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February 18 2009

A Q&A with Joss Whedon, Who Never Had A Dollhouse. A Nerd World Blog post that links to TWO chats with the Purple One.

The first link is just Joss, the second is a phoner with Joss and Neil Gaiman circa Serenity/Mirrormask. Enjoy.

If this is a dupe, be kind and stake it, Kind Mods. The older interview is a hoot that most of you have read, but we n00bs will dig it. Cheers.
Yeah this is the one where he reveals that he had the same Falcon doll that I had as a kid.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-02-18 20:58 ]
Yeah this is the one where he reveals that he had the same Falcon doll that I had as a kid.

Yah, the 2nd is a reachback, but the 1st link is minty, and posting both gives a Dinner/Desert thing. Or I could be a pretencious dork.
/No, I can't spell. :)
As far as I can tell, the first interview never got linked to before so it's cool.
As far as I can tell, the first interview never got linked to before so it's cool.

Yay, I've passed muster, and it's "Cool". I've never been cool before. I shall savour the moment...

Moment savoured, and thankyou Simon.

[ edited by roddikinathome on 2009-02-18 21:07 ]
Oddly enough, Lev linked to the second page of the newest interview. It actually starts here.
Ok, now that I've actually read the thing -- good interview! Although I must admit Joss might have lost me a bit with the quilt-stretching metaphor.
Although I must admit Joss might have lost me a bit with the quilt-stretching metaphor.

Yeah, I thought he was going to go with a "you need all kinds of different fabrics to make a good quilt" and then it was all "you need people pulling in all kinds of different directions to stretch your quilt out right." I mean, yeah, I can kinda see how it works--I'm just wondering why you need to stretch your quilt out, and how come it's so big it takes lots of different people to stretch it...
I like the quilt metaphor. I'm not a quilter, but I can imagine a group of people getting together to collaborate on making a quilt. Don't people do this? So you're all sitting around some big table and each working on a portion of the thing. But if you don't all work together and balance each other out in how you hold and work with your portion, and you don't keep the fabric stretched out tight enough and balanced enough from all ends while working on it, it'll come out looking horrible. Lines or designs won't meet up, etc.

Sounds like a good metaphor to me for an acting ensemble working on a quilt, er, show.

Okay, I've spent far too much time on this. But still. Makes sense to me.
I can kinda see how it works--I'm just wondering why you need to stretch your quilt out, and how come it's so big it takes lots of different people to stretch it...

So THAT'S what all the hepcats are into these days. I knew ether frolics were a fad!
Is it like knitting, where you have to block (stretch out) your work so that it doesn't warp?
TIME: You're a behind-the-scenes type person, but you're also a celebrity. How does that work?

JW: I don't think I'm a celebrity. Maybe I'm a cult figure? I walk down the street, and it's not like people are mobbing me. But I do get recognized sometimes — which is very new for a writer. A writer is supposed to have anonymity. And the result of that is that I think I'm all that. My ego is completely out of control. I think you're going to see that in some of the work coming up.

My money says that the final sentence in this quote is a reference to Topher.
Not to be a craft-pedant (but I am) - Joss' wife Kai is a quilter - a quilting stretch is a gathering in which you put all the bits together - very much like any other collaborative creation. (There are also racks that are helpful with this process.)

Not to s-t-r-e-t-c-h the analogy too much, but it 1) quilts must be keep taut to keep the pieces square as they're assembled and also especially if you're overstitching 2) quilts are generally large enough that a number of hands are useful in this effort. It's also a traditional gathering for social reasons...

I thought it was a perfect comparison - it clicked in for me immediately, as it would for many folks familiar with or able to imagine the various stages of quilting. Too much slack and all the various pieces fall apart, or are put together most wonkily.

ETF: typos

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2009-02-19 01:04 ]
quilts must be keep taut to keep the pieces square as they're assembled

Huh. How do you sew something that's under tension?
It's not acutally the squares themselves that are being sewn together but the layers of the quilt - the top, the batting in the middle and the bottom layer (or the back).

When the actual quilting part is done (the stitching that binds the layers together) whether it's done my a machine or by hand it's supposed to be done from the middle out and all the layer have to be to be stretched out taut or it won't come out squared. In short, you will have one very wonky quilt.
There are a lot of steps to the process, but the step that involves stretching is the one where the quilted assembled top is sewn to the backing.

ETA: Or, what DaisyButtercup just posted with detail.

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2009-02-18 23:19 ]
I loved the second interview. I wasn't even aware of Whedonesque and all of its tentacled glory when it first came out, so thanks for the link. Those are two highly entertaining men.

I just need to say I'm SO glad no one's had the chance to ruin Sandman yet. I'm on the fence about whether to risk the probable heart-stabbing despair of The Watchmen movie. Much ruination anticipated. Coraline on the other hand, I AM looking forward to, despite Stardust. Loved the book from the moment I first read it and I can definitely see it as a stop motion. I'm sure all its inherent creepiness will not only survive but be enhanced quite nicely.

