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June 02 2008

(SPOILER) "Honey, I accidentally created a Fox show". Joss talks Dollhouse to Sci Fi Weekly.

Some of this material will be familar cause snippets of the interview ran in Sci Fi Wire.

Interested also in the Dr. Horrible comments, about distribution and how to make it pay on the web. I just hope there's a way to make it legally available to those of us not in the US (the mention of i-Tunes worries me...). I'm more than happy to pay for it, but a lot of the methods being used seem to restrict just to the US. OK, I'll be getting the DVD, when that comes, but I'd rather not be made to wait. Things put out on the internet should be able to be seen by everyone (like The Guild is, for example...).
I dunno, the way he puts it makes it sound like iTunes will come after the initial release (he mentions it in the same breath as DVD) so maybe he's thinking more along the lines of hosting and charging for it independently ?

Seems like restricting initial access to the US would be a bad move since there's surely gotta be about the same number again of international fans as there are in the US alone.
Interesting comparisons to Never let me go (by Kazuo Ishiguro). Although I don't think it's anything they need to worry about. Dollhouse and the book both center around a group of young people who have no control over their fates but that's about it.
Things put out on the internet should be able to be seen by everyone (like The Guild is, for example...).

Take that, China! ;)
New Improved "Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog": Also works on Communism !
Little known fact: Communists love to sing, Saje!
Actually, China is not very communistic anymore. These days it's more your standard socialistic oppressive unambitiously camouflaged dictatorship.
Even less known: However, monarchists, not-so-much. They think it's below them or something.
Constitutional Monarchists on the other hand, are crazy for the singing, particularly the Diamond ouvre.

OK, how do the unambitiously dictated to feel about singing then ? I ask because it's a potentially huge market, maybe Joss could throw in a few songs about how wacky totalitarianism is - not pandering exactly just think of it as ... marketing.
Actually, China is not very communistic anymore. These days it's more your standard socialistic oppressive unambitiously camouflaged dictatorship.

Call me wacky, but I believe that's pretty much what always happens when Communism is attempted by human beings (like so many ideas, it pretty much only works on paper).
Paper aeroplanes are another one.
Yeah, and the snacks are never as good on the paper ones... plus condensation and ice buildup on the wings can be a real problem if you are flying PaperAirtm.
Oooh, new writers, should be interesting. Bit of a gamble in some ways but I'm sure Joss has found some good ones. (though I still have a secret hope for Jane).
It has become a bit off-topic now, but I'll throw it in anyway: Dollhouse reminds me a lot of Dark Angel: evil corporation working for profit using manipulable agents and the main characters finding out about it. Am I the only one here? Or has this been mentioned in another thread already?
I adore that quote that makes this headline (he said it before in another interview). It just makes me giggle.
Interested also in the Dr. Horrible comments, about distribution and how to make it pay on the web

I've seen three bands (if you count U2) now that have done subscription type setups very successfully. The Dandy Warhols have just started it with an annual subscription and you get their next album and anything they want to release over the next 12 months for $X/year. Einstürzende Neubauten do a similar thing with subscriptions too, making a CD just for subscribers, and putting up videos of recording sessions and concerts. I'd be surprised if more don't do that.

Anyway, I digress. I think a membership site for $X for it would work a treat. Worldwide digital distribution, community interaction, perhaps extra content along the way ... I hope it stays kind of independent and immediate, rather than getting caught up in the usual avenues and red tape, delays for international fans, etc.
Another good interview, but I hope we get new ones until january, 'cause they are starting to sound the same interview. Probably we'll get new ones on the comiccon!

It has become a bit off-topic now, but I'll throw it in anyway: Dollhouse reminds me a lot of Dark Angel: evil corporation working for profit using manipulable agents and the main characters finding out about it. Am I the only one here? Or has this been mentioned in another thread already?

