Alright, let's write a fucking blog update here. I know, you guys are just fucking drowning in them, but I thought "What the hell, I'll pile on another one." Check out the premiere episode of Arby 'n' the Chief's eighth season below, if you haven't already.
And recently uploaded is the director's commentary for the episode, over three hours of my fucking voice. Try not to smash your head off the fucking ceiling with all your leaping for joy.
Commentary (Part One): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9LDhjXDfpE
Commentary (Part Two): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdP2MQWuA_E
Oh boy. It's taking a lot longer to crank these out than I said earlier, isn't it? I sure look great right now. Particularly since I've started Patreon -- I know a bunch of people think I'm fucking Scrooge McDuck over here diving head first into a big bath of the pledges I'm pulling in each month and sitting on my ass.
The premiere's nearly the length of a feature fim and the next episode's looking to be at least forty minutes. I stew over every word of these monster scripts. Often I rewrite the whole fucking thing. I've been happy with the writing I've been producing, but I need that time to stew and make it as good as I can.
Haven't heard many complaints about the premiere except for the run-time length. Look, guys -- I was a mad dog on a leash with Machinima at least in terms of video length, and now the leash is gone. That might not be a good thing. The best I can do is go with what feels right to me. You wanna know what completely unrestricted Arby 'n' the Chief content looks like? This is it. I'm not saying I won't get better with tightening up my scripts -- I hope I do -- but for now I like what I'm putting out. Either you like it or you don't. All I know is if I do my best at producing content I'd like to watch, my fans will be along for the ride. If you don't like the show, please don't pledge to me. Remember as well that pledges can be lowered or revoked at any time, and I encourage backers to do so if they feel the waits between episodes are too long. Let's face it, they are too long -- but this is the nature of a program with a one-man crew. A single point of effort and failure in every phase of the filmmaking process. On a real show and not some half-assed bullshit like this I'd be a part of a team, probably just writing. Once a script got handed off I'd already be working on the next one, the rest of the team would turn the script into a film. Sometimes I wish that were the case. I wish there were somebody I could trust unquestioningly with the scripts I write to produce and cut the footage to look exactly the way I want it, but I don't think that person exists. The show's too personal. The show is me, essentially. Arbiter and Chief are just the two halves of my brain constantly at war. An essential part of the show I think is that it has a unique voice, mine, whether I'm right or wrong. A voice just doesn't come out through audio either -- the voice of a show comes from the ideas embedded in the script, the rhythm of dialogue, the use of swearing, the framing of the shots, the way they're cut and what all those imply. Ever wonder why Arby 'n' the Chief in LA didn't quite land? Wasn't the team on their end's fault, either. It wasn't their show. This sounds arrogant as shit, but there's subtle nuances to the way I shoot the gameplay and live action to imply small details or emphasize certain emotional beats. The person to blame would be the executive who decided on it being made, but I'm not here to point fingers.
Where the fuck was I?
Episode two's coming along nicely. The process has been admittedly slow, but very smooth. Cranking the premiere out taught and re-taught me a few lessons. I've managed to avoid many headaches. People always ask me for a release date, but I hate giving one because I'm always so ridiculously fucking off the mark. I'll say it'll come out in January and it won't come out until December the year after. The reason I tend to avoid announcing release dates is because I hope you'll just kinda forget about the show a little bit, let me do my thing, and when I'm finished an episode and it's uploaded it's a nice surprise for everybody.
So, where am I at on the episode exactly? I felt the script needed a lot of fleshing out, but it's done. It's actually fifty pages long now, so the episode might end up being in fact that many minutes long rather than just forty. The general rule of thumb with scripts is that one page equates to one minute of running time -- at least with film, usually not animation, which is much quicker paced. Mine's half animation, but because I tend to hold on shots for so fucking long like an asshole, the one page, one minute rule tends to prove true in my case.
So, the script's finalized. After that I re-typed all the dialogue phonetically in my emulated version of Windows XP. About five or six hundred individual lines of dialogue. I know people hate me sometimes for writing too much dialogue, but trust me -- in that moment I just mentioned, nobody fucking hates me more than me. I then recorded all those lines into a master audio file. Then I cut all of those lines individually, with in and out points, and saved them as individual files. Then I imported all those dialogue line files into Premiere and laid them all out in separate sequences, arranging them in order of utterance in the story. Then I placed five or six hundred individual title slates one at a time by hand over every line of dialogue -- these are the leads' green and purple subtitles which have become an essential visual element of the show now. Then I double-clicked every one of those subtitle slates and re-typed all the dialogue again for people to read. Then I linked each of the subtitles with its corresponding audio file one at a time following a quality assurance pass to make sure everything was written correctly. Takes some time, but things get shifted around a lot on the timeline when I work, and sometimes when I click and drag either the dialogue or subtitle clips, it won't drag the other corresponding thing and I get fucked over later on, just when I think everything's going great.
After spending so much time writing the scripts and listening to the dialogue, thinking in my head about how it's paced, it becomes much easier for me to visualize exactly how I want to shoot it, so I'll usually shoot towards the end. This morning I woke up, got breakfast, wrote, worked on the script for episode three (which is already fully outlined and semi-completed, I'm getting faster), went home, shot and edited the first scene of the episode, spent about five hours on that, and now I'm out grabbing a coffee writing this and working on the script for episode three again.
You have any idea how fucking tedious all that voice editing shit is? Takes fucking days, and the dialogue's only one aspect of the audio -- the overall sound design and leveling is a whole other fucking thing. I don't do the dialogue first because I enjoy it, I do it because it's such a big fucking pain in the ass and I prefer to have it completely out of the way by the time I'm cutting footage so I can actually enjoy piecing the episode together. Because I have to usually keep my ears tuned into the work, I'm usually working in silence throughout all that shit, too. It's fucking boring. I count the seconds for the little windows of work throughout which I don't need to have my hearing ready so I can throw on a podcast in the background. I'm usually listening to The Biggest Problem in the Universe or Bill Burr's Monday Morning Podcast, they keep me in good spirits.
To reiterate, all the ugly work on episode two is done, and now I'm just smoothly shooting and cutting one scene after another. Again, I don't want to give you a date until I'm entirely confident in that date -- but it's not far away. I'll likely be putting another few hours in when I get back to the house tonight.
Nobody's sent me any messages for the past few days saying I'm a piece of shit for raking in and sitting on everyone's Patreon money, so thank you for that. It's hard enough trying to stay in a good mood every fucking day without getting messages like that, it actually hurts and ironically just ends up slowing down the production process because it puts me in a bad fucking mood. The happier I am the faster these episodes will come out, that's a fact -- and I'm as dedicated to it as I ever have been.
I'm fully aware how slow the episodes are moving right now in terms of story, but keep in mind this first eight episode arc of the season is like its own little movie with three acts and a climax. The first episodes are all set-up. Come episode six, seven and eight, shit's gonna fly off the rails. I'm trying to make all acts of the season like that -- stretches of story that stand on their own.
Alright, fuck it -- that's it for now, I think I've written enough. Thanks so much everybody for your continued support and donations, you're all really saving my ass and I'm trying to deliver the best quality product to you in return, one that'll hopefully stand the test of time.
If you have anything you'd like to share with me, feel free to e-mail me. Just click on the little letter icon below my profile picture. Try to keep it nice, I've been on a productive role recently. Even if I don't reply, I read everything. I've been replying to e-mails quite a lot lately though, as I've been getting them drastically less frequently. I read all the YouTube comments too, I'd just rather keep my audience engagement limited to a small number of channels like my e-mails and Twitter. Please keep the video comments coming if you liked or disliked something.