(Re)Framing Transmedial Narratives

The absolute highlight of my time at MLA09 was the night panel on transmedia narratives. I finally got to meet my friend Christy Dena and also catch up with some other friends. Here are my notes:

Marc Ruppel

  • The biggest shift in storytelling has been multiplatform narratives
  • What are they? digital/analog, oral/audio, etc
  • Examples of transmedia narratives: Lost, Buffy The Vampire Slayer series eight comic, etc
  • Connectivity: Edges as transactional spaces
  • Reading paths, instead of just left to right now…(It’s refreshing to hear this; I’ve been saying this for a long time!!!)

Migratory cues:

  • Direct-URLs, books, phone numbers, business cards (the series Heroes was the example for some of these)
  • Intermedial-Direct prescence of one site’s content in anothers
  • Intersectional-One site reflects and approximates momentary events of another
  • Often used in combination
  • Visualize network as a whole

Christy Dena

After this, I just sat and listened to everything Christy was saying. Her work is fascinating and close to what I originally wanted to write about in my Master’s Thesis before sliding to something more “Englishy” (see my first symposium presentation about Distributed Narrative)

I also asked a question to Marc and Christy about the role of canon in fan culture. Specifically, I was curious how they regarded fan fiction and spinoff noncanonical media in regards to their examples of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Doctor Who. The BTVS series eight comic is pretty established as canonical, but what about Doctor Who where there are numerous comics, Big Finish audios, and other things where their place in the canon is murky at best. Both Marc and Christy said that trying to decipher between all of that just wasn’t worth doing, so they regards everything in the same manner. I can certainly understand that.

Afterwards, while catching up with Christy, we also talked about the defining of new terms which she does in her work. While writing my Master’s Thesis, I had trouble enough with resistance to terms like ergodic, distributed narrative, hypertext, etc. Christy is creating new terms as she goes.