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February 08 2008

Joss Whedon talks future projects. He tells IESB.net that he will hopefully be filming his Summer Glau ballet "sometime in the late spring/early summer" and that "there's a few things I'm trying to do without the studios either for the internet or shorts". And there's some brief comments from Joss about the strike and support from the fans here.

As "Waiting in the Wings" is one of my favourite Jossverse episodes and Summer Glau bowing down to that bough in "Objects in Space" one of my favourite moments I am so looking forward to a Joss ballet.
I personally would love to see Joss' shorts, preferably in hi-def.

('low fruit' could be my middle name. But it's James ;)

I'd really like to see a series of short films either on the net or distributed some other way (an anthology DVD ?). It's a very ripe area for someone with Joss' following IMO and very flexible - he could do a serial or a set of vignettes that run the whole Whedonish genre-bending gamut from funny to deeply dramatic. And if he could coax a role from a certain rogue demon hunter that we've seen woefully little of recently, that'd be pre-fab win.

Not banoonoos about ballet but i'd watch one scored by J-dub with Summer in. Who knows, it might make a convert of me ?
But..Summer. Dancing.
That's all I need to know about this project to be sure that I'll love it. She's just so darn purty when she leaps all over the place.

And as for Joss and shorts- maybe I read it wrong, but it sounds as though he's thinking of going into fashion design.
Which is a bwah ha ha thought in itself!
She's just so darn purty when she leaps all over the place.

Unlike the rest of the time. Homely gal ;).
Speaking of Summer shorts, the River Tam Sessions were brilliant, economical, innovative storytelling, so glad Joss is further exploring/inventing the webisode.
Joss wouldn't be inventing the outside-of-studio-control webisode, as many have come before him. He'd be inventing one which doesn't suck, though. Hopefully.
No Ripper then? :(
"Joss wouldn't be inventing the outside-of-studio-control webisode"

A form this young is still being invented. He didn't just do film-or-TV-on-the-web, following the rules of one form and distributing it by another. He shaped his storytelling to the potential of the new medium. The River Tam sessions looked liked viral video -- excerpts from something recorded for institutional reasons not meant for public consumption. The sessions came out in apparently random but in fact intricately structured order. (If you compare it to other ventures in out-of-order storytelling, you see what he does with that is different. River's question of whether she will still be able to dance is a retrospective heartbreak within the context of the sessions, but the question isn't answered until she performs balletic violence on the Reavers in the movie. That ain't been done before ((unless it has)). So I think he deserves credit for inventing.)

ETA much-cherished double-parentheses.

[ edited by Pointy on 2008-02-08 16:02 ]
Hmm, I think that's more like developing the vocabulary of a form of expression Pointy. Whoever produces early work in a new form creates the tropes to a certain extent (which are then subverted by the next generation) but I dunno if that's the same as inventing the form.

It's a continuum though because how much do you have to subvert the tropes before you do have a whole new form ? The flip side being, the best creators are constantly helping to invent a form by either transcending its limitations or introducing new conventions (sometimes by subverting old ones). It's sort of about what was touched on in a thread a few days back i.e. the relationship between form and content.

Course, webisodes are just serialised stories told in small chunks so in that sense it's not even that new (though the delivery mechanism is).
The 90-minute feature and the half-hour sitcom are both developments in the forms of audio-visual expression, but they are distinct forms with different storytelling strengths and demands. They were invented at some point, though they both have in common lots with what came before them. They're recognizable because there are plenty of examples of both.

Cut them up into five- or ten-minute pieces and put them on the web, and you can call them webisodes, but that would be confusing the form of distribution with the form of storytelling.

The River Tam sessions have a distinct storytelling form that doesn't fit into the preexisting categories. Joss is so deep into storytelling that he can come up with new storytelling forms that capitalize on the strengths of new media. Not just fitting old forms into new media. That's why I'm excited he's slinging web stories.

