Transmedia Storytelling: Business, Aesthetics and Production at the Jim Henson Company

Geoffrey Long

Geoffrey Long

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.

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Geoffrey Long

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 currently a Visiting Assistant Professor in Digital Liberal Arts at Whittier College and a co-editor of the Playful Thinking book series for MIT Press, and his writing has most recently appeared in The Rise of Transtexts: Challenges and Opportunities and Revisiting Imaginary Worlds: A Subcreation Studies Anthology. He has taught various courses and workshops internationally, including at the University of Southern California, Woodbury University, and Danube University Krems; he served as the Creative Director for the World Building Media Lab and Annenberg Innovation Lab at USC, and helped launch the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab and Convergence Culture Consortium at MIT. As co-founder of the Narrative Design Team at Microsoft Studios, his projects included HoloLens, the Xbox One, Halo, Ryse, Adera, and Quantum Break, and as a scholar and consultant he has worked with BET, Cisco, the City of Los Angeles, DirecTV, Disney, Fidelity, FOX, GSD&M, Havas, HBO, IBM, Intel, the Los Angeles Times, MTV, Turner Broadcasting, and Warner Bros. He 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.

 
 

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