Mapping transmedia success
Fiona Milburn journeys into Transmedia 2.0 and finds that it's platform agnostic and mirrors the studio system of old Hollywood.
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Recently, I accepted a review copy of Nuno Bernardo's new book, Transmedia 2.0: How to Create an Entertainment Brand Using a Transmedial Approach to Storytelling. I had admired how relevant Nuno's first book, The Producer's Guide to Transmedia: How to Develop, Fund, Produce and Distribute Compelling Stories Across Multiple Platforms, was for producers working in an independent production environment and wanted to see if this held true for his follow up book. Transmedia 2.0 didn't disappoint.
Nuno Bernardo is an award winning writer-producer whose company, beActive Entertainment, has more than 10 years experience exploring interactive and immersive storytelling. He has produced over 200 hours of multiplatform content, encompassing both traditional and new media forms, and his transmedia franchises have been adapted globally. It is this wealth of experience that Nuno Bernardo draws upon in bringing us his road map for entertainment brand success and business sustainability.
As he says, "Every TV and Film producer aspires to design an entertainment brand that can grow into a pop icon, a brand whose story world or hero has enough creative potential to power spin-offs and reboots, theme park rides and acres of merchandise."
The Nanostudio Approach
Transmedia 2.0 starts by giving us Nuno Bernardo's personal take on transmedia which he breaks into 3 production genres: The Brand Extension, The Stepping Stone, and Organic Transmedia. It's this last genre that encompasses his own work and is described in detail as preparation for the remainder of the book; a step by step guide for the creation and distribution of scalable intellectual property.
Also included in this section is an idea that will resonate with many practitioners, the rise of the nanostudio. Nuno Bernardo describes moving away from being a service provider for broadcasters or networks and into a model that more closely mirrors the studio conventions of old Hollywood:
"One of the advantages of a transmedial approach is that it allows small production companies to control the marketing and distribution of their own content. Transmedia nanostudios can green light their own projects as well as promote and disseminate their own content by dealing directly with their audience."
Growing your brand: from the web to the big screen.
Story Comes First
Another defining aspect of beActive's transmedial approach is for story development to be platform agnostic. As Nuno explains, they try not to write content for specific formats; instead they write the story for the story, define its core elements, and develop different streams of content which are organic to the narrative.
As the reader makes their way through chapters on: Financing Transmedia; Building Your Storyworld, Planning Your Release, Marketing, and Monetizing Digital Content; Transmedia 2.0 uses examples such as beActive's Sofia's Diary, Beat Girl and Collider to illustrate exactly how story and audience engagement drive their business model.
"From beginning to end, a transmedia story should be a social phenomenon, one which draws people together and unifies them through shared experiences."
Collider's experience on multiple platforms.
Transmedia 2.0 is also greatly enhanced by the diagrams and photographs accompanying these production examples; a few of which I've used here with permission.
The engagement cycle.
Mapping Transmedia Success
Transmedia 2.0: How to Create an Entertainment Brand Using a Transmedial Approach to Storytelling is aimed at hands on content creators. It provides a detailed road map for those invested in building long running entertainment brands for business success. It makes a great companion volume to The Producer's Guide to Transmedia: How to Develop, Fund, Produce and Distribute Compelling Stories Across Multiple Platforms which emphasizes the creative side of transmedia development and production. Each can be read separately but, when taken together, give a deeper understanding of the multiplatform storytelling process. Like all good transmedia stories, the sum providers for a richer experience. I thoroughly recommend both books.