Today we are immersed in multi-platform environments where media convergence, participatory culture and collective intelligence are intertwined.
Mg. Luis Fernando Gutiérrez Cano
Mg. Luis Jorge Orcasitas Pacheco
In the last decades the production of media has undergone a succession of technological, industrial, cultural and social transformations, which in turn have generated a variety of theoretical-practical reflections, around the emergence of new narrative possibilities and new ways of communicating in the digital age, in consonance with increasingly hyperconnected users, through different devices, which in turn allow them greater access to all kinds of media messages; In other words, we experience what Jenkins calls the era of media convergence.
Herny Jenkins, one of the pioneers in studies of contemporary communication processes, defines the culture of convergence, as that mediated space where "old and new media collide, where popular media intersect with corporations, where the power of the media producer and consumer interacts in unpredictable ways. "
If, until recently, terms such as multimedia and interactivity - nowadays almost in disuse - were imposed today in the world of media convergence, it is more precise to refer to transmedia narratives (Transmedia storytelling) or, in a simplified way, NT.
A universe where, as users, we imbued ourselves with stories that take place on dissimilar media platforms. Precisely, as participants in this novel narrative experience, and in the framework of Mediamorphosis, the Latin American multiplatform event of dissemination, exchange and production that took place for the first time in the city of Medellín, with exchanges of ideas, reflections and also contradictions about NT, with different specialists in the Latin American field, in which the National Television Authority and the Master in Digital Television of the Pontifical Bolivarian University participated.
We want to share some of the impressions generated during this meeting, given that it is a topic of vital importance for the audiovisual sector, both for Colombia and for the other countries of the region, given the innumerable conceptual, narrative and technological possibilities that can be generated from the communicative processes transmediáticos from the planning of more enriching media experiences.
The panel of guests had as international speakers Damián Kisner, director of Mediamofosis, and Ricardo Andrada, scriptwriter of interactive webdocs, both from Argentina; Also, Suzy Sierra Ruiz, representative of the Civil Society before the National Television Board of the ANTV and Olga Castaño Martínez, representative of the Universities before the National Television Board of ANTV.
Hyperconnected and demanding users
One of the first topics of discussion revolved around how audiences, for the most part, are now hyperconnected in a heterogeneous way, either from their computers, smartphones, tablets or smart TVs; are therefore demanding and seek connectivity and interaction with modern issues, which is why the media have a great responsibility to try to meet the demands of users
On the other hand, ANTV's Suzy Sierra said that public television is inevitably surrounded by a series of paradigms and barriers related to the administrative bureaucracy, which prevents synergies between those who make, support and finance public television. Hence it is fundamental that the administrative issues do not go against the current with the narration of stories and the ways in which they can be counted.
Paradoxes of Narrative Control
It is necessary to emphasize, according to Ricardo Andrada, that at the precise moment of deriving the contents and incorporating them by different means, there is a truly paradoxical phenomenon: more and more we have more tools to narrate, but each time we have less control about what is going to happen with what is going to be narrated.
Put another way, if today we look at the life of any of us, the points where we receive communications or proposals are very many: the cell phone, radio, television, Internet, etc., ie, those who tell stories have a lots of tools to reach those people who want to tell a certain story.
Let's take the videos that are posted on Facebook, most of them are consumed without sound, so that phenomenon, leaves the narrators without tools that have been considered central in all this time; therefore, questions arise such as: What will happen to the music you are going to use to create a sound environment? What will happen to the dialogue when the bulk of the audience is not listening in the story ?
In line with the above, Andrada considers that the agents of audiovisual communication face a very great challenge, which is why it is the ideal time to rethink all the certainties with which it has been reached until now, the moment to relearn all trades involved in audiovisuals and learn to interact with people from other knowledge that have not traditionally been part of the challenge of telling stories, people from the area of technology, computer graphics and those who live from the user experience in the technological media .
It should be noted that we are in a kind of zero moment; every day new ways of narrating more creative arise and you are not sure where you are going tomorrow. Also, today are presented very new technologies, such is the case of virtual reality or augmented reality. We do not know where it goes, we do not know how stories are told with those new technologies in which the camera is the head of the viewer. In conclusion, there are a number of changes and turns, in some cases "Copernican", which leave us facing a great uncertainty, but at the same time facing a great challenge, because everything is yet to be done.
