A New Austen LIW!!!

*fangirling intensifies*

Long time, no blog, but I am going to spruce up on that and I even made a plan for this blog that’s possible to follow.

I’m currently staying on an island with no electricty, so it makes blogging a bit of a dilemma. I do have my smartphone and a powerbank though, so I can sacrifice the battery occasionally and pop down to twitter and check out the few vlogs I’m following at the moment. And occasionally, like right now, I visit the town.

A lot of new webseries are starting, but none has me as excited as the new Cate Morland Series. There’s just something about LIWs based on Austen novels that get me more excited than anything else. Only the trailer and the first episode are out, but I’m stoked already for this series. I’m always been a succer for transmedia and I immediately went and followed every character on Twitter and Cate on Tumblr.

During the summer I’ve only made time (sacrificed battery) for a couple of webseries. Weird Sisters is an interesting take on the witches in Macbeth, and I’m loving the world of Horizons. In addition to my compulsory LIWs I’m watching Match Not Found and 100 Dates of Summer for a small dose of romance every once in a while.

I wish I had time for more web series, but on the other hand I’m enjoying that I can concentrate on reading a huge pile of books. I am going to add The Mysteries of Udolpho to the pile tomorrow 😉

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Call me lazy – or just unproductive

While I’ve been reading and reading and reading and reading, the world of webseries has rolled on, and I’ve been an active spectator.

Reasons for not blogging for a while have been various, but I think I’ve just got distracted by so many shiny new things that it has been hard to express my thoughts about webseries in more than a multiple of 140 characters. But I am going to emerge again from the ashes… or something.

I just returned from two weeks on an island on the Baltic Sea (in Kvarken Archipelago, so don’t imagine me on the hut on the rock where Mr. Dursley exiled the family when escaping the Hogwarts letter –  and the weather was waaaaaaay nicer too), and feel like writing about the only webseries that I could keep up during those weeks: From Mansfield With Love.

From Mansfield With Love is an easy webseries to follow. It is compiled of vlogs and some character interaction on Twitter. Also, all the transmedia happen at a suitable time for me since the time difference is only 2 hours. These contribute to the fact that it was easy to watch the vlogs even though the 3G network isn’t brilliant and I kept running out of battery on my phone (there’s no electricity on the island).

But really, I feel like I just could not not watch the episodes during my vacation. From the moment Frankie’s fingers crawled on the screen in the first episode of FMWL, I fell in love with the series. Mansfield Park is my favourite Austen, but I’ve never really ‘loved’ the heroine. Fanny always seemed like such a goody-two-shoes, though admittedly, the people around her are behaving very badly indeed. But Frankie I love. From Mansfield With Love gives voice to the heroine. The novel is filled with Mrs. Norris blathering away, but in the webseries we have only heard her bellowing from outside the screen to Frankie.

In the latest plot line, the series has got to the Crawford proposal part, or Frankenford (a ship name coined proudly by me) proposal. I really could not wait for a week to watch that. FMWL is also one of the few webseries in which, the longer the video, the more I get excited. I guess it’s just nice to spend time with Frankie. Henry, I get you, I love her too.

The series is nearing its end and the plot is in an interesting point. It tells a lot about the quality of the acting of how real the characters have become for me. When this webseries ends, I will mourn the loss of these virtual friends with the same passion as when The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Even though the intended audience is actually Frankie’s brother Will, and she is not even talking to ‘the Internet’ at large like Lizzie was. I’m just glad that they have cast such a handsome fellow to play Will, which might represent us all in the audience.

Someone is actually reading this!

So the Blogging 101 course asked me to think about my “target audience”. Who I would like to read my blog?

But I really just think that the more relevant question is: to whom do I write this blog?

I write this for me. Everything you read on this blog is my opinion, my voice, my words, my eternal blabber of the mind (and I started another more general blog as well Mayu’s Teapot for even more random ramblings). Yes, my dear reader, unfortunately, my ideal reader is myself. Or someone like myself. I love my own voice the most, so proceed with care.

What I hope is that some of my readers will be totally unaware of literary web series and they will read my blog and be amazed enough by this “new” format and hastily click away to the links I provide or to YouTube to search for the web series in question and fall in love with them as passionately as I have. And then they one day become gloriously famous literary web series producers and thank me for drawing their attention to this format in their Shorty Award acceptance speech. Yes, that is my definite goal! 😀 Or someone (rich) to find ClassicAlice web series and give more money to their Indiegogo (SaveAlice). Or someone who is looking for positive things in their lives to find cool new things related to books.

