Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Transmedia is a paradigm change

The new PGA 'Transmedia Producer' credit and it's ensuing discussion in the blogosphere has got me thinking about the fundamentals of what Transmedia actually is again, a favourite topic of mine. The article about the credit over on NewTeeVee notes that Steve Peter's of No Mimes implied that he think a whole new guild for Transmedia Production might be necessary. To me this both captures and misses the point - Transmedia is far more significant then one credit amongst a bunch of others in a production, yet it isn't served by separating it out into a whole new field of production. Transmedia is not a new, separate field cultural production, it is a paradigm shift in our current fields of cultural production. It's the significance of this overarching change that get so many people enthused about the topic. In the future all media will be transmedia. We won't be asking 'Is your media transmedia?', we will be asking, 'How trans is your media?'.

In our contemporary culture, all media bleeds over into other forms, whether it is a conscious decision of the producers or not. Transmedia is simply a recognition of the producers / creators attempts to control, direct and utilise that transversal across media forms in order to better shape the viewer/user experience. Cultural producers, whether they are film-makers, tv producers, writers, musicians or game designers, don't get to decide if their work will be 'traditional' or 'transmedia', their work will be transmedia. They just get to decide whether they acknowledge that and work with it, or ignore it. This is why ultimately creating separate categories for transmedia, whether they are new credits or new guilds, is somewhat futile - transmedia is the new medium that replaces all others. From here on it's only going to become harder to ignore the transmedia properties of your work, and personally, I think that's a good thing.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New PGA Transmedia Producer Credit

There is some buzz on the transmedia blogs at the moment because the Producers Guild of America, under the guidance of Jeff Gomez of Starlight Runner Entertainment, have announced an official new 'Transmedia Producer' credit. The official description of the credit (which I've grabbed from Christy Dena's great blog) is:

A Transmedia Narrative project or franchise must consist of three (or more) narrative storylines existing within the same fictional universe on any of the following platforms:  Film, Television, Short Film, Broadband, Publishing, Comics, Animation, Mobile, Special Venues, DVD/Blu-ray/CD-ROM, Narrative Commercial and Marketing rollouts, and other technologies that may or may not currently exist. These narrative extensions are NOT the same as repurposing material from one platform to be cut or repurposed to different platforms.
A Transmedia Producer credit is given to the person(s) responsible for a significant portion of a project’s long-term planning, development, production, and/or maintenance of narrative continuity across multiple platforms, and creation of original storylines for new platforms. Transmedia producers also create and implement interactive endeavors to unite the audience of the property with the canonical narrative and this element should be considered as valid qualification for credit as long as they are related directly to the narrative presentation of a project.
Transmedia Producers may originate with a project or be brought in at any time during the long-term rollout of a project in order to analyze, create or facilitate the life of that project and may be responsible for all or only part of the content of the project. Transmedia Producers may also be hired by or partner with companies or entities, which develop software and other technologies and who wish to showcase these inventions with compelling, immersive, multi-platform content.
To qualify for this credit, a Transmedia Producer may or may not be publicly credited as part of a larger institution or company, but a titled employee of said institution must be able to confirm that the individual was an integral part of the production team for the project.

It's seems there was some consternation over the absense of video games as a platform in listed as one of the media here, but this has since been corrected by Jeff Gomez as an oversight. While the debate about what is covered by such a credit is important, ultimately squabbling over credits is always going to happen in Hollywood, and the details of a transmedia credit will inevitably be smoothed out over time. What is significant, and exciting, is that there is a new ego motivation for transmedia production, and ego seems to go a long way in Hollywood. Who wouldn't want a fancy new credit after their name?

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