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October 18 2008

What is a Browncoat? Urban Dictionary lists three definitions. Perhaps you have your own interpretation of what it means.

Hmm, see, #3 is the definition I have for "Darko"-ing a movie. I've had enough people nag me incessantly about Donnie Darko that I've avoided seeing it out of spite.
I didn't know we all needed a word for #3. I think I'll call it Lebowski'ing.
Ha! We've become a synonym for overkill! :)

-And I do have my own "definition"...
http://forums.scifi.com/index.php?s=b9fe293d09fcb97aec9164b0ec21aabc&showtopic=2315966

ETA: Link

[ edited by TDBrown on 2008-10-18 18:34 ]
#2 is based on a faulty premise. Can we add our own ? Like #4, "Person who wrongly believes DVD sales led to 'Serenity'" ?
It's a bit odd that Browncoat would even be a word for #3. I mean, you wouldn't know the word unless you'd watched the show (or unless your friends were really rabid fans), right?

In addition to those mentioned above, I personally have been sopranoed, sixfeetundered and fullmetalalchemisted...
I have another definition. Aren't Browncoats those awful people that aren't really cops but go around giving us citizens parking tickets?
I'm having deja-vu. Hasn't this appeared before? I seem to remember much indignation over #3 ;). Or maybe I'm psychic and I dreamed it. That's possible too.

ETA ohhh, I see, #2 is newly added!

[ edited by catherine on 2008-10-18 19:36 ]
I actually like #2 and #4 for Buffy and #6 made me laugh (although, I must concur with "hot bleach-blonde vampire")
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=buffy

The definition for buffyism is cool too. There are a two or three (or more) fandomy wise... but, I think it wise not to mention them and just snicker to myself ;)
ohhh, I see, #2 is newly added!

Which is kind of sad, since it perpetuates the myth. It'd be nice if over time the fandom grew towards the truth, not away from it.

ETA that the first definition for Joss Whedon starts off a little oddly.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-10-18 19:55 ]
Are you Joss Whedon??? Or is he you? This is troubling.

What is the story behind your name?

ETA... *tries to be sneakier* So, um, are you a curiously strong swimmer?

[ edited by catherine on 2008-10-18 20:11 ]
Perhaps we should refine that definition. Please chime in as you wish.

Browncoat: Dedication. A group that believes in self and whole. Unhindered, reliant upon each other for strength. Meritorious, a person of honor. A very good soul.

Okay, I added that tag, but I thought it seemed to fit.
For definitions of "buffy", I like Home on the Strange's suggestion.
I've often wondered why some people who obviously love Firefly don't consider themselves to be Browncoats. Isn't that the definition?

To me, saying, "I love Firefly but I'm not a Browncoat" is kind of like saying, "I love Jesus but I'm not a Christian." Or "I don't eat meat but I'm not a vegetarian." It's confusing to me. :)

I guess everyone has their own definition. But without an agreed upon definition, (cue the scary music) is Browncoat even a word? That poor little word, it needs a definition!
Succatash, I agree but I do think that certain people have personal defenitions, and there are nuances of meaning ;)

Personally I think anybody who is a fan could be a browncoat but I think I officially considered myself a true Browncoat after the first Flanvention and once I really got involved with the community of fans.
Pss. Think about where you are. You're surrounded by us.
For me there's a certain uncomfortability factor in walking around calling myself a Browncoat. Because does that mean I buy into every single thing that the Browncoat organizations and fans do? No, I don't. I love the charity work and wish I had the time and energy to participate but I don't, and that piece makes me feel a bit reluctant as well. Am I a "true" Browncoat if I don't do these things. Am I one if I simply love the show, the movie, and Joss. And the mere fact I go through these contortions in my brain even a little bit, starts to make calling myself a Browncoat unpleasant. Can't I just be a Joss fan and leave it at that? Does this make sense? I dunno.
Can't I just be a Joss fan and leave it at that?

Yes.
Which is kind of sad, since it perpetuates the myth. It'd be nice if over time the fandom grew towards the truth, not away from it.

Some crystal clear evidence dispelling the myth would go a long way. I've read a couple he said/she said quotes, but nothing that proves the DVD sales had no influence. Producers and investors would be crazy not to look at those numbers.
Succatash, the factual timeline has been laid out here multiple times. If at this point some people simply choose not to accept it, there's really nothing I can do about that except roll my eyes publicly.

