How We Went From Obsessed Jane Austen Fans to Pro Podcasters
By Jillian Davis & Yolanda Rodriguez
“Hi, my name is Jillian. My name is Yolanda and welcome to… The Pemberley Podcast!”
Over 80+ episodes (so far), this has been the intro to our Jane Austen themed podcast. When we first started this journey, we set out to recap and discuss all 100 episodes of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a modern-day web series adaptation of Pride and Prejudice that was released on YouTube in 2012. And guess what? We did it! Starting in late 2016, we have covered every single episode and it has been quite the adventure. The web series, co-created by Hank Green (of the Vlogbrothers) and Bernie Su, meant a lot to us when it first came out, and means, if possible, even more to us now.
Our second interview ever, Hank Green!
In analyzing, discussing, and fangirling over this web series we both love, we have learned a lot about the fandom and about ourselves! From passionate fangirls to professional fangirls, here are the top 5 things we have learned about being a part of and contributing to the fandom since beginning this podcast.
1. The Jane Austen community is alive and well!
Before The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, it’s safe to say that we were much more passive fans of Pride and Prejudice. While we loved the love story aspect and appreciated the Keira Knightley movie adaptation (we’ll always stand by that one!) we did not yet go gaga over the various adaptations that came out. After the release of this web series, however, we had a whole online community of people to look forward to new episodes with which made it so much fun! Though the fandom may have been a little dormant, creating this podcast definitely felt like we were contributing to reinvigorating the fandom. Starting this podcast for us to share our thoughts and feelings about this web series also helped us to connect to the greater Jane Austen fandom and community.
2. People love talking about their work
In covering The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, we decided, in a bold move for us, to reach out to the actors, writers, and producers from the show for interviews. We were beyond thrilled that not only did many of them agree to come on as a guest, but they were very generous with their time to talk about the series and their beginnings in Hollywood. Whenever you find someone who’s as big of a fan of the thing you’re a fan of, it’s like you have found a new best friend! That’s how it felt to have each guest on. Don’t think for a second that we weren’t nervous reaching out to these people though! Both of us are naturally pretty shy, so we would draft up an email and read it over about 50 times before sending it out. It’s been a process of learning how to conduct a good interview, and tailoring each guests questions to what their involvement in the show was. Did we mention how nice everyone has been? We were clearly fangirling over getting to meet them, but we’ve learned over time how to play it cool, because in the end they’re just like us-- passionate fans!
Proof we met Ashley Clements (aka Lizzie Bennet!)
3. A decent mic, an online platform, and some pixie dust!
The Pemberley Podcast has been the first podcast that we’ve been part of and we had to learn a lot about how to run our own show! From the moment we decided that we wanted to make this show happen, we had to first learn what goes into making a podcast. The subject of your podcast is the biggest hurdle you need to get over, and luckily in our case the decision was easy-- we would talk about The Lizzie Bennet Diaries! After that, we needed practical items: a microphone, online hosting space for our sound, software on which to record and edit the episodes, and the social media to promote it. Once we acquired all of these things, the last magical element was fans that would be willing to listen to us run our mouths about our favorite web series. Lucky for us, that magic touch came with time!
4. Jane Austen fans are the best
We have been so lucky to have some wonderful and loyal listeners. The most lovely, smart, and thoughtful people on the Internet have given us the utmost support for dishing out episodes. Sometimes we say things on the podcast that are incorrect, or we didn’t do enough research. The Internet can be quite unforgiving, so it means the world to us that there are kind people online who will politely correct us, as if at a fancy dinner party, rather than yell like so many people often do. We make sure that at the end of each episodes, our outro includes all of the podcast’s social media handles and how our listeners can help us out by either leaving us a review on iTunes, donating to our Patreon campaign, or even emailing us with any comments. Because of this we’ve received some glowing iTunes reviews, received Patreon donations, and even some Jane Austen themed gifts! The thoughtfulness just warms our hearts.
5. Jane Austen is timeless
We like to begin each episode by talking a little about any Jane Austen news that we’ve heard over the course of the week, and believe it or not, we’ve almost always had something to talk about! Pretty impressive considering Pride & Prejudice is over 200 years old. Over the course of the last year and a half, we’ve discussed new book adaptations that have been written, television shows that are in development, new information about Austen’s death, and countless articles about what Mr. Darcy should’ve looked like (no disrespect to Colin Firth). The fact that we’ve been running a podcast about Jane Austen for so long, and have yet to run out of 200-plus-year-old-news tells us that if you’re waiting for the day when no one talks about or is not obsessed with Jane Austen, you’re going to have to wait a while.
MORE GREAT READS:
About the Author
Jillian is a HUGE fan of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Her fan credentials include an entire class in college devoted to Jane Austen, and another class with an emphasis on fandom, where she wrote an essay about the LBD. The essay received a B+ for discussing the series more than performing an actual analysis.
Yolanda was the sole street team member for The Lizzie Bennet Diaries in her hometown. She left notes in copies of Pride & Prejudice at her local Barnes and Noble to help spread the word about this web series. It was later discovered that co-host Jillian may have found one of said notes.
Find them here: