Last year I attended an XMediaLab conference and workshop in the French-speaking part of Switzerland.
I wanted to do a post or two about this because even though transmedia is ‘the thing that is’ and one might think we’re running out of stuff to say about it, I’d say the digital storytelling landscape and possibilities are still in flux, and some interesting spaces and platforms are emerging and being inhabited by stories and their creators.
I use the word ‘creators’, but I could just as easily use the word ‘producer’—not ‘author’. Why?
Because when a story straddles various media such as film, web and print, we’re well into the world of project management and direction and even co-authoring. And that brings up a whole raft of issues.
When I was taking the Charlotte Aimes story from book to trailer to website, I worked with Stefano Massa (aka @Doctorcrowd) to build the website. (He built; I issued grand ideas and statements and, er, cartoons.)
As we were reaching the final stages of site-building, I was faced with the task of wording what’s known in the German-speaking world as the ‘Impressum‘. This is a legal requirement for websites based in German-speaking countries: it functions like a copyright page, usually with an address and contact details of the website owner and so forth. (More about ‘Impressum’ here, on the Wiki page.)
When it came to copyright, Stefano and I were both in favour of using Creative Commons or Copy Left (we chose CC in the end). And we could have left it at that, but because of the embedded video and the exposition of characters and so forth, I wanted to draw attention to the fact that this was, in fact, a transmedia experience of which there was more than one creator.
In order to put together a disclaimer as one might do for a work of fiction or a film, there was no blueprint.
I searched high and low online for any wording that might assist me to explain somehow that the website was a work of fiction and, what’s more, it was part of the storyworld of Charlotte Aimes: not a film, but it contained one; not purely a site to sell a product.
In the end, like all self-respecting entrepreneur, I made it up.
It goes like this:
‘The site and characters represented on it are a work of fiction: a transmedia continuation of the Charlotte Aimes storyworld.’