If you tune into the reality TV geek competition TBS series, King of the Nerds, you just may see some of my art adorning the walls of the house, Nerdvana.

I was approached by King of the Nerds for original comic art they could use in the house. I was able to allow them to use these three WildGuard images as posters.

You can watch King of the Nerds on TBS Wednesday nights at 10pm (9pm Central).

Mr. Nauck was on my list of suggested artists! So happy it was able to happen! So sad that I did not get to plunder Nerdvana after the fact…

The epic journey of an epic short film?


I wanted to write a bit about this video, since it holds a special place in my heart, and comes from an interesting time in my life.

Believe it or not, I’ve been working on Critical Hit! since 2006. For real. 2006. And it was finally finished in late 2013… SEVEN YEARS LATER.

Crazy, right?
So, first of all, I’ve had this weird imaginary weight on my shoulders for that entire time, and I’m relieved to finally be done with it and have a finished product out there for people to enjoy. (And I’m trying not to think about the steps necessary in promoting this video and sharing it with the world. Yikes.)
But, yeah, 2006. It was a time when Mr. Ghost (a video-making trio made up of me, Dyna Moe and Bill Buckendorf) was coming to an end, and I found myself not really knowing what to do.
In past years — thanks especially to Channel 102 (now called Channel 101 NY) — Mr. Ghost made a web series pretty much on a monthly schedule, and it was fun, it was productive, it was challenging. It was also stressful, time-consuming, and exhausting. 
I can’t really state enough how grateful I am for the opportunity Channel 102 brought to the NYC comedy world. Not only did I learn a lot about making videos, but at the end of it all, I had something to show for it. A real finished product!
I tend to classify each year according to what project I was working on, and in 2005 we made My Wife, the Ghost, then in 2006 we made Cakey! The Cake From Outer Space, then sometime after that Dyna and I broke up, and that was the end of Mr Ghost.
And all that really sucked, as endings and break-ups often do, but I still had these plans and dreams and ideas for a Dungeons & Dragons-like show, and so I went ahead. Draggingly slow, but still.
My earliest email I can find about Critical Hit! is from 2/24/2006, to Birch, where it was still a web series (not just a web pilot) and he was gonna play an Elf Druid, not a Magic-User. Boy, did things change! Am I right, folks?
BTW, someone asked me “How did you book all those great people?” Well, in those days no one was famous. We were just UCBers and, I just asked them. I’ve always considered one of my strong points to be casting the right person for the right role (and writing it tailor-made for them). But I just asked.
And nine months later we shot the bulk of the pilot. NINE MONTHS. 
In that time I rewrote the script a dozen times, ordered costumes and weapons (after being given money by my brother — an act of kindness I’ve never forgotten, even if I’ve never repaid it), got advice from a park ranger on how to shoot in Central Park without a permit and not get thrown out, and, most time-consumingly, figured out the schedules of 14 or so actors. Also, real life and the inevitable sadness that follows a break-up.
Anyway. The day we shot was perfect, I can remember that. It was one of those beautiful fall days that you’d want to spend outdoors. We didn’t get hassled by The Man, everyone was in high spirits (getting to play with fake weapons will do that), and while I felt I was too distracted to be much of a director, it’s a very positive memory.
Six months later we shot the interior scenes. Same sort of reasons/excuses — finding a suburban-y location in NYC isn’t easy, but Michelle Dobrawski graciously lent us her East Village living room for the day. Plus finding teen actors (thank you, Louie Pearlman!) and assuring their parents I wasn’t a predator. And the usual scheduling nightmare, only now with teens and parents.
But we shot the rest and it was fine and dandy AND THEN I DID NOTHING WITH IT FOR LIKE THREE YEARS. What the hell?!
(It’s also worth nothing I didn’t even work on other video projects at the time. I improvised and coached and taught and did a lot of live-stage projects, but that’s all now lost in the time and space. I wish I had made more things that were less ephemeral.)
Then in 2009 I finally asked Bill (who shot the pilot) for the footage… AND THEN I DID NOTHING WITH IT FOR THREE MORE YEARS.
I dunno. I can’t even.
Finally I gave the footage to a friend to edit and another friend to add special effects and they worked on it in their spare time and I didn’t think about it or prod  too hard until I realized I was moving to LA, and then it was finally finished… AND THEN I DIDN’T DO ANYTHING FOR LIKE TWO MONTHS.
I can blame moving to LA, but I was also looking for a “right time” to release it, whatever that means, and it’s also this fear of putting out your work — and this is something I wrote almost eight years ago, so I’m a different writer and creator now, it’s kind of embarrassing — and everyone looks so young, and this is before HD cameras, really, but then it was Bobby and Jon’s birthday and I figured “Now is the time.”
It took a long time, but it’s done. The weight is off my shoulders, I hope you enjoy it, and I hope in the future I don’t let procrastination get the best of me (says the fellow who has another web pilot that’s been in post-production for years).
- Making stuff is scary and fun and can take a long time.
- Eff that, make it anyway, then finish it.
- Ask. Ask people you admire to work with you. Ask friends to help you.
- Dreams do come true?
Thanks for reading this. 
(And if you did find this story interesting and/or thought the video was fun, please reblog it and share with your friends. That’s always the next step, after post-production — sharing and spreading the world. I appreciate it, and thank you for your help.)

