How To Develop A Super Story Masterplan by Houston Howard

Kyle Moretti, LA Film School Student: When writing a story do you think it’s important to write the story around a transmedia structure or to extend it to transmedia after you have already developed the story?

Houston Howard, Transmedia Author/Speaker: So when you are developing stories I think you have to understand that you have to execute this single story by itself no matter what other transmedia idea that you have.

I think the tendency can be…I get so focused on all the stories that I don’t execute any individual story the right way and that’s a mistake because you have to understand if your movie isn’t good, if your script isn’t good, nothing works. If your TV pilot good nothing works.

Now what I would say is I’m a fan of developing the transmedia plan first and understanding how all the stories interplay and understanding your story world and understand where the opportunities are and then once you have that sort of structure and that architecture at play and you understand what part of the puzzle this individual story is, then what you do is set that aside, you set all that aside and then you’ve just got to dive in and make sure you write an awesome script and an awesome pilot and execute that thing. 

But when you’re writing it you will naturally be building in new opportunities because you’ll understand how this interplays with the other stories, you’ll understand more about your story world and naturally you’re going to start lacing things in that if you hadn’t done that work first you wouldn’t have which means then if you do all of the transmedia opportunities after the fact one or two things are going to happen is you’re probably going to say Oh I need to go rewrite my script to be able to accommodate for all of these things. But then it may not feel natural or organic. Or you are just going to say I’m going to leave it as it is and then it feels disconnected and you are not going to get the experience that you want. It’s a balance. If you don’t develop it as you’re writing, I think you develop the broad plan from an IP perspective this is my roadmap. If I’m going to drive from LA to New York and I’m going to look at the map and I see my route that I’m going to take (this is the broad route that I’m going to take) and I map that and I understand where I am going, I understand how to get there but eventually I need to get in the car and I’m not going to be starting at the map the entire time I’m in the car and I’ll make minor adjustments as I’m in the car. I’ll get off at certain rest stops. I’ll maybe take a different road here but I still already understand the direction that I’m going. The problem is I think most people jump in the car and they don’t even have a destination. They just say I’m just going to drive. That just ends up being more work on the back end.

Personally I hate to…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).



Special thanks to The LA Film School for allowing us to film this video interview on their campus.

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