Newtown Girls with @nataliekrikowa

Newtown Girls

Today Natalie Krikowa visited my Digital and Multiplatform Storytelling class for a guest lecture and perhaps ironically enough she had taken part in making a webseries called Newtown Girls. I say ironically only because I'd spent the weekend watching the entirety of another multiplatform webseries called The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, so it was interesting to hear of a new one and of a new approach to the genre (that I had not encountered). I guess perhaps I don't have enough friends that watch these kinds of things on Youtube for them to recommend them to me!

I will admit I did compare some of the things she talked about with what I knew (or rather had inferred) out of watching the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, which when you compare 100 episodes (plus those posted by other characters on their channels make around ~150) with only 10 episodes can seem like a huge difference, but they were working with less people, a smaller budget and a different environment, with a different approach which was all highly admirable.

It was interesting to hear her talk about her approach and the execution as well as the issues she had to consider in making the webseries, as well as her aims for the series, such as bringing the culture of Newtown to others and the interactions over Twitter. It was amazing that they were able to make such a high quality project on such a small budget and were able to reach countries all over the world, especially with their embracing of LGBT (specifically gay/lesbian peoples).

Newtown Girls

At one point, Natalie mentioned that they put up a poll online asking viewers what kind of ending they preferred which I felt distracted from the experience, but would have made the audience feel more involved. Indeed it would make more sense for this webseries than for something like the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, where they strove to make all their online videos contained. Although they interacted with 'real life' people and would make Q&A videos where they answered people's questions, largely there was no interaction that changed the course of the story (but the original story was written by Austen anyway).

She is currently working on a new transmedia project though, called Artemis, and wants to make the narrative more audience-driven with them participating and creating content, which is really a fascinating concept. I'll be looking out for this project in the months to come and see what happens because not only does the story look interesting (who doesn't like sci-fi!) the approach does too.

See the Microbudget Filmmaking Symposium that is going to be held at UTS in Sydney from 27-29 September!