by James Fernandez
The term transmedia was coined by USC professor Marsha Kinder to explain the style of creating a story experience that is told using multiple platforms and formats. Content is created that engages the audience. A key factor in the style as that despite the fact that these elements are designed to work together, they are not linked as much as they are synchronized to work in coordination when the viewer can step back and look at the big picture. Multiple stories come together to tell one larger tale.
Multimedia uses a combination of production elements such as video, audio, text, photos or animation to tell a story or make a presentation. Basically, just think of a killer power point presentation and you have a multimedia project. A key to multimedia is that all of those elements are presented together to tell one story. Therein lies the difference between transmedia and multimedia forms.
One field where transmedia is making significant headway and changing the way stories can be told is in journalism. Kevin Moloney is a photojournalist, educator and a staunch supporter of the transmedia movement in journalism. His blog www.transmediajournalism.org offers a haven for those looking to expand this burgeoning movement.
“By telling interconnected stories we can embrace the nuance and complexity that exists in any story world. Through multiple forms we can engage the different parts of our story-loving brains. By distributing them across varying channels we can target the audiences that really matter.”
Using, photos, video and voice over narration from the subjects of the mini documentaries, www.reframingmexico.com is an interactive website that allows the user to pick and choose the story it wants to see by providing a list of keywords. At first glance, the website may actually just look like a multimedia project but it is the interactive element that lets the viewer build his or her own experience with the material. This is a key element to the transmedia style.
Triumph, Civil, Passion, Hope, Drama, Worth, Traditional, Stigma, Novel, Generations, Alternative and Struggle take the viewer on a trip to Mexico City where they hear of a story that applies to one of the keywords. Some stories overlap in to different keywords, like that of Mexican Wrestling legend Cachora Mendoza. His can be found under Triumph, Passion, Hope, Drama and Traditional. There is also a “Create your own wrestler" tab.
The purpose of the project is to give the viewer a new way to look at Mexico City. Individually, the stories told on the site weave a narrative about different aspects of life in the city in a way that is similar to walking through the town on your own, stopping to look at what interests you as opposed to a more traditional documentary project where the editors and directors lead you on a specific journey. The transmedia model delivers the material to everyone in a different way, in the end, creating a wholly unique narrative of Mexico City.