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transmedia 
storytelling 
How I Stopped Worrying and 
Learned to Love the Transmedia... 
by Benjamin Hoguet 
@benhoguet
1
the need to 
define transmedia 
is strong
A global 
definition 
by 
Henry Jenkins
A visual 
definition 
by 
Robert Pratten
an institutional 
definition 
needed for : 
! 
• status recognition 
• grants allocation 
• lobbying efforts 
• «reassurance» 
‘’ A Transmedia Narrative project or franchise 
must consist of three (or more) 
narrative storylines existing within the 
same fictional universe on any of the 
following platforms: Film, Television, Short 
Film, Broadband, Publishing, Comics, 
Animation, Mobile, Special Venues, DVD/ 
Blu-ray/CD-ROM, Narrative Commercial and 
Marketing rollouts, and other technologies 
that may or may not currently exist. These 
narrative extensions are NOT the same 
as repurposing material from one 
platform to be cut or repurposed to different 
platforms. ‘’
an institutional 
definition 
needed for : 
! 
• status recognition 
• grants allocation 
• lobbying efforts 
• reassurance 
To be eligible to the CNC 
new media fund, a 
project must: 
! 
• be an original concept with 
content (linear or interactive) 
specifically produced for new media 
! 
• be destined to several media, 
including cinema and/or 
television and must offer specific 
narrative developments on 
each media 
! 
•create a universe and include an 
interactive and/or 
participatory dimension 
! 
• be conceived and written in French
but who really 
gives a f***?
focus on a good story... 
give it all the forms 
it needs and deserves... 
make it engaging and immersive... 
it’ll be good transmedia.
2
a craft rooted in 
our cultural DNA
the non-interactive entertainment 
of the 20th century 
is the exception, not the norm
Before non-interactive forms of 
entertainment came along all 
entertainment was interactive: 
theatre, music, sport – the performers 
and audience were there together, 
and even a respectfully silent 
audience exerted a powerful shaping 
presence on the unfolding of 
whatever drama they were there for. 
! 
We didn’t need a special 
word for interactivity in the 
same way that we don’t 
(yet) need a special word for 
people with only one head. 
- Douglas Adams 
in «How to Stop Worrying and 
Learn to Love the Internet» (1999)
new worlds 
to conquer 
digital or not...
new formats 
enriching and transcending 
traditional media 
(not replacing them)
new formats 
webdocumentaries 
recurring features: 
• multiple-choices interfaces 
• multimedia content 
• non-linear narrative structure 
main challenges: 
• going non-linear without sacrificing 
narration 
• keeping a balance between interactivity 
and author’s intention 
• making the interaction the story 
frequent mistakes: 
• encyclopedic documentary 
• narrative maze 
• non-contributing interactivity 
• ergonomical nightmare 
Hollow (Elaine McMillion) | Interactive documentary 
Gaza Sderot (ARTE) | Webdocumentary | Documentary
new formats 
serious games 
recurring features: 
• serious intentions combined with 
playful mechanisms 
• «classic gaming» features : levels, rules, 
rewards... 
main challenges: 
• not letting the information delivery ruin 
the gaming experience 
• not letting the gaming experience hinder 
the information delivery 
• being really fun and challenging to play 
frequent mistakes: 
• overly simplistic game design 
• confusion between gaming and 
gamification 
• forgetting to tell a story 
Type:RIder (ARTE) | Mobile & social game | Interactive installation 
SPENT | Serious game
new formats 
fictional universes 
recurring features: 
• TV or cinema-centered 
• long-lasting experiences 
• special content for hardcore fans 
• strong ties with marketing campaigns 
main challenges: 
• preserving some distinction between 
transmedia and marketing 
• spending more time for the 1% of 
hardcore fans than for the other 99% 
• keeping the whole experience coherent 
frequent mistakes: 
• lack of resources for developments 
other than the main medium 
• some parts of the experience don’t 
stand alone 
Defiance (SyFy) | TV Show | MMORPG 
The Spiral (ARTE) | TV Show | ARG
new formats 
alternate reality games 
recurring features: 
• thin line between reality and fiction 
• players embodying fictional characters, 
much as in role playing 
• results of the ARG shaping the 
unfolding of the transmedia experience 
main challenges: 
• dealing with the logistics 
• keeping the player’s community coherent 
and interactive 
• drawing links with the rest of the 
experience 
frequent mistakes: 
• lack of social features 
• forgetting rewards for a very 
demanding activity 
Alt-Minds (ARTE) | Mobile game | ARG | Webseries 
Why So Serious | ARG
new formats 
participative experiences 
recurring features: 
• offering users to co-create the project 
• content also available for non-contributors 
• UGC or contributions shaping the 
whole transmedia experience 
main challenges: 
• editorialization of contributions or UGC 
• incentives for participation 
• legal status of UGC content 
frequent mistakes: 
• lack of recognition or rewards for 
participants 
• unclear impact of participation on the 
project 
Une Contre-Histoire des Internets (ARTE) 
Life in a Day (National Geographic & YouTube) | Feature film
new formats 
digital publishing 
recurring features: 
• offering users to co-create the project 
• content available for non-participants 
• UGC or participation shaping the whole 
transmedia experience 
main challenges: 
• editorialization of participations or UGC 
• incentives for participation 
• legal status of UGC content 
frequent mistakes: 
• lack of recognition or rewards for 
participants 
• unclear impact of participation on the 
project 
MediaEntity | Comics | e-Book | ARG | Role playing | Webseries 
Cathy’s Book | Publishing | ARG
new formats 
and much much more... 
