Friday, July 17, 2009

Feeling Used...?

In continuation of my rant regarding users here, we find ourselves at a time where we as mediamakers have to have a certain flexibility when it comes to the media we are indeed making. We're not going to be asked to contort into uncomfortable positions but yes we are going to be required to be flexible in order to satisfy not just readers, not just viewers, but users.

What the hell are you talking about, Bill?

What's going to be required, as storytellers is come up with ideas and concepts, characters and plots that can be easily translated to a variety of media in order to engage these users on a variety of levels.

For example say you create the next great science fiction series and you place it up on the web as video. Great...

But understand you're only scratching the surface in terms of the true audience for the work as a whole. Some people don't want to watch web video so they don't go to YouTube and the other sites. It's just not their thing, but they do download books so if you had a book to go with the series or maybe a regular magazine which can be sent to their Kindle, they would read that and realize that your series is the second coming of Luke Skywalker.

Or maybe they just go online to play games (maybe that's all their parents let them do with their computer when its not for schoolwork). So it might be nice to have a game or an application for their phone. A tendril of story that reaches out and pulls the user in to the much larger world you've created giving them a much bigger, broader experience than they originally hoped for when they started using your media.

There's a lot of permutations to this one has to consider:

-- the simplicity of the story bits so that users can easily digest them and use them.
-- the variety of media to use and how frequent a delivery of said story bits.
-- who's your audience? Where do they hang out?
-- the ability to respond to user comments in the work itself.
-- the integrity of the story itself across so many different platforms.

Because we have an audience of users who want to be part of some greater story we're telling. Just like every teenage girl wants to be Bella (yes, I know. Go with it). We as story creators have to assemble the engine and turn the steering wheel, but the users provide the gasoline.

Things have and will continue to change (as they always have).
Saddle up.

Edit to add: Barrett Garese has this here that is pretty balanced and brilliant in its simplicity. It speaks to the fact that the web experience needs to be unique to compete with traditional media forms like TV. Trust me, it can and it will.

H/T to The Artful Writer for finding this one.


S. Harlan Cone said...

I have been a fan of this forever. The X-FILES: FIGHT THE FUTURE was the first time I really thought about it. I thought it was brilliant to place the film in-between seasons, and to make it pivotal to knowing what was happening the next season.

In broader terms, taking advantage of the specific ways that different mediums work to help tell your story is something I'm very interested in. Comics work differently than film, and film works a little differently than television, and short stories and novels work differently than other things. Pepper in the particulars of the genre you are working in and you have no limits.

S. Harlan Cone said...

Bill, here's a question, preceded by a rambling bit:

I've been a big proponent of the online distribution model. Eventually getting content to our computers and televisions would be super awesome.

I've generally held out on Blu-Ray up until now because of a pretty good argument from a friend about the future moving towards net distribution. But, I gotta admit, realizing that when the new STAR TREK hits in November with a 3-disc, beautiful Blu-Ray edition compared to a 2-Disc DVD edition... well, I started thinking about that PS3.

Now, the 3rd disc doesn't really have anything that I care about. But there are more features on disc 2.

I loves me some features. I love extra content. I'm wondering what you think bonus content looks like in the future with internet distribution models. And should I buy that PS3? :)

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