I have the same feeling, and I did mention it in other thread (I think...), but I don't think a lot of people feel that way. And it's a good thing, at least for me, I loved Dark Angel!


About Dr. Horrible:

I'm going to put it on the Internet first. Whether or not I can monetize it that way ... I'd like to be able to.

So even if I don't accomplish the second part, I want to do the first part. So we'll put it on the Internet, hopefully with a sponsor of some kind. We'll work that out. And then iTunes, DVD ... we're doing amazing DVD extras.

I think that pretty much answer our questions. I think it definitely won't be restrict to the US. And I heard some talk about different languages subtitles (guess for the dvd...). And I don't see why Joss wouldn't be able to get a sponsor... I mean, it's Joss!
Dollhouse and the book both center around a group of young people who have no control over their fates but that's about it.

Hmm, that could be a description (in part) of Runaways as well.
There's so much irony in the title and byline that all I can do is sit here and whimper quietly to myself.

Seriously, tell me what's wrong with this picture:

Joss Whedon offers a sneak peak at his brand-new Dollhouse
By Ian Spelling

A lot of the talk about internet models for both film and music centers on what some consider a mysterious variable of loyalty to the artist. Maybe Dr. Horrible could clear a lot of the confusion up for people. Joss could just tell us to send him money for it. And then we would send him money.
Joss could just tell us to send him money for it. And then we would send him money.

I had to laugh, because if he's probably the only guy who could ask, and we would send....... :)
Well, I would actually have some conditions on it (maybe). Such as transparency. That would be a really revolutionary thing in the world of entertainment business money. Tell us how much it cost, and what you want over that as profit. Your leverage is we don't get any more of the same until we pay up. I'm making it sound crass and ugly, but that's just me. It could be really beautiful -a street artist's deal on a street that goes all around the world and has no restrictions on volume, only on who wants to hear.
Joss: "Eternal Sunshine, it's that same sort of idea of 'What about our relationships is real, and what is just what we're projecting?' "

I like this... it really is the question, isn't it? Sometimes I think the whole journey of a relationship is learning how to pull back your initial-but-powerful projections and let the other person shine - or not shine - through. (Very Battlestar Galactica, too.)

And I hafta say - anything that's any good is like a large number of something elses. There are only a few stories in the world, but eleventy kabillion ways to tell them. Look at amnesia as a plot device; you can tell it "One Life to Live" style, or you can tell it as well as The Return of the Soldier did, or "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" (or like in Random Harvest, which I love, but which is still sorta somewhere in between soap and cheese.)

I'm interested to see how Joss tells it - and can't believe we're going to be lucky enough to have him doing it on a weekly basis. And I'm glad some new writers are getting a shot at the show.

Joss: "I'd like to be able to make the money back, pay the crew, because Dr. Horrible, apart from being hilarious and fun, is also a product of the strike."

That's just... neat. I think we can help with that.
Honestly, I hadn't considered the Eternal Sunshine angle before. It's one of my favorites, so you'd think it would've come to me, but it's a tenuous connection at best.

As far as the communists go, I don't think lack of Dr. Horrible could possibly upset them as much as Irina Spalko.

ETA: Or Sharon Stone.

[ edited by UnpluggedCrazy on 2008-06-02 19:10 ]
QG, there are eight million stories in The Naked City alone. You of all people should remember that. ; )

However, it is true that themes, plot devices, etc. will converge, especially as technology advances and our ideas of what is within the realm of possibility - such as selective memory erasure, and implanted personalities become more commonly discussed.

That said, am I the only one who sees connections with Joe Haldeman's All My Sins Remembered or William Gibson's Neuromancer?

(like so many ideas, it pretty much only works on paper). zeitgeist | June 02, 14:43 CET

Paper aeroplanes are another one. Saje | June 02, 15:01 CET

Actually tyvek works pretty well.
Still a problem with the snacks though.
Recently read an article on Susan tate mentioning Random Harvest.

