T RANSMEDIA BIBLE
CREATED BY JOE
“ I remember a low boom, before everything went dark. The sky lit up blue before fading. Then, nothing. Everything changed after that night. It is winter all the time now. The days are short and each one feels colder than the last. I don’ t think many people are left, although, I can’ t be sure. Some people think the world we live in now is the aftermath of the last judgement. If you ask me, that's bullshit. Nowadays it is hard to know when you will next see another person, but if you do, pray you see them first."
This project is an example of a small-scale original IP that utilises the methods contained with transmedia storytelling. The purpose of the project is to illustrate these methods but also to entertain through the use of character, narrative and artwork in collaboration with one another. Finally, there will be a breadth of different media that will allow the audience to enter into the world that has been created - in turn creating immersion through both the individual elements and the combination of different narratives together. The themes and the nature of the narrative means that the types of media platforms used will be similar or the same as those used across fantasy, science-fiction and horror. The scale of the project will be small and so smaller segments will be included in order to comprise the necessary breadth of media that immerses and entertains the audience. The project has been produced by an individual over the course of several months but left open ended in many places for the opportunity to expand and elaborate on different plot lines and separate narratives. The rules of the world and the environment will be well documented and illustrated so that all media remains consistent to the story world itself. At no point in the early stages of any of the narratives is the cause of the event mentioned as the cause itself is also unknown to the characters in the story. The information the audience has on the event will be the same as the characters. However, since there is room to reveal the cause at any point in one of the narratives, the nature of the world and the condition it is left in has to be consistent. To the audience the story will appear to be set in the present day or near future with no date being mentioned or specified. The passing of time to the audience will only be evident in the relative times that different stories are set.
The story begins in the ‘ present day’within the stories timeline. Opening with a wide eyed and alert character [ Jesse Hart] , and an inner monologue as he watches from the driver’ s seat of a four door pickup truck. The pickup is covered in branches and leaves, the driver has a rifle on his knee. One other person is next to him, but fall asleep [ Lucy Hart] , and the others are asleep in the back [ Thomas, Clark and Beth] . The story then moves backwards around a year [ in the form of a flashback]to a mother and father of being given the prognosis regarding the mother’ s illness. The other main characters, Lucy and Thomas, wait in the waiting room. The story then moves forward again to her funeral and cuts to the family moving to a new home, outside of the city to a smaller rural town] . Once they arrive they introduce themselves to their neighbours, Clark and Beth Johnson. Jesse, Lucy, Thomas and Neva [ dog]explore the house and new town they’ re going to be living in, deciding they quite like it. At this point the story is looking positive in contrast to the beginning. After more details are explained, the story then moves forward a short period of time to the middle of the night a month or so later when there is a sudden rumbling sound in the middle of the night, getting louder until a final blue flash of light is seen - followed by what sounds like hailstones raining down.
The father, Jesse wakes up and goes to fetch Lucy and Thomas with Neva following. A catastrophic event has rendered nearly all electronic devices unusable, some mobile phones with battery are able to be used, some cars aren’ t working and any appliances or electrically powered tools are useless. For the characters there is no good way to know what has happened or what is going on besides what is visible in the area. Jesse grabs a torch and leads them into the basement of their home where he has supplies in the event of an earthquake, hurricane or other natural disaster. Through the small ground level window there is a sudden, extended flash of light that is blinding, but slowly fades.
