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April 05 2013

When one geek met Joss Whedon: "What do you say to Nerd Jesus?" What it's like to meet your hero, when your hero is Joss.

This is really lovely, well worth reading (and I want to read the actual interview too!). I got to meet Joss (at the Chicago WonderCon) a few years ago, and it remains one of the high points of my life.
I love the bit about understanding that writers make the characters you love. I've been thinking about that myself recently - with respect to TV and to Joss's work in particular. When you're watching Buffy (or Angel, or Firefly, or whatever) and you find yourself wishing those people were your people, that Willow and Xander were your friends, that Giles was your mentor... You're not wishing you could hang out with Alyson Hannigan and Nick Brendon and Tony Head (though I'm sure that would be fun). You're wishing you could hang out with Joss and Jane and the Drews and Fury and Tim (so much Tim) and Greenwalt and Steve DeKnight and these are the people you wish you could be spending time with.

For me, most especially Joss, Tim, and Jane.

I've met and chatted with Joss more than once (not in that order, actually). I'd like to do it again.
I can safely say I word-vomited on Joss, Amy, Alexis, and Clark when I met them at SXSW last month (I might have frightened Amy). I probably came across as an insane person to them. It's not easy to juggle not taking up much of their time with letting them know how much you appreciate their work without sounding crazy. It made me feel better to think that they are probably used to it, though. They were all incredibly sweet and kind to me even if I was frazzled.
Pardon me for being the crass one in a (woefully uncommon) instance of a writer love-festing (my, that sounds dirty!) but I do feel the need to point out that - apart from print works that never go beyond written-word form - the writer is hardly the sole person responsible for forming the characters you see realized (especially those found on a stage/screen.)
I actually asked him a question last year at Comic-Con, plus posed for a picture many years before that. That's enough...for now. I hope to move up to "more than 15-second interview" eventually
brinderwalt, I didn't mean to indicate that and I'm sorry if that's how it sounded. Performing arts are absolutely collaborative arts, television in particular as it extends over time and the characters and actors grow together. (Joss has mentioned this in several interviews, but I think some great current examples are Marshall & Barney on HIMYM, both of whom have taken on characteristics of the actors who play them more and more over time.)

I just meant that it's nice to remember and give props to the writer. I actually bristled a bit at the author of this article saying all of the characters mentioned breathed words created entirely by Joss, since even the writing of episodes on TV is a collaborative effort.
I took a picture, chatted, and he signed stuff for me last year at ComicCon, and Joss is genuinely a sweetheart. He is SO incredibly nice to his fans, and meeting him was even better than I could've ever imagined! :D
The first time I met Joss he told me he'd beaten up a couple of false b!Xes earlier.
b!X, it's so nice how he looks out for you that way. The first time I met Joss he was screaming like a fangirl for Tony Head.
Just as an aside re the importance of writers as opposed to actors, I remarked to Tim Minear at his Facebook how much the American Horror Story Paley Fest panel irked me in a way, because the audience literally screamed in hi-fi for the actors, but when Tim, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk came out it was polite, little tea party applause. I said that without the writers, actors would be on street corners making shit up. So, no one is more important than anyone else, but their work should be equally respected, IMO anyway. But actors always end up being the rock stars, which to me is inequitable.

As to meeting Joss, maybe, some day? I will never ever do this at a convention or in a convention venue. The pressure, as mentioned, to try and say something meaningful in a few seconds is ridiculous. I'd probably be like Joss trying to say something meaningful to Bernadette Peters, the only person he's ever babbled gibberish to, not once but twice.
*mumbles a cryptic 'let us never speak of it again'*
But actors always end up being the rock stars, which to me is inequitable.

It's a dichotomy of the art form, I'm afraid. Like being a lighting/set designer, a director, or any other number of behind the scenes roles, the writer's ultimate goal and greatest artistic triumph is to convince the audience that there is no one behind the curtain - hence the imbalance.
The writers are my rocks stars. I was too scared to talk to any of them when I had my chance at Mutant Enemy Day, except for thanking Joss for taking a pic with us (OMG Joss Whedon put his arm around me in a picture!) and mentioning something to Tim about the bus shelter being the smoking section (OMG I shared a smoke break with Tim Minear!).

