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"She's more than that, she gives me something you can't."
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December 11 2007

Joss Whedon, Friends & Fans on the Picket Line. IGN covers ME Day.

I'm hesitating to start another thread, but I just read that Joss will be delivering pencils tomorrow! Woo Hoo! Will anyone be going down to watch?

Oh and dulce_serenidad, thank you for this article, it is really a good one!
I'm going to the pencils delivery day tomorrow, my last day in LA before flying home. Joss is spot on in that interview, I do want to see my favourite shows and Dollhouse but not at the expense of screwing the writers.
It's so short sighted, if the studios get their way and break the WGA then many, many writers will leave the business and even working writers will take other jobs to support themselves, leaving them no time to work on their own projects. In a year or so the studios will be short of great new specs, short of good, experience, writers to work on their shows and will be saying "Hey! Where did all the writers go? We need writers dammit!"

And maybe a few of the top writer/showrunners will look at the internet and get finance to make a show for download. We've seen a couple of bands bypass the record labels and sell direct to their fans, who actually needs the networks or the studios?

The studios might be regretting pissing off the writers in a couple of years...

[ edited by zz9 on 2007-12-11 07:01 ]
We've seen a couple of bands bypass the record labels and sell direct to their fans, who actually needs the networks or the studios?

It's far easier for a band to sit in some home studio somewhere, record, and then rip the tracks to mp3 or burn them to cd to sell online than it is for a writer to find the entire production staff to film a television series and stream it online.
harder, but not impossible. it may come to that. more likely is producing abroad though.

and what a great article! it's nice to see positive things about the wga and the man himself.
Very true bix, an hour long drama is easily $2-3million and episode. But play the studios game, download the episodes with adverts then sell the DVDs later. If you don't have $60,000,000 payoffs to execs and the rest of the studios overhead to subsidise the break even point is way lower. And you don't have to deal with the studios accounting smoke and mirrors in getting your cut.
Now all we need is a experienced writer/showrunner with a good track record of shows popular with the online community and a history of bringing shows in on time and on budget...
Now all we need is a experienced writer/showrunner with a good track record of shows popular with the online community and a history of bringing shows in on time and on budget...

That's all? How about the $2-3 million per episode just to produce the thing to begin with? Surely you don't expect advertisers to pony up that much money up front.

But back on topic: SO far, I think this is the article that other reporters need to read, since so many of them seem to not quite understand what's going on here, what's at stake, or the nature of the voices on the writers' side.
Not advertisers, Wall Street. Tom Cruise just got half a billion to make some movies, a tenth of that could make twenty episodes of a show.
Someone, sooner or later, is going to take the risk and do this.

And I'm not so sure the reporters don't understand what's going on. They just remember who pays their salary...
I just realized that this happened in LA!!! For some stupid reason I thought it was somewhere else!!! I could have made it but I'm a short-changed malcontent person who happened to not read about this thing properly. I will hate myself until I hopefully somehow strike it big in the comics industry and just happen to be in the same room as Joss. Hopefully it will all work out that way, but there are a lot of things I need to do before than so I will just have to hate myself until that happens.
Hey! That's Wyobar in the pink shirt behind Joss in the article photo.

Also, in an amusing note- J. August Richards was apparently there twice. (grin)
Hey! That's Wyobar in the pink shirt behind Joss in the article photo.

Check the gallery. She's also right there walking next to Felicia and Summer.
ZZ9, I believe you're right someone sooner or later is going to create a "UnitedWriters" organization/studio where writers can have more of a say in how their ideas get produced and receive a larger part of the proceeds.
But whenever I see this idea mentioned on the internets it's almost always by people outside the existing system, the people successful within the current set of rules doesn't want to change them, just get a slightly bigger piece of the pie, it's more likely that change is going to come from the new people clamoring to get in, than from the people already on the inside.

A prolonged strike could actually be seen as providing a giant chance for anyone who want to change the rules of the game, all the pieces are available, new distribution channels not studio owned, money looking for investment oppportunities, creative and support people looking for work, all that's missing is people with the ability to put the pieces together in a way that makes sense.
Good to see Joss refusing to even get hypothetical about fan negativity (of which i've also seen pretty much none) and sticking up for us. I think he's canny enough to see the potential for a misquote by now (no matter how onside IGN may be, it's still a risk).

