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Television Media It's funny.  Laugh.

Joel Hodgson Answers 95

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the keep-circulating-the-tapes dept.
I wanted to start out this interview by thanking Joel Hodgson, MST3k creator and soon to be star of Cinematic Titanic. I've been a fan so long, I can't even remember when. I've been shuttling my MST coffee mug from desk to desk for like 15 years now, so I'm pretty pumped that he'd waste your time with us. You can peruse the original questions, or just hit that magical link below and begin reading the interrogation.

Joel decided to open his interview by writing his own introduction, which was a bit odd, but it was better than mine, so here it is:

History seems to have been kind to Mystery Science Theatre 3000, the show that makes fun of bad movies that was created and produced in Minneapolis by a group of novice TV writers and performers. During its ten year run it received many Emmy nominations and also won the Peabody award for excellence in broadcasting. In September the show was listed as one of "The top 100 television shows of all time" by Time.com . MST3K's creator, Joel Hodgson has chosen to emerge with a new movie riffing show called "Cinematic Titanic" featuring the original cast of MST3K. Last week Cory Doctorow raved about C.T's first DVD on BoingBoing.net by saying "Cinematic Titanic is Joel Hodgson's latest project, and it kicks ass."

Whoa! Thanks for that Intro and thanks for inviting me to be interviewed here on Slashdot. I can't wait. I'm so ready. Just watch the tech-spin I put on these answers to your questions - boy - yeah.

What do you think of KTMA episodes being available (Score:4, Insightful) by antifoidulus (807088)
on sites like the Digital Archive Project. I know many current and former MST3k staffers have shown support, but I am interested in what you think about the early stuff (KTMA era and season 1 era) episodes being available for all to see. In the Amazing Colossal Episode Guide there are a couple of statements telling us not to go seek those out because they aren't very good, but fans have encoded them anyway. Does it still bother you? And also, can we please have the master tapes for the first 3 KTMA episodes? Please!

As far as the first three episodes, I haven't the faintest idea where they might be. I would love to see them myself.

The KTMA episodes are important to me. It was the beginning of it all, but be warned: by today's standards, they're sort of slow moving. The KTMA days show the origin of where we figured out how to riff on a movie. I can say this now because I have so much distance from it. To me, it's like watching an early video of your favorite band playing at a house party-- all the elements are there, but they just haven't figured out how to arrange them yet. If you're interested in the process as much as the product, you may get something from them. I'm sure a five minute clip on YouTube will suffice. For me, it all crystallized when we made a five minute "sell tape" to bring to Stu Smiley at Comedy Channel. Taking our best riffs and visual gags from 22 shows and editing them tightly together made it clear to me where this was all going. Getting the resources to build a makeshift studio and work on the show full time for a year was all we then needed to take our game to the level of riffs most people identify with MST3K.

Pissed off any target? (Score:5, Interesting) by sammyo (166904)
Has any actor/writer/director been legitimately peeved by your often acrid, yet so very accurate commentary?

I've never met anyone who had a problem with MST3K on that level. Actors understand that they have little control over the end product of a movie. Most seem very human about the bad movies they are in, like they're subjects in home videos from a long time ago. But let's be honest, they're actors and it gives them attention. Sly producers with marginal product know that processes like MST3K and now Cinematic Titanic can sometimes give a movie a new life. In cases like "Manos, the Hands of Fate" and "The Giant Spider Invasion", it can make their films much more valuable. I'm also sure some producers felt like we let them off the hook -- like they never meant the films to be taken seriously in the first place.

Could you make it today? (Score:5, Interesting) by bigbigbison (104532)
It seems that cable channels are becoming just as timid as network stations (who of course own nearly all of them). Could MST3K get on the air today?

There are lots and lots of channels on which MST3K could appear or Cinematic Titanic. What's hard to find is the independently owned UHF channels like KTMA that will let you goof around for 90 minutes a week while you are figuring it all out.

What do you do in your own off-time? (Score:5, Interesting) by KC7GR (473279)
What do you do when you're not lampooning bad movies? What do you do in the way of hobbies or relaxation? Favorite books? Heck, for that matter, what do you LIKE to see in terms of movies or animation?

Thanks for asking. My hobby is stage magic. I've been interested in it since I was about eight years old. Ask any magician -- magic can be a richly satisfying hobby. Come to think of it -- That may explain why there are so many magicians out there who aren't particularly entertaining.

Permission and Sets (Score:5, Interesting) by Avatar8 (748465)
Do you have to get permission from the target movie's owning company to use/abuse it? Has this caused limitations of content for your treatment? What movie(s) did you really want to review but were denied for some reason?

It's all about cost. Luckily, the movies that are the most fun to riff on are also the cheapest. Now that we're self-financing, it's fortunate the way things went.

