By Amanda Thornton, AKA “Media Manda”
Development Assistant, Red Arrow Industries
Web Series – Carmilla
I discovered a little web series called Carmilla back in the fall of 2014. The web series started very small, and now has hundreds of thousands of fans all over the world. SmokeBomb Entertainment, the digital arm of Canadian production company Shaftesbury, produces the series. The YouTube channel that uploads the series is KindaTV (formerly VerveGirlTV).
Feminine Hygiene brand, U By Kotex is an executive producer. There are small bits of product placement throughout the series in the form of t-shirts, tampon boxes, and pad boxes being seen around the room in scenes. The series has a predominantly young female fan base, so it makes since for this company to sponsor the series. I’d say the only downside is that some fans do not have U By Kotex available in their countries, so they can’t purchase the products.
About the Series
The producers at SmokeBomb were looking for a web series to develop that was based on a public domain novel that could be modernized for an online millennial audience.
They decided on a novella called Carmilla that was written in 1871 by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. The novella is one of the earliest works of vampire fiction, predating Bram Stoker’s Dracula by 26 years. The book is told in the first person through the eyes of a young woman in Eastern Europe who is preyed upon by a female vampire called Carmilla.
The first season of Carmilla begins with freshman Silas University student Laura Hollis going out to a party with her roommate Betty only to wake up the next morning to find her roommate missing with a mysterious note stating that Betty no longer attends Silas University. Laura then gets a new roommate named Carmilla.
The first and second season of Carmilla consist of 36 three to seven minute episodes. There’s also a prequel season called season zero. The final season premiered September 15 and will be released in three acts over YouTube with bulk episodes being uploaded.
The definition of transmedia storytelling is the technique of telling a story across multiple platforms and formats using current digital technologies. The way the creators use social media in this web series is what makes it unique. There are two Twitter and Tumblr accounts that are each curated by the writers/creators (Ellen Simpson and Jordan Hall) of the show. One is written in character for Carmilla (Twitter, Tumblr) and the other is written in character for Laura (Twitter, Tumblr).
At one point in the first season, one of the characters (Lafontaine) in the show took over Carmilla’s Twitter account. It was very obvious to the audience that it was not the same character. It also happened in real time with the web series, so after the episode aired on a Thursday, and the next episode aired on the following Tuesday, the characters were tweeting ridiculous things from Carmilla’s account.
To date, Carmilla has 35 million views and KindaTV has 175,000 subscribers on YouTube. The final season is winding to a close this October with the final batch of episodes to be uploaded October 13. The series has won a Canadian Screen Award and a Rockie Award for Branded Content at the Banff World Media Festival.
The show’s production value for season three is way better than previous seasons and they even added a new cast member. Enrico Colantoni, of Veronica Mars fame has joined the show as Laura’s father.
Overall, this is a really good series if you’re looking to watch something different. All episodes are streaming on YouTube and Fullscreen!