“Transmedia” has become something of an annoying buzzword lately, or at least, a loaded one. It calls to mind corporate boardrooms where phrases like “maximum brand impact” and “synergy” are bandied about.
But transmedia — the act of taking a story or fictional world outside its original medium and into others (books into movies, comics into video games) and then using each separate entity to inform the others — can also be pretty cool. Case in point: Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim graphic novels, which themselves mixed cinematic, video game and manga sensibilities and were later spun into an Edgar Wright film and a Ubisoft video game, all of which coalesced into one big successful transmedia thing.
This video essay, by Dr. Drew Morton from Texas A&M University-Texarkana, takes a look at how transmedia can fail (e.g. The Matrix) and how it succeeded with Scott Pilgrim. It’s good stuff, and through it I learned that Wright first wrote a draft of the film when O’Malley had only finished the second book, and that his second draft was written before O’Malley had finished the last book, and so at one point the film’s script has an ending where Scott wound up with Knives instead of Ramona. I would’ve been OK with that! Knives rules.