Public Domain (Score:5, Interesting) by eldavojohn (898314)
What is your opinion on public domain laws? As someone who creates content but also relies on making derivative works of other content, do you support it? What do you think is a desirable length for something to become public domain?

I think what's going on with Creative Commons is fascinating. The concept of an artist being able to "dial in" the way they'd like the rights to their content to be used and reused is profound. For most of the public domain titles that we've used, it's a matter of the garbage not being taken out. Basically, they forgot to apply for a copyright so it in fact lapsed into the public domain.

I think public domain laws are not strict enough. 70 years beyond the life of the author is ridiculously long-- it should be cut in half. Now that we're on the subject, the Sonny Bono Term Extension Act seems suspect too (this act adds another 20 years onto the 70 years already in effect - exactly which 120 year old 'creative type' is this act supposed to benefit?). I also feel that the public domain should be merged with the national park service, but don't get me started.

Why'd you stop? (Score:5, Interesting) by damn_registrars (1103043)
Really, there's no shortage of bad movies still being made that deserve the MST3K treatment. Did you just get tired of mocking bad movies?

No, I loved working on the show -- I created it. It was the perfect job. I left the show because I was not getting along with my partner in the venture. After the fifth season, he and I were on the verge of a fight that I think would have threatened the survival of the show. I decided to step down, which was a bit of a personal tragedy for me. I created the appearance to the press that I had other plans, but I didn't. It was all to keep the thing alive. On the bright side, it worked-- the show lived on. On the downside, I felt like an important part of my creative life was cut short -- but now I'm working on fixing that, by getting everyone back together in the form of Cinematic Titanic. And I'm glad to mention that everyone's improved at what they were already great at -- movie riffing.

Sci-Fi Channel Years (Score:5, Interesting) by eldavojohn (898314)
I had heard rumors that Sci-Fi was the end of MST3K. I know people that have argued whether it was quality or requirements of a story arc in Sci-Fi's contract that caused the show's viewership to fall, why do you think the show eventually went off the air? What was your opinion of it at the end? What was the biggest mistake MST3K made?

I wasn't there during the SciFi years, so I don't have an opinion about it. MST3K had an incredibly long life, 10 years and 172 shows. Can you name five shows that have done that? If it died, it died at a ripe old age. That's kind of like asking "What did I do wrong?" as you're putting your seventeen year old dog to sleep.

How much improv? (Score:5, Interesting) by xPsi (851544)
Obviously, a huge amount of energy went into writing a typical MST3K show so that it recreated the feel of a bunch of sharp-witted pals staying up late at night over beers and pizza making fun of a bad movie. Nevertheless, it seems like as a group of talented comedian/actors, after watching so many campy movies with such vast bounties of ripe, low hanging fruit, it would be just too tempting to blurt out something amusing that deviated from the script. How many of the remarks made during a typical MST3K show (i.e. during the featured movies) would you say were improvised and how many were scripted?

No, blurting out 'something' was never a problem for any one of us, but when movie riffing is your job, you have to build places into the creative process where you can be loose and say whatever comes to mind. The riffs we made were all products of several passes at improvising to a movie. This usually happens in the writing room. You take the best and shape those into the show.

Box Set Frustrations (Score:5, Interesting) by eldavojohn (898314)
My frustrations abound with my attempts to collect the Licensed DVDs of your MST3K material. Currently I have no method of acquiring the tenth box set ($250 on eBay?!) and Rhino has some insane pricing scheme which amounts to $10-$15 a disc. Why did Best Brains Inc. go with Rhino? Why after all that effort to make this material free online (at one time I think there was a dedicated server) are they so expensive and hard to get a hold of? Will Rhino go after me if I continue to own and share tapes and files of MST3K? The mantra always was to keep on circulating the tapes--and with the advent of bittorrent, that's never been easier--but now that they are one by one becoming licensed by Rhino, is that legal?

I may be misunderstanding your question, but it sounds to me like you want me to give you permission to illegally copy shows without paying for them. Unfortunately, I can't do that. I think there is confusion because of the phrase "keep circulating the tapes" that we put in the end credits of MST3K. We said "keep circulating the tapes" because back in the 90's, some cable services didn't carry MST3K and the only way people who wanted it could see it was if they had a friend tape it and mail it to them. It was our version of "I want my MTV". We wanted people to demand that their cable service carry us. Also, between you and me, we were also impressed that anyone would want to circulate our little show. Speaking of Rhino and the fees they're charging, the risks that Rhino is taking may be built into the price. It might be all that file sharing that is making the shows more expensive, and thanks for raising my insurance rate by getting in that last accident! Just kidding - you could do me a 'solid' though, by visiting our website at CinematicTitanic.com and buying a disk or two. Thanks!