Poor Joss. No dollhouse. For my brother and I, that was almost the whole point of everything we ever played with our various anthropomorphic representations. First thing we did was build them a house: AKA "secret lair, secret hideout, giant mansion, fort etc." Sometimes that was almost the point of it. The things we could do with cardboard boxes...

Of course, maybe that was just us. He now does home construction and I am immersed in the unending reno project.
Oh, yeah, BreathesStory - making the lair/house/hideout (and filling it with props) was the biggest and best part of any game for me, too. I'd be willing to venture a guess that Joss made stuff like that, too - the tinkertoy prison, the erector-set lair, the cardboard Gotham City... and also the larger-size versions: the treehouse hideout, the card-table-with-blanket fort, the robber's lair in the woods...

And Coraline (3D) was freakin' magical.
Thanks QuilterGal (er, QuoterGal) and DaisyButtercup--nice to get the vehicle/tenor thing all straightened out for Joss's metaphor. What you say makes it all make perfect sense to the quilt-ignorant (although I did help sew a patchwork quilt my sister made when I was a kid--lots of little octagons of scrap-material: I don't remember anything about the steps involved after making a big sheet of little patches, though).

For my brother and I, that was almost the whole point of everything we ever played with our various anthropomorphic representations. First thing we did was build them a house: AKA "secret lair, secret hideout, giant mansion, fort etc."

Yeah, I did a lot of that as a kid, too--including building forts for myself and my friends. And I did the big home reno thing a few years back. Building forts had a much more satisfying effort/reward ratio, I have to say!
*Facepalm of Infinate sadness*

I've started a quilting bee, didn't I?
/Sheessh.
And Coraline (3D) was freakin' magical.

I enjoyed it, too--but I couldn't decide afterwards if the 3D thing really made much difference. I mean, it had a certain "ooh, ahh" payoff--but then for everything you gain in three-dimensionality, you're losing something in image crispness and color-saturation. I dunno. I suspect there's a reason that 3D has spent 60-odd years in waiting as "the next big thing"--and it's not just that the technology had to be improved.
Yay quilting bee!

I'm on the fence about whether to risk the probable heart-stabbing despair of The Watchmen movie. Much ruination anticipated.

I'm right there, sitting on the fence with you BreathesStory.
Internet as quilting bee is a pretty obvious metaphor, actually, isn't it? What's a site like this if not a kind of 'bee'--we all add our little patches to create the whole.
I'm on the fence about whether to risk the probable heart-stabbing despair of The Watchmen movie. Much ruination anticipated.

I'm right there, sitting on the fence with you BreathesStory


If that's a picket fence, it may not be "heart" stabbing that you're experiencing.
I assure you, Breathestory, finding this was total serendipity, shocked me a bit when Simon confirmed it WASN'T a dupe. But y'all are welcome, just glad to contribute.

And what's the etiq. on simil-posts here; cigs and cuddles or firm handshakes and nodding?
Thanks for the "quilting stretch" schooling, QuoterGal and DaisyButterCup. The metaphor made sense before, it makes even better sense now. I love that Joss is familiar with the process - how craftsy of him.
for everything you gain in three-dimensionality, you're losing something in image crispness and color-saturation

Really? I haven't seen it in 2D but when I saw the 3D it was totally crisp and sature-y, and I thought the additional D added a lot.

I wanted a doll house. I never got one. I got dolls, which I didn't want. So ditto with the DIY. The best was a whole miniature town built in a vacant lot out of construction scrap.
I read and saved/archived this Gaiman-Joss discussion to my computer years ago. I would swear it was posted here. But I guess I'm wrong. At any rate, it's a great discussion. Thanks for posting it, roddikinathome. Definitely very cool of you.

As for Coraline, I loved the book. So I guess I have to see it on film, eh?

[ edited by phlebotinin on 2009-02-19 00:22 ]
It's funny - I tweeted the link to the original TIME interview (and also one to a bunch of beeeee-autiful dollhouses last Friday, assuming someone on there would grab it and post it here in one of the Dollhouse "dump" threads - but it must've dropped through the cracks in that day's deluge of of exciting press.

So, many thanks for posting this, roddikinathome, and being a piece of this WHEDONesque cRaZy QuiLt.
Thanks very much to all who explained the metaphor -- I am quite clearly craftily-impaired.
The Whedon/Gaiman interview was either posted here or linked to in comments because i've definitely read it before and it was definitely from here. The first (Time) interview's new though.

(and I think Joss may be the first actual Joss i've heard of - even if it's a chosen name - since both the Josses he mentions are actually Jocelyns, not 'Joss' like Joss stick as Joss is. Quite a lot of Joss in this paragraph, as luck would have it ;)

Also interesting BTW, that Joss' original pitch for 'Dollhouse' was more about sex than it is now i.e. Fox didn't necessarily add all the sexy stuff that they keep getting blamed for adding.