• gamedocs 
• mobile apps 
• e-publishing 
• social games 
• second screen apps 
• long-form articles 
• interactive webseries 
• role-playing on social 
networks 
• tweetterature 
• and whatever we’ll do 
with Google glasses... 
Fort McMoney (ARTE/ONF) | Gamedoc | Documentary 
Snow Fall (New York Times) | Long-form interactive article
never bend your 
story to fit 
a predetermined 
choice of media
3
the (not so) new 
rules of storytelling
your transmedia experience should be: 
immersive 
interactive 
sharable 
coherent 
expandable
4
why bother 
with transmedia?
obvious returns not so obvious ones... 
• you’ll learn (hopefully) to 
delegate and work 
collaboratively 
! 
• you’ll learn new skills (design, 
coding, game design, 
storytelling softwares...) 
! 
• if necessary, you’ll be able to 
make concessions on one 
medium to preserve creative 
freedom on another 
(OK, don’t hit me...) 
• you’ll reach multiple target 
audiences on their media of 
choice 
! 
•you’ll build a stronger 
community around your project 
! 
• you’ll create a narrative 
universe you can then expand 
! 
• you’ll get new funding and 
grant opportunities 
! 
• you’ll get an innovative edge 
and a pioneer status
obvious complications not so obvious ones... 
• you’ll have to deal with more 
complicated group dynamics 
! 
• you’ll faced an unclear and 
unspecific set of laws and 
regulations 
! 
• you’ll have to reconfigure your 
brain because transmedia 
storytelling will f*** up your 
creative process and patterns 
• you’ll most certainly have to 
coproduce some aspects of the 
experience 
! 
• you’ll have to implement more 
sophisticated project 
management techniques 
! 
• you’ll have to find new skills 
such as story architects, 
experience designers... 
! 
• you’ll be part of an emerging 
and competitive market so 
demand might run low 
sometimes
to optimize returns and minimize complications: 
keep calm and 
collaborate 
• By co-producing and co-creating, 
you’ll build a 
growing ecosystem of gifted 
professionals 
• You’ll soon develop many 
new skills you never had the 
patience or time or 
resources to learn 
• But still, don’t go 
overboard and ask everyone 
you meet to join your 
project
5
production and 
distribution, 
transmedia-style.
key players 
Broadcasters / Media 
ARTE (France) 
France Televisions (France) 
NFB / ONF (Canada) 
National Geographic (US) 
HBO (US) 
... 
Producers 
Starlight Runner (US) 
Mirada Studios (US) 
MediaStorm (US) 
Upian (France) 
Lexis Numerique (France) 
Submarine (NL) 
... 
New media funds & grants 
CNC (France) 
SCAM, SACD, SACEM (France) 
Regional funds (France) 
Lagardère Foundation (France) 
Europe Creative (EU) 
Doha Film Institute (Qatar) 
Tribeca New Media Fund (US) 
...
«classic» funding «new» funding 
•Get some media involved 
•Apply for funding and grants 
•Find private funders (maybe) 
•Look for the widest distribution 
•Enter some festivals 
•Build a community 
•Get involved with your audience 
•Launch a crowdfunding campaign 
or pre-sales 
•Be grateful and send some rewards 
both are not mutually exclusive!
