Towards a Poetics of Multi-Channel Storytelling

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

In 2001 Henry Jenkins discussed the growing prevalence of ‘transmedia storytelling’. Transmedia storytelling is, simply put, franchises: a movie is followed by a game, then perhaps a comic, website and so on. An example is the Wachowski brother’s Matrix franchise. For Jenkins each media, each channel, communicates different aspects of a storyworld. Since 2003 Jane McGonigal, and others, have been researching the phenomenological and social aspects of ‘alternate reality gaming’. Alternate reality gaming requires players to traverse websites, games, public play, SMS and so on. Microsoft’s The Beast was the first of such ‘games’ that required participation with websites, posters, faxes, hacking, chatbots and Spielberg’s film AI (McGonigal, 2003).
Academic research into multi-channel storytelling is at present approached from the media studies and phenomenological perspective. As yet no poetics to address transmedia, alternate reality gaming, cross- or multi-platform and cross-media of content have been proposed in academia; in addition no poetics has been invented for multi- channel single-story creation (that is: one story told over multiple media).
This paper provides an overview of the poetics being developed for multi-channel storytelling. It is a narrative schema intended for instructional use in story creation and literary criticism.

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Jill Walker Rettberg