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Worldbuilding: Using Transmedia Storyworlds to Shape the Future

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At the core of any transmedia narrative is the “storyworld”. This presentation lays out the key elements for transmedia worldbuilding.

Worldbuilding: Using Transmedia Storyworlds to Shape the Future

  1. 1. Worldbuilding Using Transmedia Storyworlds to Shape the Future By Peter von Stackelberg Presented at Data Ecologies 2014 Linz, Austria May 2014
  2. 2. We must tell stories about the future to shape the future
  3. 3. Emotion is a key element in human information processing
  4. 4. We respond to emotion
  5. 5. Data is not enough!
  6. 6. A SQUAT grey building of only thirty-four stories. Over the main entrance the words, CENTRAL LONDON HATCHERY AND CONDITIONING CENTRE, and, in a shield, the World State's motto, COMMUNITY, IDENTITY, STABILITY. The enormous room on the ground floor faced towards the north. Cold for all the summer beyond the panes, for all the tropical heat of the room itself, a harsh thin light glared through the windows, hungrily seeking some draped lay figure, some pallid shape of academic goose- flesh, but finding only the glass and nickel and bleakly shining porcelain of a laboratory. Wintriness responded to wintriness. The overalls of the workers were white, their hands gloved with a pale corpse-coloured rubber. The light was frozen, dead, a ghost. Only from the yellow barrels of the microscopes did it borrow a certain rich and living substance, lying along the polished tubes like butter, streak after luscious streak in long recession down the work tables. - Brave New World, Aldus Huxley
  7. 7. Data Experience Information WisdomKnowledge Universal Individual Global Local Personal Context Global Local Personal We need to move from data to wisdom
  8. 8. Transmedia storytelling is… …telling one or more related stories across two or more types of media
  9. 9. The use of transmedia storytelling is growing
  10. 10. Careful design is absolutely critical for effective transmedia stories
  11. 11. Worldbuilding is the process of creating a “universe” within which all your stories exist
  12. 12. J.R.R. Tolkien was a master worldbuilder
  13. 13. Story development often begins with characters and expands outward from there
  14. 14. Storyworld development begins with the world and multiple stories emerge from it
  15. 15. Worldbuilding involves three key design tasks: • Narrative design • Audience engagement design • User interaction design
  16. 16. Timelines are an effective tool for organizing storyworlds
  17. 17. Narrative Design
  18. 18. Narrative Design • Select genre
  19. 19. Narrative Design • Select genre • Identify premise
  20. 20. Narrative Design • Select genre • Identify premise • Identify controlling idea
  21. 21. Narrative Design • Select genre • Identify premise • Identify controlling idea • Identify designing principle
  22. 22. Narrative Design • Select genre • Identify premise • Identify controlling idea • Identify designing principle • Identify central conflict
  23. 23. Narrative Design • Select genre • Identify premise • Identify controlling idea • Identify designing principle • Identify central conflict • Set storyworld timeframes
  24. 24. Narrative Design • Select genre • Identify premise • Identify controlling idea • Identify designing principle • Identify central conflict • Set storyworld timeframes • Create events
  25. 25. Narrative Design • Select genre • Identify premise • Identify controlling idea • Identify designing principle • Identify central conflict • Set storyworld timeframes • Create events • Create characters
  26. 26. Narrative Design • Select genre • Identify premise • Identify controlling idea • Identify designing principle • Identify central conflict • Set storyworld timeframes • Create events • Create characters • Create significant objects
  27. 27. Narrative Design • Select genre • Identify premise • Identify controlling idea • Identify designing principle • Identify central conflict • Set storyworld timeframes • Create events • Create characters • Create significant objects • Create settings
  28. 28. Settings in a storyworld are defined by: •Topos
  29. 29. Settings in a storyworld are defined by: •Topos •Demos
  30. 30. Settings in a storyworld are defined by: •Topos •Demos •Chronos
  31. 31. Layout the elements on the timeline for your storyworld
  32. 32. Many storyworlds are static and frozen in time… …when they should be alive and dynamic
  33. 33. “How do we get there from here?” “How did we get here from there?”
  34. 34. Stories emerge from the storyworld
  35. 35. Audience Engagement Design
  36. 36.  Story: A story emerges from the interrelationship of a storyworld’s existents, events, and settings. Audience Engagement Design • Identify desired audience action
  37. 37.  Story: A story emerges from the interrelationship of a storyworld’s existents, events, and settings. Audience Engagement Design • Identify desired audience action • Identify audience gratifications
  38. 38.  Story: A story emerges from the interrelationship of a storyworld’s existents, events, and settings. Audience Engagement Design • Identify desired audience action • Identify audience gratifications • Identify message(s)
  39. 39.  Story: A story emerges from the interrelationship of a storyworld’s existents, events, and settings. Audience Engagement Design • Identify desired audience action • Identify audience gratifications • Identify message(s) • Select message function/effect
  40. 40. Acquire Trigger Alter Reinforce Cognitive (What do you want them to know?) Affective (What do you want them to feel?) Physiological (What physical reaction do you want them to have?) Belief (What do you want them to believe?) Attitude (What attitude do you want them to display?) Behavior (How to you want them to behave?) Message Function/Effect Matrix
  41. 41.  Story: A story emerges from the interrelationship of a storyworld’s existents, events, and settings. Audience Engagement Design • Identify desired audience action • Identify audience gratifications • Create message(s) • Select message function/effect • Determine audience agency
  42. 42. User agency is the degree of control a user has over the storyworld
  43. 43. User Interaction Design
  44. 44. Mobile devices are well-suited for transmedia stories
  45. 45. User Interaction Design 1. Identify type(s) of participation
  46. 46. User Interaction Design 1. Identify type(s) of participation 2. Determine media platforms
  47. 47. User Interaction Design 1. Identify type(s) of participation 2. Determine media platforms 3. Determine storyworld entry points
  48. 48. User Interaction Design 1. Identify type(s) of participation 2. Determine media platforms 3. Determine storyworld entry points 4. Determine inter-story transfer points
  49. 49. User Interaction Design 1. Identify type(s) of participation 2. Determine media platforms 3. Determine storyworld entry points 4. Determine inter-story transfer points
  50. 50. User Interaction Design 1. Identify type(s) of participation 2. Determine media platforms 3. Determine storyworld entry points 4. Determine inter-story transfer points 5. Identify the calls-to-action
  51. 51. So where do we go with this?
  52. 52. Over his lifetime Miguel Santiago had watched the Gulf eat away his home. He was a BOI – born on the Island – as were his parents and grandparents. They were gone now…entombed in the family’s mausoleum which lay under the water that had taken everything from him.
  53. 53. Water filled his boots as Miguel walked through the empty streets. When he was a child the Gulf was 20 miles from downtown, a 30 minute car ride along I-45 South when traffic was good, an eternity when traffic was bad – as it usually was. Now the Gulf covered Louisiana Street and lapped at the foot of One Shell Plaza. Miguel walked in silence, determined to get as far as he could. He was determined to go home to Galveston.
  54. 54. The story is the most important element of transmedia storytelling

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