A Long Time Ago in a Convergent Galaxy Far Far Away

So one day I was in Game Traders, casually minding my own business, trying to decide whether I wanted to buy either a Storm or Clone trooper bobble head. When suddenly I overheard a girl say to her friend “Omg they made The walking Dead into a comic now, that’s so cool”. Off course my instant reaction to this can best be described by the actions of this zombie

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But later it got me thinking. The Walking Dead (ORIGINALLY A COMIC) has branched out dramatically since its transformation into a hit HBO television series. Before the show existed the audience base for the franchise was limited only to the likes of comic book nerds and zombie enthusiasts alike. But now it has a vast array of audiences from all walks of life (excuse the pun) who have never necessarily even read a comic before or held an interest in zombies for that matter. How many people are out there who love the show but don’t even know about the comic, or who have never played the games?  This just surprises me that something so niche can become so main stream overnight, simply due to a little something called trans-media storytelling.

Trans-media story telling is the process where integral elements of fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience (Jenkins H 2007).

I feel that in order to explain this I am going to have to use my favourite example of all time Star Wars. Whenever I can’t understand something I always try and relate it to Star Wars. Sometimes I think it’s the only way I can really learn.

Picture Star Wars for a second and think about how much is known about the Star Wars universe that does not revolve around the movies. The characters, the histories, the back stories, the weapons, the planets, the cultures… it just goes on and on. The amount of detail known about the Star Wars universe is unbelievable, there are literally encyclopaedias filled with as much information about the Star Wars universe as there are encyclopaedias filled with information about our own universe.

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So the question is, If this information didn’t come from the movies, where did it come from? The answer Trans-Media Storytelling.

These details have come from the thousands of adaptations that have been created in order to further expand and continue the saga. Star wars is not just limited to the films, it has mutated across many media forms: novels, comics, games, spin off films, television series, toys… ect and with each one of these adaptations a new element has been added to the Star Wars Universe, creating this unified, coordinated, collective intelligence. For example the Aurebesh alphabet was originally a random piece of set dressing in Return of the Jedi. Stephen Crane copied those symbols and turned them into a complete and coherent alphabet, which can still be used today (if you are so inclined).

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After Star Wars was released, it became apparent that my story—however many films it took to tell—was only one of thousands that could be told about the characters who inhabit its galaxy. But these were not stories that I was destined to tell. Instead, they would spring from the imagination of other writers, inspired by the glimpse of a galaxy that Star Wars provided. Today, it is an amazing, if unexpected, legacy of Star Wars that so many gifted writers are contributing new stories to the Saga.
George Lucas,

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The Effects Of Convergence

After attending my second lecture for BCM112, it became apparent to me that Media is a dynamic that is constantly changing and developing ,always moving forward into a new improved era of convergence. But that to most people is obvious, as new technologies are always going to mean newer platforms and mediums of communication. The interesting thing about this is not the change from old to new media itself, but rather the way in which this change in convergence effects media industries, technologies and audience. Theses three aspects of media are connected by and therefore heavily impacted by convergence. A small change in one has a major impact on the others.

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When technologies are improved, new ways of communication are created and become more accessible. With this level of accessibility audiences are suddenly  becoming more more involved with media, they are no longer just passively listening or watching it, they are actively creating it. This change in turn affects industries as now there are issues with the flow of content across multiple channels. Audiences are inundated with a plenitude of entertainment options and no longer look to industries to cater to their needs. Eventually this cycle of change returns back to technology as people then start to change the use of these technologies in a way that was not originally intended by the industries that created it.

In order to give a better example of this chain of effects I look to my chosen convergence platform GamesSpot to justify what I’m taking about. Games are an entertainment form that are created by industries with an intended purpose; to be played right,  however forums such as GamesSpot, give audiences a chance to go beyond just playing the Game. They use this emerging technology (the forum) as a continuation of the game. The forum allows people to discuss game concepts, share their own interpretations of a game and imagine new alternative story lines and endings. Game forums even create a way for people who have modified the game in some way to share that modification and let other people play it. This effects the gaming industry as now countless versions of their games exist and are being played all over the world. As well as this, forums effect how a game is played in the sense that an abundance of information is readily available about the game. People no longer have to figure things out for themselves or solve puzzles, as the answers are provided for them or cheat codes are available.

http://au.gamespot.com/downloads.html?dlx_type=mods

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Who Am I Again?

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Hello everyone and welcome to my blog,especially my fellow students of both BCM 110 and BCM 112.

So, who am I might you ask?… no you didn’t ask?, well that’s too bad because I am going to tell you anyway. My name is Katie Berton and I am a 19 year girl from South West Sydney, studying communications and media studies; much like some of yourselves.

I think I can safely say that my greatest passion in life (besides Video games of course, oh and lets not forget Star Wars) would have to be communications. I am probably one of the only people on the planet who actually enjoys watching adds. The funny ones, the horrible ones, the poorly acted ones, even those classic shouting adds, you name it, I love it. As you may have figured out by now my intended major for this Media and Communications course is Advertising. My life ambition is to one day be an Advertising account executive for some fancy agency in the city somewhere, but to be perfectly honest, I don’t really mind which avenue of communications I venture along, as all aspects of the media interest and excite me.

So, what more can I tell you about myself?, hmmm lets see. Well I am a self proclaimed nerd, I love all things sci-fi and I practically live on my computer. I adore video games and worship the works of Tarantino. I quite literally intend on seeing every zombie movie existence and I am an adamant follower and firm believer of conspiracy theories. Musically I consider myself to be very diverse, however I always find myself returning to the genres of punk, grunge, alternative, metal, hardcore and synthpunk. My favourite artists include: The Distillers, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Bloc Party, Crystal Castles, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Smashing Pumpkins, Placebo, Hole and System of a Down.

Well That’s enough about me for the moment. I’m sure you have other very important things to be doing and I have some immensely important Games to be playing

Thank you for listening

Katie Out.