Posts Tagged ‘transmedia’

Creating Its Own World: Terra Nova‘s Website

September 9th, 2011 | Jonathan Gray

In my last post, I noted that the only truly interesting and innovative website for the new network shows this Fall belongs to Terra Nova. Why?

Well, first, let me offer a quick qualifier to the previous statement. Grimm’s website, while largely uneventful and de rigeur, includes what could become a neat little Production Blog, in which various production staff are offered a small amount of space to explain what they do in general and how that works on Grimm. It could provide yet another example of how paratexts teach production literacy, and are invested in a process of multiplying the number of supposed authorial geniuses working on any show … but they have three posts in one month, so perhaps they ran out of geniuses already? Anyways, go see it here.

Back to Terra Nova, though, while not wholly stepping (yet?) into the realm of being an alternate reality game, it does do a good job of setting up the alternate reality in which the show will be set. Almost buried away on the official webpage is a link to become part of the Eleventh Pilgrimage, and by clicking through, one is situated in the futuristic society from which our Terra Novans will depart. The show follows a “pilgrimage” of people from the future who are escaping that hostile future to try and reestablish the past and make better decisions in order to refashion the future (imagine if Wall-E won over the Terminator and the two started hatching ideas). Read more…

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Levels and Episodes in TV/Game/Film Convergence

April 25th, 2010 | Jonathan Gray

I’m spending more time these days thinking about (and, once school ends, I hope, playing) licensed videogames, as I’m fascinated with how a narrative world from film or television deals with the challenges and promises of a move into game space.

Part of this fascination, though, lies in how film and television producers may be taking games more seriously, and making them matter. Along those lines, consider the following:

(1) I was pointed towards this New Yorker review of Clash of the Titans by Anthony Lane. Though the context makes the comment reek of game-hating snark, there’s still this interesting comment near the end:

what is at stake here is not an enlightening quest, or a Homeric journey, but a series of levels, each one tougher than the last. That is why I am, in all honesty, reviewing “Clash of the Titans” three months too soon. On July 10th, it will be released on Playstation 3 and Xbox 360, and only then, I feel, will it truly come into its own.

(2) And finally, with the new Doctor Who under way in the UK, we have news of four interactive games that the BBC commissioned to add to the story, and this intriguing quote from executive producer and BBC Wales’ head of drama, Piers Wenger:

There aren’t 13 episodes of ‘Doctor Who’ this year, there are 17–four of which are interactive.

(3) And yet, at the SCMS super-panel on transmedia with Lost’s Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, The Alchemist’s Mark Warshaw, Middleman creator Javier Grillo-Marxuach, Heroes’ Tim Kring, and Ghost Whisperer’s Kim Moses, in response to a question about whether we’ll ever see the transmedia “matter” to the story in a central way, Grillo-Marxuach noted that he’d want to punch any writer in the face if that writer expected him to see transmedia before or in addition to consuming the text at the mothership. Lindelof later said that perhaps the panel simply couldn’t envision an entity that could pull this trick off yet, but he expressed hope that someone would one day work it out.

So the question remains – can a game be an important part of the story, and if not why not? I’m inclined to think the answer can be found wherever the money trail goes. I’m not surprised to hear someone creating for the non-commercial BBC suggesting that the games might provide yet more sites for the story, entirely legitimate and central, since the BBC doesn’t particularly need viewers to go back to the “mothership” of the televised Tardis. As a public broadcaster, it can afford to think a little more openly about which sites matter or need to matter.

In a commercial context, meanwhile, DVD bonus materials have flourished in an era in which DVD sales make so much money. So once licensed games can make the money that a film or TV “mothership” can, we can expect to see Hollywood give a real damn about them. Until then, though, maybe some of the more interesting experiments will come from within a public broadcasting system, or will be held back by the need for “motherships” to matter being masked behind notions of the impossibility of the game mattering.

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Dharma Wants Me?

July 30th, 2008 | Jonathan Gray

Tired of grading and writing papers? Ever wanted to visit “Portland”? Evidently, the Dharma Initiative is hiring, not only at this year’s Comic-Con, but also at Pass 17 questions and you can register. The questions are suitably creepy, very befitting of Dharma, as are the odd incantations and hangar-announcer-in-another-language style that accompany the test.

