For devotees of the author Jane Austen, the novel “Sanditon” remains a special, if frustrating, pleasure after it was abandoned months into its creation. If you recall, the book was left unfinished 11 chapters in, but was published nonetheless. This has led to numerous fan attempts to complete the novel, both in and outside of Austen’s style. However, this latest attempt may be the most unusual, because it’s asking its audience to decide how the story should wrap up.
“Welcome to Sanditon” is a new Web series from Pemberly Digital, the same creators behind “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.” But where that series of YouTube videos (which ran for 100 episodes) simply retold and updated Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” this new series of webisodes will allow viewers to create their own characters to interact with Georgiana “Gigi” Darcy and the other cast members of the show.
Using interactive elements from Theatrics.com, the features will allow viewers to help crowdsource story elements that’ll manifest in the series. The outcome will play out via the in-story beta test of a “life-revealing” application called Domino, the effects of which will be revealed to the viewer via Gigi’s videos.
In fact, judging by the show’s opening episode, you could be forgiven for thinking that “Welcome to Sanditon” is all about the mysterious Domino app…
For background, Domino the fictional app is also the creation of Pemberly Digital, the fictional company that just so happens to share the same name as the real company responsible for the series of videos the viewer is watching. Prior to the series launching, the real Pemberly Digital released a series of videos displaying what Domino was all about.
“Using Sanditon — where literally no one knows what Austen’s ending was going to be – as the basis for our next project seemed like the perfect way both for us to do something new and to be able to invite the fans to help create the town alongside us,” explained Margaret Dunlap, co-showrunner and co-creator of “Welcome to Sanditon.” Theatrics’ CEO Biff Van Cleve added that the recent launch of this storytelling platform is “well positioned to collaborate with innovative partners such as Pemberley Digital, who, like us, are committed to creating experimental entertainment that pushes the boundaries of audience interactive storytelling.”
Of course, fans will be invited to interact with “Welcome to Sanditon” in ways that don’t necessarily feel like they’re doing anything more than engaging in traditional forms of social media; there are at least four Twitter accounts attached to characters from the show that will offer additional information about what’s going on between episodes.
“Welcome to Sanditon” officially launched on YouTube Monday. Will you follow along and help complete the series?