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Todd Downing, Dan Heinrich, and Power Posse action figures, only from CorpCo!
Tonight's Feature Presentation

IT'S COMEDY GOLD: ASK ME HOW I KNOW!

an interview with todd downing and dan heinrich

The Green Room

If you’ve been paying attention to the world of webseries lately, you already know that The Collectibles is the funniest thing to hit the internet since lolcats.  In this interview with Ziggy, co-creators/co-writers/co-directors Todd Downing and Dan Heinrich talk about how superheroes ended up in a corporate cube farm, the challenges involved with putting them there, and the fun that makes it all worthwhile.  They also speak very openly about what it’s going to take to put those superheroes back into the cube farm for another season, and how audiences can help.


The Interview



Catch up on The Collectibles!

Watch the series at

www.the-collectibles.com!


Ziggy:  Superheroes in an office setting.  Where did that idea come from?  And the name of the show, for that matter.

Todd: Dan and I are part of a small production company developing a number of projects, and the one we’d been really focused on is adapting my 2007 short film, Ordinary Angels, to a cable series format.  It’s a really dark setting with heavy thematic elements, and the development process is very solitary.  

Dan: And at times, really, really dull.

Todd: I felt like we needed to get out there and actually make something, if only to keep our production skills up and remain relevant in our indie film community.

We agreed that the project had to be a comedy, just to give us a change of pace from the drama of OA.  We knew from experience we didn’t want to do another short, as the life cycle is very specific and somewhat limited.  So a web series felt like the right format.  

Dan: And once we started talking comedy web series, super heroes came up very quickly.  We’re both huge geeks and love the super heroes, even as we get the ridiculousness of them.

Todd: It was Dan’s wife Trish (who not-coincidentally plays Receiver in the show) who came up with “Super Friends meets The Office”.

Dan: Not coincidentally because we both know she is a great actor. I’ve asked her where she came up with it and she honestly doesn’t know, except that we had been watching the final Steve Carrell episodes of The Office at the time, and the idea made her laugh.

Todd: I’ve always thought the best comedy comes from juxtaposition, so costumed superheroes in a cube farm setting is kind of a no-brainer.  There are a lot of superhero web series out there – even superhero comedy web series – but we didn’t see anything that had our spin.

As you wrote in your review, The Collectibles is just as much a send-up of corporate office life as it is of superheroes.  Even if the viewer is not a comic book fan, they’ll still find a reference point in the setting.

Dan: The name is partly from the way geeks love to collect, but more so from the way CorpCo sees the heroes as assets and not as people (much the same way modern corporate America sees the average worker).

Ziggy:   Once you had the concept in place, how did you come up with your heroes and villains?  Are there any character creation moments that stand out for you in particular?

Todd: I’ve found once Dan and I solidify a concept, it’s really off to the races.  We knew immediately that we wanted to pay homage to (and skewer) the established archetypes of costumed superhero comics by doing our own comedic take on them.

Some of the characters were lifted whole-cloth from an old stage play I’d written called Tragic Heroes, which revolved around dysfunctional superheroes in their headquarters.  The Quick and Ennui were both characters from that play (the speedster and the perky goth), and Super Star and Ultrafemme were culled from elements of characters Amazingman and IncrediGrrrl.  The speedster, the perky goth, the boy scout, and the warrior princess.

I’ve also gotten a lot of mileage out of lampooning (harpooning?) DC’s Aquaman over the years, in my comic strip and in screenplays.  So we knew we had to have an Aquaman or Namor archetype in there.  It was Dan who came up with the brilliant Latino angle.

Dan: It was kind of brilliant, wasn’t it?

Todd: Meh.  It was okay.  

We kept the Tragic Heroes character elements of Hydrodude’s heavy drinking and profanity.  And of course Frank Aye was tailor made for the role, you know, actually being a one-eyed, 300-pound Mexican.

Death-Wish is really an amalgam of Batman, The Punisher, and other paranoid vigilante characters with no actual super powers, but superior training and gadgetry at their disposal. And we just cranked up the paranoia to eleven.

Shield Maiden comes from a few different comic book tropes.  First, you have your force field energy projection, which has become known as “bubbling” in online gaming circles.  There’s a Sue Storm aspect to that.  Then you have the sort of Nordic “Valkyrie” imagery that makes up the externals of Shield Maiden.  

