I’m presenting an exclusive interview with the creator & lead star of Classic Alice today. I’ll be going back to my normal blog posts after this one but there’s a good chance that I might write a review and/or do an interview soon for the book, SILVERN, written by my friend Christina Farley. Just to let you all know.
FYI: NANOWRIMO is coming!
I want to thank Kate Hackett for her response to my interview questions. As you might tell, I tried to lean the questions towards writing for many reasons. I hope you enjoy the interview & check out the web series Classic Alice, if you haven’t already.
1. Where did the idea of this web series come from?
The concept came about because I was asked to do some hosting & I have no real love of hosting. So I asked the people who had approached me if they would mind a scripted narrative told in a format that bridged the gap from hosted YouTube show to programming by doing a narrative vlog.
2. Did the story idea change over time than originally planned?
Absolutely! Originally I wrote a ‘mockumentary’ style thing with loads of camera movements and OUTSIDE-ness. Then I had to scale it back.
4. How do you plan out all the transmedia writing to work with the videos?
Our Comikaze panel actually touches on this, but as a teaser: the bigger items I definitely planned out (the Ocelot Call articles about Keaton/Cara/Andrew, for example) but some of the more timely tweets and what not were done off the cuff. I do a big timeline (color coded!) and make sure that one of the threads is the transmedia element.
We plan a lot of it by sitting down and banging out the tweets/posts/etc. that follows the timeline I created at the very beginning.
5. How much input do the cast, crew, and fans input into the story line?
More now than they did before. Josh (director) helps me out if I get stuck writing, but he’s generally pretty go-with-the-flow about what books we do. Tony and Elise love contributing — because they helped craft these characters. Tony really took charge with the Pens vs Lens podcast, which is awesome and earned him a producer credit for it. They’ll both point out if something seems off or out of character or if it needs more depth. Generally, we try to be a collaborative set!
6. What do you suggest to someone who wants to write web series?
Do it! Do not wait. But also know that if you want to use it as an industry calling card, you HAVE to pay for sets, costumes, sound, lights, etc.
7. How do you choose which classic text to use? How does that factor into the overarching story you’re planning to do?
It’s pretty fluid — I just kind of pick a book that I think might fit and it usually does! Or, if it doesn’t, I go find a different book. Each book does add something to the larger story — Alice’s story.
11. How did the podcast(s) come to creation?
I’ve always wanted to do a Cara-podcast with music, so when Dana (transmedia producer) turned to me and suggested it, I said yes immediately. Then Tony asked if we could do a podcast about books and the movies that are created based on those books and I said “if you plan everything”, so we recorded with no outline and I nearly died because NO OUTLINE.
10. How long is this series planned so far?
We shot 24 episodes + confessionals over six days last July. I’d love to keep going, but that really hinges on a) how popular we are and b) how much money we can raise. We plan to do an indiegogo campaign in Jan./Feb. so keep an eye out for that and know that we are eternally grateful for your support!
12. What do you plan to continue to evolve the relationships as the series continues?
Spoilers!!! But we definitely have some AMAZING stuff plotted out for Book 8+ and would love to continue sharing this story.
13. Are you willing to share any sneak peeks to future episodes or plot directions?
Yes. Ready? /GHOSTS/. #KateTrollsAgain
I hope you all have an amazing Halloween!
Imagine the first time you got a horrible grade in a college class, what did you do about it? You might have been sad for a while and then asked for help to do better the next time. What more could you have done, right?
It’s more than just a grade, it feels like you’ve been told that you weren’t good enough. When it comes to Alice Rackham, she wasn’t willing to let that bad grade bring her down. Her professor mentioned that her essay didn’t turn out well because she wasn’t emotionally invested with the literary material. This causes Alice to decide to live her life according to classic novels. She isn’t alone in this process her friends are by her side in different ways. Her friend Andrew Prichard figures this would be a great vlog-style documentary opportunity. So they work together to create ‘Classic Alice‘ (officially created by Kate Hackett). While her best friend Cara Graves is there helping her along, and even created a music podcast of her own, ‘This Proof is Treble.’
It wasn’t too long ago, when I started to expand my horizon when it came to web series. I started with web series from Pemberley Digital. I heard through the grapevine (aka Tumblr) about other web series, especially Classic Alice. What I knew in the beginning that the show was a bit different from the re-imagined modern web series based on a literary classic. At the same time, it was suggested that fans of Pemberley Digital would be interested because the show brought literature to life. So out of curiosity. I decided to check out the official website, and the rest is what you call amazing history.
What interested me from the first episode was the fact that Alice is an English major, and loves to write creatively. For me, it doesn’t seem like there are many film/tv characters based on English majors. So right off the bat, I related to her, as a fellow English scholar and creative writer. Even though Alice is working on her undergrad, while I’m working on my Masters, it’s enjoyable to see hints to what I’ve experience while also living vicariously through her adventures. It’s more than just a fun story, but it’s also has inspired me as I get through my required literature reading for my grad classes. Some times I wonder what Alice would do if she was reading, what I was reading–for example, ‘The Adventures of David Simple’ by Sarah Fielding. So her story brings me to enjoy even more the literature I read.
This show can give others an interests to explore literary classics that they might not normally. That way they can have an idea what Alice might do on the show. This aspect that this webseries as well as many lately have brought to light that classics can be interesting even in the modern world. It’s important now than ever to continue to interest people, especially students, to read because literature is a large part of who we are, and why we are who we are. Literature helps us grow and learn.
Another aspect that I can’t ignore (sorry for the possible potential spoilers), the romance starting to evolve between Alice and Andrew. It slowly has been growing as a possibility, but like great shows, this web series is gradually and naturally letting the relationship grow from friendship to more. Instantly these two characters have incredible chemistry, even though we don’t see as much of Andrew in the beginning, but that changes over time as well. I won’t delve into it too much because I want you to experience it. Additionally like other web series, these characters interact on social networks (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr). Yet for this show, the interaction adds more drama to what’s happening on the screen.
A few unique aspects about the web series, I believe, are: the official site has a way for fan to become a “Valeton Student” and discuss with fellow fans on the student forms; Alice’s Goodreads account; a spin-off with the music podcast (that even includes some classical music, Cara is being inspired by Alice now), and Alice’s university seems real online (with a website, twitter account and a student newspaper). The show is really interactive with the fans. In the way this show is created and expands through the inter-webs, you can almost feel like you’re part of Alice’s world.
This is an web series that I would recommend. Alice reminds me every day that literature can make my life an adventure, if I choose to make it so. Are you ready to make the dive into Alice’s world, and spice up yours? Don’t wait, start now.