Support fan-funded efforts at more Firefly... not in this case, NO.

Some of you may have heard about a recent effort to re-boot Joss Whedon's Firefly via crowdfunding (aka fan-funding). It started out as an innocent tweet by Nathan Fillion (saying that if he won the lottery, he'd buy the rights to Firefly) and has snowballed into one of the scariest things I've seen in recent fandom (and considering I'm a regular reader of Fandom-Wank, that's saying a lot!).

If you want to catch up on the crazy, go to (Sanity, on the other hand, can be found on twitter via the #hnbf hashtag).

Here's my take on things...

I love the enthusiasm that everyone is showing for continuing the Firefly verse, but I’m very concerned about this announcement.

Firstly, it has already been stated that Fox (that’s 20th Century Fox, who own the rights, not Fox the network who aired the show) have no intention of selling the rights to Firefly. None whatsoever. They are actively licensing merchandising rights (QMx, Ripple Junction etc)and rights to create comics (Dark Horse), so Firefly is an ongoing concern for them. To repeat, they have no intention of selling.

Secondly, this current plan proposes the production of Firefly stories without the involvement of Joss. This is a no-brainer in my opinion – there is no Firefly without Joss.

Thirdly, the funding of this model is unrealistic. A single episode of Firefly cost over $1 million (according to some accounts) to produce… back in 2001. This would have easily doubled by now. Serenity (the movie) cost $40million – and that’s before marketing, distribution etc. Fan funding via small amounts is not a viable way to do any big budget endeavour – you’d need some serious backers, and a heck of a lot of professionals who know how to craft a story, create quality costumes/sets/props, professional casting agents, skilled people for lighting, sound, art direction, editing, continuity, filming etc… and then you need the cast, union representation, insurance, catering, post production, legal, etc. Without serious backing (and I’m talking a few people who can put in millions) there is no way a few “businessmen” with little to no television production experience leading small investors can succeed. That’s the reality. Painful to hear, but there it is.

Fourthly, your idea of introducing a “social network of fans around the world with a singular mission” and which functions as “a social hangout where we can gather to share ideas about how to spread the word or where we can organize to do things together” completely disregards the fact that this already exists… and has existed for almost 10 years. Every year, thousands of fans meet socially as part of local Browncoat Groups (some of which are now non-profits, others are purely social), tens of thousands more participate in online forums/social networks to share their passions and creativity, and thousands more again turn out every year for annual charity screenings of Serenity as part of “Can’t Stop the Serenity” (

Lastly, I find it very irresponsible for anyone to be asking people for money for this. You’re basically forming a company that will end up being putting together a Firefly fan film, which will likely get sued for license/trademark infringement. Experienced fans who have gone through the wringer of fandom campaigning more than once have tried to offer advice and guidance to the organisers of HNBF. As far as I can tell, this advice has not only been ignored, it has been rejected. And these aren’t just everyday folks who’ve been around this fandom for a while – these are people who have worked closely with Fox Broadcasting, 20th Century Fox, Universal, Mutant Enemy and many of the other entites involved in Firefly’s long life. They know the situation, they know how action can be taken, they know who to talk to… and more importantly, they know when to back off before those same entities decide that Browncoats are fanatics (in the bad way) and decide to shut things down forever.

So, to anyone thinking about putting up your hard earned cash to this enterprise, please consider your decision very carefully. Consider whether you are making a viable investment, or simply giving your money away. Consider whether your money can be better spent elsewhere in the name of Firefly – such as continuing 20th Century Fox’s interest in Firefly by buying official merchandise, supporting Dark Horse in producing Firefly comics penned by Joss & Co, supporting Titan Books in producing companions that include original Firefly stories by Firefly’s writing staff, and supporting the good works of campaigns like Can’t Stop the Serenity, Kids Need to Read, Browncoats: Redemption and so forth.

For myself, I will not be buying stock in this company. Not only because I believe it is going nowhere, not only because Whedon fans have been burned (badly and for big dollars) by similar start ups and endeavours in the past, but because I believe that this is not the way to go about continuing the stories of the Firefly verse. I want more Firefly, yes, but I want it penned by Joss and I want it when Joss is ready to tell it. Which is not now.

The Browncoats are back at Armageddon! Melbourne, 1-2 November

The Browncoats are back at Armageddon! Browncoats Downunder will be back in force at the Armageddon Multimedia Expo in Melbourne this weekend (1-2 November).

Our booth is shaping up to be AWESOME! We’ve also got heaps of goodies for sale. They're cheaper than ordering in from overseas (when exchange rate and postage is factored in) and by buying from us, you're helping us to raise money for charity.

