What is transmedia storytelling?
Transmedia storytelling, also called multiplatform or enhanced storytelling, is characterized by the use of multiple media platforms—video games, graphic novels, music videos, mobile apps and so on—to tell a story across time in an expansive rather than repetitive way.
In 2007, Henry Jenkins wrote: “Transmedia storytelling represents a process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience. Ideally, each medium makes its own unique contribution to the unfolding of the story.”
In other words, in transmedia storytelling each element serves as a piece of a giant puzzle, thus contributing to the narrative while at the same time providing a story that can be experienced independently. Pamela Rutledge explains that the process is cumulative and each piece adds richness and detail to the story world, such as character backstories and secondary plotlines. “Transmedia storytelling is fully participatory. The audience becomes actively involved, elevated to social and creative collaborators.”
Importantly, in transmedia storytelling, “the audience is given multiple entry points to the story, and the story is exposed to diverse and dispersed audiences, ultimately engaging a broader public.”
Although developing transmedia-based stories may sound complex, the point to keep in mind is that the goal, as for all types of storytelling, is to connect with your audience and understand each other through feelings and emotions.