One problem I see with the direct payment model is a possible lack of variety. In some ways it'd be even more Darwinian and cut-throat than it currently is because if you think networks don't give shows a chance now (and they don't) it seems to me like it'd be even worse if the funding came in episode by episode chunks (just from financial necessity).

(and if it doesn't come that way then you're back to square one, with someone having to front huge amounts of cash at the start - and that someone no-doubt wanting quite a big say in how the show's made)

I'd also say that right now, the distribution mechanism isn't quite there which means the first people to try this are probably gonna get burned (bit of a chicken and egg situation - demand drives the underlying technology but without the technology can you generate sufficient demand ?).

That said, it's people like Joss and Ron Moore that could establish a bridgehead into a new model, their fans are dedicated enough to pay a premium price for new material (the one downside being that both of them tend to do genre stuff and so create the more expensive type of TV). And D2DVD could well be a happy medium to start with (it at least cuts out the networks, source of much interference it would seem).

Maybe a return to a sort of "patronage" system might work in the near term, while infrastructure and attitudes catch up ? There have to be a few rich sci-fi fans out there willing to stump up e.g. $5-10 million for a D2DVD film or set of episodes that they'd almost certainly get back over the long haul (this seems to be MGM's exact reasoning with the Stargate D2DVD films).
and what a great article! it's nice to see positive things about the wga and the man himself.

Well it was written by a fellow Whedonesque poster.
There have to be a few rich sci-fi fans out there willing to stump up e.g. $5-10 million for a D2DVD film or set of episodes...

Even if this were realistic (and I continue to believe that it is not), this is never going to happen until and unless there's clear legal terminology in the relevant contracts which spells out in no uncertain terms that the patron doesn't get any say in what the creator is making.

Let's see how many rich people would accept those terms.
I like the idea of D2DVD but then the Babylon 5 Lost Tales DVD wasn't well received (in the sense that it was pretty much damned by most reviewers).

unless there's clear legal terminology in the relevant contracts which spells out in no uncertain terms that the patron doesn't get any say in what the creator is making.

Ha. Can you imagine if our crazy fandom actually had a say in the running of things when Buffy, Angel or Firefly was still on the air. Been a nightmare.
Well that's specifically why I said "rich sci-fi fans" theonetruebix (I was actually thinking of Paul Allen when I typed but e.g. Bill Gates would also fit. Bit nerdy, probably a sci-fi fan - definitely in Allen's case - and could, literally, lose $10 million and not really mind). It'd need to be a fan that trusted whichever creator they were giving the money to implicitly. And yes, obviously there would need to be contracts and so on precluding interference.

Is it realistic ? Maybe not but getting finance from someone that doesn't see it purely as a business opportunity is the only way you'll get money up-front without any interference IMO. We are, by most accounts, one of the most organised fandoms around and i'd be absolutely amazed if even Whedon fan pledges/donations could come anywhere near the budget for a single episode of TV science-fiction, nevermind a pilot or ongoing series.

(and B5 was done too cheaply IMO though the stories themselves weren't too bad. I still bought it though, despite the decidedly mixed reviews, specifically because I think these sorts of things should be supported. Paid for "Sanctuary" too - at hugely inflated prices BTW, even after they reduced them due to complaints - for the same reason)
Saje,why do you believe that the distribution mechanism isn't quite there yet ?

As far as I can tell a combination of the existing Internet distribution and DVD sales methods should work very well.
If you combine ad supported initial releases, ongoing sales from iTune or similar direct to customer sales with DVD sales, whats missing ?

The demand for entertainment is going to continue to grow for the foreseeable future, a "UnitedWriters" type organization would be in a good position to create content for more specific audiences, like the Sci-Fi crowd while leaving the 'mass market' to the existing studios.

Bix and Simon, agree on the patronage bad idea in most cases, if you want to build a long term thing, the possibility of a profitable product is neccessary.

Simon, it's getting to the point when a lot of links are written by fellow Whedonesque posters, specially on subjects like ME Day and the strike, hope that doesn't impede the witty and critical Whedonesque commentary I'm addicted to ?

[ edited by jpr on 2007-12-11 12:27 ]
Simon, it's getting to the point when a lot of links are written by fellow Whedonesque posters, specially on subjects like ME Day and the strike, hope that doesn't impede the witty and critical Whedonesque commentary I'm addicted to ?

