…Firefly campaigns! Sleepless nights! Ideas!

There’s whispers among Browncoats of a Firefly revival, thanks to Nathan Fillion’s comment that he would go back in a heartbeat if he won $300 million in the lottery. Whispers of buying the rights to the show, giving them to Joss & co, and getting the gang back together. Not so much whispers as a roar. But a cautious roar. A roar we’re trying to share with talk show hosts and each other as much as possible.

I was up late last night–about three hours after I decided to go to sleep–thinking about realistic ways to make this happen. I started making a list of potential problems (I thought of them as roadblocks in my head) and helpful things already in place.

Without further ado, here’s both lists now:

Problems:

  1. First and foremost, buying the rights. Fox isn’t going to want to part with them, even though they’re not using them. Irksome and annoying, but truth. I’m betting it’s going to take $70 million or more to get them to part with it.
  2. Sets. The Firefly sets were dismantled in 2003. The chances of finding a place where new episodes can be shot that will look similar to the originals is slim to none. Possible plus to counter this: there may be fans in the LA area who have decorated their houses/businesses/buildings so that they closely resemble Serenity…and if they are such big fans as that, they probably won’t mind allowing the cast and crew shooting there either.
  3. Castle, Chuck, The Cape, and V. Nathan, Adam, Summer, and Morena have their hands tied at the moment. I can’t speak for Adam, Summer, or Morena’s schedules, but I know for a fact that Nathan is often working 18 hour days on Castle.  There is NO WAY that this campaign is about getting them to quit their other jobs.  If this Firefly revival goes through, it has to be in such a way that they can keep their other jobs.  (See my cunning plan…)  Possible sad sad sad plus: The Cape is listed as certain to be cancelled, V is listed as more likely to be cancelled than renewed, and Chuck is listed as a toss-up between cancellation and renewal on TVbytheNumbers, so one, two, or all three of them may be more available next year. Unfortunately, this sucks for them–and for fans of Chuck, The Cape, and V–so we obviously wish that both shows will get renewed for many seasons to come!

Positives:

  1. Jane Espenson and Jose Molina have already explicitly stated that they support the idea of more live-action Firefly and would be on board with it.
  2. Almost every cast member has explicitly stated that they would go back if they could. I’ve never heard or read anything to contradict that.
  3. There are currently over 99,000  fans on the “Help Nathan Buy Firefly” page. That’s a LOT of people willing to give of their money, time, and selves (meaning labor–some have offered to help out on set if it gets that far) for this cause.
  4. eta: Patrick Rothfuss (an awesome author, in case you were wondering. He’s done some AWESOME things before, but this is probably moving him to the top of my “favourite author list”!) has pledged to help Nathan buy Firefly with his royalties from his new book that is coming out soon.  Obviously this offer only holds if Nathan truly was serious, but this still deserves a spot on the list of positives!!!

So those are my lists so far. After I made those lists, I started to plan. Nothing major, just some ideas in my head.

My cunning plan:

  1. First, find out how much people are willing to give. Not just a post on Facebook, either. A legitimate place where people can go to make a pledge.  For this purpose, we need a site we can use FOR FREE to accept these pledges. I’m thinking SurveyMonkey.com.Something like this.  That’s just a rough survey I made in like ten minutes, but that would be a great way to get an actual estimate without using a site like Paypal, which takes money up front for something that might not happen. [ETA: the pledge site is up here: http://helpnathanbuyfirefly.com/pledge/]
  2. Wait until there are at least $30 million in pledges. This is an almost impossible goal, but once we get there, the next steps get easier.
  3. Next, approach Fox professionally with an official offer.We’ll need to hire a lawyer (or maybe get the help of a Browncoat lawyer) to make our offer more official and make sure that everything is aboveboard and legally respectable.
  4. Next, if Fox accepts our offer, we find a way to get hard money. Paypal was my first thought… any other ideas?
  5. Next, we give Fox the money and give the rights to Joss. Just like that. The lawyer would be very helpful here as well…especially since, up to that point, Firefly would have 70,000 official owners!!! Fans who pledged and delivered more than $10,000 get credited as producers and the right to work on the show if they are available, but it is important that the rights go to Joss. I know that here is where my plan stops being relevant, but it keeps going…
  6. Next, Joss gathers a gang of writers together (especially Jose Molina and Jane Espenson!), and they write 13 more kick-butt episodes (for now)! Writers are compensated at the industry standard rate for their writing.
  7. Next, we wait for Castle, V, and Chuck to go on hiatus simultaneously. This will probably happen over the summer.  Each episode has to be shot in 6 days (like Dr. Horrible!) with minimal crew and professional-level equipment. The crew and actors MUST be paid at industry standard.  This may be a fan-funded reboot, but it is very important that everyone gets paid up front for this!  There may only be time to shoot 3-6 episodes this summer. That’s fine… with something like this, you take what you get.
  8. Once the episodes are cut, release them on Youtube. This will make them free and available to everyone all over the world–especially the fans who funded the project! Youtube is free, so this is another way to save money.
  9. Sell the Season 2 DVDs to finance season 3. (There should be plenty of extras to make it worth the $50 they will cost.) If there is enough DVD sales, there will be enough money there for a season 3. If not, we at least got our second season, and we certainly will have had a grand adventure whilst doing so!

So there you have it… there’s my lists. I hope it has given you something to think about.  Hopefully, I will be able to sleep tonight now that I’ve gotten this all written down!

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10 Responses to “…Firefly campaigns! Sleepless nights! Ideas!”

  1. Stormy Says:

    The only thing I’m not convinced of is the YouTube element – I think it would be better to have it on its own site (like Dr Horrible), so the possibility of getting sponsor-ads exists. Nothing overt – not like a hundred ads per page, with a teeny-tiny video window in the middle, more something like ThatGuyWithTheGlasses.com, where a ad runs before the video. More revenue = the easier it is.

