In a perfect world a transmedia writing team would be assembled at the concept stage of a transmedia storytelling project. It would consist of a wide variety of expertise and skills; UX (user experience) designer, interactive designer, game designer, social media strategist, and a writer with a solid grounding and understanding of traditional storytelling in theatre, novels, film, television and comics. That is a Dream Team and isn’t actually necessary. Most writers are solitary creatures who commit their singular visions to paper on their own. Not too many are great team players. Again, not necessary.
Let’s take a look at the world of film; a screenwriter needs a good understanding of the basics of how a film is made in order to write for that discipline. They do not need to know how to edit on Avid, how to best light a scene for an Arri Alexa camera, or record the best sound FX. They have a knowledge of all these areas and, more importantly, know the impact they can have on their story and when best to use them in their screenplay. They know how to use JUMP CUT: and EXPLOSIONS because they understand how they will look and sound in the finished film.
A New Breed
Just as the first writers for film had to adapt new writing techniques to the new media of film, so do today’s writers for transmedia need to do the same by learning the basics of how to tell transmedia stories in order to develop new techniques.
Transmedia writers need a basic knowledge of game and UX design, social and interaction, and will no doubt have to contribute content to each of these areas at various stages of the writing process; game and UX walkthroughs, characters’ social media habits, and ways to interact with the audience through story events.
The only way to get these skills is to play games, use social media, check out transmedia stories, watch films and television, read books and to write, re-write and re-write again until a great transmedia story forms.