Here's a sampling of what will be available for purchase at our booth. Numbers are limited, so get in early! All sales are CASH ONLY.

* Kaylee “Shiny” Marquettes (QMX) - $80 each (very limited numbers)
* Serenity Money Packs (QMX) - $25 each
* Serenity Valley Map lithographs (QMX) - $50 each [3 only!]
* Serenity Blueprints Reference Books (QMX) - $25 each [3 only!]
* Big Damn Heroes Lithographs (QMX) - featuring Mal, Jayne, Inara & Kaylee - $20 each or $70 for full set
* Framed Big Damn Heroes Lithograph – Mal - $100 [1 only!]
* Blue Sun Travel Posters (QMX) - featuring Miranda, Londinium, Serenity Valley, Persephone and Sihnon - $20 each or $70 for full set
* Miranda / Burnham Quadrant Maps (Limited print run from QMX, not available anywhere else) - $10 each
* T-shirts - $25 each
- “Firefly” T-shirts (Mens & Womens), "Let's Be Bad Guys" T-shirts (Mens), Jayne "Public Relations" T-shirts (Mens), "Dear Buddha" T-shirts (Mens), "Browncoat / I aim to misbehave" T-shirts (Mens & Womens), "Fruity Oaty Bar" T-shirts (Mens), Mal "Big Damn Hero" T-shirts (Mens)
* Serenity Posters (US Design) - Small - $5 each, Large - $20 each
* Serenity comics with the special "California Browncoats" cover created especially for San Diego Comic-Con (Proceeds go to Kids Need to Read) - $15 each
* Serenity "Still Flyin" calico bags - $10 each
* Browncoat Lanyards - $7 each
* Browncoat Wristbands - $3 each

This year's charity is MND Victoria. Motor Neurone Disease is the name given to a group of diseases in which the nerve cells - neurones - controlling the muscles that enable us to move around, speak, breathe and swallow, fail to work normally. With no nerves to activate them, muscles gradually weaken and waste. This is the disease that took my dad a few weeks ago, after 2 years of suffering. The body slowly wastes away, while the mind is as keen as ever. Right now, there is no known cure or treatment. It affects over 350,000 of the world's population at any one time, and kills over 100,000 every year. In Australia, MND kills one person every day. Quite a few Browncoats have been touched by this disease, and with your help it is hoped that a cure can be found.

We have two raffles for MND Victoria (1 each day) with 3 prize packs going up for grabs on Saturday and another 3 prize packs on Sunday. They'll be drawn 3pm each day, so buy early and buy often! Raffle Tickets will be $3.50 each - or you can buy in bulk and SAVE - 2 for $6, 5 for $12 or 8 for $20!

First prize on each day is an autographed Serenity Poster (a US version signed by Summer Glau “River” and Nathan Fillion “Mal” on Saturday, or a German version signed by Nathan Fillion on Sunday). The other prize packs will include a range of Serenity related goodies - autographed items, mini-posters, T-shirts, a Serenity ornament, a Serenity novelization, Kaylee necklaces etc.

We will also be promoting Motor On 2009, a fantastic fundraising event that will be held in March 2009 - part cocktail party, part dance party, it'll be a night to remember!

See you there!

Armageddon Multimedia Expo -
MND Victoria -
Motor On 2009 -

Still alive

I've been neglecting LJ for real life - sorry! Things are going well - busy at work, busy at not-work... generally keeping busy (and generally out of trouble).

But not too busy to forget everyone! I may not be around much, but you're all in my thoughts.

And since you should never come to a party emptyhanded, I bring you the most amusing take on Sherlock Holmes I've seen in a while....

Thanks to James Moran for the link.

*hugs to all *

"Can't Stop the Serenity" charity events in Oz/NZ

"Can't Stop the Serenity" charity events are happening all over Australia this year, and New Zealand too! So come along to your nearest event, enjoy a great movie, win some fantastic prizes and meet up with friends, old and new!


Adelaide, SA - Friday, 4 July 2008
Perth, WA - Saturday, 5 July 2008
Auckland, NZ - Saturday, 5 July 2008
Melbourne, VIC - Sunday, 6 July 2008
Brisbane, QLD - Sunday, 6 July 2008
Launceston, TAS - Sunday, 6 July 2008
Sydney, NSW - TBC (September)

All the details are at

Funds raised are being donated to Equality Now. To find out more about the global event, visit

Can’t Stop the Serenity Charity Screenings in 2008 – Volunteers Wanted

2008 is finally here! And with it is another year of ‘Can’t Stop the Serenity’ charity screenings.

