Are you sitting down? If not, you should be.
Actually, go put on your binge watching pants first. You know, those super comfy yoga pants you wear when you're binge watching rom-coms on Netflix. You know the ones.
Except this time you're going to be binge watching your new favorite web series. And you won't even feel guilty that you're neglecting your novel over there all alone on your nightstand because books take center stage in this web series.
Meet Classic Alice.
Classic Alice is the brainchild of series creator and star, Kate Hackett. It is the story of Alice Rackham, a college student with a huge drive to succeed. When she gets a bad grade on an essay because she isn't emotionally connecting to the material, she decides to take it a step further and live her life according to classic novels. Her friend, Andrew Prichard, uses the opportunity to make a vlog-style documentary about the process, and together they create Classic Alice.
Not gonna to lie, I totally binged watched all the episodes in, like, two days because it was just that good. I couldn't help myself.
Classic Alice is written and produced the by charming redhead who plays Alice in the show, the multi-talented Kate Hackett. I had a chance to talk to her about her inspirations behind the show and the show's future.
Fixed Baroque: What inspired you to create Classic Alice?
Kate Hackett: I was asked to write a book-recommendation YouTube vehicle for myself to host, but I don’t think I’m personally charming enough to host anything for more than 1 millisecond, so I proposed an alternative: what if we shot something in narrative form?
“THAT SOUNDS EXPENSIVE”, the production company declared.
“Not if we shoot in blog-format,” I slyly pitched.
“What, like Lizzie Bennet?”
Sigh. But yes, kind of like The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, an insanely popular web series that retold Pride & Prejudice in a vlog style format. Ours, however, would follow characters who are purposefully reliving classic literature. We wanted to encourage kids to pick up books that had some substance (i.e., if you like Twilight, you’ll love Wuthering Heights kinda thing!).
Eventually, the company moved to a different project but I decided to make the show on my own (with an amazing team)! And here we are.
FB: Why classic literature specifically? Have you always loved classics and/or do you have a meaningful connection to them?
KH: I think it’s really important for modern young adults to consider the root material; our stories are usually retellings of some other story written long ago. It’s interesting to see themes repeat over and over again (which is a lesson Alice really sees during our Macbeth arc). Additionally, these are books with underlaying meanings that speak to some truth about the human condition. I want to learn from those, you know?
I’ve always loved challenging myself and yeah, I think you could totally say that I’ve always had a big connection to the classics. I love them. I love seeing what people thought of their lives and their social conditions 100, 200, whatever-hundred years ago and I LOVE being astonished (I probably shouldn’t be) that we are STILL facing those same kinds of problems or thoughts.
FB: Because Classic Alice is a transmedia narrative (follow the link to learn what a transmedia narrative is and the challenges of creating one) and is active on social media, fans can interact with the show. Do fan interactions shape the show?
KH: Not really because we shoot everything at once and release slowly over the year. We can’t really go back and adjust or tweak anything because fans did or didn’t like it, and I wouldn’t want to do that anyway. This is the story that I want to tell and I hope they trust me enough to follow along with where I’m taking them. Sometimes we do miscalculate what they will or won’t see, but that’s the nature of the beast. Helps us learn for the next script iteration, though!
Not knowing much about the technical side of film production, it's easy to see the vlog-style narration of Classic Alice and think it doesn't take a lot to create. But between Kate writing the scripts, the actors (of which there are a handful), the film crew, editing, lighting, costumes, and more, the production costs add up.
And did I mention they're doing this in LA where the cost of living is a bazillion times as much as Birmingham?! Clearly they're dedicated folks.
I, for one, want to see more Classic Alice. The show leaves off on the most epic cliffhanger and I HAVE TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.
You can save Classic Alice from falling over the cliffhanger by donating to the Save Alice IndieGoGo campaign. Kate has already written the scripts for the next several books of Classic Alice and the $60,000 they raise will allow the team to produce more episodes and take the filming outdoors.
Real talk, y'all. Media ain't cheap. I hope you'll take some time to check out some episodes of Classic Alice (TRUST me, you'll love it) and donate to keep Alice reading and living her life according to classic novels.