Film With Friends| Web Series Wednesday #2

This week, everything has been GO for the web series. So much has happened in a week, it’s almost unbelievable! Here’s the document of our progress!

  1. We condensed the plot of ‘Persuasion’ done to 3 pieces of A4. Each chapter was divided into summarising bullet points, which made figuring out what needed to happen in each episode easier. It also meant we could estimate how many episodes the web series will be in total: we’re aiming for at least 30 episodes!
  2. We made detailed character reference sheets. Every person that could possibly be relevant to the web series got a personality, a mental analysis and a note on their appearance. This really helped keep our vision clear for how we wanted characters to behave, and what their motivation was.
  3. FILMING! IT STARTED! Since our last post, we have a total of FIVE videos ready for upload! They’re out of sequence, so nothing could be posted yet, but this was a BIG achievement. It meant scripting and lighting and filming and editing…a lot of work. For our normal BookTube videos, we do everything as one take because our speech is entirely spontaneous. But, with scripted videos, we could retake the scenes as much as needed to ensure the best final product. It’s new and exciting, but definitely a learning curve.

We want our videos to be as realistic as possible. As much as we love web series with only a select number of characters, it’s really fun to put a face to every name and have them appear, to give a sense of world building – that the characters exist outside of the internet, with friends and family and fun events to attend.

We cast our best friend, Holly, as Ruby Russell. At first, we were only going to use her photo on Ruby’s blog, but Lady Russell is so pivotal to the plot of ‘Persuasion’ – without her advice, the book wouldn’t exist – she had to appear in a few episodes. It was so much fun to watch Holly inject the character with personality and expression! We couldn’t ask for a better Ruby.

But, then we thought, “Wait a minute, we have three other best friends. They should be in it too!”

Sarah, who has appeared in many Heart Full Of Books videos, plays the role of Susie Hamilton, an old school friend of Anne’s. She was perfect for the role, because she’s really is one of our oldest school friends. Surprisingly, all our friends have some acting experience with Drama at school, and Sarah performs in Amateur Dramatics. It was really great to give her the opportunity to do something she loved, and it definitely made a difference to her performance. She knew the script and spoke with passion.

Finally, Jenny and Jasmine needed parts, and it took a while to decided who they should play, but we now have a brilliant idea for each of them. Slightly more minor roles, but integral to the plot nonetheless. There’s only one problem…we haven’t asked them if they want to be part of the web series yet! On Friday we’re seeing them before we leave for university, so wish us luck in getting them on board.

That’s about it for this week. See you next Wednesday for more updates!

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The Beginning | Web Series Wednesday #1

Struck by a bolt of inspiration in the dead of night, Bee decided we would create a web series.

We’ve wanted to create our own since we found ‘Nothing Much To Do’ last year, and made a video about our Top 5 Literary Web Series. We just didn’t know what we wanted to adapt. So many have already been made in video format, it was going to be hard picking one that fills a gap.

But, Bee’s midnight stroke of genius already knew what we were going to adapt: Persuasion by Jane Austen. It’s perfect!
Persuasion is one of the texts we’ll be studying at university, and something we’ve recently read. Also, with the help of the web series master post, we were able to discover that no other web series had been created based on ‘Persuasion’. So, there! A gap in the web series world, and a project that will fuel our academic study!

Of course, deciding to make a web series is one thing. Planning it is another.

There’s so much to think about that, as a watcher of web series, I never really considered. Do we want the experience to be multi-media? How many videos will the series be? How often should we upload? How many sets should we have? Which characters aren’t crucial to the main plot? And how the heck can we make 19th Century characters relatable in a modern day setting?

This series on our blog will document the behind-the-scenes adventure of making ‘Persuaded To…’ (our title of choice, isn’t it great!) and hopefully show how the web series will grow from preliminary development to final video!

Wish us luck!

Web Series: Evolving the Classics

Recently, Bee and I have been diving into some new web series. We were absolutely addicted to ‘Nothing Much To Do’, an adaptation of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, our favourite Shakespeare play, that we were excited to test the waters for new literary obsessions.

What was so beautiful about NMTD was that we could understand all of the references and nods to the original text because we’d read it before. It was such an enriching experience, and great to see all characters showcased, even Dogberry and the Watch and Balthazar, over a multitude of YouTube channels. It seemed like nothing was cut from the adaptation, and you got to experience everyone’s point of view.

I was worried to start new series because I thought I wouldn’t enjoy them as much if I wasn’t already familiar with the primary text. But it turns out, literary web series are a great way to inspire and encourage you to read the original material!

My favourite, most recent, discovery is ‘From Mansfield With Love’, an adaptation of ‘Mansfield Park’ by Jane Austen. This seemed like one of her most underappreciated novels, because I’ve only really heard of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and ‘Emma’ most frequently. I was excited to discover a love, which could be more original than loving ‘The Lizzie Bennett Diaries’, that as soon as I’d caught up on the current, beautiful 45 episodes, I dived straight into the novel.

A novel, which could have been a very slow read, just zipped by with immense amusement. I’ve decided to read along with the web series, because I want the events to be a surprise, but I was surprised that I took so well to ‘Mansfield Park’. FMWL just transformed the novel, keeping me interested and entertained as I anticipated the next section of the book based on the episodes. It was excellently translated on screen, making me appreciate the web series even more.

I guess my point is, if you love modern adaptations of literary classics as much as I do, you’ll love them even more if you look at the source material. One can be enjoyed without the other, but together, they create something truly magical, and much more approachable for a 21st Century audience.