But the fact remains, that this blog is something that I use to straighten out my thoughts. I’ve always let myself enjoy the luxury of changing my mind, and to do that I need perspective. And for me, writing it out has always made it more easy to find perspective.

Of course, this is a matter that can be affected by my readers. If people would start passionate debates in my comments, maybe then they would also have an effect on my perception. Hmm…

Also, my friends in Finland are of various degrees not-as-interested in literary web series, so this is a place I can vent my enthusiasm.

Aaanyway, will blog soon about stuff more related to the awesome week of web series we have had. Just finishing a rant on the new blog 😛

Webseries Wednesday

Interesting how the things I love will shape the way I feel about weekdays as well.

When The Lizzie Bennet Diaries started, and when I started to actively follow it, Mondays suddenly came something to look forward to. There aren’t many things that succeed in making Mondays the best day of the week, but if your favourite web series is published on that day, for an obsessive mind, it will do wonders!

Today is Wednesday and two things to look forward to are an episode of From Mansfield With Love and the last episode of the first season of Green Gables Fables.

When I woke up, my Twitter feed was full of interesting tweets about how #Shirbert (Anne&Gilbert’s ship name) had started to tweet to each other. Or rather, Anne had tweeted to Gilbert first (she has been mostly ignoring him after the ‘carrots’ incident). So now the Fabler fandom is eagerly awaiting for the video, which will reveal the meaning of those cryptic tweets (even though having read the books might give it away 😉 ). Eagerly awaiting and at the same time sad.

The first book of the series, Anne of Green Gables, is coming to an end and it’s the natural place to end the season. But with no news yet of when we might expect the next one, and no information about how active the characters will be on social media during the hiatus, it is sad to see this one end.

The episode comes out in my time zone usually at midnight. Sometimes they are a bit late, but here’s hoping I don’t have to wait for too long. Because of course it means also that I have to talk the whole thing over with other Fablers (and Josie Pye and Ruby Gillis, naturally) on Twitter afterwards for a couple of hours.

How did these series take over my life? How aren’t more people obsessed with them?

I will leave you with these questions and go see The Theory of Everything with my dad now.

How did I end up here?

I started this blog because one of the things that I like most at the moment are literary web series.

Another reason for starting this blog was that I could not sleep. I have medication for that now, but it hasn’t driven away my love for web series, thank Google.

I am a Finnish, soon 32-year-old woman, who is a bank advisor, and wants to be a writer, or rather a published author, because I already am a writer. To be a writer you just have to write, in my opinion.

I have had a couple of tough years health- and lifewise and I feel one thing that has been constant in my life is my love for web series and the community they bring with them. Especially literary web series, which, if you are new to the subject matter, are based on classic public domain literature. I have started to stray to new directions as well, because it seems like literary web series creators are weaving a web of their own, directing me to independent web series as well. Though at the moment it feels like these series pop up here and there and everywhere, the creators are finding each other and crossing borders. Just last Autumn Anne Shirley and Cecily Cardew forged a friendship over Tumblr 🙂 As a lover of classic literature (I read anything really) this brings joy to my soul.

One of the main things I love about literary web series is how female dominant they are. There are only a few literary web series which have male characters who initiate the series. It feels like this is the corner of YouTube where you can watch and enjoy feminism flourish. In a modern world, the male characters are not forgiven just because they can provide financial security to the female character. It’s the best kind of retelling of classics.

In my blog I want to ponder the aspects of the web series, and if I am successful, I will get more people interested in literary web series. It’s really just a place where I open my thoughts in textual form.

I would like to do a bit of research for the blog, since it is pretty easy to contact literary web series creators. I have many questions about the production, casting and financing aspects of the series, which I wish I get to address at some point and blog about as well.

So I guess this blogging is some sort of visible reminder and prompt to actually start contacting people about these things and finding out how to make a literary web series… Maybe I want to make one myself!! Maybe I’ll find out!

If you have read my blog before and wonder why I’m suddenly introducing myself, I am taking part in The Daily Post‘s Blogging 101 course, so expect active blogging this month!