I would love to read an outsider's unbiased opinion of ME Day and the strike (in terms of relevance for our fandom and what Friday actually achieved in real terms) but unfortunately there doesn't seem to be many, if any, around.
Yeah, i'm always interested in the outside perspective too. My own feeling is that the AMPTP don't give a damn about fans picketing BUT the writers surely do (and their morale is critically important if they're in it for the long haul, as it now seems) and it does raise the strike's profile and get the issue out there.

jpr, I don't think yer average Joe will download TV shows (yet) and I think if they did the net would creak to a grinding halt very rapidly (the infrastructure isn't there for that kind of huge uptick in data transfer at the moment).

I also think it's easy to get the impression from online interactions that everyone's fine with the technology and it all works so simply that anyone can use it. Well, my mum and dad couldn't/wouldn't, neither could/would my sister (and even if they could download a show, they wouldn't have the foggiest about how to watch it on their TV - and with some DRM mechanisms that's not even an option anyway).

DVD wise, yep, obviously we can already make and distribute those but then you're moving, once again, away from a low cost, ongoing, low (but scalable) volume model out to something needing logistical support, up-front finance and spread releases (I think managing the release of a weekly ongoing series on DVD would be, err, non-trivial ;). And if you do want to scale it up, there's stuff like advertising to consider to spread the word outside the very small confines of a specific fandom (and even the "big boys" have trouble with that, witness 'Serenity').

(and yep, patronage won't work in the long term, they'd want to dictate what was made even more stringently than studios/networks do now - though possibly for different reasons. That's why I said "near term, while infrastructure and attitudes catch up" - we're already seeing "different model" experiments in this direction with e.g. Mark Cuban's support of Steven Soderbergh and "Bubble")
Saje, While I agree that for the 'average joe' TV via internet might still be some time off, I'd argue that there already is a critical mass of 'average Sci-Fi fans' and early technology adopters to sell a new show over a similar to iTunes service and DVDs.

Let the networks keep the slow adopters, make a show that appeals to the tech savvy, dont have the BSG numbers but I seem to remember that the series is one of the most downloaded series.
DVD should be the neccessary compliment with the sales channels, and production facilities well established.

Up front financing is neccessary to produce any type of quality show anyway, ask any pirate how much extra financing is required to produce DVDs.

I dont agree that the internet infrastructure couldn't handle one new show to be downloaded, among the multitude that already are.

In my vision (hallucination) someone should try it out with a small test, a good scripted sci-fi show done as the old serials ( with cliff hangers ) 10*20 minute segments shot with few special effects, on the cheap, sold on iTunes as separate episodes, Streamed with advertising from its own site, and edited together to a DVD with all the trimmings.
Put up a couple of the best moments on Youtube to advertise, if its any good the crowd will go wild.

Pity I dont know anywhere were there are a lot of good writers and production people with spare time and interest in trying something new.
Ah, seems we're talking at cross purposes. I thought we were on about replacing the existing model rather than becoming parasites of it (to use a loaded term ;).

If you're just talking about a show, then no, unless it became very popular, it wouldn't strain network infrastructure. And yep, sci-fi fans tend to be more tech savvy in general.

I'm not convinced the numbers add up though, if you just stick to the niche sci-fi market. AFAIK, BSG went for $1.99 on iTunes which means you'd need (at least) a million downloads a week to pay for it (I also don't know how many downloads it got but i'd be surprised if it was anything like that many). And then you have to consider the fans. I love BSG, if it was the only way then i'd definitely spend $40 for a series of it (especially at the current exchange rate ;), even without having the DVDs to keep afterwards. Not convinced that's widespread though and i'm not convinced you could get the same devotion for a brand new show that's yet to build an audience.

(and your "test" is basically "Sanctuary" BTW, have a look if you haven't already, the first 4 episodes are - legally - available for free on YouTube or here. Lowish budget segments of 15-20 minutes, created without sets so comparatively cheaply - it's made against a green screen, 'Sin City' style - and partly off the back of an existing successful TV show with a large, devoted audience - it shares some cast and creators with "Stargate: SG-1" though it's a totally different universe and story. Still waiting to hear how successful it was)
Saje, if you replace the term parasite with, 'adding new functionality to the existing system', I'll agree :)

Will have a look at this Sanctuary thing, since I'm not much of a Stargate fan, I must have missed it, which directly goes back to your earlier comment about how to get the message out, of course.