Receiver is a powerful telepath, along the lines of Professor X or Jean Grey, and CorpCo has her using that formidable power to answer the phones.  Comedy gold.

Dan: Once we had the hero archetypes, it was very easy to merge them with the office archetypes. The clueless boss, the “get ahead by any means” co-worker, the bitter “do just enough to get along” guy, etc. Honestly, it is a little spooky how well the two worlds merge.

Others gave us crucial pieces to the puzzle. For instance, Trish (again!) gave us the idea for Shield Maiden’s breast reduction and subsequent drop in popularity.

Todd: We knew that we wanted the first season to be mostly about the heroes, setting up their overlords at CorpCo as worse arch enemies than the most badass supervillain.

Dan: So the villains were originally created for the toy commercials. Landon Salyer, our fellow producer and assistant director, came up with the idea for the toy commercial openings. We created the villains for that; the Gore Sisters created the action figures; at that point they were too good not to have in the show.

Ziggy:  Were there any hero or villain concepts that you came up with that you ultimately rejected?  If so, why?

Todd: Dan can talk about Count Doomula...

Dan: Lord Doomula, if you please.

Todd: We were actually pretty sparing with the villains.  Dan came up with Dr. Flaming Skull, and my contributions to the Terrible Trio were Choking Hazard and Evil Hand (which was a tickle game I used to play with my kids when they were little).  I don’t think we rejected many concepts because we didn’t spitball a whole lot.  We are, however, making the next season much more about villain interactions with the Power Posse.

Dan: The original iterations of the villains were just coming up with funny names, since they were just going to be in the commercials. One of the best parts of this process is one of us gets an idea, someone else changes it, someone else changes it again, and we end up with something completely different. So Todd and Landon are out working together and start talking and laughing and coming up with stronger names for the villains and away we go.

Ziggy:  If you gents suddenly became superheroes or supervillains, who could you imagine yourselves becoming?

Todd: You mean from the show, or an established continuity?  Or something original?

Dan: If you are talking about straight up super powers, then I call dibs on telekenesis. ‘Cause that’s the perfect power for the lazy man.

Todd: Okay, if it’s about a power set, I’m a fan of gravitic control.  When you can create gravitational fields, you’ve got flight, super strength, super speed, invulnerability, invisibility, and temporal manipulation.  It’s pretty rad.  Although it’s so powerful, it’s probably more fitting for a villain.  But I would be a benevolent overlord.

Ziggy: How much of the characters’ personalities as we see them on the screen represent what you originally had in mind when coming up with the story, and how much was developed in concert with or by the actors after the roles were cast?  Are there any that went in directions you weren’t expecting?

Todd: While the characters were pretty richly detailed to begin with, Dan and I really encouraged each actor to bring his or her own imagination to the table.  Originally Super Star was written more as a stereotypical buffoonish, Zapp Brannigan type of leader, but Brian Sutherland brought the whole Peter Pan arrested development aspect to the surface.  

Dan: Shield Maiden was originally intended to be a bubbly personality; then Wonder Russell showed us the potential in her insecurities. Death-Wish was supposed to swear as much as Aguaman. Joe Downing doesn’t do religious profanity, so we came up with the idea of the little kid substitutes, which adds a wonderfully odd note to his paranoia. Frank Aye brings the “you-never-know-what-is-going-to-come-out-of-his-mouth-next” sensibility to Aguaman. All of the actors brought something we hadn’t thought of.

Todd: A good actor will always find an angle you didn’t see when it’s just on the page.  That’s their job.  And we’ve been blessed with a great ensemble cast of actors who do just that.

Dan: Could not have asked for a better cast. And not just because of their talents. They really enjoy working together, and the fun they have on set shines through on screen.

Ziggy: The costumes are also great extensions of the characters’ personalities.  Did you have those looks in mind as you created the characters, or did you just let the Gore Sisters have at it?

Dan: We brought the Gore Sisters in when the characters were still in the sketch phase, not much beyond name and basic attributes, and well before we had cast anyone. We knew that their designs were going to be one of the pieces that helped develop the characters.  

Todd: I come from a graphic arts, comic book, and animation background, so I stay very involved in the design aspect of production, and thankfully Cherelle and Jonelle tolerate my meddling.  It’s really a collaborative process, and the Gore Sisters are wonderful at every stage.  I would say the characters that started with the strongest inherent costume designs were The Quick (who had the yellow suit with the red lightning bolt motif in Tragic Heroes) and Death-Wish (we knew from the start it would be an all-black outfit with the red crosshairs logo).

