En-Trans’d

Via Christy Dena's excellent blog I came across an entry about a new and rather interesting looking Transmedia graduate course at the University of Florida. It has me wondering about the relationship between transmedia storytelling and transliteracy.
I first came across the term transmedia in an article about Matrix Reloaded before it came out and before anyone discovered just how awful it was going to be.1 What was interesting was the way that the computer game, website and Animatrix collection told the story of what happened between the first and second movies, spreading the narrative across different media. Since then, many have done the same. At the end of season 2, the new Battlestar Galactica TV show produced a series of webisodes detailing life under occupation and Heroes has spun off several websites and fake blogs. Lost did something similar during the first season. Even the BBC got into the act with Dr. Who, setting up fake websites that had nominally been created by some of the characters or institutions. (The secure login is badwolf, in case you're interested.)
Unlike The Matrix, none of these seem to progress the story; they fill in some background, play games and create puzzles but you can watch the show without them. None of them require you to interact with several media in order to follow the narrative.
In an email, Chris Joseph writes "I think that transmedia has a very interesting relationship to transliteracy, due to the two quite different ways it is used (and that Christy has suggested here). The first – the same media repurposed across different media. The second – a narrative 'world' explored and expanded across different media. The second is a lot more interesting from a production (and reading) perspective, I think. Curiously the 'trans-' in transmedia in the first is across, while the second is across AND beyond." I think this hits the nail on the head and I agree that the second is far more interesting and obviously speaks to transliteracy. A born transmedia narrative (if any commenters would like to link some, that would be great) would require transliterate authoring and "reading" if it is to be compelling. It also indicates, I think, that transliteracy always goes "beyond" once you use it across media because you are creating an emergent literacy through the literacy interactions. It seems to me that the "beyond" is the skill of being able to work across and, through so doing, create or "read" novel forms of storytelling.


[1] I have a theory that the more clips there are from the Matrix in any given article or presentation, the worse the article or presentation is. Therefore, I shall resist the urge to find something from the Matrix on YouTube and embed it. So, instead, consider the following as a transliteration of Japanese puppetry.

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One thought on “En-Trans’d

  1. En-Trans’d

    Via Christy Dena’s excellent blog I came across an entry about a new Transmedia graduate course at University of Florida. It has me wondering about the relationship between transmedia storytelling and transliteracy. I first came across the term transme…

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