Mikes Jones: Top Tips for Multiplatform Storyworlds

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Check out Mike Jones' six top principles for writing multiplatform storyworlds.

 

1. We add new storytelling forms, but we have never replaced any.

The Book, the Comic Book, the Theatre, the Radio, the Cinema and the Television - these are the long established forms of narrative storytelling. Yet despite the advent of the computer, the game console, the mobile device and the virtual reality helmet, NONE of them have gone away, none of the established forms have ever been made obsolete. The dominance of particular medium may shift with time, but they endure and they remain.

 

2. With increasingly diverse platforms, audiences diversify across them.

What this means for writers is both profound and very simple - In a multiplatform world a Writer cannot be defined by a Medium. Novelist, Playwright, TV Writer, Feature Film Writer… these are unhelpful descriptors; restrictive with no ability to scale or adapt. In a multiplatform world the expectation of a writer is that they can work across platforms and that their skills are relevant and applicable regardless of medium.

 

3. Technology has never changed what a Story is or what audiences expect of it.

The commonality of Story between a stageplay, a novel, a film and a video game is much stronger than anything technology can throw at it. Tension, Action, Catharsis and Transformation, Character, Dramatic Questions and the rise and fall of hope and fear in the audience. These are technology independent. But technology and new platforms do change Process and Narration. They change the Process by which we develop stories and they change the way they are Narrated to an audience. In a multiplaform world, writers need to be closely examining and articulating their development Processes and the mechanics by which they execute on Narration.


4. Storyworld before Story.

The central IP that a Writer creates and possesses is not their plots or their characters but the storyworld that generates both. Storyworld as a vibrant pressure cooker of oppositional forces that propel ongoing narratives that can be generated across platforms. Storyworld is a platform and technology independent story engine, so your ability to design dynamic storyworlds is fundamental. 

 

5. Genre is platform agnostic.

Genre defines emotional expectations, genres tell us how a story is going to make us feel and a story that sits within a genre makes a promise to deliver on those feeling states. This emotional expectation is the dominant driver of audiences. The narrative execution of genre is consistent regardless of technology or platform. The story tools of Romance, Science Fiction, Mystery, Horror, Comedy are universal to any platform, so understanding genre at a rich and sophisticated level, not just as superficial trappings, is crucial to delivering compelling stories across platforms.

 

6. As a writer in a multiplaftorm world your ability to TALK is more important than your ability to write. The ability to build, extend, articulate, express, communicate and verbalise story ideas in collaborative open writers-room environments is the most important skill you can possess.


To find out more come to REFRAME: The Multiplatform Storyworld Writers’ Workshop (7-8 March, Sydney)

Acknowledgement

The Australian Film Television Radio and School would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners, the Bidjigal people and Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, on whose land we meet, work, study and teach. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and extend our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from all nations of this land.