This site will work and look better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.

Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"The thing about changing the world...once you do it, the world's all different."
11981 members | you are not logged in | 22 May 2018


October 18 2005

Save Firefly - a true story. An inside account of what really happened back in 2002. Highly recommended reading.

Well, I'm sure about 4 people will read and remember this Allyson ;)

In fairness, I'm sure many people did similar things for Serenity, and won't be remembered in about 4 minutes time. Which is fine. Most people seem barely able to remember the name of cast members, which is probably the way it should be.

I'm glad to know I wasn't the only one who had to take a step back from it all in the end..
Many many people did a lot for Serenity and Firefly. Most aren't known well outside their main boards and forums. That's just the way it is.
Thanks, Simon. And, Allyson.
I should add also, a thanks to Allyson, since I was rude enough as to forget (and also to Tim, who told me not to mount a Save The Inside campaign, which probably saved me about 6 months of hair loss). I always did wonder who did the Variety advert at the time.
Firefly was my first experience with fan-related hysteria. I spent about $100 toward the campaign and untold hours fretting over the show's fate. I remember, just as Allyson's article mentions, just how weird this is to someone who had never encountered this before. I basically revered Allyson during the campaign and whenever she posted I breathed a sigh of relief because I knew I was getting the straight-story from someone who knew what they were talking about.

Anyway, sorry you didn't like Serenity much (if I remember right), but know that those of us who fell in love with Firefly while it was on the air remember you.

[ edited by ringworm on 2005-10-19 00:42 ]
there's going to be a book????

"NEW! Preview a chapter from the book: Save Firefly."
It's not focused just on saving Firefly -- it's a collection of essays regarding various aspects of fandom. Navigate through the site and you can find a list of other essays and their topics.

[ edited by J.Monique on 2005-10-19 01:22 ]
Years before, Kristen had campaigned hard to get the WB network to air the season three finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The network had canceled the airing of the finale because Buffy the fictional slayer blew up her fictional high school, and the real life Columbine shootings were still so recent. Since the network thought that the cult TV audience couldn't tell the difference between the Trenchcoat Mafia and Sarah Michelle Gellar, they thought it would be a PR nightmare to air the episode. Whatever.

Bwah! I love this article. Allyson rocks!

*back to reading*
So it's actually getting *published*?
I'm so glad you are setting the record straight, Allyson.
Ah this brings back memories. And very nicely written too. Working so hard for a show you didn't care for initially? That is love.
Well I guess that's the mark of a real professional. Putting aside your personal distaste for Firefly and Serenity and fighting for a show, movie, and a fandom that you really can't stand, all in the name of caring for a co-worker's feelings?

Color me wowed.
Huh. Color me confused. I must have missed the part where she says she can't stand the fandom. Or that this was because of a co-worker. As for not liking the show, I could have sworn she mentioned that there were some episodes that turned that around for her.

[ edited by J.Monique on 2005-10-19 03:26 ]
I was wondering why this looked familiar. I beta-read this!! Glad other people get to read it now; it's a great story.
I must have missed the part where she says she can't stand the fandom. Or that this was because of a co-worker. As for not liking the show, I could have sworn she mentioned that there were some episodes that turned that around for her.

Well, Allyson does make it clear that she really didn't like Firefly all that much (at least until her Minear epiphany). But, you're right, the excerpt doesn't attack the fandom. In any case, I rather think the original comment was intended as praise and not damnation.
So it's actually getting *published*?


My agent is shopping it around to publishers, now. We discussed putting up a little site to help publicize the effort, and since Save Firefly is the sample piece in the proposal, she said it would be okay to post it on the net as a sample as well. And hello there, pretty lady!

Putting aside your personal distaste for Firefly and Serenity and fighting for a show, movie, and a fandom that you really can't stand, all in the name of caring for a co-worker's feelings?

I tried to be honest and clear about my love of fandom, maybe I wasn't as clear as I had hoped? I'd be interested in hearing why you came away from the piece with that feeling, if you'd be so kind. It'd be helpful to me, maybe I can make it clearer if need be.

I'm also confused about the co-worker thing. Do you mean Tim? We never worked together, I don't work in entertainment at all.

And thanks for the nice things you all said, I can't begin to tell you how frightened I was that you'd find it hackish.
It's good writing. It's got verve, snap, personality.
It's nicely written. Plus, articulate!
Just about anything I've read of Allyson's is informed by a sharp intellect and an inescapable (and admirable, to me) directness.

I must thank you, Allyson and Kristen, for all your work, doing it for all the right reasons.
Plus, articulate!

