Buffy

Animation Verses Prejudice

Trade paperback cover of Buffy: Season Eight V...
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John The Rogue Demon Hunter asks:

With all the Buffy and Angel cast getting older, would the fans being willing to accept further adventures in the animation style of Star Wars: The clone Wars?

Fans would be willing to accept further adventures of Buffy, Angel, and Firefly in an animation style.  The bigger question is would the general public accept further adventures in animation style?  Would the studios have the patience to back and distribute further adventures in animation style?

Joss Whedon has already transitioned those settings and characters into a comic format.  There is great acceptance and love for the continuation of the series in print comic form.  This leaves a short step to move from print to animation.

The current success of animated shows both on TV and in the direct to DVD markets also support the plausibility of doing more animated shows.  Clone Wars had a rocky start getting accepted though most of it was due to the new style they used in animation that took some getting used to.  The Simpsons had a lucky start with "bartmania" that still gets large ratings decades latter.  Both DC and Marvel’s direct to DVD animated movies prove both quality in animated projects and how they can cater to the adult market.

We face several problems that are hindering future projects.

General Public Prejudice

The general public in the American market has a prejudice against animated shows.  When first approaching an animated show they presume it is for children not adults.  Many don’t even bother to give those shows the time of day unless they are bringing their kids to watch it.

Though this public prejudice has decreased some in recent years it is still rampant.  I could not count the number of adults that give subtle nonverbal clues of disdain when they find out I’m watching Clone Wars or Planet Hulk.  Others still voice their prejudice by replying “I thought that was a show for kids?”

Many creators of animated projects have their demons to wrestle with too.  First, before the project is even done they have to admit they won’t win any prizes for the work due to the prejudice in viewing it as less no matter how brilliant and deserving.  Look at Avatar, the movie would have been better going full animation but instead it went with live action parts so that it could be a “movie with cool special effects”.

This prejudice holds back studios from giving a green light to an animated project that is not targeted toward the children / young adult markets.  This forces many good projects to include in kidsey elements and to remove some of the better adult elements.  Clone Wars season one is a great example of this problem.  The show was so much less than it could have been.  Once they got past the prejudice it got better in season two.

I Find Their Lack of Faith Most Disturbing

Because of the prejudice against animated projects they tend to take longer before picking up larger audience share.

Studios have been trending toward a less lenient policy when it comes to new projects.  They have been quick to cancel projects that don’t show immediate success.

This is a recipe for failure by proclamation instead of giving the project time to get over the inherent hurdles.

A New Hope

I hope that the American public continues to learn from the Japanese, and Korean animated markets.

I hope that we continue to see the trend in the decline of prejudice against animated projects.

I would love to see the continuing adventures of Firefly and Buffy the vampire slayer in animated format.

I've always wanted a Faith The Vampire Slayer series and wrote up a series outline. Maybe one day I will hook up with some animators.

I hope John finds some animator to help him with his Faith the Vampire Slayer project and that they then check in with us for many more projects.

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Weekend Crafts: Buffy Summers Papercraft

buffy-summers-papercraft

I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer and now we can craft our own Buffy Summers for our desktop.  This is a more advanced crafting project but not impossible thanks to Ninjatoes’ papercraft who was nice enough to come up with clear instructions and printable templates.

There are 68 steps and you will need:

There is also a great discussion in the comments section on lengthening Buffy's neck which I liked seeing from those who have already crafted this project.

Enjoy and send me your pictures of the final project.

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Joss Whedon Interview on Writing

Joss Whedon answers questions from fans about his sources of inspiration and writing.

Out of film, television, and internet, which media do you find is most enjoyable to work on, most stressful, most rewarding, and why? — Chloe Honey, it's all stress. I'm defined by stress. I'm on the ten best stressed list. The rewards are different -- movies are big and intense, TV is long and deep, internet is tiny and personal and mine all mine -- but all worth pursuing. I'm a media agnostic. If it's stories, I'll brave the stress.

I love how Joss focuses on the story.  It’s what really sets his work apart and why if he is working on a project I count that as a huge plus on whether the project will be good or not.

How do you develop a character? Do you have a specific archetype, trope, or "slot" to fill in your shows that you fit a character to, or do you create their personalities separate from their purpose? — Anne Purpose informs personality. It's not like I say "I need a wacky sidekick" — although I did when I was working on Disney musicals, but that was the form. I tend to focus on one character (perhaps a young woman of unnatural abilities, to pull an example randomly out of nowhere) and then the other characters are built from the needs of that character's journey.

I wonder if he follows Joseph Campbell’s philosophy and / or what other models he uses to determine what other characters they need.

You get a lot of critical and fan acclaim for being an excellent 3rd generation writer but I really enjoy your directing style. Who are your influences in that regard and what kind of background training did you receive before you got behind the camera? — buffywrestling I had no production experience outside of my backyard, but I had the best professors in the world. I'm influenced by everything I've seen and I studied most of the great American directors at Wesleyan (hint: watch EVERYTHING.) If I'm gonna pick directors, I'd say Borzage, Minnelli, Hitchcock, Carpenter. Today. But for some reason, Soderbergh's The Limey had the most immediate and visceral effect on my sense of style. It's so casually daring. Also, comic books really help dynamic framing and narrative coherence.

that’s awesome that he mentions using comic books as a means for dynamic framing.  It’s the same conclusion I came to.

