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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
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September 10 2013

Joss Whedon rewrote a SHIELD script, according to Defamer. As of right now it's just an unsourced rumor on a gossip site.

This is going to set everyone off isn't it? *sighs*
"a page one rewrite just an hour before the table read" - seems pretty hyperbolic, this is just gossip rag nonsense.
Yeah. Hopefully this is all BS. I can't really believe that this would be the case. Jed and Maurissa were instrumental in Dollhouse and I trust them.
I can almost believe that. And by "almost believe that," I mean that I could have believed it if they'd simply said Joss did a final pass on the scripts, as showrunners often do and I believe Joss is/was used to doing on all his shows.
Can't wait until every other media source gets wind of this and starts to spread the "panic". *sighs*

I do love the tag so very much.

[ edited by xostrahovski on 2013-09-10 21:53 ]
I've greatly enjoyed the Twitter lead-up to this post.

Meanwhile, I'm just going to have to assume that this means SHIELD has already been cancelled, ABC didn't even promote it, they put it on Friday nights, and Coulson is being called a Space Hooker in the promos.
I mean that I could have believed it if they'd simply said Joss did a final pass on the scripts, as showrunners often do and I believe Joss is/was used to doing on all his shows.

I was digging last night in regards to another matter and found some comments from Tim Minear in regards to Joss' input on Angel which I think may be relevant to this thread.

Let me try to clarify... when Joss was starting Buffy he was still working out not only the show, but how to actually *make* a show. It took him four or five years to get a Buffy writing staff in place that clicked. Each one of them strong links in the chain, folks who could write the show and deliver shoot-able drafts. More than that -- a staff that grew into being producers (and directors!), over-seeing pre-production, on-set concerns, and even sitting in on editorial. Joss could delegate tasks in a way that he couldn’t at first. Mostly this meant that as time went on, Joss didn’t have to do quite so much re-writing (and in those early seasons of “Buffy” he rewrote virtually everything.)

Ideally, that’s what a writing staff does. They write. And a show runner doesn’t have to go in and fix everything. The Buffy staff was one of the best I’ve ever seen. Each one of them would have been the stand-out on any other writing staff.

By the time Angel came along, he’d sussed out the process pretty damn well. And the man who was with him at the start of Buffy, David Greenwalt, was running the new show. And they had, frankly, me. For whatever reason Joss, David and I clicked right away. We spoke the same language (oddly, we all sort of talk alike now. And I know it’s not just me -- I was told by a company I wrote a movie for that Jeff Bell was in to do a project for them and they were like, “you sound just like Tim Minear!”)

Anyway, speaking as guy who was one of the heavy lifters on Angel, Joss was totally involved. At least from seasons one through four when I was there. (And in his interview, David Fury says Joss actually put in *more* face time in season five, so make of that what you will...) Every single story was broken with Joss. Angel locking the lawyers in the wine cellar? Joss. Angel firing his crew? Joss. The big showdown to hell being a simple elevator ride? Joss. Darla being staked to have her baby? Okay, that we me. Still. I pitched that she *gets* staked, Joss said, “what if she stakes herself?” I think you can see the value of that particular modification.

Thing was, he could spin out some idea and I’d understand in two seconds what he meant and could go do it, and he didn’t have to worry. It was like that with all of us. But the driving force, the guy at the wheel, that was Joss. He’d chart where we needed to go, vet outlines, drafts, and always sit in on a cut after I was done and give notes. He was involved.

83 film projects. I choose to take that very literally.
Yes. Isn't the number of films Joss is working on closer to, well, one? Or two if you include In Your Eyes.
In some capacity he is involved with all the films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. To what degree, we don't really know--seems mostly supervisory but that might be Joss being humble--but that's still a good chunk of work.
A rewrite? On a script? Oh my god. They are all going to get cancelled- we are all going to die and the apocalypse is... *sarcasm off* Guys, its TV, stuff gets rewritten all the time. Sometimes during filming because something doesn´t work or somebody has a better idea. The author or the source or whatever clearly has no idea how TV works.
Well I suppose I shouldn't watch it now. Glad to hear its going to be bad before I took the trouble to see it!
Be still, my heart - it seems that a writer has re-written something.

I can only imagine what this scary world will throw at us next...
I'm having trouble accessing this link but I'm not sure what the big deal would be if Joss did tweak a script. He rewrote some of FFL, he rewrote the last scene in Beneath You. I'm sure he never lost faith in his writers but he did sometimes go in and fine tune stuff.
Maybe I'm missing something, because my reaction is... so what if he did?
Yeah... heavens forfend.

