I have always been the last person to read, watch or listen to popular media – I still have never watched Lord of the Rings or Star Wars (shoot me later). Game of Thrones was no exception. However, I have been the first to delve into the deep, dark hole of obsession over the HBO series and engage in what is notably called transmedia storytelling.
Transmedia storytelling is essentially, “storytelling across multiple forms of media, with each element making distinctive contributions to a user’s understanding… including where user actions affect the experience of content across multiple platforms.”
Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, blogs, forums, games, cartoons, video games, GIFs and every imaginable medium has been drowned by Game of Thrones fans which encourages an “encyclopaedic impulse in both readers and writers” (Jenkins, 2007). This means that we as the audience no longer act as consumers but again, as prosumers. The latest transmedia campaign for Game of Thrones was this;
But is transmedia as innocent as it portrays? With the “blurring [of] the line between marketing and entertainment” being the most prominent issue regarding the integrity of transmedia – are they revenue raising or engaging with audiences? Personally, I believe that it is in some ways revenue raising. Who has not wanted the new game, book, toy that has been branded as a “must have for your collection!”? My obsession was over the Saddle Club. I owned everything that there was to own – books, toys, posters, bed covers, CDs, bags, jewellery – EVERYTHING. When I think back to that, I begin to imagine how much money was actually spent on pointless items.
By contrast, today’s modern society are turning to the internet to feed their obsession – as there are no costs, multiple entry points and a whole fandom waiting. Jenkins states, “Transmedia storytelling is the ideal aesthetic form for an era of collective intelligence” as die-hard fans working collaboratively to solve problems, write reviews and make the most hilarious GIFs. He also notes the most popular form of collaboration as fan fictions being an “unauthorised expansion of these media franchises” which enable the fan to “fill in the gaps” that they believe are missing from the original content.
If there was ever a louder cry for transmedia narratives, it would be from the fans of Avatar. Fans of the movie were reported to have been “plagued by depression and suicidal thoughts” as they realised that the utopian world of Pandora is not accessible. Wow.
So in a society where we are constantly connected and searching for ways to experience our passions, transmedia storytelling will stay.
Video sourced from: http://marclougee.com/2012/02/03/game-thrones-transmedia/