And yeah, I deeply regret that I was too afraid to go up to Jane Espenson and tell her she's my hero (though I hope to have the chance when she and Cheeks come to Powell's next month). At least I didn't hit David Fury over the head with my picket sign like the wind seemed to want.

But I do love that I have such great memories of that day, despite being so terrified of talking to my heroes.

[ edited by electricspacegirl on 2013-04-05 21:14 ]
If one were to meet a Jesus of any stripe-the classy thing is not to call attention to it! (ie-"OMG! YOU'RE...!")
Odd as it sounds, those we idolize for projects we know inimately don't want to be idolized for them. It's a disservice to say "He's just like you'd imagine." What is there for that person to say? Sure-he probably would review his life's work to date for you-but that's not one's personnal progress.
When I met him, my first impression was, "Who TH is Joss Whedon?" (In my defense, BTVS and FF/S debuted when I was honing my heroic habit of drinking heroically-and Joss' most commercial success lay ahead of him.) Then. after some spirited banter, I walked away saying, "Bloody hell, he's clever....and nice." (I hope there's a point to my writing this, and that it is apparent.)
Wouldn't be a problem for me; I'd jusy say, "Wow, this is amazing, I'm a big ex-fan of yours." :-)
I had the opportunity to see/hear/ meet with Jane Espenson last year. I mean -- I have bickered with Baldwin, and chatted with many cast members from Buffy and Firefly, but when I saw Jane, my hero -- I was like a fish out of water. Big, bulging eyes and mouth soundlessly opening and closing. It was awful in so many ways.

Guppy greetings from
DaddyCatAlso-if the situation arises, let's hope that feeling isn't mutual.. ;D
Speaking from experience I can say the following. Jaw numbing smiles of the ear to ear variety and temporary inability to speak at ALL. To speak you must wipe the smile off your face...at least a little. :)
Hmph. Cryptic mods make me curious.
jcs, Caroline recently met Joss at the Much Ado screening in Dublin. I'm guessing she may have blathered a tad?

Maybe not.

But if anyone has anything to say to him, it would be her. Holy cats, this is the only site he visits!
Actually, I thought Joss would be excited to meet Caroline. I mean, SHE MADE WHEDONESQUE!
BarryC - thing is, for Joss or anyone to be an ex-fan of mine, they'd first ahve to be a fan, and I have not done anything yet! Hopefully my 57 years of writer's block is satrting to fade out, though.
I think Nathan Fillion once said something like he's happy to (I'm sure within reason, and when possible/appropriate) respond to a fan who's sincere and direct, but that someone who was obviously trying to be clever and zingy, or so cool and above-it-all to be meeting him was a little offputting.

I get that. Most fans wait in lines for a long time to meet these folks - Joss, actors, writers et al. - and they don't do it because they're cool, unimpressed and above it all - they do it because they're huge frikkin' fans, so the battle to appear cool or classy about it is already over by the time they get to meet them. That seems fine to me. Nothing wrong with being an unabashed, geeky fan. I think it's the idolization/deification level that must make them *really* uncomfortable.

When I worked with Fans4Writers during the Writers' Strike in 2007/08, I never got blasť about meeting Joss and his peeps (nor Ronald Moore!!) and I simply was not capable of being cool about it. These are my much-liked & admired folks, and it wasn't gonna happen. I fangirled a bit on Jossir the first time at Mutant Enemy Day picnic, and he was, as I understand it, his usual gracious and kind self.

In fact (bragging coming up, so brace) I said the usual duh fan-thing of introducing myself (as QG) and saying I was a big fan of his work, and he said something like, "Thank you. QuoterGal? I'm a big fan of yours."

I died. There were delayed-action tears about 5 minutes later.

Nothing wrong with being a fan. Never be ashamed, and never get embarrassed because you blathered. There's always someone or thing that makes you awe-struck, and I think that's a good thing.. It's trying to be cool and unimpressed that's a problem.

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2013-04-07 07:27 ]
Yuppp, just changed my FB profile to a photo of Joss and I. Yes, it's three years old. Your point?

Joss is fantastic to fen. My favorite part of running into him was when HE geeked out over some loitering cosplayers, and gave me his iPhone because HE wanted a picture with THEM! Hee!

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