The concept as I see it will only work if it is possible to keep the costs low and put the money on the screen ie. if you disappear the studio overheads, does it really have to cost 3 Million USD to produce an hour of quality TV ?.

Will have to look for the BSG download numbers ( if available ) but I'll think you have to keep using advertising money to make it financially viable, if you rely only on customers paying for the shows you'd probably get the movie level of pricing
say 8 $ for 2 hours of entertainment, which people pay today for the social event or the DVD, but limits the audience.
Saje, the most successful show on iTunes is The Office, which has reached 7 million downloads. In total. Over years.

Basically, the directly producing TV idea is GREAT - except it does not work yet. At all. A failed TV show costs a network, on average, about $20m. (The producers estimate north of that figure, by the way). Most TV shows fail. A majority.

That's not to say it won't happen, successfully, but for the moment studios are going to be the people who produce nearly all popular entertainment, and I'd say it will stay like that for at least a decade, probably a lot longer. If anybody comes along and produces a popular series based online, those studios will come and buy the makers. They seek control, and they have massive amounts of money to keep it.

If I had the option between seeing Joss Whedon's Dollhouse produced on a shoestring, or Joss Whedon's Dollhouse produced by a network? I'm gonna go for the network version. That's how you have Joss, that's how you have Eliza. The show's budget is a million dollars per episode more than Firefly - it's gonna be extremely big in terms of look and universe - and I totally dig that. I just hope the people working on it get a much better deal.

[ edited by gossi on 2007-12-11 14:57 ]
Re patronage and artistic control:
opera companies, theater companies and dance troupes sometimes commission new works from a composer/playwright/choreographer who is not a member of the company. The artistic director is the one who decides whom to offer a commission to and may specify the theme of the work. Both the company's regular operations and new commissions are underwritten by multiple wealthy individual donors and businesses. The big donors have influence but not control over what gets performed. They understand their role to be support of the company as a whole, rather than picking individual works to finance.

Re financing a series by selling individual episodes:
in the nineteenth century, popular fiction such as Dickens' novels was serialized in magazines before appearing in book form, rather like graphic novels today. Books that appealed to a more wealthy and educated audience were sometimes financed by being published in limited editions available by prepaid subscription. Publishers did sometimes have a problem with falling demand for later volumes of multivolume sets, and had to shorten runs for lack of money.
Anybody worried if the strike goes on for a loooooooong time, Dollhouse will fall by the wayside? I totally support the writers and I will never say "It's been too long, they should give up." I'm not predicting Dollhouse will be sacrificed. But I gotta admit I'm a little worried. If the strike ends at the wrong time, Fox may decide they don't have room for it. There may be some revenge against the more vociferous writers. Hell, maybe even Joss and Eliza might be in a position where they'll have to move on.
My impression was that Joss et al had a signed commitment to seven episodes from TPTB ? Course, Fox can always pull a swifty and do their mis-ordering and/or pre-emption trick but given the commitment, that seems counter-productive. Unless there's some "sunset" clause or other get-out they can exercise ? Guess it's a worry but hills of beans etc. - this strike thing's bigger than one show, even one from the Mind o' Joss.

Saje, if you replace the term parasite with, 'adding new functionality to the existing system', I'll agree :)


Dear Fox TV,

Don't be alarmed and please rest assured, we are not seeking to restore creative control to the artists and end your years long tyranny over TV output, we are merely "adding new functionality".


The Future


That's interesting janef. Makes me wonder about anthology DVDs (as with the print magazines that Dickens, Conan-Doyle etc. were serialised in) of various episodes/segments or even short films from various indie writers/producers etc. They could operate it on a sort of co-operative basis and share the fixed costs (which is kind of the "UnitedWriters" idea jpr mentions). Might allow them to appeal to a wider audience and avoid the small market problem.

(where did you get that figure for 'The Office' BTW gossi, and were there any others there ?)

[ edited by Saje on 2007-12-11 16:18 ]
I have to think Fox is more interested in what they believe to be a potential source of high revenue than in punishing anyone. They are a business first and foremost and the reasons they committed to Dollhouse will likely still be valid when it comes time to produce it. Not saying that if a full season or more passes by they may have a radical strategy shift where the Dollhouse concept is suddenly not a great fit, but lets hope it doesn't come to that.
Yep, it's all about the Benjamins.

