As media does a sort of double-time jig down communication wires circumnavigating the globe, I think the question of ownership will become more and more relevant (and urgent). Since the title Transmedia Producer was officially approved (thanks to the work of Jeff Gomez) by the Producers Guild of America as an official credit, it makes me wonder how media will be credited (and owned), distributed, and consumed in the near future.
Transmedia requires a collective of talent to be produced, from many different communities, on multiple-platforms, in a myriad of distribution channels. Ownership is a tricky question.
Some of you may have noticed that ‘story’ is everywhere. When Facebook converted their interface to unfold your world in narrative, I knew we had crossed over.
The world is officially immersed in narrative.
Yet, how do we make a living creating storyworld’s when ownership is shared across so many platforms and channels? Shared not only by the big business but by the fan community itself?
In a world of micro-narratives, I wonder, are we losing sense of our ethics? What piece of the narrative is ours, how we embed, tag, share it and is it important that the narrative have purpose or a deeper meaning? Does it matter if the narrative belongs to Coca-Cola or to a non-profit or a teen in his bedroom? Does it matter if it sells puppy food or mosquito netting for people in Africa? Does it matter if only a small group of followers read the narrative or does it only have meaning if it is viral, shared globally, communally, digested by a swath of people across all boundaries? Or can it be a single person experiencing one story by employing all of their senses?
Jeff Gomez refers to the Grand Narrative in a presentation he gave for TedXTransmedia and he implores us, at the end of the speech, in a very tender way, to help him ‘stay human’, for us to ‘stay human’. I agree with Jeff that our shared narrative needs to stay human, and not simply be created, and digested for more–more products, more merchandise, more money, more immersion, more ‘stuff‘. Instead, perhaps we can think about narrative as the art and craft that it is and elevate it beyond our common experience to one that is transformative.
If your story is not transformative, whether it be through a fully realized storyworld, or whether it is a micro-story told on Instagram from the palm of your hand, I think the opportunity for transformative telling remains critical. Story may be the new black in the digital space, but we need to remember as we work on cross-platforms, that it needs to begin with a human heart. If it does, then ownership should follow closely and ideation sharing and credit will conversely belong to an ethical set of values with the purpose to serve (and support) the story creator.