No, not *that* kind of evening, get your mind out of the gutter, folks!
So, as a cultured kinda gal – I went to the Melbourne Writer’s Festival Keynote address with Joss Whedon. Helllo. Have you been under a rock? Surely you know who he is.
Apart from the X Files which was one of my first obsessions, Buffy was definitely there. There was a time when I spoke fluently in Buffy quotes. I knew episode titles, I would nerdily bring up character continuity themes, and have the best impersonation of Drusilla ever. (its been a while, but I think I still have the voice down) ;)
Being able to see Joss again was just a pure pleasure, and being a part of the Writer’s Festival, I’d get a different insight into how he.. does what he does. With TV, and film, creating the ‘Whedonverse’ we know and love. I say again, as when Serenity was released, I was able to attend a Q & A he did here, and got him to sign a U.S TV Guide I had for when Buffy ended. ;)
For an hour, at Melbourne’s Town Hall, Jenna and I got to sit, and listen to the man regale us cheekily with tales of how he got his start, to what his dreams still are and how in 10 years.. his plan? To sleep. To have a rest. To finish a novel. Read on for more..
So many memorable moments in the evening stood out. Aside from Joss’ natural quick-wittedness, Jenna and I were either following the sign language ladies on stage, or marvelling at how some people were squealing/shrieking (not me!!) at the mere mention of his name, before he was on stage.
The interviewer opened with the statement that many people considered Joss a ‘God’. Or just.. God. Well, he did create many worlds, and characters.. so that’s almost a true statement. But he remarked, ‘I don’t believe in myself’. Which can be awkward..
He reluctantly got into writing for TV – as his father, and grandfather were television writers. He brought up the fact that a college friend nicknamed him 3GTV – third generation TV.. he hated it. After all, TV at that time was Fantasy Island. Yeesh!
But once he started, even with the first script that was cancelled before the script was finished – was the most exciting feeling he’d ever felt. He’d found the love of his life.
Of course, having Firefly cancelled was the worst feeling he’d ever felt – and he still agonises over the episodes he never got to make. The interviewer at this stage asks if he’ll go back to television – has he turned his back on it.. or has television turned its back on him?
To which he replied.. ‘TV broke up with me! *sob* Said it wanted to be friends..’ Brilliant. The crowd roared with that one. But let’s not forget his appearance in Veronica Mars, as well as his episode of Glee that he directed.. he is still passionate about television but right now, he’s focussed on film.
Specifically, comic book movies that he wants to convey.. are SUPER fun. He feels that there was a *couple* of good superhero/comic book films but now there was a wave of films deconstructing the comic book film (Watchmen, Kick-Ass etc) and dang it – he wanted to construct it again.
The comic world of Buffy itself allowed him to continue the world of the Buffyverse, and continue hearing the voices of the characters we know and love. But it doesn’t provide the same level of satisfaction as TV does.
At the end of the evening, there was an opportunity for audience members to ask questions. For the most part, there were intelligent questions about his work during the writer’s strike, about his views on the ‘corporations’ he seems to include in a few shows, but then.. a generic ‘what advice would you give an aspiring writer’ – though oddly, the dude worded it as ‘how do I have YOUR career’ – geez, a bit ambitious?
What I got from Joss’ answer was this – don’t think about writing. Write because you need to. Write because you can’t live without it. Don’t think about it. Don’t plan it. Just do it because its an urge you have. And work on it. Also – if you have a story in mind, a film that you want to make – MAKE IT. You can do anything now with any type of camera, or with the internet – you can do it. Be proactive.
The last question, geez.. the painful question from the audience was the ‘what do you like.. love.. like.. what would you like.. want to really get involved with, like.. something you LOVE’. Oh. GAWD. A question was wasted with that? I could have injected the word ‘like’ more times to match the girl that asked it.. but there is no need. You get the picture.
His answer was ‘Glee. Oh.. wait.. :)’
All in all, the evening was fantastic, there was a great energy in the crowd, everyone was just in awe of him and his work, and his giddy optimism and ambitions, especially when it came to interacting with the fans online. I have the highest of respect for him and how passionate he is – for it shows in everything he does.Picture credit/source here