Some time in the autumn of 2018, Roy Hanney, course leader in Media Production at Southampton Solent University told me over a glass of wine: “I’ve been thinking about your book, The Snow Witch, and I’d like to ask you if we can extend it and use it as the basis of a transmedia storytelling experience…”
It sounded great. But when I asked him what he meant, Roy’s explanation was incomplete and highly conceptual. The truth is, we were going to have to find out how to do it while we were doing it… And that is where the journey for myself and, in the end, about 50 artists writers and artists began. They would all in some way or other wrap their heads round the idea and become part of a much larger project.
So, what did I work out about transmedia storytelling from his description? It was certainly not something that came into focus straight away. Roy admitted that at that moment he didn’t know really what it was either.
“It’s a way of telling stories across many different platforms – instagram, facebook, twitter, radio, podcasts, video, street art, live events – to give people an experience, a narrative that they put together themselves. I’d like to develop a new story using The Snow Witch’s world as the starting point, and develop one up from there. It’s the future of storytelling, and it uses different media to unwind the story.”
What I didn’t guess at the time was that those two completely separate projects would combine together at a later point. And it would be some time before I began to see exactly how it could work, by directing the scriptwriting team myself. But all that was a long way off.