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May 23 2008

Joss talks about those Dollhouse ad breaks. He tells Sci Fi about how Fox's Remote-Free TV experiment will affect the show. And there's also discussion about Eliza's role as a producer.

Pleased to see the bit about the producer title.
Intersting article, I never realised the eventual DVD release was such a consideration so early in the process.

"Dollhouse will premiere in August." It says right at the end. What does that mean?
I'm guessing it's a mistake silvius.
Presumably it means SciFi is way behind the curve because it says Schedule '09 right on Fox's website.
" 'That was part of her deal,' Whedon said. 'When we sat down to lunch--and I had no intention of creating a show for her--she said, 'I have this deal. I'm a producer.' And that's because Eliza wants to protect herself. She wants to start shaping her career. Like Echo trying to find out who she is, Eliza has been [too]. I have seen her doing this. We've had a lot of these lunches over the years, [in which she talked about] trying to take control, and gradually, over the years, [she's done it]. It's very hard for an ingénue to do that.' "

Hee - nailed it. 1) I should start taking bets and 2) good for her.

And funny - although maybe a little O.T. - not only does Joss get great ideas when he goes to the bathroom, he gets them when other people go to the john, too. I was re-watching BtVS Season Seven yesterday and two DVD-commenters (I think it was writer Drew Goddard and director David Solomon, but please don't throw stuff at me if it wasn't) said that they'd be breaking a story and pause for a bathroom break and get back to Joss and he would have solved all the the act break problems while they were gone...

So, what does it all mean?
Two things to be aware of.

1) Will foreign broadcasters cut Dollhouse for length?
2) If I read my tea leaves properly, there's going to be some sort of online interactive Dollhouse game bit like The Lost Experience.
Depends on the broadcaster surely ? I think Sky might for instance but obviously the BBC won't have to.

(or maybe if/when they sell it abroad they'll offer two deals ? A lower price for those showing it uncut since they'll lose some ad revenue ?)
I'm going to want you to help me work out certain problems.

I think for one thing he's saying he's depending on her to get the feedback he needs to not be a prick with this material. It's not a small thing. This isn't what he's done before. I think they're both being brave.

[ edited by dreamlogic on 2008-05-23 10:21 ]
2) If I read my tea leaves properly, there's going to be some sort of online interactive Dollhouse game bit like The Lost Experience.


Ouh. From an egotistical viewpoint, I'm going to say: I hope not. I hate feeling left out/out of the loop, and I really don't have any time for additional game bits ;).

Great interview, this. Love how Joss talks about Eliza. There's such obvious respect there. Also interesting how these shorter ad-breaks work, on the production end. Plus: I never even knew reruns were already cut in length. So does this mean that Dollhouse would have to be cut even more for reruns? And won't that start to seriously affect the narratic flow?
That interview gave me goosebumps. The way Joss correlates the show with Eliza's life and career is amazing! It really gives the premise of the show a really personal feel, especially for long-time fans of Dushku. Joss' productions are always strong and beautiful metaphors for real life and it's great to see this angle once again taking shape.
I used to have a JVC video recorder with a built in hard drive, one of the very early HDD recorders, and it had a function that let you watch a recording at 1.5X normal speed, but it tweaked the voices so that they sounded normal and not a high pitched squeek. If they can do that and show 45minutes of show in 30 min why can't they slightly speed up a 50 minute show and get it down to 40 minutes? Would anyone even notice?
I think American shows are slightly slowed down in the UK from what I remember. It might be a PAL/NTSC thing.
Yep, that's the case over all of Europe, Simon. Although they don't correct the pitch, as far as I know. It's only a slight speed-up, so it's difficult to hear, but if you listen to a sped-up PAL broadcast and imediately compare it to the US NTSC original, you can hear that the voices are slightly higher pitched.

Funny thing is, I had some friends who found Amy Acker's voice on Angel terribly annoying. Then, when I let them watch my R1 import DVDs, which were NTSC, they came around. The slight speed-up there, was the cause of their problems. So, sometimes, it is noticeable, although I've never had any problems with it myself.
This interview put a smile on my face, especially the ideas that Eliza should not just have the title of producer but actually produce ideas and solutions to problems and otherwise take a leadership role, and that her taking control of her career ties in with the theme of her character fighting for control of her life. This show is so Meta! In the good ways.

Hmm . . . if only Season 8 Buffy understood about her Scoobie newbies what the Strawberry Blonde Auteur understands about his co-artists.
So, what does it all mean?


It means, QuoterGal, that we've discovered the source of Joss's power. His writing ability is directly proportional to the number of bathrooms in the building. Plop him down in a toilet factory and he'll produce the finest TV on record. Or, possibly, explode.
I love how Eliza has gone from a supporting character in a season of a not-so-mainstream show that could easily fall through the cracks to a producer role on her own star-vehicle show along with one of the few great artistic minds of our times. It speaks highly of her choice abilities and her taste. I'm greatly looking forward to her artistic contribution to Dollhouse.
Plop him down in a toilet factory and he'll produce the finest TV on record. Or, possibly, explode.

I believe a trip to Kohler, WI is in order. We don't want him to spontaneously combust, so we'll approach slowly, stopping every five miles or so. We'll also need at least a couple tape recorders running so we don't miss anything.

