Archive for September, 2009

You like monkeys, you like Guildies, maybe you don’t like poxes so much…

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

<br /><a href="http://video.msn.com/video.aspx?mkt=en-US&amp;vid=d492d422-9f08-481f-a6c7-e0f096cf614e" target="_new" title="Season 3 - Episode 5: Application&#39;d">Video: Season 3 &#8211; Episode 5: Application&#39;d</a>

Not a whole lot to say about this episode, except congratulations to the applicants! Also, note the two references to other web shows involving the cast–Sandeep’s Legend of Neil t-shirt, and Riley shouting “Bad Horse”, a line which was Michelle’s idea.

Also, everybody be sure to check your local FYE/Suncoast/Coconuts to see if they have the retail DVD of The Guild Seasons One and Two, which came out today! Sadly, my own local FYE did not have it, although the clerks working were fans of the show.

Speaking of Guild-related stuff you can buy, Paul Sabourin (of Paul and Storm) happened to be wearing a Guild T-shirt at the Jonathan Coulton/Paul and Storm concert at Toad’s Place in New Haven on Friday.

Okay, a slightly awkward segue, but what do you expect from me?

The concert, naturally, was fantastic. We were at a table in the very front row, and Paul serenaded our friend Grace during the second verse of “Frogger”. It was my first time actually at a concert of JoCo’s or Paul and Storm’s (if you don’t count the Whiffenpoof Centennial in January where JoCo performed three songs), although I was familiar with a lot of the traditional set through YouTube, various bootlegs, the DVD, etc. Of course, it’s all the better when you’re actually in the middle of it, seeing the technical difficulties and hearing the accompanying adlibs in person.

I noticed people videotaping (and Lizzy recorded a few of the songs), but so far the only video from the show I’ve found is the following from “I’m Your Moon” (aka the SWEETEST SONG EVER WRITTEN IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND), including a special greeting from Jonathan that was originally from famous “NewsRadio” guest star Chuck D.

After the show, I got the three performers to sign my copy of the “Best. Concert. Ever.” DVD. It was my second time meeting Coulton, but my first meeting Paul and Storm. They, like each of the countless other geek celebrities I’ve met in the last few years, were very nice guys. Paul said he liked my RiffTrax shirt, and I said I liked his Guild shirt.

The signed DVD. I particularly enjoyed Storm’s signature, half on the disc and half on the case, which is revealed when the CD is lined up correctly, like a copy protection wheel for an old computer game. He gave an extra signature completely on the case as a bonus.

Naturally, Coulton sang a lot of songs about monkeys. And a new chapter of “Tales of Monkey Island” came out today. In related news, I’m looking for an intern to write better topic transitions for me.

“Tales of Monkey Island” just keeps getting better and better. This latest chapter features the humor, story developments, and quotability we’ve come to expect. Additionally, it has fun new puzzles such as the Face Off, which is like Insult Swordfighting without the tedium (and without the quotability, but you can’t have everything), and the Tarot Cards, which is elegant in its simplicity. Plus, Murray riffs the end credits!

Sadly, I couldn’t get the chapter to work in Crossover for the Mac, so I had to pull out…*sigh*…the old Dell craptop. Desperate times, and all that. It was worth it.

All in all, it’s been a delightfully geeky couple of days. I’m going to go write a song about a fictional group of adventure game players now.

“Oh, I didn’t react to that one!”

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009


<a href="http://video.msn.com/?mkt=en-US&amp;from=sp&amp;vid=2db36212-baaf-4fe6-9cc5-cdefe4b27f40" target="_new" title="Season 3 - Episode 4: Get it back!">Video: Season 3 &#8211; Episode 4: Get it back!</a>

The Guild Season Three Episode Four: “Get It Back!” is here! And I talk about it here:

* The living room where Clara and George are fighting is Felicia’s.
* Vork at the drive-thru is one of my favorite scenes in the whole season. We filmed it at one of the many parking lots at the large high school in the Pasadena area where we spent a long, hot day shooting. The drive-thru menu itself was a surprisingly hilarious prop. It had pictures of not-particularly-appetizing-looking combos, each with the sandwich item in the foreground, and fries and a drink in the background. One of the combos is a Fish and Chips combo, which has a cardboard tray with fried fish and french fries in the foreground…and an ADDITIONAL fries and a drink in the background. We referred to it as the “Fish and Chips…AND Chips” combo. We also noticed that the fish and chips listed on the NON-combo part of the menu were a dollar more…so clearly the extra chips are SO bad that they’ll give you money back if you order them. The most peculiar thing about the menu prop, though, is that it had a tag saying it had previously been rented for an episode of Firefly. We were all scratching our heads trying to figure out when it was used, before deciding that it was either heavily disguised in the background, or it was a tag from a different prop shoved in by mistake. We joked about asking Felicia to call Joss and ask, but decided against it. Although it DID happen to be Joss’s birthday, so we would’ve had a good conversation starter.
* Fawkes’ computer room is the den/office in the back of Felicia’s house. Venom’s computer is actually the same room as Tink’s, also in Felicia’s house. Bruiser’s was in the back room in the same apartment as Riley’s. Oh, and did I mention this was an apartment complex for missionaries? And we were filming this on a Sunday night as many of them were getting back from long days at church? And that the profanity carried further than we thought it would? Felicia went door to door apologizing for the strong language afterward.
* Yes, FinnSmulders.com is very real.

Also, there’s a blooper reel here!



<br /><a href="http://video.msn.com/video.aspx?mkt=en-US&amp;vid=2408c4d7-0526-464d-bb55-aee3c0543077" target="_new" title="Season 3 - Gag Reel: Episodes 1-4">Video: Season 3 &#8211; Gag Reel: Episodes 1-4</a>

You’ll recognize some of the stories I mentioned earlier, plus one I forgot: the power kept going out at Kim’s house, and we had to reset the breakers. We guessed this was because we were steaming the clothes in the back, but I don’t remember if that was actually the cause or not. But needles to say, it slowed things down a touch.

“Something about your mama?”

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009



<br /><a href="http://video.msn.com/video.aspx?mkt=en-US&amp;vid=80a029bc-7a7a-4f6e-b63c-8c4e73975e20" target="_new" title="Season 3 - Episode 3: Player Down">Video: Season 3 &#8211; Episode 3: Player Down</a>

The Guild Season Three Episode Three: “Player Down” is now live, as are my pointless thoughts below:

* For the curious, Codex’s room is in Kim’s house, Zaboo’s room (technically Riley’s room) is at the same apartment complex the exteriors are shot at, Clara’s room is in Felicia’s house, and Bladezz’ room is Felicia’s garage.
* As I recall, there was only one “Spires of Dragonor” prop box, the same used in each computer room shoot. The magic of filmmaking!
* Bladezz’ sister Dena is played by Vince’s actual sister Tara. I didn’t really get to meet her, as she wasn’t on set very often, but like everybody else involved in the show, she’s pretty funny.
* Ah, the Vorkmobile. Mere video does not do justice to the majesty of this vehicle; you really have to see it in person. Tyler outdid himself with that one. You should get more clear looks at it over the course of the season, but just know that it is filled with the most bizarre and…well, Vork-like assortment of stuff imaginable.

So…now what?

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

As you may know, I recently graduated from college, after which I was in an internship program in LA for a couple of months. Because the internship was for class credit, I didn’t technically “graduate” at my graduation. I walked across the stage and got a handshake as my name was slightly mispronounced, with the promise that my diploma would be mailed to me at the completion of said internship program.

In the two months or so that followed the internship program, I received no diploma. Every time I got a package from the college, opening it only revealed a little pipsqueak with a mushroom for a head, who said, “Thank you, David, but your diploma is in another envelope!”

However, all that changed yesterday, when I found a package from the school labeled “do not bend” haphazardly crammed into our mailbox. I pulled it out, opened it, and sure enough, there was a piece of paper that stated the following in the most pretentious font imaginable:

“Be it known that the Faculty of Messiah College
authorized by the Board of Trustees confers upon
David G. Ganssle
the degree of
Bachelor of Arts
with all the rights, privileges, and honors appertaining to that degree.
Given in Grantham, Pennsylvania,
the 31st day of August in the year of our Lord two thousand and nine.”

First of all, I like the “be it known that the Faculty” part. “It’s the Faculty’s fault this kid got through! Blame them!”

Second of all, the diploma isn’t clear on exactly which “rights, privileges, and honors” appertain to said degree, but I have my own ideas of what I deserve now that I’m graduated:

1. Shorter lines at Burger King

2. A visit from Ron Gilbert, who will reveal to me the secret of Monkey Island (on a side note, Gilbert has often stated that the two main inspirations for the Monkey Island games were the POTC ride and the book “On Stranger Tides”. Now, Disney just announced that the next POTC movie will be based on said book. COINCIDENCE? Well, maybe. BUT MAYBE NOT!)