Watching them "negotiate" is testament to that, if nothing else.
Gossi, have you seen that "Sanctuary" show Saje mentioned ? That's definitely one of the ways in which future Web TV is going to be made, not a surprise it is done in Canada, Hollywood seems to be more locked into the company town mindset.

Saje, thanks for the tip on "Sanctuary", that's pretty close to what I had in mind, will be interesting to see how it develops, really hope they can make it work thereby showing others whats possible.
Though Gossi have a point in that the studios likely will try to buy out any small competitors, but smart producers now know to do it the Lucas way, let them buy distribution rights but keep ownership of the brand, anyone who can hold out for that kind of deal keeps control and the big bucks.

Re. The future adding new functionality, I think we all realizes that the studios are not going to disappear tomorrow even if the current strike could act as a "dinousaur killer" event, it will take them a while before they realize they are dead, even the record companies who have been walking dead for a couple of years are taking their time slowly realizing what hit them.
Hehe... Nathan's wearing a Brown Coat.
Best. Hair Day. Ever.

ETA: The following quote makes me very, very happy. Buffy happy.

[Dollhouse is] "basically going to deliver as many different genres and as many different identities and as many different rhythms and feelings with Eliza. And that was the idea of it, was a show that would keep both of us on our toes and that would really challenge us, both in terms of storytelling and in terms of the morality of the show. It's very dark and very weird. Eliza is a good, smart, liberal, dedicated person, who wants to make a show of substance. When we had lunch and I came up with this idea, she got it instantly. She got the humanity of it. She's perfect for it. It's really about showing America how much Eliza can do that she hasn't had a chance to do yet."

[ edited by Pointy on 2007-12-11 19:21 ]
Boy, I hope Joss is right in believing that Eliza has that much range. I can't say that I see her as the Streep type, disappearing into a role. She always seems to be some version of Faith to me.
"According to fan reports, Buffy herself, Sarah Michelle Gellar, began the day by bringing 1000 donuts to those in attendance."

Yeah I don't know if I buy that one. Most of the article is okay, journalistically speaking, but SMG's alleged early morning appearance is hearsay and unconfirmable. Not worth the virtual ink. If she's not gonna get her hands dirty with the rest of the gang and actually walk the picket line? I don't think she should be mentioned among the list of people who did. Ooh. She brought donuts. Maybe. Meh.

Oh, and ShambleAu, I have every confidence that, given the opportunity, Eliza can pull off any role Joss would throw at her. If there's a weak link in her chain, it's her voice. She doesn't have much of a vocal range, but with proper incentive she can do anything from victorian era to streetpunk without batting an eye. That's not going to be the problem with the series.

The real problem will be relatability. Getting the audience to connect with Echo despite the fact she's having difficulty connecting to herself. That won't be Eliza's ball to bat around though. That'll rest with Whedon and his writing team, then Eliza will do the best she can with what's put on her plate.

I'm telling you. Give this actress a riding crop for a prop, and she'll convince you she can ride a horse. =)

i couldn't say the same for SMG but let's not get into that.

[ edited by ZachsMind on 2007-12-11 20:22 ]
I can't say that I see her as the Streep type, disappearing into a role.

This still baffles me. Eighty percent of the time when I see her in a film, I go "oh look there's Meryl Streep acting". Hardly disappearing, that.
She played Sarah Michelle Gellar-as-Buffy in "Who Are You?" and I believed. Also, she stole scenes from the Greatest Actress of All Time throughout Buffy season three. Sometimes I think Joss is the only writer/director/showrunner who grasps all that actrons are capable of giving.
Backing up Pointy's ..uhm, point, Dushku did a VERY convincing Buffy in "Who Are You" particularly the scene between her and ASH when Giles was determining who Faith/Buffy really was. Eliza sold that scene with double coupons.

Compare that to Gellar hamming it up in the mirror. Not as convincing a Faith. Funny, yes. Entertaining? Surely, but not as believable.
Eliza did indeed do a great job as Buffy... but I think Sarah had the harder job in that instance.

Eliza was playing Buffy. Period. She was Buffy in Faith's body, and made no attempt to conceal she was Buffy in Faith's body.

Sarah had to play Faith pretending to be Buffy. She wasn't just Faith in Buffy's Body, she was Faith making a concerted effort to be Buffy... and yeah, she hammed it up, because Faith sees Buffy as a ridiculous caricature.

