My Thoughts on YouTube Storytelling

This will be short and sweet (probably). But I just wanted to put in some thoughts about YouTube storytelling- particularly the literary adaption trend (The Lizzie Bennet Diaries).

Generally, I like it. Granted, there can be some redundancy in a couple of characters telling us everything. To overcome this problem a lot of them like to insert “I left the camera on” moments where action is caught on camera. These moments are a little contrived, but I generally don’t mind them if the rest of the story is told well.

I think it’s fun to tell the stories in a modern fashion with 3-5 minute videos. When you add up the screen time of some of these series they are longer than an average feature film would be.

From a writer’s perspective it must be an interesting challenge. Each episode needs to be short, convey important plot or character information, and stick within strict boundaries. There are few opportunities for changing point of view. Contrary to popular storytelling advice, a lot of these series are tell and not show. But I think a lot of them have done very well. Two of my favorites are “The Lizzie Bennett Diaries” and “Emma Approved.” Contrary to popular opinion, I liked “Emma Approved” better. (Darcy was awkward and unbelievable to me)

Another fun aspect about these stories (especially Pemberly Digital ones although there is a slew of other creative adaptations) is the multi-media aspect. Not only do they produce weekly episodes, but each character often has their own twitter account and/or blog from which they post in character and add to the plot. In fact they often use a full spectrum of social media to enhance the story and to interact with fans. It’s a fascinating new version of storytelling!

I am interested to see if it keeps developing. (Another fun, non Pemberly Digital series is “Classic Alice”)

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