Comic Con 2010 - Joss Whedon & JJ Abrams Team Up With Visionaries Panel - Recap - July 24, 2010
Comic-Con is underway in San Diego, CA. Really looking forward to hearing all of the news coming out of it. The panels are underway there. Joss Whedon and JJ Abrams shared a panel together on Thursday. What a pairing that is!! They got together to talk about their shows, the state of TV now, movies, and of course their projects. Really interesting comments from both on various things. Just thought I'd give a bit of a recap. Some various notes to start with. Joss did confirm that he will be directing The Avengers. When asked about how it was going so far, he said that it was really too early to comment much on it. He did say what made him excited to do the project was "how completely counterintuitive that is, it makes no sense, these people shouldn't be in the same room together, let alone be on the same team and yet that is the very definition of family." I loved that line. Abrams talked about his new project Super 8 and also talked about his new show Undercover. Undercover ties to one of the questions that they got about serialized TV. This was a great question to ask of them because they are both very serialized type writers with them wanting to tell stories over a period of time. Abrams said that he didn't think the networks were interested in serialized TV because they want stuff that they can easily repeat and syndicate. He said that he liked the investment and anticipation of seeing how stories and characters build. Abrams feels that he thinks that the networks want it too but just don't realize it while adding that the trick is to have an ongoing story but have episodes that are self contained. Undercover was then discussed with it being a show that is more self contained but is going to have a story that develops over time. You don't have to watch episodes one through five to understand episode six. Joss said that networks will never admit that people want serialized TV and want to go for the "easy cash cows like The Mentalist" and want to make shows like it. He went on to say: "When Lost first hit and was just blowing up huge and everyone was loving it, we were all so into it. They were still like 'we don't want that'. That successful Emmy winning thing, yeah, we don't want that. They would speak against serialized story telling while it was the only thing that people were watching on television because they're thinking bottom line. It's very weird because ultimately the serial is always going to be the thing that people remember. What do people remember about Cheers? Sam and Diane. Not a great joke from Cheers. They remember that. I like both. I like to have some sort of resolve so I don't feel like I just.......I'm still angry about The Empire Strikes Back, ok? The movie doesn't have an ending. I like to split the diff but yeah, the progression is what it's all about." I was really happy to hear them asked about the evolution of producing things such as how Joss went right to the internet with Dr. Horrible and was successful at it. I know I was really hoping to see others jump onboard with it and bypass the networks to see if could be a successful alternative. Joss said he hoped it could be and talked of how he thought he may have missed his window with being too early to the party. He hoped that others were going to show up too but they just didn't. Dr. Horrible did make a profit for everyone involved saying that you can profit from a project like that although the money is going to be less. He said that the studios were very old fashioned on how such a project could work . When asked about the sequel, he said that they all have an idea on how to do it and what they want to do. Time is just keeping the project "in turnaround". Abrams said that he was planning on doing some things with Bad Robot and following Joss's lead online. Abrams said how different the world was now with technology and how he shot a commercial for the Star Trek DVD on the same camera that he uses to shoot his kids soccer games. Movies are able to be made just by the great technology that is available to consumers. Joss was asked about how he felt about TV right now after the cancellation of Dollhouse and replied saying he "must have been in the wrong place and wrong time. I definitely was trying to fit a square peg into a small hole. We both benefited from the television of the square hold of The WB where they were just interested in people like us who had a story that we had to tell and they let us do that. That is very rare. It doesn't exist anymore, literally, The WB doesn't exist anymore. My experiences at Fox have not been successful. Ultimately, it is because there is a certain amount of incompatibility that is very easy to miss because I like genre stuff and that is what they wanted. You say the word sex and they think that's sexy but can you not mention sex. I clearly have more of a cable mentality than I realized and I had been away from television for a while. I didn't know how much things had changed. I learned to know your audience and your first audience is the ones that are paying you to make the thing. That is why right now I'm at Marvel and I'm extremely happy. I'm working with Kevin Feige. It's a very different experience. Kevin and Jeremy, the executives, they're the studio, they're the producers. It's the same entity and they know what they want. Upfront, they're very clear when they don't get it and they know what they want. That's a great experience. The other is doing stuff on the internet, the smaller stuff where I'm the boss but I have to call my friend to see if he has any outfits. Both of those are great for different reasons. Television I love. I love serialized story telling. But yeah, I didn't quite think that one through." Both were asked on their thoughts on 3D movies with each having a different view of it. Abrams is not totally on board with it saying that he doesn't think things look as good through the glasses making the colors look dim. IMAX is his favorite kind of film experience. Joss loves 3D and the technology of it adding that it doesn't give him a headache watching it. He joked about "Cabin In The Woods" coming out in 2D since every other horror movie is going 3D. He wants to be the only horror movie to fully advertise that we are in 2D and how they would revolutionize the business. Both were asked if they thought 3D would continue or if it was a fad. Joss said that he thought it wasn't a fad and will continue but won't take over. Abrams wasn't sure on the future of it. A few other notes on it with them being asked questions from the crowd. When asked about whether in this day on if you should go to film school or go your own way, Abrams said "go your own way" and Joss said "do film school". It was really funny. Abrams said that he thinks that the resources available now make film school less of a need adding that he didn't go to film school. I loved the advice that he told that he got from his father before he went off to college, "go learn what to make movies about not how to make movies". Joss commented on it saying "where did you get that father? That is awesome". Joss did go to film school and studied as an undergraduate. He said that it is very tough to get in the right spot adding that you can get a teacher that takes all the complete joy out of it for you forever. They were asked a fun question on whether they keep anything from any of their projects. Abrams had some things but was starting to get scared of being a hoarder. He asked if anyone had seen that show, Hoarders, and how it completely scares him. Joss, on the other hand, doesn't keep stuff saying that he doesn't get attached to stuff.....or people. LOL. Really interesting panel and I had a great time watching it. A definite powerhouse of writers up there. I really agreed with just about everything that they said especially including the state of TV today and the troubles of it. I keep hoping for the internet to keep taking off and giving writers more options of ways to get their projects out there and make money at it.