- Film: The first film was released in 2005, named The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which covers the plot from the first book. In 2008, a sequel was produced by Disney and Walden Media, following the events in the second and third book of the series.
- Music: 2nd Chapter of Acts turn the first book of the series into a musical, on the album The Roar of Love (1978).
- Games: the series inspired a game named Adventures in Narnia, by Lifeworld (1984).Later on, in 2005, Buena Vista Games turn Walt Disney’s film based on the series into a game.
Published in the 50s, The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis, set in a magical realm, soon became so popular that it generated a series of versions which were transposed onto different media platforms. Quick reminder: snowball effect is one type of transmedial storytelling, in which a primary text becomes so popular that it generates a series of subsequent texts in different media.
- Television: The first book of the series, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, was turned into a TV series in 1967, directed by Helen Standage, and later on in 1979, directed by Bill Melendez. A unique element of the 1967 version, all the animals were played by actors dressed into costume, while the other versions used computer generated animals. Between 1988 – 1990, BBC turned the first four books into a TV series.
- Radio: Called Tales of Narnia, the BBC radio version of the series, covered the whole plot in 15 hours.
When dealing with transmedial storytelling, as Marie-Laure Ryan argues in her article “Transmedial Storytelling and Transfictionality”, we can talk about two different types:
- The first is called the snowball effect – simply put, this means that a certain story becomes so popular that it is further developed on a varieties of media platforms.
- The other one is the case when a story is originally created to be spread on differet media platforms.
A central element of the transmedial storytelling is the concept of storyworld which stands for the totality of the story’s elements. In relation to texts, three relations can be established:
- A one to one relation – the storyworld is determined by the text, which is the single source for all the information in the story.
- A one text, many worlds relation – here, the text is not clear and does not provide the user with all the necessary details, thus, every user creates his/her account of the events.
- A one world, many texts relations – the text is recreated, rewritten, retold with each performance. In this category, we can include the phenomenon of transmedial stroytelling.
Considering all the features described above, we can draw the conclusion that transmedial stroytelling fits the needs of today’s consumer and due to its dispersed nature that facilitates greater interactivity from the user’s part and feeds the need for entertainment.
In today’s world, entertainment represents a key concept in our daily lives. We all search to be entertained and mass media is more than willing to do so, since the technological developments of the past decades provided it with the necessary tools for accomplishing its aims. Considering these developments and the fact that everything has already been experienced, there is the need for something new – it is here where the mass media brings to the fore the concept of transmedia storytelling.
This concept has been made famous by Professor Henry Jenkins, in his 2003 article for MIT’s Technology Review: “Transmedia storytelling represents a process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coodinated entertainment experience.” This means that the audience is given a story whose elements are scattered on different platforms, like books, movies, games, etc. – that together create a coherent story. Moreover, the narrative line may be so complex that a single medium cannot cover it, therefore, the need for multiple media platforms.
How to make a successful transmedia storytelling?
- For the story to be as dispersed as possible on various platforms, there must not be a single source to provide the audience with all the necessary information.
- Following this idea, there should not be a main character or plot, but instead the fictional world has to be complex.
- Because there is no main character or plot, each episode is independent in the sense that it stands on its own, while making a contribution to the story world.
- As a result of its characteristics, transmedia storytelling encourages the audience to take an active part in the story, for example, gathering the information dispersed on various media and even further developing the universe of the story.