Dan: And they kept coming up with insights throughout the process. Like the idea to have Shield Maiden’s breast plate hang loose to emphasize her reduction.  

Ziggy: The office politics at CorpCo can be so realistic it’s scary.  Have any of those elements come from your own experiences in Cubicle Hell, and if so, are there any in particular that you can share? 

Dan: Ohhhhhh, yes.

Todd: Why yes we can.  I used to work in videogames, which, while creative, is still a cube farm with the same politics, ass-kissing, and corporate oversight.  The parts of The Collectibles that most closely mirror my own experience in corporate life are any time Vance spouts a buzzword.  It reminds me of every game development meeting where someone from marketing would pull something out of thin air and promise it to the press and the customers before the dev team could even say whether or not it was feasible.  I swear, I am totally working “functionality” into one of Vance’s lines for the next season.  And “increasements.”  Which totally isn’t a real word, but it was actually uttered by a rep demonstrating 3D software. [shudders]

Dan: I have mostly worked in law firms, with some time on the software end, and plenty of temp jobs in between.  The universal theme I’ve noticed is the sheer, unthinking stupidity (current employer excepted, of course).  At one large software firm, we had just received notice there would be a round of layoffs targeting our Seattle group, but no word on who or how many.  At the quarterly meeting, one of the senior VPs is joking that his bonus is in danger if he takes too long on his speech.  Did you really think a room full of people worried about their jobs is going to find that funny?  I want that level of cluelessness every time any of the CorpCo execs open their mouths.

As for the politics within the group… heck, that’s just people.

Ziggy: IS CorpCo a supervillain?

Todd: Maybe to properly answer the question, we should ask ourselves if we think anyone in CorpCo management has the intelligence and big-picture thinking required of a supervillain.  The obvious answer is probably not - they just get in their own way (and that of the Power Posse).

Dan: But they do have the greed and short sightedeness of a super villain. Instead of looking at a team of heroes and asking “How can we help them be effective?”, CorpCo asks “How can we profit off of them?” That attitude has permeated throughout the team. What were once fairly effective heroes are now reduced to this... whatever this is.

When Todd showed me the first drafts of the early episodes, what I loved most was how these powerful characters had given up all of their power to someone else. Almost none of them are happy about it, but no one makes an effort to change it. Dr. Flaming Skull wishes he could take down the team that effectively.

Ziggy: Do the villains work for corporations, too, are or they more likely to be freelance?

Todd: I think our understanding of how things work is that while not corporately-owned, the villains also have to worry about market share and ratings, as they get a kickback from the toys and other merch.

Dan: On the down low, of course. There is no way a risk-averse company like CorpCo is going to sponsor a team of villains. Can you imagine the liability? CorpCo will use the likenesses ‘cause the villains cannot sue, but a little kick back to make sure the villains don’t come around and trash the place can be put on the books as an insurance payment.

Ziggy: In the very first staff meeting, Ultrafemme mentions that the Power Posse has lost market share.  Lost it to whom?  Is she talking about The Avengers and the Justice League while deftly avoiding being sued, or is there an Amalgamated Justice or CompanyCorp that we may run into some day?

Dan: JLA and Avengers do not exist here; the Power Posse is in its own world. And they are the world’s greatest super hero team. There are other heroes, both teams and individuals. That’s why there is a ready talent pool going to interview for The Crimson Pike’s old job. And there is plenty of competition that would not necessarily shed a tear if Power Posse ratings kept dropping.

Todd: Although we did sneak in a nod with Ultrafemme’s line about “JL reports” in episode three...

Dan: And a certain short, mutton chopped, cigar chomping tough guy at the bar in episode 7. One thing we would love to do in future seasons is start showing pieces of the larger world. Not too much; the focus is the Power Posse.  

Ziggy: It’s obvious that you guys put effort into fundraising from outside sources to get The Collectibles off the ground.  How long did that process take before you felt that you were far enough along to make a go of it?  Have things picked up on that front since the first episodes started coming online?

Todd: We actually bankrolled the first three episodes out of our own pockets before we even attempted fundraising.  We just felt better about asking for funding after we had something to show.  And although our IndieGoGo campaign did help, we still had to make season one for about a tenth of our proposed budget.  And we were only able to do that because everyone, including Dan and myself, worked deferred.

