Bernie Su, the mastermind behind Emmy-winning Web series “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” returns to Jane Austen with a modern reimagining of “Emma.”
I’ve been seeing some questions about my use of the word "copycats" in this piece. So I’d like to clarify some things that were taken out of context and to expand on them. I’m sure you can imagine that there were some things left out and misquoted (happens all the time) when they said that LBD was about Lizzie in a “dorm” room.
I do acknowledge that the use of the actual word “copycats” can be seen as demeaning, so I apologize for that choice of word. But here is what I was trying to say in that interview (which is basically still there but in less words).
The purpose of me doing this interview with Backstage (an industry/production/actors publication) was to showcase how storytellers can possibly aim to develop a scripted narrative serialized series that is both critically successful and financially viable.
Those of you who’ve followed my tumblr in the past have seen me plug both A Tell Tale Vlog and The Autobiography of Jane Eyre, whose creators both admit to being influenced by The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. I wish these shows and others like them the ultimate success. I’ve openly supported them in the past and will continue to do so.
Specifically these two series have successfully found ways to innovate and do things beyond what LBD did and thus separate them from the LBD. Sure there are things that seem familiar, but there is a lot (especially with where Jane Eyre is) that is fresh and expansive.
I ultimately want the format to succeed. Whether it’s done by us, or by someone else, I want the shows to get to the point where they have a strong enough support audience and thus can support their series without their hard working creators going into personal debt.
So what I am suggesting to the storytellers out there who are exploring “adaptation vlogs or web series” is to not take what is the simplest route => “girl/person in bedroom” and try to force the story into that conceit.
Not every story should be told from that conceit, and not every story should be kept in that conceit.
I encourage them to find what the “re-imagination” is first in their adaptation and to let that determine where to take the story, that’s where all the exciting innovation will happen.
Our Lizzie was a post graduate student with financial problems in her family -> story works from her bedroom at first.
Our Emma is a financially wealthy entrepreneur -> does not work from her bedroom.
I’ll talk more about this later, but we have no fewer than three future Pemberley Digital adaptation series in development (note: development does not equal “will definitely get made”) and none of them start with the lead character(s) in his/her bedroom.