In recent years a growing amount of study has focused on imaginary worlds, franchised entertainment, adaptation between media, comparisons between media, transnarrative characters, narratives reaching across multiple venues, business practices regarding ownership of multiple media, and so forth, all of which span more than a single medium and which will find a home in the proposed Transmedia Studies Special Interest Group.
The Society for Cinema and Media Studies has been involved in the presentation of transmedia scholarship long before “Media” was added to the Society’s name in 2003, and one can already find multiple panels at every conference dedicated to transmedial issues and ideas. Transmedia Studies is unique among the various branches of media studies in that it examines such things as imaginary worlds and franchises which extend beyond individual media, narratives, and even authors. While the media industry SIG may consider the industrial side of transmedia issues, this SIG would examine the crucial questions and issues pertaining to content analysis, which lie at the heart of the transmedia phenomenon. World structures and experiences, overarching meta-narratives spanning decades and hundreds of individual stories, long-running characters, and interwoven infrastructures in which all of these are embedded are subjects that are only beginning to be studied in depth, and this SIG would help coalesce a community of scholars whose collaboration will accelerate the much-needed work in this area of study.
The study of transmedia also renews the study of individual media, by revealing similarities, differences, and connections between them, even as the distinctions between them are becoming blurred by technological convergence. Thus the time is ripe for a separate Special Interest Group within SCMS, and there are now more than enough people to comprise such a group; enthusiasm for the SIG is such that without even putting out a general call, we already have much more than the 30 charter member minimum of SCMS members needed to start a SIG (see the list that follows). At present, no SIG can adequately cover the issues and topics mentioned above, due to the particular focus of each; while we certainly will have shared interested with each of them, many issues are still falling through the cracks (or rather, bridging them), and there is a need for a separate scholarly interest group for the study of transmedia.
As the premiere society for media studies professionals on the international scene, the Society for Cinema and Media Studies should play a central role in the bringing together of the various areas of media scholarship, and facilitating their development and interaction between them, which is the very focus of transmedia scholarship. We envision the mission of the Transmedia Studies Interest Group as the furthering of this aim, through the following goals and objectives:
- To provide a forum in which transmedia scholars can discuss their work, organize panels and workshops for each year’s conference, and work together to accomplish the goals and objectives of the group;
- To foster awareness of transmedia studies issues which reach across various sub-disciplines of media studies, and to encourage new research and scholarship resulting from the bridging of these areas;
To organize and schedule a yearly meeting at the SCMS conference where we can gather to formulate more specific programs and plans;
- To work with the Executive Committee and each year’s Conference Program Committee as a source of transmedia-related expertise;
- To encourage international membership and participation in SCMS for video game scholars in other countries and from other societies dealing with transmedia-related issues and topics;
- To support Cinema Journal and other publications and to encourage their inclusion of transmedia-related scholarship;
- To take on special projects, such as specially-designated panels, joint conferences, plenary participation, or workshops;
- To set up a Transmedia Studies website, which can eventually serve as a resource for transmedia scholars;
- To explore the definition of transmedia studies itself as a field, and to expand its relationship with other media and areas of media studies;
- To acknowledge and recognize the important work that is being done in our field, and to spread awareness to other disciplines and areas; to work towards establishing relationships with media industry personnel, critics, reviewers, and policy groups.
Article I. Name. The name of this scholarly interest group shall be the Transmedia Studies Scholarly Interest Group, hereinafter TSSIG.
Article II. Purpose. The purpose of the group shall be to provide a forum for transmedia researchers and scholars around the world and to help them exchange their work and ideas across disciplinary lines and institutional locations.
Article III. Membership. Membership shall be open to scholars, students, and other persons interested in the study of transmedia. The members making up the TSSIG must be Members of the Society of Cinema and Media Studies who are in good standing.
Article IV. Officers. The TSSIG shall elect two (2) of its members to serve as Co-Chairs for staggered terms of three (3) years each. In the event of the disqualification of a member of the TSSIG, the members of the scholarly interest group may appoint another individual to replace the disqualified member, subject to the approval of the Board of Directors.
Article V. Elections. No member of the TSSIG may vote by proxy. Where alternates have been appointed, an alternate may vote in the absence of the member for whom he or she has been designated as an alternate. The TSSIG shall not have the power or authority to (i) amend the Articles of Incorporation of the Society, (ii) adopt an agreement of merger or consolidation, (iii) recommend to the Members the sale, lease, or exchange of any of the Society’s property and assets, (iv) recommend to the Members a dissolution of the Society, a revocation of a dissolution, or a cessation of the business of the Society, (v) amend the Bylaws of the Society, or (vi) fill vacancies in the Board of Directors.
Article VI. E-Mail Deliberations and Voting. When issues are submitted to the members of the TSSIG for a vote via e-mail, the members shall have seven (7) business days to respond. The subject line of the e-mail shall contain the word "vote" to alert the members to the urgency of a response. The same quorum and voting requirements contained in Article V and VI shall apply to an e-mail vote by the members of the TSSIG.
Article VII. Consent in Lieu of Meeting. Action required or permitted to be taken pursuant to authorization voted at a meeting of the TSSIG, may be taken without a meeting if, before or after the action, all members consent thereto in writing. The consent has the same effect as a vote of the members for all purposes. The written consents shall be filed with the minutes of the proceedings.
Article VIII. Participation in Meeting by Telephone. A member may participate in a meeting by means of conference telephone or similar communications equipment by means of which all persons participating in the meeting can communicate with each other. Participation in a meeting pursuant to this Article constitutes presence in person at the meeting.
Article IX. Waiver of Notice. Attendance at or participation at a meeting constitutes a waiver of notice of the meeting, unless the member at the beginning of the meeting, or upon his/her arrival, objects to the meeting or the transaction of business at the meeting and does not thereafter vote for or assent to any action taken at the meeting.
Mark J. P. Wolf