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July 01 2005

Lost With Fury. Apologies for posting this after the fact but David Fury was guest of the Australian Writers Guild at the ACMI cinemas in Melbourne last night prior to his Buffy conventions appearances today and tomorrow.

This was an excellent Q+A. Two hours worth of high tales and adventure, Fury covered his early start in standup, a great anecdote about not wanting to photocopy his naked butt for Tom Arnold in payback to Julia-Louis Dreyfuss, but mainly spoke about Buffy and Lost, also briefly discussing 24 (current job), The Inside and Alias. He highlight was when he spoke about how they would design a season of a Whedon show and how they would prepare each act break. He inadvertently dropped a few spoilers regarding Lost and briefly mentioned a new show he and JJ are working on.

Is there anyway we could have a fuller review???
Anyone you know that took notes? That link is just an ad for the event. If you wanna write a full review I would love to read it as I'm sure would others. Maybe post it over at Flickr or even just on here.
Pleed, grovel, beg.
unless someone beats me to it, i'll post as detailed as my brain can remember in a day or 2. just got home from seeing bouncy james playing a luverly acoustic set in melbourne (mostly Civilised Man, some GOTR thrown in) and must get 6 hrs sleep to make it through the convention 2morrow (sorry, 2day). I'm on holidays after that, so I can have a good long hard think about what Sgt. Fury said.
Oh yay! And a run down of JM's concert. Did you catch up with any of the other Whedonesque guys? I know a few were organizing a meet up at the concert.
Aww, I wanted to be there for the JM concert, but the tickets were sold out when I tried to get them in April! I totally didn't know about this.. Sigh. Yep a review would be much appreciated! :)
Fury and JJ making another show. I may have to lay down.

ahh, very tired but here goes... take a really deep breath!
i start this with "respect the cruller, and tame the doughnut" if for no other reason than I heard it again in the past day for zillionith time, I still find it funny and reminded me of my current hatred of el cruiso.

David "Sgt." Fury Q+A @ ACMI, Melbourne, Australia, 5.30pm, Fri 1st July 05
This was a highly entertaining Q+A for which the first hour and a bit the moderator asked (in Fury's words) well researched questions followed by about 45 mins of audience questions. Unfortunately I didn't take notes, but what I remember included:
  • his primary influence is the dry character based stylings of Bob Newhart and he also mentioned Dick Van Dyke as an influence
  • did much of his early writing with his wife, Elin Hampton, including his first Buffy ep, Go Fish
  • encouraged anyone interested in writing for tv professionally to move to LA because that's where it's at. He also mentioned that a small film on DVD would be a good idea.
  • went into considerable detail how a Buffy episode is built: ie. teaser, 1st act is the setup, 2nd act break was to spin setup on its head, 3rd act is the moral choice, 4th is resolution and also how a season is built, backwards bascially. start with last episode, eg. Buffy sacrifices herself. So they know 6 episodes before this Buffy must get mad at Dawn for a reason, etc. etc.
  • I think I got this right, but he talked about Brent Fletcher, a Script Coordinator on Angel and how he built two complete 11 hole miniature golf courses in the writing offices. He also co-wrote an episode of Lost with Brent.
  • Speaking of office hijinks, Fury spoke about the general work hours, they would have a brief meeting in the morning, have lunch, have a break, do some work, go home. He nearly always went home on time to wife and kids. Somehow, I can't believe this is true. He found writing came fairly easily.
  • He talked about Buffy-speak, this is the way Joss spoke naturally and Fury learnt to write in that way. Marti Noxon used a thesaurus.
  • David seemed to be a little unhappy the way in which Lost was broken (half dozen episodes at a time) and it's lack of resolution. He said he was a big fan of Desperate Housewives, mainly because of the brilliant way it had tied up all the loose ends. Apparently they had no idea that Locke was in a wheelchair until after they shot the pilot.
  • I took no notes at this, but its crazy the way things are coming back to me as I type: David said he was a huge fan of Deadwood (I second that). He didn't understand half of the politics of it, but it was some kind of crazy Shakespearean western.
  • He mentioned Alias briefly, The Inside (consulted on) and his current gig on 24.
  • Someone in the audience mentioned a film they had seen called Revenge of the Mushroom People which involves a plane crashing on an island and the film has flashbacks involving each of the characters. David went on to say that writers plagarized, just not from what they were accused on plagarizing.
  • As I mentioned before, there was an incident while he was working on The Jackie Thomas Show for Tom and Roseanne, where Julia-Louis Dreyfuss while working on Seinfeld he parked in Tom's car park space by mistake. In retalliation, Arnold had plastered her car with graffiti and photos of naked butts. He wanted a photo of Fury's naked butt, but Fury wouldn't oblige him. Apparently, part of this story had also been told on Curb Your Enthusiasm episode.
  • Because Australia is behind the US on all US shows, he accidentally dropped a spoiler or two about Lost.
  • He spoke about how most of his scripts were co-written, and he said that was because he was lazy. He seemed to be better at the first half, the setup, and would then let someone come in (like Steve DeKnight) and do the big fight scenes.
  • He spoke about Lies, My Parents Told Me as a favorite script.
  • He questioned a couple of times why people were leaving and was hoping he wasn't boring people. I'll admit I'm surprised how long it went (but not unhappy).
  • He mentioned he was working with JJ Abrams on a another tv show but could say nothing about it. He also mentioned that he is often described as a "Co-Executive Producer" which translated means "Not the Executive Producer".
  • The WB wants to do Buffy/Angel tv movies and Joss does, but there's legalities and financing to be sorted out. And it wouldn't be looked at until after Serenity (and I'm assuming Wonder Woman also?). All the other shows (Ripper, BtAS etc.) are in the same boat. Top choice for tv movie is Spike/Illyria. Faith is another possibility.
  • David chatted with people after the event (my chat was to wait for the moment).
    I'm exhausted, time to move along...

