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August 23 2012

The latest fan effort to bring back Firefly. Good luck with that.

Bobbi Christina?
A different Bobbie, though the actress in the video has a different last name.
Of course this will end well and 20th's lawyers will embrace this project with no reservations.
So much problematic. Using the name. A page on Indiegogo that starts, "Firefly needs your help with its first episode" -- as if it's official somehow. Fan films are one thing. But this is going to get shitcanned.
Thanks Simon. Can't see the video, so from the blurb that stood out.

[ edited by Andy Dufresne on 2012-08-23 09:22 ]
The story could even be interesting. But I don't understand why they think this process isn't going to get them crushed.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2012-08-23 09:24 ]
Maybe it's a parody of a fan campaign. Certainly I've seen a lot more coherent efforts.
Personally I'm inclined to think that "Bring Back Firefly" campaigns are just the 21st century (Fox) equivalent of the "Nigerian Lottery."

[ edited by brinderwalt on 2012-08-23 09:46 ]
Could almost set your clock to it now.
Fred Leicht, the mastermind, keeps calling Malcolm Reynolds "Mel". Is that like "Josh"? (Yes, I watched the entire 38-minute video.)
Why would you write it this way though. I mean, as a writer, you can find ways to put in everything you want but just not call it "firefly" or name the characters with their original names. Hell, you might accidentally end up coming up with something brilliant and original, heavily based off something you love.

I mean... come on. Joss has said so often that he based Buffy on Kitty Pryde. That's alright. But he couldn't have named Buffy that or called the series something X-Meny. This project sounds like a bad idea and because it does, and because we have no clue if these people have it in them, I can't see why someone would fund them, let alone have that funding accumulate to a million dollars. Did "Husbands" even cost that much the first time around? The kickstarter for that project, done by people we already knew had the chops (they'd already done a first season and... well. Jane Espenson. Enough said), was only 50.000. They went only 10.000 over that. A million dollars is out of this kind of project's league. Unless your name is Amanda Palmer.

[ edited by Mitholas on 2012-08-23 09:57 ]
How strange. I met a guy at a party here in Austin who said he got forwarded a casting call for this thing and wanted my opinion on whether or not it sounded legitimate. I said no, obviously. But.
Yeah, sorry, but this is just stupid. Do these people know nothing about copyright and licensing? They're making a spinoff fanfic and calling it "bringing Firefly back", without checking with Fox or Joss. The whole thing reeks of ignorance and wishful thinking. Not gonna happen.
Good luck indeed.
It's 3:00 AM here, so of course I rolled a blog. I'm going to bed now.
You know, Paramount kind of let Star Trek fan films exist with a fairly high profile. Same characters, often Trek actors rock up and Tim Russ has directed a few. It's not great to watch from what I have seen, but it is done in good faith and spirit, and with respect to the authors (the studio).

This doesn't seem like that.
True. It doesn't seem anything like "Browncoats: Redemption" for example.
Well good morning my fellow Whedonites! What a happy sight to wake to....,Not. Idiots, these are. Is attempting to fleece a fandom due to ignorance still a fleecing? Yup.

I need more sleep.

Nice blog post @theonetrueb!x. It is an impressively coherent 3am piece, unlike that press release.
Wow. Just wow.
Much as I sympathise with the scathing criticisms... and knowing that this doesn't sound like something I'd be interested in... part of me wonders... Fox isn't doing anything with this property, so what business would it have stopping others from giving it a go?
Fox makes millions from Firefly - DVD sales (Joss is kinda popular still), comics licensing, posters, figures etc. They will aggressively defend this position (see also "Firefly Universe Online", which Fox shut down the minute they started soliticing fans for money). This project is collecting one million dollars from fans. My take: think carefully before investing in this one.

I don't mean to crush things like this as I'm actually a fan of fan films and such. I think they're wicked cool. But when your first pitch for a project is "COLLECT ONE MILLION DOLLARS FROM FANS!", I kinda think back to the pitching board you go.

