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Showing posts from September, 2017

Espenson drafts - Pangs

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Amazon.co.uk Widgets Pangs is one of my all-time episodes from the whole Mutant Enemy catalogue. Very ordinary in amny ways (none of the plot drama of Innocence or Surprise, for example, or the formal reach of Hush or Once More With Feeling, or The Body, it is an exemplary demonstration of how extraordinary Buffy is, even when it is just being normal.

The serious, if flawed, treatment of the theme; the cross-over aspect with Angel; the casual generic hybridity; the brilliant cuts from scene to scene with astonishing tonal, narratorial and character-related balancing. It is a tour de force of an experienced writer and director working together in an established franchise and creating something both thoroughly recognisable, and totally new in that franchise.

As we shall see below, Espenson has interesting things to say about its genesis and composition, but for now, here are the drafts. They are just brilliant!!



The outline is here.

First draft here

Second draft

If you'd like to pur…

Espenson drafts - The Harsh Light of Day

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This is an episode I turn to with amazing regularity. It was the cornerstone of my first major keynote address at the Whedon Studies Association conference in Arkansas in 2008; the image I'm using here will, I hope, be the cover image of my new book, and the episode's importance in showing us the post-Angel Buffy and the post-Angel Buffy is staggering.



Espenson has some great insights into the ep, a couple of which I offer below.

The Outline is here 

First draft

Second draft

Third Draft

Espenson says, "You'll notice a big change in Parker between the first and second drafts –- Joss pointed out that his insincerity was too clear in the first draft, so I tried to write him more genuine after that".



and also, "This episode was another case, like ‘Superstar’, in which we wrote an extended role for an actor who had previously only had a much smaller part (Mercedes, Harmony). We gambled that she'd be able to do this and she was much better than we'd even hop…

When I was born for the 7th time – The rise of Cool Britannia and the continuation of the legacy of cruel Britannia

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Amazon.co.uk Widgets
When I was born for the 7th time – The rise of Cool Britannia and the continuation of the legacy of cruel Britannia


Released about a week after the death of Princess Diana, and three days after Mother Teresa’s,  When I was born for the 7th time by Cornershop found itself imbricated in a complicated British national culture. At once represented as radically changing, a post-Diana re-alignment of loyalties to royalty; an expressive, emotionally literate civil society; an artistic power house of Cool Britannia; and a modern, progressive post-imperial nation whose global ambitions centred on the benevolence of the Commonwealth, the trading strength and righteousness of the European Union, and the expanding peace-bringer of NATO; Britain was re-branding itself (and its history) for the new millennium to come.
Cornershop fitted this moment perfectly. Ironically named by its founders Tjinder and Avtar Singh, two Wolverhampton lads whose band’s name highlights the everyday r…

Espenson drafts - Earshot

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This is the next instalment of my series of drafts to scripts by Jane Espenson during her time at Mutant Enemy.
'Earshot' is one of the most controversial episodes of Buffy due to its coincidental scheduling in the aftermath of the Columbine High School massacre. The CEO of the WB (the network that aired the show at that time), Jamie Keller announced that, 'the episodes ‘Earshot’ (3.18) and ‘Graduation Day II’ (3.22) would be postponed out ‘of sympathy for the people in those […]’. The seeming acceptance that media violence is more of an issue in relation to attacks such as these than, for example, gun control, mental health, inequalities etc. etc prompted Sarah Michelle Gellar to issue a statement that said, ‘By cancelling intelligent programming like Buffy, corporate entertainment is not addressing the problem’.
Whedon, in typically acerbic fashion said the following on a Bronze post: On the inevitable subject, as far as pre-empting the ep, I agreed with the decision and…

The Boy and the Moon - Half a Life

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The next re-release from The Boy and the Moon. With apologies to foot fetishists...

Caressing Nowhere by Apeneck Sweeney (with some help from Buffy)

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Beautiful song by Dan and Monique.