Or, in this case, submit a new definition to Urban Dictionary, which is currently awaiting them in their review queue.
Succatash, the movie went into development before the Firefly DVD set was even out. Check the DVD release date, then "whois" (nic.com) serenitymovie.com to check when Universal registered it. Nathan even announced the movie online (his post is still online) before the DVD set came out.
I can believe Joss shook hands with Mary Parent at a time when the DVD sales didn't matter. But to get a movie made, a thousand hands have to shake. It makes no sense to assume that no one looked at the DVD sales.

Instead of rolling your eyes, I wish you had a link to the evidence.

ETA: Maybe I don't correctly understand the myth.

I wouldn't say the DVD sales triggered the movie, but I would say they led to the movie being made.

[ edited by Succatash on 2008-10-19 00:07 ]
I'm still trying to figure out this so called myth. So far, a mystery to me. Can anyone shed some light on this subject?
The movie was greenlit long before the DVD went on sale. How many times do we need to rehash this? Did the DVD sales make Uni more comfortable with their decision? Sure. Did good DVD sales cause the movie to be filmed and finished and subsequently fail horribly at the box office? NO.
According to Amazon, the DVD was released on December 9, 2003.

According to Whedonesque, Serenity was greenlit on March 04 2004.

I am under the impression that there are many levels of "development" and most projects "in development" never see the light of day.
According to Joss (audio, transcript), the DVD sales did not influence the decision to greenlight the movie.

To me, saying, "I love Firefly but I'm not a Browncoat" is kind of like saying, "I love Jesus but I'm not a Christian." Or "I don't eat meat but I'm not a vegetarian." It's confusing to me. :)

Indentity's a complex thing. I've encountered all of these.
*sigh*

As always, I tend to go with Joss' own words of what happened with Joss' work. It seems like sufficient evidence to me.

I keep this on a stickie on my computer desktop and post it every few months:

JOSS WHEDON: "I’m privy to the essentials. Ultimately how good the DVDs sold certainly helped. But nobody ever said to me 'Ok we need a number on the DVDs before we greenlight the movie.’' I was already into the script, I was giving it to them, the timing was fortuitous and if nobody had bought the DVDs they might well have gone, 'Well gee I don’t know.' At the same time, everybody knew that nobody saw the show so we didn’t really know what a big fanbase there was.

I don’t think Universal gets enough credit. People assume they decided to do it after the DVD sales. But they’d been in it for almost a year before that. Based on the shows, the cast and the world they said 'Yeah there’s a movie in there.' ” - Joss Whedon, Interview by Daniel Robert Epstein, 9/30/05

(Underlining * italics mine... oh, and I'm a "Joss Fan" too. It covers all the bases I want to cover.)
I'd say (and have said before) that I love Firefly but I'm not a Browncoat. The first part of the statement is about my love of the show, the second part is about my not self-identifying as part of the fan community. Likewise, I love Star Wars (the Original Trilogy), Harry Potter, a bunch of other things, but wouldn't identify as part of those communities either.
Succatash, Serenity's official green light announcement was a PR thing for the most part. I have a copy of the Serenity script, sat in my very hands, written by Joss himself (obviously) for Universal which pre-dates the Variety announcement by a long while (Book goes blind in it, it's hilarious). Obviously, for that announcement they had to have all the cast pre-negotiated to appear in the film -- a process which took a long time (due to Ron not wanting to do it, the Alan issue etc).

Nathan confirmed the Firefly movie on the old FOX forum, June 2003, a full 6 months before the DVD of Firefly was even released: "All looks great on the movie front. A recent dinner with cast members, Joss and the lovely Kai confirmed rumours that we will all be big damn movie stars. Thank you Joss.

My dream? Every three years make a Firefly movie, like the Bond series- but they won't start to suck after a while."

[ edited by gossi on 2008-10-19 01:47 ]
So by the third definition of Browncoat, I've been Browncoated about the original Star Wars trilogy. I have no interest to watch the first three movies. :D
Just call me gossi, crusher of dreams. Here's a link - as if it wasn't enough Joss saying Firefly DVD sales didn't make Serenity happen, that's Nathan announcing the Firefly DVD is even being made - at the same time as he announces the movie.

