Do fans want the prime timeline back?

Discussion in 'Future of Trek' started by Beyerstein, Aug 14, 2013.

  1. Yanks

    Yanks Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2011
    Location:
    NX01 Bridge
    It never seems to work. In this business once you've "lost'em", they are gone.

    The same for Enterprise season 4. Most agree it's the best season of Enterprise and one of the best trek seasons. But the numbers didn't come back at all.
     
  2. Mr. Comic Book

    Mr. Comic Book Ensign Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2013
    And again, you wound up with fans who wanted an exact, word-for-word duplication of the novels and fans who wanted an extreme, radical reinterpretation like John Boorman's failed LoTR movie pitch because both sides felt Jackson's moderate changes and edits were insulting to the material. Some even threw their support behind Ralph Bakshi's animated version, which kept the book's dialogue verbatim but chopped the story into incomprehensibility.

    Listening to fans' desires in any case is a recipe for disaster.
     
  3. David.Blue

    David.Blue Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2013
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    It isn't that simple. BSG brought in enough ratings that with the prestige it lasted four years and spawned two spinoffs (don't count on none others). DW went its own way yet listened to the fans, but listened rather than slavishly obeyed. Ditto LOTR.

    And no matter what anyone does, somebody will complain. So what? When did everybody among the fans of a franchise like all the entries in it? Good God, even folks who adore The Hunger Games, half of them hate the third book!
     
  4. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2004
    Location:
    Oxford, PA
    And fans of Diana Gabaldon's bestselling "Outlander" novels are already in an uproar over the casting of the upcoming TV show. And the "Fifty Shades of Gray" fans are in an uproar over the casting of the movie, which hasn't even started filming yet. And I keep running into comic fans who are upset because Ant-Man isn't in the Avengers movies--because he was in the original comics, damnit!

    Not sure when we decided that film-making was a democratic process, to be decided by fan polls and petitions? Or that reboots and adaptations had to be 100% faithful to the previous versions?
     
  5. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Grey Owl Wizard Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2011
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    Now that you understand how the process works, we expect all your future Trek Tie-in Books, that you will post the Spec you are given to write from, so the Trek Fans can guide you to write it properly, and then post your finished product so we can have first crack at editing it, to ensure you did it right ;) :p
     
  6. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2004
    Location:
    Oxford, PA
    Which will obviously make the process go much more smoothly! ;)

    On a more serious note, I'm not entirely sure what you mean by "the Spec you are given to write from." That's not really how it works. I'm not given a plot outline and asked to write it. It's more like I come up with a proposal/outline which is submitted to the Powers That Be for approval and comments.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013
  7. SeerSGB

    SeerSGB Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2003
    Location:
    RIP Leonard Nimoy
    If I had a popular book/tv series and the fans got pissy: I'd make a point to torch everything they loved in the series. I'd make it fire, pain, and misery for the fans. And wouldn't stop till they shut the fuck up.

    George RR Martin had great quote about it: “Writing is like sausage making in my view; you’ll all be happier in the end if you just eat the final product without knowing what’s gone into it.”

    Neil Gaiman has a equally valid POV about the "entitlement" of fans.

     
  8. David.Blue

    David.Blue Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2013
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    To give a specific example...

    For over five years I worked on a quite successful online spinoff series from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. We won awards, had a loyal audience, even inspired fanfic! We also had our own message board where folks commented on each episode and speculated about things, gave us feedback, etc.

    During those five years, we killed off more than one character who had come to be genuinely loved. The fans were shocked. We put them through the wringer more than once.

    As one of the writers, I absolutely listened to what the fans had to say. But I didn't simply give them every single thing they wanted. Rather, I gauged how the stories worked and which characters got what reaction. An early episode featured a character we made up--Faith's sister, Hope. Folks said they'd like to see her again someday. About two years later I brought Hope back, featuring her prominently in a season-long arc. Now another original character, Jeff, had started off with folks liking him well enough but then hating him for falling in love with one half of a couple the audience adored. I decided Jeff and Faith would become a couple, which became an integral part not only of that season's arc but the arc in the season after that. All because I listened to the readers.

