Transmedia & Convergence

What is transmedia storytelling & how does it take advantage of convergence in order to create an expansive story world?

Transmedia storytelling is simply, as the name implies, is conveying a story across various forms of media. According to Henry Jenkins (2007), each medium would ideally add its own, unique contribution to the main storyline. Convergence, refers to the flow of content across mediums, the cooperation between the media industry and the media audiences who would go almost anywhere in search of the kinds of entertainment experiences they wanted (Jenkins, 2006).

One example of transmedia storytelling is Marvel. Originally restricted to comics, today the Marvel Universe consists of movies, tv series, games, websites and more. While most of the content on the platforms are cohesive, and are part of the same storyline, known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), due to the sheer size and span of time in which they were created, there are some content which form their own story totally unrelated to the MCU.

Another example of transmedia is the Lord of The Rings series. Written by Tolkien over the course of several years, it was originally conceived as a series of books. Later in the 2000s they were adapted into films by director Peter Jackson, and received with amazing, positive response. Eventually three more movies based on the Hobbit books by Tolkien as well as several games followed. However in addition to official content, the community also added to the storyline. Fans teamed up and have created virtual maps to explore Middle Earth, as well as extensive resources on the languages used in the story such as, Elvish, Dwarfish and even created movies, stories and apps. The Lord of the Rings series showcases what is possible with technology today and the way transmedia storytelling and media convergence is enabling us to create more content, on more platforms, with more people.

This was originally written as an exercise as part of Research and Development in Digital Media.