With technologies available today, the modern day storyteller can construct a complex world for their characters stretching across multiple platforms of media. This “transmedia storytelling” concept gives fans of franchises a rich view into media creator’s fictional worlds. Almost every media franchise today is trying to branch out so that they can be consumed in various ways, particularly with content online. Not immune from this trend is NBC’s hit comedy show Community, which features the hijinx of adult students at a community college. NBC has created a website for the show, www.greendalecommunitycollege.com, which appears almost identical to any community college and serves as a multi-purpose resource for fans of the show.
“Admissions” Tab gives the reader a closer feeling to the world with automatic acceptance to the fictitious community college.
The website is put together very well and someone who was sent a link to the website and not aware of the show could very easily believe they are looking at a website for a random community college, regardless of all the NBC plugs. The authors of the website constructed the website for the comedy series as authentically as possible to the layout of a legitimate college website for a reason. As Henry Jenkins states in his article Transmedia Storytelling 101, “The extension may add a greater sense of realism to the fiction as a whole.” The characters of the show feel more real to the fans, with both the administration and the main students on the show having their own online profiles. The website makes fans of the show feel like they are looking into the lives of real people, even though the characters are actors and the college is fictitious. The homepage of the site features an Events tab with events coordinating to the actual time of year such as, “Dean Pelton’s office has started a petition to support a St. Patrick’s Day school dance. If you’re interested in signing, please stop by his office.” The fact that the events of the community college are similar to what’s currently on the websites of hundreds of colleges across the country creates the illusion that the events of the show are actually going on somewhere.
Realistic events at the college correlating with current spot on the calendar.
The website www.greendalecommunitycollege.com is an excellent example of “hypertext fiction” which is said by Janet Murray to be, “… a set of documents of any kind (images, texts, charts, tables, video clips) connected to one another by links.”(55). The homepage of the site features as a hub for this hypertext fiction, which users can click on multiple tabs on the toolbar and be sent to various pieces of fiction for the show which serve to make the show more realistic and to promote the various characters. Janet Murray also states that “Stories written in hypertext generally have more than one entry point, many internal branches, and no clear ending.” (56). A user can read any of the various pages of the website and not feel like they’re missing out on anything. There is no start or end to the website, it simply features as a hub of hypertext fiction for the fans.
Murray, Janet Horowitz. “Harbingers of the Holodeck.” Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace. New York: Free, 1997. 53. Print.
Jenkins, Henry. “Transmedia Storytelling 101.” Confessions of an AcaFan. N.p., 22 Mar. 2007. Web. 27 Feb. 2014. <http://henryjenkins.org/2007/03/transmedia_storytelling_101.html>.