Welcome to VS. our behind the scenes look at things that interest us, or that may interest you.
This time we take a look at webcomic, and soon to be webseries, OneDieShort. We’re going to be chatting with the creator, Matt Forcella.
Time for a bit of background, Matt Forcella started OneDieShort (ODS) over two years ago fuelled by one thing; a passion for tabletop gaming and a love of the culture that surrounds it. He has since started work on a live-action series based on the comic. Thanks to Kickstarter it has happened and it promises to be just as funny, witty and original as the comic that inspires it. Matt gave us an exclusive interview about the series, and the comic that started it all, along with an insight into his admiration of pickled vegetables.
If you have any questions for Matt about the series, or the comic, be sure to hit him up over at his site. He’s a genuinely passionate guy who loves what he does and wants to do this for a long, long time. You can also contact him on twitter (@onedieshort) or Facebook.
So, you reached your Kickstarter goal! How did that feel? You must be proud!
“I am definitely proud of myself and my team, but more than that I am extremely humbled. I went into the process not knowing what to expect and was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support. One of the things I didn’t expect at all was everything that happened “behind the scenes” of the Kickstarter. So many people wanted to get involved and help out with the series. It made me realize just how much love people have for tabletop role-playing! It has such a powerful and meaningful community surrounding it, and role-players are some of the most supportive people I’ve ever met. Aside from all of that, it was also the MOST stressful thing I have ever done in my life. I highly recommend it.“
Did you imagine when you started ODS that you would be making a web series?
“Yes and No. One Die Short has existed in a few different iterations in my mind for a very long time. Probably well over 10 years now. It started as more of a “comic strip”, then I decided it would be better on film. Unfortunately, I had no idea how to go about making a film, and didn’t know anyone that did. I settled on a webcomic, and did that for 2 years, until I realized I didn’t want to draw comics anymore; I wanted to film something! And so the Kickstarter was born.“
What’s your inspiration for the web series in terms of the look, the style etc?
“Although I say I don’t want to draw comics, I still love them, and comics are a big influence on the series stylistically. I want the look and feel of it to replicate some of what it feels like to read a comic. There is a certain “punch” to narrative art. I want the images on the screen to reach out and punch you in the face. In a good way.
Someone I really take a lot of inspiration from is Edgar Wright. I think his work on the “Cornetto Trilogy” and “Scott Pilgrim” were fantastic, and “Spaced” is hands down one of my favorite television shows of all time; right up there with “Firefly” and “Star Trek: TNG”.“
How long can we expect each episode to be?
“Each episode will probably end up being between 5 and 8 minutes, with the exception of the Pilot and the final episode. Those will be closer to 10 or 12 minutes.“
What’s your role going to be within the series? Strictly off camera? Director?
“Aside from the obvious one: Creator, I also wrote the screenplay and will be playing the lead role of the Dungeon Master. As the Executive Producer, I’m on set every day and have plenty to say, but I’m leaving a lot up to my production team. I have so many talented people involved, and I want to give them room to stretch their creative muscles.“
“That’s hard to answer because it was simultaneously easy and horribly difficult. I was lucky enough to have some great talent try out, and so many of them really bowled me over. The hard part was letting go of the characters I had envisioned in my mind and allowing the actors to put their own spin on things. I had to redefine things and recognize when someone else was able to do something even better than what I had planned out in my mind. Film is such a collaborative and organic process, and it’s no easy feat for the inflexible.“
How many episodes can we expect in season one?
“Our initial goal had been around 9 episodes, but we’re not sure if this is a feasible goal with our current budget. We’re struggling between output and production value, and finding a story-arc that’s both satisfying and also leaves you wanting more.
It could very well end up shorter, maybe even half of what we originally thought. The most important thing is that we can produce something fantastic that everyone will love, and if that means 4 or 5 phenomenal episodes rather than 9 or 10 mediocre ones, we’re going with less.“
What are your distribution plans? YouTube? Would you be looking at a DVD to be sold through your site?
“We will be on YouTube, Vimeo and the One Die Short website. Once the first season has finished, we have plans for a limited run of DVDs that were promised to some of the backers. Whether or not that turns into a full-scale DVD distribution effort remains to be seen. Ultimately, the fans will decide I think.“
Will you be repeating any storylines from your comic?
“The series will follow the same basic storyline as the comic, with plenty of other changes and additions. A lot of things are being greatly expanded upon, particularly the characters lives when they’re not sitting around the game table. We will get to see everyone in their element, and really get to know the characters better. We’ve also introduced some new characters that I’m really excited about!“
What are your plans for juggling your day job and shooting the web series, as well as providing updates to the regular comic?
“I work full-time, 8 to 5, Monday through Friday, and every other waking moment is spent on One Die Short. Right now that means the web series, which has disappointed a lot of the webcomic fans. It’s hard for me, because I hate letting fans down, but right now, the series is where I need/want to be, and it really doesn’t leave time for the comic.
I hope that will change once filming is done, but post-production, and then promotion can be just as time consuming, so that still remains to be seen. I’ve also been considering finding another illustrator in order to keep it going. So hit me up if you’re interested!“
Do you have someone who helps with the artwork and writing or is it mostly a one man job?
