September 30, 2009

C3 '09-'10: An Introduction

With a new school year comes a new team. And now that Henry Jenkins' blog will be out of commission for a couple of weeks, I'm glad to announce that the C3 blog will be active once again!

My name is Alex Leavitt, and from here on out I'll represent the dedicated voice of the Convergence Culture Consortium team for the C3 blog. Sam Ford has taken up this role for the past few years, but I hope to keep up with his prior rigor and valuable insight to provide you, reader, with some (hopefully) interesting and intriguing thoughts, essays, links, and ideas. It will certainly be laborious, but as is common to say in Japan, ganbarimasu (I will do my best)!

I write in Japanese because part of my focus is on -- as geeky as it sounds -- Japanese popular culture, specifically Japanese animation (anime) and comics (manga). Before leaving college, I studied abroad in Kyoto, Japan for four months at Kyoto University through the Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies. And I graduated in May 2009 (only a few months ago; how nostalgic!) from Boston University with a degree in English Literature & Language and Japanese Literature & Language.

While I have a background in what might be considered comparative literature, this did not lead me to pursue comparative media studies. First, I came to find myself in a love affair with the Internet. I grew up with the Nintendo Gameboy, Saturday morning cartoons, and; I was trained in middle school as a professional singer and musician at the Boston Archdiocesan Choir School in Harvard Square; and I've even worked as a research assistant on the Digital Natives project at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, so it seems only natural that I discovered the Comparative Media Studies department in 2007, and I have been following the department's events and activities ever since. I even applied to the master's program in Comparative Media Studies last December; alas, two days later, admissions were closed.

Luckily -- and I am so thankful -- I am currently a research associate and assistant to Dr. Joshua Green here at the Convergence Culture Consortium, where I get to act as a "faux"- grad student by performing research for the consortium and department. And, now, contribute as much as possible to this blog.

Over the next year, I'll be writing about transmedia, spreadable content on the web, Internet culture, television, video games, subculture, popular media, and -- just as Sam has done with his favorite soap operas -- anime and manga. I hope that this blog will also come to be regarded as a valuable resource for an insider's view on what's happening with convergence culture in contemporary society. While the work of our team and consulting researchers will certainly be profiled, I will try to compose a fair amount of (personally) original insight, especially in relation to articles, books, and blogs that I am reading alongside Henry's two classes at USC (we miss him dearly): New Media Literacies and Transmedia Storytelling & Entertainment.

So here's to a new year and a new voice! If you would like to keep in touch or share some thoughts, I can also be reached at

September 29, 2009

District 9 (Part One): Can a Bench Be a Transmedia Extension?

Yesterday, Daniel wrote Part 1 of an article (International Development Enterprises India: Can a Mobile Cinema Truck be a Transmedia Extension?) relating his personal impressions and applications of a recent post written by Henry over at Confessions of an Aca-Fan. Henry provides a comprehensive introduction to the wildly-successful marketing strategy conceived by the production staff of Neill Blomkamp's recent film, District 9. Benches, bus stops, and phone booths plastered in "propaganda" -- ultimately a marketing scheme for the film -- were scattered throughout major U.S. cities this summer before the release of the movie and seemed to impress (or confuse) enough people into buying a movie ticket. In case you didn't get the chance to pop over to Henry's blog to peruse the article, we've reproduced it in full after the jump (you can also visit Henry's blog to read Part 2).

Continue reading "District 9 (Part One): Can a Bench Be a Transmedia Extension?" »

September 28, 2009

International Development Enterprises India: Can a Mobile Cinema Truck Be a Transmedia Extension? (Part 1 of 2)

So, can a park bench be a transmedia extension? I would vote yes -- at least in this case. It may be a small piece of a larger system of information about the film but it moves beyond simple branding and already situates us emotionally and intellectually inside the fiction.
Prof. Henry Jenkins, on District 9 and transmedia
If people see a picture of mine and then sit down and talk about it for 15 minutes, that is a very fine reward, I think. That's good enough for me.
Billy Wilder, Film Director (Sunset Boulevard & Double Indemnity)

Building on Prof. Jenkins recent entry on District 9 and transmedia in the first week of the inaugural offering of his Transmedia Storytelling & Entertainment class at USC (full text available here), his discussion reminds me that it is a false assumption that the opportunity to 'situate' the audience and fan community "emotionally and intellectually inside the fiction" always occurs prior to the release of a film or television show.

Continue reading "International Development Enterprises India: Can a Mobile Cinema Truck Be a Transmedia Extension? (Part 1 of 2)" »

September 22, 2009

Transmedia Storytelling and Entertainment: A Syllabus

In anticipation of Futures of Entertainment 4, which will focus on transmedia, we at C3 wanted to share the syllabus for Henry's Transmedia course at USC for anyone who wants to brush up on their reading.

The readings and speakers heavily feature C3 alum and affiliates, as well as previous FOE presenters. So those not fortunate enough to catch Henry's class will have a chance to meet with some of the featured thinkers at FOE4.

The following post originally appeared at on August 11th, but it's reposted in its entirety below for anyone who might have missed it.

Continue reading "Transmedia Storytelling and Entertainment: A Syllabus" »

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