Transmedia Storytelling

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Transmedia Storytelling in Practice: A Case Study of East Los High Transmedia Storytelling: From Conception to Today Since the coinage of the term in an MIT Technology Review (2003) article, Henry Jenkins’ theory of transmedia has been significantly contested and edited by multiple media theorists and scholars. In short, transmedia storytelling is the technique of telling a narrative across multiple platforms. The goal of a transmedia project is to heighten the degree in which audiences participate and interact with the events, characters, and storyworld of a franchise. A transmedia project can include, but is not limited to, the use of movies, books, games, social-media, and graphic novels. These elements work together to make the story more enjoyable and contribute to richer fan-engagement. Jenkins’ best summarizes a definition himself in his 2006 book Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide; “A transmedia story unfolds across multiple media platforms with each new text making a distinctive and valuable contribution to the whole” (pp. 95-96). To date, transmedia theory and criticism has focused its analysis on the genres of science fiction and fantasy. This is mainly due to the abundance of opportunity to expand and create narrative paths provided by the types of stories popular to the genre. Geoffrey Long, in his master’s thesis, highlights the importance of a rich world in transmedia narratives (2007, 28). Christy Dena also describes the process of unraveling parts of a larger narrative in each medium of a transmedia story (2010, 18). Jenkins illustrates an example of the Wizard of Oz and author L. Frank Baum declaring himself “the royal geographer of Oz” (2009) We see JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, George Luca... ... middle of paper ... ...what transmedia could do. It continually saw peak viewing on Hulu and The Population Institute named the series “Best TV Show” and “Best Social Media Campaign” (“Population Institute”). After a successful first season, a second has been ordered with another twelve episodes. The question becomes, will East Los High continue to make ground as an innovative and culturally important transmedia story in its second season? If the creative team continues to foster a community within its audience and allows that community to seek more information, there will only be good things from East Los High. Further study will need to be done to see if East Los High was effective outside of just story, as the first transmedia project also specifically designed to promote health and social justice. If so, the East Los High paradigm could become more popular on screens, big and small.
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