This is a little bit frightening.

Media is LIFE. Maybe more for some than others… But if there’s anything I’ve learned since being at Trinity, it’s that media of all form, be it fiction or non, is one of the few things we all share. We watch TV, we play video games, we read books, magazines, comics, and newspapers. We go to the movies, and buy the extended DVD months later. We consume, produce, praise, and complain about media. We enjoy the entertainment media provides for us, and we gain knowledge about local and world events through it. Without media we would be at a loss…

Having come across all of this over the past few years, I had expected to be relatively unsurprised by the information learned through this course. I was, of course, both excited and surprised to find that my “understanding” of media’s importance in our lives was merely skimming the surface. The emergence of transmedia storytelling is beginning to revolutionize the way we consume entertainment. What was once conveyed through the sole medium of the voice has now begun to leak through every facet of technology and media into every crevice of our lives. Shows like Dr. Who are conveyed through every medium possible. Crude cartoons are referencing classical works that were previously reserved for those who were educated and interested enough to seek them out. Alternate Reality Gaming has infiltrated and consumed the lives of those who choose to participate, without even admitting to it’s fictional nature. TV shows and movies use real time events linked to stories to promote their release, or to keep consumers interested. People work together to complete games, understand stories, and mold narratives to their own specifications with fanfiction. Scholars study, analyze, and theorize about the nature of the story– and how it is changing the very fabric of what we perceive to be reality. In a world where reality has become the enemy, escape into fiction is immersive and important to our sanity. Entertainment provides a change from the norm…. perhaps not completely separate from the common themes of reality, but apart from our own personal reality. Stories allow us to forget ourselves and enter into a new world.

Whether this is a change for the better or for the worse, I have yet to discover. Creativity abounds as storytellers must find new ways to hook their audiences. Imaginations are stimulated by the constant need to step outside reality to understand a story. But when fiction becomes more appealing than reality, what is to be said about society? Should we not be investing ourselves in making the real world more satisfying? Should we not strive to make life better for those who feel that they must immerse themselves in fiction to find their way through life? Or is the story really what keeps humanity together? History in itself, as we discussed in class, is nothing but a series of stories strung together to teach us about what has passed.

This class has opened my eyes to both the severity and levity of our situation. I’ve truly enjoyed creating stories to be consumed by others, and coming to understand how complicated it really is to do it right. Similarly, I have been given a Thanksgiving meal for thought. Now when i see an episode of Family Guy, i find myself searching for intertextual references, appreciating the show, and those like it, on a whole new level. Regardless of the reasons behind the importance of stories in society, they provide endless entertainment. The good ones can even open our eyes to the joys and hardships of life with a graceful touch. The bad ones give us something to bitch about (and god knows, we LOVE to bitch). They’re everywhere. Sometimes they’re everything. Stories are the future, the past, and the present. There’s no escaping them, and there’s no denying their existence. It’s a truly amazing concept…

On another note, here’s the link to Evan and I’s comic/journal/short story narrative.

A great end to a great semester in a great class :]

-Robin Murdoch

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Reality 2.0

Throughout the class, every media that we consumed attempted to redefine its method of consumption. Mullholland Drive forced its audience to assemble the narrative, and ever since the boundaries of creator and audience have become obliterated. The model of fiction/media that we followed in class continued to resemble reality more and more, and soon enough the question of whether or not a game was “real” became much less profound, because, of course, games and fantasies influence the people playing or dreaming them. It’s just a matter of making the most vivid and lucid fantasies possible through more direct and memorable choices and decisions demanded by the game.

My personal contribution to the end of the class was a Choose Your Own Adventure story that sought to integrate an incredible range of outcomes following from a single situation: you forming a band. This could be done through competition and community, or isolation and idiosyncrasy, or you could even choose to forgo the aspect of being in a band completely, and settle some personal issues. While complete freedom would of course take too much time to contrive, the story strove to give players decisions instead of possibilities to heighten the pressure of every decision. Reality itself does not offer its participants a complete range of freedom as well, although the Game Master has planned for a very broad stream of narratives.

Links to extraneous materials for the project:

The Kooky Kongress’ Myspace

(and the snippet recorded for the band can be found here or here. Myspace itself is acting finicky, although my log-in already lists the song as uploaded and playable.)

The Synthesizer Thespians Myspace

(and the remix composed for them can be found here, or here. Ditto earlier myspace comment.)

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So, I Guess That’s It Then.