If you’re not familiar with ‘Can’t Stop the Serenity’ (CSTS), this is a global charity event centered around screenings of ‘Serenity’. It all began in 2006, when 47 cities across the world held events to raise money for human rights organisation, ‘Equality Now’. Over US$65,000 was raised in that first year. The event continued in 2007, with 46 cities raising over US$115,000. In 2008, the goal is US$150,000 with 55 cities set to participate.

Since it’s beginnings, Australian Browncoats have been a key part of events. And in 2008, we would like to see this tradition continue. We hope to have events happening across Australia on 4-6 July 2008.

To help things along, we have formed a CSTS Australia & New Zealand Coordination Team (CSTS ANZ). We have already lined up lots of amazing auction items for participating cities, and our aim is to help make the process as easy as possible for each area by assisting with media, promotion, logistics and planning.

If you are interested in joining the CSTS Australia & New Zealand Coordination Team, or would like to help organise an event in your area, please email

We will be hosting a group chat session on Sunday 3 February at 8pm to answer any questions and to do some brainstorming. Please let us know if you’re interested in attending and we will provide you with access information.

We look forward to seeing you all at ‘Can’t Stop the Serenity 2008’!

Keep flying,

Jen Cummings
CSTS Australia & New Zealand

Writers on Strike - Fans4Writers Campaign

You would think that when I travel all the way from Australia to teh US to go on a holiday, I'd just relax and have fun, right? Um... well, see... while I was in LA, the Writers Guild of America went on strike. And I kinda volunteered to help out the fandom support campaign. And boy, has it steamrolled!

If you don't know about the strike, watch this video:

In response to the strike, we have formed Fans4Writers.

Fans4Writers is a movement born from fans of Joss Whedon, at As supporters of the people behind the scenes, who develop and write the stories that have meant so much to so many, we wanted to do something tangible to show them that we support the Writers Guild of America strike.

Our first foray out to the picket lines was to deliver pizza to the writers at Universal Studios, to feed the bodies that have fed our minds. You can read about it at

It quickly became clear and necessary for the effort to encompass more than a single fandom. As such, Fans4Writers is not just for Whedon fans. It is not just for "genre" fans or television fans. This effort belongs to fans of ALL striking writers.

So, what are we doing?
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Heading Stateside

Woot! I'm flying out to Los Angeles in TWO DAYS!

This is going to be so much fun! Six weeks of adventure in Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, San Diego and Mexico! Plus... a Firefly/Serenity convention and cruise!

I'll see some of you soon!!

Armageddon Expo - Day 2 and some photos

Phew! It's finally over!

Alan was kind enough to stop by our booth twice yesterday. The first time, he and his manager stopped by briefly to check out the booth, and then to ask directions to the stall selling the new Mal shirt. Not sure why he wanted it, but it's kinda cool that he was buying merchandise for the movie he was in!

The second time was once the show had pretty much wound down, so there were fewer people around. He came behind the booth and we were able to take a couple of pictures with him and the booth organisers, and he signed our massive Serenity banner.

The banner we have is so awesome! It's 5ft x 8ft, and is a cinema promo banner with the Australian Serenity poster design. Our goal is to use it as a backdrop for future Browncoat Booths at conventions and events in Australia, and hopefully we can get each cast member to sign it when they come to visit. One day, it'll get auctioned off for charity (though in the meantime, it's MINE!!!!!) ;)

Pictures are starting to filter through, though very slowly as we're all exhausted!! Unfortunately, my brain was not set to "on" and I didn't take many photos (and those I did take were all dark and blurry)

Here's a few from other folk though:
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And this would be taken by one of my many stalkers, as I'm showing Mr General Public some of our charity auction items

Alan stops by our booth on Sunday for some pics with the organising crew

And look what he did to our banner!

Armageddon Expo - Report from Day 1

Hi everyone!

I've just arrived back home after Day 1 of Armageddon! The Armageddon Expo in Melbourne, that is.

Alan Tudyk is our Firefly guest, and he's been a joy so far. He spent most of the day signing autographs and making many a Browncoat happy with hugs at the photo ops.

He spoke at 2 panels, the first at 1pm for about an hour, and the second at 5pm for about half an hour (as an extra bonus session).

