Sunday, March 7, 2010

Transmedia, the Oscars, Award Shows and Sasquatch Punches

First an introduction. We are Sasquatch Punches. Why are we called Sasquatch Punches? Because we want to make an impact as powerful as that of the punch from aSasquatch (or a Yeti for our Asian readers). There is nothing more powerful than that. Period. We create content as producers and writers. We are also a transmedia production/consulting company in the making. And this, ladies and gentlemen and robots, is our first blog post.

Watching the Oscars two Sundays ago as both a film fanatic and a transmedia scholar and participant, I couldn’t help but wonder what a potential Oscar ceremony, or transmedia equivalent could look like in the future. If the pundits are to be even half-believed, transmedia is the logical culmination of our evolving media consuming habits, which is to say, storytelling through multiple media platforms in a manner that is both participatory and fluid.

In other words, you won’t watch Alvin and the Chipmunks the Threesquel, with its epic storytelling on just an IMAX 3-D movie screen. The part of the story that is best suited…nay, REQUIRES to be told in the 5 story glory of IMAX and the extra third dimension, will be told through those mediums. But then you leave the theater and Alvin’s adventure continues on your iPhone through the Alvin 3 game app, which if you score enough points, will reveal a whole new element to the mind-blowing ending involving Theodore and the Chippettes. And if you want to delve even deeper into the twisty “Chinatown”-esque machinations of this plot, just wait till you see what the Chipmunks’ caretaker Dave has to say about all of this when you read the three comic books that are both self-contained stories and continuations of the film’s story line.

Now, this is going to be a nightmare when we are bombarded by Alvin and its ilk. But imagine how incredible it may be when someone who has the sweeping cinematic storytelling scope of David Lean (Children, he did “Bridge on the River Kwai” and “Lawrence of Arabia”. Educate yo’ selves!) combines that nuanced and epic flair with the futurist leanings of the innovators in webisodes, comics, video games, mobile devices and whatever other technology comes along. The way these stories are presented and how we see them will be shaped by consumers, advertisers, corporations and innovators. But the landscape, on some level, is going to be fundamentally changed. Some of it will be good and some of it will be bad. But the next Lucas, Spielberg, Kurosawa, Tarantino, Cassavetes, or Cameron (relax, Avatar haters) will find a way to harness all of these different mediums to tell new kinds of stories in exciting new ways.

So, how will we honor storytellers in an age of transmedia? Maybe each medium will have its own awards show, and the Oscars will be the same boring, yet comforting show we have watched for decades. Or maybe it will incorporate Transmedia elements into its categories, the way it only recently added an animation category. Or maybe a whole new awards show will emerge. One which is only partially watched on TV (and only lasts an hour tops), but continues onto our iPhone and iPad screens, with participatory elements that may seem cloudy right now, but which will feel completely natural in the future. And the categories themselves will be a blur of artists whose work may be dominant in one or two mediums, but which crosses all mediums, delivering some of the most powerful, immersive stories we have ever had the pleasure to know. Perhaps instead of Best Director and Best Picture, we’ll have Best Storyteller and Best Story. The future (or even current) versions of Edgar Wright, Garth Ennis, John Lasseter, Steve Jobs, Gautam Chopra, and Quentin Tarantino will all compete in the same category. And undoubtedly, message boards, newsrooms, twitter accounts and iPads will light up as someone in the middle of a speech will pull a Kanye on multiple platforms. Maybe it’ll be Kanye himself. The future looks very interesting.

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