AMA with Bernie Su!

(Blair Hunter) #22

I haven’t downloaded the app yet but how are the cast involved? Is there voice acting? Or video cut scenes? Or just images? Now I’m extra excited!!!

(Hannah Bowe) #23

Lizzie Bennet Diaries started with just Lizzie’s channel and then grew to span across several different media platforms - Twitter, Lookbook, multiple YouTube channels. How much of that was planned in advance? Or did you and the team decide to add in more platforms based on the show’s impact and the community’s participation?

(Bri Castellini) #24

Do you think you’ll release a video series on a different video platform than YouTube, ever? Perhaps the new Instagram TV thing? What’re your thoughts on that, by the way?

(Sunny Larkson) #25

How was writing a story for an app different from a usual script? did you have a writer’s room? How did you organize it?

(Rodrigo Diaz Ricci) #26

Hello, Bernie!
I understand that the development of an app is quite expensive, depending of course on the degree of complexity. How have you faced the budget of your web series projects with the additional costs of developing the app? Or your team has people trained to develop one and lower costs?

(Bernie Su) #27

Hi @meena. First I want everyone to understand that these two goals are near completely opposite paths of where you take your webseries. Practically mutually exclusive. The outlier examples are basically lottery tickets.

TO TV! - Today TV execs are all looking for fresh voices, and new ideas. So you got to make something so fresh and unique that just the concept they can see as a TV show. Now you’re at the mercy of the network’s mandate AND everyone who works there’s individual taste, but that’s the best short answer I can give you. I mean Socio is the best personal example I can give you. - That concept is, biasedly, pretty buzzy. Now we did a pretty good job on our presentation materials, but we didn’t have to make the full series to sell to MTV.

Sustainable income/webseries
Ok this is the complete opposite of the above. To me this is about building a long runway of content for as cheap as possible to hopefully grow an audience or fanbase to sustain your series.
Lizzie Bennet Diaries is the best example I’ve done of this. When we launched that show, we had already committed our own financing for 24 episodes. At 2 episodes a week, that’s a 12 week runway to build an audience and to hit sustainability. Lucky for us, after like week 6 (approx) we saw the numbers and we saw that we had built enough of an audience to go right into week 13 -24. Now let’s be clear, LBD was quite the awesome anomaly. The idea of building enough audience WITHOUT taking a break, that’s crazy. I do not suggest anyone plan for that.

The more realistic version of this is, is after the 12 week run, or close to the end, you reassess and go “oh this is working” we’ve earned enough to make more OR, now we can crowdfund, OR now we can approach brands with our awesome audience OR some other way to raise money.

(Meg Carroway) #28

Obviously you had some help from Hank Green, but can you talk about how you went about doing that audience building? Specific tactics or strategies that worked best for you with the highest ROI that also didn’t make you lose your mind or sleep?

(Chris Hadley) #29

Though there are very few web sites that cover indie web series (and I write for one of them), are there any publications that creators should at least try to reach out to for coverage? Does it depend on the genre or target audience?

(Bernie Su) #30

Because it made the most sense fitting both stories. Where Emma is in her business AND where other couple is at the start of that story… it was a lot of synergy. -

I’m kinda knocking myself as to why I didn’t think of that connection sooner, but hey here we go! :grinning:

(Jules Pigott) #31

Have you watched any other literary web series? If so, what are some of your favorites?

(Bernie Su) #32

Hmm… Augmented Reality. (NOT VR, little interest in VR)

(Bri Castellini) #33

Why no VR? Also in this circumstance what do you consider Augmented Reality?

(Bernie Su) #34

This version is all text and minimal photos. But don’t be surprised if there’s an update in the next few weeks that includes cut scenes with the actors. But this is a literal v1 version of the app. Technically a soft launch, so it’s admittedly buggy and inconsistent. But I am fully confident it’ll get better, richer, and more vibrant as we go. The great thing about this format is that we can adjust it and make it better.

Btw, when AVM mentioned about promoting the soft launch, I said… our audience doesn’t do soft launch… when it’s out … It’s OUT! They’re ALL GONNA KNOW! - I think it took like 20 minutes after launch for a screenshot of the client couple to hit social media.

(Bri Castellini) #35

A few Qs that might have gotten lost in the crazy shuffle!

(Emma Drewry) #36

26 minutes to be exact

(Bernie Su) #37

hi @Sunny

They’re all different! - But… it all starts with the question “how would we tell this version of the story” and then “what’s the world we put them in”

Lizzie is post college
Emma is a entrepreneur
Frankenstein is a medical student.

We do the outlines next … (pretty traditional… linear narrative) and then we weave the Transmedia in.

Linear narrative still comes first in our world. Not saying that won’t change… but that is what it’s been.

(sam lockie-waring) #38

thanks for lookin’ out as always bri!

(Chris Hadley) #39

@Bri_Castellini Thanks Bri! :smiley:

(Hannah Bowe) #40

While audience participation is a huge part of all of your web series, do you also think that it causes a bit of suspention of disbelief? (not sure if that is the right phrase). How did you go about ignoring audience comments that would have messed with the story timeline? For example, when everyone commented on Lizzie’s videos that Lydia was with George - but Lizzie does not see the comments or realize what is happening until much later.

(Rayne M) #41

Hi Bernie- big fan!!! Do you think there’s still unique stories to explore in the vlog format? What do you think has to be done in a vlog series to really stand out after LBD and the five years chock full of similarly-formatted shows?