Jeff Gomez’s “8 Defining Characteristics of Transmedia Production”

On October 7, 2007 by Christy

A few posts ago I mentioned the new blog, The Extratextuals, and an (at the time) upcoming event . The session was put together by Jeff Gomez:

 Jeff Gomez (Moderator), CEO Starlight Runner Entertainment
As the host of the seminar, PGA member Jeff will familiarize producers with the history, criteria and relevance of trans-media storytelling. An expert in the field of trans-media development and creator and producer of highly successful fictional worlds, Jeff exponentially increases the value of intellectual properties by preparing them at early phase to be extended across a wide variety of entertainment platforms. Jeff has written and produced elaborate trans-media universes (including content such as feature and episodic animation, video games, comic books, novels and web portals) for 20th Century Fox, The Coca-Cola Company, The Walt Disney Company, Acclaim Entertainment, Mattel, Hasbro and Scholastic. (bio from The Extratextuals)

Check out Starlight’s company description:

Starlight Runner Entertainment, Inc. is a leading creator of highly successful fictional worlds, maximizing the value of intellectual properties by preparing them for extension across multiple media platforms.

Starlight Runner produces animated and live-action feature films, as well as advanced media content. The company also packages books, comics and graphic novels, and develops video games and alternate reality experiences with world-renowned partners and clients.

The Producers Guild of America blog reports on Jeff Gomez’s insights at the ‘Creating Blockbuster Worlds’ event:

The 8 defining characteristics of a transmedia production:

  1. Content is originated by one or a very few visionaries
  2. Cross-media rollout is planned early in the life of the franchise
  3. Content is distributed to three or more media platforms
  4. Content is unique, adheres to platform-specific strengths, and is not repurposed from one platform to the next
  5. Content is based on a single vision for the story world
  6. Concerted effort is made to avoid fractures and schisms
  7. Effort is vertical across company, third parties and licensees
  8. Rollout features audience participatory elements, including:
    – Web portal
    – Social networking
    – Story-guided user-generated content

Examples of contemporary trans-media properties include: The Blair Witch Project, The Matrix, Hot Wheels: World Race / Acceleracers, Bionicle, Pokemon, Magic: The Gathering, James Cameron’s AVATAR, many Disney projects including High School Musical, Pirates of theCaribbean, Fairies, Hannah Montana.

Great! I love reading how other people describe the form. I’ve described it in so many different ways according to my audience. I agree with all that he says though I’m wondering why he says three or more platforms rather than just two? I guess that fits in the franchise approach that he is working in. But of course, the continuation of a property across media platforms is not the exclusive domain of conglomerates.