This is something I think every storyteller and entertainment business should learn, that creating a multi-platform story can only help the success of that story. Generally speaking, in any entertainment franchise, there is a particular medium that is the “core” of the story. For Star Wars it’s film, for Harry Potter it’s books, for Halo it’s video games. However, many of these do not exclude themselves only to these mediums, instead of branching out to include others. These are some of the stories that we specialize in here at All Timelines. And here are some reasons why this should be used more than it is.
Never ending story.
In a cross-platform/transmedia setting, the story has more room to grow. Assuming the story is popular enough to keep selling, you can keep creating different forms of media indefinitely. Many people like this because it gives the story a sense of depth; it implies that there could be a real universe out there where these things are happening. For those who don’t want to deal with so much media, and could be intimidated by it, that is why you have the core media that stands on its own (like the Star Wars films).
Standing on the shoulders of giants.
Let’s suppose you create a multi-platform franchise. If one portion of this franchise does very successfully, not only will it boost the sales of that particular story, but people will want to know more and will seek out the other stories. Therefore, it will boost the sales of…well, everything.
If you want to get the word out about a certain product, you can reach out to more people through cross-platform storytelling. If someone doesn’t know much about upcoming video games, but loves television, you might be able to rope them in with a story set in a TV series. Halo did this as a promotion for their core video game Halo 4 with Halo: Forward Unto Dawn, a web-based miniseries. It was one of the largest marketing events ever, but it was also a good story by itself. Most people are interested in one form of media or another.
Finally, I would advise that anyone trying this out should keep the continuity consistent across all platforms. If you don’t do this, then people will automatically assume that it’s not part of the “real” story which will lower the credibility of the franchise as a whole. Plus, creativity loves constraint and when you have to stay consistent with other stories, it’s possible to develop some very interesting and creative storylines.
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