Video: Season 3 – Episode 1: Expansion Time
I’m embedding the new episode “Expansion Time” here if you haven’t seen it! Last season it wasn’t embeddable so it’s cool to be able to spread it around this season, thank you MSN and Sprint! 🙂 Also, it’s now available on Zune and Xbox for all, so download away. Starting next week the eps will be rolling out weekly on all platforms, FYI.
Soo what can I tell you about this episode here? It was….challenging. This and the next episode were shot at the VERY END of a very very hard shooting schedule. Strange to film the first episodes last, but we had to due to actor availability. Add to that shooting in Fountain Valley, far outside of LA area, and exterior shots in 108 degree heat, and you have circumstances that were pretty stressful on everyone, but thankfully it doesn’t show.
This season we shot ALL episodes at once, essentially treating the season like a movie (and at 103 pages, it indeed WAS a movie. BAD Felicia!). We shot 13 or 14 days I believe, almost an episode a day, and the page count was MUCH higher than we’d done before. This adds up to very long hours and challenged crew, because we’re understaffed as it is due to budget. Oh, and add like 14 actors to the mix. And extras. And lots of props. UGH. I am totally amazed that these episodes are as great as they are, and credit goes to director Sean Becker and my co-producer Kim Evey and our line producer Christian Agypt, (as well as an awesome crew.) Everyone really wanted this season to be great, so attitudes stayed amazingly upbeat, even through tough times.
First episodes are always the toughest, because you’re starting from zero and, especially in web video, need to recap a lot and launch into a cliffhanger leaving everyone excited for the next installment. It’s a lot to cram into 7 pages. I had the idea of starting in front of a game store while I was writing season 2. The first two seasons start off VERY gamer-centric, and I felt that maybe the entry points to the seasons set a high bar for non-gamers, so I wanted to try something different. I didn’t realize it fully when I was writing it, but finding an actual commercial property to shoot on, having little money for huge location fees was one of the biggest things we had to overcome for the season. At one point we were going to find an abandoned building and fake it and hope no one caught us shooting, but stretching that to two days didn’t seem doable in the LA area. Thank goodness we were able to contact GameStop and get permission to shoot there. Honestly I don’t know what we would have done otherwise.
My favorite bits in this episode are of course, the big reveal of the Rival Guild (more on that next week), and Vork’s tent. I just thought it was a hilarious idea that he would have pitched a tent there 2 days early when the line is only like 15 people long. The production designer, Tyler Robinson, made me laugh the WHOLE shoot because of some of the props he used in shots, most of which never even made it into the show! In Vork’s tent, there are fake birds in cages, a child’s potty (that plays music when you sit on it) and a slow cooker with his “found-object stew” that was made up of: Burger bits, cheerios, marshmallows, pretzels, Cheetos, hot dog bits and, a kid you not, a mouse trap. We tried to get a shot of the mouse trap in, but it didn’t make the cut, haha.
Anyway, hope you enjoy, next week is a LONG episode, but excited for you to see it!