Weighing characters

A Twitter exchange (thanks, JoAnne) has prompted me to ponder the actual requirements that the web series creators have to meet. I find that as a watcher, I am especially demanding with literary web series. Most of them are based on classic literature, directly on specific novels, and as a reader of classic literature, I have already formed an image of the characters in my mind.

So, I imagine having to meet a vast audience’s demands on many accounts is very demanding. Not only do the audience demand that the protagonist fits their image in an either obvious or in a clever way, but a lot of discussion on Tumblr and Twitter sets parameters for diversity as well. Behind which I am totally, because the reality is that while in the times the books that are now are in the public domain were written, the world on the public side might have been mostly white, that is not the case anymore. (And as a I’ve studied English literature, I know that even the first part of that is a questionable statement.) YouTube audiences are all over the world and the specific audience who enjoy literary web series are very aware and critical of this.

While we are still waiting for a cast where a white person is not the norm but cast for diversity(or if we aren’t please send me a link), it is still hard to judge the showmakers, since most YouTube productions are still very low budget. Not everyone has the possibility to have casting sessions. So maybe the diversity and acting skills of your actor friends may present the limits.

Well, I think this is something that I really need to find out about more. I actually know little of the financing of webseries in general, the only ones that I know about are most of those who have used crowdfunding. I wonder how such web series like Marianne and Elinor take Barton or the Misselthwaite Archives (so proud, didn’t have to check the spelling!) have funded themselves. Or Dashwood days. There are so many. Maybe I should just ask.

Anyway, I digress, somewhat. I was going to talk about other demands the audience of a literary web series might have. For example East and West, which is based on Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel North and South. I did not like the main character. At all. It’s been quite a few years since I read it, and all I can remember about her is that she complained a lot and had good reason to since everyone was dying around her. Although she was unhappy about everything else as well… Anyway. It is pretty hard to find a person who can complain all the time without making me stop watching the show.

So basically, what I mean is that web series, often in the vlog form need to make the unpleasant characters (of which Margaret Hale isn’t the worst one, of course) at least relatable, because the vlog form makes it all so “in-your-face”. You are basically having an indirect conversation with this person.

One good option for unpleasant people, who are not the main characters, is not to show them (if it’s not the main character). Like Mrs Bracknell in In Earnest(the torso shot doesn’t count in my books), or the costume theatre option many web series have utilised after the Lizzie Bennet Diaries gave it direction.

I realise that I am currently only writing about the unpleasant characters in web series. But also the pleasant characters need to  meet and often excell the expectations. A really good literary web series is one in which the characters surprise you in a clever way. One way is to just make a literary character more human.

Ok, I’m returning back to disliked literary characters, but who can really say they like Lydia in Pride and Prejudice? And who can really say that they don’t love Lydia in the Lizzie Bennet Diaries?

This post really has been the ramblings of my distracted mind on two different days. Please leave a comment or talk to me on Twitter (@mayusteapot) if you have ideas that I can steal 🙂 Or shout at me for being completely wrong… I think this is a subject I will return to quite often!

Killing time on a train station somewhere in Western Finland

So. The title explains it all. Still an hour to go before my train leaves for the last part of my journey to my hometown(where I grew up). I’m going to spend a couple of weeks with parents. Apparently people who don’t sleep, don’t have to work. For a while.

I’ve been pondering Mr Rushworth. The web series From Mansfield With Love has really brought the character alive in my mind. I mean, despite being stupid, the whole affair with Maria and Henry Crawford touches his life in as dramatic a way as any of the others. True, people already think him stupid and must not find it so very surprising that he has been cuckolded. Also, in the original, he probably suffers far less of the consequences of the whole matter than Maria. He is a rich man and rich men surely find friends.

But the bottom line is that even including the book, this Rory Rushworth  is the first version of that character for whom I’ll probably feel pity.

It’s always enjoyable to find new layers for the original story through adaptations.

The Crawfords have now hatched in Mansfield Park Hotel and oh boy,  do they bring change. Frankie was vlogging by the pond when they appeared with Edmund. Henry is deliciously smarmy and rakish with his “beds” in London and Mary wonderfully charming and normal, raising literary hackles only when she refers to Harry Potter as ‘the film’.