Ask questions like: What is the climax of the story told in the River Tam sessions? When does it occur? Even in a movie like Memento, which tells the story backwards, the climax is in the last reel, when we find out what really happened. The climax of the River Tam sessions can be the last session, when she kills the dude, or in the first session, when the audience realizes exactly how much she's lost, or in the movie, when she makes Reaver bits.

New form. Invented. I have spoken. In fragments (form suiting content).

[ edited by Pointy on 2008-02-08 17:12 ]
You can easily view the first (released) segment (where the Doctor dies) as a teaser, showing us the future before we get there. This isn't rare and certainly isn't new (Tim Minear used it in 'Out of Gas' to name an example we all know but showing some cataclysmic event then the credits then "48 [or whatever] hours earlier" is so often used in TV and to a lesser extent books that it's almost a cliché, Joss just does it more subtly, gives the audience more credit - and in a way also makes it more opaque and so more "viral"). After that they were released (and play) in simple chronological order (IIRC). I do accept though that, since the sessions accompany the film, you could see the climax of the film as the climax of the sessions, Joss had a slightly bigger arena to play in and he used it well.

(the second session released is only any kind of climax if you know River i.e. it depends on the previous 14 hours of television - so much for revolutionising the short form ;)

Cut them up into five- or ten-minute pieces and put them on the web, and you can call them webisodes, but that would be confusing the form of distribution with the form of storytelling.

How is a series of webisodes materially different to the old RKO weekly serials ('King of the Rocketmen', 'Buck Rogers' etc.) ? It's a matter of degree, webisodes are 3-4 minutes (i'm specifically thinking of the BSG ones) instead of 20-25 minutes per week, otherwise, the same. And how are the RKO serials materially different to the serialised novels of e.g. Dickens from the 19th century ? What did they do that he didn't (apart from cheat at the start of the next "chapter" ;) ?

I'm not denying new forms arise (the novel as we know it is only 3-400 years old for instance), i'm denying that the River Tam sessions are sufficiently different to any other webisodes (which in turn are too similar to previous serial stories) to be something entirely new. Like I say though, it's a continuum, webisodes may/will change enough to become a new form and I wouldn't bet against Joss being the guy that takes that crucial step (whatever it may be).
I mean, you're both sort of right, Gossi and Saje. To a certain extent it depends on how you slice it.

But: question: Could the story told by the River Tam sessions have been told as well in a different form? As:

a. A single 10-15 minute webisode.
b. Broadcast in the DVD sequence at one go on television.
c. As flashbacks during an episode of Firefly.
d. As video recovered and played as part of Simon's ongoing investigation into what the hell happened to his sister in an episode of Firefly.

I think telling the story in any of those alternative forms would have diminished it in some way.

One source of its dramatic power is that you haven't seen a story told like this before. You don't know what's coming. If you look at your watch in a movie theatre or while watching television, you know when the end of the show is coming. You can't know that with the River Tam sessions. Ideally, you don't know when they're over until they stop turning up on the web. There could be a few thousand more parts. And that inability to know when it's over amplified the power of its economical storytelling. You get a whole tragedy/melodrama/horror movie in fewer minutes than a sitcom, and it's over at a point before you are used to it being over.

Compare it to the excellent webisodes about young Adama that became a standard linear sequence in BSG: Razor. They worked as part of TV movie. They worked as a serial shown on the web. But they were not a new form of storytelling.

ETA: Ahfook, I knew this was gonna happen -- one of you posted right before me, so I wind up saying you're right without even knowing what you said.

ETfurtherA: AhFurtherfook, I've read it, and I don't have to change anything!

[ edited by Pointy on 2008-02-08 18:09 ]

[ edited by Pointy on 2008-02-08 18:15 ]
I think I might cry what with all this sudden discussion of the Sessions. How far we've come from simply arguing over what order they were meant to be in. Heh.

No Ripper then? :(

Just because no one goes out of their way to mention one project or another doesn't mean it isn't still in the pipeline somewhere.
Unfortunately, the strike has made things even busier for Whedon and some projects have fallen a little behind schedule.

