Transmedia, Discipline, and Tone Color
By Tyler Weaver
Two types of choice make up the storytelling world of today: The first is the creator’s choice: the choices that we as content creators make to build the world of the story we’re telling. The second is the audience’s choice: limitless, and changeable at the click of a mouse or swipe of a finger.
The tools of expression are everywhere. In every device we hold. In every screen we look at. Whereas previously it was enough to look at a big screen, or a small screen, or the light pages of a bunch of pieces of paper bound by staples and glue, today’s world is a different place. We are now faced with something none of us (save novelists) have experienced:
Near limitless potential.
But with limitless potential comes a potential for over-indulgence. The more potential we have, the more disciplined we have to be.
Nearly everything I know about transmedia storytelling came from two places: comic books (which will be the subject of my book next year), and my training as a classical music composer.
What separated the great composers from the mediocre was not what they used in their works but what they left out. Great works are created within chains so now the trick is not to use everything at our disposal, but to select each piece carefully and methodically, embracing its nuance and capabilities to best reach the intended end goal: Symphony.
Each and every medium we choose to implement must compliment and build within the chains we have to mold around each work. In the digital world, where our greatest enemy is not lack of choice, but too much, it’s only through discipline and organic story creation – being the sharpest tool in the shed – that we cut through the surfaces that the dull instruments can’t reach.
The unlimited potential of digital creativity is a wonderful thing – but not because of its unlimited potential. What makes it great is how we choose to utilize the tools at our disposal – through a disciplined (and highly creative) exploration of their nuances to build each and every one of our digital symphonies. It’s through our command and usage of those different instruments that we create surprise and craft an irresistibly immersive story experience for our audience.
If we successfully do that, we place ourselves in an infinitely better place for the audience to make their choice – and not click away.