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Copy of "The Matrix" as Transmedia Storytelling

A critical look into the Wachowski Brothers' franchise as examined by Henry Jenkins's definitive principals.

Claus Toft-Nielsen

on 30 October 2013

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Transcript of Copy of "The Matrix" as Transmedia Storytelling

What is Transmedia?
Spreadability & Drillability
Continuity & Multiplicity
Immersion vs. Extractability
Sherry Turkle's influential book was a vital precursor to media theory. In it, she focuses on personal identity and how human interaction is being redefined by new media technology.
Some key concepts:
People are embracing a postmodern lifestyle where digital interactiions are legitimized through suspention of disbelief, a concept she calls "interface value."
Technological advancement help us transcend the limits of existence by creating simulations that seem real or making reality more like a simulation.
These simulations, now combined with a networked culture, can bring powerful insight or representation.
Digitalization has created a convergence in mediums, subjects and objects that has recontextualized it as a cultural force.
Information and media are so integrated in society that it is viewed as a different commodity. This redefines our societies value systems and ethics.
The human relationship with machines cannot be simplified to that of a controller and a utility anymore - coins the term "humachine."
Equalization between humans and machines, interactions and information, has spawned distinct cultures and communities.
People acknowledge a digital envrionment as part of their habitat, coinciding with the natural world - a term he calls "netizen."

Mark Poster, a professor at UC Irvine, focuses his work on information as a commodity. Much of his acclaimed book focuses on the needs of a society with ubiquitous information access and the potential reprocussions of this.
"Speadability” refers to an objects potential to be reproduced and distributed effectively.
Developments in "transcoding" technology have made content managable, convertible and duplicable enough that they can be accessed universally.
This drastically increases the number and variety of people who see the content.
Spreadability comes from voluntary participation , which isn't the same as being "viral." It utilizes the audience to define the audience, creating conversation and cultural value with the content.
This ease of lifestyle integration and rapid publicity makes transmedia also very lucrative for businesses.

“Drillability” refers to how much an object encourages user engagement.
The emphasis is more on time and energy spent with the narrative, focusing on interactivity over amount of viewers.

"The Animatrix" utilized these principals by being free online and available on DVD. These shorts provided unique plot lines that still pertained to the films. By making accessibility the main priority, even casual fans were provoked to explore the world deeper, while those who've already commited are rewarded with "insider knowledge". Timing this release between the first two films ensured the right attention for the sequal as well.
The graphic novel, "Art of The Matrix," was a major "drillability" move, giving fans an in-depth look at how this world was created. Memoirs, designs and concepts are explained here. Fans who want the fullest possible understanding of a narrative have come to expect this type of transperancy.
Transmedia storytelling aims to remove unitarity, fragmenting a narrative across platforms.
Continuity is extending the initial narrative in a plausible way.
While this can be done with a variety of media objects but the goal is always contibute to the fan's appreciation of the overarching storyline.

Multiplicity refers to a narratives potential for alternative storylines to emerge.
Alternative versions offer even further engagement with the while providing fans with small pieces of continuity to be found.
In particapatory culture, fans are encouraged to create their own fiction or media.
Both continuity and multiplicty promote transmedia's primary goal of consumer engagement.
The Seriality principle is the fundemental understanding that a transmedia object must have a continued storline...

