Saturday, October 27, 2007

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Monster Fan Interview: The Jericho Bulletin

Trothaar/Teresa blogs Jericho at The Jericho Bulletin. The Bulletin was one of the first blogs I read after Jericho was cancelled.

What I like best is that Teresa is not afraid to speak her mind about any subject. For example:

"CBS should stop being so cheap and PAY for the marketing and advertising it needs to promote Jericho properly, instead of needling the fans to provide more FREE STUFF for this multi-BILLION-DOLLAR corporation."

Here's Teresa:

1. What attracted you to Jericho?

While my television tastes are quite eclectic, I have a special place in my heart for sci-fi and shows with dark themes. I think this may spawn from the fact that I grew up in the Cold War 80's. I had junior high teachers who, flat-out and frequently, told us kids that we were all going to be killed in a nuclear war and there was nothing we could do about it. Yep.

I actually missed "Jericho" when it first premiered. I saw it for the first time over Thanksgiving break in 2006. I was flipping through the On Demand and saw it. I remembered that I'd wanted to watch it, so I watched one episode. Then I watched all of them, and started watching it on Wednesday nights as well. A new fandom was born for me!

2. When did you start your blog and why?

I started it very shortly after "Jericho" was cancelled, within a couple of days. When I first started watching "Jericho," I searched the Internet for fansites and was dismayed to find very few apart from CBS. I started my blog to connect the "Jericho" fans who I knew were out there. In its early days, it consisted mostly of copy-and-paste's from the CBS boards, JerichoLives and other sources, with some commentary by me, and I linked to every Jericho fansite I came across. Pretty soon, though, there were so many fansites that I couldn't possibly link to all of them anymore. I felt that was quite an accomplishment on the part of "Jericho" fans.

3. What do you consider the main theme of the show to be and why?

Loyalty to family and friends, because if the townspeople of "Jericho" don't stick together, they'll be consumed by the violent world outside their borders.

4. How do you think we can attract new viewers?

Keep doing more of what we're all doing: blogs, fan sites, wearing tee-shirts, talking to people in real life about "Jericho."

5. Who on Jericho would you most like to meet in person?

Lennie James, because I love the Robert Hawkins character. First, there was No. 6, the Prisoner. Then, there was Fox Mulder. Then, there was Jack Bauer. Now comes Robert Hawkins.

7. Anything else you'd like to add about yourself or Jericho?

"I know there are many of you out there who’ve put me in a genetic classification of someplace between a misanthropic kook and an ungracious dope. Actually, I’m neither...."

Oh, wait a minute. I never said that. Rod Serling was the one who said that. But anyone who has read my blog knows it fits me very well, too. =)

Everybody reads the Jericho Bulletin!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

CBS: Got Nuts ?

Let the fans do the promoting. That seems to be the mindset of CBS executives when it comes to promoting Jericho.

On July 19, 2007 Nina Tassler spoke at the Television Critics Association semi-annual summer meeting. CBS executives, including Tassler, said it is up to fans to encourage word of mouth for the show. The network won't provide any specific directions or marketing materials, since that discourages word of mouth and viral marketing.

Is there a difference in viral marketing and word of mouth advertising? If so, what is it?

"Word of Mouth Marketing" includes viral, blogs, communities, etc." says Andy Sernovitz. He adds that "Word of mouth marketing is the big category. Viral marketing is one of the many techniques used to help word of mouth travel (usually by email)."

"Word of mouth is a decaying function" says Seth Godin. "A marketer does something and a consumer tells five or ten friends. And that's it. It amplifies the marketing action and then fades, usually quickly."

"Viral marketing, says Godin, "is a compounding function. A marketer does something and then a consumer tells five or ten people. Then then they tell five or ten people. And it repeats. And grows and grows. Like a virus spreading through a population. The marketer doesn't have to actually do anything else."

Jericho fans, then, have used both methods. From blogs to websites to print ads to passing out flyers, brochures, and trying to interest family and friends. They have done exactly what CBS wanted them to do.

