I have no business writing this post. I don’t. I need to be busting my ass on a project brief. But something really bothers me about a number (not all!) of transmedia blog sites.
For example, check out this short post by Peter Von Stackleburg: Computer Graphics & Designing Emotion in Transmedia Stories.
…It’s great advice. Honest. Light and color in visual imagery have powerful effects on emotion, and on narrative expectation. It’s great advice for people creating 3D comics, or 3D animation, or creating single frame artwork in a 3D computer graphic style. It’s great advice for anyone working with images, really.
But this has nothing to do with transmedia specifically. Transmedia is about multiple platforms. A deeper discussion, one true to its title, would ask questions about how to graphically link all platforms that include visual imagery. How does one “design emotion” over several platforms? Transmedia lets a creator gun or throttle all kinds of emotional responses in complex and interconnected ways. If you have a story about a young couple, told over Twitter, Facebook, and a personal blog run by one partner, you could build suspense like this:
Bob’s been updating Facebook with his locations all day. He has his phone set to auto-upload any pictures he takes (he’s said before that he does it to screw any thief who might steal his phone and take incriminating pictures of him or herself). He’s off at a conference somewhere, the place isn’t that important. What is important is that he stops checking in, and when Jane sends him a good night tweet, he doesn’t respond. Jane tweets later to see if any of their mutual friends is with Bob, as she tried calling him, but the phone rings out. Her friends tweet back jokes and assurances, but then they all go to bed.
And then she gets a Facebook notification about a new picture upload from him. She goes to check — it’s dark, grainy, mostly indistinct. But there’s a streetlight in the background, and someone laid out on the ground not far from there. In less than an hour, Jane posts the picture on her blog, explaining she’s been in touch with police, and asking for people to get the word out and help.
That is an example — rough, sure — but it’s an example of how to use emotion across platforms. I hesitate to use the term design. I’m not sure how to design an emotion. I am pretty knowledgeable in evoking them.
And on a final note, I plan to write about Mr. Von Stackleburg’s posts that I do think are insightful; I realise it’s a bit unfair to just call him out like this, and I don’t want to give the impression that his blog overall is lacking, because it’s not. Also — if he’s reading this, I completely intended to comment directly in the blog with questions, but I couldn’t log in to the site, and I couldn’t find a way to register to comment! :(