As a fiction universe builder and transmedia storyteller Jeff Gomez’ work has focused on the study and innovation of story, transmedia storytelling, and the expression of new narrative models.
Recently, Gomez has declared that it is time reexamine the popular dedication to the narrative model that mythologist Joseph Campbell calls "the Hero’s Journey,” which is pointed to by many as the prototype for nearly every popular story from Gilgamesh to Star Wars. According to Gomez, contemporary readings of the Hero’s Journey focus on direct or “causal” conflict and therefore harkens to the human survival instinct that remains deeply planted in all of our minds: “We have a need, we brave the dangers of the world (most often through physical or psychological violence) to achieve that need, and we bring home the reward of fulfilling that need to a needy community.” However, according to Gomez, the rise of the internet, pervasive communication, and the participative nature of social media has profoundly impacted the Campbellian model: story, he says, no longer needs to be linear. It no longer requires the polarization of good and evil; the assertion of a singular rightness over wrong; the kind of violence and single-minded righteousness that gave the model such a “high masculine impulse,” as he calls it.
He is currently preparing and field-testing an alternative model, which he says moves away from savior or chosen one tropes, and applies “aperspectivist thinking to resolve more systemic challenges.” He calls this new modality Collective Journey, and cites works such as Game of Thrones and movements like #NeverAgainMSD as examples of the model in action.
Jeff Gomez is CEO of New York production studio Starlight Runner. From a childhood steeped in role playing and video games, he published Gateways magazine in the 1980s, where he speculated about how fictional worlds could be tied together into immersive universes across different media. In the ‘90s, Jeff tested his theories with proto-transmedia efforts like Turok, Dinosaur Hunter, which manifested out of Acclaim Entertainment as comic books, video games, and action figures. He scored a second hit after adapting his Dungeons & Dragons campaign into the world of Magic: The Gathering, generating top-selling comic books, video games, and trading cards. In the ‘00s, he dubbed his multi-platform story work “trans-media,” but dropped the hyphen after he learned the term was being used by MIT Professor Henry Jenkins to describe exactly the kind of storytelling technique he’d been using.
His company, Starlight Runner, is best known for developing franchise “Mythology” books, clarifying and expanding upon all aspects of some of the best-known entertainment properties, including Pirates of the Caribbean, Avatar, Halo, and Transformers. Starlight Runner has also applied transmedia storytelling techniques to big brands such as Coca-Cola and Goldfish, and more recently toward international peace building and sociopolitical change with an approach Jeff calls transmedia population activation. In all cases, Jeff is fond of saying, “It all starts with story.”
Starlight Runner Entertainment http://www.starlightrunner.com
The Rush - Shaw TV Interview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMv8VXzEchY
Forbes Magazine - Transmedia Will Shape the Future of Hollywood and Fortune 500 Firms https://www.forbes.com/sites/joeescobedo/2017/07/01/meet-the-man-behind-hollywood-and-fortune-500-firms-transmedia-success/#7645952933da
Grappling with the Collective Journey https://simonstaffans.com/2017/01/23/grappling-with-the-collective-journey/
10 Keys to Building a Successful Shared Universe Movie Franchise - Jeff Gomez https://medium.com/@Jeff_Gomez/10-keys-to-building-successful-shared-universe-movie-franchises-a9d983884ad3
Why is This Happening? A New Narrative Model Explains It by Jeff Gomez https://blog.collectivejourney.com/why-is-this-happening-d1287d5ee4ee
Jeff Gomez on the Collective Journey – How Do You Like It So Far? Podcast by Professor Henry Jenkins https://soundcloud.com/usc-annenberg-231821092/in-conversation-with-jeff-gomez
Gamification Europe: The Hero’s Journey is No Longer Serving Us – Seminar by Jeff Gomez https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBBm0we4sAU
TEDx Transmedia: Dare to Change - Jeff Gomez http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9SlVedmnw4