Transmedia is all about platforms. I call them “vectors” myself — I like the image of story being transmitted like a virus over particular physical and event pathways. Putting together a story, for me, revolves around character. It’s absolutely centered on character. Anything that has to do with structure distracts me from character and gets me thinking all mechanically, and not … the word’s not spiritual, exacly, but it separates me from the heartspace of a thinking being. I end up writing what I think people should say to one another, as opposed to writing down what I hear them say to one another. So this is a tightrope I walk, and I’m not very good at it yet. I suppose that’s okay — it’s in the falling that I learn what is and isn’t useful for me, and then with analysis and comparison and reflection and observation, refine that into … Read on!
So, you know when you haven’t gotten in touch with someone that you should have, a while ago, and you feel too embarrassed at your slackitude to get in touch with them, and then time slides further on, and you only get more mortified? Yeah. That. It’s worse because I owe work I haven’t been able to tackle because I’ve expertly tied myself in knots about it. I’ve managed to dig myself out of my own sand pit, but I’m still getting stones out of my shoes. I’ll have to line up apologies, just as soon as I line up a few more posts so you all know what I’ve been up to over the past couple of weeks. Short version: Working on it.
It’s been way too long since I’ve posted here. That’s because I’ve been doing some hard thinking and scribbling in my story, and how I’m approaching it, and how I’m approaching the transmedia nature of it. And I have finally understood, as I stand at the accordioned hood (bonnet!) of this metaphorical car, that I’ve been barking up at least one wrong tree. I feel a bit foolish, but in research, being wrong isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as we learn from our mistakes and missteps. My real challenge now is documenting what went wrong, and why I think it peeled off the rails. That’s what my next post (or posts) will be about. Also coming up will possibly be a flash fiction entry spurred by Chuck Wendig’s Terrible Minds blog. If you’re not reading him, you should be. I’ll add him to my blogroll linkist whatever the heck that … Read on!
I’m telling nothing new here. I’d say most people have this, at least the conscientious ones. Regardless of what you do, whether it’s traditionally seen as creative or not, if you’re like me, there’s a time when you look at yourself, you compare yourself to other people in your vaguely similar situation and you think: “I am a fraud. I’m here out of luck, I’m here because I said the right thing at the right time. They’re going to figure me out sooner or later, and I’ll be drummed out and ridiculed and shunned.” If you haven’t, well, more power to you. I find it crippling. Listen, I had a hard time contacting a person in the transmedia industry to ask him to be my industry mentor, and I’d already asked him if he’d be willing to entertain the idea in a class where he guest-lectured. It’s one of the reasons … Read on!
While my research centers on writing a transmedia story, the processes of it and how and why it works, there is also a social component to it. I deliberately chose to have my story be about the journey of a refugee girl escaping from war at home and trying to find a safe place to live. There are two main reasons for this: the first has to do with my experience as a Mexican-American growing up on the border of Texas and Mexico, and the second has to do with the appalling use of “boat people” as a political football by the government and the opposition here in Australia. Earlier this month, the Washington Post published an article about Jason Richwine, who co-authored a study commissioned by The Heritage Foundation indicating that immigration reform could cost the US trillions of dollars. The article in question, however, was written to put … Read on!
I’ve never really been able to do treatments. For stories, I can outline them all right; but for a treatment of a piece that’s meant to be a script, whether it’s radio or film of stage, I get carried away hearing people talk to each other. I get lost in writing the dialogue. So it’s not a treatment, it’s a rough draft of a scene. Which I suppose is all right. I mean, this whole thing is about figuring why things work, and how they work. By force it’ll just be my personal experience, because I can’t get in anyone else’s head about these things. So, in my head: treatments are hard. I feel stifled trying to keep everything to prose when I know the things I’m writing about are going to get done as dialogue. And I understand why a treatment can be useful; it gives a summary of … Read on!
Finding a voice sucks. Blog writing is hard. I imagine this is the case for a lot of people, but I end up trashing most of my posts in a fit of “who really cares what I have to say?” If this blog is a kind of signposting of my experience, then I’ve forgotten to take pictures of the whole first half of the trip. To be fair, it’s mostly the same — a lot of worldbuilding on the wiki, and then refining and tuning the storyline. I have some broad strokes written out already, and depending on what platforms end up getting chosen for the second half — production — I think we’ll only be able to do maybe an episode a month, including all materials. And by episode I’m not yet sure if I mean primarily an animatic, or primarily a radio-play style podcast. There’s a conference in … Read on!
I’m not the kind of person who usually outlines or plans. I start with an opening idea or scene and just run with it. This is fine if your deadlines are loose and the process is meant to be exploratory. No harm, no foul, in poking into a dead-end idea; just back up to a previous save and try a new path. This isn’t so tenable when you’re working to a deadline. When I’ve done work for hire, I’ve used an outline; sometimes those outlines were provided to me by an editor, and sometimes it was up to me to build the structure. There’s a sense of safety in having an outline. But if your deadline’s close, then veering from the laid out plan can carry some very big problems. I’ve never written transmedia before. It’s a new mode of thinking for me. Because I’m using Bakhtin‘s concept of polyphony … Read on!
Man, a blank wiki is daunting. It’s worse than a single blank page, it’s a million blank pages. They’re not serial, or linear. They’re just one big connected open space of emptiness. There’s a reason I’m keeping the locks down on it for now. For starters, it’s hideously empty. The only way to change that will be through work. Which is fine. The other reason is that I want to have the space to just blather and throw stuff around. Some things will stick, and some things, in retrospect, will look like I must have been waking from a very strange dream involving eulogized lemons for me to have those ideas. I do like the interconnectedness and immediacy of a wiki, though. Have a new idea? Make a link, fill that out when you’re done with this page. Everything all scattered around? Add category tags. Sorted. Changes get tracked, comparisons … Read on!
Now that I’ve had a bit more time to sort things out here, I want to explain a few things. This is, primarily, a professional site. It contains professional thoughts on professional things. But it is also my personal site, too. It will contain personal things that I am happy to have associated with my professional life. This means that there may be politics involved, sometimes. I promise to be respectful and rational in the commentary that I post. This site is also a research site. Behind the scenes I’m working on practice-based research into the nature of transmedia. How does it work? Why does it work? What does it mean to write for multiple platforms to get a single story across? What are these platforms? Which may lead you to the question of just who the heck am I? (Me as in me the writer, not you asking yourselves … Read on!