    James "Lil' Jimmy" Marsters @ Hi-Fi Bar, Melbourne, 8pm, Sat 2nd July 2005
    We arrived to find a queue stretching down Swanston St and around into Collins St, ie. the longest queue I'd ever seen. Not wanting to join that queue, we instead went to Starbucks. Joining the much smaller queue around 8ish, we politely answered people when they asked what we were queuing for (they didn't know who James' was). Entering said Hi-Fi Bar around 8.30pm, we noted support band start at 9.15 and James' start at 10.15. Getting a reasonable position at the bottom of the stairs we played the waiting game.

    Support band was average (lead singer didn't sing, so much as yell) and James hit the stage a little after 10.15. My sister was very happy as James' had on the all-important black rock shirt, plus it was open to reveal his manly chest. He played for about an hour, all acoustic by hisself. Unimpressed by the first few songs, I eventually warmed to the music and James' jittery style of playing (He plays like he prances a convention stage). There were a couple of great songs in the middle (sorry, no idea of song titles), and he played a few GOTR songs incl. Dangerous and Smile. Most everything else was off Civilised Man, and while it's not my cup of tea, I appreciated the warmth and honesty of his performance.

    David "The" Fury @ Tabula Rasa Convention, Melbourne, 9.30am, Sunday 3rd July 2005
    Finally for the Big Fat Geek Weekend we went to Tabula Rasa's last convention yesterday (Sunday 3rd July) with Fury, James and ASH. Not sure why it is their last but I hope someone else picks up the ball (not someone who is shonky though). Realising the error of my ways Friday night I purchased a notebook and pen on the way. We arrived just after 9.30 when the doors opened and promptly found a huge queue for tickets to James' photo session. Um, no, been there, done that. We got our tickets, received a new Serenity pamphletsat and waited for Fury to come out. Unfortunately for me (and I guess a handful of others) David repeated much of what he said Friday night. Extra tidbits included:
  • David said Sarah doesn't like to laugh and doesn't like to run. He did impressions of both. Very funny, with the hands up high in the run. He also did the Mustard man song.
  • There was much discussion of fan fiction (the previous day also apparently) which Fury has never read.
  • Fury reiterated about Spike always retaining a part of his humanity, quoting the Judge: "You stink of humanity" and, again with "Lies, My Parents Told Me".
  • He again mentioned that if there was a Buffy/Angel tv movie, Joss would have to do it himself. He couldn't let anyone else do it.
  • When he was growing up on Long Island his parents had jokingly told him: "We're moving to Australia". Being a mad, keen Skippy fan he was keen to have a pet kangaroo and a digeridoo, and was heartbroken when told they weren't for real.
  • He also mentioned Monty Python and early Woody Allen as huge influences.
  • He talked about spoilers and how much he hates them (Joss also). They feel cheated and feel the spoilerers do it for no other reason than to feel superior.
    "Spangel" anyone?
  • He briefly mentioned some things which were planned for season 7 but didn't materialize, like Oz coming to town with a pack of werewolves or things which came up late in the breaking, like the Potentials. Fury's main contribution to the season arc was the First's plan to wipe out the line of Slayers.
  • David spoke about how most of the high school experiences came from Joss. David couldn't remember his, it was a blur. Xander was the character David could relate to the most.
  • He often got roles in the show because he really threw himself into his story pitches. When he played a role in the Angel episode, "Reprise", Boreanaz did a double take and said (Fury did a great impression of DB) "What the hell are you doin'". Also, he was supposed to have originally played Arzt in Lost but had since moved on to 24 Season 5.
  • David admitted that about 7 episodes into the last season of Angel, Joss came it and said "I can't do it anymore" (referring to the stand-alone episodes that the WB wanted) and they started to move back to the serialised mythology eps.
  • Someone mentioned fatherhood, specifically referencing the Watchers Council, and David said that much of it came from Joss' relationships with his mother and father, esp. his mother.
  • Someone asked why Anya had to die and Fury said it was because she hadn't really paid for her sins, so she needed to go out heroically, plus she was expendable. There were never considering killing off anyone in the core group.
  • At the end David mentioned his wife and children were there and they did a very quick pan to them at the back of the room.

    Photo (150k) Photo (120k) Photo (130k)

    They then started taking people out for James' photos. We did this last year so we started watching OMWF. Everyone of course did the big sing-a-long.

    We then went out about 30mins later for the Fury/ASH signings. It was around midday by now. We cleverly queued in both the ticket and signing queues so we we were fairly early. My sister and I both got ASH's autograph. I stumbled with ASH, overwhelmed by his loveliness, but got a brief chance to chat with David. An incompetent, unconfident and uncomitted, but aspiring writer, I asked Fury about these qualities in a writer and he admitted they all had them. They all got the block, and every script was like reinventing the wheel everytime. When I said my impression that Joss didn't have this problem, he said that Joss finds it fun. They found it hard work, but Joss genuinely loves what he does.

