When I said I was actually going to get work done on projects, I never said blogging would always be one of them.
I’ve actually been quite busy since I last shared stories of playing a bunch of adventure games. Here’s the short version: I’m in Orlando now, with an apartment and a Florida driver’s license and everything, and I’ve been doing story development for Broken Phonebooth. (In fact, I’m posting this from my NEW WORK MACBOOK PRO.) It’s a lot of fun so far, and I’ll be doing more and more jobs for them as time goes on.
Also, for those of you who missed it, I uploaded a bunch of videos from another time I was very busy, long ago:
(Each episode will play in order, or you can click the guidebook icon to select a video.)
ALSO also, I highly suggest you all pick up season three of The Guild on DVD. And I’m not just saying that because the back of my head made it into about three seconds of BTS footage in the “Axis of Anarchy” bonus feature.
I don’t have any major insights about the making of this episode (other than “High five!” is one of my all-time favorite Sandeep adlibs), so just enjoy it. And enjoy the outtake reel.
Working on this show was one of the most fantastic experiences I’ve ever had. I can’t even begin to describe how much fun it was, even though, like any shoot, it had its tedious and exhausting moments. Still, I’m eternally grateful to the whole cast and crew for being so awesome, because I’ve worked on far less enjoyable sets before.
I have to especially thank the following people: Christian and Jenni for helping me find my way around the job; Jared, Noah, Greg, and the whole G&E crew for being so patient with my lighting-related incompetence; Denise for the snacks and soda and chatting during the slower parts of the shoot; and, of course, Sean, Kim, and Felicia for letting me be contribute to one of my favorite webshows in my small way.
It’s unlikely (but not impossible) that I’ll be able to make it back to LA to help again anytime soon, but speaking solely as a fan of the show…I can hardly wait to see the next season.
* Tyler tried out several different designs for the menu on the whiteboard before filming started. One included a menu item for fish and chips…and chips, and another included a sketch of a vaguely familiar-looking dragon named “Dagron the Stompinator”, with consumate Ms, beefy legs, and a little stick arm.
* I believe this episode marks the first time in the show’s run where we get a look–however small and out-of-focus–at the game itself.
* Riley shooting Zaboo’s laptop with the paintball gun is a simple effect, but I think it works really well. I actually forgot about that part when watching the episode for the first time and was slightly startled!
* You know how I’m always talking about how funny this show’s cast is? My favorite example of off-camera wit happened at this location, so I might as well share it now. Sandeep was talking about cell phone services, and mentioned Verizon. He pointed to the empty space behind him and say, “That’s my network. See, behind me? All those people and helicopters and shit?” I interjected with “I believe those are what we call hallucinations.” Sandeep looked behind him, looked at me, and said, “Really? Well, whatever you say, Giant Teddy Bear.”
* The opening gag with Vork appearing took some time to rehearse, to get all the movements synchronized. The first time, Jeff came in a little slowly, but the whip-pan to him sitting there still cracked us all up.
* Kim Evey provided on-set penguin squeaks for Zaboo’s video game.
* Charlie’s Internet Cafe was actually the Zune House, owned by Microsoft for parties and other events. It was full of all sorts of cool gadgets that we were no longer allowed to play with after the first day because they were way too distracting. We shot there for two days, the second of which saw me receiving my first-ever parking ticket.
* Toward the beginning of this season, I saw people online commenting that it felt like the focus of the show had shifted away from the gaming. This amused me, knowing that the big climax this season was moving toward was a huge LAN party. Of course, I couldn’t say anything at the time.
Look, a new Guild episode! As always, I’ve typed up a few memories from the shoot, and you’re just stuck reading them. Or scrolling past them, if you must.
* I wasn’t on set the day they shot in the office building, so I have no insight on any of those scenes. I know, you’re disappointed.
* Vork’s scenes were filmed at the same big high school where many other scenes were filmed. This is the only time it was necessarily supposed to look like a school, which meant backing the van up on a wide stretch of sidewalk.
* In the apartment, I was quite amused taking down framed religious art, Bible verses, and quotes from hymns, only to replace it with Riley’s decorations. You don’t see them particularly clearly here, but the things in Riley’s room are particularly entertaining, including photographs on the mirror of all the people whose innocence she’s taken…which was pretty much all of the crew.
* I love all of Riley’s scenes, especially after having seen Michele Boyd act in person. She’s incredibly funny and charismatic, which makes her such a fun semi-villain. And, of course, she seemed very sweet in person, and even acted amused by my “I Agree With Dave” shirt.
* Is it intentional that Zaboo’s wearing the Holy Grail T-shirt in the episode released so soon after Python’s 40th anniversary? Probably not, but it’s awesome.
* Some of my favorite moments from this season are still to come. As a fan who got lucky enough to become involved in my own small way, it’s unbelievably exciting to watch it come together.
* Codex and Tink at the basketball court was shot at that high school. This was the location that seemed to be daring us to try and get good audio. Swim lessons at the pool, cheerleading tryouts and joggers on the track next to us, a leafblower nearby, and a single airplane that kept flying overhead over and over, like it was circling around looking for film shoots to disrupt.
* Incidentally, the bit about Codex risking it by going outside was only partially a joke. Whenever Felicia wasn’t on camera, she was under an umbrella. A tan or burn would’ve COMPLETELY wrecked continuity.
* New gag reel!
* Vork’s van is parked out in front of the apartment complex used extensively throughout the rest of the season. I recall two main takes of his Spanish dialogue: the fumbling version used, and one where he reads more confidently, sans one incredulous glance at the guide book.
* I wish there was a wider shot of Bruiser walking away from Bladezz and his garage, because the suggestive motion he made with his baton was hilarious.
* Today I ran by the FYE at the Trumbull Mall and finally picked up the Season One and Two DVD set, since the lousy Hamden FYE did not seem to carry it. There was something really cool about buying the show in a “real” store. Behind the scenes documentaries also have a whole new layer of awesomeness when you’ve worked with the people featured, but I imagine they would still be fun for anyone who enjoys the show. If you don’t own the DVDs already, pick them up as soon as you can. You’ll be glad you did.
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.
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.
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.