Clearing out the inbox a bit. Sorry we’ve been scattered. With EA, The LBD DVD and a small administrative team it’s been a bit overwhelming.
An LBD DVD update, where there really isn’t an update. Everything is still out of our hands. We’re pressing forward as much as we can but at this point we’re just continually emailing and calling the companies and going “You have everything and it all works right?” - Sorry again about all this.
Anyway, to the questions.
Q: Do you make any money if we click through Emma’s posts advertising brands and items? or, if we click through and buy said items?
A: This actually depends on the item/store. With Modcloth we do get a small percentage of the sale. We weren’t getting a cut during LBD though. So Jane’s looks during Netherfield weren’t built in while Gigi’s and Clara’s looks in WTS were.
In general, don’t feel obligated to click and/or buy though. Sure the money helps us as do the clicks, but it’s your money. Spend it the way you want to spend it.
If you want to know more about something someone is wearing, you click. If you don’t, then you move on. The idea of all this was spawned when fans were asking about the clothes a lot of the actors were wearing, so we just put a passive link in the description making it easy to find. Then when we realized we could potentially send thousands of people over to an item we made sure to make arrangements with the merchants.
Of course now we’re playing with character expansion through this but this just a first step.
Q: If Emma Approved does as well as you hope, what book are you going to adapt next?
A: I don’t think that choice is going to be entirely up to me or even Hank. Pemberley Digital as a production company was built to take stories and adapt them into web series/interactives/vlogs whatever. So different people have been dabbling in other possible adaptations.
I did say at the Buffer Festival Q&A that you shouldn’t be surprised if a 3rd series launches while Emma Approved is still running in 2014.
Q: If Emma is archiving these videos for personal use, how do we have a q & a video? How does she know that she has people watching these and asking questions? It doesn’t seem contingent with the plot line, to be honest, and some clarification would be nice.
A: Well documenting is very much like vlogging which is very much like keeping a private diary. They aren’t all exactly the same but they share a lot of similar elements. Filling out entries, answer questions (internally or externally). It’s really about populating your entries with content.
The Emma questions head canon could be something like this. - “I’m seeing a lot of questions on my social media about my life. I should answer these questions. I could answer them via social media or I could put them in my documentary for the future audience.”
For the story, what we really are completely avoiding is that the episodes being consumable by the other characters in the show. Sure it breaks what we established for the LBD, but as I’ve said before. It’s incredibly difficult, if not impossible, for Emma to do what she’s does in the story if everyone around her can watch videos of what she’s doing.
Out of story wise, we’re experimenting. We’ve always been experimenting. Do Q&A’s still work? Can then? Do they kinda? Is kinda making it work worth doing the Q&As?
Sure there are bumps in our interactive. We’re crazy ambitious with very little resources. I was not thrilled on how that tweetception/EP 13 thing played out. We missed. Plain and simple. Not the first time we missed and probably not the last. It still burns my biscuits when we do.
I remember last year during LBD there was an (internal) text conversation firing around about how we basically missed Lizzie’s Birthday. I know we kinda covered it, but really in my book we dropped the ball on that.
Q: Are you going to have any STEM representation in Emma Approved- aside from Bobby Martin?
A: I’ve been seeing the STEM request a lot. I’ll just say yeah probably. We aren’t that far ahead in the story though.
Q: Would you guys ever consider doing a gender swap of characters in any of your stories so there can be some queer romance? LBD was great about being race-inclusive (EA’s pretty white so far, but I’ll hold off on judgement for now), I feel like this is the next logical step in making the stories relevant to modern day.
A: Sure. I remember there was a theory going on early on that Knightley would be a woman, and as radically cool that would be it was never considered. It would also completely change the sexual orientation of a lot of the characters on the show. But yeah sure.
As for EA’s white-ness thus far. We still go by the “we cast the best person who walks into the room regardless of race” mantra. As for racial casting, that’s something I’ve wondered more and more about. It’s actually very touchy. This is a tangent from the question so I’ll try to keep this short, but it goes to casting for diversity while traversing stereotypes.
First off let’s set that Emma Woodhouse is being played by a half Japanese, half German young woman from Hawaii with the last name of Sotomura (Japanese). Sure everyone else has been basically white so far. But this isn’t a side character as our only person (half person) of color. This is the lead. EA is predominantly white, but certainly not all.
Second there’s this specter of casting persons of color in certain roles. Stereotypes, villains, unlikable characters, etc. I remember during LBD that we were being called racist when Caroline skewed into “dragon lady” territory and Bing being the “non-assertive” asian guy. It still stings me thinking about it. Were we sending a “message” because we casted these roles as Asians? No. We just cast Asian and the narrative established 200 years ago sent us to where we had to go. Were we sending a message when we made Fitz tread into the “black guy best friend” trope? No. We just did. Colonel Fitzwilliams is a close friend who just happens to be black.
Anyway, I’m ranting but in short, I’d want a more diverse cast both ethnic and sexual orientation wise, but we need to find the right people to play them. As for what’s coming up in EA. No one is guaranteed to be a person of color, and no one is guaranteed to not be, so we’ll see what the casting gods give us.
Q: What was the first piece of writing you…put out there? I mean the first piece that you submitted anywhere in the hopes of getting recognized as a writer?
A: When I first moved to Hollywood, I wanted to be a writer for television so I wrote pilots and spec TV episodes. I think I wrote 3 TV pilots and 3 TV spec scripts, but none of them ever got me any attention. The piece that opened up everything was this project called Compulsions which was a web series I did back in 2009.
It’s very dark, it’s violent, and it stars Craig Frank (aka Fitz) in a pretty terrifying role. Every opportunity and project I’ve had in the business since then I can trace back to the exposure that this series brought me. Yes even The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.
Q: Hey, Bernie! Great job on Emma Approved! I was wondering if there will be crossovers between the world of The LBD and EA. Another is, are the doors for The LBD firmly closed, or are you still open for new episodes, spin-offs or videos within that world? Thanks and again, awesome job!
A: Definitely not closed. Well here’s something you may not remember during the kickstarter. There was a kind of “fun” perk that was this.
Well as you can see someone did get this perk, and as the ONLY thing that remains in this whole KS is the DVD, you know that the video was made. So two questions.
1. Where is that video?
2. Did we really drag Max across town to only shoot ONE video? I mean we know how much Max “hates" that character and all but you’ll have to wait and see. ;)