Master’s in Decision Making and Innovation
Once upon a time, in Gaia’s land there was a group of teachers plotting an assignment for the summer time. Our spirits were getting progressively discouraged as we realised how many of our Gaians were fixated with the idea that summer was a time when bosses took vacations, weather reached high temperatures and interns—so they say—were left in the office on their own.
This couldn’t be the right textbook material
We had to think about one activity related to “Transmedia Storytelling”, a concept that intermingles fiction and reality as it allows people to go back, forward and beyond the point a story starts in a way that the narrator gives away control.
So one evening at dusk we gathered together under the aegis of Sergi Corbeto and begged him to tell us a good story and bring on the summer mood.
And that’s how it began: a seasoned storyteller, plenty of good vibes and one strong and clear call to action: engaging Gaians with transmedia storytelling in the summer!
Before being written, a good story needs the narrator to know his/her characters well. Gaians are a talented bunch of students—they work hard at their placements, seem to enjoy the Master’s in Decision Making and Innovation in which they’re enrolled and share the academic life of the Gaia universe with their fellows. “So”, we rhetorically asked ourselves, “what may seduce them to give the best of themselves in this activity?”.
It was clear to us it had to be a narrative medium, such as comic books, novels, video games, mobile apps, films… Wow! A film! Star Wars, The Matrix, Avatar, Harry Potter, Superman… Sergi predictably got excited and within seconds gave us a list. He selected four films students would find hard to find examples of actual transmedia products.
Pictured below is Sergi in serendipitous time…
Have a look at Sergi’s list with some alternative transmedia constructs and some guesses—accurate or not—about which particular audience you may identify yourself with when picking the film of your activity.
In each film, we mention one example of activity, which features well what we asked for. Please note that there’re many other good activities.
1) “Blade Runner”, with its apocalyptic scenario of human beings and artificial creatures co-existing, was a choice that clearly allowed Sergi’s to reveal his intentions: to push students to deliver “that” piece of information that makes you look at the film differently. In the case of “Blade Runner”: is Deckard a replicant?
The director’s decision to add a small segment showing Deckard discovering an origami unicorn is key in order to invite viewers to ask themselves whether Deckard might be a replicant. That segment changes your whole perception of the film, especially the ending, and with that change comes a full of opportunities for the many geeky engineers that inhabit Gaia land.
2) “La La Land” was an optimal choice for connecting with the larger hipster community of our days—we assumed Gaia is highly populated by hipsters. The film, one of last year’s most popular ones, is basically an adaptation of “An American in Paris.”
So this film belongs to the most nostalgic of all genres: the musical. It talks about the charming past and its la-la simplicity. “La La Land” connects with one of the main tenets of transmedia storytelling–build a deep link to your fan base, which in this case happens to be part of the optimistic universe of celebrating and consuming happiness.
3) Picking “Lost Highway” as your target film to develop a transmedia storytelling plan shows that you belong to The Church of David Lynch of Latter Saints. Yeah! Perplexing and entertaining in equal measure, Lynch knows all about small American towns. Since “Twin Peaks” (1990) and “Mullholland Drive” (2001), Lynch has been able to embody the horror and nameless spectres that haunt America.
As you can see in a quick search, Lynch has embraced the power of the Internet and the digital media. He has been a pioneer of transmedia narratives: “Twin Peaks”, for instance, which began as a television show, spawned a feature film prequel.
Lynch has fostered devoted online communities around his films, which suits and facilitates any transmedia strategy you may pursue. So if you have the strategy, it goes without saying that you have a cause to celebrate, to sell…
“Lost Highway” makes use a non-linear narrative style. Lynch also likes to use POV—point of view—shots, which make the viewers engage with the characters. In this film, Lynch uses music to create a sense of thrill and suspense and manage to keep viewers engaged with the film.
How could it be otherwise, tormented lad, being deranged brought you to the Gaia universe. We wish you luck!
4) Last but not least, “500 days of Summer” may recall memories of intimate feelings to many Gaians. If it doesn’t, hurry up and, well… fall in love!
It’s definitely a must for those who belong to Gaia’s larger-than-you-expect ‘indie’ community. As you know as consumers, indie people like to support small business, independent record labels and handmade items rather than shopping at big-box stores. In short, they wear Pompeii shoes and Hawkers shades, instead of ‘unspeakable’ mainstream brands.
Marimar Vásquez finds many references to decorative art in the film. See Vásquez’s findings here.
There is plenty of comedy in this film that the narrator alert us is not about love. Though it’s a movie about expectations and some would say about real life. This film gives you ample opportunity to fragment the plot as the film has many interesting narrative-roles and alternative sub-plots. The film’s non-linearity isn’t just used to show bits of the story but it’s also fundamental to the narrative that it informs the audience’s experience of the story.
Some stats. There have been 104 assignments to evaluate:
- 34 chose “Blade Runner”.
- 37 chose “La La Land”.
- 9 chose “Lost Highway”.
- 24 chose “500 Days of Summer”.