DIY distribution 
What for ? 
•Take full creative control 
•Stay independent 
•Generate (possibly) more revenue 
How? 
•Use existing distribution solutions 
(iTunes, Vodeo, Vimeo, Kindle Direct Publishing...) 
•Create your own (VHX, custom code) 
Careful... 
•Build an audience first 
•Consider the higher risk/reward ratio 
•Run your numbers 
•Get a plan B
Festivals & events 
Elsewhere: 
SXSW (Austin, US) 
Power to Pixel (London, UK) 
Sheffield DocFest (UK) 
IDFA DocLab (Amsterdam, NL) 
Tribeca Storyscapes (NYC, US) 
Sundance New Frontier (Utah, US) 
... 
In France: 
Sunny Side of the Doc (La Rochelle) 
Cross Video Days (Paris) 
Web Program Festival (La Rochelle) 
FIGRA (Le Touquet) 
Visa pour l’Image (Perpignan) 
FIPA (Biarritz) 
...
6
your very own 
transmedia 
toolbox!
Non-linear writing tools 
Twine 
Open-source 
Non-linear storytelling 
Interactive scenario 
Instant publishing 
And also: 
Scrivener 
Celtx 
Scapple...
Interactive storytelling tools 
Djehouti 
To create without code any kind of 
interactive experiences 
(webdoc, interactive videos, mobile apps, 
websites...) 
To create storyworlds 
with complex social and 
mobile interactions 
To create geolocated 
interactive experiences 
And also: 
Klynt, Zeega... (interactive experiences) 
Shorthand... (long-form articles) 
ThingLink, Stipple... (interactive photos) 
Popcorn, Korsakow... (interactive videos) 
Timeline JS, TikiToki... (timelines) 
Infogr.am, Piktochart... (infographics)
News sources & influencers 
In France: 
The Rabbit Hole (transmedia) 
Webdocu.fr (webdoc) 
Le Blog Documentaire (doc & webdoc) 
The Pixel Hunt (serious game) 
Transmedia Lab (transmedia) 
Bigger Than Fiction (transmedia) 
UK/US: 
HenryJenkins.org (transmedia) 
Transmedia SF (transmedia) 
tStoryteller (storytelling) 
Starlight Runner (transmedia) 
Andrea Philips (transmedia) 
Digital Rocking Chair (curated) 
Pervasive Entertainement (curated) 
and many more I forget...
Transmedia communities 
Storycode 
Recurring events and workshops 
dedicated to the future of storytelling 
in NYC, Paris, Boston, Washington, SF... 
And also: 
Regional communities 
(Transmedia SF, LA...) 
Transmedia Coalition 
Transmedia Meetups 
Workshops and hackathon 
(Tribeca Hacks, PBS POV Hackathon...)
thank you! 
more on @benhoguet 
and benhoguet.com

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Transmedia storytelling

  • 1. transmedia storytelling How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Transmedia... by Benjamin Hoguet @benhoguet
  • 2. 1
  • 3. the need to define transmedia is strong
  • 4. A global definition by Henry Jenkins
  • 5. A visual definition by Robert Pratten
  • 6. an institutional definition needed for : ! • status recognition • grants allocation • lobbying efforts • «reassurance» ‘’ A Transmedia Narrative project or franchise must consist of three (or more) narrative storylines existing within the same fictional universe on any of the following platforms: Film, Television, Short Film, Broadband, Publishing, Comics, Animation, Mobile, Special Venues, DVD/ Blu-ray/CD-ROM, Narrative Commercial and Marketing rollouts, and other technologies that may or may not currently exist. These narrative extensions are NOT the same as repurposing material from one platform to be cut or repurposed to different platforms. ‘’
  • 7. an institutional definition needed for : ! • status recognition • grants allocation • lobbying efforts • reassurance To be eligible to the CNC new media fund, a project must: ! • be an original concept with content (linear or interactive) specifically produced for new media ! • be destined to several media, including cinema and/or television and must offer specific narrative developments on each media ! •create a universe and include an interactive and/or participatory dimension ! • be conceived and written in French
  • 8. but who really gives a f***?
  • 9. focus on a good story... give it all the forms it needs and deserves... make it engaging and immersive... it’ll be good transmedia.