PS: Two points of clarity. They aren't using Kickstarter as the press release claims. Kickstarter have nothing to do with this one. And they are collecting money under "Flexible Funding campaign", which means they get all the money regardless of if they meet the $1m goal. If this takes off, a lot of people will be out of pocket.

[ edited by gossi on 2012-08-23 14:14 ]
Yeah, I'm afraid that either these geniuses will pocket the money, or Fox will take it away from them, either way the fans who donate lose out. It makes me sad to have a fandom I love exploited like this.
Guys, I really don't want you to waste your money and get ripped off. Especially because I have an unbelievable investment for you. Now, they may LOOK like ordinary beans....
Only one person was foolish enough to give $29 to this campaign on Indiegogo, and I'm betting it was the creator.
There is some sort of person who is easily separated from their cash, can't remember which kind. They will definitely send these people money, though. I do think this whole "people got scammed into donating to somebody pretending they could legitimately bring back a beloved TV show" would make a great episode of Leverage, though.
Jeez people, if you want to film some fan fic just rename it '50 shades of firefly' and you'll be fine.
You'd have to change the set dressing. It's not a sci-fi western, it's a cyperpunk fantasy!
With spanking. Always with spanking.
Now, they may LOOK like ordinary beans....

but don't be fooled, they're SPACE PIRATE BEANS.
I'm gonna start up a campaign next year as a tax dodge. Details to follow.
I do think this whole "people got scammed into donating to somebody pretending they could legitimately bring back a beloved TV show" would make a great episode of Leverage, though.

My interest in Leverage is waning a bit, but this would be the BEST EPISODE EVER. Can we get a kickstarter up to film this? No?
At first I just sighed and even laughed a little to myself. I was comforted by the fact they were trying to do this on IndieGoGo assuming that they wouldn't reach their goal and no one would be out any money. But now that gossi pointed it out, the will get any money donated regardless if they reach their goal or not. And someone else already has donated. (Whether or not it's someone involved with this, I've no idea.) But now I'm bothered and concerned.
Good grief. Not this again.
I reported it to IndieGoGo, so at least they can check if this is legit or if it infringes on their terms of use. It'd be a shame if IndieGoGo got bad press for this. As far as I know it's a pretty well-loved website to use, so I'd hate to see its reputation get damaged if this indeed turns out to be fraudulent. Not to mention I'd prefer other Firefly fans to not get ripped off.

[ edited by Mitholas on 2012-08-23 19:17 ]
I did the same last night.
Someone else look at their Facebook page. Is it empty now? All I can see is my own post. Nevermind. They apparently have two Facebook pages. The real one is still active.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2012-08-23 19:34 ]
Simon -

"Space Pirate Beans" will be the title of my memoir. I will thank you in the sleeve notes
Was I the only one confused by the presence of "Angel?" Really original name there guys. SMH. Worst. Idea. Ever.
FWIW, confirmation that they're purging critical comments on the Indiegogo page and on the YouTube page of the campaign video. So far, oddly, they don't seem to have taken down people's comments on their Facebook page.

Meanwhile, in response to having flagged the campaign as a potential TOS violation, Indiegogo's only reply was to say they only act on complaints from the rights holders themselves. If a third-party alerts them, they basically don't consider it their concern. Classy.
Thanks for your note. We take the rights of copyright holders very seriously. Indiegogo complies with the DMCA.

If you believe that a copyright owned by you or someone you represent is being infringed upon by its placement on Indiegogo, please submit a complaint that complies with the DMCA. We will respond accordingly by removing the offending campaign and contacting the campaign owner to let them know that we received your DMCA complaint. We must also provide them with your contact information and remind them of our policy against copyright infringement.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2012-08-24 00:40 ]
Fred speaks, on Indiegogo, after deleting people's comments.
Hi, all. I feel I should take a moment to talk with you guys about this project. We are trying to raise funds so that we can get Firefly back on the air. The plan is to produce one high quality episode, with top notch cast and crew. Then present it to Joss Whendon. That is it plan and simple.

