Saturday, July 19, 2008

(meta)Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog, and a Bit on Content Distribution

So, Joss Whedon of Firefly fame decided to do a no-budget musical about an evil genius played by Neil Patrick Harris. Its pretty funny, but what I find most important is what is says about content distribution.

He got this idea during the writer's strike I believe, an idea to do a show on the cheap to be released on the web, for free (for at time). Its available at this website

for free until tomorrow.

All three acts are up. I've only seen the first, but I like it so far. The guy that played the captain in Firefly is the bad guy superhero that wants to thwart Dr Horrible. Tell me that isn't just amazing.

The reason I bring it up is that it really says something about the way we consume media. I'm personally sick of awesome shows getting cut down in their prime from lack of viewers, despite the viewers they have being fanatics (Firefly, Arrested Development, the Clerks Cartoon), and this is an interesting way to begin to affect that change. Shows that are created, executed, and published by the creator, not some evil network that only cares about advertising dollars. TV on DVD has resurrected both Futurama AND Family Guy. This is the way I want to consume media from now on. I know its only three episodes, and it was so easily executed because it was done on the cheap, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be done with a larger show.

Its offered free, then on iTunes for cheap, then as a DVD with speshul features we have come to expect with the medium. This thing could totally suck and I still would have posted about it. It is that important to commercial storytelling. I hope it does well.

This reminds me of the Steven Soderbergh movie that came out in 2005, Bubble. It was a piece of shit, I’ll be honest, but I was excited about it nonetheless.

He released this movie simultaneously in theaters and on DVD. There were no theaters showing it in New Orleans, so I did not get a chance to vote with my dollar. The big three theater chains (AMC, United Artists, and those other douchebags) pretty much refused to show it. It was shot in the foot from day one because theaters were afraid of what it represented.

I did buy the movie from Best Buy the day it came out. There was no theater to see it in, and I doubted Blockbuster would have it, so I voted with my dollar the best way I could. It became a self fulfilling prophecy though, no one saw it in theaters because it WAS NOT SHOWN IN THEATERS.

Its a shame that only big time creators like Joss Whedon and Steven Soderbergh can distribute their content the way they please, but I hope that it will signal a change in the way things are released. We don’t buy encyclopedias written by experts from traveling salesmen anymore, we have Wikipedia. The Washington Post reports on what people are saying in the Blogosphere. Hell, the fact that blogosphere is a word. Information is no longer throttled from the top and trickled down to the pedestrians. Why can’t entertainment be the same way?