Pinterest premieres transmedia storytelling experiment

Beat Girl is part graphic novel, part TV show, and all on Pinterest.


Lauren Rae Orsini


Published Jun 26, 2012   Updated Jun 2, 2021, 3:18 pm CDT

Pinterest has already changed the way marketers think about commerce.

But it may also be ushering in a new form of storytelling.

Transmedia company BeActive is using Pinterest to share one work of fiction through a combination of episodic videos, audio snippets, and visual pins.

Inspired by Jasmina Kallay’s novel of the same name, Beat Girl is a Pinterest profile that tells the story of fictional DJ Heather Jennings in a method that’s not quite TV show, not quite in-person character sketch, and not quite graphic novel. With 160 pins and counting, viewers can catch new glimpses of Jennings’ life added daily. The interactive drama is presented as a prequel to an upcoming multi-platform video series.

While the finished product may be a genre of entertainment never seen before, BeActive CEO Nuno Bernardo says it’s rooted in a much older art form.

“We wanted to bring back the popular Photonovels of the ‘60s to the new digital generation,” he said in a statement. “The tools and functionalities introduced by Pinterest allowed us to release the content the way we envisioned. As a world’s first we expect that in the future more and more stories will be told on this network using photos and still images”.

Bernardo told the Daily Dot that although Beat Girl is based on a novel, he found it to be a story uniquely suited for multiple platforms.

“Although we have a novel based on the life of the character, we found that Heather’s journey was full of nice images and sounds, from her beginnings in the world of classical music to her later solace in the world of underground raves,” he said. “It was very difficult to use words to describe some of the experiences Heather goes through, so we decided to focus on a non-linear visual storytelling process.”

The experiment has proved to be a popular one—Bernardo said Beat Girl pins have been repinned more than 5,000 times. He told the Daily Dot that soon other pinners will have the chance to become even more immersed in the story through collaborative boards.

“Our next step is to invite fans also to be part of the experience and add photos and other material to the Beat Girl boards and make it more a community based experience,” he said.

Bernardo said that while he has only used Pinterest from a professional standpoint, he thinks the quickly growing platform is far from a fad. His reasoning is the same as for his Beat Girl experiment—Pinterest is something that deftly combines the old and the new.

“I expect that Pinterest will stick because it focus on our natural impulse to look at and share photos,” he said. “It takes the old concept of scrapbooking and turns it into a digital and social experience.”

Photo via Pinterest

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*First Published: Jun 26, 2012, 12:42 pm CDT