I admit to being a Monarchist and I often find myself singing "Let Me Take YOu In My Arms Again."

Altho the point of DOllhouse seems to be the breakdown of amnesia.
Eternal Sunshine was the first thing I thought of when Joss started going into what he wanted say with Dollhouse. What makes us real? What shapes who we are? If we can erase any memory with the flip of a switch, what happens to us? If someone's life is shaped by a profound memory, and that memory is removed, what does that person become?

Heh, sorry. I'm sure this has all been discussed to death. Got behind on all the Dollhouse stuff and missed most of the recent discussions. :)

As for Doctor Horrible, how much did Joss say he wanted? I pay now, I pay now! Seriously, Joss is probably the only creator I'd throw a ton of cash at so I could see his work.
barboo - my first thoughts went to William Gibson and Philip K. Dick, so :)
Dizzy, I agree in my heart, but that's not a good bargaining position. He knows we'll pay, but we could still have conditions.
Well, generally your bargaining position in cases like this is exactly what the market dictates; make a quality product and I'll buy it, make something that sucks and I won't. Everybody wins! ;)
Hmm. They seem to still be figuring out their business model for Dr. Horrible. Interestingly, all of the comic artists I follow who took their art to digital delivery, became sustainable, and remain in full creative control have all used merchandise sales on their sites to keep the art funded. And in some cases also ads, and in all cases I think donations, or at least early on.

But that's their full time jobs. This gets much trickier when your creative genius is mostly tied up in tv.

ETA: sense the making of

[ edited by Sunfire on 2008-06-02 22:00 ]
It's not exactly clear if the next issue of SFX will have pics of Nathan in Dr. Horrible.

All the latest on Dollhouse and Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, the two latest Whedon projects - including pictures of Eliza Dushku and Nathan Fillion. Get in.

Whoa. That is an odd promo photo for the X-Files. And they're both such pretty people, but the lighting or something is weird there.

Hey, Dr. Horrible even gets a line on the bottom of the cover. Neat.
Dizzy, I agree in my heart, but that's not a good bargaining position. He knows we'll pay, but we could still have conditions.

I believe those conditions are fresh pancakes for everyone.
Thanks all for the acute literary references. I thought "Never Let Me Go" was beautiful, and if the dolls embody any of that Ishiguro sadness they'll be very moving. Philip K. Dick, for sure: we're all playing pieces on someone else's board. "Eternal Sunshine" is also a logical referent for its memory-wipe idea, tragicomic there but a lot darker I'm guessing in Dollhouse. Gibson, maybe for dystopia-tech flavor, although his plotting is weaker than anything we'll get from Joss -- except in "Neuromancer," brilliant start to finish and the holy grail of unproduced SF movies.
Actually I was thinking specifically in Neuromancer of the character Molly working as a "puppet" in a "puppet parlor", where her consciousness is supposed to be submerged, but she begins to remember things that have happened. Must confess, I haven't read anything else of Gibson's. Mea Culpa. I need to rectify that situation.

Honey, I accidentally created a Fox show.

Shouldn't that be, "I accidentally created the most highly-anticipated new show since Disney went to color"?
Yeah, but imagine how long the marquee would have to be ...
Can we send plasticy money? I've got lots of plasticy money.


Thanks, I'll keep an eye out for SFX 171 – July 2008.

[ edited by Anonymous1 on 2008-06-03 02:58 ]
Arg, even in a group as intelligent as this one, nobody gets the importance of transparency, what it could do for the world... ok fine. I pay now.
Eh, I think people just trust that Joss won't hose us. It's not like we're dealing with a studio; it's Joss. And it's mutually beneficial for him not to hose us, because fans--even loyal ones--have long memories.
Yeah, it's just the principle of the thing. At the start of what would be a revolution, you want to set out some principles, that those who oppose the revolution would have to deal with somehow. Making an actual budget public would be pretty revolutionary, as mundane as it sounds.
Way down thread and behind the curve at this point, but my perception of China today is a Capitalist Dictatorship with pretensions of still being Communist (the worst of all possible worlds).