Brand Whedon, Feminism, and the damage done

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My latest vlog in which I tackle the problems for Brand Whedon in the aftermath of allegations that seriously undermine his public persona;

Whimsical nostalgia, future regret, and The Burning Hell.

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Amazon.co.uk Widgets



Today is the first time since my redundancy that I actually feel 'unemployed', although it might just be that I'm alone. My partner has gone back to work, and she works in a different part of the country so is away for a few days and, after the joyful busy-ness of having her, my parents and my daughter here, the house feels surprisingly large and reluctant.
So, I turn to the work I have created for myself – applying for jobs (I have a phone call with an agency this afternoon); responding to queries from my publisher about the Whedon book manuscript; and working on the different aspects of my blog and (now!) vlog. Some of this is just enthusiasm – retrieving the old Apenesck Sweeney tracks and making bad videos for them, for example; some is work that I love but that also has some possible employment-related outcome (I’m researching the next part of my 1997 book that will be a post later this week I hope – about India and China in 1997 and since); some is…

Apeneck Sweeney - Behind the Smile

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A great vocal from Monique, beautiful intricate guitar from Dan and a stunning solo from Martin!

(Oh, and my acting is something else...)

My entry into video blogging

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This is my first attempt at vlogging - camerawork, editing and content could all do with improving, but I'm gonna keep plugging at it!"



Espenson drafts - Gingerbread

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The next in my series of draft scripts provided to me by Jane Espenson is Gingerbread. Credited as a co-write with Thania St. John, see below for what that really means.

This spooky little number is a great take on mass hysteria, scapegoating and the dangers of being turned into a rat.

Here is the outline to the episode - note the 'embarrassing parents moment': would love to see that revived somewhere.

Draft one is here.

Draft two

and three




Espenson notes in an email to me (the whole transcript of which will be in my forthcoming book, Joss Whedon,  for Manchester Universality Press, the following:

Also, this story has a shared credit. Thania is a writer who had pitched a witch-burning episode as a freelancer the year before I joined the staff. They never did the story. Then I suggested that we do a book-burning episode and the two stories were combined. Since we used ideas she had brought in, she was given the shared credit. I didn't actually meet Thania until 2007, when we b…

The Boy and the Moon (Most underrated album of 1997)

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The Boy and the Moon was an album of original songs by Apeneck Sweeney. The band was originally intended as one-off spoof to perform at the University College Scarborough English Department's end of year 'Symposium' and was to have been Dan Tucker of guitar and Matthew Pateman on vocals. The lamentable state of my vocals meant that even as a spoof this needed to be re-thought and Monique Houraghan whose voice is angelic came on board, as did, for a couple of songs, Martin Arnold. We performed a few times and made the tape which was used as a recruitment tool; (what the hell were we thinking??).

Anyway, it was in 1997 and as I'm writing a book on the year, I figured I should unearth one of ts lost classics! I'm slowly teaching myself editing skills so attached is my first attempt at a video and it goes with the song 'Golden' that opened the cassette. As and when I have time, I'll add more.

Enjoy.


Celebrity Culture, Brand Whedon and the post-Romantic fallacy

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Over the last couple of weeks there have been a number of responses to the allegations made by Kai Cole against her former husband, television producer and self-declared feminist Joss Whedon. The accusations of serial infidelity against her with numerous female co-workers have produced, on the one hand, maliciously joyful expressions of schadenfreude (‘see, I always knew he was no feminist’ / ‘ha – all icons get what’s coming in the end’); and on the other such out-pourings of grief and anger one might think he had murdered all newborns. Whatever the truth of the claims, and whatever the justification of the responses (some of which have been eye-wateringly splenetic), what is clear is that Brand Whedon has taken a hit.
I do not know, and do not care about Joss Whedon as a person (I don’t mean I wish him harm; simply that I am not interested in him). I am however interested in Brand Whedon. I have spent nearly 20 years writing about it, so it makes sense that I have a view. Brand Whedo…