The Focal Point In Writing For Transmedia

Here is a well known maxim you will know and probably already apply to your creative activities – LESS is MORE.

This post looks at a very smart ‘less is more’ tip that will help you create engaging multiplatform content. It is a tip we use all the time at Bellyfeel as it’s a great way to define our ideas and projects.

At The Core

It is called the FOCAL POINT and refers to the tension, question, or narrative conceit around which all your multiplatform content will revolve – it’s like the eye of the story storm, or the sun of the story universe.

It is in fact a similar technique to one used in traditional TV and film storytelling. It focuses your script.

I’ve heard the following question asked politely, or yelled in frustrated fury during untold numbers of script meetings, by series producers, script editors and scriptwriters – WHAT IS YOUR MAIN TENSION?

Here are a few examples of this ‘main tension’, or Focal Point, from traditional linear TV programmes:

Drama – ‘House of Cards‘ – does power corrupt? ‘Breaking Bad‘ – does crime pay?

Documentary – ‘One Born Every Minute‘ – is childbirth ever routine? ‘Islam: The Untold Story‘ – was Islam born fully formed, or did it evolve over time?


For transmedia storytelling the context of this question, or conceit, is a little different. The Focal Point needs to be Social, Sticky, and Shareable – SSS.

It can be the simplest question in the world of the story, but it must be capable of holding audience attention for the duration of the transmedia storytelling campaign.

Here are examples of three Focal Points we created for transmedia projects we have worked on:

Are there Aliens studying at Sheerport University?

What secrets does Police Chief Harry’s autobiography hold?

Can you save the heroes, and in doing so save yourself?

To The Heart

I hope I haven’t come across like on of those deranged series producers, but the Focal Point is a valuable and productive tip.

Use it when you need it and view it as a trusty blade that cuts to the heart of why someone is going to engage with your story and content over numerous devices and platforms and time.

Keep it handy and stay focused!


About the author

I run Bellyfeel which gives me the opportunity to develop innovations in media, education and entertainment, plus exploring the future of storytelling. More here...

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