SciFi Sunday: Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

by Susan Getgood on June 29, 2008 · 1 comment

in Science Fiction, TV/Film

Well, there’s not much on television and I’ve seen the summer films for which I didn’t want to wait for DVD,  so I was thrilled to learn of the upcoming “air” dates of Joss Whedon’s Internet musical netcast Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog (via ProgGrrl on Twitter.)

To get the full effect, you have to read Whedon’s announcement, done as a comment on the blog Whedonesque, but here’s the shorthand version. There are three parts, each about 10 minutes long; part one will go up Tuesday July 15th, part two the 17th and part three the 19th. Free, with dreams of future monetization and world domination.

The musical was written by Whedon, his brothers Zack and Jed, and Jed’s fiancée Maurissa Tancharoen during the WGA strike, and stars Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion and Felicia Day. According to the official Facebook page, it’s

“The story of a low-rent super-villain, the hero who keeps beating him up, and the cute girl from the laundromat he’s too shy to talk to. “

You can find a lot more information about the show on fansite doctorhorrible.net.

As a fan, I’m looking forward to watching the show, and will happily purchase merchandise and DVDs and stuff to help Whedon fulfill his nefarious dreams of glory. Plus, Nathan Fillion being all super-heroey. What’s not to like? 🙂Teaser from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog on Vimeo.

But that’s not the only reason I am so excited about this production. For the past few months, I’ve been working on some panels for a conference about the impact of the Writers Strike. One panel covers how the writers used social media during the strike to inform the public, encourage and reward fan support and keep union members motivated. For example sites like United Hollywood and initiatives like Pencils for Media Moguls.

The other panel dives deeper into the impact of websites and videos written (and often performed) by the writers and distributed through YouTube, United Hollywood and other Internet sites. Why did they work so well, and how has user generated content changed the entertainment landscape? I’m still waiting for a few pieces to fall into place, which is why I haven’t written much about the panels here or on Marketing Roadmaps. As soon as I can tell you more, I will.

Back to my excitement. Dr. Horrible is a perfect example of how the Writers Strike and its aftermath are changing the entertainment industry. Clearly Whedon has a (more than) slight advantage when bringing his Internet production to market. He is already well-known, with a huge fanbase. His talent attracts top-calibre performers who themselves have significant fanbases.

However, he is using the exact same social media tools available to any aspiring writer, director or performer to promote the show:  Vimeo (a video sharing site), Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, websites and blogs. The show episodes will be netcast for a limited time, and then available for purchase (download and DVD).

That’s the world-changing part of this: anybody can do the same.  And if they are any good, they just might be able to achieve success without the involvement of the major studios. You know, like the one that screwed over Firefly.

Shiny.

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