Baseball Toaster Screen Jam
Office Cyberspace
2007-01-26 14:54
by Jon Weisman

I interviewed pleasant, down-to-earth executive producer Greg Daniels of The Office this week for Variety about how the online producer's cut of the show affects his approach to editing, and whether it poses any continuity problems for the series. Here's an excerpt:

"So Michael had a little chat with Corporate, and they decided to send me to management training. Anger-management training, technically, but still ... management material!"

Such was the revelation ending the Jan. 18 episode of "The Office," answering questions viewers may have had over the fate of Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) after he punched a hole in a Dunder-Mifflin wall.

But it's a revelation seen only by viewers watching the producer's cut of the episode online, and even days following its airing, "Office" showrunner Greg Daniels still wasn't sure how to address the next broadcast episode (scheduled for Feb. 1).

"I haven't locked the next episode, and we're debating whether we need to answer the question," Daniels said earlier this week. "It'd be the first time we said the online version is answering a question that the (on-air) viewer is curious to know about. ...

Eventually, the producer's cuts will be the versions sold on iTunes and time-capsuled for DVD posterity, meaning that the original version of the episode seen on broadcast won't go down in history as the de facto official version.

"Maybe, eventually, the online version will just be the true version, and the on-air version will be the promo for the online," Daniels said. "I do know that the show feels better with two or three more minutes." ...

Update: Jenna Fischer reports that Joss Whedon is directing a future Office episode.

2007-01-26 15:12:47
1.   bhsportsguy
Nice interview Jon, since I did not see the on-air version, its hard to imagine them not addressing Andy's disappearance but sometimes in a real "office," people do just disappear for a time.
2007-01-26 15:24:11
2.   trainwreck
As long as it is on DVD I do not mind. A lot of shows, most notably The Simpsons, edit their shows a lot for time constraints when they are syndicated, so I am used to seeing longer episodes on DVD.

Am I the only person not apart of the IPod universe?

2007-01-26 15:29:17
3.   Bob Timmermann
Go answer your door. Steve Jobs is there.
2007-01-26 15:39:38
4.   Jon Weisman
2 - Not at all.
2007-01-26 15:56:33
5.   overkill94
2 I have an mp3 player, but it's not an iPod. Since I only use it when I work out, I don't need any special features or even more than an hour's worth of music at a time. Plus, I loathe everything Apple-related (except you Bob).
2007-01-26 16:00:44
6.   trainwreck
Same here. I got the Dell Pocket DJ because it was so much cheaper.
2007-01-26 17:25:32
7.   dzzrtRatt
Perfect time for me to talk about one of my pet peeves: The fact that iPod has seduced so many people with clever marketing to ignore the fact that there is a much better option out there -- music subscription services like Rhapsody (which I love), Yahoo! and Napster. Pay a fee every month of about $15, and you can listen to all of, not snippets from, hundreds of thousands of music cuts -- and put most of those songs on your mp3 player, where they will stay unless you don't connect the player to the service every so often.

Thanks to Rhapsody, I don't own at least half of the 1400 tracks on my mp3 player, and can add new stuff at will. If you want to burn music onto a CD, then you can buy each track for an additional 79 cents. The selection, from all I can tell, competitive with iTunes'. It's an open system, pretty much. Why oh why is Apple the preferred choice? It offers less for more.

Video iPods don't tempt me. The screen is too little! It sounds like a weird idea -- the sound is vivid, the picture is tiny. It's like having extremely good hearing and bad eyesight.

2007-01-26 18:03:26
8.   bhsportsguy
7 If I was the RIAA....

But hey, the other thing is that if something like that is working for you, don't tell the whole world, someone is bound to let the right person know and shut it down.

2007-01-26 18:24:15
9.   Andrew Shimmin
Apple did it because a) they could get away with it and b) it locks customers in for life. So, it's (at least in part) engineered market dominance. Sony's attempt at enforced brand loyalty has failed spectacularly, so, that's something, at least.

Rhapsody/Yahoo!/Napster (Play4Sure) aren't really an open system. They're just Microsoft's marginally more flexible, marginally more inclined to catastrophe, much less likely to survive the year, version of DRM. Apple can't throw its old customers under the bus, since that's such an important part of why they're in the catbird seat. Microsoft can, and, maybe, already has. The Zune isn't Play4Sure compatible.

2007-01-26 20:18:26
10.   dzzrtRatt
Rhapsody is a completely legal, above-board company as far as I know. It's owned by Real Media...who owns them?

And I don't think the comparison with Zune is apt. Rhapsody is the program I know best (never tried Napster, found Yahoo! too buggy), and it supports, I don't know, hundreds of mp3 players, plus the iPod. Plus, unlike iTunes, when I buy a song on Rhapsody, I own it, I can copy it endlessly onto endless CDs. Rhapsody isn't perfect, but it's close enough to nirvana for this voracious and demanding music fan. If you saw all the obscure music I can carry around on my player without having to buy it, you'd realize what kind of paces I put this thing through.

