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The Lizzie Bennet Diaries proved that fictional stories can be told through video blogs. What's Next!?
7,158 backers pledged $462,405 to help bring this project to life.

Kickstarter Review - 3 of 3

Posted by Pemberley Digital (Creator)

Hi everyone,

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

Xol1004, Matt Kimberlin, and 39 more people like this update.


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    1. Missing avatar

      Anne on

      Hello! I was delighted to receive my DVDs in the mail! Was delightedly watching through them--and one is MISSING! Disc 8 from sleeve 5 is not included.

      Who should I contact about this?

    2. Missing avatar

      David on

      I bought this Kickstarter as a present for my younger sister and we're both pleased with the end result. I have now re-watched LBD myself twice and enjoyed it. Might have to buy separate DVD box sets for myself and other good friends of mine who loved the series. Currently we're hooked on Emma Approved. If Emma Approved becomes available to buy on DVD after it finishes it's run, that would be great. We would definitely buy that in a heartbeat. Looking forward to Frankenstein M.D.

    3. Missing avatar

      Robert on

      "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"
      yeah, this is the attitude that got you in trouble. You're a small company known for closely interacting with its fan, doing a crowdfunding project. Transparency is insanely important and should be a priority.

    4. Pemberley Digital Creator on

      Hello everyone - just so you know, some DVDs are still in the process of arriving, particularly to our international supporters. If you have questions about your shipment, could you please send a message to We will tell them to keep a close eye on that account.

    5. Missing avatar

      Clockworkwasp on

      After chasing DFTBA in May they gave me a supposed shipping date but 10 weeks have passed since the supposed date and the parcel still hasn't arrived. What am I supposed to do? They haven't responded to my email.

    6. Missing avatar

      Susan Taylor on

      Not to be a pest, but I've sent a message via Kickstarter, posted comments on LBD posts on here and even tried Twitter and I've yet to receive any confirmation or other update on when, OR IF, I'm going to get my DVD set. Whomever runs the Twitter acct told me to contact via here, but alas that is coming up empty. I know I only donated $25 but I still feel I deserve some kind of answer/reply from someone. Anyone? Thank you!

    7. Mo Fowokan on

      I sent a couple of messages asking who to contact about my lack of DVDs, and haven't had a response. I'd be grateful if I could be given the most appropriate email address so that I can chase this up. Thanks.

    8. lore on

      Honestly, I went into this with eyes wide open, and it's too bad others didn't have the same attitude. You were inexperienced with creating a DVD package - I honestly didn't expect you to be even close to on-time. And I don't mean that as an insult but as a realistic take on the situation. I appreciated the added material, the adherence to strict quality control and the regular updates. I feel like my patient waiting paid off big-time, which is all I can ask of any Kickstarter.

      Isn't part of the purpose of Kickstarter to help creators explore new avenues for their work? I don't expect any Kickstarters to have experts behind them, although some do, and when people try new things, there's going to be inevitable delays or a crappy product. I'd rather wait through the delays.

      If it makes you feel any better, I bought a Kickstarter for my Significant Other as a birthday present three months before I bought into yours. That product gives regular updates, but seems to have no end in sight. You came through, big-time. That's what matters most. Thank you for everything!

      love, lore

    9. Missing avatar

      Heidi on

      My biggest gripe with the kickstarter updates wasn't the frequency. I agree with the choice to only send updates when there was reliable information and things were certain. What I found annoying, and what I know annoyed a lot of other backers, was information/updates being given at the Pemberly digital site and other places before being provided here. Kickstarter is where the DVD backers were located, and thus here should have been where those updates were given, not at other locations that kickstarter backers might not have been aware of or checked. Communication was not being given where it should have been.

    10. Missing avatar

      Leah Schaab on

      I believe when they said "based on feedback" that was also taking into account the large number of people who didn't post asking for updates. Sure, there may have been times when every comment on an update were requests for more frequent updates, but the number of people commenting was a minority of the backers. This is, to the best of my memory, my only comment ever about the kickstarter. I never even read most of the updates that were sent to us. I figured if it was really important, I'd hear about it on Reddit or Facebook. I'm probably not the only one like that. I realize that most kickstarter ventures take much longer than first expected and I've also worked for enough companies where various hurdles pop up out of nowhere. It's always weighing whether or not to over communicate or risk under communicating. They struck what they thought was a good balance.

      Anyway, I really appreciate all the work everyone, especially Brit, put into this. My husband and I truly enjoyed, and continue to enjoy, the series. He's bailed on me for Emma Approved but he's also looking forward to Frankenstein. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed that I'll be able to get DVDs of these and future series' even if it's not through kickstarter. It's great to see these amazing works made available in such an innovative format. So many of the kids I work with don't seem to have any knowledge of the classics. Armed with my DVD set, I'm convinced I'll snare the one that hates reading this summer. So thanks again for all the work and reaching out to a new generation of viewers! :-)

    11. Amanda Hitson on

      I usually just sit back and lurk in these situations, but I feel that I have to say something here. I am HIGHLY pleased with the products I received and never minded ANY of the wait. This was obviously a project filled with new and innovative ideas from the very start, and since I knew that going in, I expected there to be some delay. I often find that I drastically underestimate the amount of time it will take me to do a big project, so I hope that you all aren't being too hard on yourselves. Ultimately, you did what you said you were going to do and more, and that is an amazing thing. I also want to tell you that I have found this project, the web series, basically all of the stuff produced by Hank, and the things that are done at DFTBA to be incredibly inspiring. I want to live in a world where people can try new things, experiment, and just feel free to create without having to rely on large corporate sponsorship or traditional forms of media. You guys have shown me this is possible, and it has led me to try new things and be more creative in my own career as the director of a large preschool. You have inspired me to think outside of the box, so thank you all.

    12. RosyRazly

      when we*

    13. RosyRazly

      While I love the explanations and I think Brit is a rock star, I do have issues with this last update. The majority of the backers didn't want dozens of weekly updates? We didn't hear from you guys for over a month at a time... and we we got updates, it was often after someone took to Twitter to hound Bernie (who I will again give props for always getting back to people on there). It shouldn't be an all or nothing type thing when it comes to updating backers. I read the comments... it seemed like the majority of the backers would've liked an update every couple of weeks even if it was to say that there was no news to report....but then again, it seemed that none of our comments were getting read. =\

      Also, I think there are numerous ways to say there are issues with production that are being worked through without putting down a company. I completely agree with the being cautious about how you explain the situation, but rather, we got no explanations. I think if the backers knew how hard Brit was working, or that there were SO few people working on it, they (along with myself), would have been a lot more understanding.

      Regardless, I'm super pleased with my stuff and, while I still have somewhat negative feelings about the lack of communication, it is highly redeeming to FINALLY be pulled out of the dark on this project.

    14. Jami Good on

      I agree with Trish - "I'd keep it in mint condition if I wasn't so keen to watch it." :-)
      Thank you for giving of your holidays and time and effort and eyesight in order to be better stewards of our money, keep your promises, and provide us with a better quality product than you first intended.

    15. Trish Morgan on

      Any new project is going to generate a lot of learnings. You kept us updated (so we knew you hadn't scarpered with the money) and in the end I'm pleased I have a piece of Web tv history. I'd keep it in mint condition if I wasn't so keen to watch it.