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The Transmedia SphereHaving developed franchises ranging in genres and game types,
I’ve become versed in writing and designing transmedia narrative delivery within the
rules of a given property. Like any creative endeavor blank slates can
be harder to fill than a penciled page. Restraints based on franchise
rules can be both detrimental and freeing. Balancing these concerns and
knowing when to stick to a rule, and when to throw it out is vital to
successful franchise development. At the end of the day it’s about
pleasing fans, and surprising them too.

is a vital step, often truncated or overlooked in scope, but it is a
large part of the process which can be time consuming.

Step 1: Study the Franchise
seems easy, but it’s can be quite time consuming and difficult. You
need to know a world well enough to author in it. This takes a
balancing of your subjective take on the franchise with a more
objective view of how the fans perceive it. Sure you can jump in
renegade style and bang around until Batman is wearing skates and Dr.
Freeze is a beef cake, or you can take care knowing you are stepping
into sacred ground. Yes franchises are the place of fairy tales and
make believe, they are intellectual properties which exist in the
imagination. When you take the task of altering and or adding to a
franchise you get a chance to contribute to the imaginations of
thousands if not millions of people. It’s an opportunity best not
squandered on sophomoric fearlessness. That said, some people know
franchises too well to author in them, they become fearful of breaking
the cannon of fiction for sake of damaging their nostalgic
glamorization of what once was.  

Step 2: Identify the Pillars
at the Franchise and ask yourself “What makes this strong.” “What does
The Marvel Universe mean?” or “What is Harry Potter?” “What is Halo?” I
find this is best done in a team setting. Key players a good team will
have talents and likes which bring them focus on certain aspects of the
franchise. Coming together to narrow and nail the pillars will be much
more fruitful than if you where to attacked it yourself.

Transmedial Play, A Stephen Erin Dinehart Concept
In a transmedial work the viewer/user/player (VUP) transforms the story via his or her own natural cognitive psychological abilities, and enables the Artwork to surpass medium. It is in transmedial play that the ultimate story agency, and decentralized authorship can be realized. Thus the VUP becomes the true producer of the Artwork. The Artist authored transmedia elements act a story guide for the inherently narratological nature of the human mind (see illustration) to become thought, both conscious and subconscious, in the imagination of the VUP.

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About this NDE Archive

This page is a archive of recent articles in the Transmedia Design category.

Recommended Reading is the previous category.

Welcome to The Narrative Design Exploratorium.

The NDE’s author Stephen E. Dinehart is a transmedia designer, writer, artist, and Creative Director at NarrWare LLC. He is currently working on unannounced projects. Read more @

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