OMG, is this guy completely clueless?
Indiegogo comments on the project are now locked; only contributors can post publicly. All others can only post private comments.
Joss Whendon? Really?

ETA: Huh, he must have caught it & edited. But still, really?

[ edited by kazzmere on 2012-08-24 01:19 ]
As much as I would love to see Firefly back… this is so obviously a scam/exercise in idiocy that I can't see how even the most naive of Browncoats would find this believable.
Okay, I'm at the point where I feel like sitting back and waiting for them to get their asses sued off.

And actually, since no one has actually 'pledged' for it apart from that one person, that's exactly what I'm going to do. It seems either people have been reading negative buzz about this online or everyone who would be interested in theory is too smart to believe this is for real. Either way, that's pretty positive.
Oh my god, I only just watched the video.

Did that girl really go "and as Angel, I'm basically a strong, independant woman"? Who...? What...? Really?

It's also amazing how the background noise of a party keeps rolling without interruption, even as they make cuts in the interview.

[ edited by Mitholas on 2012-08-24 01:47 ]
Clearly Fred thinks it is better to present this idea as clueless/poorly thought out instead of as an exploitive scam trying to steal from unsuspecting fans (I altered my post to play the idea and not the man... as per our guidelines) .

I am pleased to see that no one has linked this at Fireflyfans (which is where I assumed they would be looking for donors).

[ edited by embers on 2012-08-24 01:51 ]
I'm not entirely convinced Leicht has any idea where Firefly fans online might even be. (I'm not entirely convinced of the depth of his knowledge of the Firefly canon as it exists, either.)
I just hope it gets shut down before he figures it out. The HNBFF folks had hundreds of people very much up for their scheme. Imagine if this guy found the most ardent of them? Oy!!
I think this is all just cluelessness. It seems to assume the obstacle to more Firefly is Joss? Which is perhaps the most bizarre Firefly thing I have ever read on the internet.
And the 38-minute video that fronted the Indiegogo campaign has been removed, by Leicht, apparently.
I can't help but think they're just really just dumb and clueless because if you wanted to bilk a lot of people out of their money, there are easier ways.

Maybe she was talking about "Angel", the 1984 movie...

Whendon? Mel? Wow! I can't wait to see the supporting cast of:

Angel (a girl)
Buffy (a weak guy)

We'll call it "Prometheus".
What is great to see is that the Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for the Nikola Tesla Museum in New York has passed its $850,000 goal and is closing in on $1 million. It's not Firefly but it is a worthwhile endeavour.
Whendon? Seriously?

Maybe this is a bad analogy, but I feel like Buffy in "Forever" when Dawn tries to bring Joyce back to life. Yes, we all love and miss Firefly, but let's remember it as it was and not sully its memory.
More hints at questionable credibility: the FB page for the production company, Action Hero Robot, has 6 likes and dates back to June of this year. The write-up on the production company website describes "Firefly, A New Beginning" as "a new series based on Joss Whedon's Serenity," and makes no mention whatsoever of the TV series (site may not be viewable on iOS; also, scroll).

[ edited by counti8 on 2012-08-24 05:29 ]
Yeah, that's a bit strange, counti8. But from the cast interviews it seems like they've started reconstructing Serenity? Who's paying for that? I don't quite get how all this could be going on when it's such a preposterous idea. And if the writing on the show is anything like the writing on the production company's website...yikes.

I may be being overly bitter, but for some reason this whole idea fills me with rage.
b!x, thanks for the detailed blog post. I think "sheesh" sums up my reaction (to the situation, not to your blog).
Getting a vaguely creepy vibe from the "Firefly A New Beginning" interview video. The actors didn't seem to have any clue who Joss Whedon even is. The way the actress described her Angel character is basically a cliché in our little Whedon obsessed world at this point.

I studied entertainment law, but I wouldn't think it would take anything more than basic lay-knowledge to note that stealing properties the way this director/producer is doing it is very basically, the opposite of legal.

