UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Making tomorrow's stories : the commercial viability and material demands of transmedia narratives for children Thiboutot, Valerie


This project aims to explore the exciting new trends in multimedia storytelling through an economic lens. Although strongly enthused by the theoretical possibilities of digital technology in multimodal narratives, the academic world seems to turn a blind eye to the harsh material limitations of such artistic endeavors. The apparent discrepancy between the academic conversation on transmedia narratives and the latter’s (lack of) commercial success reveals a significant gap between the literary and media theories surrounding multimedia storytelling and the economics of their production and marketing. This thesis offers to bridge these two realities through an exploratory analysis of the resources needed in the production and promotion of a transmedia narrative designed for children. The project is divided in three stages: a case study of the commercialization of Inanimate Alice as a transmedia narrative for children, an original design of a multimedia narrative for middle grade children, and an assessment of the resources— material, human, and financial—the design would require for its production. The resources assessment at the core of this exploratory research is based on the creative design for a transmedia narrative this project proposes, as a hypothetical commercial and material production. Through the analysis of production concerns for an existing transmedia story as well as a supposed one, this work identifies the array of financial and human challenges that are specific to the transmedia medium. Using Jenkins’ definition of “transmedia narratives” and the current academic discussions on transmedia, this project assesses the resources needed to produce, distribute, and sell a specific transmedia narrative, in order to paint a clearer portrait of the material realities and production challenges faced by transmedia content creators.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International