Why Meta-story?

An accelerating rate of change
Anyone living in a reasonably developed corner of our modern world is already well aware of the explosion of media formats that has been enabled by the steep angle of the technological change chart these days. 
Technological change is almost straight up

Hotter competition = looking for answers
This media explosion means that there are a bewildering number of choices for entertainment that are all competing for the audience’s attention.  Modern Intellectual property owners and entertainment companies are rapidly learning to put their narratives out in as many of these formats as possible to gain increased contact with the audience and increased mindshare. 

Invariably, this leads to multiple creative groups all developing different edges of the Intellectual property relatively independently.

This multi-media story presence is called “Trans-media”, a definition and body of research brilliantly explored and defined by its originator Henry Jenkins. 

“Transmedia storytelling represents a process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience.”
(Quote excerpted from Henry Jenkin’s site “confessions of an ACA-Fan” at:

Just as trans-media is the evolution of how stories are being expressed and how audiences are experiencing those stories, Meta-story is the evolution of the craft of story creation and shaping in order to prepare those stories and narratives for Trans-media distribution.

Creation is not a team sport!
Any form of storytelling is informed by the long understood and timeless craft of shaping narratives for humans.  Its edges are excitingly alive and evolving because of the opportunities and differences that each of the emerging media represent.  The great truth about the act of creation of the biggest of commercial myths is that it is not a team sport! There are exceptions to be found in "writers rooms" for certain TV shows but these are rooms of highly skilled creatives under the direction of a lead writer.  

Multiple teams of people brainstorming, looking at statistics, doing gap analysis, or pursuing a consensus process have never made any of the grand narratives of our age, or of all time. We must recognize that creating great stories is extremely hard and very rare and that adding many more people and teams to the process virtually assures lessening the chances of achieving that goal. (the same is not true for production where teams work quite well)

So how do we continue to find creator-driven excellence in the midst of narratives exploding across different media and different teams?  Is it even possible for there to be a singular and cohesive quality, to the story when the world of entertainment seems to be quickly filling up with large consulting firms and new internal corporate structures that by their very nature want to descend on a seminal story to dissect and stretch it for greater commercial success?

Meta-story, the critical wellspring for trans-media
Herein lies the reason for and the importance of, Meta-story!  Creators and rich vision must remain at the fountainhead of this wonderfully expanded new relationship with the audience. 

By informing creators and Intellectual property owners with the deep and creative knowledge about how to craft narrative for the single seamless canvas that is the combined media landscape, we can enable true creator-driven vision while expanding our greatest stories to be as broad as possible.  With a true Meta-story in place, other media and creative teams have clarity and expanded abilities in shaping the narrative for their media.  As the creator or I.P. holder, a Meta-story gives you maximum ability to prevent your narrative from becoming confusing, diluted and ineffectual in its Trans-media expansion.

“Stories are like software.  If you don’t craft them to express well on their different platforms it’s likely they won’t perform well there, if at all.”

Only in this way do we have our best chance at finding the elusive and difficult to achieve singularity of “a big story” which is exactly what Trans-media requires to work well (see post on why its called Meta-story).  Even more important, we are still telling stories to human beings and our relationship with our narratives and our storytellers is extraordinarily important to our children, our societies and our world.

Meta-story development is the living leading edge of the craft of building excellent narrative in a Trans-media environment.