Interview with Kate Mccallum

Kate Mccallum, Masterclass Trainer for "Business of Transmedia Storytelling"


Q1. What is Transmedia? What are some of the most “alternative” understandings of “Transmedia” you have come across?

Kate: Simply, Transmedia is telling a story or narrative across multiple platforms.

As a member and Board Delegate of the Producers Guild of America New Media Council, I'll also share their definition of the term in relation to credits: The PGA Producers Guild of America credit guidelines defines Transmedia and the qualifications of a Transmedia Producer as such: “A Transmedia Narrative project or franchise must consist of three (or more) narrative storylines existing within the same fictional universe on any of the following platforms:  Film, Television, Short Film, Broadband, Publishing, Comics, Animation, Mobile, Special Venues, DVD/Blu-ray/CD-ROM, Narrative Commercial and Marketing rollouts, and other technologies that may or may not currently exist. These narrative extensions are NOT the same as repurposing material from one platform to be cut or repurposed to different platforms. A Transmedia Producer credit is given to the person(s) responsible for a significant portion of a project’s long-term planning, development, production, and/or maintenance of narrative continuity across multiple platforms, and creation of original storylines for new platforms. Transmedia producers also create and implement interactive endeavors to unite the audience of the property with the canonical narrative and this element should be considered as valid qualification for credit as long as they are related directly to the narrative presentation of a project. Transmedia Producers may originate with a project or be brought in at any time during the long-term rollout of a project in order to analyze, create or facilitate the life of that project and may be responsible for all or only part of the content of the project. Transmedia Producers may also be hired by or partner with companies or entities, which develop software and other technologies and who wish to showcase these inventions with compelling, immersive, multi-platform content. To qualify for this credit, a Transmedia Producer may or may not be publicly credited as part of a larger institution or company, but a titled employee of said institution must be able to confirm that the individual was an integral part of the production team for the project.”

Chris Thomes, VP of Digital Media Studios at Disney/ABC Television Group and I collaborated on an article addressing Transmedia that was featured in the PGA's magazine.

Here is a white paper I wrote as a simple introduction to Transmedia.


Q2. How has Transmedia transformed the media landscape? How far do you think this industry will grow?

Kate: Technologies and creativity has transformed the media landscape. Transmedia is one result of the creative freedom and the ability that artists and creators now have to create and distribute their own content and art to a global audience and explore emerging innovative narrative techniques across multiple platforms.  It all starts with story and IP, intellectual properties and how creators or corporations choose to move into the ever-expanding platforms through which they can share their stories/projects/brands. Transmedia as a term may become more defined or it may die out.  It's not so much the terminology that is important but the approach and the strategy.  Either from a top down strategy executed by major corporations, media, entertainment and educational organizations, or by the bottom up as executed by the solo artist/creator.  As more and more new media platforms emerge more and more outlets for sharing story will evolve.


Q3. What are some of the upcoming trends in Transmedia?

Kate: I believe that we will see more major studios, broadcasters, creatives embracing the strategy from the start of projects versus as an afterthought.  I also think that educational organizations and corporations will begin to utilize it as well.

I personally hope to see creators considering and generating more socially relevant projects that include educational and philanthropic experiences as extensions of their storyworlds and IP.

I also post relevant "Transmedia" related findings on a FaceBook page called the "Future of Transmedia".

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