“Nope, it’s all me, though I certainly wouldn’t mind some help.“
Are you planning on a season 2 of the series?
“Absolutely. I have enough for 3 or 4 seasons already, and that’s not even the full arc I have in mind. I have what I think is a compelling story, and it will take some time to tell it. If the internet agrees, then we will be making One Die Short for some time to come.“
Can you give us a bit of background about the comic, when it started, why you started it etc?
“As I said before, It’s been in my head for a long time. The main reason it came into existence is because I love role-playing games. I started playing them when I was 10, and I can honestly say that they were the only thing that kept me sane through middle school. I won’t get into details, but I was the stereotypical, bullied nerd, and role-playing games were a great escape, and also a way to help me build confidence in myself. But more than that, they solidified some of the most important friendships I’ve had: people I’m still very close to 20 years later. That’s the story I want to tell. I want to show people the community that can be created, and the confidence that can be built, through something as simple as a game.“
Do you have a favourite ‘page’ from ODS?
“I have a few that I really like. Page 44 is one of them. Don’t ask me why. The things I find hilarious aren’t always what other people do. I’ve written so many things that I think are the funniest ever, that no one else finds the least bit amusing. But, yeah, 44 is great and if you disagree you’re just wrong. I think I like it so much because Howie is one of my favourite characters.“
I have to admit, I’ve never played D&D or any other table top RPG for that matter. I’ve always been more of a console gamer. Do you find time for other forms of gaming?
“Absolutely. I love games in all forms. Board games, video games, drinking games. I love competition, and I’ll do it at the drop of a hat. I don’t think I’ve ever refused an invitation to play any sort of game. Unfortunately, I rarely have time to play anything anymore. I’ve been struggling to get an RPG campaign going again, and right before we started pre-production I obsessively played my X-Box for 2 weeks straight because I was worried I wouldn’t have time to play again until next year.“
Do you have a favourite non-ODS comic book arc/character?
“I’m a sucker for all of the Marvel classics, but Spider-man has always been my favourite, and I will read anything with Spider-man in it. Aside from that I tend to go for writers more than characters and series though. I love Alan Moore, Frank Miller, Neil Gaiman, Warren Ellis and Brian Vaughn. Y: The Last Man is probably my favourite series ever.“
Fast forward 5 years time (nope, you won’t need roads), what’s your hope for ODS?
“My hope and goal is to be working on Season 5, actually paying all of my actors, and making a living doing what I love. It’s funny to me though; when I think about being a successful film maker, I don’t conjure up images of Hollywood and red carpets. I think of sitting on a panel at Comic Con. If I can work my way up to a guest on the convention circuit, that’ll be success for me. Also, I want Wil Wheaton in an episode.“ Ed Note: Let’s make this happen people! Anyone know Wil?
You clearly put a lot of effort into the comic, and your passion for it shows through, what drives this?
“Two things: first, is my love for role-playing. It’s something I’ve done most of my life, and it’s very meaningful to me for all of the reasons I already stated. Not doing the best I could wouldn’t do justice to my love for it. Second to that is my desire to spend my life being creative. My day job is fine, but I would like to be able to spend my days making film and art, and writing, and producing things that other’s can enjoy.“
What’s the longest game of D&D you’ve had? (Excuse my ignorance, but I’ve heard they can go on for a while?)
“Well, that depends on how we define “game”. Most D&D games are broken down into pieces; starting with the Campaign, and cutting that into Parts or Episodes, and cutting those down into Adventures, and finally the individual daily sessions. The longest session of D&D I ever played was probably 8 or 10 hours. Generally we don’t play more than 3 or 4 at a time, as attention starts to wane, people get cranky, and I start killing characters. A whole campaign can take anywhere from 3 months, to several years, depending on how it’s written and how attached players get to their PCs.“
If you could be any vegetable for a day, what would you be and why?
“Definitely a cucumber, because getting pickled is the closest thing to achieving immortality in the vegetable kingdom.“
Any advice for anyone looking to start their own comic?
“Just do it. That’s the first step. The biggest thing holding people back is being intimidated by the steps and the process. But once you take that first step, you’re more than half-way there. The second thing I’d say, is don’t be afraid to ask for help, advice and support.
Tons of people have done or are currently doing whatever it is you hope to achieve and they’re a wealth of information. Reach out, start a conversation and picks their brains. And the most important thing for the success of any endeavour is: be nice to people! If you’re an asshole, you’re on your own, and success is really tough without support from others. The more enemies you make along the way, the longer and harder your climb will be.“
Do you have plans for any future ODS projects? Or are you completely zoned in on the series at the moment?
“I have plenty of ideas rattling around in my head, including some spin-off series, but ultimately, I don’t want to think about anything but the web series right now. If it’s not my focus, I won’t do justice to what I know it can be. So, until the end of this year at least, nothing but the web series for me!“
Be sure to check the OneDieShort website for updates on the series, behind the scenes pics and more. The webseries is due to be released in January 2014, if you wish to contribute to the series then there’s a Paypal donation box on the OneDieShort website.
I’d love to thank Matt for taking time out to talk to me and being in the first edition of VS.