So. Media, am I right?
Not my strongest opener, I know, but I’m still trying to wrap my head around our class discussion. The overall conclusion seems to be that media is ever-shifting, certain types always breaking free of rules and containers that once bound them.
Like, ask yourself. What is literature, today?
Literature can be just about anything. It can be printed on paper, it can be on a screen, it can be whispered in your ear.
It can also, arguably, be a movie. Stories have a way of migrating like that. I mean, you get novels turned into movies, movies getting novelizations… there’s a certain flexibility. It feels like rules are being broken all over the place.
Literature is also in graphic novels, visual novels, Twine-based choose your own adventure stories…
Personally, I love it. What speaks more to the innovation of storytelling than the way it’s so fluid?
It definitely has its limits. While titans like literature, film, and theatre probably aren’t going anywhere, new media is less stable.
You’ll always have books and TV. But what about Flash games? Adobe Flash is being phased out. There’re efforts to archive and preserve, but there’s simply too much.
Remember when YouTube had annotations? Remember when people used those annotations to make interactive videos?
Annotations disappear, and it’s like reading a choose-your-own-adventure book front to back.
Of course, if you ask me, the pros outweigh the cons. It feels like every day, someone’s meshing mediums and genres in an incredible new way. No one’s just a writer or artist these days: there’s always more.
I know I’ve fallen victim to the craze. I’m teaching myself Twine so I can make interactive stories in the same universe as my novels, bringing a new dimension to my passion projects.
My favourite example of this is probably tabletop podcasts, like The Adventure Zone. Genre-wise, what would you call it? A let’s play? A comedy, and/or a drama? An improvisational theatre act?
And all wrapped up in an audio-only format, to boot!
(You know, excluding live shows. Because, yes, there are people going on tour playing Dungeons and Dragons to sold-out venues. There are people headlining conventions where people they’ve never met are dressed up as their dungeons and dragons characters. )
It’s all of those things. Yes, it’s a comedy. Yes, it’s also a drama. Yes, it’s improv, and yes, it’s technically a let’s play. You are watching people do a playthrough of a game.
And this is just one example. New media is letting genres and forms come together in ways no one ever expected. One of my favourite podcasts is also one of my favourite novels. I play a mobile game based on a franchise of one of my favourite cartoons. I have friends with a Broadway Records deal for their musicals putting together comics, podcasts, and epic poems based in that same universe.
Media is the plaything of today’s creators. Things like genre and form, once cages, have become sliding scales. You can say, “This story has a bit of literature, a pinch of audio, and maybe some animation, for the heck of it.”
I can’t wait to see all the other crazy things we make.