I think both actresses did a great job in that story, but I really think Sarah had the harder job to pull off in that instance. Hell, Faith is inherently a more complex and difficult character than Buffy in many ways, and you add to that a deliberate attempt of one character emulating another character... it's a difficult job.

And I really have to say I've been seeing a great deal of SMG hatred and anger here and elsewhere lately, and I can't get on board with that. I'm all about the Eliza love, but there is no contest between her and Sarah that demands you love one and hate the other.
I see you are giving SMGs nut guard a workout, still IMO nothing gets through that sucker, must be the teflon. ED havent got the same cover yet, let's hope Dollhouse will give her the chance to earn it.
"Sanctuary" is totally cool! If you haven't checked it out, please do. I laid my money down and bought all eight episodes. Waiting for more. I also purchased "Babylon 5 - The Lost Tales," which was made in similar fashion (green screen, CG, etc.)

I'd love to see Joss/Mutant Enemy work done this way. Cost is a big issue for SciFi/fantasy, but CG can make it reasonable. Plus, if one doesn't have to pay for overpriced suits and personal jet aircraft, it gets even cheaper. The DV+CG+Internet model is definitely the frontier, and it's only gonna get better.

I'm excited! :)
More coverage of MED over at comic book resources.

[ edited by zeitgeist -linkified- on 2007-12-11 21:07 ]
I haven't seen a lot of hatred of any particular person/character to be spewed around here and its not going to start now. I have seen a lot of people posting claiming to have seen it however... So lets just bypass the part where we all argue about who hates who and why and skip to the part where I say "Skip to the end..." and everyone just doesn't bother arguing over who did or didn't 'hate on' whom :)
I haven't seen a lot of hatred of any particular person/character to be spewed around here and its not going to start now.

I hate you.
What Pointy quoted upthread and the pencil delivery news => HAPPY.

I don't understand the acting debate. James Leary clearly blew everyone else off the screen. Disappeared into the role. Literally.
My friend and I took a very early very long lunch and made it over for the first leg of the pencil delivery. Danny Strong made an appearance, which was an awesome surprise. I posted a mini report thing in the Pencil Day thread at F4W.
theonetruebix, if Streep was a bad example for you, then some other actors' actor, your choice. To me, Eliza is the kind of charismatic star who's always playing a variation of her own persona in every role. As far as Pointy's argument that she stole scenes from SMG in S3, I don't deny it, but that's charisma, not range. She was convincing in that one scene with Giles in "Who Are You" when she could riff off someone's mannerisms and conversational style she was familiar with. The rest of the scenes, I didn't see much Buffy there.

Whether she can convincingly create entirely new characters with new mannerisms, new ways of moving and thinking every week is another matter entirely. That time factor alone would be a huge challenge for any actor, including ones with more technical chops than she's shown me so far. Try to imagine Eliza as, say, a proper Victorian, a Southern church lady, a timid, diffident housewife, and a sophisticated business-woman all in one month. I just can't believe she could pull all of those characters off equally successfully. Now if she played a street punk, a rocker, a sex bomb, a tough-as-nails working class character in a month, there'd be no problem, because they're not that far from Faith.

I'm not down on ED at all, even if this seems harsh. I want her and Joss to pull this off more than anything. Joss knows her abilities better than I do and I hope like hell I'm proved wrong.
I'd argue that theonetruebix doesn't hate zeitgeist but i've already skipped past this bit.

(you should see what happens after the credits. Couldn't believe it, I mean, a kipper FFS ? At that altitude ?)

Just to throw that poor moggy back in there though, I actually thought Eliza, great though I think she is, was just a tad obvious playing Buffy in places (when she meets Giles for instance she does this "Buffy thing" with her hair which just looked too mannered to me, too much out of the acting playbook). They both did a generally great job though I reckon.