Could his abilities apply to other problems as well? Predict the outcome of the next presidential election? Cure diseases? Solve world hunger?
@Simon: RE your 2) above, yeah I'm wondering about possible transmedia on DOLLHOUSE. I have been following that fun little blog over on Fox.com...did you see how those crafty folks tagged this entry? Heh heh.

Sounds like the geek elite have been trading stories over their bourbons during their downtime.
Plop him down in a toilet factory and he'll produce the finest TV on record.

I thought he was doing that already.
I mean even better TV. (Yes, it is possible.)
Oh god, I just turned into my 6 year old and giggled helplessly at the words "plop" and "toilet" in the same sentence. If anyone burps, I'll totally lose it.

I think it's interesting that Joss is looking for Eliza to contribute to the show. I don't know many showrunners that would give that kind of power to their star.
Yep, that's the case over all of Europe, Simon. Although they don't correct the pitch, as far as I know. It's only a slight speed-up, so it's difficult to hear, but if you listen to a sped-up PAL broadcast and imediately compare it to the US NTSC original, you can hear that the voices are slightly higher pitched.

Once upon a time, when European television stations received films (and American television shows) on film, they just ran them through their telecine machines at 25 frames per second (instead of 24 fps, the projection speed), because PAL and SECAM are 50 Hz (25 fps interlaced).

Later on, when American shows were shot on film but post-produced on video they were converted to PAL in the same way as material originally recorded on video (or received as a live broadcast), so there was no change in speed or audio pitch.

Now, when European broadcasters receive American television shows on digital videotape they run them through extremely clever standards converters that undo the 2:3 pulldown (24 fps to 30 fps conversion for NTSC), reconstruct the original 24 fps frames, speed those up to 25 fps and make Amy Acker's voice sound annoying. Such is progress.
Pointy, you used that as an excuse to write Strawberry Blonde Auteur to give me grief, didn't you?

Well played hand. evil schemer

ProgGrrl, I clicked on your links and still have no idea what your comment means:

@Simon: RE your 2) above, yeah I'm wondering about possible transmedia on DOLLHOUSE. I have been following that fun little blog over on Fox.com...did you see how those crafty folks tagged this entry? Heh heh.

Sounds like the geek elite have been trading stories over their bourbons during their downtime.


Would you please explain to my lame brain?
Simon said:

Two things to be aware of.

1) Will foreign broadcasters cut Dollhouse for length?


Are you kidding right?

Right here, the open Chanel that broadcasted “Angel” could be able to do extreme cuts to fit 2 episodes in one hour.
*puts on teaching cap*

korkster...great handle!...I mean that Fox is leaking some sort of transmedia seed sites (aka "viral" aka "ARG," whatever you want to call it), for one or more of their new sci-fi shows. See how that Fox blog entry is 1) vague and odd, and 2) tagged with the title of a bunch of different shows including DOLLHOUSE? They are SSOOOOO messing with us.

Just the fact that one of those links in the Fox blog entry goes to the infamous UnForum, a place where ARG hints are leaked and fans gather to decode "clues," tells you that one or more of the shows are going to run some transmedia.

JJ Abrams has done a ton of this stuff with LOST and CLOVERFIELD. I don't believe Whedon has ever done it though, am I right?

I don't spend much time myself figuring all this stuff out -- but I was mighty impressed with what CLOVERFIELD ended up doing, once you viewed it in total...and some of the LOST stuff is just so fun and clever.

It's for the hardcore fans with time to burn...

I linked to that FAST COMPANY "geek elite" piece because that article, if even half of it is for real, indicates that Abrams, Whedon, HEROES' Kring, BATTLESTAR's Moore et al are discussing these things and sharing ideas.

That, IMHO, just means extra added fun for us. :)


*removes cap, pours martini*
And in some countries of course, an hour actually means an hour (meaning you have to pad the hour after american shows with something filler).

But a producer, eh - good then she can move behind the camera and we can get someone else in front ;)
I'm puzzled by the thought expressed that SKY would cut Dollhouse since they pad out ad breaks with their own station ads and if they have to give a longer slot to a programme like with OMWF they just drop a few of their own station ads .
I don't believe Whedon has ever done it though, am I right?


Just the once.
During Buffy's Season 7 they put up a website for poor dead Cassie, it was pretty awesome.
Wow, thanks ProgGrrl. I had no idea that was going on. I mean, I heard that there was other stuff up for Lost and Heroes, but to the extent of Cloverfield? No idea.

The Cassie website is news to me (late-bloomer). It is strange, though. The article on the geek elite we saw a month or so back mentioned Whedon as being inspiration, but not part of the group. He seems to test an idea, but then moves onto something else while the "elite" make the marketing money with it. Hmm.
Oh good timing. The original CWDP artwork and poems that they used for Cassie's site are for sale on ebay right now.

Not too dear yet, either. Good luck!
I'm puzzled by the thought expressed that SKY would cut Dollhouse since they pad out ad breaks with their own station ads and if they have to give a longer slot to a programme like with OMWF they just drop a few of their own station ads .

I'm puzzled too since i'm pretty sure I remember OMWF taking up an hour and five minutes on the schedule when it was shown on Sky One (everything else being either ˝ or 1 hour it kinda stood out).

Course, even if they do that it boils down to whether their station ads take up enough time in the hour to account for the extra minutes.

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