This past Friday and Saturday, I was among several hundreds of women at the BlogHer conference. I’ve never been to the Dinah or on an Olivia cruise, but I can imagine it’s sort of like that but with way more Mommy Bloggers.
Several lesbian bloggers were in attendance so I’d like to give them a little plug right here, before I give you the goods on what keynote speaker, Ilene Chaiken, had to say about new media and the future of The L Word (yes, it apparently has one). Check out Recovering Straight Girl, Deb on the Rocks, Queerosphere, GayMo, LesbianDad, Liza Was Here, Stacy Jill Jacobs, The Diversity Projekt and Sex in the Windy City.
That’s a lot of queer, right? There were others, too, but it’s hard to remember everyone. If you were there, or even if you have your own lesbian blog, feel free to let us know in the comments.
As I Tweeted on Saturday morning, I was watching Ilene Chaiken speak with BlogHer founder Lisa Stone, The Daily Beast‘s Tina Brown and Donna Byrd of TheRoot.com. As I’m sure most of you know, Chaiken’s venture into online media hasn’t been too successful thus far, as OurChart.com closed down within a year of its launch. The other two women on the panel are part of widely-respected sites, so I was very curious as to what Ilene would have to offer to the conversation.
Ilene’s comments were very much about her work with The L Word, and how she was able to get Showtime to take on a show about lesbians. When asked about getting sponsorships and making money for the show from corporations, she said she had made “some placement deals like an investment in capital” for the show, and that Subaru was the only brand that was willing to be part of the show first, when they needed a brand to get behind Dana’s corporate sponsorship as a tennis player.
“It is controversial and the audience wants it done artfully,” Ilene said of ad placements. “It is challenging and as we move online, it is becoming the driver.”
Although alluding to having many projects in the works (some online, some still on TV and film, some not “directly dealing with LGBT characters”), Ilene did not give many specifics on what we can expect from her next. However, she was posed the question, “Who killed Jenny?”
Ilene responded that she is in the scripting process of The L Word movie and that issue “will be addressed” in the film.
With many cheers and questions from the audience members directed toward Ilene or about reaching niche audiences like the lesbian community, it was clear that the BlogHer attendees appreciated having someone like Ilene on the panel. Although Brown and Byrd had more to offer in terms of web content and handling daily topics and stat information, an overwhelming theme at this year’s conference was capitalizing on marketing and money, which is where Ilene’s expertise could come in.
Perhaps the most other exciting note from Ilene on The L Word was on the question of how much sex is too much sex to drive readers to sites or viewers to your television show. Her response:
The reason for the L Word was sex. Sexuality.
It’s an interesting idea, to think that the reason for the show would be so sexual. It’s certainly debatable, but something I assume advertisers and marketers and corporate sponsors would either want to capitalize on or fear. And as far as I can tell from Ilene’s comments on looking for partnerships with companies in the future, she’s looking to capitalize on the sex and sexuality while “getting our stories out there.”
After initially admitting that she wanted to be the one dictating where her characters would go with The L Word, she realized viewers wanted to see their own stories told, and that became more important than having one person holding all of the power. She followed it up with the statement that you can’t please everyone, and isn’t that the truth?
What do you think about the plans for an L Word movie? Do you think the whole cast will be on board, and will it be something we’d see in theaters or more likely to air as a special on Showtime?