Was the pencil delivery impressive Lady Brick ? How many lorries ?
Rumor control about the donuts: I was standing at the snacks table at about 11-something when SMG's ASSISTANT drove up and dropped off the Krispy Kreme boxes (maybe 6 boxes, maybe 10, I'm estimating), and said, "These are from Sarah Michelle." Maybe some people watching from a distance were confused because the very nice assistant was short and had her blonde hair up in a little pony tail. So, donuts: FROM Sarah Michelle, but NOT delivered BY SMG, and maximum 10 boxes, which I don't think can possibly = 1000.
I knew I could count on you two :) This is probably just a sign that my deep and abiding hatred of/for the both of you is alive and well! :)
Saje, there was only one delivery truck (I think that's what you were asking, correct this idiot American if I'm wrong) but there were many many 20kg boxes. And watching the deluge of pencils into the hampers/carts was pretty impressive. I'll try to Flickr some pictures later, but there was a fair amount of press there, so keep an eye out for some coverage.
Yeah sorry Lady Brick "lorry" = "big truck" ;). And ta. Sounds good, hope it gets someone's attention.

I knew I could count on you two :)

I feel a song coming on ... *music swells* ... ... Nah, it's gone ;).
As far as cost of producing filmed entertainment, all of the parts to do so are cheaper by the day and more easily put in the hands of ordinary folks (for good and bad :)). There are now sub-$1000 1080p capable HD Camcorders, and you can edit the footage with ease with a copy of Vegas and decent recent Core2-based PC (or a Mac or a Linux box with FOSS).

B5 was originally FX'd using an Amiga for cripes sake and that made it to TV :) Granted you still need people who know what they are doing, but as with aspiring writers, there are aspiring fx folk who know how to use these cheap/free tools and make them look damned good, because thats what they can afford to use.

/music swells, music takes aspirin, swelling goes down.
*music has a stomach ulcer and therefore dies as a result of the Aspirin, Don Maclean actually wrong about which day it turned out to be*

Yeah, it's true that it can be done much cheaper nowadays. Alex Epstein posted on his blog about making a short film and it kind of amounted to asking aspiring/out of work actors for help or aspiring/out of work camera operators or aspiring/out of work ... etc. Indie film-making is one of the few areas that actually benefits from how many actors/writers/etc. are unemployed at any one time ;).

That said, even 'Babylon 5: The Lost Tales' faltered on the effects front IMO and those guys are total pros (I think they might still have been using a Video Toaster ;). And not much sinks a show faster or more surely than really bad acting so I don't think it's a matter of just slotting the pieces into place, otherwise everyone would be doing it.
You still have to find good people, its NEVER simple, but the money/studio isn't THE #1 key component.
Yep, agreed, the barrier to entry has come way down, even just in the last 2-3 years. With a bit of work you can turn 20 people milling about into 'Ben Hur' sized crowds or create entire cities on your laptop.

I feel like we should put on a show or something and damn the Principal, he can't stop us, not when we've got the kids on our side ! ;)
Especially if they're all wearing newsboy caps.
IMForeman: "And I really have to say I've been seeing a great deal of SMG hatred and anger here and elsewhere lately, and I can't get on board with that..."

For me, it's not a recent development. I became a fan of Buffy despite SMG's involvement, not because of it. I don't hate SMG the person. I don't know her. I don't care to know her. I'm not a fan of her acting style. Never have been. I've never been afraid or ashamed to admit that in here, and I'm not gonna start playing nice nice now. SMG is not the best thing since sliced bread.

I was not suprised to later learn SMG gravitated to Buffy almost directly from soap operas. With all that said, I do not come here to bury Caesar.

Dushku and several other Whedon alumni took time out of their busy schedules to hold picket signs and walk the sidewalk and chant and weather the elements and blah blah blah blah blah.

SMG had her assistant deliver donuts. Color me impressed.

ETA - ZG I've made my point several times before, and I'll do it again, when I feel it warranted. kthxby

[ edited by ZachsMind on 2007-12-12 00:28 ]
Oh, this ragtag band o' misfits... ;)

ETA - ZM, I believe you've made your point.

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2007-12-12 00:17 ]
Sometimes I really have very little clue as to what you all are talking about, but somehow it is still entertaining.
I got back from the pencil delivery, and am writing up a little report at and will post it - but just popped in to say that locally, it looks like KABC-7 4:00p (PST) Eyewitness News will be covering the delivery in a minute, so tune in if you're around & able...

ETA: Well, there was a teaser that showed the pencils "coming up," but the show is from 4:00p-5:00p, so it could be any time within that frame...

ETAA: Okay, just saw the coverage. Aside from the mis-captioning of a completely non-Joss writer-person as Joss Whedon, and getting to see my ass on TV as I helped roll up one of the hampers to the NBC gate, it was decent - albeit short - coverage, which also included some other picket areas, and Sherwood Schwartz on the line with his writer family...

