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Psychology of Transmedia

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Visiting lecture via Skype: Lipscomb University for Sandy Brownlee's Transmedia Storytelling. Discussing the cognitive and neuro underpinnings of the digital environment, the need to think "transmedia" with a 360 degree view for audience engagement, even when launching a single media project, such as an indie film. Includes explanation of flow channel for optimal engagement, comparable model for narrative, including narrative exit points. Examples include Three Little Pigs, East Los High and ISIL.

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Psychology of Transmedia

  1. 1. Dr. Pamela Rutledge DIRECTOR, MEDIA PSYCHOLOGY RESEARCH CENTER pamelarutledge@gmail.com @pamelarutledge WHY BOTHER WITH TRANSMEDIA STORYTELLING?
  2. 2. What is Transmedia? The Power of Connection Storytelling & the Brain The Power of Transmedia Transmedia in Action Creating Transmedia 1 2 3 4 5 6
  3. 3. WHATIS TRANSMEDIA? 1
  4. 4. TRANSMEDIAVS.STORYTELLING
  5. 5. TRANSMEDIA is a fancy word for a simple concept: telling stories across multiple platforms Tim Kring Hollywood Screenwriter and Producer Creator, Heroes and Conspiracy for Good
  6. 6. transmedia storytelling Adjective Noun
  7. 7. It’s not about the tools It’s not about the tools It’s not about the tools
  8. 8. STORYTELLING Non-linear Multiple media platforms Coherent, not repetitive
  9. 9. AUDIENCE Access points Participate, contribute Active consumption
  10. 10. THE POWER OF CONNECTION 2
  11. 11. MOBILE ON-DEMAND INFORMATION 24/7CONNECTIVITY
  12. 12. NEWEXPECTATIONS
  13. 13. Participatory psychology Consumer- driven brand ecosystem Homogeneous audience Passive, quiet consumers
  14. 14. MONOMEDIA TRANSMEDIA One way messaging Dialogue between consumer and brand Assumes all people can be reached with one media channel Gives audience choice in engagement path Single message or theme is adapted to fit different media Each media platform expands narrative with unique contribution Creator controls message Audience collaborates in story development Profitability limited to ROI of a given platform, no cross media leverage or narrative leverage Broadens life cycle and profitability of a campaign beyond traditional retail windows because content is monetizable Audience attention through Interruption Audience attention through invitation Audience participation enhances brand identity and creates customer loyalty Engages the consumer long-term by providing value beyond the product Audience is validated and celebrated
  15. 15. TRANSMEDIA VISION
  16. 16. STORYTELLING& THEBRAIN 3
  17. 17. STORIES ARE TIMELESS
  18. 18. • Build trust • Transcend generations • Engage our emotions • Inspire us • Are contagious STORIES CONNECT PEOPLE
  19. 19. THEHUMAN BRAINIS WIRED FOR STORY
  20. 20. THEBRAINCRAVESAJOURNEY
  21. 21. 2. Emotional Brain 3. Reptilian Brain 1. New Brain • Simple Brain Science: Think Three
  22. 22. We are storytelling animals Ruled by instinct and emotion
  23. 23. Instinct Over Intention
  24. 24. Message Characters Conflict Plot ELEMENTS OF STORY
  25. 25. WELIVEFOR CONFLICT
  26. 26. HERO’SJOURNEY JOSEPHCAMPBELL
  27. 27. Hero Mentor Threshold Guardian Herald Shapeshifter Shadow Trickster ARCHETYPES: JOSEPHCAMPBELL WHAT’SYOURARCHETYPE?
  28. 28. OLD BRAIN NEW BRAIN Emotions Skill-building Visual images Responsive feedback Pain and gain Participation, ownership User-centric, personal Social validation Safety Empathy Narrative Motivational Goals Attention starts here
  29. 29. OLD BRAIN Unconscious Processing: Attention + Perception Task-Based • Goal importance • Skill/Knowledge • Feedback • Action = Expectations • Self-efficacy • Directed focus • Social validation & connection Narrative-Based • Self-Relevance (Identity) • Creative ambiguity • Feedback • Action = Discovery • Agency • Emotional activation • Social connection • Transformation NEW BRAIN Conscious Processing: Meaning Making
  30. 30. DRIVE BEHAVIOR NEEDS CREATETO SATISFY NEEDS* *THE AUDIENCE’S NEEDS, NOT YOURS
  31. 31. • We live in a transmedia world • Audiences have new expectations for all media • Our brains are wired for story • Instincts trump rational thought • Transmedia takes advantage of all these The Story So Far…
  32. 32. THEPOWEROF TRANSMEDIA 4
  33. 33. StoryWorld Story Awareness Engagement Experience Explore Engagement Path StoryWorld Create anticipation Provide signposts Develop artifacts and rituals Multiple channels, gaps Source: Adapted from http://www.slideshare.net/sioflynn
  34. 34. Make the Trip? WHY
  35. 35. Trigger the Psychology of Narrative • Visual input becomes multi-sensory • Transports/presence into alternate reality • Components: – Cognitive Engagement – Emotional Engagement – Mental Imagery • Accepts laws & logic of storyworld • Creates sense of immersion
