God Bless Broadcast Standards and Practices!

Christopher Glennon

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maxnugget said:
Broadcast Standards & Practices isn't a government entity. It's the name of the department that decides what's "too hot for TV" at a network. Every network has one. Needless to say they're not governed by the 1st or 10th amendments, nor should they be.

The more direct question is with regard to the FCC. BS&P restricts content based on what they think is appropriate for their network (such as in cartoons, etc) but they also restrict content based on what they think the FCC is likely to slap the network with fines for (which is itself a controversial topic, because the FCC is so inconsistent, unpredictable, and discriminatory about what fines they levy and how big those fines are, that even the BS&P deps. seem to fail at accurately predicting what they can and can't get away with without the FCC fining them). Hence, if there was no FCC fines for "bad" content, BS&P would restrict content only based on PR goals. So, BTAS would presumably be unaffected, but, say, Spike TV's WWF shows and much of their other programming, would probably approach HBO levels in terms of sex, violence, and language, since they believe their target audience wants those things, and because they're decidely not trying to court the soccer moms.

It's certainly fair to say that the FCC fining networks for "bad" content amounts to a form of censorship. And there's very obvious problems in defining what's "bad," since, for example, Californians may have a very different view on that subject than, say, people in Utah. However it's also fair to take the opposite point of view, and say that the FCC, by not enforcing regulation of content, amounts to the taxpayers funding a government agency that's allowing content they disagree with to be aired. Then again, you can't please everyone, and you could just as easily say some taxpayers would object to funding a government agency that's censoring speech that they don't want censored. There will never be any kind of speech that 100% of people want censored (by definition: if someone's trying to put out certain content, they're obviously not part of that 100% majority). And if 100% of people don't want it censored (or even if they do), the FCC should not be censoring it.
Thanks for clearing that up. It's crazy what we have to do to make sure we don't step on anyone's toes.
 

shany94a

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There's also "Batman: The Complete History" by Les Daniels, published in 1999 and reprinted in paperback in 2004.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/t...f=sr_1_6/103-0829194-2655857?v=glance&s=books

Towards the end of the book there's an eight-page Bruce Timm story called "Two of a Kind" that is definitely an adult tale, despite the classic Timm cartoon look. (I think it originally appeared in "Batman: Black and White".) BS&P would scream bloody murder if they ever tried to make an episode out of this one, even though it's a good story ...

And not that a lot of people here care for "The Batman", but getting back to the original topic, as far as the censors are concerned, I don't think you ever see Batman connecting with a punch to somebody's face on this show - there's a flash of white light and then you see the aftermath.
 

b.t.

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another instance of bs&p accidentally "improving" a show:

in "over the edge", barb's impact onto gordon's car was originally staged OUTSIDE the car, with the camera aimed at the FRONT of the windshield (basically the exact reverse angle of the finished shot), with barb landing hard on the hood in the immediate foreground....it WAS kinda shocking and violent-looking, and bs&p wanted us to tone it down....so i suggested shooting the scene from the "backseat" of the car, and they went for it....now, the minute i re-drew the shot, i knew it was probably TWENTY TIMES more horrifying than the original staging, but i sure as hell didn't tell THEM that! that scene STILL makes me jump, whenever i see it...

ah, good times... :D
 

maxnugget

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b.t. said:
another instance of bs&p accidentally "improving" a show:

in "over the edge", barb's impact onto gordon's car was originally staged OUTSIDE the car, with the camera aimed at the FRONT of the windshield (basically the exact reverse angle of the finished shot), with barb landing hard on the hood in the immediate foreground....it WAS kinda shocking and violent-looking, and bs&p wanted us to tone it down....so i suggested shooting the scene from the "backseat" of the car, and they went for it....now, the minute i re-drew the shot, i knew it was probably TWENTY TIMES more horrifying than the original staging, but i sure as hell didn't tell THEM that! that scene STILL makes me jump, whenever i see it...

ah, good times... :D
Sneaky. :anime: From all the stories, the BS&P process seems similar to that of the newspaper I used to work at:

1) I submit the story to my editor
2) They mark things that they want changed/fixed/deleted.
3) I fix the things they marked, with "fix" being subject to my interpretation. In fact sometimes "fix" means leaving something exactly the way it was. :)
4) Unless there's something they're really really concerned about, I'm not required to re-submit it to them after making the changes (!!!) -- the revised article goes right up the chain to the next editor, eventually going to press once it gets looked at by the editor-in-chief. Essentially, if I didn't do something an editor requested, they'd never know (until they pick up the print issue the next day) because they don't get to see it again once they hand it back to me.