But not naked.
Something I don't get:
"Neither fandom, nor our campaign to save Firefly, had anything to do with Serenity getting greenlighted."
(I don't think I'm taking that out of context, or that it was in someone else's voice.)

Didn't Joss tell us otherwise in the message at the screenings (transcript)?
I think Joss draws less of a distinction between "DVD sales" and "fandom" than Allyson and I do. I mean, it's a nice story the way he tells it. I'm just not sure it's completely true.
I wouldn't say fandom is the reason the movie got made, but I think it played a part (and Joss does also talk about websites, fundraisers, etc.). I just think saying fandom had nothing do with it is innacurate.

ETA: Let me be clear. I'm not trying to bash. I think it's a good piece, and that's why this one thing sticks out to me. Particularly if this is intended to be published at some point, I think this is an important point to be accurate about.

[ edited by jam2 on 2005-10-19 05:35 ]
Allyson - I love you. And I can't wait to buy this book, man. Can't wait. (BTW: you have WONDERFUL hair.)
What a hack! Kidding. This was a very well written piece Allyson. Funny at parts and nostalgic in others.
Allyson, for what it's worth, I'd buy this book. I'm interested in getting the inside scoop on fandom. You have a very interesting take on it, and like someone else said, this essay has a lot of personality and was fun to read.
That was a warm and fuzzy nighttime read. On that note, I can sleep peacefully tonight.
I'd buy it. It definitely has a personal voice.

"The [December 9th] ad was passed around to the cast and crew who up until then were under the impression that no one was watching their work."

I think that's overstated. The ad did mean a lot to them, but it was 2 1/2 weeks before that that Adam Baldwin posted "We Cast Members Are Fans Of Yours!" on the OB about our dissecting the episodes and playing with the universe ourselves. It was a few days after that that Adam reported that someone had taped (the late) LuxLucre's South Park-style Jayne in the makeup trailer. But the Variety ad was very special, and maybe it helped us get us spiffier Firefly DVD extras.

Allyson, in case you missed this on the OB:

Browncoat Hall Of Fame
From: Ying (ffying2) Aug-1 [2005]

I nominate Kiba Rika, Allyson, Kristen, Dani Kin, and everyone else involved with organizing the Fox, UPN, and SciFi Channel postcard campaigns; Variety ad; and other Firefly: Immediate Assistance activities in 2002 and 2003.

Well, that certainly was a nice story. I wasn't around in the Firefly fandom in those early days, but it always seemed to me that the flow-over from Buffy/Angel fandom to Firefly fandom was a large percentage back then. I certainly know that most Buffy/Angel fora where I discussed those shows would also talk about Firefly. The way I read it here, it seems like almost two entirely seperate entities.

I didn't like the show back then, though. It took a while for me to get it, only jumped on the bandwagon when I got the DVD set out of loyalty to Joss and Tim, saw the episodes in the correct order and then things clicked and I completely fell in love with the story and the world. These days, I'm a moderator at the official Dutch Serenity site, so things have changed.

So while this doens't look like the story of 'my' fandom, and I completely missed this phase, I did like to read about it. The writing is fresh, and pulls you in, though it's a little bit too overtly 'hip' in places for my tastes. (But then again, I'm a popular science writer, who doesn't get to do 'hip' that much, so maybe you should pay no attention to me).

Only thing though: 'fangurl' is a word? Yikes. I hate it. :-)
I feel so guilty...

I've been a huge fan ever since the The Train Job aired, and yet the most I ever got involved with the fandom back when it was still airing was browsing some (very awesome) fan sites. I guess back then when it was canceled, I didn't really know that one could use the internet as a jump-off point for a campaign to save a series. I always assumed there was tons of red tape, lots of legalities, and then going door to door for a few months before you got the right amount of signatures.

I can't believe it took me until some time last year to catch on to online Whedon fandom...

[ edited by UnpluggedCrazy on 2005-10-19 11:53 ]
A nice story. I can see us all there.

Sadly at I wasn't. Till last year NOTHING, not a music group, not a book, not a movie and certainly not a TV series would have made me want to go online and join a forum. Firefly touched something special in my heart, and suddenly I am a member of more forums than I have fingers (all FF related), spend hours online to get the newest scoops or just chat. (I also have this strange desire to go to conventions and to dress up to see THE movie)

I even look up the BO figures obsessively more than once a day in the hope that they have changed in the meantime and hope desperately for sequels.

But this kind of organized effort is really laudable. And a big thanks to Allyson for letting us newbies glimpse into the beginnings. Well written too.
I didn't even realise this was a book thing (although I knew Allyson was working on a book).

My take on fandom - it can be a wonderful thing, uniting people for the love a show, writers, directors, cast members yadada.

