Transmedia narratives use a combination of Barthesian hermeneutic codes, negative capability and migratory cues to guide audiences across multiple media platforms. This thesis examines complex narratives from comics, novels, films and video games, but draws upon the transmedia franchises built around Jim Henson’s Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal to provide two primary case studies in how these techniques can be deployed with varying results. By paying close attention to staying in canon, building an open world, maintaining a consistent tone across extensions, carefully deciding when to begin building a transmedia franchise, addressing open questions while posing new ones, and looking for ways to help audiences keep track of how each extension relates to each other, transmedia storytellers can weave complex narratives that will prove rewarding to audiences, academics and producers alike.
About Geoffrey Long
Geoffrey Long is a storyteller, scholar, and consultant exploring the future of storytelling and how storyworlds and technology co-evolve. He is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor in Digital Liberal Arts at Whittier College and a co-editor of the Playful Thinking book series for MIT Press, and his writing has most recently appeared in The Rise of Transtexts: Challenges and Opportunities and Revisiting Imaginary Worlds: A Subcreation Studies Anthology. He has taught at the University of Southern California, Woodbury University, and Danube University Krems, served as the Creative Director for USC's World Building Media Lab and Annenberg Innovation Lab, and helped launch MIT's Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab and Convergence Culture Consortium.
After serving in a “future of media” think tank under Microsoft CTO/CXOs J Allard and Ray Ozzie, Geoff co-founded Microsoft Studios' Narrative Design Team, where his projects included HoloLens, the Xbox One, Halo, Ryse, Adera, and Quantum Break. As a scholar and consultant he has worked with Amazon Studios, BET, Cisco, the City of Los Angeles, DirecTV, Fidelity, FOX, Havas, HBO, IBM, Intel, the Los Angeles Times, MTV, Turner Broadcasting, Walt Disney Imagineering and Warner Bros.
Geoff holds a BA in English and Philosophy from Kenyon College, a master's in Comparative Media Studies from MIT, and a Ph.D. in Media Arts + Practice from USC's School of Cinematic Arts.