Brave New World

27 Oct

Transmedia Storytelling is coming, and it’s rushing towards us like a tidal wave. Transmedia is the telling of a story across a variety of genres and platforms. This used to be a more difficult, because although several different platforms have existed for some time (Television drama, Documentary, Feature Film and Internet Video) accessibility, interactivity and sharing took to much effort. But the territory has shifted significantly in the past 3-4 years.

Bandwidth improvements, computer prices, and most importantly the huge growth of the social networks have connected filmmakers to their audiences and the audience members to each other, in a fashion that we have never experienced or seen before.

It’s a brave new world where an innate understanding of people and story will soon become Paramount (literally), the temptation for many will be to make it all about technology but nothing could be further from the truth… it will be all about people and relationships.

People & Relationship? What could I possibly mean? After all aren’t the Social Networks, a poor man’s substitute, a geeks replacement for real relationships and real friends. A type of pseudo community where it is safe to explore but impossible to touch? Yes they probably are. But why do they exist? And how can we use them to tell stories and connect people together?

I think it is a fallacy to believe that before we had the internet, people were better connected. Small talk has always existed, and it doesn’t matter whether it happened in the local fruit shop or in an internet chat room; just because there was/is a physical presence doesn’t necessarily change the quality of the communication. Internet dating can seem weird and dangerously disconnected but it is no more disconnected than those who years ago fell in love through the art of writing of letters etc. You can also argue that the safety of not being physically present actually aids the depth of relationship, for safety is required for intimacy.

Conversely you can argue, that we are made for each other and there is nothing quite like a friend with skin on. You may state that no amount of Farmville Points will satisfy a person in the way that a physical relationship can. That people really need the actual presence of another person to feel truly loved. You are probably right about that, I certainly wouldn’t give up my lovely girlfriend for a cyber-date. I prefer to “actually be” with people, to see things with my own eyes, to smell, to feel, to touch.

Of course any discussion is dangerous when we look at it from “a choose one side of the fence or the other” perspective. Maybe the point of the argument is found in the argument itself… People thirst for relationship. What is healthy? What is real? What will satisfy someone? What will never satisfy someone? What do we really need? All these questions prove unequivocally that we are all hungry for relationship… and what’s more we will go to extraordinary lengths to find it.

Firstly a person will look close to home for relationship, if we don’t find it we will look further afield, and if we don’t find it further afield we will search further within.

Take for example, a lonely bachelor in a small town. He is in his late twenties and he’s looking for a mate. First he will search the town looking for a friend who could be suitable. Without success he then moves his gaze further a field, perhaps to another town. Or maybe he takes a trip to a holiday resort hoping to meet the lady of his dreams. Still unsuccessful he may then go on a blind date; but after that turns to custard, a friend of his mentions internet dating. It’s like going to the supermarket, so many choices lined up in aisles and displayed with their good side up, these relational possibilities are catalogued and compressed together into one location… his living room: and his odds of finding that special someone quite frankly seem so much better. However, he is again disappointed, his hopes dashed, relationships which seemed so promising evaporated when the physical realities manifested themselves. He is left hopelessly alone and so he turns within for relationship… he turns to fantasy.

Several things can be taken from our Bachelors story… Firstly not only will we do anything for relationship, we will also do anything for the idea of relationship or the ideal of relationship. We want to be connected, we want to feel like we have lots and lots of friends, that’s why I am always pleased when old school friends turn up on my Facebook account. The reality of having no-one, of being lonely is too great and too painful, we will do anything to create the illusion that it is not so. But in the end there is nothing quite like true connection and real friends… and here in lies the key to successful Transmedia Storytelling… It really is like a very successful dating service.

The successful storyteller will use stories and the internet to authentically connect people together and if he or she can connect people not only within the cybernetic realm but also within our physical reality they will have found their “MECCA.” Technology and Entertainment moguls have been searching for ways to effectively monetize the internet; but perhaps they never will. The internet provides only a little of what people really need, so it’s value is inherently small. The value is in the connection, in the real relationships that we all thirst so much for.

The need is great, the race is on… ready steady go.

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