The Firefly DVD sales thing was, is, and always will be a myth. I still think it's a wonderful example of how history is written by people - not always based on what, you know, happened.
Well, using the definition of active involvement, I'd say I was a browncoat for a while, but I'm not so much one now. I used to be involved with the Dutch browncoats website, moderated over at our forum, went to a couple of meetings, a pre-screening, the Serenity premiere, etcetera. But I was never active on the major international/American boards dedicated solely to Firefly/Serenity, and am no longer currently active on the Dutch board (which kind of skidded to a halt and semi-died after Serenity was released and we had less and less to talk about regularly, although everyone has kept their account and checks in every few months, so that I'm sure we'd "revive" if there was ever any actual continuation of that world).

I used to be a Buffy fan (and posted over at the old Bronze and on a British Buffy mailinglist), then I was a Buffy/Angel fan (and spent my time mostly on usenet and co-running the Dutch Buffy/Angel fanclub, which was fun), after which I became a Buffy/Angel fan and a browncoat (combining usenet and fora), but nowadays I'm simply a Joss fan (and post mostly right here at whedonesque). I feel nice and comfortable getting my fandom fix on the black, where I've started feeling more and more at home during the time I've been here. So (right now) I don't feel the need to become active in any of the subgroups I've "belonged to" in the past, because we combine all of them right here in one nice Jossian bundle :).

It is because of that, that I feel no real need for extra "labels" to define myself. So am I a browncoat? Yeah, probably, using most definitions. I've certainly referred to myself as a browncoat in the past. But I'm a Joss fan first these days and care equally about all of his creations, which means that that's the label I feel most comfortable with. (Now here's hoping Dollhouse doesn't suck, so I don't get label-confused ;)).

[ edited by GVH on 2008-10-19 02:06 ]
I feel the same about the "Joss fan" label, but I imagine that even if Dollhouse sucks, I'll still also consider myself a Whedonesquer. :)

I keep this on a stickie on my computer desktop and post it every few months

Hee. Many blessings upon your head QG. And how many of these stickies do you have?
I thought that the first definition was fine, the second inaccurate and the third harsh. It was just planted by some troll being stupid.
That said, I think "browncoat" does denote more than just being a fan, so I totally get why some people might be hesitant about using it. As Captain Jack Harkness would say, "You people and your quaint little categories." If they would prefer to avoid labeling themselves or others, more power to them.
That said, I call myself a "Browncoat", "Joss Whedon Fan", and "Geek" depending on the situation and to whom I am talking.
Unfortunately these days, the term 'Browncoat' seems to be used by those who like to mock and are fond of cheap jibes. I'm not a Browncoat myself but I really can't be bothered with those who can't understand or who feel the need to make fun of people who are emotionally attached to Firefly.
Two thoughts.

First, I've never understood why there are souls that enjoy other peoples misery. Just doesn't make sense, why?

Second, I've inverted keyboard face again. Yeah, fell asleep on the job.
I was a bit of a latecomer to the Sereniverse thing since I watched Serenity first, then Firefly and finally Done the Impossible before I found the OB.

When I first introduced myself on the OB, I thanked everyone for doing there bit for "doing the impossible" in getting the movie made and I got a bit of a hiding from one of two old timers for saying that it was nothing to do with the fans but an over estimation on Universal's part of the size of the fan base.

I think the bit about strong DVD sales was linked/rumoured to Universal renewing its interest for a sequel, not the first film, but that the deadline to sign up for a Serenity II expired last September.

I may be wrong so feel free to correct me.

Whoever was responsible for the first film gettig made, I'm grateful because it was superb and I would never have come across Firefly if the film wasn't made. Naturally, this led to serious disappointment after I found out there was only one series made when I tried in vain to find Series 2, 3, 4, and 5!
I think the bit about strong DVD sales was linked/rumoured to Universal renewing its interest for a sequel, not the first film, but that the deadline to sign up for a Serenity II expired last September.

There were rumours more recently (around the time the 'Serenity' Collector's Edition came out IIRC) about DVD sales possibly leading to a sequel but this myth is older than that and refers to the first film. It was partly caused by Joss his own self IMO with his (lovely and clearly very well intentioned) "message to the fans" that showed before advanced screenings and is now an extra on the 'Serenity' DVD. And then the press (and fans) took the ready made "plucky underdogs triumph through adversity" narrative and ran with it.

