Yesterday, Deadline Hollywood broke the news that the Producers Guild of America would be adding “Transmedia Producer” to the PGA’s Producer Code of Credits. This Code of Credits is used to ensure production credits are accurate and precise, and to resolve credit disputes. According to Nikki Finke, this unprecedented decision marks the first time the PGA has ratified a new credit in the guild’s history.
According to the new Transmedia Producer Credit Guidelines, a Transmedia Narrative project or franchise:
must consist of three (or more) narrative storylines existing within the same fictional universe on any of the following platforms: Film, Television, Short Film, Broadband, Publishing, Comics, Animation, Mobile, Special Venues, DVD/Blu-ray/CD-ROM, Narrative Commercial and Marketing rollouts, and other technologies that may or may not currently exist. These narrative extensions are NOT the same as repurposing material from one platform to be cut or repurposed to different platforms.
The Transmedia Producer credit goes to the people responsible for a significant portion of the project’s development, planning and/or maintenance, including fostering audience interaction with the canonical narrative. PGA President Marshall Herskovitz explained the necessity of the new credit, noting that “as technology evolves, it’s no longer adequate to think of a project as simply a television show or a movie; we now understand that the audience will want to experience that content across several platforms.”
Reactions to this news have been positive on the whole, although many in the alternate reality gaming and transmedia space see it as being a step in the right direction. Christy Dena expressed concern about the “minimum of three (or more) narrative storylines” requirement might be too limiting, and that the definition is skewed towards franchises. Steve Peters informed NewTeeVee that he shares Dena’s concerns about the focus on franchises “as opposed to ARG or transmedia entertainment experiences in the classic sense.” Andrea Phillips maps out this distinction in her recent post on defining transmedia.
Perhaps the most heartening aspect of this process is the responsiveness on the part of the PGA to criticism. PGA Director of Communications Chris Green explained that the omission of video games from the list of Transmedia Narrative elements was an “oversight that will be amended shortly,” and admitted that transmedia producers are increasingly developing stories “native” to the transmedia space. This openness to change goes a long way towards ensuring that this step in the right direction is not viewed as a final destination.
The new Transmedia Producer credit will be highlighted at the second annual Produced By Conference, taking place at 20th Century Fox Studios from June 4-6, in a session entitled “The New Paradigm: Transmedia Storytelling.” Starlight Runner CEO Jeff Gomez, who played a pivotal role in making this new credit a reality, will be moderating the session.