NYFF Convergence / by Jason Nunes

Or "You can have my buzzword when you pry it from my cold dead lips..."

Despite my web 1.0 bias to the term (we beat "convergence" into the ground at every pitch, client meeting, and presentation back in the late 90s) I had a great time at the NY Film Festival's first ever transmedia conference--Convergence.

If you work in advertising, or media and entertainment, "transmedia" as a buzz-word is approaching the late 90s beaten-like-a-dead-horseness of "convergence", but I'd be willing to bet most ordinary folk have no idea what the word means.

At its simplest, what transmedia means is to tell a single story/story experience using different types of media and formats (if you want to get all buzz-wordy, we call 'em "channels" or "platforms"). For example you might tell your main story in the form of a movie at movie theaters, but you might expand upon the world you've created, explore sub-plots and characters, and even do some much needed exposition as a cartoon on TV or the web, in novels, comics, video games, and even games in the real world.

Star Wars is the media property us horse-beaters talk about when we talk about transmedia. In the Star Wars universe (storyverse) a regular old audience member can watch the main story unfold in the 6 blockbuster movies, but more engaged fans have so many other places they can go to learn about the Star Wars world--The Clone Wars TV Show, video games--including the awesome ones created by LEGO--in comics, and novelas, not to mention the legion of fan created content that's out there... which may not be official "canon" but I maintain is still a valuable chunk of transmedia.

I could go on... and I will, in future blog posts. Why? Well, mostly because in some form or other I've been "converging" and involved in the creation of transmedia properties for the past 15 years or so. Not quite as long as the term has been around--Marsh Kinder first wrote about transmedia in 1991--but long enough to have accumulated some thoughts on the subject.

I'd love to hear what you think, what's transmedia to you?