    But I didn't simply give them what they asked for.
     
  9. SeerSGB

    SeerSGB Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2003
    Location:
    RIP Leonard Nimoy
    You can not listen to your fans. Every single one of them thinks they know what they want, and they might sound like they agree, but that doesn't make it right for your story or for your franchise.
     
  10. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    ENT lost me even before the end of the pilot episode. :)
     
  11. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2001
    Location:
    Per Ardua
    It lost me for a good, long while but then season four really was very good for the most part. Manny Coto was one of the few Modern Trek writers/producers who seemed to get what Star Trek was about.
     
  12. Yanks

    Yanks Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2011
    Location:
    NX01 Bridge
    To bad for you. You've missed some great trek.
     
  13. David.Blue

    David.Blue Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2013
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Way to miss the whole point of the story. I'll make it explicit--ignoring your audience is a bad idea. So too is simply catering to what they say they want.
     
  14. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2001
    Location:
    Per Ardua
    I think you have to ignore the audience when writing. Ask twenty-five Star Trek fans what they really want and you'll likely come away with at least thirty answers.
     
  15. CorporalClegg

    CorporalClegg Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2001
    Location:
    Land of Enchantment
    Bullshit.
     
  16. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2004
    Location:
    Oxford, PA
    Here's the thing: being passionately invested in our favorite fictions and fandoms is great. Where we can run into trouble is when we get so proprietary about Trek or Buffy or whatever that we start to think that it belongs to us--and that it's the creators' duty to give the us exactly what we think we want.

    (I still remember this guy I met years ago who was utterly convinced that he had the God-given write to publish and sell his own WOLVERINE comics--because he understood the character better than Marvel did!)
     
  17. Mr. Comic Book

    Mr. Comic Book Ensign Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2013
    You also have to ignore the fans when it comes to casting and character design. 9 times out of 10, the actors the fans want either don't want the parts, aren't available do it, and/or are just the wrong people for the job. Also, if you're dealing with a costume design from a comic book or painting/illustration, sometimes the design is either dated and needs updating or it's impractical for live-action and needs to be rethought for film. Fan desires often clash with reality and have to be discarded if you're going to get anything done.

    Granted, that's not an excuse to do stuff that's genuinely destructive and damaging (the Peters-Burton-Abrams-McG-Ratner pitches for Superman Returns instantly come to mind). But you can't rely on fannish dreams to make a movie or TV show. You can only do what's possible and practical, and if fan demands are neither, you don't have a choice. You have to disregard them out of necessity.
     
  18. David.Blue

    David.Blue Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2013
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Interesting--complaints from fans about how nobody should ever under any circumstances listen to them.

    Well, that is just plain nonsense. Sorry, but it is. And difficult as some folks may find it, I have zero problem filtering feedback. I can separate wheat from the chaff. Really. Got a play getting ready for production. Had three different readings and asked the audience for opinions. Think I took all their advice? Hardly! But you better believe I listened! Not just to what they said either, but to how they reacted during the reading--and which assumptions they made when talking about it, where any confusion happened, who they were rooting for, when they were surprised, etc.

    For that virtual spinoff, I listened to two years of people loathing one particular new character. Everyone had fantasies about how to kill her, many competing for some more painful way we the writers might end her life.

    For the finale, we had her save the world. Yep, we all listened. But we didn't obey.
     
  19. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2001
    Location:
    Per Ardua
    "If I made Star Trek the way you all wanted it, it would be shit!" - Supposedly a quote from Gene Roddenberry.
     
  20. David.Blue

    David.Blue Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2013
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    What does that have to do with anything I wrote? No, really, I'm interested--how does that relate in any way to anything I actually posted?