Friday, 19 April 2013

A good time to be a fan of stories: The future of storytelling

Hank Green is a genius. That's essentially what he's famous for. Oh - and a nerd. He's a genius nerd.

He's also not an author. Not in the traditional sense, anyway.

Four years ago, Hank and his brother John (he of The Fault in Our Stars fame - more on him later) started a project: Brotherhood 2.0, which became VlogBrothers, which now has over a million followers on YouTube and spawned an entire movement in the form of Nerdfighters. An entire movement! The rules of Brotherhood 2.0: every day for an entire year, Hank and John would communicate via a vlog.

How to be a Nerdfighter

Every day, they posted a video, and their followers grew, and catchphrases caught on and soon enough their followers ruled the world. (OK, that hasn't happened yet. But just you wait...)

A year ago, Hank Green took the fun, success and audience he found with VlogBrothers and turned to stories: Pride and Prejudice, to be precise. And so the Lizzie Bennet Diaries were born. Hank worked with Bernie Su and LOTS of other people - including writers - to bring a classic piece of literature to people in a way that had never really been attempted before.

Hank Green introduces Lizzie Bennet

Lizzie vlogged once a week - the main way to follow the story. But you could also follow Lizzie and other characters on Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr, and as of right now, the first episode has had over a million hits. So far. Other characters showed up on the vlog, too - including a bow-tie sporting Darcy. Kitty became a cat. Mary? Lizzie, Jane and Lydia's cousin. All of the big scenes were there, tweaked for a modern day Elizabeth and a modern day audience. The language was kept a little old-school, meaning it still felt like Austen.

Episode 1

It was genius. An absolutely brilliant, clever, funny take on Jane Austen that used everything available to story tellers today to bring something to life to anyone who wanted to take part. And the audience it got was HUGE.

What all of this really means, is that with more and more new ways to get stories out there, it's a good time to be a fan, and it's a great time to be a storyteller!

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