The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce won an Academy Award, but it began as a book. It makes perfect sense that a book about a lifelong love affair with books would begin as a book. And Morris Lessmore is based on a real man, William Morris, a lover of books if ever there was one. (Bill Morris hired me right out of college, so I got to witness this firsthand.)
But Bill Joyce told me in an interview that after he’d written the book, and before he’d completed the artwork, his retina detached, and he couldn’t see well enough to finish painting the book. At around that same time, he founded Moonbot studios, and they decided to make a short film based on Morris’s story.
|Miniatures from the Movie|
But in the book, there’s a beautiful scene in which the books that Morris has cared for surround him, when he's "stooped and crinkly," and read themselves to him. It’s a scene that only appears in the book, and of all the means of experiencing his story, it’s the scene that most moves me.
Thanks to Bill Joyce, I am awakened to the possibilities of transmedia storytelling. Perhaps it should be called “transcendent storytelling.” A story that transcends its medium allows us as readers to transcend the here and now and to experience the story from a number of entry points. However we meet Morris and in whatever way we accompany him on his journey to his calling and his passion for books, each experience of his story deepens our connection to Morris Lessmore and his Fantastic Flying Books.