This was a great system, because I usually disagreed with what the higher-up editors requested. And because this process had to be repeated for each level up the editor chain-of-command, I often ignored an editor's requests if I thought the requests were stupid or if I knew the higher-up editor was going to do a 180 and disagree with the requests (often the case). Most of the editors didn't really care about the articles or even the changes they requested, they just like throwing their weight around and feel dumb if they send back an article with no comments or corrections, and many of the editors were just plain dumb and requested changes because they were too dumb to understand the subject matter of the article. (in case it's not obvious, I didn't really have a lot of respect for the editors above me)

Anyway, this "loophole" of not having to go back to the editor was like a breath of fresh air, allowing me to essentially ignore almost all editor requests I disagreed with, saving my own articles from being butchered and enabling me to protect the articles of the editors and writers below me (especially the writers, who lose control of their articles once they turn them in and usually don't see them until they're published).

Of course, the other favorite tactic to use against the higher-ranked editors is the filibuster technique: Argue/stall/delay changing your article (or take a dinner break ;)) until it's 2am and everyone wants to go home but can't because your "in question" article is holding up production. Chances are they will ditch their ego trip and approve your article "as is" rather than sticking around and arguing with you over whatever changes they wanted.

So b.t., it sounds like BS&P works the same way to an extent. You'd think they would ask to see your revised storyboards. :)
 
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Fone Bone

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b.t. said:
another instance of bs&p accidentally "improving" a show:

in "over the edge", barb's impact onto gordon's car was originally staged OUTSIDE the car, with the camera aimed at the FRONT of the windshield (basically the exact reverse angle of the finished shot), with barb landing hard on the hood in the immediate foreground....it WAS kinda shocking and violent-looking, and bs&p wanted us to tone it down....so i suggested shooting the scene from the "backseat" of the car, and they went for it....now, the minute i re-drew the shot, i knew it was probably TWENTY TIMES more horrifying than the original staging, but i sure as hell didn't tell THEM that! that scene STILL makes me jump, whenever i see it...

ah, good times... :D
Wow, that's pretty cool.

Sorry for saying you looked like a geek and a punk back in the day. With the cartoons you put out you could have dressed in a gorilla costume for all I care.
 

Alex Weitzman

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maxnugget said:
From all the stories, the BS&P process seems similar to that of the newspaper I used to work at:

1) I submit the story to my editor
2) They mark things that they want changed/fixed/deleted.
3) I fix the things they marked, with "fix" being subject to my interpretation. In fact sometimes "fix" means leaving something exactly the way it was. :)
4) Unless there's something they're really really concerned about, I'm not required to re-submit it to them after making the changes (!!!) -- the revised article goes right up the chain to the next editor, eventually going to press once it gets looked at by the editor-in-chief. Essentially, if I didn't do something an editor requested, they'd never know (until they pick up the print issue the next day) because they don't get to see it again once they hand it back to me.
Seems to corroborate what they say in Shattered Glass.

Damn good movie, by the way.
 

b.t.

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maxnugget said:
You'd think they would ask to see your revised storyboards. :)

oh, they DO, always....in the "over the edge" case, they just didn't realise the impact would be worse....all they saw was that barb's figure was smaller and further away from the camera, thus seemingly a "softer" shot...they didn't take into account that putting the camera in the back seat makes the shot much more "real" (we've all seen things from that vantage point, whereas how many of us have driven around on the hood of a car?), not to mention the fact that we're seeing gordon's daughter smash into the hood of his car practically from his own point of view....oh, it's EVIL...sometimes we get lucky...
 

Phantasm

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b.t. said:
oh, they DO, always....in the "over the edge" case, they just didn't realise the impact would be worse....all they saw was that barb's figure was smaller and further away from the camera, thus seemingly a "softer" shot...they didn't take into account that putting the camera in the back seat makes the shot much more "real" (we've all seen things from that vantage point, whereas how many of us have driven around on the hood of a car?), not to mention the fact that we're seeing gordon's daughter smash into the hood of his car practically from his own point of view....oh, it's EVIL...sometimes we get lucky...
That was one beautiful scene...eh...yeah immensley disturbing too...
 

