Conference Presentation: Nostalgia, Transmedia Storytelling, and Kingdom Hearts

There are few stories I enjoy more in the world than the Kingdom Hearts franchise. The games have always been fun, the stories have grown increasingly complex, and I really appreciate how much Square Enix and Disney mess with fans by seemingly releasing each game on a new video game system (the games have now been released on PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and iOS/Android). When Square Enix and Disney released Kingdom Hearts 2.8 earlier this year, I was struck by the strangeness of releasing a feature length film on a PlayStation 4 disc. In my paper, “Selling Nostalgia: Selling Nostalgia: Transmedia Storytelling in Video Game-Inspired Films,” I theorize that this distribution model nostalgically connects the movie and video game to consumers both temporally and spatially (sensorially) through this release method. This distribution model both encourages consumption of the film and provides an alternate release format for Square Enix to fund their films, which have historically struggled financially. This paper was recently accepted to the game studies division of the Popular Culture Association’s National Conference in Indianapolis March 2018. Continue reading “Conference Presentation: Nostalgia, Transmedia Storytelling, and Kingdom Hearts”

Service Update: Graduate Student Senate

I volunteered to represent the graduate students from the school of journalism and mass communication in the University of Iowa’s Graduate Student Senate. As a senator, I have two main responsibilities. First, I attend monthly meetings that detail a variety of institutional occurrences that affect graduate students. Second, I am required to serve on a committee within the Graduate Student Senate. I will be working with the Graduate Student Teaching committee. Previous iterations of the committee found that grad students felt undertrained before entering the classroom for the first time, so our goal is to develop a program aimed to help graduate teaching assistants get more training for their teaching. While there are many wonderful services at the University of Iowa that offer training for faculty, grad students, and more, we’re aiming to supplement these services by working to cater toward the schedules of grad students.

New Music: Team Tremolo – Intruder

Before moving to Iowa City, my good friend William Erickson asked me to play bass in a new alternative/stoner/shoegaze band called Team Tremolo. Although the project originally began as Will’s bedroom recording project, he formed a band to expand the songs and to perform live. Before moving, I played a few shows with them and helped write/arrange the band’s first five or six songs. A few of the songs I assisted in writing were recorded by the current members of Team Tremolo last spring for their first EP. The culmination of these efforts, “Intruder,” is now available to download via Air House Records and available on cassette via This Ain’t Heaven Recording.

I’m really proud of Will’s work on this album. It’s one of my favorite pieces of music released in Wichita, and I’m thankful to have been a part of the songwriting process for “Slipping the Noose” and “Worship You.” I’m also extremely thankful that Team Tremolo’s current bass player Caleb Drummond honored my parts and performed them so well on the recordings.

Conference Presentation: Identity and Labels in Grandfamilies

Dr. Jessica Freeman and I were awarded top paper in the Aging and Communication division of the National Communication Association. We will be presenting our paper, “Grandma or Mommy: Familial Labeling as Constructs of Identity in Grandfamilies,” in November at the NCA National Convention in Dallas, TX.  Continue reading “Conference Presentation: Identity and Labels in Grandfamilies”

Conference Presentation: Transmedia Storytelling and Niche Markets

As part of my ongoing research on Netflix, I wrote a paper looking at the relationship between Netflix’s transmedia shows and marketing to niche audiences. My paper, “Appealing to Niche Markets: A Typology of Transmedia Storytelling for Digital Television” was accepted to the 2017 Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication conference in Chicago August 9-12. After developing the paper a little more after the conference, I will be submitting the paper for publication. I’ll have a summary of the major points of the article posted to my site after publication. For now, here’s the abstract:

Traditional television networks have a limited amount of time available to broadcast content, so programming decisions are based on maximizing potential market reach instead of in appealing to small markets. Digital television’s broadcast time is solely limited by server space and regulation of broadband data transference, so their technological infrastructure affords more opportunities to appeal to smaller markets. These affordances can be seen through the types of programming digital television services produce. This paper proposes a typology of transmedia stories used by digital television services like Netflix and Hulu to appeal to niche markets to grow their business. Five types of transmedia stories were theorized to appeal to varying levels of niche markets: serialized continuations, augmented continuations, world building universes, cross-platform personalities, and adaptations. This typology provides a better understanding of the production practices of digital television networks, an area of research that has received little attention to date.

Edit: And here’s the poster.

Service Update: President of Journalism and Mass Communication Graduate Student Association

The journalism and mass communication graduate students at the University of Iowa voted for me to be the president of the our graduate student association beginning fall 2017. The job holds a variety of responsibilities including representing graduate student concerns to the faculty, planning events, and organizing grad student visits with guest scholars. I’m looking forward to this opportunity to work with the grad students and the faculty.