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WHEN A STORY GOES DIGITAL – A JOURNEY. The Transmedia Storytelling Masterclass at ‘JUMPSTART- Let’s Play! 2014′

Transmedia Masterclass: Ralph Mollers
August 26, 2014

Transmedia Storytelling Masterclass, JUMPSTART

Transmedia Storytelling Masterclass, JUMPSTART

Ralph Mollers is a big name in the publishing industry and his workshop this morning proved exactly why. In 1987, he started a very successful book and software house, Systhema, along with his wife. There was only one way to go now, and it had to be up. His experiments with Transmedia began with the successful publishing of an edutainment series, “Lowenzahn”, in collaboration with the German ZDF(TV Network). The response that this TV series received was phenomenal and so his journey began.

Ralph operates in a world that grows at an exponential rate and to keep up with this fast changing landscape is quite the task. Ralph has seen this market undergo a sea change in the last thirty years, Technologies that were born and became redundant in a matter of years. How then does one operate within these mediums?

The workshop began as an attempt to understand the very concept of Transmedia and all its possible applications. Storytelling as a practice transcends media. The adaptation of the story however need not be limited by the format of the media. Ralph explains that a book need not necessarily be in the same format as a book when, say, converted to a television show. The TV show engages with the same story in a different way. Thus, he asserts that Transmedia doesn’t advocate a battle between forms but a syncretic dissolution.

Ralph however believes that the biggest pitfall that came in the way of unleashing Transmedia’s hidden potential was the fact that there was a gap in the knowledge banks of the different formats. A language did not exist to help translate a story from one platform to another. However, we see now that artists, writers and creators are increasingly making that leap of faith to initiate dialogue.

In the edutainment industry, Ralph realised that Transmedia was the best way to teach. Through interactive playing and learning, for eg. in the Fritz and Chesster series, children were taught how to play chess. Not as intense game strategies but through the magic of interactive storytelling. Children are thus allowed to think as they play and Transmedia is instrumental in this success!


Transmedia Masterclass: Shilpa Ranade
August 26, 2014

Transmedia Storytelling Masterclass, JUMPSTART

Transmedia Storytelling Masterclass, JUMPSTART

Animation as a medium for storytelling is encased within the general ambit of Transmedia as a form. However, animation cannot just be generalised as Transmedia and not be given credit for its own independent structure. Shilpa Ranade’s ‘Goopi Gawaiya Bagha Bajaiya’,is an animation film that is based on Satyajit Ray’s enduring film ‘Goopi Gayne Bagha Bayne’. She screens twenty minutes of her film and then proceeds to take us through the world of digital animation and helps acquaint us with a style that could possibly become an “Indian” style of animation.

Animation, she claims, is a category of film making or well, image making that borrows from a variable number of influences. There are no stylistic limitations that hinder the process of creation. She says that, in the world of animation you are bound only by the limitations of your own imagination. There are no boundaries. The storyteller is given a medium to visualise his/her story. They define the boundaries of their story. The form remains limitless, experiential.

Shilpa currently works with the IDC at IIT, Mumbai and is an extremely talented Illustrator and Animator. Her attempt to re-visualise ‘Goopi Gayne Bagha Bayne’ was a tricky move which she very carefully played out. Rather successfully too, might I add. Everyone knows it’s not easy to recreate a Satyajit Ray film but therein lies her success. She did not adapt the film to an animated form but made the story transcend media and told the story through the format that she had chosen and executed brilliantly.

When a story traverses media, from film and especially Satyajit Ray’s realism and enters the sphere of the imagined reality in animation, the nuts and bolts need to be tight. Shilpa explores the layers of Ray’s style of storytelling and seamlessly imbibes them into her film. The power of the story is too powerful to be ignored and that helps the animated film retain its sense of narrative.

However, stylistic interventions are the need of the hour and this story of musicians becomes a way of intervening with sound and image. The film begins with a rich opening of images and a cacophony of sounds. The different psychological layers that envelop the plot of Ray’s film are translated into a relationship with sound.

The attention to detail is however, paramount. Shilpa illustrates this necessity through the course of her film as she makes the most mundane experiences come alive. The journey of a drop of water becomes an event, with such attention to detail. It heightens one’s senses to a point of optimum awareness.

Animation as a tool in the Transmedia genre is a key assembly of all the elements that make transmedia what it is. But it possesses its own language as a storytelling format and more strongly as one that is decipherable by children.

Written with Maanasi Baa