Sneak peek of episode 2, season 2, of King of the Nerds!

I think, though I cannot be sure, that that other guy was asking about your opinion of video games themselves as a storytelling medium. If he wasn't, I still am. Do you think interactive fiction is a good method for storytelling, or do you feel that the interactivity weakens the delivery of the plot?

I think there is the potential for interactive fiction to be a wonderful way of delivering a plot. Stories are supposed to be immersive and escapist, and allowing the audience to interact is a wonderful way of achieving that. That being said, how interactive do you go? There’s two major pitfalls you run into with interactive fiction:

1. Choose Your Own Adventure

Remember these stories? When I was little kids ate them up. You had a chapter book, and every few pages you had the option of choosing which way the story would go next. Ultimately, I wound up with a million dog ears as I tried to pursue every avenue. 

The issue with these is that you have a 100-200 page book, but each iteration of the story was only about ten to twenty pages long. So as you suggest, it certainly weakened the plot and prose to force a construct where the reader had the ability to choose from multiple outcomes.

Let’s say you had a video game that was the cinematic equivalent of “choose your own adventure,” and for about 200 minutes of content, only 10-20 will be a playable story, and then you have to go to the beginning and rehash it over and over.

2. Cinematic Click - Through

You’re basically clicking through a pre-determined story. You play a level, you get a piece of story. It’s almost like a mouse and maze scenario - complete task a, and your reward is another piece of the story. 

So on one end of the spectrum - too interactive and you have ten minutes of story/play for every 100-200 minutes of game prepared. On the other end, you’re yawning as you click ‘A’ to get more of your nummy story bits.

I think things are going to get super interesting when AI is improved to the point where the story can build itself within parameters (like in Ender’s Game), or, we have the storage capacity to allow for all of the variable outcomes to be planned ahead. 

Meanwhile, some video games are beating the Catch 22 that it’s possible to build a great interactive story already:I don’t dig zombies but The Walking Dead by TellTale games is great. The interactivity creates an emotional investment that a straight up, non-participative story wouldn’t. I love puzzle games, and a few of the inexpensive HOG games have proven to have really interesting stories mixed in with creepy puzzles and imagery (Return to Ravenhurst Manor comes to mind). I think any game where people who aren’t playing are enticed to sit in the room and watch are doing a pretty good job of telling a story. 

TL;DR Aside: 

On a side note that is tangentially related to the question: I think sometimes telling a story weakens the game more than interactivity weakens the delivery of plot. 

Let me explain: I feel there’s a recent trend of video game makers who are so wrapped up in the video part, they lose track of the fact that there is supposed to be a game somewhere in there, too. I was just listening to an NPR guest explain how he’s currently designing a video game about a father in a hospital who is dealing with the death of a terminally ill son. He talked about his “game” for several minutes without once explaining the challenge, the puzzle, the mechanics, or the goal.

Ultimately, the “game” was supposed to teach people that there were no right answers, like a poem. In my opinion, that’s not a game, and it shouldn’t be labeled as such. I’m not saying it’s not valid as art, but it’s not a game.

Because a game has rules, it tests some kind of skill, and ultimately, it is intended to challenge a different part of our mind than a straight up story is. I pick up a novel to be engaged in a story and escape to another world. I pick up a book of Sudoku to challenge and test my mind. Sudoku dressed up in a pretty narrative package is a more fun version of the puzzle, but if you took the puzzle out of that narrative package then I’d be left with a passive story again.

In other words, if I play a video game, I want a challenge. If the so-called game just involves wandering through a house, reading someone’s old journals, and all I ever do is click through, I’m not challenged. So, while I love people using new technology to tell stories and create art, it’s becoming one of my pet-peeves to see them labeled as “video games.” Let’s call them “interactive media” instead, and leave the game label for actual games.

What would be your ideal flavor of Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans?

Sour apple, probably. Nothing fancy for me. Chocolate tastes weird as a jelly bean or I’d have gone that route ;D.

how come you have two Youtube channels but only have one or two videos on each? (the one with Movie MD/Plugs and Duds and the one with you dancing to Cold Hearted when you were younger)

Because I had one old account that I originally set up a few years ago, and then when Google  + merged with YouTube it created a second account and I wasn’t ever able to merge them. 

Caught in the act! Marty McFly tries to sneak some gingerbread when I leave the room. 

Caught in the act! Marty McFly tries to sneak some gingerbread when I leave the room. 

For the holidays, a gif from me to you. Here’s a hint: It’s cheesy but it’s not cheese.

For the holidays, a gif from me to you. Here’s a hint: It’s cheesy but it’s not cheese.

Even in New York I can find Batman. Oh wait, it IS Gotham City.

Even in New York I can find Batman. Oh wait, it IS Gotham City.



Talk Nerdy To Me Cover: King of the Nerds


(via kingofthenerdsnews)