If (like me) you are a visual thinker, and comprehend new information best when it is presented in clean graphics and images (I love charts and diagrams), here is a link to a very helpful post by Lucas J. W. Johnson that contains two wonderful illustrations that should help to demystify how transmedia storytellers conceive and build their projects.
The case study that Lucas Johnson uses to kick off his post is Animism, a transmedia story developed by Zeros 2 Heroes and pitched to a broadcaster APTN - with an animated television series as part of a much larger comprehensive cross-platform storytelling plan.
One of the key elements of the Zeros 2 Heroes plan for Animism was an animated pilot:
But the Zeros 2 Heroes strategy for Animism included comics, casual games, ARGs, enhanced ebooks, and a proprietary social network. And these other (besides the TV series) platforms were not just afterthoughts - they were part of the plan right from the start...
The illustration at the top of this post shows which platforms were planned to make money (i.e., "monetization") and which platforms were developed because they were considered strongest for marketing.
Another noteworthy feature of Animism is the way it has been designed to engage the audience - tracking their involvement in ways that APTN and Zeros 2 Heroes could use (e.g., making new episodes that focus on the most popular characters) - and providing opportunities for core fans to participate in the story.
Building engagement and community are the hallmarks of a successful transmedia project. Not every project will light a fire with an audience - but your goal should always be to create the potential for engagement and community.
You may not be prepared to hand over the reins to your fans. But, increasingly, true fans want to be part of the creative process. For example, some fans want to pick their own ending. This point is illustrated in another great graphic (seen below) from Lucas Johnson's post - that illustrates how superfans can be rewarded by giving them a say in how a story arc (e.g., the first season of the animated Animism TV series) will end...