Artemis : foregrounding queer voices using transmedia storytelling

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This practice-led creative writing DCA investigates how screenwriters can develop transmedia entertainment experiences that provide inclusive representation for marginalised queer audiences whilst remaining appealing to the mainstream. Transmedia has been examined from many perspectives including creative, financial, organisational and cultural. This thesis advances discussions of transmedia in entertainment media from a screenwriting perspective by investigating the opportunities transmedia presents in dissolving the long-established barriers between mainstream and niche audiences. The thesis generates a transmedia project that attempts to appeal to both marginalised queer audiences and mainstream audiences by working within popular genres and using participatory and collaborative storytelling experiences, to foreground the queer voice. It analyses four main areas of intersection: gender and sexuality in entertainment media and the marginalisation of queer identity; transmedia practice and participatory culture in an experience economy; audience engagement and community formation in online networked spaces; and storytelling and world-building practices in transmedia. The thesis is divided into two parts – the creative component and the exegesis. The creative component includes a storyworld bible, screenplay, and interactive online and game outlines. The exegesis contains seven chapters, each examining the research question: How can queer transmedia storytellers create entertainment experiences for young adult audiences that stay true to the needs of the marginalised queer community, yet remain attractive to the wider mainstream audience? This creative practice-led research project can be seen to be making an original contribution to knowledge in that it has produced an original feature film screenplay and extended it into a transmedia entertainment experience by linking it to an alternate reality game and an interactive web experience that foregrounds queer identities rather than marginalising them. It addresses the lack of research in transmedia theory and practice that looks at the representation of queer identity by providing new knowledge of how transmedia can be used to invite both marginalised queer audiences and wider mainstream audiences to participate in shared entertainment experiences.
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