State of Pemberley… Digital – March 2014

Filed in News by on February 28, 2014

A lot of you are curious about what is going on at Pemberley Digital and as active as we were in letting you know what was going on mid/early 2013, we haven’t been able to keep up with everything since. Much has changed since almost one year ago when The Lizzie Bennet Diaries ended, so these (hopefully) semi-regular posts should help keep you up to date on what we are doing, what we are planning, and what’s going on behind the social media accounts.

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What is Pemberley Digital today and what do we want to become:

We’d like to define what Pemberley Digital (PD) is and what we are hoping the company will become. Right now, PD is known for two flagship properties, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (LBD) and Emma Approved (EA). Yes there is Welcome to Sanditon (WTS), but as that series is directly connected to LBD, it’s not considered a flagship, but an expanded extension of The LBD. Regardless, all three projects are vlog based, interactive stories that are adaptations of Jane Austen classical works. That’s who we are today.

We’re hoping to evolve into a storytelling production company that adapts classic works into modern stories told in innovative ways. So, to break it down, we’d like to be a more permanent institution, we’d like to branch out from Jane Austen, and we’d like to continue exploring new methods of storytelling. It doesn’t mean that all of our projects will be vlog based, it may not mean that they’ll all be interactive, but hopefully they continue to push the bounds of conventional storytelling.

Another thing that is important to us is the ideal of an economic ecosystem of online scripted narrative storytelling which can survive long term. And though PD is surviving, it still stands on fragile ground. By ecosystem, we mean not just the ability to pay for basic production costs, but the ability to support all the hard working people and artists that work for us.

Even though we’ve proudly established a system where everyone who works on the shows gets paid a wage. It certainly isn’t at a place where even key members can make sustainable living wages while working on the show as their sole job. We’re trying to be both innovative and sustainable.

What Pemberley Digital is doing today:

Pemberley Digital today has four initiatives/projects. These four projects are so separated that they have their own individual budgets.

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1. Emma Approved: If you’re following this series, you know that we just returned from our production hiatus. The first production hiatus ever taken for any of our series. Emma Approved is part of our multi-series deal with DECA, and DECA is the company financing the series. The series is tracking to go well into the summer and should reach the end of the novel around then. Now, whether or not the show will end with the end of the novel is something we’re still working out, but it’s still too early to tell. We are also about to enter our 2nd phase of interactive initiatives with the series, and we will see how those play out.

There are a couple personnel changes that have happened with this series. For the beginning of our current cycle of the show, Kate Rorick was promoted to the head writer position of the series. What that means, is that for all of the February and March content she held the position of head writer.

But as things move quickly around here, recently Kate has had to leave the project for an amazing TV opportunity. She will still be involved in The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet, but she’s had to step away from Emma Approved. It’s fantastic news, and as incredibly vital as she has been to our projects, we’re extremely happy for her.

Also for our March episodes, Shilpi Roy, creator of Hipsterhood (produced by Julia Cho and featuring Daniel Vincent Gordh), has stepped into the director’s seat for the month. Shilpi brings a fresh energy to the show and we hope you enjoy her contributions starting with the 35th episode of Emma Approved.

2. The Kickstarter DVD:  Whenever this whole thing actually gets done, we’ll do a breakdown of where all the money went. But as it is not done, know that much of the money is still waiting to be spent.

To those of you who ordered DVD level perks and up: We are implementing ways to make up for our ridiculous delays that will be exclusive to you, but nothing is set yet. There are more details in the most recent backer update which you can find here.

41sd72GUwwL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_3. The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet: We’ve heard a lot of questions about what this is and what’s in the book. The book covers the time period right before Lizzie starts her video diary and goes to right after she ends it. It’s written from Lizzie’s perspective and it reveals a lot of things that she never revealed publicly.

You’ll see a deeper relationship with her family and friends along with a more detailed perspective on what went on at many of the “events/parties” through out the story. So though it is a novelization of the web series, it is actually a storyworld expansion and a bit of “old school” transmedia. It was important to us (Kate, Touchstone Books, and Bernie) that this novel give the fans a lot of new information and insight that wasn’t covered in anything we’ve done thus far. The novel can stand separate from the web series but they will enhance each other. You can find out more about the novel here.

Also The Lizzie Bennet Diaries was asked to participate in the Twitter Fiction Festival this year.

4.  Future Pemberley Projects:

We want there to be more PD projects and we want them to come out faster. In 2013, this is what you saw if you were tracking us.

Jan-March – The Lizzie Bennet Diaries
April-May – No Shows
May-August – Welcome to Sanditon
Aug-Oct – No Shows
Oct-Dec – Emma Approved

One of the things Hank and Bernie talked about during their last meeting was how they both felt that if PD were to not launch a new series before Emma Approved ended (or right as it ended) it would be unfortunate. We have this incredible momentum with LBD and EA, both demonstrating levels of critical success and financial viability.  We should be able to have a series out and have episodes being released constantly. We aren’t there yet, but we hope to be one day.

Currently we have three prospective projects at various phases of development. This doesn’t mean that they will all definitely get made but we are excited for things to come.

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