About that Transmedia Hype
It’s been a few months today that everybody swears by transmedia projects. That’s what we should do to attract audience and media attention. Forget short movies, forget web series, nowadays, it’s all about the transmedia, baby. For those unfamiliar with the concept, transmedia consists in developing a story that evolves on different types of media: short films/web series + twitter accounts/facebook events + video game + comics/graphic novels + real life events + manuscripts from the 16th century dug out from your grandma’s attic. You name it. It’s in there.
Since I first heard about it, it’s been both an abstract and overwhelming concept: as if it was not hard enough to pull out a great short, web series or feature without going bankrupted or before reaching menopauses. It’s a gigantic concept that requires even more founds and long term planning, which, in essence, excludes independent/aspiring filmmakers.
Here is the link I received, and pictures extracted from it:
Pretty intriguing, though I was clueless as how to participate and what it all meant*. But during my last day in Park City, I went to see the Pandemic 1.0 installation at New Frontier and found out. The first room was quite elaborate, full of digital screens, conveying a sci-fi feel to it with twits and coordinates appearing on walls. The second room was plain dark and the visitor needed a flashlight to see dozens of pictures of people ‘dead’ from the disease and random objects spray painted in gold named ‘totem’, that were found by [I’m assuming] participants in Park City. To be honest, I was disappointed by the whole thing, which felt like much ado about nothing and a lot of work for not very much storytelling. I still didn’t know how to become a participant [or even if I was supposed to] and the concept of having a virus that kills everybody, letting few survivors behind didn’t strike me as original enough to justify so much effort. [28 days later, The Walking Dead anyone?]
Last week, I stumbled upon an interesting article from ARGnet which gave me a bit more insight into the Pandemic 1.0 creation, allowing me to watch the short movie, one of the many components of this big project and a Sundance Selection 2011.
It reminded me of I Love Sarah Jane without the emotion or the fresh twist [obviously].
So now I feel frustrated by this whole new media thingy, and I keep thinking there is something that I must be missing.
Although Pandemic 1.0 doesn’t seem to be my kind of thing, I admire and am curious to know more about the work the Pandemic team pulled off.
Ultimately I would love to hear from:
–a Pandemic participant: how and why did they get involved? on what level are they active? What were/are their expectations? How does this add a layer to a classic storytelling experience?
–the Pandemic team: what is their budget? How do they make money out of it? How long are they planning to develop the story? [is it even a goal?] What are they expecting to get out of it? How about their audience? Feedbacks?
–the blogs who relayed the information about Pandemic 1.0 and transmedia as the future of storytelling: did they experience Pandemic? How do they rate the project? How did it impact their vision of transmedia?
While reading many blogs and articles, it personally felt like everybody was mentioning but not necessarily analyzing or commenting on Pandemic 1.0.
Ultimately, it seems the medium makes it less prone to critical feedback via comments from the public/audience, thus making transmedia a practical platform for publicity while avoiding negative criticism.
If you fall under any of the abovementioned categories, please feel free to contact me or to comment. Healthy debate recommended.*[Update: I just discovered that there was an official website, but there were no link to it on the first ‘website’. Was it part of the game?]