Nowadays, when creating a content, it is possible to choose in which platform the audience is going to be spoken to and, hence, to express some disquisitions: the message will be "told" by television, through social networks, and people are expected to participate. At the same time, if you understand where the audience is and you are allowed to participate in such consumption habits, there is probably more success, instead of persisting with a traditional text and "throwing" it on a television show every day and at a certain time.
So is the audience there? Maybe it's at certain times of the day, in different places or maybe it's on television or on other platforms. This is how they begin to create content that cross platforms and narratives and that is what the transmedia talks about, contents that are beginning to be told and narrated on different platforms.
Those who create or write stories to reach mass audiences must choose where and on which platform the story will be told or what part of the story is going to be told and how people will interact, whether from a live physical event or on television or a traditional printed newspaper. The main strategy is to understand the audience and discern where it is, in order to pour the contents where that audience is.
With the purpose of training the new generations in transmedia and have clarity of how they conform work teams Damián Kirzner warns that there is a very big change, and is that the content producers traditionally have had a very wide toolbox.
Although television has people who know how to light or locate the cameras, it is essential to have a director or a sonidista; however, to express themselves through different platforms there are other new knowledge that must be incorporated in that "new" toolbox, such as web developers, community managers, programmers, application developers, event developers in live, among others.
For Kirzner, the role of universities is fundamental, since universities must begin to train new communicators in these new tools; so this is a challenge, because the reality goes much faster than the academy, the reality is more dynamic.
Narrative without limits
To paraphrase some writers and theorists, Suzy Sierra points out that the limits to new narratives are in the mind, and considers that the transmedia strategy emerges as a marketing outlet for public television, which means placing the public at the center of the narration, convey it and make the stories that are told on public television permeate their daily lives. At the same time, there is not necessarily a need for robust, intentional, purpose-driven teams for complex work.
Sierra agrees with Damián Kisner in the formation of interdisciplinary teams, and simultaneously with Ricardo Andrada in the sense that the roles of production teams must be "reinvented", since most likely those who went to university a few years ago learned a way to do the things; so the challenge today is to do things differently, to think that different roles can be fulfilled in creative teams and that new characters must be incorporated into the work dynamics.
In particular, it is necessary to establish and articulate a dialogue between the narrator and the audience, and this implies that there are efforts focused especially on the analysis of the data, in order to elucidate who we are talking about and so to know and then recognize. Sierra noted that the ANTV initiated training and reflection cycles with the public television teams, which tend towards that goal.
As for the importance of having communities around the media, for Damián Kirzner it is fundamental to create communities with which to interact and dialogue; however, strategies must be generated that allow the creation of audiences, for this there are different strategic paths: one of the main is to meet physically, because television has to "go down", it has to generate physical events.
Kirzner points out that transmedia contents break the frontier of digital when they become organic, so when the user encounters someone organic, analog, real, after that encounter everything digital flows much better, that is, when a space as a television channel invites your audience in their different programs, with genuine and interesting reasons, to meet in physical events, create audience, create engagement, create commitment.
Therefore, audiovisual media should promote this encounter, break traditional audiovisual linearity and cross, meet, and from these meetings an active community is conceived. In summary, in transmedia developments is very important, generate physical encounter with audiences to create fidelity.
Nowadays the audiences are increasingly elusive and increasingly difficult to capture, according to Ricardo Andrada, are something like a marriage, something that must be betting and recreating every day. For example, with respect to social networks grow and disappear with the same speed.
In other words, educational and cultural pedagogy is important, especially in those young people who can not receive education, and in the Colombian case, especially in the current post-conflict situation, hence that narrating post-conflict is very important for those generations and, in fact, much has already been narrated about violence, about the postconflict of many wars in different regions of the world.
As for the Colombian case, the teacher Enrique Buenaventura, for example, in Los Papeles del Infierno, the teacher is the one who speaks as a victim and now the University Channel Zoom resumes the voice of victims with skin, heart and look of the actors. That is wonderful, it is a possibility to understand and understand, to feel and to get people to identify and contribute in different ways and with different proposals.