  • 10. 2
  • 11. a craft rooted in our cultural DNA
  • 12. the non-interactive entertainment of the 20th century is the exception, not the norm
  • 13. Before non-interactive forms of entertainment came along all entertainment was interactive: theatre, music, sport – the performers and audience were there together, and even a respectfully silent audience exerted a powerful shaping presence on the unfolding of whatever drama they were there for. ! We didn’t need a special word for interactivity in the same way that we don’t (yet) need a special word for people with only one head. - Douglas Adams in «How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Internet» (1999)
  • 14. new worlds to conquer digital or not...
  • 15. new formats enriching and transcending traditional media (not replacing them)
  • 16. new formats webdocumentaries recurring features: • multiple-choices interfaces • multimedia content • non-linear narrative structure main challenges: • going non-linear without sacrificing narration • keeping a balance between interactivity and author’s intention • making the interaction the story frequent mistakes: • encyclopedic documentary • narrative maze • non-contributing interactivity • ergonomical nightmare Hollow (Elaine McMillion) | Interactive documentary Gaza Sderot (ARTE) | Webdocumentary | Documentary
  • 17. new formats serious games recurring features: • serious intentions combined with playful mechanisms • «classic gaming» features : levels, rules, rewards... main challenges: • not letting the information delivery ruin the gaming experience • not letting the gaming experience hinder the information delivery • being really fun and challenging to play frequent mistakes: • overly simplistic game design • confusion between gaming and gamification • forgetting to tell a story Type:RIder (ARTE) | Mobile & social game | Interactive installation SPENT | Serious game
  • 18. new formats fictional universes recurring features: • TV or cinema-centered • long-lasting experiences • special content for hardcore fans • strong ties with marketing campaigns main challenges: • preserving some distinction between transmedia and marketing • spending more time for the 1% of hardcore fans than for the other 99% • keeping the whole experience coherent frequent mistakes: • lack of resources for developments other than the main medium • some parts of the experience don’t stand alone Defiance (SyFy) | TV Show | MMORPG The Spiral (ARTE) | TV Show | ARG
  • 19. new formats alternate reality games recurring features: • thin line between reality and fiction • players embodying fictional characters, much as in role playing • results of the ARG shaping the unfolding of the transmedia experience main challenges: • dealing with the logistics • keeping the player’s community coherent and interactive • drawing links with the rest of the experience frequent mistakes: • lack of social features • forgetting rewards for a very demanding activity Alt-Minds (ARTE) | Mobile game | ARG | Webseries Why So Serious | ARG
  • 20. new formats participative experiences recurring features: • offering users to co-create the project • content also available for non-contributors • UGC or contributions shaping the whole transmedia experience main challenges: • editorialization of contributions or UGC • incentives for participation • legal status of UGC content frequent mistakes: • lack of recognition or rewards for participants • unclear impact of participation on the project Une Contre-Histoire des Internets (ARTE) Life in a Day (National Geographic & YouTube) | Feature film
  • 21. new formats digital publishing recurring features: • offering users to co-create the project • content available for non-participants • UGC or participation shaping the whole transmedia experience main challenges: • editorialization of participations or UGC • incentives for participation • legal status of UGC content frequent mistakes: • lack of recognition or rewards for participants • unclear impact of participation on the project MediaEntity | Comics | e-Book | ARG | Role playing | Webseries Cathy’s Book | Publishing | ARG
  • 22. new formats and much much more... • gamedocs • mobile apps • e-publishing • social games • second screen apps • long-form articles • interactive webseries • role-playing on social networks • tweetterature • and whatever we’ll do with Google glasses... Fort McMoney (ARTE/ONF) | Gamedoc | Documentary Snow Fall (New York Times) | Long-form interactive article
  • 23. never bend your story to fit a predetermined choice of media
  • 24. 3
  • 25. the (not so) new rules of storytelling
  • 26. your transmedia experience should be: immersive interactive sharable coherent expandable
  • 27. 4
  • 28. why bother with transmedia?