Lucy's Polaroids The next morning, not knowing what time it is, Jesse tears off a board or two from the window to see outside, the window is covered in snow and ice. He goes to investigate what happened last night, as he comes up from the basement and looks outside there is a notable amount of wreckage and debris in the air - everything is covered in a layer of snow. The temperature is colder than before, and he realises there is no power to the house. All around the street from what he can see there are abandoned cars, broken windows and little to no people around. He see’ s his neighbours, Clark and Beth [ who he knows quite well at this point]trying to start their car. When they spot each other Clark explains that they’ re going to the store to get water and food incase they’ re in the dark for a while. They ask if Jesse and his family want to go with them. They decide to walk there, which will take a couple of hours. They take an off road route which means cutting through a forested area instead of walking along the road, Clark explains this route is a little quicker. When they arrive they see people clamoring for supplies and fighting amongst themselves - the windows of the store are broken and people are running out carrying everything they can. The story moves back to the characters sitting in the pickup [ it is implied here that society has collapsed in the time periods shown between being at the store to the present moment] . Every hour they’ re sending out a call on the radio for someone to reply. The radio was made by Jesse and is a small two-way radio he modified with a homemade antenna to further improve the radio's signal. Finally someone picks up the signal around 30 miles away, a man called Jakob. They talk to him and agree to meet. Jakob is alone and on the edge of the city, Jesse and the main group at this point decide to fix up the pickup and head towards him, following a route they had agreed to meet on. The first issue of the graphic novel ends after getting to the main supermarket which is overrun with people, only then is the gravity of the situation apparent to the characters.
Setting: Briefly inner city & rural North America The main overarching narrative is focused around an event that feels and looks to the stories characters like a natural disaster. The ‘ event’immediately cuts off and halts all forms of electrical devices and appliances with the exception of battery powered objects like a torch, for example. Furthermore, the event causes the temperature to drop gradually over night by around 20 degrees C, representative of a temperature drop across core agricultural regions [ such as the US and Europe]that can be seen during a nuclear winter. The effect this has on the world itself is catastrophic from a technological point of view, with a lack of available communication and a high number of individuals caught of guard with the sudden onset of cold there is a sudden panic and in turn a surge of looting, violence and acts of desperation. In combination, these factors trigger a societal collapse.
The story arc that the graphic novel will follow the journey of the main characters and the first entry point into the story. This platform will provide the the most information about the world and act as the stories core, where other narratives will branch off and evolve from. In other words, this segment is the foundation of the storyworld as the audience sees it. The opening issue of the graphic novel will often move back to a few months in the past before the event and lead up to the night of the event as a flashback from the point of view of the character, Jesse. The main protagonist the story. The present day in the graphic novel is months after the event with food and water shortages, depletion of the population due to illness, lack of medication, food and heating. This particular story will have a mixture of narration from the father in the story to his life before the event and a mixture of scenes set in the present time within the story world. This will help to provide context and allow a better understanding of the characters from the stark contrast depicted in the way the world was pre and post event. This is also a more interesting way to tell the story than in a completely linear fashion. The event takes place in the story after the characters have moved from a big city to a smaller, rural town, meaning they are somewhat secluded and without much in the way of help. The use of short stories could touch on any point in the timeline, but two or more very short stories [ a few thousand words each]would provide some form of context for the world and reveal more details to the audience. These stories could focus on character backstories, or different locations to the main characters. They could also provide a different look at the main characters lives on a new platform, thus allowing the audience to view the characters in two separate formats, one featuring the benefits of a written story and one the more visual based graphic novel format. The use of illustrations and artwork at different points in the universe's timeline can be used to show the slow decay of the landscape. It could ao be used to depict characters at different points in and out of the already written storylines. For example, a still of the characters attempting to endure the winter months without power and the search for food. The audience can take a lot from a single image if it is well executed. Written diary entries and audio/video logs could provide some more direct insight into the characters thoughts, feelings and experiences but in a more direct way to the audience. This method could allow a much less subtle form of character development in which the characters are somewhat talking to the audience directly, or as if the audience is reading their experiences as they are documented. In turn, this could explain some of the characters actions in various stories that aren’ t obvious at first. Overall this entry point provides a more direct form of insight and is a way to