  2. ytimynona Says:

    @Stormy–Good point! If the revenue from the ads could more than offset the cost of buying the domain name, I’m all for that! As long as the video would still be available for free worldwide!

  3. roger kea Says:

    Sorry, this is going to just be a mishmash if thoughts as they come up.

    I too had a horrible time sleeping last night and woke up this morning and literally paced non stop for an hour in my apartment, mind racing with plans.

    I love that you want to make the show for free, but the problem with that is advertisers are what make shows profitable. I would donate hundreds to see new shows, but not all would be willing to give so much. If everyone pays a little sub. fee or better yet, corporations foot the bill through advertising, then there is more money for good production values. I would love to see a web based distribution, but one that pays for itself.

    I only want to see new episodes in 1080p goodness, so bandwidth would be ridiculously expensive. Plus imagine how many people would want to watch each episode as it came out. All at once. “This is your captain speaking, we’re going to experience a little turbulence….. and then explode”

    Ok, now for something fun. I like the idea of your pledge page, although I think the main organizers of the current resurgence are going to cover that. Something unique that you could do to help the cause is create a page that asks how long you’ve been a fan so we can see how the word has spread through the years and also if this current interest has caused a spike in new fans. Also it might show how many of the originals are still participating. Data is hard and trackable and easily converted into monetary worth. It’s also all that money people seem to care about. Not your passion, but how much they can make off of it.

    Thank you reading all of my rambling. As a treat I offer this link. I hope you haven’t already seen it. This was written by Cheryl Cain, who wrote “War Stories” http://www.whedon.info/article.php3?id_article=8136
    I could picture every line spoken just as if it had been made into an episode.
    Enjoy!

    I watched an interview with Nathan by Kevin Pollack the other day and Nathan said that they shoot 10 months of the year if i’m not mistaken which is longer than normal.

    Fox will not give up the rights to the show period. We need to look at other options. Still not sure why it can’t just be done as Serenity and deal with Universal. No tv, as Fox owns the rights to that medium.

    • ytimynona Says:

      Youtube now has the option to upload in full quality, so we wouldn’t have to pay for bandwidth at all. They just have a 10 minute limit or something like that, so each episode might need to be broken up into 5 separate videos by act or something like that. And as for paying for bandwidth on a site, I think that Stormy’s idea covers that. If we get it up on its own site and get that site sponsored by ads, we should have enough views on each page for the ads to help the site fully pay for itself.

      The free idea was not mine, but rather Nathan’s. Credit where credit is due. 😉

      Thanks for reading my ramblings as well! And thanks for the link! 🙂

  4. roger kea Says:

    Hmmm… I kinda cut and pasted into the wrong order there, oops.

  5. Season Rockwell Says:

    I agree with Stormy about it needing it’s own website to be released on, even The Guild has it’s own website. I think it makes it slightly more respectable, and easier to see just how many people actually care about the show, not just how many views it has gotten.
    As for the rest of your plan here, I like it, and I’m more than willing/ happy to help in any way I can. Granted, there’s a recession going on right now, so money wise, that’s not a lot, but I feel like the offering counts for a bit.

  6. mondariz Says:

    Not a bad plan, but you seriously need to do the math. 70.000 people will not donate $30 million; that’s more than $420 a head. Secondarily; we should keep the rights in a registered company and ORDER a second series from Whedon.

    Release the season on direct-to-DVD and distribute the return among investors. This is business and it’s the only way a fan-funded project will work.

    By releasing it on direct-to-DVD we can even work around whatever schedule the actors might have.

    • ytimynona Says:

      Don’t forget that Patrick Rothfuss has pledged to give this campaign his royalties for his new book. He very well may be “pledging” $100k or more, though he won’t know for some time exactly how much. That would help out significantly!

      I’m sure there are others as well who are willing to shell out a great deal more than the cost of a DVD set.

      As for the idea to keep the rights under a company we all set up, we’d need to talk to a lawyer about that one… I’m not sure how that company would be set up. Would the admin for HNBF be the de facto president? Would we vote on it? Who gets to make the decisions? If we could actually work it out, I’d be fine with that, but I can see that causing more in-fighting than good.

  7. Joshua North Says:

    So… I really like your plan. It is very well thought out and makes very good points. My viewpoints is I would hope out of almost 100,000 people, there is a good chance there is a lawyer, and they would hopefully be willing to donate man-hours to the cause. That would help with keeping costs down.

    Second, I would agree on getting the site. I don’t know how much those ads fetch per view, but with 100,000 people Minimum, and assuming there is… $.10 per view, that’s $10,000 if each person watches the video ONCE.

    As for mentioning extras: Here’s an idea for an extra. How about in the DVD box set, putting in a book of “True Browncoats.” Basically a list of people that donated money and helped the series come back. Even if the names are in size 4 font, what true Browncoat wouldn’t want a book with his name written in it? (Of course, make an option to be anonymous…)

    Another option is IF (I know, big if) we get the rights and hand them over to Joss or Nathan, possibly get a channel like SyFy to show the series. Of course, just like SyFy pays FOX the rights to show the series, have them pay us, that way we have more revenue coming in to help pay for future series.

    Any other idea’s for income would be needed as well, that way it helps cut down on the costs we have to make up as the fan base.

    Joshua

    • ytimynona Says:

      We could absolutely have SyFy pay us for the right to show the series, but we need to be sure to have the episodes first available online. (i.e. we can’t sell SyFy the exclusive USA rights… we need to retain them or else when SyFy has had enough and cancels it, it’s gone for good…again!)

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