Dynamics, Determinability and Configurative Audience Involvement: The TV Drama Series in the Era of Social Media
Fleet, M. (2015). Dynamics, Determinability and Configurative Audience Involvement: The TV Drama Series in the Era of Social Media (Thesis, Master of Media and Creative Technologies (MMCT)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10289/9500
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/9500
The dramatic television series, like many other mediums, has traditionally adhered to a consistent set of text variables over it’s development as a form of media. These variables are Dynamics, Determinability, Transiency, Perspective, Access, Linking and User Function, and television series has typically maintained a fixed quality for each of these categories. However, with the era of social media, the potential for these variables to open up arises, and it is possible that the way we view a dramatic television series as a text is no longer governed by these guidelines as strictly as it once was. Social media has already been utilised by the television industry in regards to marketing or establishing fan-bases, but it’s rarely been employed in such a way that it can reshape how we view and analyse television.While there are several different ways that this potential can be explored from a narrative perspective, many of these present very clear drawbacks to utilising them from a production standpoint. While a choose-your-own-adventure type television series where the audience votes on decisions would certainly shake up these variables a great deal, it also represents a huge increase in production costs and effort, as splitting paths result in a lot of unused or unaired footage.The goal is to find a concept that shakes up the traditional television format with its integration of social media, that doesn’t result in a huge shift in production costs. One concept that potentially achieves this was the idea that the actual content of the television series remains fixed, while the order of the episodes shifts around depending on audience interaction and feedback via social media. This represents an extremely interesting narrative concept, where the story has to make sense regardless of the order the episodes are viewed in, while still shifting the narrative structure enough to be interesting for audiences.Based on this concept, Kleptoes is born. Kleptoes is a dramatic serialized television series focused around a group of friends who develop a taste for burglary after seeking revenge for a robbery of their own house. Kleptoes starts and finishes with a traditional pilot episode and finale episode, while each episode in between focuses on a different character across the same timeline. These episodes can be viewed in any order and make sense, as we see what each character has been up to in the time span between pilot and finale, often seeing the same scene from different perspectives with different details revealed or hidden.Not just an interesting and innovative format for storytelling, this concept also succeeds in reworking some of the earlier variables to separate itself from the traditional manner of viewing television as a text. Dynamics, Determinability andUser Function in particular are all impacted greatly by this integration of social media, and prove that the way we view the television series as a text can be reshaped greatly by incorporating digital media in it’s development.
University of Waikato
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