Transmedia Storytelling in Television: A Student Thesis


One of the pleasures of working with Middlebury College students is advising independent work on their senior projects. While I don’t have the opportunity to work with graduate students on their dissertations, every once in awhile I have undergraduate students who do exemplary work that feels quite similar to a condensed version of the graduate thesis project. Typically they do great work, but the end result remains dormant, at best being read by a random browser in the Middlebury library.

One of my top students this past year, Aaron Smith, wrote a project that warrants broader dissemination, given its timely topic and more “prescriptive” tone. Aaron wrote about transmedia storytelling in contemporary television (a topic of great personal interest for me), specifically exploring what lessons can be learned from experiments from the last decade and how future storytellers might devise more successful examples.

Per my encouragement, Aaron has posted his thesis online, inviting comments through the CommentPress system – you can comment on individual paragraphs, sections, or the entire project. I know that Aaron would appreciate feedback, and I think anyone interested in contemporary television narrative and transmedia issues will find interesting material to chew on here. Below is the thesis abstract to whet your appetite – please comment, reblog, or otherwise engage with his work:

Transmedia Storytelling in Television 2.0” by Aaron Smith
In the era of convergence, television producers are developing transmedia narratives to cater to consumers who are willing to follow their favorite shows across multiple media channels. At the same time, there still remains a need to preserve an internally coherent television show for more traditional viewers. This thesis offers a model for how transmedia storytelling can coexist with and enhance a television narrative, using Lost as a case study. By building a world to be discovered, creating a hierarchy of strategic gaps, focusing on the unique capabilities of each extension, and using the “validation effect” to reward fans for their cross-media traversals, television/transmedia producers can provide a satisfying experience for hard-core and casual fans alike.

One Response to “Transmedia Storytelling in Television: A Student Thesis”

  1. 1 christophe


    I have discover this Thesis on a website
    The blog is quite intersesting to.

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