I don't think he's an idiot though. I get the feeling that he's doing this specifically because he wants to get Joss' attention, for personal publicity, and going about it in a very under-handed way.

On top of ignoring how he'll be legally destroyed, he's ignoring the fact that Joss, at the 10th anniversary ComiCon panel talked about supervising "prequel" issues for Dark Horse written by Zack, as well as ignoring the fact that Joss is basically "Mr. Hollywood" at this point. I'll be pretty surprised if we Joss' name on anything new in the next five years other than projects he's already "Executive Producer" on, other than The Avengers sequels and what we are already expecting to see released.

Not to mention the cast of the show is...unavailable. I mean, 1/3 of them didn't even turn out for the 10th anniversary.

This will either be a disaster, or we'll never see anything about it again. God speed, Stinky!
The video is still online on their press site (correction to myself: that is a shorter video, entitled "Interviews with the cast of the new Firefly".)

[ edited by gossi on 2012-08-24 13:26 ]
Mind. Boggles.

This must be a publicity stunt. It's the only way this whole thing makes any sort of sense.
There are only two ways to bring Firefly back:

1) Go back in time and stop Fox from ever cancelling the series.
2) Travel to an alternate universe and bring back as many copies of future seasons that would have aired in said alternate universe.
When pretending to be a Nigerian prince just doesn't cut it with the geeks...
So far it appears nobody but Whedonesque has picked up this story. Which is great, because you're all smart.
Leicht does not quite appear to be as publicity savvy as were the HNBF people. He sent out the press release and that's about it. There's been no outreach online that I've seen to places where Browncoats congregate. Unless he's doing that privately, I think maybe Whedonesque's take spread before he could get ahead of it.
Hilariously, I no longer can see my comments on the Facebook page. My only comments was, "What's a Mel?" Other people's comments that are actually about the legality of it, remain.
And then he emailed me, asking to talk on the phone. I've told him -- via email and publicly via Twitter -- that there's simply no need. All he has to do is post publicly whether or not he's properly licensed to ask fans for $1 million in funding for a prequel pilot to Firefly.
They're not licensed.

[ edited by gossi on 2012-08-24 20:26 ]
Yes, of course. I just want him to stop dancing around it. ;)
Not to mention the cast of the show is...unavailable. I mean, 1/3 of them didn't even turn out for the 10th anniversary.

And the cast members who did appear are Comic-Con regulars anyway. They would have been there regardless of the anniversary panel.
This is the response I got from IndieGoGo:

Thank you for your note. We have checks in place to prevent fraud, and have language in our Terms of Service to protect contributions. With that said, feedback like this is important so we appreciate that you took the time to share this and we will look into the campaign to verify its legitimacy.

The message I sent them linked to this place and the blog post on, and I came at it from more of an angle of not wanting people to get ripped off and not wanting IndieGoGo to be abused as a platform for that, which is probably why I got a different response than The One True b!X got.
Leight has his own cast. Malcolm Reynolds played by Josh Purdy, according to the PR site. The rest of 'our' characters are nowhere in sight.
This is worlds different than HNBF, because he is actively seeking money from fans to begin with that is non-reimbursible, whereas HNBF never got to that point (thought they seemed to be building to that level of fandom interaction). He is also, by B!x's account on her blog, shutting down any negative criticisms on YouTube and IndieGoGo. It seems to an outsider and fan he didn't go the Kickstarter route because a). more eyes to begin with who would shoot anything like this to 20th Century Fox to start with, and b). no guarantee unless he meets his goal to make any money off his projects... Someone needs to e-mail 20th Century Fox and just let them know this is going on so they can write a nice "cease and desist" letter to force him to stop or face legal repercussions, as they still have the rights to the property.
If there was an upside to the HNBFF, it was that it stressed the importance of getting the rights from Fox. Now people are more aware of it and are not falling for Leight's scheme.

