Marc Lougee

Visual Effects Supervisor, CW's The Flash

Harry Potter’s Communal Storytelling Engine

Just when you thought It All Ended… JK Rowling drops another secret in our  collective lap.

(By way of Micheal Humphrey, Forbes.com)

Fans making the pilgrimage over to Pottermore.com will be entreated to a clue based contest, with the promise of certain someone’s being allowed to see a sneak peek of the site early. Excited? You should be. This is historic stuff, if you were to ask Transmedia expert Jeff Gomez. So, what’s the big deal?  More to come, after the jump-

Starlight Runner CEO and Transmedia Guru Jeff Gomez says Pottermore promises to be laden with crazy coolness in the form of a ‘communal storytelling engine’.    WHOA.

What’s that mean to us mere mortals? Well, that translates to a 2 way portal for we Potter-Junkies to  jump back and forth into from regular-old-work -a-day-world to the world of Harry Potter!  Thias being no small thing for the interested: the portal access promises experiences laden with interactivity, dialogue, and community, all withing the Potter Universe. What’s so cool about this?POTTERMORE is not merely a re-hash of the same elements over and over again, via various displays of multi-platform prowess. No, no, no… this is participatory play on a grand scale, the promise being to involve the fans in a world they too can call their own. Hola, Pottermore!

Jeff Gomez enlightens further;

“What Pottermore.com does is that, for the first time it brings the Harry Potter brand from its basis in being a repurposed or repeated story world, into being a true transmedia brand.

Transmedia is signified by interactivity: the audience feeling not only an intense relationship with the storyteller (they already have this with J.K. Rowling), but a feeling that their input will have some kind of impact on the story world itself. That’s what I believe is happening with Pottermore. It is designed to be a two-way portal between all of us and the Harry Potter universe. It will promote participation by validating and celebrating community, dialog and user-generated content. It exists not just to sell ebooks, but to nurture and ultimately expand the canon of Harry Potter itself.”

Pottermore ain’t the first to do this, of course. Big Daddy George Lucas‘s Star Wars franchise set the pace for the entertainment industry, effectively providing a model to follow. The path to Big Daddy George’s Star Wars ‘participatory universe’ model is, by now, well travelled. Mr. Gomez expounds;

“Star Wars does this; you have two sets of movies that play out across two different time periods in George Lucas’s universe, then you have novels that fill in the gaps, and an animated series that reveal another important piece of the story. Each chunk of story feels complete and is more or less enjoyable on its own, but when you add them together you get a vast symphony of story.

The entertainment industry is coming to understand that Star Wars is no longer an exception, it’s a model in terms of its structure and implementation that can be emulated. Story worlds are on the rise.”

Ain’t that something?

Have a spin over to Forbes.com and read up on the great interview with Jeff Gomez. Enlightening stuff, surely, and hopefully it’ll prove inspiring to storytellers out there looking for some insight into utilizing Transmedia practice for some good.

Excelsior!

-Luge

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