The movie was written by writer/director Joss, Zack, Jed Whedon and his wife. The four of them wrote the musical during the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike. Their idea was to create something small and inexpensive, yet professionally done, in a way that would circumvent the issues that were being protested during the strike. Upon its creation the film was released in short webisodes and was then made available in its entirety as a 42 minute film.
Joss Whedon summed up the story as “It’s the story of a low-rent supervillain (Neil Patrick Harris as Dr. Horrible), the hero who keeps beating him up (Nathan Fillion as Captain Hammer), and the cute girl from the laundromat he’s too shy to talk to (Felicia Day as Penny).” A simple enough concept yes, but its the execution that made this little web series that would lauded by critics.
42 minutes shot in 6 days. Quite an amazing feat considering the quality of the finished work. Obviously there are notable actors and seasoned professionals working behind the scenes that legitimise the end result but never the less it is a great example of what can be achieved through the medium of film when the right amount of planning and preparation is implemented.
Although I have filmed some videos of my own and videos for internships I’ve never had the sole responsibility of being the director of photography for a film. This both excites me and frightens me mainly because filming in this sort of context is in someways largely unfamiliar. I actually like that I have some fear in regards to the role I’ve been assigned mainly because whenever I feel anxious about something this usually works as a catalyst for me to become proactive and to take whatever means necessary in order to extinguishing this anxiety replacing it with confidence. This is one of the reasons why I chose Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.
The whole essence of the short film feels very DIY and in someways possesses components of student films. Despite these characteristics, the execution of the film i.e. the way the stories told, the visual and the performances of the actors are all done so effectively that any shortcomings that are apparent whether it be due to budget or time constraints, don’t hinder the end result. This is not to say that one should be lenient and easy going when approaching such things as a shot set up etc but short films such as this are encouraging for filmmakers (not that I consider myself one, but I hope to be one in the future) because it showcases that even though you may not think everything is perfect from a technical point of view, that people can still respond to positively to the end result.
As I mentioned earlier I do not have a great amount of experience as a cameraman so a short film like Dr Horrible is comforting to me because even though a shot may not exactly turn out how I intended it to be, this necessarily isn’t a bad thing because if the finished product is truly great then shortcomings such as lens flare in a shot are irrelevant.