The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

It was the best he could find on short notice.

Remember when I mentioned the Lizzie Bennet Diaries in a previous blog entry? My first impression (see what I did there?) was that it was an actual school project and that it didn't really strike me as 'multiplatform', even though it was something that I thought of first when I thought of using social media to tell a story. Boy, was I wrong.

Over the weekend I watched almost all of the videos available on Youtube and realised how truly multiplatform it was and the 'school project' part was simply built into the story. Although much of the Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter consisted of crossposts from Youtube, there was plenty of interaction with people from the 'real world' as well as interaction between those of the fictional. Jane Bennet has her own 'Lookbook', Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, but then so does Charlotte with her own Twitter, Facebook... I could go on. In fact, see here to see the list of characters with Twitter Accounts.

It is pretty amazing how these accounts all interact and integrate with each other, giving us new perspectives on the story and allowing the story to progress even when Lizzie is not focusing on it. For instance, Lydia's Youtube channel spoke of the deterioration of her mental state which ultimately made viewers relate to her more strongly than they did in the original works and feel more sympathetic or even empathetic to her experience, and represented a true journey of growing. Charlotte's sister also created a Youtube channel which showed Charlotte's journey in her new job.

Mr Collins appears

LBD was even at Vidcon, where they filmed a few episodes and interacted with people there (out of character though, I believe). They also surprisingly took this opportunity to introduce a new character (Mr. Collins), which showed how well in advance this series was planned and executed so that even when a video did not seem particularly significant, it ended up being significant later on.

It was amusing to see the different ways in which characters would just happen to 'walk in' on Lizzie making videos and then inadvertently appear on the video (and not be edited out), but it was so natural it was a testament to both the writing and the performance of the actors. Characters would often also relate back to the videos Lizzie made and the things she talked about which made Lizzie slowly realise she had to be careful in what she said and her impressions of people - though they were not always as wrong as she assumed.

A round of applause to the amazing writing which transformed this story from the context of Jane Austen's time to our contemporary context, empowering these female characters to keep the fine balance of the original story vs contemporary values. Another round of applause to the amazing planning and the incredible acting that made this series happen as this series unfolded over the course of a year.

Well, I suppose first impressions clearly can sometimes be misleading...

Website: Top image from Jane Austen Approved.