Frank Fiore – Novelist & Screenwriter

May 17, 2010

Will Authors Need to Become Producers?

Filed under: Frank Remarks,On Writing — Frank Fiore @ 4:40 PM

Book 1.0, Book 2.0, Book 3.0, p-Books, e-Books, t-Books, Storyworlds, transmedia novels, authors becoming producers – this is the new vocabulary of book publishing today.

So what does it all mean?

It means that soon, novelists of t-Books will have to become not just writers but multimedia producers – that is, writing transmedia books. And the ‘always on Internet’ connected to book appliances like iPad, Kindle, Nook, etc marinated in the world of social media will become the backbone of the transmedia world. We have entered an era of media convergence that makes the flow of content across multiple media channels almost inevitable.

But what is transmedia storytelling?

Wikipedia says:

In Transmedia storytelling, content becomes invasive and permeates fully the audience’s lifestyle. A transmedia project develops storytelling across multiple forms of media in order to have different “entry points” in the story; entry-points with a unique and independent lifespan but with a definite role in the big narrative scheme.

More simply:

The kids who have grown up consuming and enjoying Pokemon across media are going to expect this same kind of experience from The West Wing as they get older. By design, Pokemon unfolds across games, television programs, films, and books, with no media privileged over any other. For our generation, the hour-long, ensemble-based, serialized drama was the pinnacle of sophisticated storytelling, but for the next generation, it is going to seem, well, like less than child’s play. Younger consumers have become information hunters and gatherers, taking pleasure in tracking down character backgrounds and plot points and making connections between different texts within the same franchise.

Transmedia will require a whole new breed of authors and publishers.

It could be true that “salvation for publishing will come from outside the industry, because inside you can’t see the wood for the trees”, as there is caution and scepticism about transmedia within publishing, however there are also many publishers excited about experimentation and keen to expand storyworlds, too.

Transmedia novelists are still organically growing and a new breed of reader, one who embraces the “truly engaging, innovative reading experience”, will require a new breed of writer and publisher too. Transmedia publishing won’t replace publishing as we know it, but will offer options to those who want them.

Transmedia Producers will be the new ‘gatekeepers’ in the same way that publishers will be. Publishers are exposed to potentially fabulous storyworlds on a daily basis and if writers can begin to think transmedially without it being gimmicky, so that it is relevant to the story and the platform, then transmedia publishing can begin to lift off.

How much additional work will an author need to do to become a transmedia producer?

Well, maybe not that much.

Most authors do a lot of research on their subject matter, create detailed character bios, create extended storyworlds and generally have quite a bit of material that they use to construct then write a story. In addition, they would have built their author platform – blog, web site, book trailer, social media network, etc., and it would not be that difficult to add those elements in to the transmedia experience.

So what do you think? Will authors need to be transmedia producers in the future?

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1 Comment »

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