Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives
Thirty-odd slides later...

The crazy thing isn't that I'm presenting on "Transmedia Storytelling, Niche Media, and the Jim Henson Company" at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference on Sunday. The crazy thing is that I have so bloody much to say about it.

Negative capability is often a key tactic when it comes to transmedia storytelling, which is why I found it so interesting to see the Jim Henson Company returning to The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth as narrative worlds when revitalizing their company in the early 2000s. The two properties stand in stark contrast to one another in how they utilize negative capability – or, more effectively, how one property very definitely uses negative capability and the other almost willfully doesn't. By examining each of these properties in turn, first through the 'core' narrative and then through their transmedial extensions (the 1983 book The World of the Dark Crystal by Brian Froud, the 1986 book The Goblins of Labyrinth by Froud and Monty Python's Terry Jones, and the 2006 manga Return to Labyrinth by Jake T. Forbes) we can see how the skillful use of negative capability proves critical when nurturing a transmedial franchise.

To think I was worried about filling 20 minutes. Yeesh. On the upside, this is a great dry run for the thesis research presentation I have to give back at MIT in a few weeks. I'm feeling pretty decent about this whole state of affairs, knock on wood. Oh, and hey – I found out the original source of the phrase 'negative capability' today, and believe it or not, it was Keats! Score one for the poets!

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