic discussions of transmedia.

2.1 Transmedia Storytelling Defined

Transmedia storytelling can sometimes be a somewhat vague term. There are several competing terms for using multiple technological platforms to tell different types of stories. People might use terms such as: cross-platform productions, digital

storytelling, or second-screen and multi-screen adaptations, to name a few. Many of these different names incorporate the same logic that this study is interested in but geared for a different end product. Cross-platform projects usually favor one media over the other and are simply defined as “any content (news music, text, and images) published in multiple media/channels” (Veglis, 2012). Digital storytelling usually focuses more on the telling of personal or biographical tales or in education which use low end film or photo clips and an Internet connection so that marginal voices reach a larger audience (Matthews 2013; Wawro, 2012). Second- screen adaptations usually refer to the simple adaptation of a story into another format such as turning a movie into a video game. Transmedia

storytelling for the purposes of this study is not the mere use of multiple entertainment platforms to tell a story but the way in which the story or story world is designed to be released across these platforms in a strategic and coordinated manner.

In this study, the term transmedia story telling will be used to define productions geared for television or the movie industry that are supported by secondary or tertiary entertainment platforms which help to develop more fully the story being told. There is a core vehicle (TV show) and other extensions that help to support the world or story being told in that main vehicle. For the purposes of this study, transmedia is not as Jenkins points out mere adaptation. It is not making a blockbuster movie into a video game that follows the same characters and plot on a different medium. Nor is transmedia

storytelling franchising by way of complementary products, such as themed snacks,

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clothing, or posters.

True transmedia storytelling involves the outlying platforms used in a way that make a “distinct and valuable contributions” to the original story or story world (Jenkins, 2006). What makes these types of contributions distinct and valuable will be discussed in the following sections.

2.1.1 Digital Convergence and Transmedia Origins

In his book Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide, Jenkins was one of the first to describe in detail the multiple ways that advances in technology and fan culture have changed the way that storytellers and audiences behave. (Jenkins, 2006) With the advent of the Internet, mobile phones and connected audiences, a culture of participation, engagement, or immersion has evolved and has been changing the way major films, and television shows are produced. The basis of these changes comes from the media convergence described as the “technological, industrial, cultural and social changes in the ways that media circulates within our culture. Comes common ideas referenced by the term include the flow of content between multiple media industries.”

(Jenkins, 2006) There has been a shift in the way major franchises and their producers need to think about developing a product:

Whereas old Hollywood focused on cinema, the new media conglomerates have controlling interests across the entire entertainment industry. Warner Bros.

produces film, television, popular music, computer games, Web sites, toys,

amusement park rides, books, newspapers, magazines, and comics (Jenkins, 2006:


This has led to a greater, industry-wide shift of standard practices for certain types of productions. The same principles of transmedia storytelling can and are used in several other industries such as advertising, political campaigns, journalism, and

education, but for the purposes of this study, the focus as stated above will be limited to transmedia productions geared for television and motion pictures.

2.1.2 The Connected Audience

Chapters two and three of Jenkins’ book will be especially influential for the

purposes of this thesis. In chapter 2, Jenkins outlines how advances in consumer

technology have created “connected audiences” and goes on to describe how production companies can cater to this type of audience and participatory environment by taking an in depth look at the American singing contest show American Idol. This type of audience is able to influence how studios and production companies decide to put together new content. They are connected to each other through internet forums, social media platforms, and mobile apps. Therefore, producers seeking to capitalize on this need to think about how to coordinate in and across these platforms to better maintain their franchise. As he puts it:

The experience should not be contained in a single media platform, but should extend across as many media as possible. Brand extension builds on audience interest in particular content to bring them into contact again and again with an associated brand (Jenkins, 2006: 69).

As convergence has continued over time and more and more social media platforms are available, this trend has become common practice in many poplar U.S.

television shows. Chris Anderson also outlines this same shift in production in his book The Long Tail. The new media landscape that the modern and connected world is forces such as the “democratizing [of] the tools of production. The best example of this is the personal computer, which has put everything from the printing press to the film studio in the hands of anyone” (Anderson, 2006). This not only makes audiences connected, but makes audiences and fans potential producers as well. Frank Rose also describes how audiences are encouraged to go to fan websites, follow twitter feeds from favorite characters, and at each of these stages the advertisers behind the program have another point to get the attention of their intended consumers (Rose, 2011).

Now that the general background of transmedia has been presented, a look at how that can change how a story is told across different platforms will be looked at.

2.1.3 Transmedia Storytelling Extensions-From Story to World

In Convergence Culture, Jenkins outlines the use of transmedia storytelling and how it was utilized in the making of the major franchise The Matrix. This chapter clearly outlines the ways that a true transmedia production can unfold across different media

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platforms that each bring their “distinctive and valuable” contributions to the story as a whole as Geoff Long, one of Jenkins’ students puts it (Long, 2007). By making this type of contribution to an overarching story world, the “transmediality” of a production can be gauged by how much or how well a production can use " multiple media technologies to present information concerning a single fictional world through a range of textual forms”

(Evans, 2011: 1) Bourdaa also explains the advantages that producers gain from this practice:

“The strategy of expanding a narrative universe is often used for two main reasons around TV shows. First of all, it allows producers and the channel to promote a show and make it known to the audience before the premiere. Then, it could be used to maintain a regular audience during the hiatuses or between episodes” (Bourdaa, 2012).

The following three figures are shown to graphically illustrate what is meant by this, Pratten provides the following illustration in his book Getting Started in Transmedia


In this visual representation, Pratten highlights the difference between

“old” media and “new”. Before, maybe a franchise produced content for other platforms like books or video games but they were standalone productions. In the transmedia environment the production of these various components work in synthesis together to make a more complete experience for the audience.

Figure 1 Transmedia Storytelling Visualized 1

Peter von Stackleberg and Robert Pratten give us two more ways to visualize this type of production here:

Here we see two possible transmedia productions and how the various extensions of the story might look as released or developed over time. The additional content be it by video game, print media, website or other, might be released

concurrently with the main story or in a sequentially depending on the producer’s strategy or goals.

As Figure 3 shows, the extended content might also correspond to different time within the main story being told or the timeline of the story world. There are myriad of ways that the content might unfold on the platforms chosen for

extensions to the main story.

These various platforms can be used in both official and unofficial ways to contribute to the main story or story-world. Fans can either start their own websites and forums dedicated to the characters from a certain project, or the producers themselves can establish these outlets in an effort to cater to their fans in ways that add the

Figure 2 Transmedia Storytelling Visualized 2 Source: Pratten, 2011

Figure 3 Transmedia Storytelling Visualized 3 Source: Stackleberg, 2011

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aforementioned “distinctive and valuable” contributions to the franchise as a whole (Jenkins, 2006).

Now that the history of transmedia storytelling has been outlined and its basic logic has been explained, attention will be shifted to a more detailed look into the extensions that make for a rich transmedia production.

在文檔中 Transmedia Storytelling for Television in Taiwan: Do Audiences Want to Engage? (頁 11-16)