Umm .... take that, China? Still not addressing the OT problem so .... does anyone know, are the Fox and SciFi channels affiliated? Because SciFi wire/SciFi weekly have been giving Dollhouse a whole lot of exposure. Which is all of the good :-)

Soo good to hear Joss so excited.
Yeah PK Dick has come up before in 'Dollhouse' context and he's by far the most natural fit out of all the suggestions IMO (Molly fits too and i've mentioned 'Johnny Mnemonic' before with the memory/identity thing but neither amount to the sort of lifelong, multi-novel/story exploration of the whole idea of personal reality vs "actual" reality and what that means to the individual that PKD engaged in).

The transparency thing would be radical but i'm not sure how much it'd achieve - most people aren't going to care and of those that do, most aren't going to start demanding it from major studios (and even if they did, the major studios aren't going to give much of a shit ;). Still, big clouds condense around small particles and all that.
dreamlogic - its actually possible for us to get what you are saying and disagree with you or think that transparency is less important in this instance (though important overall). Its not like Joss' productions are dens of corrupt kickbacks rife with villainy over which he presides twirling his mustache. I realize that the point was to force the networks to be more accountable/honest, but that's a flawed argument (plus nothing could stop me from typing that bit about Joss twirling his mustache! ;) ), too, as the way the accounting works is roughly: the production company makes episodes and negotiates a price per episode with the network. Its not as infamously creative an accounting system as the major record labels.

As an aside, re: transparency, I think it was the head of Microsoft's Windows group who recently said it best (and I paraphrase), "With corporations you may eventually get translucency, but you won't ever get true transparency." I realize that agreeing with that is contrary to our scrappy little band of do-gooders/done-the-impossible image, but then fan action didn't really bring about Serenity, either. Its a nice thought, though, and I would like to see a bit more transparency. The only people corporations feel they have accountability to by and large is the shareholders and only in so much as they owe them profit and enough transparency to prove that they can correct whats preventing them from making more of it.

Transparency has been the big buzzword in corporations for the past several years and there are some companies who are embracing it fully and some who want nothing to do with it. Unfortunately the ones who are embracing are the ones who had nothing to hide to begin with. The ones who have everything to hide give lipservice to it and then don't actually implement anything. I just don't think that demanding a budget from Joss on this project will have any affect on anything in the larger picture. Call me pessimistic, but I imagine it will only encourage those who were inclined to be transparent to begin with.

are the Fox and SciFi channels affiliated?

SciFi is NBC/Universal, Fox is NewsCorp. They are co-conspirators in Hulu, however.
Nice mention of Dollhouse on Jane Espenson's blog.
I think the worth of a piece of entertainment or art should be valued on how good it is, how much you like it and not so much on the budget.

Something with a low budget could be fantastically good, and something with a big budget could be absolutely dreadful and vice versa.

We would not, for instance, set the price of a painting based on how much the paint, brushes and canvas cost. The price is based on the talent of the painter.

I'm personally in favor of having a choice to watch internet media for free with ads with the option of paying to see it without ads. That's a pretty common internet model for lots of things.

Another alternative is to pay for quality. Low quality is free, and then if you want higher quality you have to pay. The idea is, if a person values something they probably would want it without ads and high quality. Whereas, the casual browser is okay with ads and YouTube quality.
The quality level idea is workable, that's how 'Sanctuary' did it (though, unfortunately in some ways, we'll never know if that's a viable ongoing model because it got picked up by Sci-fi) but I think you'd need a lot of eyeballs to make an advertising model work as a means of actually recouping the costs of production and making a profit (rather than just covering bandwidth costs for instance).

