Media professionals – such as news editors, image researchers, and documentary filmmakers - increasingly rely on online access to digital content within audiovisual archives to create narratives. Retrieving audiovisual sources therefore requires an in-depth knowledge of how to find sources digitally. These storytelling practices intertwine search technologies with the user’s ideas and production cultures. This paper presents qualitative research insights into how media professionals search in digital archives to create (trans)medial narratives, and uses the notion of creative retrieval to unravel the dynamics of audiovisual narrative production. Creative retrieval combines ideas about the effects of media convergence on media content, theories about serendipitous information retrieval, and studies of creativity to argue that retrieval practices of media professionals who create audiovisual narratives are governed by organizational, technological and content affordances and constraints. The paper furthermore exemplifies the first stage of an ongoing research project in which a user-centered design approach guides open source self-learning search algorithm development to support creative retrieval.