Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dr. Horrible - The Headline Says it All

Liz Shannon Miller over at the NewTeeVee blog talks about the DVD release of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. It's a great post with all sorts of good detail on what is on the DVD, but what caught my eye, the inspiration for this post is the title of hers:

Dr. Horrible DVD: It's Worth your Money


As if she really needed to say that (she did)! What's interesting is the fact that people automatically assume that because it's free on the web or low budget, or low cost that it somehow, someway gets a "pass" when it comes to critical judgment. That it doesn't have to be, or couldn't possibly be as entertaining as a huge blockbuster movie in a theater.

This is always a sticking point with me, because the exact opposite is true.

Your entertainments have to be twice, three times as entertaining in the low budget world because often you don't have as much eye candy, razzle-dazzle, what have you to draw your eye away from the fact that the story doesn't hold water.

Also - note her dissection of the release pattern for Dr. Horrible:

1. Event release for free on the web. So big it crashed servers.
2. Free on the web via ad-supported services like Hulu.
3. Merchandise for sale - the soundtrack, and t-shirts.
4. And now the DVD release with all sorts of goodies (read her post formore detail) at an affordable $9.99.

Note the escalation here? That in every step there is more value put into the property? (And I include the #1 step in that "value" because it was a publicity coup that had tremendous value further down the line).

Value has to be there in every step of a release, and in its creation.

(And for those of you who aren't getting my use of the word, value = entertainment. Kind of like "Hammer = "penis" in Dr. Horrible).

Concentrate on telling a good story simply and cleanly with a style that suits. That's the value - the poundcake - and it doesn't cost you anything except many hours of craft at the keyboard.

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