Balancing between mediums

2010-10-01 10:04

Mid-September. London. Tim Kring steps on to the stage at Nokia World.

As the creator and executive producer of the TV series ­Heroes, he falls into the same category (for me, at least) as TV producers and writers such as Tom Fontana (OZ), Dick Wolf (Law & ­Order) and Anthony E Zuiker (CSI).

These shows have influenced and guided my engagement with television, both as a viewer and as someone who has worked behind the scenes.

These individuals created something that resonated with me.

I aspire to create something similar in my lifetime.

So when I heard that Tim Kring was speaking, I was there well in advance, sitting in the front row.

Kring was billed as a “Transmedia Storyteller”.

He talked about what he called Social Benefit Storytelling, where he sought to blur the lines between fiction and reality.

His talk was followed by a panel discussion on the future of television with representatives from Nielsen (which does all the ratings), Virgin Media (leading UK media company), Fremantle Media (owner and producer of Idols, ­Britain’s Got Talent and The X ­Factor) and Comcast Corporation (owner of E! Entertainment ­Television and The Style Network).

Traditionally, media related primarily to radio, television and print. But the internet threw a curveball and sent everyone scrambling.

How did this new platform fit into everything? Then the ­cellphone arrived, morphed into the smart phone, and created even more confusion.

A pet subject of mine centres on how one evolves the storytelling form to move across mediums.

For example, how would one take a 24-minute television programme and present it on a cellphone in a way that doesn’t chase people away?

Transmedia storytelling, which Kring is exploring, is about creating stories that live across the different platforms.

For some, the three-screen approach that Virgin Media is taking is the way forward.

It is perfecting the transition from TV to mobile to internet (laptop) and back smoothly, always picking up from where you left off.

MultiChoice is now in what seems to be its final stretch to provide mobile television as an extension of what it provides on the telly.

We need to stay plugged into these types of conversations and ensure that we are both up to speed and represented.

The politics and fighting, the focus on everything but the actual content, and the delivery of said content to the people of this ­country is pushing us even further and further behind.

With information, we have the potential to catch up.

If we do not take advantage of this, we will be responsible for the continued ­demise of our creativity.

» Kojo Baffoe is the editor of Destiny Man


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