Ideally, a transmedia object allows the audience the liberty of viewing a narrative from an angle they choose.
By making many distinct premises that allude to the main storyline, there are many channels of entry for potential consumers who may find more taste in one premise than the other.
Making narratives relatable or more personal provokes participation and engagement.
In addition, it de-polarizes the narrative, giving the consumer enough information to form unique opinions.
With the technological advancements of the 21st century, fans of the Matrix can immerse themselves in the Matrix universe through a multitude of different media facets. Across multiple media platforms, i.e. video games and comic books for example, fans can explore their favorite stories in unprecedented complexity and depth.
Extractability is the production of tangable objects for fans to take away once they leave the Matrix universe
i.e. action figures
"Enter The Matrix" follows the story of two supporting characters in "The Matrix: Reloaded"; Naiobi and Ghost. . The game was created side by side with the first two movies and features hours of film quality footage created specifically for it.
The game extends the narrative by serving as a direct complement to the film's storyline, explaining loose ends that make the originals seem more logical. However, it is still a distinct plot and medium.
"The Oracle's" change in apperance between the first two films is explained through this game, amongst other things. Actress Mary Alice passed away between filming but the Wachowski Brothers used multiplicty to provide an engaging alternative.
Enter the Matrix . . . .
.... presentation
Enter the Matrix . . .
. . . presentation
Finding The Right Angle:
Turkle suggests that new media now offers users the ability to explore what they find culturally stimulating, bring together many vantage points for the user to sift through. This is something that is highly relative in nature and successful transmedia objects understand this.
The Matrix as a Transmedia Object
The video game "Path of Neo" was the first time a fan could directly experience the main character in the same role as the narrative. This provided a new, authetic adventure for fans of the films.
In "Enter The Matrix," the player sees an empathetic side of "The Mergovingian," who's portayed as a villian in the films. By being a multi-dimentional character, fans have a choice in perspective.
On the opposite note, "The Matrix Online" creates an online virtual community with almost no objective, giving players the freedom to prolong their own, entirely customized narratives as long as desired. Either way, the consumer is given autonomy over his own experience with the narrative.
Henry Jenkins, a professor at MIT, is one of the leading theorists on convergence, which he defines as " the flow of content across multiple media platforms, the cooperation between multiple media industries, and the migratory behavior of media audiences who would go almost anywhere in search of the kinds of entertainment experiences they wanted."
Jenkins is also responsible for writing the principals of transmedia that we will use as a guide.

Some key points:
"Collective Intelligence,"the concept of networked society contributing to individual or cultural understanding is rapidly implimenting in society.
This perpetuates "particapatory culture," where a user of any level can become part of the information heirarchy.
Participatory culture, in turn, has created a space in new media where consumer interaction can be a valued commodity, the catalyist for transmedia branding and storytelling.
Creating "conversation" is the new premium for media companies, removing the old "broadcast to consumer" model and putting control of the narrative in the consumer's hands.

Transmedia is the concept of using a variety of media formats to support one all encompassing narrative.
It aims to reach multiple demongraphics of potential audience while developing new ways for the existing one to comprehend the story.
Today, using multi-platform engagement has proven to be an essential branding strategy and creative outlet, solidifying its place as the rapidly growing future of new media.
Why does it matter?
Important Authors in New Media

Seriality provides the possibility for an expansive universe...
Not cereal...
... or maybe?
Serial storylines have a rich history amongst humanity:
Can be traced back to the ancient Islamic tale One Thousand and One Nights (Arabian Nights)
Continued to be used by authors such as Charles Dickins and Alexandre Dumas to tell a complex story with rich characters

Seriality exists in many forms in the Matrix universe:
Movie trilogy
Animated extension series
Comic books
Video games
Through this continued narrative, fans can "live" in and explore the many layers of the Matrix world.
Worlds provide space and time for an infinitude of charecters and storylines...
... and because of the recent emergence of transmedia, media producers such as Hollywood are now creating "worlds" instead of stories.
The Wachowski brothers started a cultural revolution when they created the Matrix world. It was the first definitive emergence of a transmedia object, and they did it deliberately.
Today, media producers turn to the Matrix franchise for guidance in how to successfully create a "world."
Thanks to the Matrix, serial storylines now come hand-in-hand with their own video games and other media extensions as well.
Transmedia and cosumer expectations from it have forever changed the media industry...
By Reid Pierce and Jitu Varanasi
The Matrix world exists across multiple media platforms that is rapidly becoming the standard for storytelling in general
Through transmedia, fans have been able to have a much larger hand in the creation of their favorite media as opposed to the past. Through online forums and and other facets of networking, the community's "collective intellegence" helps guide media producers.
Immersion is how people "live" in the Matrix world, while Extraction is how they relate it to the Real world
However, more and more, it is not only fans who are engaging in this "participatory culture," but rather the media producers themselves as well.
Fan fiction is a prime example of "participatory culture"
For example, new insights provided in the director's cuts of the films add different perspectives to the storyline and cause fans to think about the narrative differently
The world entered transmedia through The Matrix...
Will we ever leave?
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