Rifftrax & The Film Crew (Score:5, Interesting) by eldavojohn (898314)
What do you think about the other efforts led by Mike Nelson like Rifftrax & The Film Crew? Is there a reason that you, Pearl, TV's Frank & Dr. Forester have split from Mike, Brain Guy & Tom Servo? I'm overjoyed that there are multiple efforts but why?

Question Unsurprisingly Left Unanswered.

Cinematic Titanic (Score: Infinity) by CmdrTaco (1)
Tell me about it. When, how much, and where. Are you enjoying yourself again? Do you think that with video on demand and the increasing number of channels that you may get a broadcast distribution, or is your intent to keep it like this?

Cinematic Titanic is a new movie riffing show involving the original cast of Mystery Science Theatre 3000. As you probably know, we all left MST at one point or another and are now gathering to do it all again, in a new form. To get an idea of what we're up to, check out the trailer at CinematicTitanic.com -- it Roqs! Our first feature length show clocks in at about 80 minutes. The first film we're riffing on is called "The Oozing Skull", and it is one humdinger of a doozy! It's available from CinematicTitanic.com and the DVD costs $15.94. Yes, thanks for asking, working on Cinematic Titanic is a pure and potent kind of fun.

Rave On
Joel

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Joel Hodgson Answers

Comments Filter:
  • This is why (Score:4, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Friday January 25, 2008 @11:05AM (#22182188) Homepage Journal
    You should never look at your favorite musician, magician, or any entertainer too closely.

    Eventually they will do or say something so stupid it will taint tyour enjoyment of their material.
     
    • by Galaga88 (148206)
      Curious: What did Joel say that is "so stupid it will taint my enjoyment of their material." Or are you talking about these interviews in general?
      • Re:This is why (Score:5, Insightful)

        by shark72 (702619) on Friday January 25, 2008 @11:37AM (#22182600)

        "Curious: What did Joel say that is "so stupid it will taint my enjoyment of their material." Or are you talking about these interviews in general?"

        I'm guessing that when he stood the line on illegal copying of the shows, and pointed out that the CinematicTitanic DVDs are for sale, he rubbed a lot of the /. audience the wrong way.

        Many people around here envision a future where content creators will distribute all of their stuff for free via BitTorrent, and resort to making enough money from donations, or failing that, just being happy with the exposure. Joel's comments are a reality check that the traditional business model is still preferred by many people.

        It's actually moot in the short-term, as I'm sure the CT DVDs will be showing up on BitTorrent anyway.

        • Re:This is why (Score:5, Insightful)

          by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Friday January 25, 2008 @12:24PM (#22183406) Journal
          It's more the statement about risk being built in to the price as a justification for $10-15/disc -- and that being a risk of, what, piracy? Except by making the product more expensive, you drive more people to piracy. It just seems odd.

          Frankly, though, I can't blame him for some of that. No matter what he thinks, I very much doubt he can say "Sure, go ahead and steal it!"
          • by StandardDeviant (122674) on Friday January 25, 2008 @12:57PM (#22184042) Homepage Journal
            No, the risk is in the sunk cost of producing an expensive product that may or may not sell. (Or did you think that you could put flowers in your hair and smile about creative commons this or that and all of your physical materials vendors would just go "OK SURE HERE TAKE ALL OF OUR EFFORT AND MATERIALS FOR FREE"?) Compared to that, piracy as a risk is rather small. Do you think indie comic book or role-playing game publishers go tits up because of piracy?

            Just off the top of my head: Production. Packaging. Physical distribution. Marketing. All not free. All for, let's face it, a fairly niche product aimed at a fairly small market. This is the same reason your senior year textbooks on Advanced Interferometric Gizmology were $150 and you can get Harry Pothead: Chamber of Hotboxing for $4.99 in paperback, more or less.

            (I'm going to leave the larger debate about internet vs. physical distribution or CC licensing vs. traditional commercialization alone save to say that the original creators have every right to make the choices they did; I'm only arguing for the reasonableness of the pricing given the chain of decisions taken.)
            • No comment on where I learned this information, but professional grade digital encoding is not expensive. (heck, just look at the divx and h.264 encodes that pop up on bit torrent sites)

              It can be done using basic scripting, off the shelf codecs, gpl'd filters, and a home pc (even a substandard one).

              So far as the physical product, the production process is exceedingly inexpensive.

              Granted the machines used to do this involve a large initial capital outlay, but they are general purpose, not tied to a specific
          • Doesn't Rhino pay money to press the disks, create box cover art, store physical media in warehouses, etc? That all costs money, and if you don't sell any product, or enough to cover the costs, you...get this...lose money. That's risk.