Not a huge deal necessarily but it'd be nice to see it squashed, just for the sake of accuracy if nothing else. We're all grown-ups, we don't need to tell ourselves a bedtime story about how the film got made, it's enough that it did.
You know, I think a nice bedtime story is that an exec at Universal saw Firefly, thought 'There's a movie here!', and then made one. It's even true.

There is some leverage, I believe, in the volume of DVD sales of Firefly that Fox have experience over the years, but I'm not sure anything will come of it for all sorts of political and business reasons.
I prefer the term "Whedonist," and have a shirt that says so.
I wonder why there is a specific name "browncoat" instead of just Firefly fan or Serenity fan.
There isn't another name for Buffy fans, or Harry Potter fans is there? You do have Trekkies or Trekkers. I wonder what causes the difference. Who comes up with the names?
Interesting link anyway. I enjoyed looking up some stuff.

And does anyone wonder if the idea about DVD sales causing the movie is simply perpetuated by the folks who want to sell more DVDs?

[ edited by Xane on 2008-10-19 18:45 ]
I wonder what causes the difference.


I think the perception of Firefly as a scifi show may play a part in it.
I think the idea of being "embattled" plays a big part in fan cohesion too (i.e. 'Star Trek' and 'Firefly' have one obvious thing in common in that they were both cancelled). If there's a feeling of "us against the world", whether justified or not, then maybe the group identity is stronger and so a group name kind of naturally arises ?

(i'm trying to think of fan group names of shows that have mainstream acceptance and/or ratings success and drawing a blank but then i'm not really in any other fandoms so maybe they have them and I just don't know 'em)
i'm trying to think of fan group names of shows that have mainstream acceptance

Well, I do hear a lot of people describing themselves or each other as "friends".
ba dum dum ;).
Gossi, I appreciate the evidence that Universal "got it" and began developing Serenity well before the DVD's came out. I remember Nathan's post and the tremendous excitment at that time, as Joss literally bent the universe to his will because he needed to tell this story. I also remember the cautious posters warning that nothing was official yet.

The fact remains, "if nobody had bought the DVDs they might well have gone, 'Well gee I don’t know.'"

Most projects in development never get greenlit. I apologize if I'm mistaken, but it appears that the quotes and transcripts above refer to the development deal, not the official greenlight (which came 3 months after the DVD). I know you've said that the official press release was for PR purposes, but at that point we are moving away from evidence and into speculation.

At the early Serenity screenings, Joss gave his "message to the fans" and the media gobbled it up, and some fans are annoyed because it's not true.

But at the same time, it's not NOT true. :)

Myth A, the myth that the DVD sales were the start of everything, has clearly been debunked. But Myth B, the myth that DVD sales led to the official greenlight, to the movie actually getting made, is unfortunately not so easy to dismiss. Not with the evidence presented so far, at least.

And without some unlikely statement from Universal's Board of Trustees, or Mary Parent, declaring that the DVD sales had absolutely nothing to do with anything, I don't see how Myth B can ever die.
Not a huge deal necessarily but it'd be nice to see it squashed, just for the sake of accuracy if nothing else. We're all grown-ups, we don't need to tell ourselves a bedtime story about how the film got made, it's enough that it did.

As a relative newcomer to the Sereniverse (I watched the film almost two years ago), I was one that was led to believe this to be the case. Done the Impossible strengthened this position and Adam Baldwin's participation in hosting that video made me think it was true.

Perhaps this was Universal's marketing strategy, i.e. to make the fan base think they're more important than they really are and thus act as a mechanism to do more to promote the movie without them having to spend any money! If true, it's quite clever albeit it didn't work because they perhaps underestimated the real size of the fan base.

Irrespective, I agree in what you said that it's not important how the film was made, just that it was. Wise words, my friend!

Now, what are we going to do about Serenity the sequel so we can make Done the Impossible, Again? LOL!
Done the Impossible strengthened this position.

Unfortunately.

Perhaps this was Universal's marketing strategy...

Unfortunately.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-10-19 21:33 ]
Huh. I was like really? No mention? Is it just about fanfic and manips?
Manips?

Okay, I just fell down the rabbit hole.
Manipulated images. Whedonesque doesn't really cover the art/literature side of fandom. A lot of fans would see fan fic and fan art as the be all and end all of fandom. So in that respect Whedonesque would be somewhat of an anomaly.
I prefer not to show manips to just anyone, especially with the weather on the turn.
Heh. That's what I thought Simon meant and down the hole to visit some mad people I went.
Succatash, to put it another way - if you chose not to believe Joss putting the point right, Nathan posting about the movie, or the evidence of the domain name for SerenityMovie being registered and me being bought on board before the DVD came out... Here's another way of looking at it. What evidence is there that Firefly DVD sales made Serenity happen?

