Transmedia isn’t just a buzzword, but an engaging and cost effective tactic employed by content creators to entice fans and keep them entertained and engaged between regularly scheduled programming. Or that’s at least one of the things transmedia can be if it’s done well. And Tina Cesa Ward hopes to do it well.
The executive producer, writer, and director of the hit web series Anyone But Me (which she made with Susan Miller and which recently aired its series finale after three seasons, 25 episodes and tens of millions of views) is launching a new unsettling character drama with a touch of humor. It’s called Guards of Dagmar, and is set in the supernatural and mysterious world of “a residency for the developmentally and intellectually disabled.”
Ward plans to do her best to recreate components of that world in ours using various social media tools and internet tricks (as advised by transmedia storytelling experts No Mimes Media). “With the transmedia elements for Guards of Dagmar, I want to create a world that fans can be a part of in between episodes,” Ward explained over email. “Because the story is so complex and there are so many mysteries to be uncovered I think it’s ripe for the transmedia story world.”
Here’s a more in-depth description of Guards of Dagmar so you can know what world the transmedia will bring to further fruition:
Tom has given up his dreams to be star chef and takes a job as a cafeteria cook in a residency for the developmentally and intellectually disabled. There he’s met by Daniel, a lifelong resident of Dagmar who witnessed the choking death of his friend during lunch time. Daniel is convinced monsters killed his friend and ever since then Daniel has stood guard during every lunch trying prevent the same fate from happening to anyone else.
When Daniel meets Tom, Daniel is convinced that new cook that says he can change the menu is actually a new Guard sent to Dagmar to help. And when Tom witnesses some unexplained events and the appearance of a mysterious woman, his skepticism about the monsters of Dagmar starts to turn to fear of the possibility Daniel is right.
Ward conceived of the above after she tried to answer the question, “What if people at these residences that society sometimes tends to forget and we essentially toss away are a lot more special than we realize?” And while transmedia will certainly add texture to her story, she’s employing the method with economics in mind.
“When producing a web series there are obvious budget and time restraints and there will be many pieces of the story that I’ll really want to cover but won’t be able to because of those restraints,” Ward noted. “I think working with transmedia gives producers on the web that opportunity to tell a much bigger story.”
Speaking of budgets, Ward is raising cash for her new project by way of a Kickstarter campaign with a twist. The first of (hopefully) many interactive elements will be released even before her project is fully funded. When Guards of Dagmar reaches 75% of its $31,000 goal, backers will receive the first major story point.
Check out the full pitch video below. If you’re a fan of Ward’s previous work or the individuals who acted in Ward’s previous work (Rachael Hip-Flores is in this one, too), be sure to contribute in order to see Guards of Dagmar come to be.