And I played with Action Man quite a bit (back when it was proper plastic n'all, none of this cheapy rubbish) so most definitely dolls. Never had a house for him though (had a helicopter - which didn't fly BTW, or not from 1st floor balconies anyway no matter how many times you pressed the button to make the blades go round. Fact) though my cousin had the Training Tower. Bastard ;).
Thanks for posting it, roddikinathome. Definitely very cool of you.

I've never been COOL before...

So, many thanks for posting this, roddikinathome, and being a piece of this WHEDONesque cRaZy QuiLt.

Blind pigs and Truffles, I got lucky. But I'll take the props with gladness.

BTW; I found this linky from a 'non-review-NDA-presser screening of Watchman. His review is spoiler free and filled with squee, root about some and you'll find it. ;)
The Gaiman/Whedon interview link was originally posted at whedonesque in Sept. '05 here - it's one of my favorites because it contains this exchange:

JW: I find that when you read a script, or rewrite something, or look at something that's been gone over, you can tell, like rings on a tree, by how bad it is, how long it's been in development.

NG: Yes. It really is this thing of executives loving the smell of their own urine and urinating on things. And then more execs come in, and they urinate. And then the next round. By the end, they have this thing which just smells like pee, and nobody likes it.

JW: There's really no better way to put it.


Okay, back to my card-table lair...
Never had a house for him though (had a helicopter - which didn't fly BTW, or not from 1st floor balconies anyway no matter how many times you pressed the button to make the blades go round. Fact) though my cousin had the Training Tower. Bastard ;).

Yeah, I had a Winnebago for my Barbie but my sister had the Dream House or Dream Condo or whatever the hell it was at the time.
JW: Yes. I've been sixteen steps behind Kevin Smith for four years. I've never seen him.

I get giddy whenever the View Askewniverse and the Jossverse cross over in any sense. Makes me smile when my fandoms come together in any form :P
I look up and they have a bodyguard line of 30 Klingons. They're six-foot six and four-feet wide and they have the foreheads and they had linked arms. We were being lead off behind a human wall —a Klingon wall—of Klingon warriors. And I thought, how good does it get?

I can only dream that this will happen to me one day.

And *pfft* to your dolls & dollhouses. I played with colored pencils. They were a rainbow mafia. Purple & Blue were tragic figures in a Romeo & Juliet fashion. Black & White were the "elders" of the group and also the ones that set divisions in the group. The "non-standard" (like yellow-green) colors were marginalized, but were the underdogs (of course). Best thing about playing with pencils: you could take them to school and not get caught for "toys". :)
Hey, I refuse to be typed anti-pencils. I wasn't lucky enough to discover Prismacolors at that age though. I had to make due with crayons and Playdoh. (Incidentally, those are two of the top smells of all time.) Oh yeah, there were also those cheap-assed watercolors that almost succeeded in putting me off of the stuff for all time. To this day, I keep a box of Crayolas and a can of Playdoh around in case I need a little pick-me-up.

I did do a lot of building though. Blocks, legos, decks of cards, blankets, and mud. The things you can do with mud...besides "ruining" your parents' flower bed.

[ edited by BreathesStory on 2009-02-19 05:55 ]
I once made a paste of nightshade berries and mud and poulticed my dolls and stuffed animals (and those of my sister) with it. I also used it to seal shut the storage cupboard in my playhouse in an attempt to make it private, not realizing it would also keep me out until I winkled it all out again.

I was a practicing witch at a very early age - I was treating my little peeps for consumption, plague and the vapors.

Mud is very wonderful, and dirt is brilliant. (Heh.)
I really liked Stardust (the movie). Though I might like QuoterGal's quote of the interview even more. Never understood why it wasn't realised bigger or received better (that's the movie version of Stardust again, not the interview).

I guess Joss must be compensating for his guilty feelings of never having a house for his dolls with the whole dollhouse thing.
Also interesting BTW, that Joss' original pitch for 'Dollhouse' was more about sex than it is now i.e. Fox didn't necessarily add all the sexy stuff that they keep getting blamed for adding.

I dunno, Saje. FOX has mostly been blamed for adding Eliza in a tiny dress etc. I don't know whether that was them or not, but Joss has said that the network did push for titillation in the show while at the same time shying away from having the show actually deal with sex.
Yeah, that's a fair point (s'why I stuck 'necessarily' in there).

But at the same time, he's said a few times now that Eliza is cool about her sexiness, even said that he knew about and wasn't against the very titillating (IMO ;) photos that appeared in the Echo Chamber so I really don't think it's reasonable for people to immediately assume that anything that doesn't seemingly toe the non-objectifying line is by Fox and everything else is by Joss - he's deliberately pushing the envelope basically in order to really examine the issue, deliberately sailing as close to the wind as he can. And sometimes when you do that you end up luffing ;).

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