Transmedia storytelling (also known as transmedia narrative or multiplatform storytelling) is the technique of telling a single story or story experience across multiple platforms and formats using current digital technologies.
The study of transmedia storytelling—a concept introduced by Henry Jenkins, author of the seminal book Convergence Culture—is an emerging subject. Because of the nature of new media and different platforms, varying authors have different understandings of it. Jenkins states the term "transmedia" means "across media" and may be applied to superficially similar, but different phenomena. In particular, the concept of "transmedia storytelling" should not to be confused with traditional cross-platform, "transmedia" media franchises, or "media mixes".
One example that Jenkins gives is of the media conglomerate DC Comics. This organization releases comic books before the release of its related films so the audience understands a character's backstory. Much of transmedia storytelling is not based on singular characters of plot lines, but rather focuses on larger complex worlds where multiple characters and plot lines can be sustained for a longer period of time. In addition, Jenkins focused on how transmedia extends to attract larger audiences. For example, DC Comics releases coloring books to attract younger audience members. Sometimes, audience members can feel as though some transmedia storylines have left gaps in the plot line or character development, so they begin another extension of transmedia storytelling, such as fan fiction. Transmedia storytelling exists in the form of transmedia narratives, which Kalinov and Markova define as: "a multimedia product which communicates its narrative through a multitude of integrated media channels".
From a production standpoint, transmedia storytelling involves creating content that engages an audience using various techniques to permeate their daily lives. In order to achieve this engagement, a transmedia production will develop stories across multiple forms of media in order to deliver unique pieces of content in each channel. Importantly, these pieces of content are not only linked together (overtly or subtly), but are in narrative synchronization with each other.
Most of their lives, Robbie and Sharilyn have both loved stories. As a boy, Robbie listened to the anecdotes of his German and British neighbors. He naturally thought about how people said what they said because he was listening to them in two languages (and several dialects). His parents took him places like Holland and Romania and France where he didn't know the language at all, places where he had to perceive meaning for himself in his surroundings. And wherever he went, Robbie learned about human nature and deepened his appreciation of it.
Sharilyn loved already-told stories. After learning to read at the age of two, Sharilyn fell in love with books. She begged for trips to the library. She read the word-origin sections of her school dictionary and browsed her family's set of encyclopedias. But she also loved television and movies. The way people chose to tell stories and shape characters fascinated her. She began to pay attention to the characters she loved in books and on the screen to see why they made her love them.
So naturally, Robbie and Sharilyn grew to become messaging specialists. Both shared a love of a good story well told. And the way that Robbie appreciated the storyteller while Sharilyn loved the art of the story itself meshed together well. Each could show the other something fascinating in the stories that came their way.
To this day, Robbie loves reading biographies and learning about fascinating people of the past and present. And Sharilyn loves meeting new characters and coaxing them into existence.
Their natural tendencies particularly suit them to create messaging for their clients. Robbie and Sharilyn specialize in knowing and understanding their clients and then creating the distinct narrative to suit those clients and their stories.
You see what we did there? We just told you the same story in three different ways.