Written By A Kid's pilot pits Joss Whedon against a milkman-killing monster.
Ever since 5-year old Malachai Nicolle partnered with his brother to create the webcomic smash-hit Axe Cop, the question inevitably arose how else one could best exploit the creativity of children without breaking any labor laws. Now Felicia Day's web production company Geek & Sundry has the answer with Written By A Kid. The concept is straightforward enough; the series creators sit a child in front of a camera to tell whatever crazy story comes off the top of their head, and Geek & Sundry uses a combination of live-action and animation to realize their vision. That's not what really sets Written By A Kid apart though; what sets it apart is that they brought Avengers director Joss Whedon on board as the hard-boiled action hero of the first episode.
Although he has no dialogue (except for some adorable voice-overs by episode writer "Brett"), Whedon clearly steals the show. When a giant rampaging monster kills the local milkman, Whedon's Gerald, head of the elite S.Q.U.A.T team (a perpetually squatting S.W.A.T team) arrives to dispatch it. According to Brett, "he has a hat, he has a shield, a sword, and a gun. And he has a small gun, and he has a belt to hang that stuff on, and he got jeans." Clearly if Gerald worked for Nick Fury, the Avengers would never have needed to assemble.
Whedon was under no obligation to join this particular project, but once he did sign on, he demanded to be treated just like the other actors. "We sent the rough cut to Joss," said director Daniel Strange in a behind-the-scenes video, "and we said 'Here's the thing, we would love you to do this, it's really fun, it'll be super easy. Come in and get some photographs taken, no squatting necessary.' And he writes back, 'I'll do it on one condition. If [Kate Micucci] gets to do all her own squatting, so do I. 'Dem's my terms."
This project isn't the first time Whedon has stepped away from the director's chair to help someone out with their video. Shortly before Avengers reached theaters, Whedon appeared in this comedy sketch where he teaches an incredibly insecure young man the basics of potty training. Whedon's years of experience in film and television clearly haven't put him above the occasional fun project that gets filmed with friends in a garage to be put on the internet, and it makes me respect him all the more.