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 co-editor of the Playful Thinking series for MIT Press, an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Emerging Technology in Business and Design department at Miami University of Ohio's College of Creative Arts, and the Director of Miami's Worldbuilding + Narrative Design Research (WNDR) Lab.
In his previous academic and professional lives Geoff has been a Visiting Assistant Professor in Digital Liberal Arts and Director of the Whittier Other Worlds (WOW) Lab at Whittier College; Creative Director for the World Building Media Lab at the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts; Technical Director and Creative Director for the Annenberg Innovation Lab at USC's Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism; cofounder of Microsoft Studios' Narrative Design Team; a member of a "future of media" think tank under Microsoft CTO/CXOs J Allard and Ray Ozzie; and a founding member of the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab and the Convergence Culture Consortium at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His writing has appeared in The Edison Project from the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab; Durhy Kurtz and Bourdaa's The Rise of Transtexts: Challenges and Opportunities and Wolf's Revisiting Imaginary Worlds: A Subcreation Studies Anthology, both from Routledge; and the extended online edition of Jenkins, Ford and Green's Spreadable Media from NYU Press. As a scholar and consultant Geoff 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.