Fans and Adaptation: An Analysis of Pemberley Digital Production’s Transmedia Narratives

Maggie Brodbeck Butler University
Faculty Sponsor(s): Andrew Levy Butler University
In April 2012, the production company Pemberley Digital released the first vlog of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries under a YouTube channel of the same name. “My Name is Lizzie Bennet” introduces the audience to graduate student Lizzie Bennet as she relates a story of her match-making mother and her obsession with the new neighbor who is a supposedly a rich, single man. The series, a modern-day adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice created by Hank Green and Bernie Su, put a new and innovative twist on an age-old story. Rather than releasing another period drama adaptation (that our main character is fond of), the creators told the story through a series of YouTube vlogs, much like Green himself makes, and additional transmedia content that spanned across multiple social media platforms. The vlogs and social media posts were released in real time and allowed for fan interaction with the characters on popular sites such as Twitter or Tumblr that oftentimes moved the narrative forward. While the concept of transmedia narratives preceded the creation of Pemberley Digital, their adaptations reached new levels of success and critical acclaim. This presentation will demonstrate that transmedia narratives are most successful in tandem with original texts that have a history of successful adaptations due to the continual audience of fans and their previous knowledge of the story to correctly, as well as canonically, interact with the narrative.
English Literature & Creative Writing
Oral Presentation

When & Where

09:15 AM
Jordan Hall 303