Beyond Batman

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b.t. said:
oh, they DO, always....in the "over the edge" case, they just didn't realise the impact would be worse....all they saw was that barb's figure was smaller and further away from the camera, thus seemingly a "softer" shot...they didn't take into account that putting the camera in the back seat makes the shot much more "real" (we've all seen things from that vantage point, whereas how many of us have driven around on the hood of a car?), not to mention the fact that we're seeing gordon's daughter smash into the hood of his car practically from his own point of view....oh, it's EVIL...sometimes we get lucky...
Over the Edge tops my list of favorite TNBAS episodes. I've always been a fan of "What If" and "Elseworld" type stories... it seems to give more flexability with creativity. Maybe that's why I was a big fan of Batman Beyond. :)
 

Maxie Zeus

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Fone Bone said:
I'm a soft cover guy. I love them because they don't make me broke. Is the book still in print? Would I be able to find it in my local comic book shop? (Amazon ain't friendly to money orders.)

Just be aware that the softcover edition falls out of its cover pretty easily. "Cheaper" has more than one meaning, you know ;)

b.t. said:
another instance of bs&p accidentally "improving" a show

Heh! :evil:
 

Harley Quinn

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Alex, I'm in love with your Avatar.

And damnit. I'm going to get b.t.'s attention sooner or later, mark my words . . . *shakes fist in his general direction*
 

Peter Paltridge

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Does Bruce say in the book (or can he say here) how he got the BS&P to approve Harley crashing through the window in Mad Love? For some reason, they allowed it that one time and I don't know why. By the way, Hamton crashed through a window on Tiny Toons...it was in the opener for the episode the three teenagers wrote.

This window business is completely hypocritical as well, because in EVERY ACTION MOVIE AND TV SHOW, someone crashes through or punches through a window without a scratch on them. I've seen it hundreds of times, and never heard of a kid stupid enough to try it himself.
 

Michael24

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Haha!! I've also still got that old issue of "Wild Cartoon Kingdom," and I love that picture in BATMAN: ANIMATED that shows violations of all the rules. lol!! In fact, I bought the book in 1998 when I show Kevin Conroy at his very first public appearance, and he signed a page in the book. (A picture of the final shot from B:TAS's opening sequence. :) )
 

Fone Bone

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Maxie Zeus said:
Just be aware that the softcover edition falls out of its cover pretty easily. "Cheaper" has more than one meaning, you know ;)
I can just leave the cover off whenever I read it. I'm flexible.
 

Maxie Zeus

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Martianinvader said:
Does Bruce say in the book (or can he say here) how he got the BS&P to approve Harley crashing through the window in Mad Love? For some reason, they allowed it that one time and I don't know why.

The picture illustrated FoxKids no-nos, I believe, but "Mad Love" was made after the show moved to Kids WB. That network had a more relaxed attitude about a lot of things, if I correctly remember what Batman Animated said. For instance, that's why they were able to bring in Tim Drake--fewer qualms about endangering kids.

Fone Bone said:
I can just leave the cover off whenever I read it. I'm flexible.

Okay. Just wanted you know what you're in for. :)
 

Fone Bone

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Maxie Zeus said:
The picture illustrated FoxKids no-nos, I believe, but "Mad Love" was made after the show moved to Kids WB. That network had a more relaxed attitude about a lot of things, if I correctly remember what Batman Animated said. For instance, that's why they were able to bring in Tim Drake--fewer qualms about endangering kids.
One thing to remember. Batman cracked the blimp's glass in On Leather Wings. Man-Bat and him also crashed through some glass in that episode. I guess it was a one-time deal.
 

Maxie Zeus

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Fone Bone said:
One thing to remember. Batman cracked the blimp's glass in On Leather Wings. Man-Bat and him also crashed through some glass in that episode. I guess it was a one-time deal.

I think cracking glass isn't quite the same as breaking through it. But you're right about the other. I don't recall that bit in "On Leather Wings" specifically, but I do know that I was watching a BTAS ep not long ago and saw some shattered glass and sat up thinking, "Wait, I thought that was a Fox no-no!"

Huh. Maybe we could stand to hear from b.t. on the issue. ;)
 
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Maxie Zeus said:
I do know that I was watching a BTAS ep not long ago and saw some shattered glass and sat up thinking, "Wait, I thought that was a Fox no-no!"
If You're So Smart Why Aren't You Rich has Batman and Robin breaking through a skylight.

I like reading this interesting factoid that Mr. Timm posts. I hope he puts up more. I like seeing what the thought process was behind these alterations the standards demanded.
 
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