            If they had a secure digital download system, then they'd have less risk from those fees, but they'd have to create (or license) a service, which would also cost $$$.
          • It makes perfect sense. With semi-made up numbers...

            Say it costs $100K/disc to get to the first copy, in content licensing fees, remastering, compression, menu authoring, glass master. That's fixed, and needs to be paid back by selling more than that first disc

            Each disc costs an additional $2 to make in dupliation fees, packaging, shipping to distributors, etcetera.

            Let's say Rhino gets 60% of the retail price of $10/disc. And give 10% of retail price in royalty to Bad Brains. So, at $10 they net $4/disc
            • by kesuki (321456)
              well, your made up numbers are wrong, dead wrong.

              Have you ever wondered why there are $1 DVD-videos at wal-mart, target, or your favorite dollar store?

              because the material on the disc fell into the public domain.

              so cost of authoring/distribution is Less than .50 cents per pressed DVD.

              after all to make a profit on $1 they need to have a overhead below 50% of the cost, as your 'basic' business model pointed out.

              so to the fixed $100k add anywhere from $0.10-$0.50 the price is lowest at 50k run volumes, since e
              • by shark72 (702619)

                "well, your made up numbers are wrong, dead wrong."

                He's right -- but you might be, too. Read on:

                "Have you ever wondered why there are $1 DVD-videos at wal-mart, target, or your favorite dollar store? because the material on the disc fell into the public domain. so cost of authoring/distribution is Less than .50 cents per pressed DVD."

                I've bought some of those discs. They're in super-slim, super-cheap cases. The cost of materials can be far lower than a typical DVD package of the sort that Rhino p

                • by kesuki (321456)
                  the packaging is a little more spendy with rhino, but it still doesn't go up to $2 after all, on froogle i can find a 10 pack of 'dvd cases' (basic black ones) for $8.90 that's 89 cents per individual unit at full retail-price. even if they add $0.20 cents in 'costs' i would be shocked. but yeah, the 'rights' to content do add up. still, wal-mart sells $5 DVDs for instance Robocop 2 and robocop 3 were available at $5, while robocop 1 was a $10 disc. apparently the 'original' is more highly valued than the
              • Have you ever watched those discs? Horrible, lowest common denominator quality, compressed onto a single layer so they don't have to pay the extra tens of cents it would cost for a dual-layer disc.

                I think those are a great example of what I'm talking about - since the upside revenue of each title is so small, they don't have the budget to add any real value.

                I want content, and want to pay for content, that's been done well and with pride by professioanls. I want it well encoded, with good audio, and with
          • by nbert (785663)
            I somehow like his reasoning (not because I'm a fan of high DVD prices, but because it seems way more honest than most statements I heard from content creators regarding this).

            The way you described it illegal downloads are a substitute to legally obtained DVDs. A higher DVD price results in a higher demand for the substitute. This might be the case with normal goods like butter/margarine, but I'm not sure if it can be applied if the substitute is available for free. Products like DVDs for a small but loya
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Vellmont (569020)

          I'm guessing that when he stood the line on illegal copying of the shows, and pointed out that the CinematicTitanic DVDs are for sale, he rubbed a lot of the /. audience the wrong way.

          Yah, I thought that was kind of dumb. I think the real problem is turning actors into some kind of hero, not realizing that they're just a guy that's produced something you like, and you might just strongly disagree with something they believe. To pick an extreme example, I like a lot of Tom Cruises work, but I also think he
          • by Cheesey (70139)
            While Joel is certainly not crazy-ol Tom Cruise, I think his position on high-priced DVDs vs Bittorent is a poor understanding of the market. It doesn't have to be free.. but who wants to pay $10-$15 to see someone make fun of a movie? Not me.

            The price is too high; we should be able to buy the movie for less than half that, then download it immediately (no DRM, of course). That would lower the costs of doing business - no discs to produce, no need to send anything by mail. Joel might even make more money do
            • Re:This is why (Score:4, Informative)

              by amccaf1 (813772) on Friday January 25, 2008 @02:29PM (#22185394)

              The price is too high; we should be able to buy the movie for less than half that, then download it immediately (no DRM, of course). That would lower the costs of doing business - no discs to produce, no need to send anything by mail. Joel might even make more money doing it that way. He is relying on the Internet for marketing, as Mike Nelson has done very successfully with the help of that somethingawful guy, so why not also rely on the Internet for distribution too?


              Actually, the Cinematic Titanic group intend to do exactly this. They planned on the first release being both downloadable and also on sale as a physical DVD at the same time. Unfortunately, there were some rights issues involved and they couldn't do that simultaneously (although they still plan on releasing this way in the not-too-distant future...)