I don't think the idea is to judge DHSB's worth on its budget, the idea is for Joss to provide a budget breakdown, explicitly set a target gross income and then only produce more internet stuff if that's met. So it's as if we ask him "What do you need to make more of these kinds of things ?", he says "$X please because A cost this much and B cost that much ..." and then we try to give it to him.
Does he need to tell us the target for that to work? If he tells us the target will we suddenly decide to pay more? I guess my expectation is that he would take into account estimated viewership and various ways of recouping costs and then decide on a fair price point that has a chance of being profitable or at least recouping the costs.
Arg, even in a group as intelligent as this one, nobody gets the importance of transparency, what it could do for the world... ok fine. I pay now.

I think it's going to take someone starting their own independent company that's web-based to make this happen. Until then, we are just chatting. Pleasantly, and not for nothing, but it doesn't get me all talkative because it's not something I can do, not being in the business at all, and I don't see anyone else doing it for video, yet.

Well, I take that back a bit actually. Scott Kurtz did it with a limited animation series based on his comic. He sold single episodes and subscriptions. He didn't share his financial information, so it's not an example of the transparency you're describing, but it is an example of someone in creative control delivering video content directly to fans, outside of the typical corporate structure. And he's blogging a whole lot nowadays about some of the financial and creative issues between comic creators and comic companies. It's very interesting, but I imagine the issues there, while still very significant, are not as insane in comparison to the issues in the tv/movie/short film world. Or so it seems to me as a complete outsider of both.
Does he need to tell us the target for that to work?

Well no but your way is just sooo 20th Century ;-).

However, knowing how much needed to be "raised" might actually make some people spend more. Imagine he was e.g. 10 grand short of his "magic break-even point", I could envision something similar to the Pencil drive happening on here. And there're other possibilities like "buddy buying" which might be more likely with an open, flexible system that may not work as well with simple "pay to play" (especially if the dreaded and rightfully maligned DRM rears its ugly head).

It's got problems too of course - as we've talked about before, the more directly fans are involved in the finances the more they may feel they should have influence over the content and if an explicit target was met people could see themselves as being "owed" more web shorts, regardless of what Joss actually wants to do or has time for.
Don't get me wrong, there are those among us who would pay more if needed to help the project break even, but... as you rightly point out, Saje, that does lead to fan entitlement and to this being a dismissible test by the PTB at the studios. In other words, if we are paying extra, then it can be dismissed as overactive fans inflating the revenue stream.
I, of course, think this transparency conversation is hilarious because it will never happen on anything except the absolute smallest scale.
Some of my favorite people hang in the small scale. Tiny awesome people.
I'm finding this conversation facinating, actually, because what we're really talking about is the birth of a new media... what is viable, what will work, what won't, what others have tried, what we are entitled to if we fork over cash.

I'm not sure I understand the need for transparency. This isn't not-for-profit, this is entertainment. Joss can set whatever price he thinks fair, and the market will either support him or it won't. If I pay $10 to watch Dr. Horrible and I think it's lame and only worth $2, I might not buy into Joss' next web venture. And I see nothing wrong with his making a profit, even a huge one. Profit doesn't=fraud.

No one *needs* to see Dr. Horrible--it isn't a right. It's Joss' creation, and I don't think he owes anyone an explaination as to where the money is going. Pay or don't, watch it or don't. But if you do pay, it's to watch art, not to know the business behind the art. That's what shareholders are entitled to. As paying patrons, all we're entitled to are opinions on the art.
Frankly I would pay $50 just for the interviews and out-takes. I have no doubt in my mind that the musical itself will be priceless, because OMWF has remained my absolute favorite thing that was ever aired on TV.
Some of my favorite people hang in the small scale. Tiny awesome people.

Oh Sunfire. I love that!
I can't afford priceless. Do you think Joss might be willing to haggle ?

Heh, Tiny Awesome People ;). If you're tiny and awesome stand up ! ... Oh, you already are, my apologies.