Transmedia Storytelling was easily one of my favorite classes this semester, perhaps even one of my favorite Trinity classes I’ve taken so far (It’s a tossup between any of Delwiche’s classes) and I’m greatly saddened that I have to leave it behind already. One of my favorite things about this class was that it introduced me to a wide variety of new and unique texts that I would have otherwise never had the pleasure of consuming such as Dr. Who, Mulholland Drive, Unwritten, Unwritten, and Firefly. Each of these texts profoundly altered my views on what constitutes a story and the limitless ways in which they can be constructed and told. I also greatly appreciated Dr. Delwiche’s efforts to promote our own creative abilities by allowing us to generate our own stories through various mediums throughout the course of the semester.

Overall, I absolutely loved this class and believe it really expanded my outlook on the concept of a narrative as well as how its traditional limitations can be transcended through multiple mediums to take on new and complex meanings.

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This semester I really came to appreciate the power of storytelling. References, allusions, and intertextual connections in which promote narrative complexity can be used in so many differing and revealing ways. I can remember signing-up for this class and really not knowing what transmedia storytelling entailed. I could break the words down… trans and media and stories, cool, got it. I could go to Wikipedia and read-up on the subject. Even better, I thought I had the picture down and conceptualized. While this is all good and true, I indubitably lacked the experience of actually doing. The final project was a unique experience that really stretched my mind, it forced me to think as the storyteller, the puppet master, and in a crazy sense, the story’s supreme being.

Transmedia storytelling is so cool because of all the goodies that come-along with it: collaboration, collective knowledge, transnational interactions, adoption of new media, and the hope that one day we can say that our newspapers are not dumbed-down or written in a vacuous fashion. With practice, hopefully transmedia stories will sharpen our minds in addition to enhancing our lives.

One thing though, this class was really trippy for me. Stories are everywhere and one could stoop to obsess in these alternate realities—we must make sure the wrong people don’t covertly use these innovative and very manipulative techniques.

Anyone else notice how ironic the word mystery is? If history is like “his” “story” (or “her” “story” if you’re one of those), then how cool is it that mystery resembles “my” “story” so closely? !!!

To view my final project, the link is here:

Also, did anyone complete Delwiche’s ARG? For the life of me I can’t figure out, locate, or make-sense of some of the tidbits.

I’m glad I had the opp to share and collaborate with everyone this semester, thanks… fun times. 🙂

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the end….sadly

I remember telling you that I didn’t want to offend you in any way but that I was really having a hard time being interested in anything covered in the class. This was at the beginning when we discussed things I had never even heard about. At first, I hated this class and thought we had WAY too much to do. My least favorite part was when we had to play Planetfall. I couldn’t get past a certain part of the game. When we had to create our own game, I was frustrated because I had so many issues with everything. After finally completing my game, I was pretty amazed that I had created something like that. I never imagined myself creating any type of game. I thought it was pretty cool.

Watching Dr. Who, The Game, and working on our final projects completely changed my mind about this class. I enjoyed the last month or so of class and found everything really interesting. While at first I regretted registering for this class, I am now happy I took it. I explored areas that I never would have explored on my own. I think when a class can open a students eyes and mind to new things, that is when it is a great class.

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Good times, guys. Good times.

I wish I could just keep taking this class for the rest of my time at Trinity.  We watched crazy movies, learned about the nuts and bolts of storytelling, and I even made a comic! I never thought I would make a comic. Along the way, I was made aware of Buck Rogers’ existence, I found the craziest rabbit hole I’ve ever come across, and realized I needed to see Star Wars. My favorite in-class moment is a toss up between our collaborative story with the hamster and laughing along with the cheesy-yet-impressive Star Trek fan fiction.

The highlight of the class though, and possibly of my entire time at Trinity, was creating our final project.  I got more excited every time we discussed the plot and added new wrinkles, and though nobody won the game, I don’t think I’ll ever forget creating it.  Thanks again to Dr. Delwiche for making the game possible with the generous extra credit offer.  I’ll be paying a lot more attention to the transmedia elements of stories from now on, and maybe someday I’ll create more of my own.  Thanks again for a great few months.

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Final (wow) blog!

Well, I have to say that most of the time in this class I felt really out-of-the-loop, what with all the talk of sci-fi, comics, video games, and such. That being said, I still really enjoyed the class! Never have I been so interested in a subject that takes me out of my comfort zone as much as this one did (that’s a compliment, I promise). All the topics that Dr. Delwiche covered were really interesting, and I honestly enjoyed hearing everybody’s take on the wide range of subjects. The assignments, although challenging for me, were really unique and fun. Continue reading

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