Dan: The major lesson learned is that we are not good fundraisers.  The second major lesson is that we need an existing fan base before we can reasonably expect any kind of return.  So we have not pushed the funding very hard while the season is airing.  Our current efforts are focused on getting more people to see it.

One area we did do well was securing some in-kind sponsorships: the locations, the end credits music, craft services, the delicious Top Pot Doughnuts.  We could not have completed the season without our corporate sponsors.  Which hits a deeply ironic note, since we want to continue to mock (lovingly, but still mock) the prevalence of corporate sponsorships.  Just how many times can we feature a delicious Top Pot Doughnut in the show?

Todd: Fortunately, the show’s format lends itself nicely to overt marketing, merchandising, and general commercialization.  We can plug an actual product and do it with a wink and a nod at the audience.

Dan: We are also very blessed in how much the cast and crew support the show. Lisa Skvarla secured our largest backer single-handedly, conducted a fundraiser, and she found the new office location for us. (The moving day in episode 4 was from necessity; the company that let us use the prior location lost its lease.) She’s a force of nature when she gets moving on something. Which is one of many reasons she is perfect for Ultrafemme.   Heck, she's also an award-winning martial arts instructor at and co-owner of Lee's Martial Arts Academy, conveniently located in West Seattle! (How’s that for product placement?)

Ziggy: Which aspect of things would you say has been more difficult/challenging: the actual production of the series, or the business that surrounds it?

Todd: Nobody on this team is a stranger to the production side.  It’s the marketing and promoting that’s the challenge.  That said, we’ve learned a lot throughout the process, and for every mistake we’ve made along the way, we’ve done half a dozen things right.  So the fan base is growing incrementally, and we’re starting to see an increase in views and Facebook likes, and some contributions in the coffers that help with things like printing and convention appearances.

Dan: Agreed. Production is hard. Limited budget, lots of moving pieces, short time frames, lots of people in small spaces. But the entire production team has experience with that. Even when we make mistakes and there is something in the shot, they are mistakes we know how to fix. Dan Humphrey, in addition to ably playing The Quick, has saved our butt in the editing room I don’t know how many times. The marketing and the fundraising are new challenges with some steep learning curves. But then we prefer to see challenges as learning opportunities.

Todd: Nice Vance quote, buddy.  

Dan: Thought you’d like it... since I stole it from your script.  

Ziggy: Have you been able to capitalize on those learning opportunities, developing a dynamic new paradigm with an eye toward implementing freshly optimized strategic marketing initiatives once the current product distribution cycle has achieved completion status?

Dan: We are in the process of generating new action items and tasking out projects to our person assets based on their strength areas in order to fully leverage our efforts for short term gains while smoothing the grade with an eye towards long term success.

Todd: We’re also making increasements to the functionality of workflow procedures with an eye on greater productivity. Now if we can just alter the shield emitter array to create an inverted tachyon field...

Dan: Actually, we have learned a lot from our fellow web series creators. This community is very generous in its support, time, knowledge, contacts, resources. The talented people at Zombie Orpheus Entertainment in particular have helped us in all sorts of ways, including sharing some of their hard won lessons. The folks at ZOE don’t just want a successful show; they want a thriving community.

Todd: True that.

Ziggy: Looking at the show’s website, it looks like principal photography for the first season was completed in… two days.  Two days?  That says a lot for the cast and crew.  Was everyone hopped up on Quick Café and Top Pot Doughnuts, or what?

Todd: That needs to be updated!  

Dan: Web Site Guy is falling down on the job.... Todd! One of the perils of indie filmmaking is how many hats we each have to wear.

Todd: We actually completed the first three episodes in two shooting days in August 2011.  47 setups in two days is ambitious to be sure, but when you have an assistant director like Landon, the set ends up operating with near-military efficiency without anyone realizing it.  The rest of the season was shot over another 6 days in January and February.

Dan: And March.

Ziggy: What have been the most challenging moments on the set thus far?

Todd: I think I mentioned something about 47 setups in 2 days…

Aside from the usual constraints of setting up an existing office space to accommodate lights, c-stands, a sound crew, and two cameras, in addition to video village and all the actors, there is Mother Nature to contend with.  Dan can tell the story of Snowmageddon 2012.

