I admit, I didn’t think I could admire Joss Whedon any more than I already do. Kick-ass script-writer, eloquent feminist, architect of the intricately impressive Marvel movie universe, and bearer of a stylish beard. How could he get any more awesome?
Answer: by creating a charming-looking indie genre film and releasing it straight onto the internet.
Leaping joyfully forward
We all know that the internet is undermining established cultural distribution channels. Record stores are dying in the face of iTunes and file sharing. Amazon is gutting the big chain bookstores, leaving the quirky and the unique to re-emerge from the rubble. Illegal streaming services are the bane of the film and TV industries.
Creative businesses have basically two options when faced with this.
Firstly, they can dig their heels in and get defensive. This is the approach that involves lobbying for harsher copyright prosecutions, that tries to limit internet access to stop file sharing. It’s putting a huge effort not into giving customers what they want – easier access to the products they enjoy – but into preventing it.
The other option is to go with the flow, to recognise that people don’t just file share because it’s free, they also do it because it’s easy and convenient. Give them that ease and convenience, the opportunity to watch the latest films and shows in their own home at a time that suits them and without the interruption of adverts, and most will pay for it.
This is what Joss has done, releasing his latest film, In Your Eyes, straight onto a paid streaming service at the same time as its premier yesterday. Rather than digging in his heels he’s leaping joyfully forward into the new era, setting an awesome precedent for others. Sure he still works for the big conservative studios too, but that gives him the money, trust and publicity to achieve things like this.
Plus it gives us the interconnected joy of the Marvel movie universe, so yay for that.
I haven’t had time to watch In Your Eyes yet, but you can be sure that I will, and that I’ll come back here to enthuse about it at great length. Unless it’s bad of course, but this is Joss Whedon so I can’t see that happening.
In the meantime, lets take a moment to appreciate the wonder that is the man Whedon.