One of the features of new media is that it doesn't necessarily need to happen on a large scale to be successful and I think that's part of what Joss is trying, seeing if he can be creatively fulfilled and make a reasonable living doing stuff like Dr Horrible. Where network success requires millions of viewers, smaller projects might turn a profit with thousands.

(and I find the idea that the current model will just continue to work in perpetuity kinda funny. Not hilarious but moderately amusing at least ;)
"Tiny Awesome People" is the name of one of my tiny imaginary rock groups, so I'm either gonna sue the hell out of someone starting now or invite you all to shrink and join the band with me. (So damn cute, Sunfire.)

Having (sorta) worked on financial committees with dreamlogic, I know what she's getting at with transparency, in that she herself is completely and carefully open & transparent about such things and (I imagine) is looking to see that kindof much-needed transparency modeled by someone more likely to do that than others. Small things from tiny acorns grow, etc. It was worth a shot. However, I tend to agree with zeitgeist's remark:

"Unfortunately the ones who are embracing are the ones who had nothing to hide to begin with. The ones who have everything to hide give lipservice to it and then don't actually implement anything."

And btw, nobody doubts, I think, that Joss is open & above-board about his industry finances, nor that he gets the most out of his budget dollar - and in fact, many of Joss' fans would turn over their private banking info to him if he asked.* I just see how it would be innovative and very cool if Joss said, "Dr. Horrible cost this much to make, and we're paying our cast and crew this much, and I'm taking this much for me as salary and profit, so that's why I'm charging this much. Cool, y'all?"

* In fact, Joss is ideally positioned to run a Nigerian scam or somesuch confidence game on us "rabid" fans and then head off to the Islands with the profits. He may want to consider that as a possible alternative to the bone-crushing work of creating and producing a weekly television show. Just a suggestion - ya know, planting seeds...

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2008-06-03 19:37 ]
I was thinking not only about literally tiny people (but who can't), but also the independent artists the internet has connected me to (I like my comics deeply profane, thank you Messrs. Brahe and Gabriel), and me in the non-profit sector with my grant funds that could fit in your contact lens case.

Tiny Awesome People is a compelling band name indeed.

PS QuoterGal has tiny-ed the thread!

[ edited by Sunfire on 2008-06-03 19:20 ]
If you're tiny and awesome stand up ! ... Oh, you already are, my apologies.

I've been keeping track since 2006 (yes it took me 2 years to figure out membership, what of it?) and Saje has now officially completely cracked me up 329 times.
Cheers mate! (she says, implausibly pretending to be British or Australian for a second).

ETA: why is my writing tiny? Does that mean I'm awesome? Or that I don't know how this works...?

[ edited by catherine on 2008-06-03 19:22 ]
Oh! It's QuoterGal who is responsible for shrinking us all and thereby making us awesome!

ETA: We've been untinied. Mysterious powers at work here.

[ edited by catherine on 2008-06-03 19:53 ]
"Tiny Awesome People" is the name of one of my tiny imaginary rock groups

Makes me keep running through the Druids/Stonehenge bits of Spinal Tap in my mind... just me?
Saje, just to clarify, I think the business model is changing, will change, and might be unrecognizable in ten years. I don't think transparency will be at all involved in any way.
TamaraC, what you said.

Dizzy, I'm with you about pay as we go -- and nobody knows anything about where the big money (if any) in new media will eventually come from. Anybody remember Stephen King's pay-by-installment novel? As I remember, he never bothered to finish it.

Really good thread -- sorry to see it drop off the bottom of home page.
Well, 'The Plant' was run on an honour system, King didn't finish it because most people have none ;).

I don't think transparency will be at all involved in any way.

I doubt full transparency myself just because too many corporations have too much to hide and little to lose by continuing to do so (if more people actually gave a shit then there'd be real pressure for companies to act ethically, as it is, not so much). As a philosophy it's quite lovely but in practice it depends on people being nicer than we generally are IMO.

