‘Lizzie Bennet’ Co-Creator Bernie Su Teams with David Tochterman to Expand His ‘Canvas’
By Sahil Patel
Bernie Su wants to broaden his horizons.
Su, one of the core creative minds behind “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries,” an Emmy-winning transmedia adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Pride & Prejudice,” has partnered with veteran TV and digital video executive David Tochterman to launch Canvas Media Studios.
The new shop, which has already sold a digital series to StyleHaul, will give Su the opportunity to pursue creative and storytelling endeavors beyond the transmedia adaptations he’s currently known for. (In addition to “Lizzie Bennet,” Su was also behind shows such as “Emma Approved,” “Welcome to Sanditon,” and “Frankenstein, MD.”)
Canvas will develop original, scripted, and multi-platform entertainment properties for a broad range of clients, from advertisers to publishers and even traditional studios and TV networks. These “digital content franchises” will include video as well as a variety of interactive elements that spur direct engagement with viewers and fans across platforms, the company said.
“Canvas is an entertainment studio that designs narratives for any and every ‘canvas,’” said Su in a statement. “We’re storytellers, whether we’re telling an original, adapted, branded, experimental, social, long-form, or short-form story.”
Su obviously has a lot of success on this front. “Lizzie Bennet” generated more than 60 million views on YouTube and in 2013 netted the Emmy for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media — Original Interactive Program. “Emma Approved,” which was an adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Emma,” featured a variety of brand integrations for clients such as Samsung, and resulted in Su and Tochterman getting an opportunity to present at the international Cannes Lions advertising festival.
The original series Canvas is producing for StyleHaul will be announced at the beauty and fashion YouTube network’s NewFronts presentation in New York on Tuesday, May 5. Tochterman said Canvas will announce several other digital and traditional media partnerships in the coming weeks.
Su is repped by Tochterman, a former TV executive and executive producer for Carsey Werner (“The ’70s Show,” “Grace Under Fire”) and Will Smith’ Overbrook Entertainment. On the digital side, he is a former executive at Innovative Artists and currently the owner of management/consulting company Versatility Media, whose clients include Su, YouTuber Meghan Camarena (Strawburry17), and PBS Digital Studios.