              From the Cinematic Titanic website:

              Also, for the time being, this feature is only being made available as an actual DVD. We found out in the eleventh hour of negotiating with Sam Sherman that only the DVD rights are available right now, with the 'download to burn' rights becoming available in the spring. Sorry about that chiefs. Our survey indicated that four out of five of you prefer DVD anyway. But this download thing- We suspect there's a future to it.

              http://cinematictitanic.com/wpmu/blog/2007/12/21/its-on/ [cinematictitanic.com]
              • by Cheesey (70139)
                Ah, thanks, I didn't see that. I hope they will offer the service soon, if only because it will make the product available worldwide.
              • Unfortunately, there were some rights issues involved and they couldn't do that simultaneously (although they still plan on releasing this way in the not-too-distant future...)

                So, are you saying we should expect the downloadable version to be available next Sunday, A.D.?

              • by Joe Tie. (567096)
                Thanks for that. I was trying to find exactly what was up with the disabled download feature, and the couple people who asked on the official forum seemed to only be getting bitchy fanboy replies instead of concrete information.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by chiefnerd (823986)
          From my perspective, Rhino's pricing is not a real issue. The artists should be compensated for what they did, and the DVD quality is WAY better than the DAP releases for obvious reasons. Most episodes are better than a theater movie for about the same price due to the great humor and host segments. However, availability IS a real problem. It is very difficult to get the older box sets as they go out of print fairly quickly. That is my real problem with Rhino. I wonder if they have considered setting up a
        • by kesuki (321456)
          although he was on the side of 'legal copyright' expiring.

          even people who like to make a living in television production can be against the 'Disney protection act' known as the the Sonny Bono Term Extension Act.

          you never know, if the early 20th century version of mickey mouse were to ever become public domain people might not pay $30 for a mickey mouse t-shirt.

        • by NateTech (50881)
          Only the ass-monkeys that won't pay for good content were offended. They aren't his target audience anyway.
      • by Raenex (947668)
        Well, neverminding the copyright issue, it looks like he wrote his own introduction (in sock-puppet fashion), followed by "Whoa! Thanks for that Intro".

        I was kinda surprised by Taco's "which was a bit odd" remark, but reading the "intro", I can see Taco's reservations.
    • Re:This is why (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Blakey Rat (99501) on Friday January 25, 2008 @11:41AM (#22182670)
      What are you referring to, exactly? Nothing in that interview rubbed me the wrong way... he had a little dispute with some of his former co-workers, but didn't go into details, that's not that big a deal, is it?
      • He's probably referring to the pirating as causing the cost to go up. The problem with that thinking is that higher costs just drive more people to piracy. Taking the content without paying for it is wrong, but the more you charge for something, the more people are going to try to acquire it illegally.
      • by geekoid (135745)
        "It might be all that file sharing that is making the shows more expensive, and thanks for raising my insurance rate by getting in that last accident! Just kidding - you could do me a 'solid' though, by visiting our website at CinematicTitanic.com and buying a disk or two. Thanks!"

        Besides the insulting and ignorant analogy, he shows a clear lack of understanding that trading shows actually makes sales higher, and does not increase the costs of the show. Counter intuitive, but the numbers have shown us this
        • Re:This is why (Score:5, Insightful)

          by AugstWest (79042) on Friday January 25, 2008 @01:11PM (#22184256)
          He's got a direct view on how sales go these days, and how prevalent piracy is. Count the seeds on the torrents, count the sales through the website.

          Maybe he's just being extra defensive because he's paying for this out of his own pocket....

          Asking people to not pirate his new venture is a far cry from beating his children. Just ask Bing Crosby.
        • Do you really honestly expect him to say sure go ahead and pirate everything I have and not promote his new product? All he's saying is that the cost of goods go up when people don't pay for stuff - I don't think there really is any solid argument that says thats not true because there's no sure way to figure out who pirated the content and bought it later and who pirated the content and never would have bought it ever.

          Plus (and I admit this isn't evidence) all the people I know who pirate software/music/mo
        • but the numbers have shown us this time and time again.

          I agree with you wholeheartedly that, in my own personal experience, so-called "illegal" file sharing has opened my ears to a great deal of music that I wouldn't have purchased (legally, I might add) otherwise. I can point to at least three bands I've discovered in the past few months and purchased at least an album (in one case two), or gone to a show (in one case both). It's just that going over to a friend's house and listening to their records has now been superseded by passing mp3s around via the int

    • Sure. When I watched the Futurama movie commentary, I wanted to scream at David X Cohen and company, "You IDIOTS, you're far too stupid to comprehend your own brilliance!", for not knowing their own work as well as the fans. Guess that's more a matter of expectations than stupidity though.
  • by Galaga88 (148206) on Friday January 25, 2008 @11:09AM (#22182244)
    I wonder if the other person he's talking about is Jim Mallon or Mike Nelson. Everybody assumes that Joel or Mike was the respective heads of MST3K during their times as host, but there was plenty of behind the scenes management as well. Of the three post MST3K projects (RiffTrax, Cinematic Titanic, and the MST3K bot shorts) I found Mallon's bot shorts to easily be the worst.

