New transmedia explorer: Chris Dahlen

Chris Dahlen, a contributing writer to publications such as Pitchfork Media, Paste Magazine, The Onion AV Club and The Wire N.H., has started a blog. His blog, Save the Robot, discusses among other things ‘transmedia’. Chris says that ‘Jenkins and others have defined this concept really well’ and wonders what is left for him as a columnist. I disagree that Jenkins and others (including me) have defined the concept really well. Sure, many people do get the fundamental concept — storyworlds continuing across media platforms — but that statement is not a one-stop shop. There is a such a complexity to the area, different ways that a story continues and doesn’t (I think most cross-media works have a mix of repurposing, adaptation and extension, and for very good reasons). The point I want to make is that there is soooooo muuucccchhh that hasn’t been explored and so much that has but hasn’t been finished or published yet (my PhD for instance!). What is good is that Chris has gravitated towards an area that he will be exploring with vigor:

[T]he direction I seem to be taking, without even planning it, is to look at what drives people to invest time in these sink holes – why there are some people who are fine with watching an hour of Law and Order and forgetting it the minute they go to bed, and then there are other people who watch every episode of Battlestar Galactica at least twice, listen to the podcasts, watch the forums, engage with the characters, write fan fic, and secretly hope there will be an MMORPG so they can walk up and “hang out with Starbuck” anytime they’d like. What drives their obsession? In other words, why do they love this stuff so much? [from this post]

In particular, Chris will be looking at the appeal of characters:

In fact, the characters in these worlds are the thing that interest me the most: we’re flooded with characters nowadays, and the ones that stick start to engage us on many platforms. Where do they come from? Why are we drawn to them? […] But here’s the catch: the characters and worlds we’re talking about aren’t just getting richer and more interactive; we’re also scaling ourselves down to live in them. [from this post]

Indeed, Chris reviews a lot of digital games and so his take on the relationship between characters and fans should be interesting. It is good to see a gamer talk about the craft and experience of transmedia forms and not the marketing. He’s also looking at politicians and the nature of seriality. Great stuff Chris! I look forward to reading more.

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