Shut Up and Take My MoneyA Choreographic Inquiry into Transmedia Storytelling
Here’s what I have come to understand about telling transmedia stories with dance. Notes on a MFA thesis process:
Taking the first step – The Thesis Prospectus
The research prospectus started my research journey. It discussed exploratory research into the field of transmedia, offered connections and implications to the choreographic process, and established my thesis research statement.
This investigation will explore transmedia world-building through a capitalistic lens in order to inform the creative process and design a transmedia experience that aims to expand and elevate choreography as a competitive ideological vessel.
Getting into the Discussion – Literature Review
The literature review pushed my research process forward. Diving into the academic discourse surrounding transmedia theory… critical media theory researchers discussed its history, how media franchises fall into modes and categorical distinctions, and the participatory culture that surrounds transmedia storytelling. Collectively, this research culturally defined transmedia’s importance within the entertainment industry and today’s capitalistic society.
Transmedia Storytelling Culturally Defined
Transmedia Storytelling could be described roughly as telling a story across multiple media, layered with top-down and bottom-up modalities, while being adapted by a participatory audience to perpetually expand the world of the story.
The act of creating a choreographic work for a concert dance performance and the act of telling a transmedia story share common roots. Both modes of communicating rely on establishing narrative elements through cognitive frames, both intra-referentially and inter- referentially, that an audience can relate to from their own conceptual organization of experience. Henry Jenkins’ idea of transmedia storytelling utilizes the digital realm to find its channels of communication, whereas contemporary concert dance currently channels its communication and expression through the body and additional theatrical technology. So, if Jenkins’ theory rings true, through evidence seen by how this generation is consuming, adapting, and creating culture in an entertainment setting, transmedia practices should impact and expand the fields of choreography and dance in a similar manner.
23 and Counting – The Creative Product
23 and counting tells the complex story of this generation through each voice’s dimensions of identity, value, and discovery. Utilizing transmedia storytelling, the dance film intimately expresses stories from five young adults that unfold at the intersection of their dialectical perspective and embodied inner thoughts. Together, their voices construct a time-capsule capturing what it means to be young in 2018.
To access the film below use password: dance
Research Meets Practice – Reflection
The thesis reflection paper looks back upon the literature review and creative product and synthesizes thoughts on how the review of literature influenced the creative process. Transmedia theory discussed in the review of literature review joined with Transmedial Narratology and Encoding/Decoding theory to bridge the gap from theory to practice. The research was implemented on macro and micro scales and influenced the filmic production and the choreographic process.
The transmedial narratology theory built on the encoding/decoding and transmedia framework, lead me to organize my final creative product in a logical pattern and rhythm. Each dancer’s personal perspective constructed a narrative frame that prepared the audience to prototypically assess meaning of the movement that followed. Ultimately letting the dance push the narrative forward.
As an artist, by creating work that mimics this generation’s consumption, adaption, and creation of culture in society, I’m attempting to do my part to use transmedia practices to elevate the field of choreography and dance, reflecting both a financially and culturally profitable model.
Summary – A Research Presentation.
The conclusion of this research process was expressed in a formal presentation of research. The following are slides that summarize the research process as a whole and its incorporation into the creative product.
The Experience – An Academic Vitae.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with amazing faculty, and colleagues throughout my academic tenure at Sam Houston. For an exhaustive list of projects, professional opportunities, and artistic works please see the list below.