[ edited by Effulgent on 2012-08-24 23:05 ]
Been following all the fun, thanks largely to B!X, and I just can't figure out what his game plan is here.

His inability to cope with the crtiique on various social networks/indiegogo shows lack of clever and devious intent, yet the video with the cast shows that everyone seemed to think this was an actual thing. Dodging all mention of legal responsibility contrasts with the ridiculous plan of 1 million dollars. If he was trying to pull a fast one, he pulled a very slow and obvious one instead.

Oh, this guy has been scouting locations, apparent pre-production and has run casting calls and sessions with random actors. I'm sure it's well intentioned. It's similar to Help Nathan Buy Firefly in the sense that the end goals (making a new Firefly series, helping Nathan buy Firefly) aren't deliverable, and the people who get caught in the cross fire are the fans. It plays on the fan desire to resurrect Firefly, by gaining money and publicity. I don't think the people behind these things are setting out to scam anybody (there are far easier ways to scam people). I do think there's a lot of human condition on display.

It doesn't help Firefly is surrounded in this faith based myth that fans made Serenity happen. If you watch the show and then Google it, you'll find all kinds of articles about the show which aren't actually true.

[ edited by gossi on 2012-08-24 23:44 ]
He's started to engage on Facebook now, and restored the missing comments. But so far all he's posted boils down to saying people are mocking his dyslexia (which no one knew he had), and that since Star Wars fan films are okay, this is okay.
I think there's a slight difference between making a Star Wars fan film and making a prequel for the Prequel in order to pitch it to George Lucas.
Huh, I was thinking the same thing about Star Wars. But Lucas owns all of his work. He is Lucas Arts. He's a billionaire, and I've read articles about supposed "bootleg" products actually being owned and produced by Lucas's companies.

There was one example of a "Han Shot First" T-Shirt, a bit of a middle finger to Lucas from disgruntled fans, which was later revealed to actualy be Lucas Arts product when a photo showed up on some movie set with Lucas himself wearing the shirt.

Furthermore, I remember specifically, Robot Chicken and Family Guy creators basically just saying they called Lucas who called them back and he was totally down with being made fun of as long as it was by his fans...later I think Seth Green went on to produce some other Star Wars related show.

The exclusive rights of a copyright owner legally prevent anyone from Performance, Reproducing, Distributing, Displaying or Deriving. Lucas wants talented people to make Star Wars parodies, etc... because he can just take them for himself and say “You work for me now.” and it continues the Star Wars Universe and franchise. Pretty cool!

In other words, nothing has ever been released under the name Star Wars without direct consent from George Lucas, or without him acquiring a large percentage, if not the whole property shortly thereafter. And we’ve all learned how cool Fox Executives are.
On the Facebook page, he makes mention of being in talks with a former Fox producer. It doesn't sound really legit, but it seems like he understands on some level that he needs to get through Fox.

It also seems that he's got a Kickstarter campaign going to publish/create a book he wrote called The Wish.

[ edited by Like With Pie on 2012-08-25 05:21 ]
In any case there's nothing wrong with making a fan film as long as you're honest about it. Like Browncoats: Redemption. They did everything right: they secured permission from the copyrights owners, they didn't use any of the copyrighted characters, and any money they got from the movie went to charity. They were also upfront about their intentions, and that it's a fan film and nothing else.

Leight, on the other hand, makes it look like it's something sanctioned by the copyright owners, and that there's a series to follow etc. He also refuses to state whether or not he has any rights. And, yeah, his assumption that the only reason Firefly isn't happening is because Joss somehow can't think of a story to tell is utterly bewildering in its arrogance.
To the Mods, I hope I'm not breaking any rules by posting this, but here is a worthy cause on indiegogo: help to rescue a jaguar.
I'd forgotten all about HNBF (probably thankfully). Did that all end at some point, or was there another linked story to it here? I pop in and out here for the most part so I may well have missed it.
@ Tonya - ended when Fillion and other Whedon alums reiterated to fans not to donate to the cause, that Fillion's comment was made mostly in jest.

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