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Date Posted: 11:56:57 01/24/06 Tue
Author: Sunshine
Subject: All excellent counter-points
In reply to: OnM 's message, "What, me widget?" on 22:01:34 01/23/06 Mon

Not only were your points excellent, I tend to agree more with most of your positions than with the original poster (that Sunshine can be a real moron sometimes). I should know by now that it is better to clearly develop a single point rather than superficially throw in everything but the kitchen sink but unbridled ambition sometimes rears its ugly head. Now if I were smart (as if), I would quite while I was far behind. But I am going to respond anyway.

My comment about building widgets needs some additional comment before the Widgets Makers of America (WMA) advance on my house with pitchforks and torches. Maybe I should have said anonymous widget builders. The point I intended was not that there was anything wrong with making widgets (a world without widgets is simply horrifying to contemplate) or that the art of acting was somehow magical and not in fact the production of a service. My point, at least in my mind, was that the actors are the visible representation of the product and as such are in a unique position to sell the product. It is not the fans that they have a responsibility to, it is to all the other behind the scenes crafts people that rely on the successful selling of the product to maintain their means of making a living.

As far as the responsibility of an author or actor to help sell their product, I wished I lived in a world where the only thing that mattered was the artistic integrity of the work, where the fact that because Lucas can make a gadzillion dollars on a movie with zero dimensional characters, excruciatingly bad dialog, and simplistic plots allows him to inflict five more installments on the public (well that just might draw some fire) while we have probably seen the last of the Firefly verse because it could only do $25 M in box office but unfortunately we don’t. If the author wants to write his masterpiece and then keep it in a drawer or pass it around to his friends or maybe self publish, then you are correct, he/she has no responsibility to go out and promote it. However, once that same author takes money from a publisher, they should acknowledge the responsibility to do everything in reason to make it successful. Again, not for the fans but for those whose lively hood depends on the success of the product.

As far as my comment on SMG’s other work being crap, that would have been best left unsaid. As to her being washed up at 30, I have several points to make. First, nowhere did I say that I thought she was necessarily washed up, only that her subsequent work was not very good. For all I know, that critically acclaimed, award winning breakthrough role in Scooby Doo: Million Dollar Puppy is just around the corner. As far as doing your best work by the age of 30, Albert Einstein, one of the greatest minds of the 20th century had done his best work before the age 0f 35. In a number of fields (mathematics, physics, just about any athletic sport) one often does their best work early in their careers. Considering that most people never get a chance to accomplish anything that results in widespread acclaim, SMG should be thankful that she was a major factor in something as magical as Buffy. It was really serendipity: being in the right place at the right time with the right crew. This is not something that comes along all that often. In this respect, I often think of James Marsters whom I think is a talented and gifted actor (strictly an amateur assessment as I know nothing about the art of acting). I hope he has the opportunity to practice his art for years to come but it is very possible that he will never again get a role as rich as Spike. This is not to denigrate his abilities, merely to acknowledge the obvious that these kinds of opportunities are rare indeed and one should appreciate that they had even a single opportunity. The same goes for SMG.

As far as SMG’s acting choices; frankly I really do not care what choices she makes. Maybe she has only been offered roles in quality challenged movies, maybe those are the kind of roles she likes. None of my business. I loved the character Buffy and I do not confuse the character with the actor that portrayed the character. It seems to me that it goes without saying that it is her right to choose but apparently it does not (kind of like having to preface every post with the “In my opinion” qualifier – of course it is only my opinion, what else could it be?). It is her right to choose and she has no responsibility to me or anyone else as to how she chooses to pursue her career.

The bottom line in this whole discussion is what responsibilities and to whom does an actor have for the commercial success of a product. It is not like I feel cheated by not having SMG’s commentaries as I agree with fidhle’s opinion on the Buffy commentaries: almost without exception, the commentaries that featured the actors were of little interest to me. They usually were along the lines of how funny it was when X did Y to Z, Not what I am looking for. I liked the commentaries where a single writer talked about the character and story motivations. Although a lot of fans are interested in the camera angles lighting, etc, I am not and was in fact disappointed by Joss’ commentary on Serenity because I am not really interested in the nuts of bolts of film making; I want to understand the motivations for the characters actions. As far as the Buffy extras, what I was disappointed in was the almost complete lack of presence of SMG in any of the features. This was most apparent in the bonus disc in the new Chosen Collection. I think this collection could have attracted a lot more interest if there had been a single 15-minute feature where SMG discussed some aspect of her experience. I cannot buy the excuse that she simply did not have the time as that could have been arranged at her convenience and the collection was issued a full 2 ½ years after the conclusion of he series. Surely there must have been a free afternoon somewhere in that period for SMG to do a feature. The fact that she does appear in any such feature sends a message that she either could not be bothered or that she resented some aspect of her experience. I know, this is also in the eye of the beholder but the fact that a lot of people interpret it this way, while not making it true, does indicate there is a perception. And as I have said before, it is not really the responsibility to the fans that I think she has shirked but rather the responsibility to all those involved in the creation of Buffy. There are a lot of very talented actors in Hollywood and while I thing SMG was absolutely fantastic in the role, I believe there were dozens of actors of could have played the part equally well. It would have been a different Buffy but who is to say maybe even a better Buffy. SMG should be thankful for the opportunity to work with such a talented crew and I do not think it would be unreasonable to expect her to spend a few minutes to acknowledge that fact. Again, just my opinion and she is free to do what she wishes.

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