Wednesday, February 06, 2008

BPN 1000 Fiction over multiple media platforms

Today the Blog Posting Number stands on 1000. Since May1, 2005 a daily posting on the weblog Buziaulane has been sent to Blogger for 1000 consecutive days. Celebrating this milestone, I received a posting Christy Dena about cross-media, a subject which has been regularly treated on this blog. Also Blog or Buziaulane Posting Number 1001 will deal with a favourite subject: games for seniors.

Fiction over multiple media platforms

by Christy Dena (left on the photograph with Jak Boumans, owner of Buziaulane)

Over the years there has been much confusion about just what ‘cross-media’ is. For some it equates with multimedia, intermedia, multi-modality, while for others it simply refers to distribution techniques, or explains adaptations from traditional media to new media, or is a fancy word for franchises, what the TV and film industry in the USA are doing, what pervasive gamers in Sweden are doing, what convergent journalists are doing, is only a marketing strategy, is all about the changes to producer and audience relations, is the same as every other term or is completely different, is the latest thing or is centuries old. Although it is important to be aware of all of these perspectives and how they differ, it should also be noted that they are in fact all pointing towards the same (global) phenomenon…

To contribute to the conversation on this exciting topic, my PhD thesis will address a specific area: the ways fiction has changed when expressed over multiple media platforms. The scope is wide however: encompassing practices from film, TV, print, gaming and the arts; from both mass entertainment and independent practitioners. Acknowledging the diversity of practices, I do not just concentrate on (what could be described for now as) the continuation of a story across media. Instead, I address four key approaches to the expression of fiction over media platforms: replication, transformation, expansion and integration.

Replication refers to the practice of duplicating the same content in different media. This approach is commonly known as COPA (Create Once, Produce Anytime), repurposing, multi-platform gaming, distribution and so on. Although a technical rather than artistic issue in many circumstances, this thesis explores works of fiction that consider the replication of its content as part of its artistic expression. Transformation refers to works where practitioners adapt or remix or alter their own story or game in another media platform. While in the past adaptations were undertaken by different authors, now creators are implementing their own. Expansion refers to practices commonly known as ‘transmedia storytelling’, ‘cross-media communication’, ‘cross-media entertainment’, 360 content, synergistic content and so on. It is here that stories, games and works of art that provide new events in different media are explored. The final category of integration refers to works that are transmedial by nature: pervasive games, alternate reality games and so on.

How practitioners are co-creating these works, the influences on their design decisions, the audience/player/reader experience, the history of these practices and what these practices mean for the study of narrative, games and media will all be addressed. The thesis will be finished in the next few months, but in the meantime, you can stay up to date on my publications at, or participate in the discussion about design practices at I welcome any thoughts!

Blog Posting Number: 1000

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