The presence of a video camera brings out interestingly yet somewhat expectedly the worst in Henry’s character. It hasn’t been confirmed but in an episode (14?) where the camera was left mistakenly running, it felt like Henry was totally aware that the camera was on. He was flirting with us watchers and also already with Frankie (or, ooh now that I think on it, with Will!!!).

It is really and truly impossible to watch an episode of FMWL without drinking a cup of tea. Though at the moment of hatching of Henry Crawford and his pretty brown eyes, I choked on my tea.

Tea companies are also losing a pretty penny by not franchising literary web series themed teas. I guess tea goes with books so naturally it goes with literary web series as well.

Tea… I complimented the train station cafe having a coffee pot (!) full of very black tea (I love strong tea) and the clerk proudly told me that it had been steeping there already for a couple of hours. Tea in most Finnish cafes is abysmal.

Ok. I can see my train is already on the station. But before I drag myself, two bags, a suitcase and a cat in her box onto the train, I must suggest a new term: Hatching – the revelation of a new web series character for the first time. Before the Crawfords were revealed their avatars on Twitter were the default egg pic. That gave me the idea.

Oops. Will soon miss my train.

Why Classic Alice, why?

It’s about time I wrote more about one of my all time favourite web series, Classic Alice which is currently crowdfunding their second season with Indiegogo. The header on top of my  blog is from their campaign and you can follow it on Twitter #SaveAlice.

So, 4 reasons you should watch, support, follow and share Classic Alice:

1. It is brilliant. The way that man burping the theme to the Muppets was brilliant (Cabin Pressure reference, excuse me). The way things that surprise you all the time and keep your attention are brilliant.

2. The characters. I don’t think I’ve loved characters more than Alice and Cara and Andrew. I don’t remember hating anyone as much as a certain someone at a certain point in the show (no spoilers, you have to watch it to find out). Even the characters who appear only on Twitter are awesome. And the many layers of Nathan! Nathan is so great!

3. The actors. The show really gives away what a loveable bunch these people are. And if it doesn’t, follow them on social media, tweet at them and you’ll find out. The transmedia creators are obviously included in this.

4. The fandom. About half a minute into the first episode you are going to start wishing Alice was real. And that’s the best part! Meet #Ocelittles! If you dare to open your mouth, or rather tweet at the characters and then follow and tweet with other people watching and supporting the show, you will get to know dozens of Alices. What’s even better, Alices from many parts of the world, of different ages and backgrounds and opinions on books, books, books and… other stuff.

I was going to make this a list of 10 reasons, but I think these are really all the reasons you need.

So please watch, share and donate to the Classic Alice Indiegogo campaign.

The death of a fictional loved one

Today’s blog is dedicated to the memory of Matthew Cuthbert.

I remember sobbing inconsolably at Matthew’s death the first time I read Anne of Green Gables. He is such an important character and Anne’s first family.

The Green Gables Fables really made us all fall for Matthew again. He was awkward and sincere and very loving, the first person to stand between Anne and the world.

Ok, I can’t write about this without getting emotional.

Well done, Green Gables Fables! I’ve already seen theories on Twitter that they could just have called him into secret service or the aliens might have taken him. Still, I’m glad the series went with the original plot. It is such a turning point in the novel series. Doesn’t mean I won’t be grieving.

Anyway, so, as you might have gathered, Green Gables Fables is a web series adaptation of L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. I’ve been watching it since the first video hit YouTube, over a year ago now. Or maybe since someone mentioned that this web series was in the works, GGFables and Anne’s Tumblr, Instagram…

Although the series is probably getting more attention as things start to proceed with the Shirbert (friend)ship, I love the unhurried pace the series has had. The creators are students so that might affect the pace, luckily, since it makes the series seem so real, even though the story is one that I’ve known most of my life!

Matthew’s passing and Anne’s video after that was not the first time this series has wrung tears from my bleeding heart. Knowing how the story proceeds made Ruby Gillis’ vlog about finding love so touching that it made me curl up in a ball of web series feels and eat a whole lot of chocolate. The actors, and casting in general, are so wonderful that I am in denial that these people do not have the destinies Montgomery penned for them over a hundred years ago.

There are so many things I could say about Gteen Gables Fables, but I think the most important is just that. How the creators have been able to bring the characters to life, from this well known and well loved book. My favourite thing still is that I AM FOLLOWING MRS LYNDE ON TWITTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!