    As far as RiffTrax goes, while I like the concept, the actual RiffTrax themselves have been disappointing. While MST3K seemed to keep the "fun" part in mind while making fun of the movies, some RiffTrax give the impressions of being downright mean or hateful. I may be judging the whole breadth of content based on what little I've seen however, so I'll have to give them another chance.

    The preview clip of Cinematic Titanic I saw seemed to be right out of MST3K and the humor seemed spot on. Of course that had the advantage of being a clip which quickly combines the best parts of the show, and I'll wait until I get the full DVD before I pass judgment. I already like getting to see the always great TV's Frank getting to be in on performing the riffs however.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by LMacG (118321)
      I don't think it could be anybody but Mallon. Mike Nelson wasn't Joel's "partner" in the venture, IIRC he wasn't even on staff until season 2.
    • by Hatta (162192)
      Rumor has it that Jim Mallon is in possession of the missing KTMA episodes.
      • by iluvcapra (782887)
        Jim Mallon was the operations manager of KTMA when the show was on the air, so it's a distinct possibility. He was the Weird Al to Joel's Stan Spidowsky.
    • I asked the question about the split. As a huge fan and native Minnesotan, I was hoping to hear that they often get together to watch movies in a large group and make fun of them. I was hoping they were still pals. I was hoping that friendship was more important to them than their own personal endeavors. I am probably horribly wrong living in a delusional world but it would have been nice to hear otherwise.

      Man, in retrospect, my questions sounded like I was a greedy asshole. Not what I was hoping
      • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

        by elrous0 (869638) *
        It's sad that you can be a grown adult, pushing middle age, and still harbor pissy grudges from over a decade ago that don't mean jack-squat now anyway. It's not like it matters anymore, to him or Mike or anyone else. No matter how you cut it, they're ALL unemployed and equally washed-up now.
      • by AugstWest (79042)
        This first CT is the BOMB. There are so many quotable riffs, and it's just... Well, it's just amazing that they exploded right out of the gate like this. Great, great riffing.

        They are pretty well spread out around the country now, o getting together just to watch a movie isn't very practical. I know we all have the final scene from the last episode in our heads, where mike and the bots are still living together watching crappy movies from the couch, but real people have to make real money, and they had to m
      • by Raenex (947668)

        As a huge fan and native Minnesotan, I was hoping to hear that they often get together to watch movies in a large group and make fun of them. I was hoping they were still pals.

        Haven't you realized that a lot of people who form creative groups like bands, comedy sketches, etc. aren't actually friends? It's a job, and many people are found the same way as other jobs. It might even be an ad in a paper.

        I am probably horribly wrong living in a delusional world but it would have been nice to hear otherwise.

        Sorry Charlie.

    • by xjerky (128399)
      "MST3K bot shorts"?? What are you referring to?
  • by Dachannien (617929) on Friday January 25, 2008 @11:12AM (#22182302)
    I'm sad that Joel didn't answer the question about RiffTrax. I'm one of those apparently rare people who really liked both Joel and Mike, and as far as I'm concerned, the more riffs that both of these new old teams produce for us, the better.

    The only real downside here is the loss of the 'Bots. As I understand it, that's 100% Jim Mallon's fault, but if someone who really knows the answer to why the 'Bots will likely never be seen in new material again, I'd be interested to hear it.
    • Agreed a thousandfold. I've never really understood people who got all bitter about one or the other. I thought they were both great. I do understand that people have their differences, but damn, I just wish they'd all get back together and do this amazing show again.

      Don't get me started on how bad Rhino has screwed up the DVD end, though. Seriously, what in the hell were they thinking? If they had any damn sense they'd just release it the way TV shows do.

      In any case, I still watch the show's reruns quite r
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by elrous0 (869638) *

        If they had any damn sense they'd just release it the way TV shows do.

        I suspect that there are a LOT of licensing issues with releasing MST3K episodes, related to the original movies. I would bet that they never thought to secure home video rights to most of those movies they riffed, just broadcast rights. This means the added expense of having to go back and license the original films. This is the same reason a lot of shows have to change their soundtracks to release shows (like WKRP in Cincinnati). If

    • by xjerky (128399)
      Agreed - I enjoy both eras, probably Mike just a bit better though, and my being exposed to the show after he took over was probably a factor. But I have to give Joel special credit for stating it all.