I don't believe there's any.

[ edited by gossi on 2008-10-19 22:47 ]
Done the Impossible strengthened this position and Adam Baldwin's participation in hosting that video made me think it was true.

Here's a relevant clip with Adam Baldwin.
Adam Baldwin was, I believe, reading from a script written by fans.
For some reason this discussion has lead to me watch Joss' introduction piece on the DVD again.
I think the idea of Joss' introduction, from memory, was to inspire fans to spread the word. Serenity is really problematic for me on a personal level, because in theory it was partly the fans responsibility - along with the studio and Joss' - to help get the word out about the film. But then when the movie bombed(*), there were a few posts on the official site saying how people felt they had let the side down by not spreading the word enough, and that was... kinda heartbreaking. Because of course, in reality, is it bollocks the fans responsibility to market something. I remember Joss posting about that at the time, and I was glad he did 'cos I was reading those messages thinking to myself 'God, this sucks'.

Then we had the nightcap of Universal trying to sue a few fans. Oh, the memories.

(*) In a 12 sequel franchise sense.

[ edited by gossi on 2008-10-19 23:10 ]
Was this over using images in flyers and on webpages? I seem to remember reading bits of that long after the fact. It seemed ridiculous and really unjust.
Some of the history of the Uni-versus-fans thing can be found here. (And now I go to the bar to watch Game 7 of the ALCS.)
It was a rights issue over images, text, slogans, trademarks and such. It culminated in this website, which quickly caused the lawyers to back off due to negative press.

Serenity was a very... odd... motion picture development and release. I call this factor the Jossfactor. There's a pub down south in the UK which runs a game called the Josscocks, so remember that phrase.
I'm a bit behind the conversation here but the 'names for fandoms' thing - BSG is a sci-fi show, VMars was a cancelled one. Both have/had rabid fans (indeed, I sorta am one for both shows). Yet - no fandom names. At least, that I ever heard of...

I guess it's just an odd thing.

Is there any other fandom than Whedon[insert suffix here] also with a moniker based on their show creator?
Yes, the Minearketeers is one that comes to mind from aways back. But no idea if there are folks who still identify that way.
Wow, I'd never heard the term Minearketeers until just now.
Oh, there's loads of subgroups, skittledog, in different ways. Supernatural has Wincest people (people who like two characters...), there's Mylar fans for Heroes (Mohinder and Sylar), the Sarmy people (Sylar), the NathanNation and Mal's Bunk people for Nathan/Mal... I don't know if there's a fandom name for Angel. The Browncoat thing did create a thing for naming fandoms. That sprung from Firefly fans trying to name themselves back on Fireflyfans.net back before the show first aired, and I think it was Chris Buchanan, Tim or Joss (can't remember which) who posted they should call themselves Browncoats. And it stuck. Sadly I think Fireflyfans.net lost all their old posts. Both Joss and Tim used to post on it, mostly under the radar.

[ edited by gossi on 2008-10-20 00:04 ]
Hmmm...so when does a group grow from being fans of a show to becoming a fandom with its own name?

Does it just have to be organized enough?

"And we shallest be called 'Browncoats'...or 'Whedonites'...or 'Joss worshipers'...or 'Members of the cult of the Joss!"

What makes us special over VMars and BSG fans? Time? Rabidity? A creator with many beloved shows?
I think it happened on the OB, gossi, but that is from memory. A pretty famous fandom name is the Farscape fans who call themselves Scapers.
Actually, you're probably right TamaraC - that explains why I can't find it on Google (I'm looking).

