Transmedia: The wave of the future?
What is Transmedia?
“’Transmedia storytelling’” engages consumers through different means, shifting from the traditional linear story, to a more complex, multi-dimensional ‘story world.’ These characters and ‘story worlds’ can exist and develop outside of their initial film timeline, and this integration will allow consumers to enjoy the entertainment on a number of levels. Rather than simply [read a book, readers] can interact with characters on websites, experience the world in games, follow leads on Twitter, as well as participate in a vast array of other opportunities on various platforms. Additionally, transmedia will aggregate formerly fragmented audiences by uniting them in one “’story world.’” –Lisette Vitter from NM Incite
BZRK Transmedia Experience:
The missing son of a U.N. diplomat… the reemergence of a strange organization… a pair of society twins caught in the middle… this is just the beginning of “Go BZRK,” a new transmedia experience from author Michael Grant.
If you’re ready to take the plunge in an interactive story like you’ve never experienced before, visit societytwins.com and register with nexushumanus.com to take your first steps in a strange and compelling universe. Basically, these sites center around the two main elements of the book, BZRK, and players are invited to participate in it to uncover the mystery of the missing brother and the Nexus Humanus organization. These are fictional sites to draw readers into the storyworld and interact with the plot and characters. It’s intended for game play only. Essentially, the two sites center upon the main elements in the new book BZRK, and allow participants to interact with the storyline and characters to uncover the twins’ missing brother and the Nexus Humanus’ involvement. It is a mystery/alternate reality game.
Filled with video, puzzles, community collaboration, and more, “Go BZRK” puts YOU, the player, right in the middle of the action as you join Nexus Humanus and unravel a mystery that may hold the key to the fate of all mankind.
A Q&A with author Michael Grant.
What is “Go BZRK”? Is this a book or some kind of interactive story?
Both. The book comes out this winter, but the interactive part starts now. One leads up to the other, but they’re part of a complete package.
There are different approaches to transmedia. Most people take a single story and reproduce it on various platforms. My philosophy has been to make each element – ARG, app, web, book – a thing unto itself, each revealing some aspect of the world of BZRK. I’ve been fascinated with this is as a new way to tell stories. The book remains central, but now I can reach beyond the book and create a much more complete world. I can tell stories that enhance the book, and stories that parallel the book, and stories that are offshoots of backstory. I guess the answer to “why” is “because it’s fun.”
Is this the future of publishing?
I began a few years ago reaching out to publishers and saying we collectively needed to understand that the old models were dead or dying. I want publishing to survive, and of course I’d like my own career to thrive. So Egmont Publishing and my partners and I certainly hope this is a part of the future of publishing.
How long is this running? Is this part of a larger picture?
We’ll be running this in several chunks between now and the book release this winter. Because these things have a hard start/stop point, August is a ramp-up phase. There’ll be a lot of content coming out, but the experience really gets underway at the end of the month… just in time to distract the kids from their schoolwork.
What if someone wants to follow the story but doesn’t want to participate?
You don’t have to do anything. You can do one thing and not another. But the deeper you plunge the wetter you get. I think every part of this is fun, I think people will enjoy the ARG, the app, the site and the books.
App? You’ve mentioned that a couple times now.
Just wait and see.
What can you tell us about the story? What is “BZRK”?
It’s a battle for the soul and freedom of the human race carried out simultaneously in the world we know, and in a world that you’re not going to expect. It’s a world where if you make a false move, you’re going to lose your mind.
Insanity… is this something you have a personal familiarity with?
The line between writer and crazy person is very thin. Both go around holding long, involved conversations with people who aren’t there.
What’s this other world thing all about?
Do you really want spoilers? I’ll tell you this. We’ll be going “down in the meat.” It’s going to be vast, bloody, and beautiful.
Wait… isn’t this supposed to be for kids?
Adults like to flatter themselves that kids won’t get, won’t understand, won’t be able to handle, more intense, more complex stories. That’s nonsense. It’s the adults who are easy to creep out or scare. Say the word “biopsy” in a room full of adults. Or “audit.” See? Easy to scare. Kids are a tougher audience because kids think they’re immortal.
Ready to take the plunge?