      In any case, I feel like there's room both both splinters of MST3K to flourish. Does the fact that I bought 2 volumes of The Film Crew mean that I won't be ordering Cinematic Titantic? Hell no.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by naoursla (99850)
      but if someone who really knows the answer to why the 'Bots will likely never be seen in new material again, I'd be interested to hear it.

      Joel used special parts to make his robot friends and we seem to be fresh out of special parts to make more.
      • In an interesting "life imitates art" crusing Wisconsin's stretches of I-90/94 you may notice some cell towers bearing a strong resemblence to one Crow T. Robot.
    • Have you checked out www.mst3k.com lately? They've got cartoons starring the bots there, AFAIK.
  • I checked the web site to try to catch the trailor. Fire Fox choked hard and after 5 minutes I finally just killed the FF process.

    Teh suck :(

    -Rick
  • by eln (21727) on Friday January 25, 2008 @11:18AM (#22182376) Homepage

    I'm pretty pumped that he'd waste your time with us
    Really, is that any way to treat someone who you claim is your hero? By suggesting he's wasting our time? Show the man some respect, you insensitive clod!
  • I seem to recall that Jim Mallon has stated that he has the first three KTMA episodes and the KTMA pilot locked away in a safe.
  • Where does he stand in all this?

    Maybe they could build a Ron Pervo bot out of a pony keg ;)
  • There used to be a troupe of Austin comedians who did live movie riffings, they were known as "Mr. Sinus Theatre." Jim Mallon and Best Brains sued them [bizjournals.com]. At first, they attempted to license the MST3k name and logo, but Mallon decided they were "too adult." They ended up changing their name to "The Sinus Show" and eventually broke up. Do you approve of licensing MST3k?
  • I love it when Joel puts fan letters up on Still-Store...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Well, sometimes he doesn't, but hey.
  • I, like everyone else, am curious about who Joel was fighting with. I never bought the press story of other things to do. I always felt that if you watch towards the last few episodes with Joel, he and Kevin were almost at blood with their vicious asides. I've always felt that. I do respect everyone for not addressing the issue. Though I do wish everyone could make up and work together, sometimes there's just people you can't stand. That's life for you, in a nutshell. It's too bad. I think if they got toge
  • Did anyone else read "Bot Sex Frustrations"?
    • by Danse (1026)

      Did anyone else read "Bot Sex Frustrations"?
      Hah. I was just about to ask the same question :) Had all kinds of thoughts about what that phrase could mean...
      • by kwabbles (259554)
        Ya I see "Bot Sex Frustrations" heading a question to Joel from MST3K and I started thinking "what the hell... I thought he left the show for other reasons."
  • No offended actors? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dr_dank (472072) on Friday January 25, 2008 @01:27PM (#22184496) Homepage Journal
    I've never met anyone who had a problem with MST3K on that level.

    This isn't to say that MST3K didn't run into this in the post-Joel years. I remember Joe Don Baker took great offense to the jokes leveled at him during "Mitchell".
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by NeuroManson (214835)
      Not to mention Sandy Frank. He's the primary reason there aren't any Gamera, Time of the Apes, Fugitive Alien I&II, Fugitive Woman, or Mighty Jack DVDs released.
      • by jim3e8 (458859)
        Sandy Frank, Sandy Frank! Likes to crap in his hands!

        I saw that once as a kid, and still recall it instantly upon seeing that name. So Sandy Frank probably has a point.

        Sandy Frank, Sandy Frank! He's the source of all our pain!

  • First, a "thank you"... that he deserves. Any information or response is always better than no info or reply.

    The one question that wasn't answered that I was curious about was whether there were any movies that they couldn't get the rights to that they really wanted. I would have liked to have seen a little more expansion into the 'improv' process which was asked about, mostly because the question I posted originally was about how some movies lend themselves easily to riffing while others (as bad as they
    • "Star Wars" would be an excellent one to do.
      • by Zashi (992673)
        We'll have to wait for 70+ years after Lucas kicks it for that, I'm betting.
      • by BathTub (75720)
        I imagine Joel wouldn't be inclined to go near Star Wars since Mike, Kevin and Bill, have already done 4 of them, Episodes 1, 2, & 3 and the Holiday special through RiffTrax.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MrCopilot (871878)
      I would have liked to have seen a little more expansion into the 'improv' process which was asked about

      I had a friend interview the guys back in the old days while Joel was still there. The "improv" process consists of watching the movie over and over again (between 7 and 20 times) and shouting out what you think is funny. That gets paired down to a script which is usually stuck to pretty well. When its not you can hear Joel laughing.

      Hey Joel, thanks for the Q&A btw Larry says hi.

