Missing The Lizzie Bennet Diaries? We are too. Has it really been only two weeks since we were privy to the personal lives of all those impossibly gorgeous, professional Austenites? Has it only been two weeks since we could jump on this site and kvetch and kvell about the latest twitch of a Darcy bowtie?
Here’s a bit of a salve – the third part of our four-part Lizzie Bennet Diaries creators interview. Read below to hear more about Bernie Su, Margaret Dunlap and Rachel Kiley’s thoughts on what it took to create and sustain LBD, and the impact it has had on the fledgling industry in which it lives. Tomorrow we’ll have our final bit, with a couple of hints about what’s coming in the future!
LN: Taking Tumblr as an example: some TV shows can’t hold a candle to the kind of attention and blogging and notes that some of these fans are giving about The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. One episode creates a bigger social impact wave than most of what you see on television, despite the audience differential – is that intimidating at all?
BS: To me it’s daunting. I don’t know how you two feel but I feel like I’m a little paralyzed by it sometimes, with my social media tweeting and stuff. It’s awesome of course to have that much of an impact as far as a social measures metric. I think it’s cool. I know Rachel and I have been in the Web series world for years and the biggest thing is, are people really watching? That was the kind of the hurdle in the industry that we had. You have this show come along and it’s like, “Hell yea, they’re watching, and they’re doing stuff!” Lots and lots of stuff. So I think it’s neat. Whether or not the next is as successful – and honestly we’re all a little biased because we were part of this journey – but just as a fan of the industry, wanting this industry want to grow and evolve, I’m really glad we got to do this show and how effective it was in showcasing that hey, you know what, you really can tell a drama five minutes a piece and keep the audience gripped the entire time for a year.
If you look at our whole runtime just of Lizzie’s videos, minute by minute comparison it’s just a 13-episode half hour season. Actually it’s more than that because we’re at seven-and-a-half hours. So that’s what it’s like and we did that over a year and we’re telling this grand story five minutes at a time.
MD: I think the response has been just amazing to watch, both on the “This is so cool” and “Oh my god the is bigger than we are” end of things. I think like Bernie said it’s really cool and it’s daunting sometimes, the fun and the responsibility of it. Bernie mentioned that he and Rachel came from Web series. He recruited me after the TV show I had been working on was cancelled. He said come do this while you’re on hiatus! I said okay, I don’t really know anything about writing for the Web!
Then when the viewership for Lizzie Bennet really started taking off and I talked to a former show runner of mine who iI’m still very good friends with and he’d say, “How many video views do you have?” And I’d say we have eight million video views, and he’d say, “You realize that is like 16 times the number of people who watched any given episode of our television show?” So even in terms of viewership, we give TV shows a run for their money.
BS: I’d say so. Looking at the future of entertainment, I don’t know what is going to happen to the entertainment industry because of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, but I know a lot of old media companies are looking at it. I’ve heard and they’ve told me. As, not even a model, but they are trying to process everything. I think – as you are very aware of all the transmedia and stuff like that and the influence other transmedia because you’re part of the fandom – old media has a hard time processing all of that together. It’s like, “How are they doing so well? Where are these fans coming from?” and all that. And I don’t know, I can just show you numbers! Check this out!
LN: It can be hard for them to realize it comes from that mulch of fans who create other fans and it doesn’t come from the advertisement they put at the Superbowl.
LN: They didn’t push it, it’s the fans that pushed it.
BS: We have never sent a dime on promotions or PR. Everything has been word of mouth. With Hank Green’s initial push of course, but he’s a producer so it’s part of his producing. Besides that, everything has been ground level, no “Watch my show watch my show!” I think it’s really fascinating. It’s really cool.