Take the suits and the corporate executives’ notes out of the creative process, turn to the Internet and some very talented friends and relatives. Spin out the idea of a musical comedy of a “low-rent supervillain wannabe” and you get Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.
I kid you not. It’s wonderful, funny, sad and arch all at once. It’s 42 minutes long and was made for a budget “in the low six figures” according to creator and co-writer Joss Whedon. The fellow who gave us Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly and Serenity TV shows, all which he made kicking and screaming at the TV execs about how much they cost and what the stories should say. (Fox screwed up Firefly so badly in broadcast order they didn’t even air the pilot as the first episode.)
Enough of that. Give a creator a chance to cook up a story, without concerns about what you can’t do. A death ray that doesn’t work very well. A superhero who’s not a nice guy. A villain with a crush on a girl he sees at the laundromat. All devised by Whedon, his two brothers and brother Jed’s fiancee Maurissa Tancharoen.
But I give too much away. Watch the show at hulu.com or from the drhorrible.com Web site. See what can be done when story is king, and then the demand melts down the Web servers that deliver it to the eager viewers.
In a recent Time magazine article about the juggernaut of movies based on graphic novels, the beautiful creative space of writer Mark Millar — creator of nihilist graphic novel (and summertime movie) Wanted — explains it best.
His next comic is about a 100-year U.S. war in the Middle East, with superpowered soldiers and flying Islamic fundamentalists. It’s the kind of idea that would get squashed at a studio meeting, where the poor performance of all the Iraq-war movies would be trotted out. But then, Millar doesn’t need anyone’s green light. He just needs an artist and a pen.
Now that’s what I call a wonderful world to create as a storyteller.