    James "The" Marsters @ Tabula Rasa Convention, Melbourne, 12.30pm, Sunday 3rd July 2005
    Then it was time for a lunch break at the Casino. We came back just in time for James' Q+A. Although everything seemed to be messed up in terms of queues, they seemed to be getting through them (about half hour late at this point). One of the reasons maybe, is that there was less seating this year than last year. James bounded the stage is his typical jittery style and talked about:
  • He dared somone to embarrass him. Some people came close, but he was quick with a comeback everytime.
  • Males, and how they can let nothing get past them (like when they use a remote control, they've gotta know everything thats going on) and how having children yanked him into the present (did a big stage motion to go along with this).
  • He had a few things to say about SMG: incredibly professional, liked to control everything, but didn't appreciate the way she behaved when he had to be naked (she laughed and the entire crew laughed).
  • Would like to play Richard II. He thinks previous portayals have missed the point of the character, playing up the wuss factor.
  • He's currently got his 12".. doll, that is, dressed as Qui-Gon Jinn.
  • They would lie to the producers and say that the Spike makeup took 45mins went it actually took 20mins.
  • He started to empathise (or is it sympathise?) with Spike when they did the first William the Bloody episode.
  • He said art is human birthright and is trying everything: books, poetry, painting, gardening, music. He started on the music when he was 14 and started singing in bars at 16.
  • He recited the line "Guess that means she was thinking about you... all those times I was puttin' it to her" plus whispered "Mountain Dew".
  • He spoke about GOTR, saying the songwriter was writing for his own voice and not James'. James couldn't relate, as the writer was 20 years younger than him.
  • He mentioned the Italian girl in "The Girl In Question" episode was cast the night before filiming and kept forgetting her lines. JM doing a good DB impression, said: "I'm gonna kill her..".
  • He said evil Spike was more fun to play. He said the later stuff was harder, but he was prouder of this work. He said that the more extreme the writing was, the more he felt he needed to give the love in the closeups and exhibit a lot soul. He also said that Spike was an edited version of hisself.
  • James then did what he thought was a good Aussie accent, but it wasn't really.
  • He discussed the hours they would work: 13-14 hrs a day, from 4.30 Monday morining through to 6am Saturday.
  • Someone asked about gag reels and he said they didn't really have much. Joss would cut a little film at the end of each season, but they concentrated more on the crew.
  • Someone asked him his favorite joke, to which he replied "My life!".
  • He was asked if there was anyone he really hated on the crew. There was one person, who he thought was a hack and a creep. Their credo was "I don't give a hoot, just shoot, shoot, shoot".
  • Not winning an Emmy became a badge of honor for them.
  • His favorite acting partner is Juliet Landau - she's "consumed by the passion".
  • When asked what music he likes he started singing Britney, then referred to the corporations putting us all to sleep. He loves Tom Waits ("transforming pain into beauty", plus Kurt Cobain. he would like to learn the trumpet and cover Miles Davis.
  • He was asked who he would like to have on a deserted island with him. Dr. Martin Luther King, someone bad like Genghis Khan, Bruce Lee (goofy, happy man) and Jimi Hendrix. When asked why there were no woman, he quickly added Queen Elizabeth and Meryl Streep.