Dan: Gahhhhhhhhhh!!!! Don’t talk to me about snow! We were supposed to shoot 4 episodes over the 3 days of MLK weekend in a suburban office park at the top of a steep winding hill. Snow starts flying in a city that does not deal with snow. The one person on set with a 4 wheel drive having to shuttle actors up and down the hill. Delays and cancellations.

But there is always something. The episodes in August were in a heatwave, and we had no a/c. Tight space with fans running between takes. Death-Wish in a black leather trench coat. Super Star and The Quick in full body morphsuits. Not pretty.

Ziggy: What have been some of the most fun moments, and what made them so?

Todd: The fun definitely trumps any challenges we’ve had.  We have a cast that loves their characters and a crew who loves to make entertaining art.  Everybody had a blast.  Which is good, because nobody got paid.

Dan: The way the cast and crew bought into the concept and worked so hard just because they loved it. Incredible. You never knew what Brian Sutherland or Frank Aye were going to say next.  Joe Downing and Lisa Coranado (who plays Evil Hand) would burst into spontaneous dance routines. Paul Eenhoorn (who plays Dr. Flaming Skull) put on an acting clinic for his episodes. Too many laughs at too many points to remember them all.

Ziggy: Looking at what’s on the screen, what has surprised you the most so far about The Collectibles?

Dan: The fact that the episodes can still make me laugh. How many times did we go over the scripts? How many takes between rehearsal and shooting? How many reviews of the footage and edit assembles? And still these characters make me laugh out loud. Who knows? Maybe that’s just my ego getting the better of me.

Todd: For me, how much the characters have taken on lives of their own, and how much fans are responding to the new episodes.

Ziggy: Enquiring minds want to know.  Scripted or improv from Episode 1.6: "Boooooooooooobs!"?

Dan: Scripted, but... The difference between writing “(anguished cry) BOOBS!” and Wonder Russell delivering it... Night and day comes kinda close. I’m trying to think of a way to describe her talent that doesn’t descend into hyperbole. Not coming up with it. I wish we’d had time to show all of the variations she gave us. (DVD extra, Sir Todd?)

Todd: Definitely.  Watching Wonder Russell exclaim “BOOBS!” in a variety of emotional contexts is a joy everyone should experience.

Ziggy: The commercials for the Power Posse toys have a copyright date of 1982.  Is there anything in particular that made you choose that date?

Dan: I asked the same question when Todd showed me the first commercial edit.

Todd: Nothing other than trying to invoke the vibe of an early ‘80s toy commercial.  That was when my little brother was playing with Transformers and collecting the small GI Joe action figures, whereas I’m more a child of the ‘70s with the Mego superhero action figures, Micronauts, and The Six Million Dollar Man.

Ziggy: Do you still play with toys?  Er, action figures?  Or collect them, perhaps?

Todd: When I worked in videogames, it was the law.  I decorated my cubes and offices with a mighty collection of toys, but I’ve really cut back in recent years.  That said, I just celebrated my birthday last weekend with about 20 friends joining my family for a screening of The Avengers, after which I was presented with a cake topped with Avengers resin figurines which now sit on my bookshelf along with the Captain America bobble-head, Batman lunchbox, and the custom one-of-a-kind Japanese doll of Eloa from Ordinary Angels.  There may even be a classic Star Trek phaser among the goodies.  Sadly, the resin mini-bust of Wolverine that Kirby Krackle presented me for directing their On And On music video took a fall and shattered.  I was devastated.

Dan: I was never an action figure guy. I did collect comics. But the only time I had money for that was in the 90s - the decade that is now universally reviled as comics’ dark ages.

Todd: Of course, if you wanted to start up again, you could always head for The Comic Stop, at any one of its four convenient locations in the greater Seattle area. (See your product placement, and raise you one.)

Ziggy: Outside of your own stuff, what other series are you watching on the web right now?

Todd: First and foremost, the hilarity that is Chop Socky Boom.  Also everything on Zombie Orpheus, from Transolar Galactica to JourneyQuest to Standard Action.  Aidan 5 is a pretty cool concept.  Anything Wil Wheaton or Felicia Day produce.  Generic Girl is a fun – albeit much more cinematic – take on superheroes and mundane life.  Really looking forward to Geek Seekers with Jen Page & Monte Cook, Causality, and Glitch, all of them produced in Seattle.  Anything with Trin Miller in it (which is everything coming out of the Emerald City).  And I love the low-tech train wreck of Hose and Shows, where actresses Lisa Coronado and Wonder Russell get drunk and review movies, recording all the glory on Wonder’s smartphone.