3. My own private Kentucky, because somebody else already claimed Idaho

4. A lifetime supply of fried shrimp

5. A secure career with flexible hours and job benefits

As you can see, I don’t have many demands, but the ones that I have are very specific, some may say impossible. But I have a piece of paper with my name and the school president’s signature now, and if these simple rights, privileges, and honors are not among the ones appertaining to said degree…then I may have just wasted four years and thousands of dollars. Crap.

“That was…hurtful but accurate.”

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009



<br /><a href="http://video.msn.com/video.aspx?mkt=en-US&amp;vid=bdab0fe5-ecc7-4f5e-a946-feefa45d531b" target="_new" title="Season 3 - Episode 2: Anarchy!">Video: Season 3 &#8211; Episode 2: Anarchy!</a>

The Guild Season Three Episode Two: “Anarchy!” is now live! A few disjointed (some might say anarchic) thoughts…

* That’s Best Boy Grip Extraordinaire Noah Flippo as the Game Stop Manager. You can imagine the mockery one receives from the rest of the G&E Crew when they’re promoted to “talent”.
* The wide shot of the Guild dragging the tent to the back of the line was the very last shot of principal photography. We were chasing sunlight at that point, so the process went something like this: Sean yells action, Jeff drags tent, Sean yells cut, Tyler and Ethan run and drag the tent back to the front of the line as fast as humanly possible, maybe a VERY QUICK adjustment of the mirror boards, Sean yells action, etc. Several takes in five to ten minutes, and then we were wrapped.
* It’s true that Wil Wheaton gets angry…some-TIMES, and he plays quite an entertaining villain (his role only gets even better as the season goes on), but as I mentioned last week, he was seriously very gracious, friendly, and having a lot of fun. As were all the Axis of Anarchy-ers, at least the ones I had any interaction with.
* Seriously, everyone, this season’s awesomeness is only just beginning.

“Dumb humans!”

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

&amp;lt;br/&amp;gt;&amp;lt;a href=&quot;http://video.msn.com/video.aspx?mkt=en-US&amp;amp;vid=6f31eb66-4360-439a-ad62-f2bdf28f550e&quot; _fcksavedurl=&quot;http://video.msn.com/video.aspx?mkt=en-US&amp;amp;vid=6f31eb66-4360-439a-ad62-f2bdf28f550e&quot; target=&quot;_new&quot; title=&quot;Season 3 &#8211; Episode 1: Expansion Time&quot;&amp;gt;Video: Season 3 &#8211; Episode 1: Expansion Time&amp;lt;/a&amp;gt;

Now that the first episode of the season has gone wide, I can talk about it without spoiling people! So, without further ado, here’s some of my recollections from shooting The Guild S03E01: "Expansion Time".

* First off, everybody involved in production of this show is awesome. EVERYBODY. Felicia is very sweet and very hard working. All the cast members are extremely witty people, and much nicer than their characters indicate. The crew was very helpful and tolerant of my occasional beginner-itis, and they gave me both positive and negative feedback on my work.
* The "Codex Webcam" segments for the season were all shot on the first day of principal photography, which I wasn’t called in for. So I have no insight on the Felicia’s brain freeze.
* The GameStop scenes were all shot on the final two days of principal photography. This particular GameStop is near Anaheim, a little way down the road from Disneyland. Driving back to the freeway on the final day, I could see the fireworks from over the fence, which was nice since I missed them when I was actually AT the park this year.
* It was very, very, VERY hot those last two days. The inside of the GameStop, where (among other things, but most importantly) Craft Services was set up was air conditioned, but I would get used to it within two seconds and it started feeling like ordinary room temperature…until I stepped outside again.
* Side note: GameStop, especially when the demo for "Ghostbusters" is set up, is the second most distracting place you could possibly have a film crew wait. (More on the MOST distracting place later this season.)
* Yes, that is the lovely and talented Kim Evey, web producer extraordinaire, under layers of costuming and grungification as the homeless woman.
* Obviously I didn’t actually talk to Wil Wheaton all that much, since most of my fraternizing was with the crew and not the uber-celebrities, but from our limited interaction, he was quite friendly. It was clear he was having a lot of fun in the role. He also appears to be terrified of large bugs, as the outtake reel will probably demonstrate.
* It’s weird being credited as the electrician. It sounds so much more professional than I feel.

More thoughts as the season continues…