From original works, to inspired novel adaptations, web series and transmedia storytelling are taking the Internet by storm. Leading the pack is a group of talented and kickass actors, bringing to life stories written by a group of equally talented and kickass writers. Episodes often range from 4 to 12 minutes and you’d be surprised as to how much can be delivered in each episode, especially with transmedia on their side.
For those of you who don’t know what transmedia storytelling is, it’s okay, I didn’t know what it was at first either. Essentially transmedia storytelling can best be described as another way of telling a story, allowing the writers to transcend the story beyond their weekly episodes. Most commonly, web series have taken to Twitter and Tumblr accounts, with created content by the writers, portraying the characters, often narrating or providing additional story lines. This technique was most recently seen with much success, from VervegirlTV’s hit web series, Carmilla.
From the brilliant Whedonesque minds of co-creators, Jordan Hall (writer) and Ellen Simpson (social media writer), Carmilla is loosely based on the vampire novella, of the same name, written by J. Sheridan Le Fanu. Set in picturesque Styria, taking place before Dracula and featuring young, naive Laura and vampiric goddess, Carmilla.
Like the novella, the web series features Laura Hollis (Elise Bauman) and Carmilla Karnstein (Natasha Negovanlis), but set in present-day and still picturesque, Styria at the fictional Silas University. Without giving too much away for those who haven’t seen the series yet (which shame on you if you haven’t!), Laura is a curious freshman with an aptitude for journalism determined to solve the mystery of the disappearing girls from campus, after her own roommate disappears and is quickly replaced with, you guessed it, Carmilla.
Season one follows Laura as she chronicles her investigation via vlog (for posterity’s sake), with the help of her friends, and she quickly finds out more than she bargained for AKA her feelings for her broody, creature of the night, roommate.
You’re probably wondering where transmedia plays a role, but the answer is everywhere. Throughout the season our characters are tweeting up a storm, giving us play-by-play accounts from their perspective.
Best seen during the hiatus between seasons, is the hilarious yet very serious storyline of Laura and her friends as they endure the harsh Austrian winter and a riddle-filled encounter with a kobold, depicted in a series of tweets leading up to the highly anticipated season 2 premiere. In addition, both Laura and Carmilla’s Tumblr pages have been regularly updated throughout the series, allowing for fans to interact with the leading ladies, something we so rarely see in regular television.
If you still aren’t convinced of the power of transmedia, the Carmilla fandom (self-proclaimed Creampuffs) loved the first season so much, they helped secure a second season through the show’s partnership with U by Kotex (because blood and vampires just make sense). The sponsorship allowed for the series to continue their exploration of other ways to expand their stories as well as connect with their fans. For example: U by Kotex’s informative video on ‘Do Vampires Get Their Periods?’ featuring Bauman and Negovanlis in character.
If you haven’t watched Carmilla, you can binge the first season now and catch new episodes of Carmilla every Tuesday and Thursday at 5:30pm ET on VervegirlTV.
Next up, I’d like to introduce another VervegirlTV web series, MsLabelled, a fashion series, created and written by the fabulous Alexandra Clarke.
MsLabelled centers around Ella, Label Magazine’s latest fashion editor’s assistant as she embarks on her journey in the highly competitive fashion industry, expect it isn’t exactly what she thought it would be. We follow Ella through her fashion vlog as she learns the ins and outs of the industry.
Instead of designing and learning first-hand from Label’s many talented designers, she’s more so a courier and coffee-deliverer. In the first episode, Ella’s burned (not literally) by her new colleagues enough to send any intern running for the hills but she’s determined not to let that get her down. Instead, Ella defends herself (and her style choices) to her colleagues, landing her some one-on-one time with Jeanne Beker, fashion designer extraordinaire. Beker presents her with a challenge to bring Label up to speed with the fast-paced online fashion blogging business, which Ella immediately excepts.
As Ella slowly begins to earn the trust and respect of her peers, she’s thrown into a wild goose hunt of finding out who the mystery gossiper is exposing Label’s secrets.
The gossip comes from Mirror/Mirror, a very real (at least in this series) and operating social media account, updated regularly as episodes are released. In addition, we get to follow Ella firsthand via her Twitter and Tumblr to get an inside scoop on what it’s like working for a fashion magazine, as well as her investigation into the gossiping mongrel that is Mirror/Mirror.
MsLabelled is currently on hiatus but you can catch the first 21 episodes now, before the series returns after their mid-season finale. MsLabelled is also strategically partnered with Schick ® Quattro for Women, providing branded content featuring the MsLabelled cast.
Tune in next Tuesday for Transmedia Pt. 2, featuring two web series from Pemberley Digital based on classic literary novels and if all the series binging leaves you wanting more, follow me on Twitter (@mrose220) while I live tweet Carmilla every Tuesday and Thursday!
Carmilla and MsLabelled are produced by Smokebomb Entertainment, an award-winning digital media company creating groundbreaking original transmedia projects and engaging convergent extensions for television.