What CBS executives and Nina Tassler didn't realize, perhaps, is that fans can get discouraged when no communication is forthcoming from the corporation. Jericho fans will never give up but CBS did offer a partnership which never materialized.

"It never ceases to amaze me that corporations are afraid to integrate communication, whether traditional, viral, or word of mouth," says Richard
Becker. "Last year, NBC demonstrated how 'Save The Cheerleader, Save The Word' could be infused across all communication, paid, unpaid, viral, and word of
mouth. How many more examples do people need before they understand that powerful messages make one point across all communication streams."


Yes, CBS, how many more Nuts do you need before you understand this?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Monster Fan Interview: Browncoat1

Carl (browncoat1) is a Jericho Ranger as well as a Firefly Browncoat. I remember him from the CBS board and he'll be back there soon. Carl promotes both his favorite shows and we are fortunate to have him as a Ranger.

Thanks for the interview Carl.

1)Why was "Firefly" cancelled?

Well, I will try not to get too longwinded. Joss Whedon, who had created "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel" was in a contract with Fox Television and they asked him to create a show for them. What he pitched was "Firefly" a show he was inspired to write when he read a copy of Michael Shaara's "The Killer Angels" he found in a seat on a plane trip. The story appealed to him and being Joss he added his own flair and ideas to the theme and created "Firefly". "Firefly" was a blend of sci fi and western, two genres that most people think should never be mixed, but Joss did it in a way that worked. The crew of Serenity (their ship) were an odd mix of people living on the fringe of space, beyond the arm of the law, trying to make a living any way they could.

He wrote the pilot "Serenity" and showed it to the Fox execs who promptly didn't get it. They thought the two hour pilot was too long and told Joss he had to write a whole new pilot over the weekend and present it on Monday. He wrote "The Train Job" which Fox accepted as the pilot and eventually aired. This was the first mistake as "The Train Job" did not properly introduce the audience to the characters or give us enough background on the politics, the War, or the emotions that set the stage for this story.

Another major factor for cancellation was the inept management of Fox execs in how they handled the show. They did not produce enough ad spots for the show so word did not get out to people that the show was on. They put it on the "timeslot of death" which if Friday nights at 8:00pm Eastern when much of the target demographic is not at home to watch. Then to make matters worse they aired the episodes completely out of order lending to the confusion and causing viewership to drop off. The final nail in the coffin was preempting the show frequently for major league baseball without warning. People tuned in to find baseball playing two weeks in a row and figured the show was gone. Before word could spread via the internet the damage was done and Fox pulled the plug.

Joss himself, as well as cast members, have said that Fox simply "didn't get Firefly". It is easy to see that they didn't due to the way they handled the show.

2) Can you also tell us about Serenity and how that came about?

"Serenity" was the feature film the Universal greenlit after Fox released the series on dvd. The dvd was released only after much campaiging by the browncoats. The dvd far surpassed any sales expectations due in large part to the browncoat online community spreading the word and bringing new people into the fanbase. We had a "Dvd to the Troops" campaign where we made contacts within the US military to ship donated dvd sets of "Firefly" overseas to US troops on the ground and in the navy stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, Japan, and Germany. With the release of the dvd set we were driven to make it successful, and that success was noticed by Universal studios who approached Joss about doing the movie.

"Serenity" is a continuation of the story of "Firefly" that takes place 6 months after the end of the television series. The crew is in desperate straits and they are being tracked by the law for harboring a fugitive. This movie was Joss's attempt to wrap up some of the loss ends of the story arcs from the series in case he did not get another chance. Universal had signed on for three movies, but we had had the rug jerked out from under us before so we were wary.

3)Why the name Browncoats?

"Browncoats" was actually taken by the fanbase after Nathan Fillion, who plays Malcolm Reynolds, referred to the fans by that name. "Browncoats" also refers to the Independent soldiers who fought the Alliance during the Unification War when the Alliance was trying to bind all of the planets under their control, whether those planets liked it or not. The browncoats lost the war.