Among the many topics covered in his session were his recent films, including "Death at a Funeral" which was released here this week, and his experiences in filming "A Knight's Tale" and "3.10 to Yuma" - both of which starred Australian/New Zealand actors. He spoke about learning english accents, and how there were plans at the time for a sequel to "A Knight's Tale". There were some extra lines filmed in which Watt announces at the end of the film that he has bought a ship. The plan was to open the film with the team being on Watt's ship - which had been taken over by pirates. Forced into the lower decks to row, Watts spends weeks with his only view being the back of another rower. This poor bloke has had his eyes sewn shut and his tongue cut off, and his entire back is an intricate tattoo. After many weeks, Watts realises that the tattoo is a treasure map. The only problem is that the bloke keeps getting in trouble (probably because he can't see or talk!) and gets whipped - and each time he is whipped, a bit of the map is lost. So Watts keeps trying to get them to whip him instead. Eventually, they take back the ship and go looking for the treasure.

He also shared some stories about working with Russell Crowe on "3.10 to Yuma", including Crowe's regular hosting of sports night featuring his favourite Rugby League team. However, it turns out that he would record them and then only screen them if his team won. Something which the cast and crew found amusing, to the point where they were checking the scores online to see if they'd be having a sports night or not!)

There were also many questions about his other projects, and he seemed very pleased at the range and variety of questions. These included what it was like to kiss Heath Ledger ("You should ask Jake Gyllenhal! Maybe I should call him and we can compare notes"), and "28 Days" (and how he has actually been asked to sign posters for "28 Days Later"!).

He had some great stories to share about the alternate ending for "28 Days". Originally, his character's story resolution was a scene where Sandra Bullock was on her way to a baseball game and went past a public theatre where a wall was plastered with posters for Gunter's one-man show, "Fragile Package". The poster showed Alan wearing a cardboard box with "This Way Up" arrows pointing towards his crotch. When testing the film, audiences wanted more resolution, and so they filmed the scene in the plant shop. You can see Alan wearing a shirt with the his face on the back - a promo for the gig. Alan laughingly said that there are only 2 shirts in existence - his sister has one and he has the other... somewhere. And his mother has one of the posters up in her house!

He also spoke about his experiences in "Spamalot", and had a lot to share about the challenges of "I, Robot". This included lots of discussion on the challenge of green screen acting, motion capture and the preparation that he undertook to take on the role.

He shared some background on how he got into acting, and the kinds of challenges he has faced. And about how formal training in acting is one of the best things an aspiring actor can do. He spoke fondly of his time at Julliard, and credits this experience with his success today.

He did shed a little more light on the recent Serenity sequel rumours, and clarified that the sales of the Serenity Collectors Edition are very strong and that this is making Universal happy - happy enough to be thinking about the possibility of revisiting the verse. But we need to keep up the sales of this and other officially licenced products, as money talks.

He spoke a little about his recent work with Halo 3, and had some funny tales to tell. He was asked if he could tell us which lines are his and he mentioned that he had lots of statements such as "Tank - over there" and so forth. When he compared notes with Nathan afterwards, Nathan stated that his lines were commands for the troops and other captainy things. Alan's were more like "run away!". Seems to have been a little typecast ;)

Probably the best thing about his panel was a special little piece of footage he shared with us.

After trying to find a home movie at his parent's place recently, he came across a tape that he and Nathan had made during their time on Firefly. It was an introduction to Firefly for his parents and their friends. His instructions were to screen it 20 minutes before the first episode premiered. There was lots of behind the scenes footage of the filming of "Jaynestown" including brief interviews with extras ("So how did they apply the mud?"), riding the mule without permission ("We don't have clearance to ride the mule" *Alan looks shifty*), Adam speaking to camera (directed to Alan's dad) about how Alan has clearly been led astray with his leftist leanings, and some mock hissy fits between Alan and Adam, who shared the same trailer (albeit with separate halves).

Alan has given a copy of it to Joss and it is hoped that it will one day find it's way into the light of day. However, he specifically asked that the screening not be recorded, as they did not have all the necessary clearances. So if you see anything like it online, he asked that we all do as a good Browncoat would, and ensure that the culprit is publicly humiliated as punishment (he left the particular form of humilation up to us) ;)

He also mentioned that he won't be attending the Creation con in Burbank in October, as he has a conflicting work schedule. However, I can't recall what that work was. :(

I'm sure I've missed lots, but it's late and we've had a busy day with our very first "Browncoat Booth". Alan has one more day with us, signing autographs and posing for pictures.

Our booth is doing really well, and we are definitely outshining our fan club neighours! The booth is pretty much 2-3 deep at all times, and we're raising lots of moolah for our charity, Motor Neurone Disease Association of Victoria.

So far, an excellent Day 1. :D