Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives

Apologies for not posting this yesterday, but I have now (more or less) successfully defended my Master's THESIS at MIT. I still need to do some last-minute revisions, but it looks like I'm going to graduate!

The defense was both a lot of fun and kind of awkward, since I wasn't wholly certain what the procedure was supposed to be like (and because one of my four committee members failed to show). When I got into the room, Henry asked me to talk for a little while about my work, why I chose this topic and so on, and so I took a deep breath and proceeded to yammer on for a little while about the particularly odd road I've chosen for myself as a storyteller in academia, and about how I started thinking about transmedia storytelling several years ago when I read Henry's article, and how I came to MIT, and where I might be going from here. After that, Henry and William and Frank and I sat around and talked about transmedia stuff for about an hour and a half, which was great fun. Lots of laughter and notes-comparing, some harrowing bits but mostly a lot of just chatting and thinking and conversation. We talked for a little while about the weird hybridity of the room, with Henry and William as academics and Frank as an artist, and about the few people out there that are practicing hybrids, like Umberto Eco. That's what I want to be when I grow up – an Umberto Eco, storytelling and writing and thinking and doing my thing. William told a story about having Eco guest-lecture in a class of his once, which was just brilliant. I was officially jealous. We spoke for a while about the trajectory that this thesis has taken, and about where it has to go after this – as William puts it, I'm in cow stomach 3 of 4 – and about timelines; I have to get a revised draft to William by Sunday so he can read it and punt it back to me to polish up on Monday to give to Henry on Tuesday. If Henry likes it then, I can dot the T's and cross the I's and turn it in next Friday.


What happens after that? Well, a few days ago in a one-on-one meeting, William looked me in the eyes and said, "Well, here's a hard question – do you want to graduate on time?" I blinked. "With another six months' worth of polishing, this could really be something," he added.

I thought about that for a second, then nodded. "Yeah," I replied. "I do want to graduate on time. But there have been a number of other CMS grads who have gone on to turn their theses into books. Since it looks like I might be sticking around MIT for a while, do you think that would be an option?"

"Oh, definitely," he said.

So there's that. Maybe this time next year I'll have a pile of copies of Transmedia Storytelling: The Book to start passing around. We'll see. For now, though, I think I'll be satisfied just to get its THESIS incarnation done... And then, perhaps, I can start writing the word as simply 'thesis'.

But yeah – I'm not entirely out of the woods yet, but I'm close! Woo-hoo!


Snap! I want to be an Umberto Eco too!

Thrilling news, my friend. Congratulations, and hang in there with those final hours of graduate work.

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