That said, the new-media clauses in the post-strike WGA contract have limited transparency built-in and even if the large corps don't head that way, smaller, independent creators might well and if smaller, independent productions become more widely seen then people may come to expect to know where their money's going. Guaranteed by no means but not impossible either I reckon.

ETA: Ta BTW catherine, happy to oblige. Now the pressure's on to reach 500 and in so doing secure my free toaster ;).

[ edited by Saje on 2008-06-03 20:10 ]
I don't really understand why transparency would be important to the final consumer (although I totally understand why it is important to the artist). A product should be priced at what the market will pay not some mark-up of cost. Capitalism has nothing to do with "fair".
It matters in the same way "ethical banking" matters to some people i.e. it lets folk know how the money they're contributing to a company (or government) is being used which in turn lets them make more informed judgements about those contributions. The flip side being, as I say above, that it doesn't matter in the real world because most people don't care much about how the money they give to companies/governments is spent (or rather, they're happier not knowing and so choose not to).

And I agree 100% about capitalism, in fact it's precisely because capitalism has no fairness built in that transparency is laudable IMO - it's kind of a way of creating fairness where there is none.
As a slight extension to what you are saying, they see their money as buying the product and feel that what happens to the money beyond that is "not my fault/problem". Greater transparency would make it harder to avoid the consequences of where your money goes and what it does after it leaves your hands. Would it be enough to make people stop consuming media goods that they feel support a company who is netting out on the negative side? Or would it encourage people to punish the creative types for the mistakes of the suits? I.E. would people stop buying Firefly DVDs thinking that the money is going to FOX TV who cancelled it, rather than FOX STUDIOS, who produced it (and are separate).

Is there a law of conservation of fairness? Quick, someone register!

ETA - Not to mention - would people find a way to abuse it? Should we be that involved in the ripples of our every action? Do we even have that much time?
I totally understand transparency as it relates to investing, getting paid on a residual basis and charities, but it makes no sense to show a consumer the cost of your product and I could come up with about 20 different ways off the top of my head how a transparency model could be horribly abused by the manufacturer, their competitors and by the consumer.

It is a very scary thought.
Opaqueness is also much abused. How would transparency be abused in a different way?
I think that it would probably be abused in similar ways :). Its hard to beat the classics!
"Aw hell, i'm a fan of all seven ..." ;-).

I don't think anyone's claiming it'd cure all the world's ills (but is the common cold too much to ask ? ;) and any system created by people can be abused by people - there never was a system that can't be "hacked" and there never will be - but the way it's surely meant to work is through a "web of transparency" spreading as transparent entities do business with each other and, since in theory it's harder to screw people when transparent, those entities have an edge.

The question is, is it what Sunfire might know as an "Evolutionarily Stable Strategy" or is it prone to "parasitic invasion" by less scrupulous (i.e. less transparent) companies ? And even if so, can it spread sufficiently for the advantages of transparent companies dealing with each other to pay off ?

It's that last one that's the sticking point IMO because for it to spread initially, people have to care about the ethics of where their money goes and as zeitgeist points out, most folk just don't have that sort of time, even if they did have the inclination. It actually (to Whedonise it ;) ties into one of the things I wonder about 'Dollhouse' i.e. how far down the chain of causality can (or should) you be held responsible for the consequences of your choices ? Does the single choice to become an active make you responsible for everything you do as an active even if you subsequently don't have any choice in what you're imprinted with or what you do while imprinted ?

[ edited by Saje on 2008-06-03 21:24 ]
That last sticking point is what will make transparency impossible. People don't care.
Good things to think on... I was just watching all of the comments come to a halt, so I imagine there were suddenly many many downloads of that .pdf that I linked :) I should also note, that site has an unproduced script from long ago from some guy called Josh Wheldon on called Afterlife.

ETA - just realized I had confused the two threads, I meant to mention Afterlife in the script review thread.
I care. So much so that the staff at my grocery store used to snicker at me for reading so many labels and buying so much organic stuff.