How about Woo hoo! Joss is still putting his special Jossy touches on Shield scripts even though he's so busy! Awesome news!

uh, the good kind of touches...
I'm not shocked? I remember an article a whiles back about how Joss pretty rewrote the BtVS episode, "Halloween" because the writer tasked with the job turned in a script deemed unacceptable.

It's early days, and the best Whedon projects have been the ones with more direct input from the Man, not less.
People get paid to write that? Really?

Show us on the script where the bad man touched... wait. Wrong... thing.
Love that Tim Minnear quote! Thanks, Simon.

That Defamer item is just nonsensical. Pfft!
I hope he did. That would mean he is actually involved in the writing more than I thought he would be.
Actually, some of the other information on the site is accurate. Naren Shankar (ex of CSI) did leave Almost Human on short notice and for mysterious reasons. I believe that a script rewrite is entirely plausible, but may not be as significant as it is being made to seem here. Rewrites are common, sometimes to actually try to make it even better, y'know. :-)
*rolling eyes* I saw an interview with J-Mo the other day where they assured the interviewer that Joss is rewriting ALL the scripts (in response to a question about how much involvement he would really have). I read this as, Joss didn't get around to reading and making minor changes to a script until an hour before the read-through, the support staff had to scramble to get the new scripts off the copier in time, and someone got annoyed and leaked to the press. Big whup.

Also, re: Simon's Minear quote, which I assume was in response to the David Fury interview Blastr dug up yesterday: I've always thought his comments re: Joss being not involved in Angel were misconstrued. In the interview, he's clearly making the statement only in comparison to how hyper-involved Joss was in the early seasons of BTVS, and in reference to missing his physical, every-day presence on set.
Wait... there's a new Joss show coming out?
And right when I tossed out my picnic basket...
Where is that Whedon Panic Bar graphic anyway? Must not be on my newer computer.
Who's flying this thing?! (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)
This bugged me, so:

- It isn't possible to do a page one rewrite of a TV episode in an hour. Hell, it's barely possible to say the words in an hour, let alone think of them.

- Joss is not transitioning the show running to Jed and Maurissa. Jed and Maurissa share the creator credits of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.; they have been show running it since day one.

They're a good five+ episodes in script wise and there's a lot of sweet going on.

[ edited by gossi on 2013-09-11 11:18 ]
Funny how I went "Oh yay! More Joss words!"

Don't think that was the author's intent.
Funny how I've been wondering how much writerly input Joss is going to have on regular SHIELD episodes, and finally the most specific confirmation of this has come from a site that thinks it's delivering bad news. Joss is doing rewrites and last-minute tweaks? Yay! Good to know everything's normal. Wasn't he supposedly scribbling out new lines on the Avengers set?

I can believe he was doing rewrites of an episode right before the reading, but the website's assumption about the script being bad sounds like sensationalist, unfounded gossip. My guess is it being a page-one rewrite was also an exaggeration. But I've read that past episodes he did complete overhauls of were 'Lovers Walk' and 'The Zeppo'. So it's not like I'll dread it.
I was under the impression that script rewrites were the rule rather than the exception at this point in any non-Sorkin show. Especially with a writing staff that's 90% new to Joss.

This is about as alarming as saying "the writers required a lengthy meeting to break the first story arc! They even had to order in Chinese food! Warning: Troubled Production!!!"
Guessing that the Whedon family writing room (plus Bell and other Mutant Enemy alums) probably follows the previous pattern of breaking down the story well in advance.

If they are doing last minute re-writes, it's not like they are starting with a blank page and no plot. Probably more like Michelangelo sculpting: chipping away small pieces to deal with the elephant in the room (or something like that).
You guys are probably right and everything's fine, but there IS a difference between a showrunner doing a pass on a script (which is the norm), and a showrunner doing a page run rewrite at the last minute (which is not good). As someone mentioned, Joss previously did a page one rewrite of "Halloween," -- after he fired the writer.

For a show to run smoothly, you want the writer's draft to come in as close to shootable as possible, so that the busy showrunners have less to do on the script. As mentioned in the Minear interview above, it took Joss three seasons to find a Buffy staff who lived up to this standard. If this story is true, then it may be the case that some of the writers are not working out. That doesn't mean the show is doomed, of course.

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