Transmedia Storytelling for Indie Filmmakers


The techniques and tools for creating a storyworld that unfolds across multiple platforms and invites audience engagement (often through interactivity on the platforms where the users are typically the most active, e.g., social media, gaming, live events, etc.) are not just for the big studios. Transmedia storytelling holds great potential for indie filmmakers too.

This insight - indie filmmakers can utilize transmedia storytelling for fun and profit - was the subject of a March 8th, 2013 article in Variety entitled "Indie Pics Gaining Spinoff Success."  In that piece, Gregg Goldstein observed that "[i]n recent years, entrepreneurial lensers have transformed seemingly conventional fest fare into a hit cartoon series (“Black Dynamite”), a New York Times bestseller (Sebastian Junger’s “War,” made alongside his “Restrepo” doc), and even a Tony-winning Broadway musical (“Once”)." In addition, "[h]it docs have spawned profitable reality series, including the MTV version of Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman’s “Catfish” and FX’s “30 Days,” adapted from Morgan Spurlock’s doc “Super Size Me.”"

The techniques for telling a story across many platforms (e.g., traditional moviemaking, theater, social media, live events, TV, games, comic books, etc.) may require more planning and effort from the creators... but  the rewards of transmedia storytelling can be large enough to outweigh any extra expense or complexity. As Simon Pulman has observed, "fans dig deeper, revisit the original content for a deeper understanding, and pull their friends into the discussion:" In short, transmedia storytelling is a powerful way to increase your story's longevity and power.

For today, let's let Gregg Goldstein, writing in Variety have the last word: "As more indie filmmakers continue to exploit the crossover potential between old and new media, audiences will follow — on their tablets, cell phones and laptops — and even in theaters."

No comments:

Randy Finch's Film Blog:

Thoughts from a film producer about making and distributing films.