Unshelved comic strip for 8/12/2008

Self Publishing a Movie

There are some people who still don't understand why we don't want Unshelved to be syndicated, or our books published by someone else, and frankly I've stopped trying to explain that we simply don't need those middlemen to make a living. The economics of content have shifted, and we're happy to have come along just when that shift hit comic strips.

But the economics of movies and TV have remained stubbornly stuck in the last century. That's what the writers' strike was about last year. Simplistically, writers were receiving no royalties for the content they wrote for TV or the movies but that was now appearing on the Internet. One of the loudest voices during that strike was that of Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly. While marching the picket lines he got it into his head that he should create some high-quality content that wasn't owned by a studio, cutting out a whole passel of middlemen.

He took a cue from Felicia Day, an actress who appeared on the last season of Buffy, who had written and produced a very clever web-based series called The Guild. The result was Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, a funny and touching supervillain musical starting Day, Neil Patrick Harris (who has become one of my favorite actors thanks to his run on How I Met Your Mother), and Firefly's Nathan Fillion. Dr. Horrible absolutely stands on its own as a story and as a musical (I've been singing the songs in the shower for weeks now), but it has added significance in that the revenue (from iTunes sales and Hulu.com ads) goes straight into the pockets of the creators.

Felicia, Joss, and company, we longtime self-publishers welcome you.

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