“They will come out!” he promised his fans, “Don’t hate me!”


Oh, please mean Ripper and Goners, please please please!!!
I was thinking about Goners the other day. If it can't get made into a movie, maybe Joss could do a reverso David Lynch and get it made into a mini-series for HBO and the like.
Simon, you're singing my song.
I love the idea of an internet Joss film. More power to him.
I was thinking about Goners the other day.

A number of us think about Goners a lot the past week, because gossi has us scheming.
A number of us think about Goners a lot the past week, because gossi has us scheming.


That's why I was thinking about Goners.

Ummmmm the circle is now complete.
What is the scheming all about? Don't be coy.
Someone told me it involves running around naked with select body parts painted puce while chanting "We all have Goner-ia !" - there was discussion about how to pronounce the hyphen effectively (OK, when I say "told" ... ;).

But: question: Could the story told by the River Tam sessions have been told as well in a different form?

Well that's pretty difficult to answer after the fact, we only have one version to judge and the real-world context also matters (i.e. leading up to a film we were all very excited to see). I don't deny that the "viral" nature of it added something, it made every release a water-cooler moment. In that sense, releasing it in pieces, with an air of mystery and over time made it more effective (and I agree that not knowing when it ended made a difference but again, there've been open-ended serials before) but isn't that also, to some extent, "confusing the form of distribution with the form of storytelling" ?

Have you heard of Story2oh Pointy ? Again you can see its precursors (novels composed of letters etc.), it didn't leap out of nowhere but something along those lines might well have been an even better way to tell the sessions story (I haven't actually been "experiencing" along with the story because i'm not on Facebook etc. but it's a really interesting idea IMO).

Like you're saying though, it is just a matter of an arbitrary line. How many "little" differences (like not knowing when it ends) have to happen before it really is something new ? It's a matter of personal preference. Bit annoying really, why can't there just be one right answer ? ;)
The first time I read about the ballet I thought it was a joke! Now I'm kind of amazed and excited! I can't wait to see this!
I like that there isn't one right answer, Saje. It really depends on the writer in question and the story their telling. Some people have the drive and the vision to really take risks in a new structure. Others prefer to use and/or adapt the old rules and tropes as needed. I don't think either approach is necessarily wrong, as long as you're serving the story.

Personally, I think nothing beats a shiny new creative playground. Sometimes it's just the kick in the pants you need to stop being lazy and really rethink and expand the way you shape ideas. As a writer, I find it terribly exciting. And a bit terrifying. As a fan, I can't wait to see what innovative creators like Joss can come up with.
I couldn't hate our Jossir, and I look forward to seeing any shorts he creates (???!!??*&?$#!!???) - but my strong preference is for a Jossian creation with actors in it - how I do miss that... And I would dearly love to see Goners made in some form in my lifetime, but I am getting older as we speak...

Saje: "Someone told me it involves running around naked with select body parts painted puce while chanting 'We all have Goner-ia !' - there was discussion about how to pronounce the hyphen effectively (OK, when I say "told" ... ;).

Now that's all my fault, that is. Yep. I should never be allowed to speak or type, ever.

Now, don't all disagree at once.
There's a right answer. I gave the right answer! (It was E.)
E was "None of the above" wasn't it ? ... Are we even answering the same question ?

And I disagree QuoterGal, I mean ever ? Harsh. I think you should just serve a Joss decreed penance and be done with it. Painting parts puce purely optional.

(also, do you hold the bread thing over his head ? Huh ? But you compare one - just one mind you - of his creations to a venereal disease and suddenly it's a whole thing. Geniuses. Sheesh)

I like that there isn't one right answer, Saje.

Yeah me too, kinda. When i'm in more of a "Hey, despite its complexity the world is an amazing and above all manageable place" type of mood and less "Render everything in binary damn your eyes, can't you see your ambiguity is killing me !" ;-).
Is there still time to get Dollhouse on the air before summer? Or is there a chance it could air during the summer?
xerox, I don't think Dollhouse was ever intended to air this year. Next fall would be the absolute earliest and my money goes on midseason.
They always go for the E.
The idea of new Joss stories, in whatever form they take, is a thing of joy. But Joss, should you create anything intended to be provided over the internet, I beg you not to neglect your fans who rely on closed-captioning to enjoy your works. The technology exists in numerous forms to caption web content, but is so rarely utilized that it is hardly known to exist.

