Joss Whedon: “They Invented The Internet For Me”

Joss Whedon: “They Invented The Internet For Me”

Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Buffy. Firefly. Alien: Resurrection. Joss Whedon is awesome. Here’s six random cool things he had to say during his appearance at the Melbourne Writers Festival on Friday (he’s at the Sydney Opera House on Sunday night as well):

Picture by gageskidmore

On the importance of the Internet in making Buffy The Vampire Slayer a success: “The Internet happened to sort of come up the same year as we did, and that worked out pretty well. Communities started forming and something started to exist that was bigger than the show, because the show was never very big. It was on a tiny network and it was watched by at most 5 million people which would not keep you alive for three weeks on a major network. I know this. This community and the way people responded to this in building its own zeitgeist made it bigger. And then I also began to communicate with fans and the idea of the show runner as a person that somebody would actually want to speak to or know about became a reality. I’d been around television my whole life and I’d never seen anything like that. [Adopts mock-cool voice] I just took it in my stride: you know, they invented the Internet for me. Now they use it for other stuff too.”

On what inspires his writing: “I’m a Star Wars guy. [Huge cheer from audience] Other people have seen this obscure art film too? Street cred for mentioning that.” (FWIW, anyone else think Lucas isn’t worthy of cleaning Whedon’s shoes?)

On the prospect of further Internet-only content a la Dr Horrible: “I was planning to do something when The Avengers came up. I was actively developing something. I’ve been wanting to do something for a long time. I’ve been trying to set up funding which is very, very difficult because nobody knows how to make money from this unless you’re working at a very low level. I’m perfectly comfortable working at a very low level, but most of the people who invest money in entertainment aren’t. They always look at the big prize. That’s why we get three $100 million movies instead of 30 $10 million movies. I absolutely want to do more there.”

On whether he’ll do another TV series: “I’m never going to turn my back on television. Television has something that you cannot achieve anywhere else, that kind of living with the story for years and years in a collaborative fashion where you’re living with the people who are helping you tell the story, the writers and of course the actors. You just keep turning the same rock over and seeing it in a new way. That is such a gift, it is something you don’t get in movies at all. It is something you just don’t get anywhere else . . . It’s something I adore, and it may be my favourite kind of story-telling, but I’m not going to do it for a while. Ultimately, I’m perfectly happy as long as I’m telling some kind of story. I’ll never turn my back on it, I just have to find a venue where they will let me make it the way that I make it which is a little antithetical to TV.”

When asked “how does it feel to be God?”, Whedon replied: “Well, when I made the mountains, I thought “they’re good”, but [pause and laughter] I don’t believe in me, which is actually awkward.”

On the role of evil corporations in modern life: “It is epidemic. In America, every company is buying every other company. In five years’ time there will be two, maybe. And they’re being given basically licence to become monopolies. And what these corporations do is marginalise the individual so that the corporations can ultimately dictate how the individual lives and keep people poor and keep people dependent and keep people consuming and they do this so they can keep their margin profit where they want it, not where it needs to be in order for them to survive, but wherever the fuck they want it. I very strongly believe that certainly in America the culture of the giant company is here and it is destroying the fabric of our society.” Hmmm, why am I suddenly thinking of Apple?