AN INTERVIEW WITH SHARON PAPA

Ms. Sharon Papa, who is the producer of the Farscape DVDs for ADV Films, was kind enough to answer a few questions for Karlsweb about the upcoming Season Two DVD releases in the USA. 

DVD USA 201Karlsweb: What exactly does your job entail as producer of the Farscape DVDs?

Sharon Papa: My involvement with the Farscape project began when ADV CEO, John Ledford, and I first viewed the series.  We immediately fell in love with it – so when the opportunity to produce and distribute the title on DVD arose, we quickly initiated negotiations with The Jim Henson Company.

Our enthusiasm and efforts paid off when we were able to conclude the agreement process in time to participate in the Farscape event hosted by Creation Entertainment in 1999. 

Now that we’ve obtained the home entertainment rights for Seasons 1-5, I am actively involved in developing content, overseeing design, securing approvals, authoring & encoding, and of course ensuring that the volumes are released on time and within budget.

Season One is complete. Through the expert coordination efforts of Janice Williams, commentary direction and writing by Steven Foster, and graphic design by Andy Orjuela and Erica Offutt – Season One volumes have all been released and thanks to the Farscape fans, they are performing quite well for our retailer customers. 

Currently, I am heading up the release of Season Two.  I’ve been developing extras content with Chip Schneider (who is also writing and editing), Janice Williams, (who is overseeing production) and our graphic designers -- Larry Koteff and Erica Offutt.  Everything is running smoothly – and the first volume will hit store shelves on June 25th. 

Karlsweb: How much control does Henson/Farscape have in the overall design and content of the DVDs?

Sharon Papa: ADV designs all the packaging, menus, and promotional materials in-house. We then submit the designs to Henson for final approval.  Among the people who review our materials are show Creator Rockne S. O’Bannon.  I also work closely with Henson on clearing the use of source materials and creating new materials which can be transformed into extra content for our DVDs.   

Karlsweb: Was there anything you wanted to include in the Season One volumes that never made it to the final product? If so, what and why was it excluded?

Sharon Papa: Not really. I feel that we do an exceptional job adding value to all of our DVD releases.  Of course we would love to be able to offer commentary on every single episode -- but given the demands of the cast’s shooting schedule and the number of episodes that were already shot – it’s just not possible.

I can’t tell you how grateful we are to the Farscape actors and production staff for the time they dedicated to recording the commentaries we have.  They truly went above and beyond their call of duty.  It was such a pleasure working everyone – especially Ben Browder & Claudia Black.

Speaking of Claudia Black, she is truly amazing.  You know how fabulous she is as Aeryn Sun – just wait until you HEAR her in one of her latest endeavors.  During her break from shooting Farscape, Claudia was immortalized on anime film in one of ADV’s hottest shows – “Steel Angel Kurumi”. Performing a voiceover which appears throughout the series, she provided the perfect mystical vocal presence.  I won’t tell you which character Claudia portrays – so you’ll have to check out the four-volume set!  The first DVD hit store shelves on May 21.  

Karlsweb: In the Season One set, there were a lot of scenes on the DVDs that never made it to the broadcast episodes. Will there be any extra footage in the Season Two sets?

Sharon Papa: Absolutely.  Season Two DVD extras will contain deleted scenes that were specifically restored by the Farscape production group in Australia for added value on the DVDs. 

Karlsweb: I’m curious about “Easter Eggs” (I’ll include a little description of them in the final text). I found two in the first set, did I miss any? And as a follow-up, are you going to include more of them in the future?

Sharon Papa: Easter eggs are all about the hunt. 

Karlsweb: What are your thoughts on region encoding? (Here again, I’ll include a little description.)

Sharon Papa: Region encoding is not an effective means to control piracy or the importation of goods from other territories.  Right now, it’s probably most effective here in the US -- as it is not common for a typical consumer to import foreign programming and use code free DVD players and multi-scan televisions. Of course there are US collectors who do – and in Europe, this equipment is easily available and quite prolific. I strongly advocate that consumers respect the rights of US distributors by purchasing product created for the US market and not import grey market goods. 

Karlsweb: Why are the DVDs in the USA so far behind the UK’s releases?

Sharon Papa: Our UK counterparts had already begun releasing Season One in the original PAL format before we were granted the exclusive USA home entertainment rights by Henson.  ADV did not receive all of the materials for Season One until April 2000 -- and by then the UK had already released the first few volumes of Season Two.  In addition to this initial delay – we took the time to add value to our release, including the production of commentaries and other extras for the American Farscape fans. 

Karlsweb: What goes into the making of a commentary for an episode?

 Sharon Papa: The majority of the responsibility rests on the shoulders of the commentators.  With Farscape, we are quite fortunate to be working with an articulate cast and production staff – which makes our job really easy.  We basically review the episodes several times (WOW I still can’t believe I actually get paid to watch Farscape!!!) and come up with a list of questions we think will reflect the interests of the fans.  These questions compliment what the commentators have to offer based on their experiences working on the particular episode as well as the show overall. 

 Karlsweb: Will you be having more commentaries for the Season Two releases? If you can tell me, who will be doing what?

Sharon Papa: There will definitely be more commentaries for Seasons Two and Three.  I will tell you that the first volume contains an insightful commentary on “Crackers Don’t Matter” featuring Claudia Black and Tony Tilse, the director.

Karlsweb: Will you be using the commentary by Rockne S. O’Bannon and David Kemper that was done for the Sci Fi Channel when they first showed Mind the Baby?

Sharon Papa: This piece was not available to us at the time the first volume, which included Mind the Baby, was produced.  If it does become available you may see it show up on a Best of Season Two special release set.

Karlsweb: When will you start to release the Season Two episodes? 

Sharon Papa: The first volume of Season Two will hit store shelves on June 25.  There will be a total of five volumes released with each volume containing four to five episodes plus extras on two DVD-9 discs packaged in a double Amaray style case.  Subsequent volumes are slated to be released every other month.    

Karlsweb: What will you have as extras for the Season Two releases? 

Sharon Papa: We’ve developed several unique extras for this release -- like the Alien Slang Dictionary which not only gives you definitions but also features a clip from the show where the term was used.  In addition, we have Commentaries, Deleted Scenes, Technical Terms, Weapons & Ships, Conceptual Artwork, Actor Bios, Character Backstory – and a whole lot more! 

Karlsweb: Are you a Farscape fan? 

Sharon Papa: Absolutely. I was a fan the moment I watched the first episode!  This series is undeniably fantastic and most deserving of all the Saturn Awards for which the show was nominated.  Rockne S. O’Bannon and Brian Henson are brilliant. They developed and produced Farscape with a fabulous cast and employ a superior production quality in every element of the show.   

Karlsweb: Is there anything that I should have asked and didn’t or is there anything you’d like to pass along to Karlsweb visitors?  

Sharon Papa: I would just like to add that we appreciate all the support we have received from Farscape fans in the US.  It’s a great honor for us to have the home entertainment distribution rights through Season Five. Keep on watching – we promise we won’t let you down!  

 

 

Farscape is owned by The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Entertainment, Nine Network (Australia) and the Sci-Fi Channel. No copyright infringement is intended and no financial gain has been made by any of the staff of this web site.