  • He called the WB "little bastards" for promoting Spike's return on Angel when he was to die in Buffy.
  • When asked who he wouldn't want on a deserted island, he said George, Ronald, anyone in that White Mansion.
  • When asked his favorite love scene, someone yelled out "Invisible Buffy".
  • He said social skills were as important as talent, and said it didn't matter how much talent you had if you were a jerk. He mentioned a bully early on in the show who made passes at SMG, and James and David were like: "He's dead..".
  • He got kicked out of Julliard ("The working actors are the one's who got kicked out"), becaused he questioned the validity of there classes. He studied with Michael Wincott (who also got kicked out) and did a nice impression of him.
  • The cast were very close and it became like family, warts and all their imperfections. There is a deep love, but JM admitted he hadn't sought them out.
  • He compared SMG to DB, saying DB was a more straight ahead worker and he respected him.
  • He talked more about the Leonard Nimoy incident where in a green room he went all fan gushy and demanded the dance from Leonard, who wouldn't budge and closed down. JM left, and his girlfriend, who wasn't a Trekkie started a conversation with Nimoy.
  • "The patch is a great system for the delivery of nicotine."
  • His least favorite filming was when his hand was on fire and he let it burn for too long and burnt himself.
  • His favorite filming included being with Juliet, Tom Lenk and Mercedes McNab, because they were fun to work with and would just come in and not be the big guest star.
  • He described Joss as a big kid at heart, but in a good way.
  • He described Buffy as being about adolesence, giving up on dreams and reconciling how messed up the world is and dealing with it.
  • He described Angel as more adult, about redemption, making up for old mistakes and that it was sold to an audience younger than it should have been.
  • When asked about the best kisser, he said they were all good kissers, but screen kissing is different to the real thing. There's nothing less romantic. You gotta mush the face.
  • He talked about his stunt double, Steve Tartalia, who was the preeminent caucasian stuntman in Hong Kong. He's multi-certified and his reel was amazing and very Jackie Chan like. The problem was James would often do his own stunts and Steve would have little to do. In later seasons, they would sit down together with the script and work where "James would have a backache".
  • A very young girl asked if James liked food, to which he replied "Food is the bomb!". He said he picked Pruscutto and baked chicken. He also liked strange items like snail or eyeballs.

    Photo (330k) Photo (300k) Photo (200k) Photo (480k) Photo (320k) Photo (325k)

    Another break and we wandered around a bit before settling at the start of the queue for photo with ASH. I decided early on that I wouldn't go in the photo this year - my sister happily obliged. We chatted about various things and looked at some of the photos James had done. He has only one straight on pose in every photo except when one, where he and a couple do a really outrageous out-there screaming pose. The ASH photo was over quick and my sister commented she got a great hug with him and thinks she grabbed him around his belly button. He seemed happy also. During this, they were playing something where James was wearing a dinner suit - is this Cool Money?

