Director’s Blog: Ep 3. MALLSCAPADE MALLSCAPADE stands out for me, as it’s the episode that most closely resembles actual events in my life. I literally played games like Mall Maddness, Party Mania, and Truth or Dare. It was this weird, campy thing my friends and I would do. The games were so dumb, but the mechanics were so cheesy and enticing. You called people on fake cell phones, you used credit cards, you put sticker pimples on your face, you watched video tapes along with the games. Why were all the really weird game peripherals for girls? Whatever. It didn’t stop me anyway.
I knew that I needed a good way to introduce Percy, and had been sitting on this episode idea for quite some time. My good friend David Nett
had just released Night of the Zombie King
, which I had really enjoyed. It was like if you took a night of D&D, and wrapped a mumblecore indy movie around it, and released it online. What a weird, wonderful idea. High, personalized drama mixed with RPGs*. So I thought, wouldn’t it be fun to do the Squaresville version of that? Most episodes take a draft or two to figure out and then refine, but this one took like, eight or nine versions.
Whenever you’re writing, you have to figure out who’s story you’re telling. Maybe because this scenario was so ripe for me, I didn’t want to compromise at all. There were drafts where every character had a major, time consuming arch. Esther talked even longer about the popular kids playing with her, Zelda had some bit about the anti-feminist attitude of the game, Percy had even more stuff about how it’s the perfect game and won all these awards. I loved all the different perspectives, but we were WAY over time. You cut what you have to cut. Also, it’s tricky when another character just doesn’t want to do something simple. If you don’t make their reasoning interesting and complex, it just becomes a stalemate - bad drama in my case. It’s still our longest episode to date. Ultimately, shaving Esther and Zelda’s was the right move. Percy wants to play the game, the other characters are obstacles in playing it. *I even tried to cast Maxwell Glick
(from NOTK) as a winking acknowledgement.