Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives
The end times.

All right, I'll admit it. I'm in a little bit of trouble here.

My THESIS is due on Friday. I'm meant to be doing final revisions to the paper – and I have been doing revisions, but I'm concerned that I might not be doing enough revisions, or the right revisions. The defense went well, but pretty much my entire panel said something to the effect of "Yeeeeeah, about Section 3..." Which, you know, is completely fair. I myself had been saying similar things before, but now that I've written it (and presented a good chunk of it at MIT5) I feel like it oughta be in there. Maybe not all of it – the section I wrote using the Clive Cussler/Breck Eisner Sahara fiasco as an argument for why transmediation can be better than adaptation for popular series wound up, I think quite appropriately, on the cutting room floor – but the "Radial Maps and Mike Mignola's Hellboy" bit does, I think, offer some good models for ways to think about modeling transmedia applications and then capitalizing off of those models.

Which brings me to the trouble. I'm waiting to hear back from one of my committee members so I can incorporate his edits into what I give the others – but if he comes back saying something like "you need another 15 pages' worth of thinking here in Section 3," I'm sunk. Because, as I noted last week, I have hit the Wall. Were I a cartoon character my face would be smushed flat as a pancake, my body would be flattened out and I would be wobbling around like a piece of paper trying to stay upright as I teetered about on 2-D feet. I'm sure I'll have more to say about transmedia storytelling later, but right now my conceptual tank is empty. I remember feeling this way after wriitng my research paper for C3, that all my thoughts on the subject have been wrung out of me, leaving me struggling to reinflate like a crushed stress toy. I'm hoping up to Heaven that I don't hear "Fifteen more pages," because if I do, my inevitable response will be, "Uh, I got nothin'..."

I suppose I should clarify – part of the trouble isn't that I have nothing, it's that what I have to say is way outside the scope of this document at this point. If I were to turn the THESIS into a book (which is, admittedly, still part of my grand scheme), then my next steps will be to further develop my thinking about what goes into a transmedia franchise and in what order. I'll probably interview creators working in each media type (as well as a couple working across media types) and find out what they've found the strengths and weaknesses of each media type to be. I'd talk about how those strengths and weaknesses might help determine what type of media to use when first starting a transmedia franchise (books are cheaper, movies have bigger audiences, television is omnipresent, games are interactive, etc.). I'd create more graphs. Basically, I'd keep going the way I'm going, but I still think all of this complexity is book-level stuff, or doctorate-level stuff, not Master's-level stuff. There's plenty yet to do, but I don't have the juice to do it now and this isn't the right time for it. Scope, people – it's all a matter of scope.

So, yeah. I've been trying to heal my brain with judicious amounts of other media. Laura and I went to see the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie this weekend and I picked up the Xbox 360 TMNT game while I was at it. Both have left me saying, "Um... Cowabunga?" They were fun, don't get me wrong, but maybe not as much fun as I'd hoped. The game is a real quandary – you can tell that the dev team spent most of their energy on the sets and movements, which results in a game that focuses less on ninja combat and more on ninja acrobatics. I've gotta say, this is extremely cool, up to a point. The battle scenes are repetitive, there have only got to be about a dozen different bad-guy models in the game, it's tricky as crud to get the tag-team function working in combat, and the biggest sin is that it's a freaking one-player Turtles game. What the heck? I haven't seen a one-player Turtles game since the original 8-bit NES game, which, if I remember correctly, was freaking impossible. The 360 game doesn't have that problem, at least – for the most part, it's a cakewalk. This is probably due to its being targeted at kids, but it has the nice side effect of being largely relaxing. It's fun to take your Turtle out for a run around New York when you can run up the sides of buildings, leap from building to building, and even occasionally engage in bouts of nunchuk-assisted flight. The low difficulty level also means crazy Xbox Achievements – I feel kind of guilty for using such an easy game to catapult my Gamerscore, but hey, I pretty much doubled it in less than 12 hours. Nice! (I've added my Gamertag info to my elsewhere page for the interested.)

Oh, and when I haven't been playing TMNT, I've been playing Pinball FX from the Xbox Live Arcade. Lots and lots and lots of Pinball FX. This may very well be the best virtual pinball game I've ever played. Seriously. It's so cool my trigger fingers are threatening to blister. I've already thoroughly spanked Edery; any other takers?

(Time passes...)

I think, all things considered, the THESIS will be fine. Since I started drafting this post around 8:30 AM, almost 14 hours ago, I've crafted some more graphics, rewrote a good portion of it, and polished up a ton of typos. I still have some time left, and I'm still waiting to hear back from William... All in all, though, I think the document is pretty solid. It's a good examination of the theoretical underpinnings that enable transmedia storytelling to exist, as well as a solid bit of idea-generation for where it can go from here (and how it can be capitalized upon).

Now, whether or not Henry and William think the same way remains to be seen... *gulp*


Good going... on the TMNT that is. :-)

I think your thesis will be approved with little additional fuss; the committee members don't need to agree with each other, they just need to agree that you have done Master's level work... which is apparent to everyone I think.

Good luck finishing up!

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