    When we came back in, we saw most of the rest of Tabula Rasa, from where we left off earlier in the day. Great ep, but never did like Mr. Shark.

    Anthony "Frank" Stewart Head @ Tabula Rasa Convention, Melbourne, 4.15pm, Sunday 3rd July 2005
    ASH came out finally, and got everyone going when he said he would sing at the end! He asked if someone in the audience had a pen and paper and asked her to write down some lyrics - at the time I had no idea what this was!!
  • He was asked about the final episode, and he said it was a very mixed emotions experience. A funny old day and it will stay with him forever.
  • He was constantly concerned (both days) about the kneeling of the people queueing to ask questions.
  • When asked what was an intense scene to film, he said when he was mauled by Dracula's babes. This was because they used dry ice and in his words: "it sucked the air out of the air" and made it hard to breath. He also thought it was very intense the phone conversation when there was news of Jenny's death.
  • Joss wasn't afraid to use what he knew about the actors in the stories and ASH family was very much a part of that. They were very welcome on-set and they knew how hard the move to LA was for them.
  • He grew up wanting to be Rusty in Rin-Tin-Tin or the good-looking one from the Whirlybirds.
  • His first gig was The Emperor's New Clothes when he was 6 and got an award as Most Promising Newcomer doing a play called Noah.
  • He talked about Little Britain and about that kiss, saying his mouth was closed, but it felt a little like John Hurt might have felt in Alien.
  • He spoke of a possible upcoming movie for him, which sounded like a Carry On flick called Lady Godiva Back In The Saddle, but said there were financing issues.
  • He talked about doing Frank-n-furter saying they liked him, but his putdowns to the audience was adding 30mins to the show. He learnt to decide when to do a putdown and when to give a look.
  • He talked about his favorite beers and food: Cascade, VB, hadn't tried Coopers, said no to Maccas, but liked the restaurants along Southbank in Melbourne. He especially liked the flames outside the Casino and the expressions on people's faces at them.
  • Someone asked if he had found the ABC to which he replied 'yes' and had watched Dr Who and Little Britain the night before. He loved the Italian Prime Minister sketch especially.
  • He talked about previous jobs, including VR5 and the SHE pilot and how he passed on Poltergeist: The Legacy for Buffy. He was reading the Buffy script alone in a restaurant and was laughing out loud and said it was a real page turner.
  • He was also asked the deserted island question to which he replied his family. When pushed for 5 non-family members he replied: "That's some serious party". He then asked the girl who she would have on the island. She said: Joss, a good cook, Jeff Buckley and her best friend. ASH felt that whoever you asked to come with you, is going to be pissed off they were invited. "I don't mind being on an island, just not with you".
  • He was asked if he had ever been behind the library desk sans trousers. He said that it was an untrue rumour spread by Joss on the DVD commentary and the only time he could remember when it happened was once when Alexis did it while he was sitting at a desk. He said if we ever do Buffy again, I'll drop me trousers.
  • He said he enjoyed working very much with Kristine Sutherland, especially on Band Candy.
  • He talked about Earshot when he walks into the tree and how the timing worked in one take, but not in another, and Joss admitted that ASH had got it right first take when it was cut together.
  • When asked about acting, he said it was a stupid way of earning money. Actors are insecure, they are wanting to be other people, not themselves. The girl asking the question was starting to get emotional at this point. ASH mentioned that "a little bundle of hankies were being passed along". He said both his daughters wanted to act. When actors aren't working, they think they'll never work again. And when they are working, they think the opposite. He said she should try amateur dramatics, but it is even more cut-throat than the industry.
  • He kept a few keepsakes from Buffy, despite directives from Fox: library name plaque, broken bannister, and a pair of glasses mysteriously appeared for a charity fundraiser.
  • When asked about kissing, he said kissing Emma was quite disturbing, from the POV of her being almost young to be his daughter (or niece).
  • He also mentioned fan-fic: "Cup of tea, cup of tea, almost got shagged, cup of tea...".
  • He talked about learning to ride a horse for a project and mentioned he had no idea there was a signal for the horse to canter (or is that fan-fic again?).
  • He talked about SMG: they got on, she always stayed for other people's coverage, she gave so much to ASH and his family, he's very fond of her.
  • He always thought Giles was 40 going on 80.
  • Music influences include Bowie, Steven Allan Davis, Little Feet.
  • Someone said their mum's No 1 favorite had changed from David Hasselhoff to ASH.
  • His favorite filming was for Hush (improv was allowed) and OMWF (in his element).
  • Least favorite was when he was knocked out by Gwendolyne Post (Serena Scott Thomas). She told him we may have to do this a few times as her aim wasn't very good, but she was unerringly accurate, and he kept flinching just before she hit him. He also said any episode he wasn't in or in which he felt 'spare'.
  • He finished by doing some wonderful performances of: Can't Stand The Rain, was going to do Qu'est Ce Que J'ai Fait, but instead did Have A Little Faith In Me. He then ended by doing (cue the lady with the lyrics)... Sweet Transvestite!