I just found some people who call themselves "Josshovah Witnesses".
I cannot think of another television show creator or filmmaker who can claim fandoms named after him or her (there is no Lucasesque out there or Lynchites, or whatever, as far as I know), but named fandoms is surely a long-standing thing. What about Trekkers and Whovians?
Ron Moore has a fandom name - "MooreRon". That's used by the people who hate him, though.
The Mal's Bunk people are called Appreciators. From the thread, Appreciatin' Nathan. Just saying.
I was a Scaper. Actually wasn't sure we were famous outside our own fandom. ;)
NYPinTA, I just remember the very first save Firefly campaigns (December '02 and January '03) being heavily aided by Scapers who had experience fighting for their show. Pretty sure that was the reason I sought ought Farscape to watch in the first place. Of course, this was all long before Firefly DVDs or Serenity.
Yeah. I remember we felt bad another good show was cancelled. The term 'browncoated scapers' was bandied about for a brief time. Too wordy. (And the imagery wasn't so great either.)
Serenity was greenlit well before the Firefly DVDs were released. So, linear time being what it is, it can be accurately stated that the DVD sales did not greenlight the movie. However, one could reasonably argue that the fans' intense support of Firefly did play some part in Universal's decision to begin production on the movie.

Imagine if the activity on the Firefly message boards had taken a nosedive after the show was taken off the air, or fans never mounted any campaigns to save the show, or taken it upon themselves to create and pursue several forms of guerilla marketing? In general, what if no passionate interest in the show rose up after Firefly stopped, would a studio really want to invest in such a property? Despite Mary Parent's great interest in working with Joss, from a business point of view, it would have been too risky to start production on a movie version of a property that figuratively dried up and blew away as soon as it left the airwaves.

So although the Firefly DVD sales had nothing to do with the initial greenlighting of Serenity, the passion and loyalty of the fans did play a part. After Serenity began pre-production, the very healthy sales of the Firefly DVDs were a confirmation that making the movie was a reasonable gamble. Producing just about any movie is a gamble, but no studio would take an insane risk with a property whose only audience lost interest. A studio needs enough items in the "plus" column to make a movie gamble worthwhile. When Serenity was greenlit, about the only things in the "plus" column were Firefly's passionate fanbase and Joss' proven brilliance. But brilliance without an audience won't recoup a studio's investment.

The fans did make a difference.
Kinda like an Arrested Development film might be made because there seems to be an audience for it. There seemed to be an audience for Serenity. Hopefully the former won't be proved as wrong as the latter.
‘Candy From Strangers’ and ‘Dead Like Me’ both had films made after the shows got cancelled (the latter not yet released), although not because of any fan-based intervention – or obviously active fanbases. Not quite the same thing as ‘Serenity’, I know.

Is there any reliable information available about how many copies the ‘Firefly’ DVD has actually sold? Or the ‘Serenity’ DVD, for that matter.
Serenity was greenlit well before the Firefly DVDs were released. So, linear time being what it is, it can be accurately stated that the DVD sales did not greenlight the movie. However, one could reasonably argue that the fans' intense support of Firefly did play some part in Universal's decision to begin production on the movie.

There seems to be some confusion between "Greenlight" and "in development." At least for me, anyway.

How can we have two official Greenlight dates, nearly a year apart? Nathan's post on the OB confirmed a development deal, not a greenlight. That didn't come until 2004.

Interestingly, you're going for a Myth A type argument, which I consider solidly disproven.

This is all well and interesting though. Gossi, maybe you should write a book about it, seriously.
For most of us - well, for me anyway, we're mostly talking 'bout the myth that the fans "got the film made" - and not saying that the fans made no difference at all. The story I see over and over again on the internets is the one that goes, "Firefly got cancelled, it was very sad, the fans made an outcry and did Firefly guerilla marketing and bought a gazillion DVDs and wrote to the studios en masse, so the Big Movie Execs decided to make a movie from Firefly and call it Serenity."

Of course fan activity and DVD purchasing made a difference in both Joss' and the studio's continuing assessment of the film's economic viability - as Joss and others have explicitly stated - just as the knowledge of the numbers and loyalty of his fanbase would have supported Joss and Co. in their decision to make and market DHSAB directly to the fans. But we would hardly claim we got that "made" either.

It's really the difference between us providing support and us providing the original incentive and motivation - we did the former, and not the latter. As we usually do.
I would say "us providing the original incentive, so the Big Movie Execs decided to make a movie" has been clearly disproven.

But claiming the fans and the DVD sales had nothing to do with the official greenlight in 2004 and actual production is an entirely different matter.
Succatash, the common refrain in the media is, "The DVDs sold so fabulously well that Universal decided to do Serenity." This is patently untrue and has been discredited as bunk repeatedly. Please stop perpetuating a myth. It is embarrassing to the fandom and one of the reasons we are often seen as unhinged.
Succatash: I see what you mean about the difference between the terms of "greenlight" and "in development". Good point.