Only seems fitting we held onto the moniker "browncoats" since we have been the underdogs in the fight to save our show, then the dvd set, and then the movie.

4) Why are fans so enthusiastic?

I think it is because for the vast majority of the fanbase, the message Joss was conveying with "Firefly" really struck a chord with us. The main theme of Joss's story is freedom and family. The crew in the show had bonded and become like family. They might argue and disagree, but when push comes to shove they are willing to lay down their lives for one another. Independence and freedom also resonates with many of us as it is at the very fiber of what this country was founded on; freedom from oppression, freedom from persecution, and freedom to chose one's own path.

Those themes bound us to this show and the story inspired us. We fell in love with this crew and this universe Joss created and that love bred the enthusiasm that we are infamous for online. Like the browncoats in the show we are tenacious and we won't give up no matter the odds. It is that very enthusiasm that won us the dvd set and the movie.

5) I noticed you have a section of the message board called Guerilla Marketing. What are you marketing and why?

The Guerilla Marketing section on some message boards refers to the ideas that we use to help spread awareness of the series dvd, the movie dvd, and now the Collector's Edition of the movie "Serenity". These ideas include links to fliers, bumper stickers, swag to hand out a conventions, and other ideas for spreading the word about the show and movie and their dvd sets. "Guerilla Marketing" was coined back in 2003 by several browncoats since we felt we were waging a campaign to save the show on our own without the backing of the network, much like guerilla fighters after a war is officially over. This is not meant to say we are aggressive or abusive in or techniques, quite the contrary. We are careful not to hang fliers or hand out material without first getting permission from the necessary parties to do so.

We also field and discuss ideas in this section for buying dvds, donating dvds to the troops, libraries, rental locations, and the like.

6) What is Nathan Nation?

Nathan Nation is a the collective name given to the loyal fans of Nathan Fillion who plays Captain Malcolm Reynolds.

7)Who originally started the fan campaign?

The fan campaign originally kicked off with the launch of the site Firefly: Immediate Assistance by Kiba Rika. The site can be viewed here:


Kiba was instrumental in getting us organized and directing our efforts. It was her direction that led to the Variety ad thanking Fox for Firefly and asking them to keep the show.

8)Do you have any current petitions, events, conventions?

Currently there are no petitions in the pipe, but we are very active at conventions. We hold trivia contests, costume contests, and hand out fliers, swag and other items to help in promoting the dvds. We also have a group of fans who, like the 501st Legion of Star Wars fame, that costumes themselves as Independent soldiers from the show and go to conventions to help spread the word.

9) Does Firefly have a lot of international fans?

We have a good many international fans. I talk to people online every day from Australia, the U.K., Germany, Canada, Singapore, Korea, and China. I just got back from Dragon Con in Atlanta, GA where I met fans who flew in from Australia, South Africa, Canada, France, and Scotland for the browncoat get togethers.

10) Have you watched Jericho?

Since day one! I love Jericho! I got the dvd set as soon as it was released. I took part in the Nuts to CBS campaign and was very active on the CBS board until I started getting "You can't post here" messages from the CBS site about 6 weeks ago. Couldn't get CBS to resolve it so I have just been surfing around at other Jericho sites. I really love the show and am eagerly awaiting the new episodes.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fan Campaigns: Firefly

Firefly premiered in the United States and Canada on the FOX network on September 20, 2002. It was cancelled after only eleven of the fourteen produced episodes were aired. Despite the series' relatively short life span, it received strong sales when it was released on DVD, and has impressive fan support campaigns.

I recently talked to Rivergirl who has been a Sci Fi fan since the 1960's. That's part of the reason she was attracted to Firefly. Plus, she loves Westerns. She has been a Firefly fan since the series premiered on Fox.

Five hundred years in the future, a renegade crew aboard a small, mobile, spacecraft tries to survive as they travel the unknown parts of the galaxy and evade warring factions as well as authority agents out to get them.