I recently read an interview with you in Mother Jones magazine. "Geek God" I think was the term they used for you. How do you feel about your success? What advice do you like to give other "geeks" with good ideas? — Jennifer Russell If you have a good idea, get it out there. For every idea I've realized, I have ten I sat on for a decade till someone else did it first. Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it, sauté it, whatever. MAKE.

I love how he is not necessarily style restrictive even in this case he is all for just producing it.

Joss Whedon at the premiere of Serenity (film)
Image via Wikipedia

Bonus Goodies

We all know that Dr. Horrible was a result of, and a metaphor for, the writer's strike. He even says, at one point, that he wants to "put the power in different hands." But things didn't turn out so well for Billy in the end. How did the tragic ending relate to the writers-strike metaphor, or did the metaphor not extend that far? — Jonathan We didn't write it as a metaphor — we just wanted Penny to have an agenda besides being torn between two men, and Billy's perspective is the classic cry of the noble villain. But this is a story that's been relevant for a long while — like, since there's been power. And people hoarding/abusing it. Wonder Woman brought up similar issues, which may be part of why it wasn't made.

Do you watch the movies/television shows the cast members from Buffy, Angel, or Firefly star in? Any favorite works of the cast members in particular? — Daniel Dude, Summer Glau is a Terminator. Summer Glau is a Terminator! My work on Earth is done.

And Castle [the new show starring Nathan Fillion] looks fun.

this is a hilarious answer, I had the same thought about Summer Glau… She Rocks!!! if only the show was any good.

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Email your questions for Joss Whedon

Joss Whedon at the premiere of Serenity (film)
Image via Wikipedia

Even though I am miffed with Hulu over their choice to remove themselves from Boxee, this is a rare chance for fans to ask Joss questions.

Have a burning question for the brains behind Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Dr. Horrible and Dollhouse? Now's your chance to ask Joss Whedon for answers. See if you can get him to spill the beans about his latest heroine, Echo, and whether we'll ever see Dr. Horrible on Broadway. Send your questions to askjoss@hulu.com by 9 a.m. PST on Wednesday, February 25 (Hulu).

Good luck getting your question to him.  I know I am going to come up with some goodies to ask the master of dark fiction.

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The Fan Spectrum

February last year, I posted for the first time about the Three Types of SF Fans.  Reactions were mixed.  I have thought about it a lot, and I have realized that their are not really three types of SF fans, these are actually parts of a spectrum.

Fans of the Spectacle

Fans who are interested in action and special effects, typically of Space Opera, Disaster/Monster/Action Movies, usually watches movies, some series, rarely reads the books.

These fans are on the coldest end of the spectrum.  They are only interested in being entertained, and simply do not think too much about what they are watching.  Think about your friends who thought the Matrix was just a great action movie with cool special effects.  You know the ones who didn't see all the questions about the nature of reality and how we perceive it.  They are fans of spectacle.

The studios have geared their films more towards this type of fan because there are more of them and they are easier to please.

Admit it though, we all started here.  We may have been young, but each and every one of us first got into Speculative Fiction be we enjoyed the spectacle.  For me, it was dragons and vampires.

This is the first stage of development of every fan.  Our job is to move more people into the second and third phase.

Fans of the Specifics

Tom Cruise as Lestat in the 1994 film Intervie...
Image via Wikipedia

Fans who are interested in the nitty-gritty details and their accuracy or consistency.Typically of Hard Scifi, Military Scifi, and High Fantasy, usually reads the books, watches the series, and nit-picks the movies

For many Scifi fans, this shift happened with Star Trek or Star Wars.  For Fantasy Fans, it is usually Lord of the Rings, and for Horror Fans it was either The Vampire Chronicles or Mayfair Witches by Anne Rice or Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Many fan bases stagnate here and die off.  The Studios have started blaming continuity and consistency for their financial short comings, thus the spate of remakes, reboots, and the dread re-imaginings that crop up every year.

Yes, it is easier to write a story when you don't have to worry about consistency or continuity, but they are not better stories.  They are just different.

To move a fan from Spectacle to Specifics, find something in a setting or character they like, and talk to them about it.  Encourage them to grow in their fascination, and soon they will delve into the setting more fully, and the spectral shift will happen.

Fans of the Story

Fans who are interested in the story, the characters, and Typically Soft Scifi and Sociological Fantasy, usually reads or watches the series, and watches the movies.

For Fans of the Specifics, the changes George Lucas made to the original Star Wars Trilogy and the prequels went too far.  Fans of the Story were able to see how these changes improved and tightened the narrative.

