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June 08 2005

When Fox canceled 'Firefly,' it ignited an Internet fan base. One of the best articles to date on the Browncoats and the resurrection of the show on the big screen. It's a definite must read. Especially for the Joss interview.

Good read, and we're seeing signs of mainstream publicity already and there is some time to go. And with recent events NOT having Tom Cruise is a good thing...

But what sort of person turns up at a screening wearing a black suit and blue gloves? They're the enemy! Just slap a "Fox TV" sign on their backs and beat the crap outta them!
" 'Serenity' doesn't have Tom Cruise or 'I can't believe I'm in the body of a third-grader' slapped over the title, or any of the other things marketing people latch onto. What it does have is our belief in the film."

Love that Joss.

And another plug for Whedonesque. Good for us.
Good news and good publicity. If we all keep the Serenity buzz going and it keeps getting media attention then things are looking good for box office sales.
Breaking into mainstream media...very good news, literally and figuratively.

I wore a Hawaiian shirt to the DC screening...and I wasn't alone!
"You either love Whedon or you don't..."

This is the sort of thing I hear a lot but don't agree with. I don't really think Whedon's work up til now has been love-it-or-hate fair. I think all it would take to make more mainstream audiences like a Whedon show would be to a) peel away what I think are fairly simple, shallow prejudices (that is, not deeply held prejudices) and b) market them better than they've ever been marketed before. I can't agree that Whedon is an aquired taste - not like say, for example, the films of Baz Luhrman, which tend to have such an over-the-top, frenetic style that they simply don't appeal to many people. Of coures I may be grossly mistaken, but I'm always finding more and more people who discover and enjoy BtVS and the other shows, and aren't necessarily what you'd call 'cult' types. It just took them longer to discover what a genuinely great, entertaining, well-written show BtVS (and/or Angel, Firefly) are.

[ edited by forcorreo on 2005-06-08 16:54 ]
The better phrase is: You either trust Joss or you don't.
Very good article. It tells what happened to this particular project informatively and in an objective tone, but also in a subtle praising way that might make non-fans intrigued. It genuinely feels like an objective third party wants to report something mention-worthy with optimistic interest. It neither sounds like a gushing fan nor a 'geez aren't these nerds weird' type article.

Huh, who knew that type of writer still existed....
Nice press. And, look, Ms. Renee Balmert is quoted again . . . Miyu_tVP, you are an unstoppable force for good in the 'verse! I still think the SF papers suck, but I always enjoyed Neva's pop culture reviews, and it's good to see her get stuck into Serenity.

I tend to agree with forcorreo that Joss isn't so much a polarizing writer; what I do sometimes see, however, is a backlash-type reaction on various message boards that dismiss all plaudits for his work as "fanboyism." And as for the majority, alas I'm sure most still couldn''t pick his name out of a line-up. That'll change come September (he fervently believes).
"You either love Whedon or you don't..."

hey, I resemble that quote... :P um, we talked about a bunch of stuff and the quote in this article kinda sticks a slew of different topics into one thought. I think she had asked me about fans who like only buffy *or* firefly, and I said that although there clearly are some people that make that distinction, to my mind "You either love Whedon or you don't..." Just meant that if you 'get' him, I think pretty much all of his work will speak to you. Still not quite saying it right I guess -- can you tell this is the first time I've been interviewed? :P

"His series are hard to pin down, which is why they're hard to promote." was in response to 'how would you describe the show?'

"But Joss is great at gathering people around him who have the same vision." was part of a discussion about the brilliant writing, much of which is attributable to Joss, but I also wanted to put in a shout out for the many writers that work with him.

"There's a wonderful rapport between him and the fans, and between fans and the actors in the show." just reveling in how fun it is to be a fan of these kinds of people, cuz they truly have so much respect and understanding for their fans.

anyway - I am so impressed with this article, and so glad Arielle got her picture in the paper!! And yay! she listed some of the links I sent her, including our lovely whedonesque! :)
Nice article. My guess is the writer is (at least to a degree) a fan. Great, as always, to see Serenity getting good objective, mainstream press. I'm hoping more of these will come out in other papers - I think the early screenings are a good peg for them. Yet another way the screenings become non-traditional marketing.
miyu_tVP, this makes me want to contact a couple writers at our local newspaper, encouraging them to get the scoop here first, sort of. I've thought about it before, and now I think I just might.

