Chicken or Egg? – Writing a Transmedia project

I am a terrible writer. Every year I say ‘This year I am going to write something complete, I am going to finish a script’. Yeh, I never do. I’m always trying to convince myself that I can write. I‘ve listen to podcasts, I’ve read books, I’ve sacrificed a mantis (ancient Egyptian ritual). I suck at dialog…my characters are bumbing idiots, repeating themselves at every turn.

Man #1: I’m quitting.

Man #2: You’re quitting?

Man #1: I’m quitting.

and so on… (crap!, even that dialog was rubbish)

bigstockphoto_Broken_Pencil_3462026

Its actually refreshing to just say ‘screw it’. Since then I have brought on a writer, and what a relief it is to think about the story from a whole new perspective. I’ve passed on all the information I could about the story world, and I am super excited to see her perspective. I told her about how we plan on using a transmedia approach; how all these different forms are going to tell one story; and that every media is as important as the theatre show. She loves the idea, she’s on board,we’re moving forward, but how do we write this thing?  How do we write for all these formats and platforms? We sat staring at each other, searching for answers.

One question she kept asking me was How long do you imagine the project to be?

This is a difficult question to answer. Usually there are some kinds of guidelines or set formats that one can follow. Feature films, novels, even webisodes have certain time structures or page counts that stories can adhere to and which audiences are used to. A writer can base their project around a model, whereas transmedia type projects don’t really seem to have any model to consider or fall back on (Which is pretty awesome actually).  If  we are using different types of media in each episode than how long should we keep them?  Should we write specifically for each medium? The obvious answer to me would be- Make it however long it takes, to say what is important to the story… but it seems a bit more complex than that. Should I firstly create the story in a more traditional three act structure, and then adapt the content to what I believe would be the most effective medium for that part of the story. Or should I settle on my medium and then write based around that.

OH THE CONFUSION!

For now, we are going to concentrate on the story first, create the story in a more traditional sense and then once we have our turning points, our messages, our ending, and whatever else feels impossible to leave out- then we will think about the ways in which we can express them to our audience.

Once that is done, then we will think about the interactivity… but I have an interactive designer to help me with that… Thank God.

Man #1: Perhaps this isn’t the best way to approach a transmedia project

Man #2: This isn’t the best way to approach a transmedia project?

Man #1: Uh yes, Oh I don’t know. At least we have something we can fall back on – the story.

Go dialog!

Some links about writing for transmedia

http://silverstringmedia.com/2011/10/10/transmedia-writing-is-more-than-writing/

http://digitalbookworld.com/2010/transmedia-gatekeeping-the-story-not-the-page/

 

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