A Behind the Scenes Telling of the Halloween Dr. Horrible Screening in Los Angeles

This event was months in the planning, by the way. There are many, many legal hoops to jump through for an event like this. There are fees to pay, there are businesses to get sponsorship from, there are organizations that can waive their fees…and there are organizations that can’t. Whedonopolis works hard to be respected by the creators, producers, actors, directors, writers and their affiliations, so they feel comfortable dropping by, if they’re able (without being paid, in case you didn’t know) and visit all of us during a screening! Above all, we want to make sure that when we have a screening, that we have official permission to show the feature(s).

Yeah. Months.

Our resident graphic artist was doing some serious overtime, designing posters, designing programs, designing really cool ticket/receipts, designing the commemorative button, etc. Our liaisons were busy, busy, busy contacting as many different people as they could. Our legal department was making sure we never went ahead with anything until we got it right. We had gorgeous invitations sent out to the celebrities who attended…right on down to the Bad Horse Seal!

The screening was so much fun! We arrived early, to do some cursory setting up, but the last movie wouldn’t let out for a while. Some team members were able to grab a bite to eat (didn’t you love being so close to Canter’s?!), but some of us stayed to set up what we could and wait for others to arrive.

Okay, now I’m done with the editorial “we”.

I had gotten sick earlier that week, and even though I was feeling better, it was on this evening that my voice started to go. Let me tell you, though, there was no way I was going to miss this! As The Button Lady, I had managed to finish making all the buttons that Whedonopolis needed, and a few extra! Due to my mind-fog, I never took an inventory on the “extras” that I made, so if anyone wants to post here, which buttons they bought, and liked the most, we would really like that information for (drum roll, please) the next screening!

After I managed to get my buttons on my shirt, (with my friend Amy’s help),

 

I helped set up a little more and then went outside. If you’ve seen me before, you may know that I wear a full cape of buttons from various sci-fi shows when I go to conventions. I ask for donations to pay for my supplies. This time, Whedonopolis had already paid for all my supplies, and I only did all the work to make them. All the proceeds went back to Whedonopolis to be dispersed to PATH Ventures. We made over $200 just in buttons!!! Thank you all so much!

I also don’t normally have an entourage. There were 5+ people helping to show off the buttons! And everyone waiting in line was so generous!

 

I got to see a whole bunch of costumes while I was walking the line. I think next time we should have a costume contest (if time allows). What do you think?

Oh, and about the delay getting into the theatre. Most people who have blogged about this screening have mentioned the delay. The Whedonopolis team has spent time discussing how to communicate better and more effectively with people standing in line. This was our number one topic after everything was said and done. Every event will have bugs and hiccups, but we are making it our mission to communicate better in the future.

After we finished walking the line with the buttons (other staff members were walking the line with goody bags and drawing tickets…I barely noticed, I was so busy!) and people were being let in (finally! yes, we know! 😉 ) I made one last ditch effort to sell some more goody bags (I know you saw me!) and went into the theater.

The celebrity-factor of the screening was always very hush-hush, double-secret, close to the vest, if-I-tell-you-I’ll-have-to-kill-you. I was lucky enough to catch my ride with Whedonopolis’ Fearless Leader, so I got the skinny. But I tell you, I still had no idea who the heck was in that Luchador costume!

Felicia Day came up and took off her mask, said a few words and the screening began!

 Because I’m still a rather auxiliary member of Whedonopolis, I was actually able to sit down for a good portion of the screening(s). A friend of mine saved me a seat on the aisle, so I could go back and forth when necessary. Other members of Whedonopolis didn’t really get to sit much.

There was a bit of a scramble behind the scenes at this point. There were more celebrities who were supposed to have arrived, but hadn’t. Fearless Leader was making calm, quiet phone calls with questions. But even at this point, Joss was never, never expected to come. He has two small children and it’s Halloween. I know where my priority would be.

Two Whedon brothers (who were expected) walked in just as The Guild was ending. I tried to sell them a goody bag. HeHe. I gave it to them, of course.

The drawing numbers were read. And jeez, people. ;-P Cheer when you win something, next time! I swear, I’m gonna get up on stage and make you!!!!

I was asked to do a goody bag routine on stage during the break. And while I was thinking about it, I saw The Master walk in. Joss was not expected. Joss had regrettably said no. Joss wanted to, but couldn’t make it.

Aren’t you glad we were running late? HeHe!

I think if we had been running on schedule that he might not have finished with the kids in time to be there. Joss got there early enough to see the whole Dr. Horrible screening.

At this point I RAN to the stage to do the goody bag routine, because I knew that JOSS MIGHT SEE ME!!!

C’mon! Wouldn’t you?

And thank goodness for my friend Josh (who was our DVD author) who brought me that microphone, because, by then, my voice had HAD it!

