Escapist Editorials

Escapist Editorials
Q&A With The Creators Of Doomsday Arcade

Shane Hamstra | 29 Mar 2010 17:00
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With the Doomsday Arcade Series Finale going live this Thursday, we asked the creators where they came up with their crazy ideas and they were nice enough to answer.

As if the Series Finale of Doomsday Arcade wasn't awesome enough, Michael Shanks and Michael Lunds have given us tons of stuff to laugh at and keep us busy until this Thursday rolls around. Don't forget to check back throughout the week for more Doomsday Arcade goodness while you wait for the Finale to drop this Thursday at noon!

To watch all of the past Doomsday Arcade episodes up to catch up for the Finale and get yourself a badge, visit our Doomsday Arcade video library and start the viewing bonanza!

We started off by asking Shanks how he got started and what special challenges he had to overcome throughout the course of the show. And how the heck is this thing going to end anyway?

How did you come up with the idea for the show?

It was during my high school finals; I saw the ads on The Escapist for the film festival. I had been frequenting it every week for Zero Punctuation, and having always wanted to try my hand at some video work, it seemed like a great opportunity.

As I was doing exams at the time, I didn't have a lot of time for a more creative premise. It seemed fairly obvious: a live action film competition on a gaming site - come up with a loose frame of a plot to make little fan-film homages to popular games.

Do you keep to the script or is there a lot of improvisation and collaboration on set?

I'd like to say there's a lot of improvisation, but everything's more or less set in stone once the script is written. Due to the amount of shots I like to plan, I shoot off of the storyboards rather than the script. Sometimes we'll shoot half of a sentence in one shot, only to film the other half of that sentence in a shot an hour later. This chop and change method doesn't really allow a lot of room to make stuff up as we go along. Which is a shame, as Lund comes up with stuff on set ten times funnier than I could ever write.

Did you know how it was going to end when you started?

I showed a friend these questions before I answered them and she laughed her head off when she read this one. I didn't know how it was going to end even a week ago. Particularly when episodes came out fortnightly, it wasn't uncommon for me to be writing scenes hours before I had booked actors to film them. Throughout the series, I've had about eight different endings in mind and it turned out to be one I came up with about a week ago. I think the ending may frustrate a few people, but I can't think of any show which ends quite like this. I'd like to feel I've done something unique.

What have been some of the hardest costumes, props, and sets to create?

Costumes that come to mind instantly are obviously the Big Daddy suit; although the HEV suit was probably harder to make. Those are the two costumes I've outsourced to friends to build, as I knew they'd take a long time. Props like Polybius, the Gravity Gun, Portal Gun, Mini Gun and Medi-gun (lot of guns ... ) were often difficult to figure out how to build. Luckily, my Dad fancies himself as Tim Taylor, so he was a tremendous help. Rapture was the hardest set, but compositing footage from an aquarium with a local 1930's theatre helped that to come together.

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