Jeff Gomez is considered one of the most successful transmedia producers in the world. As Managing Director of Starlight Runner Entertainment, he has worked with companies such as Walt Disney, Coca Cola and Sony Pictures Entertainment. During a seminar of the master programme”Digital Marketing” Prof Schwertel managed to switch the founder of the transmedia storytelling live into the seminar. The transmedia expert reported on his career, his work and his understanding of transmedia narrative as “the process of conveying messages, themes or story lines to a mass audience through the artistic and well-planned use of a multimedia platforms.”
The art of storytelling
Born in New York, he went back to the roots and described how Northern European fairy tales and the works of J. R. R. Tolkien fascinated him as a child. Later he discovered the Japanese tradition of storytelling and was enthusiastic about the differences in the narrative style. In the mid-1980s, Gomez finally wrote for a video game magazine, which again reminded him of the importance of character development in video games. “The best stories are always those in which we learn a lesson. We can learn through them what decisions have led to what consequences and apply them to our lives,” says Jeff Gomez.
The importance of listening
Today, however, media companies face other challenges. “The days of television and radio are finally over. This can also be seen from the fact that the living rooms are no longer the center of media consumption,” he explained. The aim today must be to develop good forms of transmedia narrative by listening closely to the clients: They always communicate a problem in conversation that needs to be solved.
The right rhythm
The success of a transmedia campaign also depends on the change between active and inactive phases. As in books, transmedia producers should plan for breaks in the narrative in order to avoid disenchanting the story for the audience: “A good narrative style can make a story last for several years, like in our work for James Cameron’s film “Avatar”. The story has worked on many media platforms, because we have highlighted a different aspect of the story in different media at different times,” explained Jeff Gomez.
Starting your career as a transmedia producer
At the Cologne Business School, transmedia storytelling and transmedia management are an important part of the curriculum of the “Digital Marketing” course. However, there are few experts in this field on a national and international level. In order to find an entrance into the industry, the students should acquire specialized knowledge and transport this to the outside world, as Jeff Gomez explained: “Today it is much easier to make potential employers aware of themselves. Create your own social media presence, use it to spread your knowledge and get in touch with producers”.