Their boast of wanting “a better tomorrow for everyone” hardly sounds like the Benjamin Linus I’ve come to know. Yet the neat Flash trick of changing the dimensional perspective of their logo is thematically appropriate to the world of Lost. A fun little bit of transmedia, let’s see where it leads.

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Surviving the Strike: TV Comics

November 12th, 2007 | Derek Johnson

Buffy Season 8 #1       BSG #12

Need new narrative television content, but not sure where you’re going to get it if, come January, the strike is still on and the tap runs dry?  You might try your local comic book shop-where you can find illustrated versions of such shows including Battlestar Galactica, 24, Heroes, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Star Trek, and CSI.  So I thought I’d offer a strike survival guide and introduce Extratextual readers to a couple of these tie-in titles–perhaps soon the only place where new “television” is being written, though not without its own set of constraints. 

Read more…

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Bees and Donuts: Hyping Bee Movie and The Simpsons Game

October 31st, 2007 | Jonathan Gray

Bee Movie


Through much of the nineties, two television programs sustained me: The Simpsons and Seinfeld. Others came and went, but not only did those two shows consistently hold my interest, but their many repeats would too. One of my roommates would even record the evening reruns of Seinfeld while watching them, and watch them again first thing the next morning, and I’d often join him. So Jerry and Homer are close to me. I don’t spend as much time with them now as I used to, but I like to check in on them every once in a while, since they are old friends.

Recently, the Jerry Seinfeld and Simpsons franchises have been doing interesting transmedia jigs. Seinfeld’s Bee Movie is coming out on Friday, and television is all abuzz with cross-promotion: Seinfeld appeared on 30 Rock (and through that episode, he appeared on most other NBC shows too), he has an HP ad that refers to the movie, and he’s filmed a seemingly endless number of shorts that are filling ad breaks. He’s ubiquitous, so much so that I’m sure I’m missing about 453 other venues where he’s hawking his movie (I could’ve sworn the dude behind the counter at McDonalds looked familiar today), and in the time it takes me to type this, Seinfeld will have appeared in 58 more venues. The Simpsons meanwhile have a forthcoming video game, based on the film (so, yes, it’s the game of the film of the television show), with some ads on television, and a particularly innovative and fun official website. In case it’s not evident yet, I find the Seinfeld transmedia jig annoying, and the Simpsons one exemplary. More below the fold…

Read more…

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Transmedia Panel: Creating Blockbuster Worlds

September 26th, 2007 | Ivan Askwith

It’s a bit last minute, I know — and I don’t believe it’s open to the public — but Jonathan encouraged me to write a quick post about a panel discussion I’ll be participating in this evening for the Producers’ Guild of America. Since I’m speaking, I’m doubt I’ll be in a position to take notes, but I’ll try to do a post-game write-up in the next few days addressing any interesting points that come up.In the meantime, if you see this and have questions you’d like me to try and raise with the other speakers, post in the comments and I’ll do what I can.And now, the details:


Wednesday, September 26 (6:30PM – 9PM)

As exemplified by TV series such as Lost and Heroes , video games such as Halo and the work of creators such as JJ Abrams, Joss Whedon, Zach Snyder and Kevin Smith, storytelling has made a quantum leap in the 21st century. Development and production of a single rich narrative across multiple media platforms is the next exciting challenge being faced by producers in the digital age. Right now, major studios, advertising agencies, video game publishers and dozens of Fortune 500 companies are incubating concepts and developing intellectual properties capable of both enthralling and interacting with audiences who will enjoy them on their TV sets, computer screens, game consoles, as well as in the form of theatrical films, graphic novels and toys. There are only a handful of producers with extensive experience in the lucrative field of trans-media storytelling and production, and the PGA will be bringing them to you in this exciting seminar.

Producers who attend this seminar will become familiar with the following:

  • The definition, history and near-future of trans-media storytelling, development and production
  • Success stories and notorious trans-media failures
  • Creative and technical elements that form successful trans-media franchises
  • What (and who) you need to know to understand the ambition and scope of trans-media production
  • The conceptual building blocks for successful trans-media development and implementation
  • Facing the challenges of working with large conglomerates
  • Rollout strategies
  • The role of product placement, sponsors and promotions
  • What goes into developing a trans-media deal
  • Examples, illustrations and models

Read more…

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