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August 12 2009

Still no Dollhouse webisodes. The Toronto Star takes a look at web content accompanying TV and reports that Joss "is all for spreading his content out over several platforms, but this year he simply doesn't have the budget for it".

Strange the article didn't include ARG's. Obviously, the Dollhouse one wasn't as successful as anticipated, but the Lost ones are generally all out and about on the web.
I'm sceptical about that comment given that there's no Joss quote and he's said very forcefully in the past that he didn't want to do any Dollhouse webisodes
The all for spreading his content around thing kind of sounds more like the reporter going "he did Dr. Horrible, of course he'd do webisodes". But who knows.
All this talk of webisodes, and no mention of NBC's awesome 'Ctrl'? For shame!
I suspect that's because Ctrl isn't Dollhouse :).
I'd personally prefer he spend all of his budget on making the TV, rather than webisodes that quite frequently add little or nothing to the plot.
They should just have Jane Espenson update a Facebook profile for Topher :). That'd be cheap! I know, she's very busy with Carpica and blogging about her lunch :).
Nitpick: The Rescue Me "minisodes" weren't really webisodes—they were broadcast on FX before they were put online.
As Joss has said about "Heart Broken" - the studio wanted all of this extra stuff (including webisodes), but it's a lot of strain on an already busy production schedule. Really it should be a creative team that works alongside the TV creative team.
It'd be relatively cheap to just make a series of videos of clients in the Confessional. One fixed camera, a series of day players, done. It'd be an interesting way to see a large cross-section of what sorts of people come to the Dollhouse to hire an active.
Perhaps if the guilds had gotten a better deal on web content...
Originally I thought writer's weren't getting paid for web content they produced. I thought that was part of the Writer's strike. I thought Ronald D. Moore was supposed to be paid for BSG webisodes, but payment never came so he had to fight for it(and I don't know that he ever did get paid).

So did the Writer's Strike change things so now writers are paid for web content produced? For some reason I thought I had read at some point that Fox wanted Joss to create web content but he would not be paid for it, they just expected him to do it.

Edited to add:
Silly me! I didn't read the article first. It does mention promotional web work and who gets paid for what. But does anyone know, did RDM get paid for his work?

[ edited by Passion on 2009-08-12 18:25 ]
Maybe it's the apple in me that thinks this, but I could have sworn that Joss said at the Comic Con 2009 panel that there won't be webisodes, and he works very hard against doing them because that means there's a story that they can't do on TV. I thought he also said that Dollhouse just doesn't lend itself very well to other platforms.

Does anyone else remember this?
korkster -- I remember those comments, but they were WAY before the 2009 Comic Con (possible 2008 Comic Con, though). I do distinctly recall the quote about a story they can't do on TV, but I've been unable to find it. About Dollhouse not lending itself to other platforms, I believe he was only referring to the medium of comics, and not so much webisodes. Indeed, Alan Sepinwall indicated very recently that Joss had considered the post-apocalyptic setting as having potential for webisodes.

Because the show's budget has been reduced (a condition of the renewal), there won't be any money for web extras, even though Whedon realized the 2019 setting was the perfect set-up for a webisode series.
Ah-ha! I can find it:

From a February 2009 Forbes interview:

Forbes: What's been the biggest change to the medium since you launched Firefly in 2002?

Joss Whedon: The biggest change has been a diffusion of the storytelling, where everything is about the external forces and the ancillary markets. You're meeting with the toy people before you've written the outline; it's six acts instead of four--that was a horrible shock to me; you have DVD extras, which means you're followed around by a camera the whole time, and they want different cuts and different aspect ratios; you have the Webisodes. Everything is serving 16 different masters, which doesn't help the already nearly impossible job of trying to tell a bunch of really good stories.

How does all of that impact the way you tell a story?

At the end of the day, it doesn't. This is a very tricky show to make and when they say, "You can do a Webisode"--some idea you can run for two minutes--we basically say, "That means that's an idea we can't run for 45 minutes later on." The show is not easy to break, so I tend to focus on the show, and in this particular case, it doesn't lend itself to a comic book or Webisodes. I'm just a big stick in the mud--I stick myself in the mud and keep telling stories and try not to think too hard about whether we can get a tie-in with a car company.

Whedon realized the 2019 setting was the perfect set-up for a webisode series.

This makes sense to me. They wouldn't lose material for Dollhouse, because it'll focus on the future stuff, and they could still explore Dollhouse-related issues.

But obviously, money money money. Money!
Even that Sepinwall bit is not clear to me. It could have just been the result of someone at the TCAs asking "wouldn't E1 make a great webisode series?" rather than Joss saying "and by the way I knew all along that E1 would be a great set up for webisodes". (Either one is plausible to me.)

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