Last week it was reported that the Producers Guild of America (PGA) Board of Directors approved the addition of “Transmedia Producer” to the Guild’s Producer Code of Credits.
This new producer credit acknowledges people who create multi-platform content for franchises and/or projects. For those in Hollywood East who are considering producing, this new credit shows that there are even more options for them.
The full description of this new title is defined by Nikki Finke of Deadline Hollywood Daily:
The Guild defines a Transmedia Narrative project or franchise of one that consists of three (or more) narrative storylines esxisting within the same fictional universe on any of the following platforms: Film, Television, Short Film, Broadband, Publishing, Comics, Animation, Mobile, Special Venues, DVD/Blu-ray/CD-ROM, Narrative Commercial and Marketing rollouts and other technologies that may or may not currently exist. These narrative extensions are NOT the same as repurposing material from one platform to be cut or repurposed to different platforms
A Transmedia Producer credit is given to the person(s) responsible for a significant portion of a project’s long-term planning, development, production, and/or storylines for new platforms. Transmedia producers also create and implement interactive endeavors to unite the audience of the property with the canonical narrative and this element should be considered as valid qualification for credit as long as they are related directoly to the narrative presention of a project.
An example of transmedia producing are the added web and gaming elements that were part of the billion dollar blockbuster Avatar. Along with the film, there were downloadable iPhone apps, an “official guide to Pandorapedia (the world within the film),” and even a way for yourself to become an Avatar.
Jeff Gomez, a transmedia producer who has designed campaigns for film franchises including Avatar and is a big proponent of this new credit, states that “what’s so powerful about transmedia implementation is that it maximizes the potential of your story or message, while both building intense brand loyalty and opening up multiple revenue streams.”
Some, however, are upset with the the definition of this new position. Most debate is aimed at the “three narrative thread” rule, which is thought to be aimed specifically at franchises. Many argue, however, that that is only one implementation of transmedia projects. Christy Dena, a well known transmedia producer, points out that books with accompanying DVDs or websites and special television episodes with web tie-ins are other forms of transmedia storytelling, but do not follow the three narrative rule.
Although there is a debate about the qualifications of a transmedia producer, this new credit shows that the entertainment industry is trying to adapt to the changing media landscape by recognizing a growing field.
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