Essay: My art making process
It is impossible to answer what process and materials I use. As a transmedia storyteller I use different media best suited for that project. To me, transmedia storytelling is the use of digital and analog media to tell narratives which are integrated across platforms. I enjoy working with various mediums and constantly asking myself, ‘what is the best media to tell this part of the story, and why?’
If collaboration can be called a process, it is one I find enriching and rewarding in my work. I love fresh perspectives, the synergy that happens between minds, and the knowledge and depths other people bring into the conversation. Because I’m constantly exploring new media, I don’t necessarily have the knowledge or skills to create what I envision. For me it is important to work with people who have that experience and collaborate as a team to help bring the stories to life.
Some mediums I’ve worked in are: Augmented Reality, Drawing, Photography, Creative Writing, Sound Art, and Social Media to name a few. Some portions of a story may exist entirely online or in a mobile application. Sometimes I work intuitively and pick media and materials based on unconscious processes, other times the project dictates the direction I will go. It just depends. For example, in a young adult novel I’m working on, I used drawings to tell a portion of the story because that is how the protagonist envisions that part. To bring depth to an important character I used video because of the scene and setting. I’m also working on a mobile card game to allow the audience to collect back stories (which the novel doesn’t have room for) in an interactive way that helps them become more vested. Another example is a contract job I had, which focused on space and design; I told the story of my clients’ new home through written words, collaged storyboards, wayfinding, architecture and design.
From my understanding, the latter is similar to how my contemporaries work. Many transmedia storytellers are in the marketing and advertising industries; they usually have projects given to them and have to figure out the best media to engage their target audience(s). For example the company Conducttr arranged a transmedia campaign in Spain for the books and HBO series Game of Thrones using performance, mobile applications, and social media. Disney and Marvel Comics employ transmedia storytelling to bring depth to their worlds (story-verses) and engage fans beyond the TV screen or comic books. Many of these efforts are focused on commodification and commercialization, and that is where I differ from my contemporaries. While I do want to engage and immerse my audience into my story-verses, transmedia is how I build my stories, not the hook I use to lure audiences into a specific media.
I see myself at the forefront of transmedia art and storytelling. The term may have been coined in the 90’s but it is still a relatively new practice. Few higher education facilities have transmedia classes, and even fewer have transmedia programs, many of which are focused on marketing, advertising and commodification. A few great minds have been writing about transmedia, philosophizing, interrogating and building the history of this field. Individually, many of these mediums have long, storied, histories, with entire rich cultures. Together, in combination with the world wide web and social media — and even yet to be produced mediums or technologies — transmedia has a collectively short history with a dearth of endless possibilities. I personally revel in the newness and open ended possibilities of transmedia storytelling and will probably dive into yet created media and find new processes and materials to create all sorts of stories.