As for my previous post, I would correct it to say that when Joss started work on the Serenity movie, around Spring 2003, that was "in development" pre-production, not greenlight. My terminology wasn't particularly accurate.

Interestingly, you're going for a Myth A type argument, which I consider solidly disproven.


Actually, I was going for an argument that wasn't completely discounting the role the fans played in Serenity being made. Often I've seen the argument that the DVDs didn't get the movie made spill over into the a wider argument that fans had 'little" to "nothing' to do with the movie getting made.

I'm perfectly fine with the 'for real' greenlight date being in 2004, because then it could be reasonably argued that the excellent Firefly DVD sales did have a factor in giving the final go ahead to taking the movie from the development stage into production.

It's possible that Serenity may not have moved past the development stage if the Firefly DVD sales had tanked and the fans lost interest. Beyond the financial concerns of such a scenario as to Serenity's projected success, Joss himself may have become discouraged about pursuing the project. He may not care so much about appealing to mainstream audiences, but he does care about the passion that the audience that is there have... even if it's a relatively smaller audience. It's hard for a creator to keep caring if the audience doesn't.
It is embarrassing to the fandom and one of the reasons we are often seen as unhinged.

Preach it, sister.
There isn't another name for Buffy fans, or Harry Potter fans is there?

Harry Potter fans have been known to be called Potterheads. I'm not sure if they take the name on themselves or if it's derogatory.

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=potterhead
Potterheads! Ha Ha! That's good, maybe a lttle too close to Potheads though if you ask me.

Oh I just though of another one, I believe that Beauty and the Beast fans used to be called the Helper's Network. Or maybe that was just one group. That was before the internet so who knows?
This blog entry from Stevyn Colgan lists the many collective nouns for different TV and movie fandoms.

Woodies? Steedophiles? Oh my!
The original question up there though was, a group name based on the show's creator.

Now what would Hitchcock fans have been? ... Careful.

J.J. Abrams?

Damon Lindelof?
Hmm, I wonder if that list is correct, missb or if it confuses popular words for groups of characters with fandom names. Do Angel fans really call themselves 'Fang gang'-ers? Or does this just refer to the group of characters in the show? And there's a few other examples along those lines in there.

Otherwise: it's a fun list. And I agree with the writer on 'Trekkies', which is a great documentary about fandom. They do focuss on the silly a lot, but they also care about the subject and there's some moving stories in there as well. All in all, I enjoyed it. And I might end up checking out that book recommendation as well.
Just want to be clear, I'm not saying the fans didn't make a difference - they did, but in a different way to people generally believe. The commonly held belief amongst fans, sadly fanned by Done The Impossible, is they made Serenity happen through campaigning and passing around the DVDs. It simply isn't true, and if anybody isn't sure on that one, ask Joss when you next see him - although he's said similar in interviews. Universal weren't interested in the idea the show had a fan base -- in fact, I remember several execs at Universal weren't even *aware* of the fan base. They were interested in the fact Joss had a quality vision of a movie. There were no campaigns amongst the fandom - at all - to have a movie made. In fact, I remember when Adam Baldwin first suggested a movie online, some people were against the very idea. People wanted a new series, not a movie. Why people choose to believe we went on this big campaign for the movie and we're responsible for it happening confuses me - although I can understand *why* that's a commonly held belief - because we've said that is what happened.

What fans did is, in fact, more interesting. We excited the studio. We were all over their official website, so many of us we kept crashing it. We turned up in the thousands to official preview screenings. We got them mainstream press. I know many fans called newspapers about the preview screenings and got press people to write articles about the screenings, and that excited the Universal PR people, because they had never - and probably will never again - seen anything like it. I know that at the UK premiere of the movie, they almost got in trouble with the police due to the amount of people who turned up and waited for hours in advance for the cast to turn up, as you have to tell the council how many people you're expecting, and for a movie with no name stars nobody expected thousands of people.

All the excitement energised the Universal staff in a way which doesn't normally happen on movie releases. I'll tell a little tale I'll probably regret here - at the time Uni had Serenity coming out, they were prepping for Doom's release. And, you know, there wasn't much love for Doom. I mean, they did everything they would normally, but nobody was sat in those offices squeeing over Doom, but I saw people - with my own eyes - doing that over Serenity.