  • by Dephex Twin (416238) on Friday January 25, 2008 @04:00PM (#22186724) Homepage

    Rifftrax & The Film Crew (Score:5, Interesting) by eldavojohn (898314)
    What do you think about the other efforts led by Mike Nelson like Rifftrax & The Film Crew? Is there a reason that you, Pearl, TV's Frank & Dr. Forester have split from Mike, Brain Guy & Tom Servo? I'm overjoyed that there are multiple efforts but why?

    Question Unsurprisingly Left Unanswered.
    Dang it... I know Mike would have answered that question!!
  • by Cervantes (612861) on Friday January 25, 2008 @04:34PM (#22187214) Journal
    In reference to the "Box Set" question...

    In the 90's, when it was really hard to get interest in the show, they encouraged people to copy it and share it.

    Now, they've put it in a box set, and stand to make money off of it, so they're discouraging people from copying it and sharing it.

    Profiteering hypocrites? Not that there's anything wrong with getting paid for your work, but, seriously, you're going to take a show that says "Please copy and share me" RIGHT ON IT, and discourage people from copying and sharing it?
    • by hyperizer (123449)
      Profiteering hypocrites? Not that there's anything wrong with getting paid for your work, but, seriously, you're going to take a show that says "Please copy and share me" RIGHT ON IT, and discourage people from copying and sharing it?

      I disagree. The message supported home taping (fair use). There's no way you can interpret that to apply to file-sharing as well. Heck, there was no such thing back when those shows were created.

      Nonetheless, there are plenty of episodes which will probably never make it to DVD [mst3kinfo.com].
      • by Cervantes (612861)

        Profiteering hypocrites? Not that there's anything wrong with getting paid for your work, but, seriously, you're going to take a show that says "Please copy and share me" RIGHT ON IT, and discourage people from copying and sharing it?

        I disagree. The message supported home taping (fair use). There's no way you can interpret that to apply to file-sharing as well. Heck, there was no such thing back when those shows were created.

        What, so because it's easier now, it's suddenly wrong?
        Before, you had to stick a tape in the VCR and hit "Record". Perhaps you even had a pair of VCRs and did some tape-to-tape copying. Sent em out one by one. You handed or mailed them out to friends, one at a time. Now, you have a vast library... err, network, of files, and you type in that cool show your friend briefly mentioned, and can almost immediately become hooked. And many people can do it all at once. But the concept is the same. "Hey, here's som

  • Cinematic Titanic (Score:3, Interesting)

    by uigrad_2000 (398500) on Friday January 25, 2008 @06:23PM (#22188414) Homepage Journal
    All of the questions in the interview were made before the first episode of CT was released.

    I was a big fan of MST3k at one time, so I jumped at the chance to buy one of the new shows. All other fans (or previous fans) should do the same. The rest of this comment contains my reactions to the first episode.

    I'm a little a disappointed with the new format. Adding new props (as silhouettes) was a great idea, but I don't think they were executed very well. The "freeze frames" should probably not be used for more than about 5 seconds, or you will lose the interest of the viewers. I don't know what the solution should be for this. Maybe the lights should come on, maybe the silhouetted characters should retreat to another stage (like in the original episodes), or maybe a selection of digital stills from the film should be animated in a pseudo-dance video during these breaks.

    "Oozing Skull" had horrible sound (some dialog was lost), and was too slowly paced to keep many fans in it. I know this is characteristic of many of the horrible movies you find, but it makes it very hard to make an entertaining show. There are many great B-movies from the 70s that are faster paced, and would probably work better for your new format. Is it possible to use them? If you can ever get "Death Race 2000", I will be very happy :)

    Stephen Hawking's presence was a great idea. Can he be a recurring guest? I'd really like to see him join in with the riffing, instead of awkwardly waltzing around the stage while everyone stares at him. I really think that some story line needs to be added, to give purpose to the silhouette characters. The story line certainly should be something that would allow for frequent celebrity appearances. If you're able to hire another cast member (outsiders aren't all bad), you should definitely find one with impression skills.

    I'm very excited that you and the others are back at it again. It's clear that you have a number of updated production techniques in the first episode, and the imagination that made the original MST3k great is still there. I doubt that enough people will fork over money on a regular basis to keep it going (unless you can find a way to talk fans into getting some kind of subscription package), but I think that the concept of riffing off of B-movies is sure money-maker, if only done correctly. I'm quite excited about what you (and the rest of the crew) is able to produce. :)

  • Just a nice fun Saturday morning show. Brilliant, Genius, but just local.
  • I can't find a way to purchase the CT disc from Australia - the only link I could find on their site refuses to sell it to me. Oh well, I guess it's Bittorrent until they deign me worthy enough to give them my money.

1 Sagan = Billions & Billions

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