INTERVIEW WITH SHARON PAPA
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
exactly does your job entail as producer of the Farscape
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
Sharon Papa: The first volume of Season Two will hit store shelves on June
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
Karlsweb: What will you have as extras for the Season
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
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!