When this interview took place, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries had just opened up its Kickstarter with a $60,000 goal for production of a DVD. When we say “just” we mean it: “just.” The interview started just as donations opened. By the time we got to this portion of the interview, over $50,000 had been donated. To date, it has collected more than $376,000, with 12 days to go. If a well-run Kickstarter is an indication of a property’s worth to its fanbase, then Lizzie Bennet is on track to have turned itself from a small Web series with a small budget (which is to say, an incredibly well-funded Web series when compared with almost every other one) to a piece of entertainment tagged by its audience as worth nearly half a million dollars. With a “mini” Web series (Sanditon) on the way and an as-yet-unannounced second series to pick up shortly thereafter, does this all seem like the beginnings of a homegrown entertainment empire to anyone else?
This is the last part of our LBD creators interview, so get your last fix for awhile of Bernie Su, Margaret Dunlap and Rachel Kiley. Never fear: we are going to be covering the next goings on from Pemberley Digital. In this part, read up on the DVD offerings, final thoughts on the series, and a couple of hints about what we can expect over the next few months! (And what you may be seeing at LeakyCon, when almost the entire team comes to play!)
And remember to read the rest of this interview!
LN: What can you tell us about what’s coming next? I know the DVD – as we’ve been talking – is almost fully funded.
BS: Oh my god, it’s crazy.
RK: Oh, dear god.
BS: It’s gonna cross 50,000 within the hour at this rate.
LN: So tell me a little bit about Sanditon.
BS: Margaret! That’s your area.
MD: Welcome to Sanditon! Yes this is a bridge series that we have constructed for the summer that Jay Bushman and I will be co-showrunning. The idea is to experiment with baking in the multi platform even more thoroughly than we did with Lizzie Bennet. So there will be videos and non-video content, and it’s based off an unfinished manuscript that Jane Austen was working on when she died. It’s going to be a fun place for us and also for the fans to play in.
LN: What’s the basic plot?
MD: There really isn’t a lot of plot. She only got 11 chapters in. The PDF version that I have is about 80 pages long and it’s just setup. Sanditon is a beach community that is trying to become a new resort destination in the original, so we updated that with a California little beach town that is turning itself into the premiere health and fitness destination with the West coast. So [we're] updating the setting and updating the characters, and starting with what Austen gave us and then really taking it and running with it. Hopefully it will be a lot of fun. If not, the subtext was that this town might not have been a huge success, so we will at least be canon compliant!
LN: Fair enough!
MD: Am I leaving out anything huge? I’m not sure how much we’re talking about this publicly.
BS: I think we can talk about it!
LN: It seems as though this goes with the partner community thing that the Pemberley Digital was about: how long is it going to last and what is Gigi’s role?
BS: It’s kind of open ended, but I guess Gigi – we’re subbing in Gigi for Charlotte Heywood, who is the main character. If you read the piece, there’s a lot of our version of Gigi in Charlotte Heywood. I don’t think it’s original P&P Charlotte Heywood.
MD: She is the newcomer who comes to town as our point of view, she gets to know everyone.
BS: Teased so well by that great article on LeakyNews!
LN: Hey hey!
LN: That was a lot of fun.
BS: . It is one of those things that just blows minds. I was talking at USC last week the day that article launched and it was a transmedia class. I was like hey guys, check this out. And at first they were like, they read it, and said, “So you made a fake news site?” I was like no, this is a real news site! It’s got real geek news! And it’s on here!
MD: But we’re really excited that we can use Gigi as a crossover so she’ll be a familiar face so she can guide people into the new sandbox.
BS: I think it’s fun too, just the idea to bake in more the interactive elements from the beginning. I think if anything it’s very much an experiment. I think what Kickstarter is good for is, we’re going to try this experiment! And it should be fun and you get to all play along in a way.