Not only did Kevin Haggerty have some fun interviewing me recently; he also opened my eyes to an upcoming film with a unique marketing plan. The 5 Year Engagement is using transmedia, a new form of storytelling that is changing the way we absorb stories and consume culture.
Okay, full disclosure: The movie stars a certain actress named Emily Blunt who I may or may not have mentioned a couple times*. But I’m not here to blather and blush and blubber and gush. There’s plenty of time to do that later**.
The fictional couple in The 5 Year Engagement (co-starring Jason Segel) even has a wedding blog that is building towards the big event. Some of this stuff is really clever.
I’ve been wondering how this approach impacts marketing and how writers can use this kind of creativity in the 21st century. It just happens that my friend Ellie–whose superskills include cooking and being awesome–has been delving into the world of transmedia like no one I know. I asked her for some thoughts on this emerging area.
I had lots of misconceptions about transmedia when I first learned heard about it (it’s much more than putting a wig, makeup, and heels on your book). Transmedia is not to be confused with multimedia or cross media, it’s not simply combining media. It’s creating an experience. Henry Jenkins, MIT media studies professor says, “coordinated use of storytelling across platforms can make the characters more compelling,” and Stephen Dinehart says, “ ”true” transmedia is designed in preproduction with the intent of immersion.”
Transmedia evokes all your senses, immerses you in the story. Examples:
- Sight: What if in the middle of your Kindle book a news anchor flashes on the screen and you can watch a clip of exactly what they’re seeing in the book?
- Touch: What if you could hold the exact photo that the hero found in his girlfriend’s locker?
- Taste: What if you were given the chocolate bar that the protagonist was given in his darkest moment?
- Hearing: What if when you were flicking through the e-reader pages and as you read about the hero walking across the dark room you heard footsteps? Sound effects would be an incredible addition to a book–or just as cool, a soundtrack!
- Speech: Just like in Cathy’s Book what if you could call the main character of the story?
Think how much more enjoyable so many movies would be if you knew the character(s) before you even walked into the theater! The possibilities are endless. It’s an exciting time to be an artist.
That’s only picking the tippity top of Ellie’s fascinating brain. Be sure to check out her new post for more of the cool ways storytelling is being transformed in 2012 and beyond.
If you’re really interested in some of the other ways the literary world is getting creative then check out my post last year called Sucking Readers In.
*The restraining order has been rescinded.
**I’ve set aside April, June, and most of 2013.