Have you watched the 10th Anniversary Firefly Panel from ComicCon yet? If not, we'll wait for you.
That hour was well spent, yes? I watched it again while you were watching it. It was time well spent, I think. (Granted, I'm a hardcore Firefly fan.) There's one scene in particular that struck me as amazing, and I wanted to talk about it here.
In established media like film and television, it's hard to know how much we as fans learn about the show, the cast, etc is real and how much of it is spin. You can take it on face value. You might see them in person and think, yeah that seems real. Or you might wonder if the actors are still acting. They can do that, you know. Act. It's what they do for a living.
I bring this up because the family-like nature of the cast of Firefly is well documented and the pessimist inside me has always wondered just how true that was. You see it in special features, but that's just a glimpse and a glimpse can be misleading. The moderator of the panel actually mentioned that, and that's how we got to the coolest story about the "business" side of this that I think I've heard. (Business being the craft of making a television show and not the story they're telling.)
It's a natural segregation that actors spend their time with other actors and crew spend their time with other crew. They have the most in common. It's natural that they would divide themselves as such. But that can create a division that inhibits the overall goal of everyone to create the best possible product. So Nathan Fillion (who is always credited for fostering the family-like nature of the show) walks up to a group of other actors early on in filming. He says "This is a contest. The person who can name the most people's name is the winner. That's Brian, Tom, Tim, and Frank. I'm winning." And just like that, rather than people forming into small groups, everyone made the effort to know everyone else. Even if it began as a manufactured competition, it ended with a group of people that knew each other and made an amazing product.
Having experienced live performance first-hand, I cannot stress how large an impact the attitudes of everyone involved has on the final product. One bad seed can turn something magical into something miserable. And, as Nathan demonstrates, the opposite is true as well. More than ever I love the Firefly crew and cast. My respect for Nathan as a professional is through the roof. And as soon as all my books make me JK Rawling rich, I'll take steps to reward these people. They've earned it.
Until then, watch the video. Watch Firefly if you haven't done so in awhile. If you want an awesome lesson in writing craft, listen to the director's commentary for Out of Gas. Tim Minear did some amazing things with that story.
Completely unrelated to this, if you haven't watched Thomas Jane's fan-made short for The Punisher, check it out.