Job Hunters is kind of a big deal, given their fan base and production value.  Lots of quality stuff coming out of Seattle right now.  

Dan: Geez, Todd. Thanks for saving a few for me to mention. In addition to Todd’s extensive list, I enjoyed Gold. And Trish keeps telling me I need to watch Husbands, Jane Espenson’s comedy series. I am very excited to see what happens in the next few years with web series. I am hoping that enough money comes in that creators can cut loose a little, yet not so much we lose our indie sensibilities. It is a very exciting time.

Todd: There’s also an older series from Larry Blamire, the guy who wrote and directed The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, called Tales from the Pub.  It’s completely random and ridiculous. I find Larry’s work inspiring, and still go back to watch old episodes every now and then.

Ziggy: I agree that it is an exciting time.  But do you think that the money will come in?  I don't ask because it's undeserved (far from it); but rather, given that there currently are so many people like yourselves willing to put out high quality work without getting paid first, do you think there's currently enough incentive for the public at large to agree to pay for something that they can tell themselves they already get for free?  This is, after all, the same society that ditched Netflix in large numbers for going from being an unsustainably inexpensive service to just an inexpensive one.

Dan: That’s the question, isn’t it? Ultimately, I believe it will. There are success stories out there, like Journey Quest and The Guild. Shows that built audiences who are passionate and want to help. The fan supported/creator distributed model ZOE is working so hard to encourage removes the intermediaries like Netflix and the cable channels and gets fans and creators practically in the same room. It is a more dynamic experience for everyone.

Plus, the simple fact is we cannot keep doing this without backing. Season 2 of The Collectibles will not happen without funding because there is no other choice. The production team is literally tapped out.

Todd: Word.

Ziggy: What kind of funding do you need to make Season Two happen?

Dan: We have not even roughed out the budget yet, so I am hesitant to throw out a number that might end up being wildly high or low. Looking back at what we did, we shot 10 episodes, each about 10 minutes long, in 8 days of principal photography. That does not include the toy commercials, PSA’s, promo videos, and other pickups. That’s incredibly tight, and we will need to expand that.

Todd: That’s essentially shooting a feature length film in 8 days. So yeah, I’d say it’s tight. Even bumping it out to two weeks, 10 to 12 days, would help a lot.  Our proposed budget for season 1 was $48K.  We ended up making it for a tenth of that budget because everyone worked deferred.

Dan: We had 20 actors with speaking parts, and none of them got paid. Even at an indie wage of $100 per day, that will add up fast. Easily as many crew worked on the production side of it, and they need pay as well. Post-production crew, specifically the editor, color corrector, and sound designer all need pay, and they end up working more days than production crew. The Gore Sisters produced all the costumes, props, and assorted art pieces for under $3,000. The fact that they can work that kind of magic with almost nothing is amazing, but they need a budget at least 3 times that. Equipment that we borrowed for Season 1 will need to be rented or purchased for Season 2. Catering, insurance, accounting, marketing materials. There is a lot that goes into the bottom line.       

Ziggy: I can’t imagine that anyone who has watched The Collectibles thus far would want to see it come to an untimely end after such a wonderful start.  If a business owner wants to join the ranks of the show’s much-appreciated company sponsors, how can they get that ball rolling?

Dan: Simply email dan@moonbulletstudios.com or todd@moonbulletstudios.com and we will be happy to work with them however we can. Most of our corporate sponsors were happy with the mention on the website and Facebook page, but we can get posters on the walls like we did for Kirby Krackle and Emerald City Comicon or work out a way to feature it in the dialogue. We’re also happy to talk about other possibilities.

Todd: Because the show is about the lack of integrity in a corporately-owned superhero team, there really aren’t many limits on product placement.  It’s a format and setting that really thrives on overt commercialization.

Ziggy: And what about the average fan with just a buck or two who wants to contribute?

Todd: More than anything, we need eyeballs on the episodes.  Watch the episodes, like them, and share them - that’s the biggest favor you can do for us, for the show.  Share share share. That said, if you want to throw in a buck or two via the PayPal link at www.the-collectibles.com, we sure appreciate it, and it goes directly into production and post production costs.