explain and subtleties more easily. There will be many dangers the main characters face in this story, from surviving cold winters and food shortages to cannibalism induced by food shortages [ lack of food availability and perishing of most foods within a few months] , gangs of people looting houses etc. The way in which the characters overcome the problems they face will be what defines them most. During the accompanying short stories, the back story of Jakob will be delivered in order to provide some context for his character. This iteration is intended to be a piece of ‘ follow up’media to expand on his character, since at the beginning and due to the way in which he is introduced, it is difficult to get a good idea about who he is - this should provide some more information for the audience about that. Again, if this piece of media is engaged with prior to the graphic novel it will still work as a stand alone piece of reading - enhanced by the occurrence of the character in the graphic novel iteration. The outline of this story will explain his life before the event and detail a car crash / house fire he was in a few months before the event that killed his girlfriend. Since then he has kept very much to himself, taking time off work and ultimately was alone until he contacted the main characters on the radio for the first time. Another short story that will be written will detail the world 30 years after the event, this story will be set elsewhere in the area that the main narrative takes place and focus on another character, perhaps explaining who they are, explained in the first person - like a diary entry. The purpose of this leap forward in time is to allow the audience to realise not only the level to which life on Earth has ceased to exist but also think about what will have happened to the main characters over the course of the time that there story was last visited up until this point. This story will most likely be the shortest of them all [ approximately a few thousand words]and almost read like poetry narrated by a singular character, walking the earth alone. In terms of transmedia storytelling, the post-apocalyptic genre works well because of the countless platforms that can be used as entry points into the lives of characters. Furthermore, the inherent timeline of events that presents itself [ pre-apocalypse / apocalypse / post-apocalypse]is easy to work along, with the potential for back stories, details on the event or a story taking place at any point in time after the event whether that is a day or 50 years. The market for this type of story is evident, and can be seen successfully executed across novels [ The Road] , film [ 28 Days Later, World War Z] , television [ The Walking Dead] , graphic novels [ Sweet Tooth] , video games [ Fallout series]and various other media.
Example Scripts : Phone Calls
Hart Family House Plan
BEDROOM (L U C Y & T H O M A S) KITCHEN
BEDROOM (J E S S E)
Timeline of major events across all platforms.
5 7 1
9 11 8 10
1. The earliest event in the stories timeline will be the back story of Jakob, which crosses over with the life of the main characters flashbacks, these event take place about a year to a few months before the event. [ Short Story] 2. Kara dies from her illness and the family leave their home to a quieter town around 35 miles from the city. Diary entries, and letters from Kara Hart to her husband, daughter and son document part of the narrative from this timeframe and also provide more details about Kara and who she was to the audience. [ Written materials & Graphic Novel] 3. Several weeks before the event there is interactions between the main characters and the neighbours at their new home. [ Graphic Novel] 4. Apocalyptic event takes place relatively early in narratives timeline. [ All platforms] 5. At the same time as the event, audio of phone calls leading up to the event and when it happens - overlap and build up all ending with the realisation of what’ s happening. May provide clues as to the nature of the event. The phone calls present themselves in an audio file that can be found by the audience on a file that is marketed with a certain edition of the graphic novel. [ Audio] 6. Radio broadcasting a PSA, telling people what they should do - ‘ this is not a drill..remain in your homes, basements if you have them, store water etc..’Also presented in audio format, similar to the phone calls. [ Audio] 7. Main characters group with their neighbours and take refuge also make an attempt to get supplies from a store. Meanwhile Jakob is packing his things and leaving the city, which at this point is in chaos. [ Graphic Novel] 8. Main characters attempt to make contact through radio. Jakob does the same. (Jakob’ s initial attempts are only confirmed in his backstory, not in the graphic novel). 9. Failed radio broadcasts made by both the main group and Jakob. [ Audio] Audio] 10.Contact is made between the main characters and Jakob. [ 11. Journey to meet each other, and form a group after spending several days talking via radio. [ Audio / Graphic Novel] 12. News of a ‘ refugee’camp is broadcast via radio. The group (now consisting of the original characters with the addition of Jakob) wants to discover what happened and if things will ever go back to normal. They follow this lead. [ Will be depicted in further editions of graphic novel. 13. A short story set 30 years in the future from the time of the event, detailing a woman who was young at the time of the event. The story will be an account of their internal thoughts as they roam around what’ s left of the Earth’ s landscape. The intention is to allow it to read somewhat like poetry so that aside from the visual representation on other platforms, there is visceral descriptions of the environment and world. It could imply that it is Lucy but now older, although this is left to the audience to decide. [ Short Story] 14. Diary / journal entries found by the female character [ Lucy Hart]in the future story, of other people, found in old campsites etc. [ Written Documents]