However, it has many 'dark sides', to put it in a simplified black and white way.

I ended up getting basically limitless access to people associated with Serenity in the end. I'd wonder in and out of the offices in Edinburgh, speak to Adam, bugger about in press conferences for no reason (even taking a few of the Buffistas members in with me)... It was great fun.

However, by the time it got to the UK London premiere, I had people following me from bars to the aftershow party. With pens ready. Because they knew Joss might be there. I found this a little worrying. They stood outside the club for hours, in the cold. I found this more worrying.

And then there's the vague threats over the UK screenings.

To me, I like to find things pure and nice. My involvment with fandom has always been with the viewpoint of 'bunnies! fluffy! nice work!'. I don't like it when people threaten journalists, or hang around all night with pens, or freak out when Joss' says something vaguely disrepectful to Spike The Character's memory, or say Joss should die from cancer for killing a fictional character. That bothers me, lots.

There's definitely a book there, anyway. Blind faith. Rabid faith. Mental faith. It's all there, but thankfully a majority of the people involved in fandom matters are sound people.
Thanks Allyson, you did wonderful things, and I like the article - it gave me that tickle in my nose that means I want to cry!
gossi - what vague threats?
I had no idea who Joss Whedon was in 2002. I had never seen Buffy or Angel, and I had never even heard of Firefly. I definitely came late to the party. So I find this article fascinating for its insights, for its account of the history of the fandom, and for its honesty. I learned a great deal, and I eagerly look forward to the book. Thanks, Allyson.
He could be referring to the threats of violence (reg req.) against theatre owners if they didn't provide additional tickets to a bunch of errant fans who missed out on the pre-screenings. Although it isn't clear if that was in the US, the UK or both.

I liked your comment Harpy. Alot. Because I've done exactly the same things you've described yourself doing. It's a feeling that is also shared and written about elsewhere like this account.

Like palehorse, I came late to the Whedonverse, skipped Buffy/Angel and my first exposure to Firefly was through a set of DVDs someone had lent.

If Allyson gets a book published, I'll be finding a place for it alongside my DVDs, Finding Serenity paperback, Dark Horse comics, Done the Impossible documentary, Visual Companion and various other worthwhile ancillaries I have yet to get. Why? Cos it'll remind me of what a great experience this whole thing has been.

Btw, great writing Allyson. Pulls no punches and the wool off our eyes on how commercial TV really operates.
Thanks Allyson for this very personal and honest account of the inside story. I feel a bit sad that we (I) up until now didn't know who started it all. But now I know, and I feel really proud of the two of you.

I am certain, though, that you deserve a lot more credit than I feel that you give yourself. And maybe for bigger things than getting Serenity made.

He who dies with the most toys not only wins, but also decides what the rest of us poor (dickless) jerks watch on television.

You created a civilized and powerful vehicle for the voices of us poor jerks, showing a respect and credability that attracted all of us to join in. (Eventually.) Sometimes you want to act when it becomes too much to bear. Like the lack of power to influence TV-programming, for example. But I would NEVER have done it, if you had not done this.
You reached a lot of people, all over the world. And I think you at least indirectly contributed to getting Firefly noticed and respected, and then Serenity made. I'm sure it gave Joss added confidence and energy to sell the project. I'm also sure he used the online buzz as an argument, and that it helpt the project.

To me, Firefly would just have been a passing thing, adding to my frustration over being cheated once again, if THE CAMPAIGNE hadn't happened. Instead it has become one of the great experiences in my life, and it will be for a long long time.

For that I owe you lot of thank-you hugs, Allyson!

Edited: for emphasis

[ edited by onesnailshort on 2005-10-19 16:50 ]
Funny, I didn't like the first episode of Firefly I saw, either, and it wasn't The Train Job. Don't remember which it was. But I loved Joss so much that when I saw that Firefly was in danger of cancellation I decided to start watching. And then it was love. And then I saw Allyson's plea and for the first time ever I sent money to save a television show. What a weird thing to do. And how glad am I that I did?!

So thanks Allyson!
Oh pshaw. You're all making me grin despite myself.

Hopefully, the book will sell to a publisher at some point. Here's the table of contents for those who are interested in more.
Allyson - I so hope this books gets published! Clearly you've got quite a yarn to spin, and I am *very* impressed with your writing. please keep up posted!
Heh, the rest of the book sounds like much reading fun, to be honest. I'd buy it :-)

ETA: but I still hate the word 'fangurl' ;-)

[ edited by GVH on 2005-10-19 20:33 ]

This thread has been closed for new comments.

You need to log in to be able to post comments.
About membership.

joss speaks back home back home back home back home back home