To date, the scholarship on transmedia storytelling has focused on analyzing existing properties or on establishing holistic approaches to the craft itself. Missing from the scholarship are deep considerations of the individual mechanics at work during the telling of a story across multiple media platforms. We examine state-of-the-art transmedia properties to identify how audience motivations are engineered to ensure that the audience transitions from one media platform to another. Complicated story transitions, or “bridges,” are an effect of the increased complexity of transmedia franchises, challenging the traditional monocentric “tentpole approach” with a broader polycentric approach. With a polycentric model, the complexity is managed not through tie-ins to one tentpole but as a mix of what are labeled here as storylines, storyworlds, and character bridges with varying levels of complexities in their relation to the traditional tentpole medium.

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