The best part about having written a book (the writing of the book, with all its ups and downs and twists and turns is, and forever will be, my favorite part) is that I get to chat with some really cool people. This new interview with me was conducted by Peter Gutierrez, who found out about Comics for Film, Games, and Animation: Using Comics to Construct Your Transmedia Storyworld through the magic combo of Twitter and Tumblr. Peter is a former middle school educator who now writes the excellent Connect the Pop blog for The School Library Journal (among other things) and presented me with some fantastic questions that made me consider a different view of ComicStoryworld than I had initially envisioned it, covering topics like the usage of comics in education and the comparisons between the uproar surrounding video games today and the witch hunts of Frederic Wertham and his brow-beating, chest thumping, anti-comic campaign that decimated the medium in the middle ’50s.
The interview appeared in two parts on February 6 and 7. Here is an excerpt from Part One, Teaching Transmedia with Comics: A Conversation with Tyler Weaver:
On Teaching Transmedia In Schools:
As far as teaching the “transmedia stuff,” there are tremendous benefits to be had. It can foster a better understanding of how stories are told today. It can teach kids to think critically about how they consume entertainment. Not only that, but by teaching transmedia storytelling, the teacher exposes students to the combinatorial nature of transmedia, showing how deeper meaning can be mined through the combination of media and divergent paths. Video games follow this combinatorial and divergent path methodology. Look at Bioshock. There’s the main story of Jack, of Andrew Ryan, and of the various characters that populate the world of Rapture, but if you pick up tape players/recorders, you can hear the history of Rapture via different inhabitants and points of view and find deeper meaning in your adventures. It’s a medium within a medium representing divergent paths from the main narrative. The Internet is built of divergent paths: do you read an entire article on Wikipedia or do you click on links as you go, going deeper into the main story? Everybody does it differently.
Continue reading Teaching Transmedia with Comics: A Conversation with Tyler Weaver at School Library Journal
In Part Two, Transmedia in School and Libraries: Thoughts and Strategies from Tyler Weaver, Peter and I discussed the incorporation of transmedia studies into a library setting and allowing kids to create games as part of a school project. We also looked at the dismissal of video games as “too violent:”
On Creating Games in Schools:
As far as students developing their own games in school projects, I completely understand and agree with saying to a kid, “Okay, maybe you shouldn’t make something so violent.” My issue is that when that statement is used as an excuse it labels an entire storytelling medium, one with tremendous educational and social benefits, as the medium of violence and ne’er-do-wells. How could the question be used to focus on the particular story the student wants to tell? What if we went one step further and asked this hypothetical kid, “Okay, instead of using a rocket launcher to blast zombies to bits, what else can we pull out of it? What’s another way to tell this story with a medium you love?” It’s the idea that profanity is the last refuge of the moronic. How can you tell a story in a game and have it be school-appropriate, while simultaneously making the student think about the implications of what they enjoy playing? Make it a creative challenge.
Continue reading Transmedia in School and Libraries: Thoughts and Strategies from Tyler Weaver at School Library Journal.
Many thanks to Peter for letting me wax philosophic on a multitude of topics, and for his extremely kind words about ComicStoryworld!