I've kept up with and have supported the WGA strike since it began, but as the backlog on my DVR runs down, I look more and more longingly toward the content I know many of the writers have since created and posted online as video shorts, webisodes, parodies, etc. I've steadfastly ignored them so far, to avoid the likely disappointment of being excluded, but the temptation remains as original programming winds down.

In whatever format you choose to work Joss, just consider this a friendly reminder that no one likes being left out of the party. As always, I anticipate the fabulousness of new stories from you, whenever and however they arrive.
thundercat;I hope he reads this; if he does, I'm sure he'll keep it in mind. (I know whereof you speak.)
Re: the IESB story

I hope the rumours of a resolution to the strike coming this weekend pan out - I really want to get back to work.

Also, it's cool they talked to Gillian Horvath from Flash Gordon, as she's a friend of mine :)
Since this is the most recent post with main-post mention of the strike, see the latest from United Hollywood.

Short: The strike captains have seen the unfinished terms of agreement. Verrone, Winship, Young, and Bowman are recommending the deal. The terms are not yet in finished form (and thus the membership hasn't seen it) because the AMPTP lawyers keep balking until the Guild shows them the notes and the lawyers have to check with the moguls who then say "yes, their notes are correct".

The post outlines the potential processes coming out of tomorrow's (Saturday's) membership meetings.

Basically: If the terms are finished so the membership can actually see them, and if the membership seems likely to ratify them, the Board on Sunday can call off the strike and the writers go back to work on Monday while the ratification vote process gets underway.

On the other end of the spectrum, if the membership doesn't seem likely to ratify, and in fact does not ratify when it's put to a vote (a process of several+ days), worst-case is that the writers likely will continue to be out all the way into when SAG's turn comes up in June.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-02-09 04:28 ]
This is sounding like tentative good news then ? Fingers crossed. I hope they've got what they needed plus a bit.

(of legal language, the ever reliable Ken Levine said this of the DGA deal:
Supposedly, both sides have agreed in principle to the deal but now must convert everything to legal language so the studios have loopholes to get around everything they’ve agreed to.

;-)

If they do get back to work on Monday, I wonder how many (if any) shows will re-start production on the current season ? Assuming a 4-5 week lead time on the script, it seems at least possible that we might see a few new episodes of e.g. 'House'.
Saje, looks like quite a few established shows are expected to try to get a few more episodes in this spring. Michael Ausiello posted a list that includes 4-6 more episodes of House and 6 more episodes of Lost. No freshman shows are expected to start shooting for spring episodes, even the ones that have been picked up for 13. Presumably they'll just segue into 20-some episodes next fall. I'm a little scared that even spring series like T:TSSC will get lost.
Too long, didn't read - yet. But in the meantime - more Serenity? Please? I love you?
But in the meantime - more Serenity?

He's got Serenity comics coming. Let him do something else in TV and film.
Hey, now, I can dream, can't I? ::grins::
No, I know, I do get that. I just wonder, sometimes, what it's like to announce and tease new stuff just to start hearing "what about Serenity?" in response. It's not like he doesn't know there's still an interest.
Michael Ausiello posted a list that includes 4-6 more episodes of House ...

That'd be good. Pity there's no sign of more 'Life' but as long as it actually does come back next season I can deal - what's now turned out to be the "season" finale was excellent. And they've just totally skipped '24' this year ? Didn't watch season 6 but from what I hear, that may be a blessing in disguise (and it would've been awkward anyway what with Kiefer Sutherland getting himself into trouble - unless they went for a '24'/'Prison Break' crossover ;).

(cheers for that link BTW cabri, guess now it's just wait and see)

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