Outtakes Online: Sotomura stars in new web series

Nov. 4, 2013 | 0 Comments

BY MIKE GORDON / mgordon@staradvertiser.com

That perky actress on new web series “Emma Approved” is Hawaii’s Joanna Sotomura, and her role has given her a front-row seat to a new form of entertainment.

Not only does her character star in 4- to 6-minute YouTube videos, but they are also posted to every other social media platform you can think of: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest. It’s as if she was a real person.

Joanna Sotomura. (Courtesy photo)

Joanna Sotomura. (Courtesy photo)

“It’s another level of storytelling,” said Sotomura, a 2005 ‘Iolani graduate. “It’s interactive new media.”

Sotomura stars as Emma Woodhouse in a modern version of Jane Austen’s “Emma.” The series comes from Pemberley Digital and the same creative team that won a Creative Arts Emmy this year for its web series “The Lizzie Bennett Diaries.”

The “Lizzie” series created a cult following and spawned a web-based miniseries called “Welcome to Sanditon,” Sotomura said.

Sotomura’s version of Emma is a confident, strong-willed entrepreneur who owns a life coach/matchmaking business. She creates video blogs full of advice.

“She’s bossy and stubborn and a little self-righteous and there is something really fun about playing a character that is bold to a fault,” Sotomura said in a phone call from Los Angeles.

The series has 16 episodes completed, but Sotomura isn’t sure how long it will continue. New episodes debut every Monday and Thursday.

The experience is different from Sotomura’s previous roles, especially her feature debut in the 2011 horror film “Madison County” in which she was chased by an ax-wielding lunatic. As Emma, she has learned to turn the camera into a character.

“I think the biggest thing is interacting with the camera, actually having that be a character in the storytelling,” Sotomura said. “It’s weird to make direct eye contact with the audience.”
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Mike Gordon covers film and television in Hawaii for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Email him at mgordon@staradvertiser.com and follow him on Twitter. Read his weekly “Outtakes” column Sundays in the Star-Advertiser.

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