Now, let’s talk about the goody bags.

The horse puppets were discussed early on (as an appropriate substitute for the perennial Mutant Enemy “GrrArrgh”), as were the glow sticks, bubbles, poppers and pixie sticks (because everyone needs sugar-even though I had a devil of a time getting into the darned thing!) The commemorative button was always going to exist, but we ended up putting them in the goody bags (instead of selling them separately) because during a Whedonopolis meeting, I mentioned…very humbly, I might add…that all my other buttons are so! freaking! cool! that it’s possible we might not sell very many of the commemorative buttons in the competitive market.

My ego always has to have a say.

And so, that’s why everyone who bought a goody bag got a free button!

The “This is his hair!” was also my idea! I’m so proud! There was the discussion about whether we should use real hair (eeewww!) or donations from Whedonopolis’ mascot, Kendra (a very shed-happy German Shepherd named for a Slayer) or even ask Nathan to go bald…for a good cause. But, Whedonopolis ultimately decided to go “wig”.

Our graphic artist, who was seriously overworked, also designed and printed all the dry-cleaning bills. I just love them! Please don’t tell her that they were green, on screen. She’s choosing not to recall that.

Of course there was a comic book from the very generous Golden Apple Comics. (No, really. VERY generous. I could tell you stories.) There was also a notepad from a sponsor whose name was sadly missing from all of our posters! Please treat the notepad well. That sponsor received no other credit.

So, now we come to it. A mere one week before the screening, the two most stubborn members of Whedonopolis had two phenomenal ideas! Shrubbery and curtains. They discussed how easy they would both be to make while socializing during a movie night at a friend’s house. I overheard this. Their conversation was like a Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney movie. “My dad has a barn, and my mom can make the curtains!” Ah! If it were only that simple!

I know these two members. These are two people that you don’t argue with. Tell them something is impossible, and they will hold on like a mongoose on a cobra. Since I didn’t want to be the cobra in that metaphor, I simply walked quietly away, hoping against hope that they would change their minds.

But no. That next day, (the Saturday before the event) all members of Whedonopolis were gathered to stuff goody bags. We were aiming for 300 finished goody bags. By the end of an eight-hour day, the last-minute shrubbery was done, but with two sewing machines at work, there were only 65 curtains done.

Yikes. 6 days left.

Fearless Leader came in and asked if we could just do one side of the curtain. Wouldn’t people be happy with that? No! came the answer. That’s not a curtain! That’s a flag! And the two members continued sewing.

Another member walked in. Lovely idea, she said. Could we save it for the next screening? she said. No! came the answer. We’ll finish it!

Two days later. The Tuesday before the screening. This is the last time that people have to meet up en masse before the screening. This was when I got sick. I couldn’t go.

I sent my last brainchild of an idea – the pennies for Penny – over to the meeting with my boyfriend. There was no way they could finish 200+ curtains in a few hours in the evening. Cutting. Gluing. Sewing. No way.

But, by golly, they did! I swear, if something is impossible, Whedonopolis…and especially these two wonderfully stubborn, determined members of Whedonopolis will get it done!

So, to those of you got bought those goody bags: Cherish those curtains. They were hard-fought and tough-going. When one of those members (the other was working in the lobby) saw you all waving your curtains at the screening, I swear, she almost cried.

Meanwhile, at the end of the screening…

I might have ridden with the Fearless Leader of Whedonopolis, but I had no idea that Alan Tudyk was going to be there! Or Jeff Lewis! Of course, when I saw someone in a glowy costume, standing up, making himself known to everyone in the theater…I knew it had to be Nathan. He’s such a ham!

 As an aside, Whedonopolis also needs to be able to guarantee safety for our celebrity visitors.


When Alan Tudyk was seated, we had an auxiliary member of Whedonopolis sit next to him as a buffer. But we didn’t tell her who she was sitting next to. When she found out, she was frozen stiff for the rest of the night.

So, when the guests took stage, the only question I hollered out to Joss was about the trick-or-treating. I don’t think my intention was noted, but my point had been to let people know that this man left his kids (I’m sure, after the events of the evening were over) to come visit with us.

 (Spoiler coming in next paragraph.)

When I saw Dr. Horrible screened at Comic-Con, I felt that the audience was rather staid. The audience knew Joss was there, and, I feel, was just a little intimidated to call things out to the screen. I just loved this screening, because the audience didn’t know that Joss was there. Near the end, when Penny dies, I purposefully called out, “Whedon! You B*****d!” People laughed. But I knew that Joss was there.

A few moments later, still during Penny’s death, someone near the front shouted, “Joss, you S**K!” People laughed even harder. THAT person did NOT know that Joss was there. Joss got to see honest enjoyment of his honest work.

That’s what I’m most proud of.

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Post Author: System Administrator