On the up side, their podunk little organic section expanded a lot while I lived there. It got kinda nice, startlingly. Due partially to people like me.

Now I shop at a co-op and write in complaints about overpackaging and too many health junk fads on my membership surveys. I can't move a mountain, but I do pay an awful amount of attention to where my money goes.

But I am far from normal.

[ edited by Sunfire on 2008-06-03 21:39 ]
Ok, out with it zeitgeist. How many secret scripts do you have links to, exactly?
Sunfire, you are a rarity and even if some folks do this on some products, almost none do it on all products. If people knew that 80% of what you buy in Wal-Mart comes from China would they still shop there? Yep.
So I'm saying. You market to all 5 of us, and it's done. You could make tens of dollars here.
I dunno, using dollars is like a vote for Bush ;-).

Also, ooh, ooh, what PDF zeitgeist ? Or is it a spoilery thing ? *fingers in ears* La la la ...
I care about transparency in certain things, just not when it comes to things like art. As it is, just knowing the manufacturing cost of a DVD or CD causes people to be upset about the consumer price. I'm just afraid that if people know the technical costs, they will undervalue the creativity that was put into it.

We are truely a bargain driven society...perhaps a society that feels it's entitled to bargains. In all the various jobs I've had, people consistantly undervalue things like labor and customer service. They think things should be priced on manufacturing costs alone. Customer service on the other hand, should be art should be free.

Basically, I think transparency could be abused by consumers. And consumers can be really abusive.
Yeah that's a consideration though as Sunfire says non-transparency is also abused but in that instance mainly by the corporations (e.g. creators aren't paid their fair dues thanks to "creative" accountancy). Writers call a percentage share of the net profit from a film "monkey points" because you're so unlikely to actually receive your fair share that you'd have to be a monkey to believe it. With transparent accounts it'd be much harder to have films that gross hundreds of millions of dollars (even before DVD sales are considered) to somehow end up making a loss on paper.

Course, it'd seem that Joss doesn't need to do that because he's apparently a pretty decent bloke and therefore not liable to shaft folk and that transparency only really makes a difference (currently) if the big studios adopt it (which they're extraordinarily unlikely to do IMO) but I think dreamlogic's original idea was for Joss and people like him to start the ball rolling to see if it snowballs into something bigger.

(not judging anyone BTW but it's interesting to me that some of us seem most worried by the idea of consumers abusing the system and some of us are more worried about corporations abusing it. Politics eh, it's everywhere. Like a fungal infection ;)

ETRemove an actual 'actually' ;)

[ edited by Saje on 2008-06-04 10:52 ]
Oh, I'm equally sure that both will abuse it :). In either case it depends partially on whether they think anyone notices what they are doing or whether they can convince themselves to feel self-righteous about it. In the case of a corporation you have a built-in abstraction layer that magically absolves you of guilt, because its not YOU doing it, its the company ;).
Yeah me too. That probably makes us fence-sitters [classical] liberals ;).

In fairness to consumers, most people would do the right thing if given two equally easy/cheap choices because, basically, doing the right thing makes most people feel good (IMO). Corporations on the other hand don't have feelings, good or bad, and as you say, the people that work there have an "out" to absolve themselves, in fact, i'd go as far as saying that unethical behaviour isn't even considered a bad thing in a lot of the corporate world, only unethical behaviour you get caught doing.

(OK, maybe i'm a left-leaning fence-sitter ;).
That last sticking point is what will make transparency impossible. People don't care.

OK, then, where does the mouth of the snake eating its tale (refer to the form of this thread), begin? I hope you're not going to argue that the core audience isn't interested.

ETA: Remember that we're referring to the beginning of a new medium with DHSAB, this doesn't refer to Dollhouse.

[ edited by dreamlogic on 2008-06-05 05:37 ]

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