How we describe the audience for transmedia projects is a question that should come up early in the design process for every transmedia narrative. The nature of transmedia storytelling blurs the boundaries between various media. However, it should not blur the vision of who the audience is and their primary interest.
Reading a book is a very different experience from playing a game or watching a movie. It is a mistake, for example, to assume that an audience interested in reading a book will be equally interested in playing a game.
The Numinous Place is an example of a project that uses multiple media. When finished, it will include four books, audio, video, a color comic, individual documents, online instruction in Lucid Dreaming, and a number of pieces of interactive content.
Screenshots of various elements of The Numinous Place (Images by Mark Staufer)
The point of all this media is to “create a chillingly realistic account of the scientific discovery of the afterlife”, says author Mark Staufer.
“Many attempts at transmedia fiction have failed to hit the right balance for the right audience,” says Dean Johnson of Bandwidth Innovation, which is partnering with Staufer to produce The Numinous Place. “We’re still primarily catering to readers, not viewers or gamers – they don’t want interactive content to break their reading experience and obstruct the narrative.”
That doesn’t mean a project can’t go after different types of audiences. Ultimately, Staufer hopes to appeal to viewers and game players as well as readers. He is planning to expand The Numinous Place to film/television and the gaming arena.
Doing that, however, will require a clear understanding of the expectations of each of these audiences are and how they will approach The Numinous Place‘s storyworld from different perspectives.