Transmedia Tips for Grassroots Creatives and Organizations

Blog Author: 

Here are my top five tips for creative people starting out in transmedia:

1. leverage what you do best
2. know your premise
3. start small and build it bigger
4. decide how the audience will participate (and clearly communicate it)
5. differentiate yourself from the bigger players

Leverage what you do best

Make what you already do best the centerpiece or foundation of your transmedia project. Of course, when moving from mono-media to transmedia, you will be sure to encounter many creative challenges—but don't think you have to throw out everything you've learned and start again!  

If you try to tackle too many new platforms at once then there's a risk that you'll get caught up in the process or the thrill-of-the-new and forget about your story. 

Know your premise

At the heart of any story is a premise—it's the core idea to be conveyed; a point of view that the writer believes to be true; it's what your story is about.

If your story is to be coherent across multiple platforms then it’s important that each supports the same premise. When the audience is asked to do something, their actions should illustrate to them or ask them to question that premise.

Without this understanding, your transmedia story is just a collection of platforms that you tell me are connected when in fact they are not.

Start small and build bigger

The beauty of transmedia is that each platform is window into your story. Start with one or two windows rather than build a greenhouse. 

If you don't have the finances to build a mobile app, don't spend all your time trying to raise finance. Create something that opens a window on your world via a free medium—like social media.

There are many free-to-use Internet services that are or could be used to tell stories. Start with one of these and see if you can build interest and traction around your story. It there's no traction then kill it and try another idea.

Decide how the audience will participate

A key strength of transmedia storytelling is the greater opportunity for your work to be discovered. This discovery comes not from using hundreds of platforms but from the conversations you enable and encourage through audience participation. 

Consequently, one of the first considerations is how your story will play out as an experience. What will the audience, the reader, the viewer be asked to do? And how will their actions create conversation and social recommendations? 

Differentiate yourself from the bigger players

If you assume that you're competing against people with more money and industry connections than you, then you have to think differently. Think how you might differentiate yourself—what you can offer your audience/readers/fans/sponsors that the bigger players seldom do:

time (patience is a virtue—nurture relationships)
authenticity (you are the real deal, you mean what you say)
credibility (you provide them with credibility—let them share that)
proximity (closer and deeper relationships)