It's never too late to convert. My mother, age 60, just watched the first season of Buffy last week. She said she felt a bit silly watching these teens, but quickly realized I was right about the deeper stories. She also felt silly calling all the Blockbusters in town, because NONE of them carried the second season, and only one carried 1-7, minus season 2. Isn't this silly? I have a plan to write an angry letter. Or fax or phone call.
Well, it seems to me that Joss's work shouldn't be all that polarizing. Seems like mass appeal stuff to me, if a lot wittier and smarter than usual.

Of course, I've always felt the same way about Elvis Costello's music...It's been twenty-five years and I'm still waiting for that giant mainstream hit album to breakout in the U.S.
"Miyu_tVP, you are an unstoppable force for good in the 'verse! "

SNT - xiexie!! I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. ;) Neva was an absolute sweetheart - I am so impressed with this article!
Well done Miyu_tVP! I'm seriously waiting to see how UIP in Australia handle the marketing of this movie. That was a good read.
miyu- Hope you didn't feel picked on, I just saw that quote and jumped on my soap box. I've had a lot of people basically tell me there was no point in trying to get someone to like BtVS et all if they didn't like the shows right away, because these shows 'just aren't for everybody,' but I don't agree, I think they could have much more broad appeal than they do have (I like to think that, because of DVD's and syndication and all, BtVS could pick up steam over the years and end up being considered a classic- and not just a 'cult classic,' not that there's anything wrong with that - ala 'It's a Wonderful Life.' Maybe wishful thinking, but it could happen.)
>miyu- Hope you didn't feel picked on<

no! not at all. I myself was a bit to surprised to find that those words had come out of my mouth. :) You couldn't see the comment in context cuz the context was missing. I just wanted to clarfy that I'm not a Berserker!Fan. :D

>I've had a lot of people basically tell me there was no point in trying to get someone to like BtVS et all if they didn't like the shows right away<

I'm living proof to the contrary. Used to give my brother hell for watching Buffy, and years later I finally caught on.

>I like to think that, because of DVD's and syndication and all, BtVS could pick up steam over the years and end up being considered a classic... ala 'It's a Wonderful Life.'<

I LOVE that movie! And personally I'm pretty sure Buffy *will* be a classic. What, are people going to watch Survivor 50 years from now? don't think so. Buffy will always be relevant.

[ edited by miyu_tVP on 2005-06-08 19:32 ]
miyu_tVP, you represented us so well! Kudos. I'm wondering how this article came into being. Did Universal or someone else contact the reporter? Is she a fan already and pitched the story to her paper? Forgive me if you've written about this elsewhere.

I think the reporter did a fine job. Her coverage of the fans wasn't snarky in the least and her synopsis of the show would have piqued my interest if I had never heard of Firefly. She made it sound so original and unusual and fabulous - as we all know it is.

I get that folks might not find Joss Whedon's work to their taste, although I agree with others that he's hardly the polarizing figure that some creators are. But in my experience, the sharpest division on Whedon lies between people who don't "get" the concept that a genre TV show can be art and those who are willing to give Whedon's shows a go with an open mind. I've historically scoffed at TV as a medium and found any pleasure I took in it a guilty one. I know the first couple of times I surfed by BtVS, my negative mindset towards TV (and genre TV in particular) was so strong that I was incapable of perceiving the show's artistry. People will see what they want to see. Embarrassingly, it was only after a friend whom I really respect persuaded me to open up my mind that I was able to see beyond my blinkers. It took some doing but the rest is history. I am far, far the richer for it.
"A bit of a cult"? A bit? Well, in that there's no robes and sacrifices and midnight rituals, I guess...

Nice article, and nice set of links at the end.
> Did Universal or someone else contact the reporter? Is she a fan already and pitched the story to her paper? <

I honestly don't know. It could be either or both. She definitely knew her Whedon, so I wouldn't be surprised if it was her idea.

> it was only after a friend whom I really respect persuaded me to open up my mind that I was able to see beyond my blinkers.<

very well said! that's what happened to me as well. The most enjoyable epiphany I ever had. ;)
What a great article! Good job miyu_tvp - you represented us really well. This article gives me lots of hope - I like the chronicle (the tiny bit that I read) so I imagine quite a few people will see this. I hope you get a nice thank you from Joss for all your kind words!
Every artist wants to reach people on a primal level. Part of that is a pathetic need, or maybe a less pathetic desire, to connect and talk about the important things in our lives while entertaining the s -- out of everyone.

