Vicky Rex: a digital proposal

1. Description of the Project

I am going to create a short series of video blogs that chronicle the ascension of Queen Victoria, using her diaries and letters to gain insight into her thoughts on the matters at hand. While the information will be factual, I intend to update the language and costumes to be accessible to a contemporary audience. The first step will be to read and transcribe/transfigure diary entries and letters to build a definable character and a plot for the arch of the series. Step Two is to write out scripts. Step Three is to shoot. The episodes will be less than five minutes each and I intend to shoot between five and ten (enough to tell the story effectively and no more). Step Four will be to edit and polish the videos. Step five will be to upload to site, as yet to be determined; YouTube is a top contender due to its high traffic, but I need to do further research regarding copyright and the logistics of eventually removing the videos.

2. Comparison to existing projects

This project was inspired by four things: two previous Digital Public History projects, Leaving Arlington and the Supreme Justice podcast and two DFTBA-funded enterprises: Crash Course History and the Lizzie Bennett Diaries. I also see a similarity to the YouTube series Adult Wednesday Addams, in which writer/actress Melissa Hunter explores how the famously dour Ms. Addams would handle certain situations like one night stands and being sexually harassed. While there are many documentaries and several feature films of varying historical accuracy about my chosen topic, there is, to my knowledge, no other project like this about this monarch; on the flip side, there have been an increasing number of high-budget re-imaginings of famous monarchs: The Tudors, The White Queen, The Borgia’s, Reign; but these all sacrifice accuracy to be sexy, high-rating dramas.

3. Description of the audience

The audience for this project is, I hope, vast. Anyone who has a mild interest in history and uses YouTube to find non-traditional content, like Crash Course, would be part of my target audience. I also would hope to create something factually sound to provide a free resource to teachers – much as one of my literature professors used Black Adder to teach us about the writing of the Dictionary.

4. Plan for Outreach and Publicity

Since the project was partially inspired by The Lizzie Bennett Diaries and Crash Course History, I would hope to connect with the DFTBA team and ask them very nicely for a spot of free publicity.  Having access to an iSchool, I would work with the School Library specialists to publicize in their home institutions. There is also social media to leverage.

5. Plan for Evaluation

The primary evaluation will be simply if anyone likes it via a comments section and, should the platform be YouTube, the Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down buttons. On a larger scale, for example if the project was expanded, it would be useful to coordinate the instructional material with the Common Core (or, since I’m focusing on a foreign head of state, possibly the GCSE  or IBO standards).

One Reply to “Vicky Rex: a digital proposal”

  1. This is a fun concept. I think it has a good chance of finding and engaging an audience. I like how specific you are about what you will produce, with that said, I think 5-10 is likely an aggressive goal for the course time we have left. So feel free to scale that back to 3-5 for this. That would be enough to show how this would function as a serial but likely keep you from getting too bogged down in producing so much stuff.

    You nicely situate the project in a range of public history work and relevant web video projects and I think you have good reason to believe that this kind of thing could have a significant audience. Your plans for outreach and publicity seem solid.

    My one main suggestion would be to think about adding another layer to how you approach evaluation. It’s good to see how what you create is used, but it would also be ideal to get some evaluation of the content from subject matter experts. So you might consider finding a historian or two that has some expertise in this area and asking them to read your scripts and provide comments (serving as formative evaluation) and then to provide comments on the final produced works (serving as summative evaluation).

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