Rivergirl's favorite episode is Out of Gas. In that episode, a bleeding, dying Mal Reynolds tries desperately to get to Serenity's engine to install a part. As he struggles, alone, through the abandoned ship, he alternately recalls how he got here, and how his crew was assembled….

Favorite character? Rivergirl says, "When the show aired I just thought it was a great ensemble family--still is of course but when I got on line and saw vids of Nathan at cons--well I love my captain."
Nathan Fillion portrays Captain Mal.

Why the name Browncoats? According to Rivergirl the fans call themselves Browncoats because Mal wore a brown coat in the army.

Captain Malcom 'Mal' Reynolds is a former galactic war veteran who is the captain of the transport ship "Serenity"

The New England fan group includes Rivergirl who told me about some of the group's activities. She told me, "Of course we do the charity screening every year--but we have monthly shindigs-museum visits -movie night etc."

I was curious as to why Firefly fans are so enthusiastic and Rivergirl replied, "Seems from day one the cast and crew were enthusiastic about US--"
That applies to all us Jericho Rangers too.

This appears to be a well organized group of fans. Rivergirl agrees. If you have any doubts just check their message board here.

I'm not a Firefly fan but this board and these people want me want to be one.

I asked Rivergirl how much time she you spends promoting Firefly?

"Personally not a lot though I have donated dvds to my libary-my local fire station.-to drives to send to the troops I leave bookmarks or "guerrilla marketing posters" on the subway."

Stay tuned for more Firefly coming soon. Many thanks to Rivergirl for taking time to talk about Firefly.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Monster Guest Blogger: Nightbird

Thanks to Nightbird for being today's guest blogger.

I appreciate her efforts and her love of Jericho.

I've been drowning in problems in recent times in my life. I could have simply stopped functioning because of it, because it was just too much. But I had learned a simple survival trick.

What can I do that will change things TODAY?

The CBS board has problems. I suspect we aren't the only forum with these. But we do have the board. I'd love to live somewhere else and have a different kind of home, but right now I do have one. Its not perfect but its here. We have this board HERE and NOW. No reason we can't send some feedback about it to the website option, like reporting what happens with forbidden word problems. But what really matters is that we do have it. Fixing the board is a later. Tomorrow, when something perfect is possible. Using it is now.

TODAY we can tell CBS we want the third season. We can write, digg, comment, lend dvd's email friends to check it out and lots of other ideas all of which can get us to this goal.

TODAY the board, Pam Reed and any number of other things are less important and less current than the matter of the third season and SHOWING that we won't fade away. Go and read Rich's transcript from his chat in Jeritopia. WE scare them out there. They have every reason for us not to succeed so they can dismiss social media as a means of achieving a goal. So they can fade back into the old school. So they can prove to themselves we were wrong and not be so terrified until the next time.

Remember this is about a lot more than us. This is about changing the world. We wouldn't be watched by media and advertising and social experts if it was just saving a tv show. We wouldn't be feared either. We wouldn't have made history. We wouldn't have the old school of doing things rooting for the naysayers and ranters because if it was just about a tv show--they WOULDN'T CARE.

Whether or not we meant to, Nuts started a movement for social change. This means tv shows that we like will have a chance to live. It means that the entertainment industry will have to change to accomodate the new ways people act and work. It means that media like the internet will enter its true potential and be recognized by those who fear it as what it has become.

We see these things but in the minds of the old guard they are temporary. Lets send that idea to the cornfield where it belongs.

So what does a third season mean? Maybe Gale Green will be in her kitchen and the board improving. But more than that the board will be here, and those who are scared will be looking for ways to change. We have already had an impact on the way things are done. Check out any board with a new show. People are starting to share addresses to send mail and even wondering what to send the network in protest should they need to. Before they would have been complaining. And this is only tv.

So lets ALL put this in perspective. Our third season is merely the tip of a giant iceberg set to reshape the old guard into the present and future. Lets make sure it doesn't disappear.