Transmedia storytelling is increasingly being seen as the future of entertainment. A film is no longer just a film; its narrative extends to games, books, online documents, Internet videos, mobile applications, and beyond. But at the foundation of these new storytelling methods are certain narrative traditions that have held up over the centuries. Without a clear understanding of these structures and methods of character development, a narrative will struggle to survive. We must, therefore, look beyond the Matrix, going back instead to the Greeks, whose myths provide some of the first examples of genuine transmedia. These ancient tales crisscrossed through a complex web of drama, poetry, ritual, role playing, and oral recitation, utilizing archetypes that are still the foundation of stories today. In this panel, I will address key archetypes and plot formations found repeatedly in both historical narratives as well as recent successful transmedia franchises. I will discuss how to asses an audience, then strategically choose specific plot lines and characters for specific mediums based on those audience segments. We will look at: 1. Making sure your narrative has a solid premise on which to build – without a foundation you cannot lay bricks. 2. Key characteristics of appeal characters – how to have bad heroes and good villains 3. How to structure the story in an appropriate narrative thread 4. Choosing mediums and messages Spoken of here, transmedia narratives are not adaptations; they are extensions, networks composed not as afterthoughts to an “original” creative work, but conceived instead in conjunction with them, with thought given to the story, the medium, the audience, and how these elements relate to a cohesive fictional world.
Barbara Vance is a published poet and illustrator whose award-nominated children’s poetry collection, Suzie Bitner Was Afraid of the Drain, was released in April 2010.
After earning bachelors and Masters degrees in Western Literature, Barbara worked in advertising before beginning a PhD focused on transmedia narratives at the University of Texas at Dallas. She is the non-fiction editor of the literary magazine, Reunion, and has taught writing at Southern Methodist University and at UTDallas. Ms. Vance’s work has appeared in literary journals, poetry collections, numerous Texas publications, and recently, an ARG. She is producing a short film on 18th Century Fanmaking with the cooperation of the Dallas Museum of Art, and her advice has been sought on screenplays, marketing campaigns and novels. Barbara is the owner of Copperplate Publishing, a media company that produces print and e-books.
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