    Photo (240k) Photo (130k) Photo (100k) Photo (450k) Photo (400k) Photo (340k) Photo (340k)

    The three then came out together at the end. The organiser got quite emotional as she said this was the last Tabula Rasa convention.

    Photo (525k)
    (One picture removed on request of person in it.)

    All in all this was a tremendously entertaining weekend, feeding my aspiring writing ambitions with Fury, my Buffy/Angel fix with JM and ASH, and the performances by both of them was the icing on the cake. Fury repeated himself a bit, but that was not his fault, and was unavoidable. Although the music isn't to my taste, i was impressed by the performances of both JM and ASH, and they are hugely entertaining storytellers. ASH, especially, is incredibly sweet, gentlemanly (he apologised to the young ones for swearing) and comes across as very unaffected by success. A magic time was had by all.

    [ edited by reidca on 2005-07-04 04:43 ]

    [ edited by reidca on 2005-07-04 04:44 ]

    [ edited by reidca on 2005-07-06 05:45 ]
  • That's quite a statement.
    Erm, wow?

    That has to be the most detailed report ever posted here. I haven't read it yet, but thanks so much for writing and sending it, reidca.
    Wow that's impressive, I think I'll put a link to this on the side bar the front page.
    wow! now that's what I call a report!!

    thank you
    The songwriter in GotR was 10 to 15 years younger? Try 20.
    Great report, thanks.
    Thank you, reidca!
    Thanks for the great report. It should be "Mercedes McNabb" though, not "Mercedes McCambridge", or else I'll be really surprised.
    Thank you kindly reidca for a marvelous report and photographs. Sounds like fans and guests alike had a fantastic time!

    Q: What did ASH mean by "flames outside the Casino and the expressions on people's faces at them" ???
    reidca, thank you for the report!
    laimelady - In Melbourne, we have the city's main casino, and out the front alongside the river that runs through Melbourne are a strech of pylons that spurt flames out at regular intervals - it's an amazing sight even for me who has seen it many, many, many times before. And it always stops people in their tracks.
    only at 4am could I possibly confused Harmony with the lady who did the voice of the devil in the Exorcist. thousand apologies. glad everyone appreciated it otherwise, best weekend i've ever had...
    Awesome report. I wish I knew what almost embarrassed James so I can have a real embarrassing question to ask him next time I see him.

    Thanks for sharing with us!
    Very interesting Q & A sessions! Thanks a bunch!
    Thanks so much for the wonderful report! Definitely the next best thing to being there.
    Wow! Thanks so much, reidca. I can't remember a more entertaining whedonesque read.
    Cheers, reidca!
    thanks for the report! i wish i cud have attended the buffy-con...
    Wow, that was a truely great report reidca. Thanks for putting in all the time and effort.
    What Paul_Rocks said. Well done that reidca!
    Great report reidca. Thanks.
    Also, he was supposed to have originally played Arzt in Lost but had since moved on to 24 Season 5.

    I am so happy to know that. It's exactly what I thought but I didn't think I'd get that confirmed.

    He briefly mentioned some things which were planned for season 7 but didn't materialize, like Oz coming to town with a pack of werewolves

    Sounds like they kept trying to bring him back. Weren't they also planning an appearance for AtS S6?

    Someone asked about gag reels and he said they didn't really have much. Joss would cut a little film at the end of each season, but they concentrated more on the crew.

    That was interesting to find out too. Maybe it explains why there's so little of that on the DVD extras?

    Thanks for the post!

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