Warning: This  is an Internet-released film and as such does not have a “rating.” As Miguel Guhlin points out in his comment, the sexual reference for “the hammer” is both surprising and out-of-place to an extent– It certainly earns this film a “not appropriate for young kids” rating, I think. Full disclosure: I had watched just Act I before posting this to my blog. Mistake. Should have watched the entire thing first. Live and learn… I’m still learning. So, be warned… This is NOT appropriate for a student audience. This is the NPR article/episode Doug Johnson referenced in his comment. I came VERY close to deleting this entry, but… probably better to leave it and offer this as a learning moment for everyone, myself included. This IS IPTV. No Motion Picture rating system. While one aspect of this is positive and empowering, another is anarchic and rather dark. Now, on to my original post…..

Amazing creative work is one result among many of the recent Hollywood writer’s strike. Case in point: Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Think “corny but very witty musical distributed FREE via the web.” Featuring a love triangle including Dr. Horrible, Captain Hammer, and the cute girl from the laundromat, this is an epic short-film you won’t want to miss.

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

According to the master plan:

Once upon a time, all the writers in the forest got very mad with the Forest Kings and declared a work-stoppage. The forest creatures were all sad; the mushrooms did not dance, the elderberries gave no juice for the festival wines, and the Teamsters were kinda pissed. (They were very polite about it, though.) During this work-stoppage, many writers tried to form partnerships for outside funding to create new work that circumvented the Forest King system.Frustrated with the lack of movement on that front, I finally decided to do something very ambitious, very exciting, very mid-life-crisisy. Aided only by everyone I had worked with, was related to or had ever met, I single-handedly created this unique little epic. A supervillain musical, of which, as we all know, there are far too few.The idea was to make it on the fly, on the cheap – but to make it. To turn out a really thrilling, professionalish piece of entertainment specifically for the internet. To show how much could be done with very little. To show the world there is another way. To give the public (and in particular you guys) something for all your support and patience. And to make a lot of silly jokes. Actually, that sentence probably should have come first.

Act 1 was released Tuesday, July 15th. Act 2 was released yesterday, Thursday, July 17th. Act 3 will be published Saturday, July 19th. All three acts will remain online until midnight Sunday, July 20th. Then? It will still be available for sale on iTunes ($1.99 per episode) and in DVD format with extended features.The publish-at-will era is here, even for (and perhaps especially for) creative writers and actors who may be (at least for a time) out of work. Entroute to the 2007 EduComm conference I heard from someone with EventDV Magazine that we’re just five to ten years away from most teenagers watching more basement or garage-created IPTV shows than primetime television shows. As telecommunications media convergence continues, the opportunities for creative individuals like the writers, actors and producers of “Dr. Horrible” to publish inexpensively for a global audience will continue to multiply. This online musical is a case in point.It’s amazing what can be created when innovative folks get together and have some time on their hands. Check out the musical! Run time for Act 1 is 13 min, 48 sec. Act 2 is 13 min, 7 sec. It’s free through July 20th! :-)Thanks to Josh for the heads up on this! (I’d link to Josh’s blog or other website, but amazingly he doesn’t have one yet! Time to start managing your online identity, Josh…..)

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On this day..

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  • http://www.doug-johnson.com Doug Johnson

    Hi Wes,

    There was a good NPR story on this program this afternoon too. Thanks for the information!

    Doug

  • http://mguhlin.net Miguel Guhlin

    Wes, Act 2 caught me off-guard with the focus on “hammer” and sex. However, the storyline is engaging. Bad cast as good by circumstances….

    Fascinating perspective. What would be the response of the strict father to this kind of stuff? Nurturing parent?

    8->

  • http://www.wesfryer.com Wesley Fryer

    Strict father response: This is proof of why we should ban YouTube and all user-created video content.

    Nurturing parent: We need to talk about this.

    I added an introductory preface to this entry after watching Act 2. Dumb on my part to post this after just watching Act 1. Very dumb. But this does provide an opportunity to learn… These issues are important and only going to grow in importance in the months and years ahead.

    Thanks for the question… Would you agree with my responses?

  • http://mguhlin.net Miguel Guhlin

    Of course! It is adult content and an excellent example of creativity run amok…or almost so. It’s certainly not worse than much of what may show up on TV these days.

    “Life has a way of throwing events in your path,” shares Michael Murray, “that provide an opportunity to grow or to fossilize.” That said, let’s role-play a bit….

    The strict father would say, we need to work to eliminate this kind of content from online, or at worst, find a way to have it clearly marked off with virtual warning buoys. And, we need to keep our children off the web so that they won’t encounter inappropriate content. After all, look at the actors playing the parts. They are the perfect examples of people who have failed in their careers because of the choices they made in life. They are the kind of people that would ban together out of desperation. A real actor wouldn’t be caught doing this kind of work. Captain Hammer is clearly a false hero, in for his own self-aggrandizement. These aren’t the kinds of virtues we believe in.

    The nurturing parent would say, “While this is funny and a great example of creativity, I’m concerned about the content. Why do you think Captain Hammer feels comfortable treating women this way? And, why does the female character–who by the way, doesn’t seem to have a name…what does THAT mean, do you think?–feel so attracted to Captain Hammer? Does Captain Hammer remind you of anyone you might encounter at school (hint: jocks)? What about Dr. Horrible? How is he a sympathetic character (effeminate geek) and do you think he’ll help the female discover her true self (her name) and then win her love?

    There’s a lot more to explore in conversation for this show. That’s what makes it engaging and fun. For example, the strict father, if he must identify with any character, it is Captain Hammer because he is authoritarian. Yet, to identify with him means he’s accepting the demeaning way in which Captain Hammer perceives women (is his behavior, to use a word Dr. Joyce Valenza taught me today over at Bit by Bit podcast 70, misogynistic?)?

    What I find humorous is that I’m drawn to Dr. Horrible as the anti-hero. Only in helping the girl escape the clutches of the “hero” will Dr. Horrible achieve his true aim. But this is funny because we’re tempted to identify with Captain Ho-hum.

    In other words, simply a well-constructed tale that is bound to yield hours of conversation…depending on your frame.

    Miguel Guhlin
    Around the Corner-MGuhlin.net
    http://mguhlin.net

  • http://www.smithclass.org/edet/ Terry Smith

    Incredibly creative in an twenty-something frame of mind, illusions to science, technology, square-jawed heroes, and pretty girls in laundramats. I guess I am most impressed by the professional production quality, tightly scripted. Clever, yes, for the classroom – hmmmm…have to think about that one. – Terry

  • Ryan

    Wow … those are the exact same thoughts I had when reading through Shakespeare … while it’s funny, a great example of creativity, and wonderful writing, I’m concerned about the content. I think I’ll write to my school board to remove it all (or at least get all the sexual innuendo removed from the pieces we use.)

    The ability the web and tools such as Final Cut has given for everyone to publish (writing, movies, music) is astonishing. Entertainment and the associated industry is certainly changing and in a good way … “Hammer” references and all.

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