Fans of the Story are few in numbers, but they are the heart blood of fandom.  They write/perform the filk, the fan fiction, and fanfilms.  They make the fan art, run the conventions, and strive to keep SF on the straight and narrow.

It isn't easy to move from being a fan of Specifics to a fan of Story.  For this shift to happen, the fan has to see the complete series as a seamless whole.  They have to learn how to see past the trees to the forest.  There is no easy way to happen or to bring this about.

When it does happen, it is like magic.  Most of us have had this shift happen for at least one franchise.  Think about the one series that is closest to your heart.  The one you seek out every little tidbit of information about.  For that story, you are a fan of the Story.

Spectral Shift

It is not easy to ask people to make these shifts, or to help other move through the spectrum, but it is vital if fan culture has any chance of surviving.  So for the next thirty days:

  • Introduce your friends to filk.
  • Have a movie night at your house and show a fanfilm.
  • Start a role playing group and uses your favorite setting.
  • Start having friends over to watch your favorite shows.
  • Help just one person find a new series, book, or movie that they will fall head or heels in love with.

If we all do our part, fandom has a long and beautifyl future.

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Speculative Fiction BOX Sets Limited Time Deals

OMG I love Christmas, and Amazon made it even easier to give this year.  They have put out some excellent must own SF box sets at prices that are practically a give away.  The only catch is that the deals are limited time only so if you are thinking on doing this don’t procrastinate!

  • get your copy of sg-1 Stargate SG-1 - The Complete Series Collection $99.99:  This show rules!  I have the first three seasons but had to get this one when I saw the deal imagine paying less than $2 per DVD full of Stargate goodness!.  Stargate SG-1 Season 1, Season 2,  Season 3, Season 4, Season 5, Season 6, Season 7, Season 8, Season 9, Season 10,  Disc 51 includes: Ark of Truth Promo, Continuum Promo, "Stargate SG-1: The Lowdown (SG-1 Season 7)", From Stargate to Atlantis: The Lowdown (SG-1 Season 8 & Atlantis Season 1), Behind the Stargate: Secrets Revealed (SG-1 Season 8 & Atlantis Season 1), Disc 52 includes: "Sci Fi Inside: Stargate SG-1's 200th Episode (SG-1 Season 10)", "Behind the Mythology of Stargate SG-1 (SG-1 Seasons 1-10)", Stargate SG-1: True Science, Disc 53 includes: **Season Three, Timeline to the Future, Part 1: Legacy of the Gate, Part II: Secrets of the Gate, Part III: Beyond the Gate, **Season Four, SG-1 Video Diary: Teryl Rothery, "Stargate SG-1 Season 5: Gateway to Adventure ", Stargate SG-1: The 100th Episode, **Season Five: SG-1 Video Diary: Don S. Davis, **Season Six: SG-1 Directors Series: Smoke and Mirrors", SG-1 Directors Series: The Changeling, SG-1 Directors Series: Memento, SG-1 Directors Series: Prophecy, SG-1 Video Diary: Richard Dean Anderson Paradise Lost", Disc 54: **Season Seven: SG-1 Directors Series: Revisions, SG-1 Directors Series: Heroes, SG-1 Directors Series: Resurrection, "Behind the Scenes: Journey Inside Lost City", The Storyboard Process, "Bra'tac vs. Ronan: Designing the Fight", Stargate Magic: Inside the Lab, Richard Dean Anderson: "My Life as a Mime", **Season Eight: Beyond the Gate: A Convention Experience with Amanda Tapping" "Beyond the Gate: A Convention Experience with Michael Shanks" SG-1 Directors Series: Threads, Profile On: Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie, The Last Day of Teal'C, SG-1 Directors Series: Moebius, “Stargate SG-1 Alliance: The Making of The Video Game"
  • Battlestar Galactica Franchise Collection: $99.99 (Season One | Season 2.0 | Season 2.5 | Season 3.0 | BSG Razor)
  • The Ultimate Matrix Collection$24.49 (The Matrix/ The Matrix Reloaded/ The Matrix Revolutions/ The Animatrix)
  • The Mel Brooks Collection: $38.99 (Blazing Saddles / Young Frankenstein / Silent Movie / Robin Hood: Men in Tights / To Be or Not to Be / History of the World, Part 1 / The Twelve Chairs / High Anxiety)
  • Planet of the Apes - The Legacy Collection$26.99 (Planet of the Apes [1968] / Beneath the / Escape from the / Conquest of the / Battle for the)
  • The Nightmare on Elm Street Collection$22.99 8 Disc Collection
  • Alien Quadrilogy$32.99 (Alien/ Aliens /Alien 3 /Alien Resurrection)
  • Jim Henson's Fantasy Film Collection$20.49 (Labyrinth / MirrorMask / The Dark Crystal)
  • Godzilla DVD Collection 7-Pack$64.99 (Godzilla (1998) / Godzilla 2000 / vs. King Ghidora / and Mothra The Battle for Earth / vs. Destoroyah / vs. Space Godzilla / vs. Mechagodzilla / Giant Monsters All Out Attack / vs. Megaguirus)