Interview

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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P:SI # 98 "Gate to the Future of MMO"

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Harry Potter Changes Must Happen

Change is bound to happen since the books are so long and full of detail that would not all fit into a several hour film. The real question is will the change be in size or will it also be in substance. There is a story device called suspense, aka fear of the unknown or as put in Wikipedia "it consists of having some real danger looming and a ray of hope". This is a powerful experience since it plays in our mind, off our expectations of danger and is felt internally. 515PAWDZTEL._SL210_

The last two Harry Potter books use suspense masterfully. Rowling builds a tremendous amount of suspense surrounding when and where a death eater will attack. She also builds suspense over who and how those attacks will manifest. It is that suspense and mystery that is a major driving force behind the story that drove me feverishly forward through many, many pages. It is that same suspense that is under threat in the upcoming film.

I have been quite disappointed with our modern batch of movie directors, except for M Night Shyamalan, who seem to be absolutely stupid in regards to the art of using suspense. Many films, with their producers and directors at the helm, have taken the easy way out and have replaced suspense with razzle dazzle graphics or the overly grotesque by showing details to the viewers. It appears that producer David Baron has also given into the dark side as well.

In a recent interview with the “Herald Sun,” “Harry Potter” producer David Baron revealed details of an extra scene to be inserted into “Half-Blood Prince,

[spoiler alert, although very vague]

The extra scene is rumored to be an attack by the Death Eaters. This would normally not be an issue since even those who have not read the books could guess that those attacks would increase but in this case the location of the attack and circumstances would destroy a powerful suspense element that is also used in the final book as a very powerful, shocking, scene. If they put in this scene they would be removing a very powerful story element and experience.

[spoiler alert over]

I find it hard to believe that Rowling would allow this to happen so does it mean that she has come up with an even more brilliant way to build that suspense and surprise for the last two films. Only time will tell...

(via MTV Movies Blog)

Harry Potter Years 1-5 Limited Edition Gift Set is out

51BruyVhEWL._AA240_ For those diehard Fans and those of you who are late on the Harry Potter Scene the new Harry Potter Years 1-5 Limited Edition Gift Set is out it has a bunch of cool stuff listed below compliments of Amazon.

Special Trunk Packaging Two-Disc Editions of Harry Potter 1-5 Harry Potter Interactive DVD Game 5 Collectible Bookmarks 16 Collectible Trading Cards

3 Hours of Special Content

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone 2001 International TV Special: A Glimpse Into the World of Harry Potter Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 2002 HBO First Look Special: Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets Revealed

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 2004 HBO First Look Special: Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban: Something Wicked This Way Comes 2004 ABC Special: The Making of Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban Interview with Alfonso Cuaron (in Spanish, subtitled)

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire 2005 ITV/Granada Special: Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire: Behind the Magic 2005 ITV/Granada Special: Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire: Some Animal Magic 2005 HBO First Look Special: Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire: Dark Matters, New Masters

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix 2007 International TV Special: Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix: The Rebellion Begins 2007 HBO First Look Special: Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix: Fulfilling a Prophecy