Kickstarter Review - 3 of 3
Our last two updates gave you a rundown of the Kickstarter campaign's goals, the budget, and the reasons why the DVDs took so long to produce. This update – our final one (we hope!) - deals with what we've learned from this experience and how we'll be avoiding these problems in the future.
After a solid year of working hard to get the DVDs and perks finished and sent out, it was an incredible relief for all of us to see tweets, photographs and messages from excited fans receiving their shipments and sitting down to binge-watch "The Lizzie Bennet Diaries" and the special features.
Despite a few final hassles to sort out, Brit could allow herself a bit of satisfaction in what she had created. "I think the final product is solid," she says. "For being the first DVD boxed set that I ever produced, I'm proud of it."
And now, she has some hard-earned wisdom on what works and what doesn't. "We know that volunteers sending in subtitles is not going to work. You have to have them professionally done. And if we'd had the budget to pay another editor a ton of money, that probably wouldn't have taken as much time and they wouldn't have made the mistakes."
Better communication would have also gone a long way – between the production team and the manufacturers, but also between us and our supporters. For instance, while setting the initial July 2013 goal was reasonable for the basic boxed set, once the project expanded we should have been more cautious about publicly discussing time estimates. The dates changed on us so often, it came across as a string of missed deadlines and only served to annoy the crap out of everyone.
Regarding the Kickstarter updates, there has been some debate over how detailed and frequent they should have been, and there are good points on all sides. A couple things worth mentioning: first, publicly discussing our difficulties with the manufacturers while the project was ongoing would have further strained our relationship with that company, and could have backfired.
Second, based on all feedback, we felt the majority of backers wanted updates only when there were reliable details to pass on, rather than receiving dozens of weekly messages with no news. And after the subtitles ordeal, Brit was hesitant to say anything unless she was 100% sure. "Most of the time, the only thing we could tell them is 'We're still working on it, we're still doing this,'" she says.
If you're wondering whether Pemberley Digital is thinking of going through this whole process again for "Emma Approved" or "Frankenstein M.D.," the answer is no. "We're really good at adapting books into web series," says Bernie. "We're not good DVD producers. So I think we should stick to stuff that we're really good at."
That doesn't mean EA or Frankenstein DVDs won't happen if there's demand for them, but these shows are being produced in partnership with companies who have the resources to take on such a project. It is highly unlikely that Pemberley will crowdfund a DVD ever again.
For now, everyone at Pemberley Digital and DFTBA is just relieved it's over.
"I hope the fans know we worked really hard on this, and I felt awful about how long it took," says Brit. "It was a monster that we weren't prepared to deal with, but we took it step by step and we pushed through it. I'm glad that the fans have it, and I really hope they like it."
Again, thank you so much for bearing with us.
Hank and Bernie