Wednesday, January 20, 2010

STORYTELLING IN THE DIGITAL AGE, & before

Reading across the media sustains a depth of experience that motivates more consumption. In a world with many media options, consumers are choosing to invest deeply in a limited number of franchises rather than dip shallowly into a larger number. Increasingly, gamers spend most of their time and money within a single genre, often a single franchise. We can see the same pattern in other media-films (high success for certain franchises, overall declines in revenue), television (shorter spans for most series, longer runs for a few), or comics (incredibly long runs for a limited number of superhero icons). Redundancy between media burns up fan interest and causes franchises to fail. Offering new levels of insight and experience refreshes the franchise and sustains consumer loyalty. Such a multilayered approach to storytelling will enable a more complex, more sophisticated, more rewarding mode of narrative to emerge within the constraints of commercial entertainment.

--Henry Jenkins, "Transmedia Storytelling"

Jenkins' talk on 7 Principles of Transmedia Storytelling at Futures of Entertainment 4 conference Nov 09

And here they are:

1. Spreadability vs. Drillability
2. Continuity vs. Multiplicity
3. Immersion vs. Extractability
4. Worldbuilding
5. Seriality
6. Subjectivity
7. Performance



One example I have done research on is "IT," which was a concept that Elinor Glyn, kind of an Oprah of the 1920s, but a Canadian in a tiara, first developed in her writing to describe the quality of sexual magnetism. Then she wrote a novella, published in two parts in the magazine Cosmopolitan (then more of a fiction magazine than what it is now), which the characters in the silent film It read and discuss, even to the point of asking her about what she meant when she sweeps into a scene in a cameo appearance. Clara Bow, the star of that film, was marketed as "the It girl," a phrase we still use today. "IT," the perfect meme, really, made the transmedia rounds of the Jazz Age.


It is really a fairy tale, and that brings us to our next topic--Propp and the way he analyzed the pieces of folktales in his Morphology. After studying a body of tales, he claimed that all tales really share the same structure, with variations in the functions employed. Here is a clever Fairy Tale generator based on Propp's functions. Let's give it a spin!

and here is an article about how Propp relates to narrative in games.

video

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