Just before the movie came out, me and a few studio people did our estimates on what the movie would take. One person said $80m opening weekend. And they were absolutely serious. And also, hilariously, wrong. Even a week into release, there was still discussion about a sequel and a hope it would happen, despite the fact the numbers were, let's be honest, not sequel numbers. They wanted one, even if their heads were in the sand, and that is something which speaks for itself, I think.

On a personal level, most of my now-friends are formed through that movie, and I also met a girl I love through it. So, ya know, I'm a Browncoat. The losing side, sure, but not the wrong one.
"Succatash, the common refrain in the media is, "The DVDs sold so fabulously well that Universal decided to do Serenity."

It is embarrassing to the fandom and one of the reasons we are often seen as unhinged."


LOL, TamaraC, you can't have it both ways. If it's a mainstream, common refrain in the media, then it's hardly embarrassing and unhinging.

The only thing proven in this thread is that the DVD sales did not jumpstart Serenity. It went into development before the DVD, and as we all know, most projects in development never see the light of day.

As far as getting the official greenlight, and actually getting the movie made? The fact that Universal waited 3 months after the DVD was released before officially greenlighting the project speaks for itself.

If you want to kill this myth, preaching won't help, anecdotal stories won't help, but some solid evidence will.

Edited for spelling

[ edited by Succatash on 2008-10-20 16:02 ]
As far as getting the official greenlight, and actually getting the movie made? That fact that Universal waited 3 months after the DVD was released before officially greenlighting the project speaks for itself.

Err, no it doesn't (they may, for instance, have waited because Joss was still tweaking the script or for any number of other reasons like budgetary schedules, contracts etc.).

Remember the old refrain, correlation is not causation. I.e. all it means is we don't know whether 'Serenity' would've been greenlit without decent DVD sales (do we even know how well 'Firefly' sold in the first 3 months BTW ? Were the sales so good that it would remove any doubts from Universal's "mind" ?).

But you're right Succatash in that a specific, narrow version of the myth (one that's much narrower than that held by most people that believe it IMO) can't be debunked with what we currently know. But then, since we also don't have much in the way of evidence in support of it, it's surely also not on solid enough ground to spread as if it's true ?
a specific, narrow version of the myth [...] can't be debunked with what we currently know. But then, since we also don't have much in the way of evidence in support of it, it's surely also not on solid enough ground to spread as if it's true ?


Wait, did I accidentely stumble onto that old religion/atheïsm/tea thread by accident? ;)
People doubt that tea is true ? Infidels ! ;)
The fact that Universal waited 3 months after the DVD was released before officially greenlighting the project speaks for itself.

Succatash, why does that speak for itself? You've taken a 3 month wait and made it about the DVD, something which is there is factually nothing backing it up.

It's quite well known - because the cast has openly spoken about it - that Alan and Ron not signing on delayed things for quite some time. There's interviews and podcasts about that. Maybe - just maybe - they waited for that reason (which, by the way, is what happened - the movies' exec producer Chris B even posted on Fireflyfans.net about it) rather than anything to do with DVD sales?

There was a period in late 2003 where fans started writing to Universal about the movie and they had to tell them to back off, because it was contract stuff going on. That will be documented online somewhere.

I fail to see how Joss Whedon -- the movies director -- saying DVD sales didn't make the project happen means DVD sales made the movie happen. There's literally no evidence whatsoever that DVD sales had anything to do with anything, but plenty to say it didn't.

[ edited by gossi on 2008-10-20 16:43 ]
I fail to see how Joss Whedon -- saying DVD sales didn't make the project happen means DVD sales made the movie happen.

The thing is, Joss never said that. It's very misleading to use paraphrases like "make it happen" and "get it made" when a much more accurate phrase would be "get it started."
The first three months DVD sales were not that amazing. They were better than expected but in no way lit the world on fire. You are wrong, Succatash, as many folk here are trying to politely point out. The myth is simply wrong.
It might also be said that unless Mary Parent had wanted very much to work with Joss, Serenity would most probably never had happened. What studio would be interested in funding a movie on a short lived TV series unless they had a keen interest on developing a working relationship with the show's creator?

The only other reason would be Universal execs were all starry eyed Firefly fans who didn't give a whoop about movie decisions based on logic. Wait... that's it!!!!
Or Joss hypnotized them.

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