Have you ever watched a movie and discovered pieces in the plot which did not make sense? Like holes in the story, as if you are missing something to get the full perspective? When that has happened to me I have just rolled my eyes and thought that “they could at least made an effort not to make it so obvious”, but lately another explanation has come to mind; Transmedia!
It surprised me to learn that many movies and TV-shows are produced alongside with another movie or a game which works like an extension of the actual plot. The producer deliberately construct “openings” in the plot, and these “openings” makes the viewer think: “That was weird. Why did that happen? Or why did that not happen?” Only if you in addition to watch the movie also play the game, will this “opening” become explanatory to you. In one way this is kind of sad for people who is not gamers, or who does not spend much time online. To them these plots will always seem overstated, too deliberate or confusing because they never see the whole story, but for people who enjoys the online world and likes to play, this way of producing entertainment opens up a new world.
The industries basically create several entry-points for different groups of people. By creating a movie, a video game, a book, a TV-show etc. the industry can reach a bigger audience, not only the ones who like to for example play video games. Further, because of these “openings” in the stories, it also motivates the users to move between different segments; a person who started watching the TV-show might open up to play the video game to figure out the plot and so on. By creating a story over multiple mediums the users are invited to “play the game” and figure out these senseless pieces of the plot.
I have to say I find the slogan of the series “Lost” very clever: “Everything happens for a reason.” That sort of explains that if there is something that happens which you do not understand, the answer to it is hidden somewhere else.
Is this the industries way of merging with the online world? If you look at it, the producers have here found a way to lure the users back into their world of entertainment by giving them exactly what they want. The users get the opportunity to participate, to collaborate and to contribute to the story by engaging in these games, both online and offline, they are invited to play in their most favorite environments like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and so on using collective intelligence to find the answers. On the other hand the industries are still in control of all the channels. All the content is still controlled and owned by them. Basically nothing has changed except the big conglomerates found a way to let us participate. There are two ways to look at it; either they found a way that opened up for users contribute freely, or they found a way to make us feel like that. One thing is for sure, transmedia is the new digital consolidation model for the big conglomerates.