  • 29. obvious returns not so obvious ones... • you’ll learn (hopefully) to delegate and work collaboratively ! • you’ll learn new skills (design, coding, game design, storytelling softwares...) ! • if necessary, you’ll be able to make concessions on one medium to preserve creative freedom on another (OK, don’t hit me...) • you’ll reach multiple target audiences on their media of choice ! •you’ll build a stronger community around your project ! • you’ll create a narrative universe you can then expand ! • you’ll get new funding and grant opportunities ! • you’ll get an innovative edge and a pioneer status
  • 30. obvious complications not so obvious ones... • you’ll have to deal with more complicated group dynamics ! • you’ll faced an unclear and unspecific set of laws and regulations ! • you’ll have to reconfigure your brain because transmedia storytelling will f*** up your creative process and patterns • you’ll most certainly have to coproduce some aspects of the experience ! • you’ll have to implement more sophisticated project management techniques ! • you’ll have to find new skills such as story architects, experience designers... ! • you’ll be part of an emerging and competitive market so demand might run low sometimes
  • 31. to optimize returns and minimize complications: keep calm and collaborate • By co-producing and co-creating, you’ll build a growing ecosystem of gifted professionals • You’ll soon develop many new skills you never had the patience or time or resources to learn • But still, don’t go overboard and ask everyone you meet to join your project
  • 32. 5
  • 33. production and distribution, transmedia-style.
  • 34. key players Broadcasters / Media ARTE (France) France Televisions (France) NFB / ONF (Canada) National Geographic (US) HBO (US) ... Producers Starlight Runner (US) Mirada Studios (US) MediaStorm (US) Upian (France) Lexis Numerique (France) Submarine (NL) ... New media funds & grants CNC (France) SCAM, SACD, SACEM (France) Regional funds (France) Lagardère Foundation (France) Europe Creative (EU) Doha Film Institute (Qatar) Tribeca New Media Fund (US) ...
  • 35. «classic» funding «new» funding •Get some media involved •Apply for funding and grants •Find private funders (maybe) •Look for the widest distribution •Enter some festivals •Build a community •Get involved with your audience •Launch a crowdfunding campaign or pre-sales •Be grateful and send some rewards both are not mutually exclusive!
  • 36. DIY distribution What for ? •Take full creative control •Stay independent •Generate (possibly) more revenue How? •Use existing distribution solutions (iTunes, Vodeo, Vimeo, Kindle Direct Publishing...) •Create your own (VHX, custom code) Careful... •Build an audience first •Consider the higher risk/reward ratio •Run your numbers •Get a plan B
  • 37. Festivals & events Elsewhere: SXSW (Austin, US) Power to Pixel (London, UK) Sheffield DocFest (UK) IDFA DocLab (Amsterdam, NL) Tribeca Storyscapes (NYC, US) Sundance New Frontier (Utah, US) ... In France: Sunny Side of the Doc (La Rochelle) Cross Video Days (Paris) Web Program Festival (La Rochelle) FIGRA (Le Touquet) Visa pour l’Image (Perpignan) FIPA (Biarritz) ...
  • 38. 6
  • 39. your very own transmedia toolbox!
  • 40. Non-linear writing tools Twine Open-source Non-linear storytelling Interactive scenario Instant publishing And also: Scrivener Celtx Scapple...
  • 41. Interactive storytelling tools Djehouti To create without code any kind of interactive experiences (webdoc, interactive videos, mobile apps, websites...) To create storyworlds with complex social and mobile interactions To create geolocated interactive experiences And also: Klynt, Zeega... (interactive experiences) Shorthand... (long-form articles) ThingLink, Stipple... (interactive photos) Popcorn, Korsakow... (interactive videos) Timeline JS, TikiToki... (timelines) Infogr.am, Piktochart... (infographics)
  • 42. News sources & influencers In France: The Rabbit Hole (transmedia) Webdocu.fr (webdoc) Le Blog Documentaire (doc & webdoc) The Pixel Hunt (serious game) Transmedia Lab (transmedia) Bigger Than Fiction (transmedia) UK/US: HenryJenkins.org (transmedia) Transmedia SF (transmedia) tStoryteller (storytelling) Starlight Runner (transmedia) Andrea Philips (transmedia) Digital Rocking Chair (curated) Pervasive Entertainement (curated) and many more I forget...
  • 43. Transmedia communities Storycode Recurring events and workshops dedicated to the future of storytelling in NYC, Paris, Boston, Washington, SF... And also: Regional communities (Transmedia SF, LA...) Transmedia Coalition Transmedia Meetups Workshops and hackathon (Tribeca Hacks, PBS POV Hackathon...)
  • 44. thank you! more on @benhoguet and benhoguet.com