Passive Media, Active Media, and The Five Building Blocks of Every Good Story

A key feature in any transmedia roll-out is the ability to utilize each medium’s core strengths. A campaign tries not to reiterate the same story over and over again not just because it’s boring and not just because you want to reach new fans, but because, say, a story that’s best told in film doesn’t necessarily translate well to the video game environment, or vice versa.

Sounds simple, yet you’d be surprised by the amount of people who don’t understand this concept.

Sounds simple, yet you’d be surprised by the amount of people who don’t understand this concept.

This can be intimidating to the media fledgling. A producer has to oversee an entire array of platforms and content creators in order to establish a coherent and profitable story world. That requires connections, of course, but also an often intimidating amount of knowledge of production across a wide variety of distribution points. Does he or she really need to understand how every media works in order to create a great roll-out strategy?

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Be Users, Not Consumers

People always complain about the youngest generation, but I actually love the Pluralists. These are the kids who were born near or after 2001, the peeps who have never known a world without the internet, who have grown up post-9/11, who have the information of our entire history at their fingertips.

When they’re not posting image macros, that is.

When they’re not posting image macros, that is.

I mean, let’s just look at the Pluralists as a whole. They:

  • Are the most published generation in history
  • Follow the breadcrumbs laid out to them by companies and their peers
  • Reward authenticity and quality above all
  • Have grown up in a multimedia atmosphere
  • Understand how to utilize interactivity, intuitively
  • Celebrate an infinite amount of diversity

That’s a pretty accomplished list for me! There’s just one small issue…

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Gone Home: Complicity and Subconscious Agency

GoneHome

Spoilers ahead. Thou hath been warned.

There’s a lot to talk about in Gone Home, The Fullbright Company’s award-winning “story exploration video game.” The subversion of horror that it presents, the “is it really a game” argument, LGBT issues that it brings up, or any of the controversies surrounding it. But this is a transmedia blog, and so what I’m interested in is how the title makes use of multiple media platforms to make the player complicit in how the narrative unfolds.

Sorry for being long-winded on this one, but we’re talking about art, so I get to act all hi-falutin’.

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The Muppets Most Branded

I’m struggling with this one, and not because of my feelings on this one particular film in general. I honestly don’t care what the reviews say. I don’t care who knows it. The Muppets Most Wanted was a fantastic movie and my movie of the year so far.

I mean, I’m not the most impartial of judges. I own three versions of Muppets from Space (DVD, VHS, and download). I hit up Muppets 3D, regardless of lines, as my first (and last) ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I’ve gotten into arguments about whether Charles Dickens would have approved of a muppet-led version of his Christmas story (in short, I don’t care what Mr. Dickens thinks). Some people are into Star Trek. Others worship at the blood-drenched altar of Joss Whedon. Give me Gonzo and a camera crew and I’ll conquer the world.

Bow, mortals.

Bow, mortals.

But is this because I have been so brainwashed by Kermit, Ms. Piggy, Fozzie, et al that I’m willing to allow myself to be sucked in? And does it even matter if I’m having a good time?

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Star Wars, as Told by Michael Corleone

Disney is getting rid of the entire Expanded Universe for Star Wars. If you haven’t heard, and are a fan, then I’ll wait right here while you cry yourself to sleep. I’ll wait.

To be fair, though, it’s not like we didn’t see this coming. Disney has already axed pretty much anything regarding Star Wars that began even a little outside of their control. LucasArts was the big one that most people gnashed their teeth about a la some biblical figure, but there are numerous other moments of grief playing themselves out across the House of Mouse. The Clone Wars, an Emmy-award winning smash-hit, only managed a graceful exit thanks to a receptive home. For everything else, it’s been a spring cleaning that is matched only by the ending scene of The Godfather.

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A Talking Racoon and a Tree-Man Walk into a Bookstore…

...and he said, "Wrecked him? Damn near killed him!"

…and he said, “Wrecked him? Damn near killed him!”

Let’s put aside the fact that there is a movie coming out soon that showcases a talking tree and a rocket-spewing racoon as they and their three buddies try to save the galaxy (or steal it in the process). What’s interesting me is that Marvel’s going whole hog with this process with a tour around their galaxy via a tie-in book that highlights our favorite outlandish space rogues.

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Sonic’s New Multi/Transmedia Push

He's back, and this time, he's... kind of concerned, I guess.

He’s back, and this time, he’s… kind of concerned, I guess.

It’s been a tough road for Sega’s fast blue furball. Sales of his games and merchandise have never come close to hitting the peak of his 16-bit heyday. But Sega has just announced a brand-new take on the franchise, complete with a TV show and not one, not three, but TWO new games: one for the WiiU and the other for the 3DS.

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