Transmediation, if you’re like me, is a newer term I just recently discovered. I had previously seen numerous events of this throughout my life but never was able to put a name to it. You’ve seen it yourself, from novelizations of film to graphics novels that continue their story in a video game, the possibilities are endless for some content creators and should be taken advantage of. Transmediation is a storytelling technique that allows a creative, passionate person or team to explore a concept or idea through numerous forms of mediums. For instance, developers work on their video game, while also writing a novel about or expanding upon their universe and bringing it all together. They may also wander into graphic novels, or music, or even film. The beauty and creativeness that stems from this are wonderful and inspiring. A creator can be so much more than simply one form of outlet, they should be allowed to flourish and entertain as many people through as many mediums as possible.
A quick example of transmediation are the Star Wars novels. While Star Wars began as the 1977 film we all know and love, numerous stories, and adventures have taken place off-screen. Some continuing or adding to the films, or even taking place across the other side of the galaxy with different characters. It’s simply a way of adding more lore and story to something you may not have otherwise had the time or opportunity to do.
Recently, in an interview with The Indie Gamer Magazine, Poppy Parr brought up this term again. While developing and working on her video game, AURALIAN: The Ages Of Awakening, she will also continue her story through the use of animated shorts, graphics novels, and books. She went on to say,
“With each new medium, more of the story unfolds and the mysteries are unveiled and answered.”
This sentence really stuck with me. You use transmediation to not only tell more of your story, but to answer questions that may be asked by yourself, and to truly discover the world and characters as they progress through different mediums. You can also expand your universe through the use of many different intersecting characters and stories, that cross pages and leap through the screen. The possibilities within this art of storytelling are endless.
This practice is already hugely used by larger companies and studios, continuing storylines and characters on from video games to solo stories and more. This would also be a great opportunity for independent creators to explore though as well! Especially with independent game development. It can be a long and time-consuming process to create what you envision in your head, and while you may not get every last shred of the story you wanted to include, it would perhaps be cheaper, or easier for you to convey a side story or continuation of your lore through a novel or graphic novel.
Transmediation is not a new thing by any means, but like myself, many creators may not have known the word to associate with this style of art. I find it especially exciting for new or small creators who may not know how to tell their story. You can carry it through many different genres, mediums, and styles.
The idea is there. It is brewing in your head and driving you crazy. Find the medium that works best for you to begin your story, and from there, the possibilities are endless. In short, create stuff, because our imaginations are just our inner-child starving for creativity!
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