Q&A: Brigitte Dale Moves to LA, ABC Family

Brigitte Dale, 2008 Yahoo! Video Awards’ Internet Personality of the Year, has been actively engaging with web audiences via her video blog since 2006 — and within about a month of moving from Nebraska to Los Angeles, Dale went from being a popular videoblogger to being a popular videoblogger with a deal with ABCFamily.com.

The Nebraska native’s regular updates focus on her views on life, the news and pop culture; her pixie-ish manner and dynamic production style contribute to a viewing experience best described as “cute.” We chatted via IM about her ideas on what makes a great video blog, if she plans to change formats for the new series, and what term she prefers for vlogging.

NewTeeVee: So how did the ABC Family deal come about?

Dale: I was talking to several companies about being involved in possible projects, but the ABC Family deal stood out to me because I could still be myself, be silly, yet also push forward a little in ways I wanted to. I wanted to improve but not change completely.

NewTeeVee: What was your original pitch?

Dale: It actually wasn’t really a pitch at first. I was having a great conversation with Joie Gharrity at Stage 9 [where the project originated before arriving at ABC Family] about what a strange and cool thing videoblogging was, and the differences between the Internet and other media. Then the conversation turned into what my ideal videoblog would be like, and then the conversation grew and more people got involved. I hadn’t realized that’s how pitches happen. I had thought you needed some whole Powerpoint presentation.

NewTeeVee: How did you describe that ideal videoblog?

Dale: I want to make videos that are fun and conversational, and for the conversation to continue from video to video. Like a conversation with friends, where you aren’t just trying to make each other laugh, and you also aren’t just talking about yourself the whole time — you might be silly, but you also have something to say and questions to ask.

NewTeeVee: What term you prefer — videoblog, vlog, some other fancy phrase?

Dale: I hate the word vlog — it sounds gross. Feels gross in my mouth, too. I usually say “video blog.”

NewTeeVee: What kind of topics are you going to focus on for ABC Family?

Dale: It will probably continue to be a random mix of whatever is interesting in the moment. Mostly relationships, lifestyle stuff, current events, culture. I may get in on that “how-to” madness that’s going on right now.

NewTeeVee: Do you foresee having to adjust your style in any way for the ABC Family audience? I mean, do you see the audience as being different from your previously existing fanbase?

Dale: This video blog has been very much “really me” from the beginning, so to try and adjust it at this point would inevitably feel really forced and fake. I don’t even know how I’d do it if I wanted to. I have an awesome mix of people from all over the world, from preteens to retired professionals, who participate in the videos now. That’s one of the reasons the conversation part can be so incredible. So I really hope the audience grows but stays diverse.

NewTeeVee: Do you know where on the ABC Family web site you’ll be positioned?

Dale: Not exactly, we’re working on a lot of that now. I believe I’ll have one of their “show pages” and a video channel of my own. And then my videos will continue to be on my own web site also, for everyone that’s used to finding them there.

NewTeeVee: Will the videos be ABC Family branded?

Dale: I’m not 100 percent sure. I think the videos themselves will not be, but the pages (the ABC Family web site and mine) will be. But that may change.

NewTeeVee: Do you have an exact launch date yet?

Dale: We’re planning on the very end of September.

NewTeeVee: Any plans for the first episode?

Dale: I’m still thinking about it. It’s not going to be some big, glamorous premiere-style special or anything.

NewTeeVee: No elephants?

Dale: If I could get an elephant here, I would totally put it in the first one… Great. Now I want an elephant in the show really bad.

NewTeeVee: You could go to the zoo — I think they have elephants at the zoo.

Dale: I could go to the zoo and pretend all the animals were there for my premiere.

NewTeeVee: That plan is aces.