2007-01-26 20:57:06
11.   Andrew Shimmin
I had a Napster account for a while. I liked it very much, but the problem is whether it'll be supported, in the longterm. If Microsoft's own digital media player won't work with the format (which they created), it's not impossible that the format will die. I don't know how likely (I don't follow it closely enough to really know anything about this), but it stands to reason. It's possible your mp3 player will be firmware upgradeable to work with the new standard (and that the upgrade won't bork the music you have; though, with a subscription service, that'd just be a problem of re-downloading), and the next standard, but it ain't necessarily so.

I think.

2007-01-26 21:12:15
12.   Jon Weisman
Not to divert the diversion, but just updated with the news that Joss Whedon is directing a future Office episode.

Future Office. That sounds like a cool show.

2007-01-26 21:14:55
13.   dzzrtRatt
Office should become an international franchise. I would watch "The Office: Japan," "The Office: Bombay" or "The Office: Dubai," wouldn't you? It could be a form of cultural exchange.

This guy Gervais is going to own the planet.

2007-01-26 21:17:03
14.   Jon Weisman
I think that has already been happening, actually. But I'm already falling in love with the idea of a time-traveling Office.
2007-01-26 21:20:30
15.   Voxter
1. Jealous! (You got to meet Greg Daniels.)

2. Stoked! (Joss Whedon is directing an episode of "The Office". Sub-points on this front: [A] I had already heard a rumour about this, but was glad to have confirmation. [B] I wonder how much Mr Whedon directing an episode is really going to mean anything. It's already got a well-established visual language, and I'm sure he's not writing the episode; Whedon's strengths are writing and, well, artsy-fartsy direction.)

2007-01-26 21:27:00
16.   Jon Weisman
15 - 1. It was on the phone, but it was still cool.

2. I agree, but he can't hurt :) In fact, I don't really care if he has any noticeable impact - the pairing alone just tickles me.

2007-01-26 21:34:41
17.   dzzrtRatt
14 Will we need paper in the future?

The guy who should direct an episode of the Office is David Mamet.

2007-01-26 21:40:02
18.   Voxter
13 - I had a dream the other night that I was directing a Canadian version of "The Office". (I understand that there's already a Quebequois version, but mine was in English.) I bribed Creed, Meredith, & Pam to be on it. Martin Freeman (Tim Canterbury on the BBC version & Arthur Dent in the "Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy" movie) agreed to play the Dwight character. Out of neccessity, I had to play the Jim character, whose name was Isaac.

It was the biggest hit in the history of television. And then I woke up. Sigh.

2007-01-26 21:40:25
19.   Jon Weisman
Always. Be. Closing. Dwight.
2007-01-26 21:40:53
20.   Voxter
16 - Still jealous!

And the pairing is definitely ticklesome.

2007-01-26 21:41:32
21.   Jon Weisman
18 - The lead story at Variety right now is a review of Martin Freeman's latest movie. Some decent-looking actress is also in it.
2007-01-26 21:41:36
22.   Voxter
17 - That would be the most terrifying episode of "The Office" ever.
2007-01-26 21:42:00
23.   Jon Weisman
Oh, and you should have gotten Ted Lange to play Issac.
2007-01-26 21:47:50
24.   Voxter
21 - Between Martin Freeman & Simon Pegg, I was already hotly anticipating it. But with that rather attractive actress (gosh, what is her name?), I think it's gotta be a lock.

On a mildy related note (Simon Pegg front), have you heard anything about "Hot Fuzz"? I'm pretty excited. Here's a trailer:

I, personally, am full-on amped.

2007-01-26 21:49:22
25.   Voxter
23 - Snerk.
2007-01-27 09:03:37
26.   Greg Brock
David Mamet directing The Office...I love it!

Michael: Put that coffee down
Ryan: I'm getting a cup of coffee

First prize is a date with Pam.
Second prize is a pretzel with the works.
Third prize is YOUR FIRED!

2007-01-27 09:05:23
27.   Greg Brock
Sigh. "You're" fired. You'd think the four cups of java would fix the spelling this early in the morn.
2007-01-27 09:39:59
28.   Bob Timmermann
"Here, Schrute, here are some leads for you."

"Patel? Patel?!"

2007-01-27 10:14:51
29.   Greg Brock
Gestapo tactics!
2007-01-29 00:41:50
30.   bhsportsguy
Per Angela's blog - J.J. Abrahms is directing the episode they are filming this week.

Maybe another visit to the beet farm.

2007-02-12 12:24:35
31.   milotoast
Mamet Does the Office:

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