I finally got to sit down and *read* the article with my undivided attention. What a simple and elegant description of the artistic drive...

also, a minor error was pointed out to me - Jane Espensen is in fact the editor of Finding Serenity. Which I should know, since she just sent me 2 signed copies of the book for our charity event... I'm so embarassed I didn't catch that earlier! Glenn Yeffeth contributed an essay to the book, but is not the editor.
I squealed when I saw this b/c it's my hometown paper and I generally really like Neva Chonin's work -- she's an admitted fangirl, and has written lots o' geeky stuff in approving and rock 'n roll sort of style. The article itself is solid--especially the Whedon quotes and how glowingly the show is described, ironic considering that the paper's TV critic panned it when it premiered in 2002.

Aw, sweet, sweet irony.
Our effort had nothing to do with the DVDs. When Gail called Joss to cancel, she said there would be a DVD set.

I mean, I'd love to take credit for it and all.

And Kristen and I (cant speak for Kiba, but she'd likely agree) weren't Browncoats. We were Bronzers/Buffistas.

I know it seems like a nitpick, but for some reason, it's really important to me that it's accurate.
Hm. I think it's probably because the Buffy/Angel fandoms are my home, and the driving force behind the campaign was a love for Tim, and Joss, that came from that.

I mean, it's not say that Browncoats weren't a huge force, because, hey, obviously they sent the postcards and sent us the money and rallied. It was HUGE.

So I'm not nitpicking on that. Just, you know, feeling weird about the article.
i'd just like to add another 'rock on, miyu' (and arielle and who/whatever caused this story to happen in the first place) to the chorus. you are, in fact, an unstoppable force- and so friendly too! :)

and another plaudit for ms. chonin. i have half a mind to email that fabulous lady. the tone of these things is so subtle, but so important. this is the first article i've seen that i feel like could really make people who don't know joss or firefly genuinely interested in finding out more.

[ edited by injust on 2005-06-08 23:26 ]
I know it seems like a nitpick, but for some reason, it's really important to me that it's accurate.


Hmmmmm. It is important. It's a tad unfortunate that history is written by those who have press releases in front of them. Ok that may be a bit glib (especially as this is an excellent article). But if 20th Century Fox promised Joss that a DVD boxset would be released when they cancelled the show, then yes it should indeed be mentioned.
Well, in that there's no robes and sacrifices and midnight rituals, I guess...

Nope, the rituals are strickly 10 pm affairs.
It is possible to believe both that Gail Berman told Joss there'd be a Firefly DVD set and that the fans' support somehow contributed to Fox's decision to release the DVD. I mean, those two ideas are not mutually exclusive (in that Gail may have been pushing for a DVD set, and Fox execs agreed with her after being made aware of the vox populi).

More important, any error was kinda in the fans' favor here (although I agree that Gail B's support should be duly honored). And I can see why it might get a bit confusing to the general reader to bring in the relatively-subtle historical fandom distinctions between "Bronzers," "Buffistas," and "Browncoats." (Although that certainly doesn't excuse any outright error in reporting the story).

In any case, *we are all Browncoats now.*
In all fairness, probably hopes for a DVD and fan support were taken into consideration before the release(s?).
miyu_tVP: Glenn Yeffeth and Jane Espenson were co-editors.
>Glenn Yeffeth and Jane Espenson were co-editors<

the publisher site says
"edited by Mutant Enemy scriptwriter Jane Espenson"

but I am told the book itself (don't have mine with me at the moment) reads "Edited by Jane Espenson with Glenn Yeffeth" on the inside credits.

so... there it is.
Agree with the consensus that the article depicts the fandom and Serenity in a very positive and appealing light. And getting interviewed by a reporter is never what you think it's going to be, miyu_tVP. They always seem to focus on bits that come across as being more off-handed (in my personal PR experience), and whatever they latch onto is likely to be something brief and catchy. Hence the whole "sound-bite" concept.

In case it happens to anyone else, remembering to be pithy in your comments (don't ramble -- short, clear statements) and staying on topic (nothing controversial they can spin) without seeming stiff and rehearsed will help ensure you steer them to the topics you want emphasized, and that they get plenty of fodder for pull-quotes and photo captions. (Unfortunately and almost invariably, due to the nature of on-the-spot reporting, they get some details wrong. You can call the reporter later and ask for a correction or retraction, but papers differ on how they handle that issue. It's irritating for sticklers, but what else can you do? Well, if you have a blog, you can create a post addressing the issue, bring it to the attention of the paper's editor, and have him post your URL so people can read the correction in your own words.)

Putting coherent thoughts together isn't easy when there's a microphone shoved in your face, but it looks like you did a good job keeping it together and forwarding the Cause. Congrats! :)

Hopefully as the summer marches on and more screenings open across the country, Browncoat fever will spread from a buzz to a roar. This is a great opening salvo.
Aw, Joss makes me cry. I love us!!

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