Transmedia is the future of storytelling, according to panelists at the Pusan International Film Festival’s seminar Transmedia: Maximizing Creativity through Blending Contents, Media and Technologies.

Moderated by producer Lorna Tee, the panel was made up of R Eric Lieb, writer/producer/founding partner of Blacklight Transmedia, a company that has a first-look deal with Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment; Anita Ondine, CEO of Seize the Media; and Stu Levy, CEO and chief creative officer of Tokyopop.

“We’re in the midst of a Cambrian explosion,” said Lieb. “Transmedia storytelling is the evolution of entertainment.”

He explained that transmedia storytelling is a process whereby elements of a story are released on several different platforms - film, manga, online video games, Facebook, Twitter, and so on - which allow consumers to delve into and, unlike traditional franchises, participate in the story.
“We can now consume content anywhere, not just on a single screen but on mobiles and computers and so on. This has shifted the paradigm from passive consumption to interactive consumption to participatory consumption,” Lieb said. “Transmedia is the creation of story worlds where you can play and interact and have an immersive experience.”

Transmedia thus lends itself well to high-concept action, adventure, fantasy, and sci-fi - the most popular genres in film, video games, and publishing, and the genres that lend themselves to franchises.

Tokyopop is a publishing company that brings graphic novels and manga to North America and Europe. It is involved in the film version of Korean manhwa (the Korean term for comic book) Priest, due from Sony in May, 2011.

Levy noted that comic book fans are crucial to the marketing of a film and that his company was able to bridge the divide between the original manhwa, which is set in the Wild West, and the film, which is set in the future, through transmedia online applications.

Ondine explained that audiences should be able to participate in the story and influence it. This also helps with marketing and creates innovative ways to tap into revenue.
The seminar broke away from the usual passive format by splitting attendees into groups to create transmedia project one-sheets that were critiqued by the panelists.