  36. 36. Theory of Flow: Optimal Engagement
  37. 37. Balancing the Story Arc: Narrative Transportation
  38. 38. The Narrative Channel: Avoiding Exit Points
  39. 39. TRANSMEDIAIN ACTION 5
  40. 40. Main Story Anchor: Novel Pig 1: Website Pig 1: Anime Super Pig Wolf: Website Wolf: Ning Network for Team Wolf Pig 2: Twitter Dialogue Pig 3: Cooking Blog Pig 3: YouTube Videos Pig 3: Cookbook Pig 3: Fan Page Transmedia Story: The Three Little Pigs Sequels Pig 2: Pinterest Board Wolf: Vine Main Website
  41. 41. ‘East Los High’ Trailer
  42. 42. Anchor: Hulu Videos Website @eastloshighshow Facebook Transmedia Story: ‘East Los High’ USING TRANSMEDIA TO TURBOCHARGE SOCIAL IMPACT Character Vlogs School Newspaper InstagramTumblr Links to Resources Dance Videos
  43. 43. • Strong story based on theory – Sabido Methodology • Dramatic theory for characters and structure (Brewer) • Emotional and realistic content • Archetypal characters (Jung) • Social Learning Theory: Transitional characters model realistic change (Bandura) – Frequency allows creation of parasocial relationships (intimacy at a distance, Horton & Wohl) • Narrative stays true across media – Enhances suspension of disbelief (Bruner) What Makes ‘East Los High’ Work?
  44. 44. • Clear “signposts” on every medium • Offers value proposition in skills & resources (mastery) • Provides hub for social connection and affiliation • Access to alternate media fills time gap between episodes • Validates teen experience • Content creation creates stakeholders • Encourages & values audience • Soap opera/telenovela format uses emotional narrative devices (e.g., cliffhangers) • Models behavioral choice/demonstrates hope & resilience How Does ‘East Los High’ Bridge the Gaps?
  45. 45. Main Story Anchor Deb Web Earned Media Visual Symbols 45,000 Twitter Accounts Instant Messaging Transmedia Story: ISIL Websites User- generated Content UGC UGC Terrorist attacks
  46. 46. • Symbolic repetition creates “signposts” on every medium • Offers value proposition in skills, purpose • Provides hub for social connection and affiliation • Alternate media via UGC fills time gap between messages • Validates experience of disenfranchised, meaning-seekers • Content creation creates stakeholders • Encourages & ‘values’ audience • Uses highly emotional visual devices (e.g., symbols, violence) • Models behavioral path/demonstrates affiliation & purpose How Does ISIL Bridge the Gaps?
  47. 47. CREATING TRANSMEDIA 6
  48. 48. Anchor: Your Film ? ? ? Transmedia Story: ‘Your Film Here’ HOW CAN YOU USE TRANSMEDIA TO INCREASE YOUR AUDIENCE? ? ? ?? ? ?
  49. 49. StoryWorld Story Awareness Engagement Experience Explore Engagement Strategy StoryWorld Create anticipation Provide signposts Develop artifacts and rituals Multiple channels, gaps Source: Adapted from http://www.slideshare.net/sioflynn
  50. 50. StoryWorld Actionable Content Story Awareness Engagement Action Transformation Sustainable Engagement Source: Adapted from Lina Srivastava http://transmedia-activism.com/ Story Immersion StoryWorld
  51. 51. Anchor: Your Film Website @yourfilm Facebook Transmedia Story: ‘Your Film Here’ DEVELOPING TRANSMEDIA STRATEGIES ? ? InstagramTumblr ? ?
  52. 52. FINDYOUR PEOPLE
  53. 53. Seeing What does the audience’s world look like? Thinking What is important to the audience? What are their goals and plans? Feeling What are the audience’s emotions, hopes and fears? Hearing What influences the the audience? Doing What does the audience do? Pains What obstacles or challenges face the audience? Gains What’s init for the audience? How might they measure success? EMPATHY MAP
  54. 54. Emotion is Sticky • Increased self-reference • Greater enjoyment • Lower cognitive resistance to persuasion • More accepting of narrative discrepancies • Facilitates recall and buy-in; more likely to recommend
  55. 55. MAKEA PLAN
  56. 56. Transmedia Strategy Checklist ü Identify and craft the essential story ü Know your audience ü Evaluate where you can expand the story into smaller narratives that fit different platforms ü Design signposts and assets for direction and collaboration ü Entice by creating gaps and mini-mysteries ü Respect your audience ü Think 360: Extend, adapt and share
  57. 57. • Psychology emphasizes audience-centric view of any journey • Neuroscience highlights the role of instinct in narrative experience • Increase persuasion and liking, diminish resistance • Human behavior is always a reflection of goals and needs Secret Weapon: Use Psychology
  58. 58. Dr. Pamela Rutledge DIRECTOR, MEDIA PSYCHOLOGY RESEARCH CENTER pamelarutledge@gmail.com @pamelarutledge WHY BOTHERWITH TRANSMEDIA STORYTELLING?

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