Dan: Yes, please. Watch and share. Invite your friends over for viewing parties, ‘cause comedies are always funnier with other people around. Then everyone go home and click on the links anyway to record the hits (and no that’s not cheating).

Ziggy: The members of the Power Posse seem to take a lot of pride in how well their merchandise performs.  Are there any clear leaders so far as early fans of The Collectibles have started to “Gear Up?”

Todd: The characters seem to be pretty evenly balanced in terms of gear sales, with Ultrafemme and Aguaman eking out a slight lead.

Dan: The real competition is around the number of “likes” on the characters Facebook pages, with Ultrafemme and Ennui holding very strong leads.

Ziggy: Looking at it as fans, what would each of you consider to be your favorite scene from Season One of The Collectibles?

Todd: There are really too many to pick just one, but I love seeing the camaraderie shine through the thick blanket of dysfunction around the team.  Super Star’s address to Dr. Flaming Skull in episode 10 really illustrates that.

Dan: That was fun, and not just because we gave Brian a speech he could barely get his mouth around and he had to say it 15 or 20 times for all the angle coverage we got. (I’m just perverse like that.) Todd’s right; there are a lot of good ones, but I will try and narrow some down and not cop out like he did.

Todd: Uhhh, what part of “Super Star’s address to Dr. Flaming Skull in episode 10” didn’t you understand?  Do we need to move to semaphore?  Morse Code?  Flash cards?  Interpretive dance?

Dan: Yeah yeah, whatever, Captain Vague.  With Aguaman, his spiking the camera after Graviator leaves always makes me laugh. Always. And then his “Damnit” to the camera after the Evil Hand fiasco damn near makes me cry. With Death-Wish, it is pretty hard to top the “that stings” from episode 2. The Quick has an embarrassing secret revealed in episode 9, and I love the way Dan handles that. Receiver has a couple of good rants, but I like her shooting down Merry Man in the pub and subsequent conversation with Ultrafemme. Shield Maiden has a ton of good ones too, but the exchange she has with Evil Hand in episode 9 is my favorite. Superstar... ahhhh. So much crazy sh-t comes out of Brian’s mouth it is hard to pick, but his speech to the camera in episode 8 is really hard to top. Ultrafemme would be a tie between the scene in Superstar’s office in episode 1, which sets her up as so conniving, and an exchange she has with Dr. Flaming Skull in episode 10, which is so humanizing.

I could go on and pick scenes from each of the guest stars, too, but... damn.    

Todd: So I will.  Joel and Rob staring unabashedly at Ultrafemme’s boobs in episode 3.  Graviator’s “lift-with-the-knees” attempt in episode 4, along with his improvised theme song.  Mighty Girl’s repeated falls in episode 6.  Shrink Ray’s withering diagnoses in episode 7 - and the shooting down of Merry Man.  The Terrible Trio’s entrance from episode 8, the PowerPoint presentation from 9, and the kitchen scene between Evil Hand and Choking Hazard in 10.


Ziggy: There are several different varieties of delicious Top Pot Doughnuts to choose from.  Do you have any particular favorites?

Todd: I don’t really go in for the exotics.  I’m a pretty old fashioned guy.  See what I did there?  That, or apple fritters.

Dan: So many, many, many good ones. Maples bars, apple fritters, glazed, jelly filled... damn. Now I’m hungry.

Ziggy: What kind of cheese and recreational beverage would you gents pair The Collectibles with?

Dan: There are so many pieces that make The Collectibles work. So I would say a cheese platter (a little cheddar, some Swiss, some pepper jack, a touch of Gouda) with an ice chest full of beer, pop, water, and, if you dig deep enough, a nice Chardonnay.

Todd: I see what you did there.  I would agree that The Collectibles is a cheese party platter, but paired with an obscure, off-brand lager brewed in someone’s basement.

Ziggy: And what would you pair yourselves with?

Todd: Pepper jack and a nice microbrew ale (red, brown or stout).  A little spicy, with a smooth, satisfying finish.  Awww yeah.

Dan: An Irish cheddar and a good strong porter...damnit. Now I’m hungry and I want a beer. Thanks a lot, Ziggy.

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- Interview conducted by Ziggy Berkeley, May, 2012


You can email Ziggy at ziggy@cinemaontherocks.com. You can also find us on Facebook.


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