"Transmedia Story Creation" postgrad subject @ University of Central Florida

This is definitely a time of monocle popping for me. I have just discovered a course dedicated to ‘transmedia story creation’. It is a core postgraduate subject in the Visual Language and Interactive Media MFA in Digital Media at the University of Central Florida. Dr Rudy McDaniel runs the course, which is described in the syllabus as follows:

In this class, we will explore the form and function of narrative. Using a variety of methodological frameworks gathered from fields as diverse as folklore, cultural studies, literature, computer science, film studies, media studies, and creative writing, we will immerse ourselves in both the production and consumption of narratives in a critical fashion. Using a combined approach of narrative analysis, critique, and creation, we will learn to appreciate stories – expressed across a variety of media – as rich encapsulations of human experience and as valuable vehicles for artistic and intellectual expression.

I’ve had some quick contact with Rudy and the course is an excellent mix of analysis (employing a fine range of fields) and practice. The course focuses, however, on the adaptation of a story in different media, rather than the expansion of narrative in different media. Both are important, because you cannot understand the second without the first. This missing element of expansion despite the course being called ‘transmedia story creation’ is completely understandable though. There is very little knowledge about this expansive phenomena in narratology (I plan to change that!), and the term ‘transmedia’ is not field-agnostic. Media theorist Henry Jenkins’s term ‘transmedia storytelling’ is different to the narratological meaning of transmedial narrative. Jenkins employs the term transmedia to describe expansion across media, narratologists employ transmedia to describe the study of media-specific narrative traits. There is a clash of semantics here. I thoroughly enjoy this diversity of meaning however. It helps me gain a greater understanding of the area and just proves that we really are in an age of diversity.

I am so thrilled to see the course that Rudy is running. It is quite a well-designed exercise in the theoretical and practical exploration of narrative and media. I’m even more thrilled that we all know about each other now, so the conversation (and expansion of ideas) can continue.

Check out: Transmedia Story Creation blog

[N.B.: Just saw the latest assignment and it does include a transmedia story exercise! Wohoo!]

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