Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Strongbad would kick their asses anyway...

Ok, I’m totally late with this ‘news’, but I was pleased to hear that the good people behind Homestar Runner turned down offers from both Comedy Central and The Cartoon Network to stay on the web.

I’m not pleased because it’s ‘sticking it to the man’, but because I’m incredibly pleased to see the people behind one of my favorite websites actually have some sense.

Here’s what that meeting would go like if everyone was forced to tell the truth:

TV Exec : Welcome guys! We love Homestar Runner and want to dazzle you with the promise of getting you into ‘real’ media so we make a butt-load of money from you!

Homestar People : ‘Real’ media? You mean, ‘fast becoming obsolete’ real-time TV broadcasts? Anyway, we figured as much, but we gotta say right now, we’re not selling.

TVE : Ah, but we can go digital and eventually offer your show on ‘On Demand’. People will be able to watch your stuff any time they want… for a small fee.

HSP : You mean like they can already do right now over the internet, for free? I don’t see the attraction.

TVE :But think about it, you’ll get on TV and get hundreds of thousands of viewers!

HSP : But we already get millions of viewers every week, and our viewers don’t have to put up with ads interrupting the show every five minutes.

TVE : Ok, but think of this. We’ll buy your cartoons from you, so you won’t own them anymore, but we’ll probably keep you on to make new content…at least for a while.

HSP : Well, we enjoy being our own bosses, thanks, and we like that we own our own work.

TVE : But you’re not seeing the big picture! Think of it, we’ll have a dedicated team of people who’ve never even heard of you or your cartoons, who will make broad sweeping changes to your content and format! They’ll turn your stuff into boring vanilla entertainment that has none of the genius or ‘flavor’ that attracted people to Homestar Runner in the first place! Think about it! Why be interesting and unique when you can make mediocre crap that people can see anywhere!

HSP : Well, that sounds absolutely awful to be honest!

TVE : Think about it! We can do a TechTV on you. We’ll take all the stuff that your fans actually like out of your show, and replace it with what we think your target audience should like! We’ll turn ‘The Cheat’ into a sexy babe, get rid of Strongbad’s boxing gloves to make him a wrestler (which is way hotter than boxing right now) and he can be a street-racing dude with attitude.

HSP : You people are idiots.

TVE : Ok, well how about this. We’ll offer you a large amount of money for the rights, but make sure you never see another penny after that while we try get rich off your work! We’ll change your stuff so much that new people won’t like it, your existing fans will leave you and then we’ll take it off the air, blaming you for making a poor product. Then we’ll refuse to sell you back your rights so you can’t even set things right.

HSP : So what you’re basically saying is you want to buy the rights to our stuff, change it so no one will like it, fire us and then sit on Homestar Runner forever, despite the fact you know you’ll never use it?

TVE : Right.

HSP : So, can you explain to me why we’d want to do that, when we have one of the most popular sites on the web, a site that we not only have complete and total control over, but makes us more money than we’ll ever see from you?

TVE : Well….no.

HSP : Goodbye.

1 comment:

Kato said...

The Brothers Chaps are an interesting example of the potential for success in the "new media". They're making a living off of the Internet without having to rely on advertising or corporate sponsorship. They create good content which, as you mentioned, they don't charge for, and earn their wage through merchandise. It's a great system--fans can buy stuff to show their support of the characters they love, and the creators can make a living.

Full disclosure: I own the DVDs, the CD, the figures, several items of Trogdor clothing...