5Rs of Mobile in Transmedia Storytelling

When considering mobile as platform for transmedia storytelling, it's useful to imagine it as a window into the imagination. The mobile device provides an opportunity to reinterpret the real world and make the mundane part of a storyworld and vice versa, take a virtual world and overlay it onto the real world.

This conceptual thinking helps the storyteller generate creative ideas without getting bogged down in the actual implementation (which can be considered later).

At Transmedia Storyteller Ltd, when we're thinking of how mobile might be used we consider these five primary functions: Read, Reveal, Record, Receive and React.


In read mode, the device is used to decode surrounding information. This could be a QR code into a URL, an image into an augmented reality overlay or a GPS coordinate into a soundscape. The device is being use to translate cues into a story event.


In reveal mode, the device is transmitting information about the individual or the surroundings. For example, an active story could learn about the person's location, their velocity or acceleration, their temperature, their mood maybe. Or, knowing the location, the device might transmit some contextual information such as local weather conditions, nearest ATM and so on.


In record mode, the device is used as a  personal journal to remember clues or characters discovered. Of course recording might happen automatically with the device logging places visited and quests completed. It's being used as a memory aid.


In receive mode, personalized or community content is delivered to the device by the active story. This could be badges and other rewards such as exclusive content or promotional offers. It might be purchases.


In react mode, the device owner manually signals intentions and desires by interacting with prompts.

Bringing it all Together

By isolating the functions of the mobile device in this way, the transmedia storyteller can concentrate on the audience experience and the storytelling. Of course the actual implementation, usability, motivation etc. all need to be considered too but this is a good start to generate ideas.


Robert Pratten