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2007-12-12 01:45 ]
Posted some pictures at Flickr

I ended up pushing a big heavy basket with Joss and Dreamlogic. A great day for my last full day in LA and hopefull will make all the news shows, there were certainly enough crews there.
The delivery of the pencils....YAYAYAYAYAYAY! Yep, I just saw it on Jane's blog:
Ack, I wanna see!! (the news.)
Is it likely that this is going to happen again in the near future?
Don't knock somebody who sends donuts, please.
Xerox, word on the street is that this strike is going to last some time so I'd say it's very possible that these sort of events (ME Day, Star Trek Day, etc) will continue. I'm flying back to the UK tomorrow so I doubt I'll be able to do any more but I can recommend it.
It's not a con, no autographs etc but a chance to see writers and actors in a relaxed setting and show support to the people who create the shows we love.
I think that delivering donuts (or having them delivered) is more than other Mutant Enemy actors who weren't there and didn't send anything. I don't think we should assume that SMG was free on Friday and could have come. I wouldn't complain about others who didn't show up either, so it doesn't seem right to denigrate the donuts.

zz9 I think it is fabulous that you came all the way out to LA, and I'm glad it was such a good time. I am definitely wanting to get down there: picketing, chanting, marching in circles, and generally support the writers (any thoughts of coming to the Bay area, Joss? I'm sure Berkeley would let you protest!).
I think its awesome how they parked and stood on the wall.
Joss is Spider-Man!
We did not skimp on the pencils. Impressive display of support.
Bix, I'm working with a Pentium II laptop with 64 mb of ram. I'm amazed I even managed to upload the pictures!
Hey zz9, we are awed and appreciative you got the pictures up so quickly.
Don't knock somebody who sends donuts, please.

Especially when they live on the other side of the country.
Joss is Spider-Man!

That would explain a lot, actually.
Here's my report from Pencil Day - there's others on the same thread.

I'm sorry, I can't get my photos up on Flickr yet, 'cause there's a really weird and complicated ritual I have to go through to get photos off my phone, which includes using my partner's laptop, bluetooth and a goat sacrifice, so it'll be later tonight for that. *sigh*

I want an iPhone now, not "later for Christmas." Phooey on Christmas.
Hey, no worries. There are other photos to ooo and ahh at in the meantime. And we East Coasters wouldn't expect to see many photos of the day's events until tomorrow anyway. Or so I say speaking for myself. I do keep checking strike news in the evenings, but most stuff updates between when I stop checking and when I get to work the next morning.
As much of a fan of hers as I am, have never been convinced that Eliza has much in the way of range. Does she have enough charisma to carry a show even taking that into account? Quite probably IMO. I didn't think she played a convincing Buffy in Who Are You? at all, but I realise I could be in a minority on that one. The hair gesture took me so out of the moment because it was so glaringly her attempting to do a gesture that SMG as Buffy might do. It's my least favourite moment in that episode. I actually thought SMG did a good job at playing Faith playing Buffy though. At no point was she supposed to be acting like Faith straight out... so the mirror scene and scene with Spike seemed completely in character for Faith in Buffy's body to me.

Anyway, yay for ME day.
Regarding Eliza's range I am inclined to accept that if Joss thinks she can do it then I'll take his word for it. She had a small but crucial part in City By The Sea, oposite Bob Deniro, and was totaly convincing.
I've always been amazed how Joss can cast people who are perfect for the part and hire writers who are great at writing the parts and, having been fortunate to meet some of these people, almost all without half a donut in their mouths at the time, I'm amazed how he manages to pick people who are such genuine, nice, people who are unspoiled by the wave of adulation thrown at them.
If all we can do is give them a tiny bit of confidence in this strike, reassure them that there are people who support them, then it's all worth it.
Zachsmind, please don't speak to our mods like that. We don't want to bash actors here, that's been clear from the day we started. You'll abide by those rules like everybody else here.
Ha. Can you imagine if our crazy fandom actually had a say in the running of things when Buffy, Angel or Firefly was still on the air. Been a nightmare.

And very contradictary.

Joss is Spider-Man!

And unlike Buffy, he can stick to stuff.

[ edited by ElectricSpaceGirl on 2007-12-12 15:20 ]

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