Transmedia and the independent filmmaker
This video by Robert Pratten is a great introduction to what transmedia is and how it can be employed by the independent filmmaker (he also has a refreshing perspective on the “technological fetish” of our obsession with new camera technologies!). It’s a 45-minute presentation full of brain candy and should be required viewing for anyone thinking about telling stories across mediums. As Pratten stresses, “transmedia plays to indie’s strengths,” because delivering a consistency of story across platforms is possible for independent creators — not large studios made up of divided teams. In my opinion, his point about authenticity is even more important, because: I could care less about playing a social game if the original auteur had nothing to do with it, and I could care even less about buying a DVD if I suspect only 65 cents of a $15 purchase is going to find its way back to the original filmmaker. Creating our own cross-platform projects and retaining ownership not only gives us more creative control on all of the different incarnations of our story, it can also motivate fans to make purchases because they know we’re the ones benefiting from their support.
In addition to the above presentation, however, Pratten has written some very helpful articles at the Workbook Project on the process of developing transmedia projects:
As I develop my own transmedia project, there exists a certain tension between the story itself and the marketing of the story. Looking at Pratten’s charts, it’s easy to understand how the story in a transmedia project could easily become compromised by marketing and cross-platform promotional considerations. On the other hand, it’s up to us as filmmakers to have a realistic understanding of who our audience is, and how we can mobilize that audience. In this light, Pratten’s articles make for great reads; it’s up to us as storytellers to take these development processes into consideration, and then only use what fits our story.