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Adapting expansion: L. Frank Baum and adaptation as the origins of transmedia

Freeman, M (2013) Adapting expansion: L. Frank Baum and adaptation as the origins of transmedia. In: Adventures in Textuality: Adaptation in the Twenty-First Century, 3-4 April 2013, University of Sunderland, UK.

Abstract

Most explicitly theorised by Henry Jenkins, transmedia storytelling involves the telling of ‘stories that unfold across multiple platforms.’ Whilst most typically branded a product of the media conglomerate and discussed in the context of technological convergence, this paper examines the historical precedents for transmedia strategies common to twenty-first century franchises. Drawing on the Land of Oz intellectual property between 1900 and 1910, this paper traces the industrial rise of transmedia storytelling to the turn of the twentieth century. Mapping the ways in which author L. Frank Baum dispersed his Oz stories across the media of novels, theatre, and comics, the paper examines the relationship between the industrial rise of transmedia storytelling and the emerging platform of newspaper-imbedded comic strips. The beginning of the twentieth century had witnessed the comic strip serving as a cross-promotional advertising platform, transforming, as Ian Gordon notes, ‘the process of consumption – advertisement, purchase, and use – into entertainment.’ This paper argues that in collapsing the systems of ‘content’ and ‘advertising’ together, the American comic strip industry was the first medium wherein owners were conceiving of intellectual property as cultural phenomena that would disperse across multiple platforms – each iteration intended to interconnect with and advertise the others in ways that allowed for authored pieces of cross-media narratives to emerge; Land of Oz comics thus serving to advertise Land of Oz novels and theatre productions via the use of intertwined, cross-media story extensions. I hereby reveal how the shift towards the increased mass production of text as promotion, promotion as text – itself born out of a rising consumer culture in the United States – was pivotal to the industrial rise of transmedia storytelling in and across media industries.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Divisions: College of Liberal Arts
Date Deposited: 08 Jul 2015 13:37
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2016 13:28
URI: http://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/id/eprint/6305
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