Cass McPhee 0:07
(as the MTO theme plays and fades out) Hello Moonbase-ian’s! This is Cass McPhee and I’m here with Deej Sylvis, and we’re your co-producers for Moonbase Theta, Out. We’re here with another creator chat – last time it was Deej and Leeman. And, you know, sorry, we just couldn’t – he’s just so busy, and so lovable and liked that we couldn’t get him back, so. (laughs)
D.J. Sylvis 0:36
Yeah, ya know, when you’re HP Lovecraft, Roger Bragado-Fischer and the mayor of a small Ohio town…
Cass McPhee 0:41
Now that there are two producers, it seemed like, you know, why not bring them in? And now mostly, it’ll be me asking bead stuff, because Deej has done most of the stuff! But I’m here, too. (both laugh)
D.J. Sylvis 0:53
Well, I think there are a few places where we’ll get some answers from you as well.
Cass McPhee 0:57
Maybe. (Deej laughs). What I was thinking of starting off with was, when I was listening to the previous chat, you’ve kind of went through a little bit of the process of how things got – got going for season one. So why don’t we kind of pick it up where we left off, like where you left off at that chat. There would had been about 8,000 listens at that point. And you were talking about where you were going to go with season two. And it was – I think it was probably April that it came out, around a year ago. Right?
D.J. Sylvis 1:26
Yeah, it was somewhere right around there, I believe.
Cass McPhee 1:28
So you record your chat. You’re feeling pretty good about it. Take us through kind of where you went when you started getting season two together. And then once we kind of talk through how a season two came about, I’ll start asking some questions that folks have thrown at us.
D.J. Sylvis 1:42
Oh, wow. Put me on the spot. Why don’t you?
Cass McPhee 1:44
D.J. Sylvis 1:45
Season two… How it came about was really that – well, first of all, that we had people who actually cared about the show enough to make me want to a season two. It was – I mentioned several times before that season one was intended to be self contained, 20 episodes and out, leave Roger you know, lost there on Base Theta and walk away. But people started getting invested in it. And so I was like, well, I could try to tell more. But you don’t really know the other characters yet. You only know what Roger has said about them. And so I decided the only way to really keep telling the story was to do what turned out to be an entire second season that just focused on the same storyline. But we heard the other characters, we heard Roger behind the scenes from his official reports. And we heard more from Alex on Earth, which was absolutely essential as well. So my first big thing was figuring out those people. I had referred to them all but figuring out how I was going to create them. Of course, figuring out how to cast them, which was interesting, I had written very specific characters, that I had to go and find actors who fit those types. So that was fun. And yeah, just working from what I thought I would want to know. I always do, when I’m writing this stuff, I always start with a big file that’s just like a bunch of random notes. And then I start finding ways that they organize. And I started separating them into episodes and figuring out… I decided to try to stick with monologues as much as I could. There are a few dialogue scenes now and then but again, I felt like it was just such a good tool for getting to know a character that I wanted to stick with the monologue format as much as I could. So I decided that I would do – what was the season, it was 10 episodes, right? (both laugh)
Cass McPhee 3:44
Yes, it was – it was ten episodes.
D.J. Sylvis 3:45
I decided on a 10 – 10 episode season, and I still wanted Roger to be the center of it. So I was like, okay, so Roger is gonna be in every episode. But then how do I break up five other characters over 10 episodes. And so I gave each of them four episodes that they would be they would appear in. And that sort of evened things out so everyone would have the same number. And then I figured out how to tell their personal stories in four episodes.
Cass McPhee 4:11
It’s kind of a nice number to kind of limit yourself to.
D.J. Sylvis 4:14
Yeah, I think that I just – it helps to have a structure and helps me at least have a structure in place ahead of time. I certainly did for for season one. So… But yeah, so I broke it all up like that, although I do kind of break that a little bit in the finale because I bring Michell in regardless, but I was like Michell deserves one more little hurrah, so to speak.
Cass McPhee 4:36
(laughs) In just – just a little… just a little something – at the end of it. He had the most kind of character movement, I think.
D.J. Sylvis 4:44
Yeah, and I kind of felt like to, in the season finale, that I wanted to hear at least a little bit from everyone who was still awake. So still alive.
Cass McPhee 4:53
(laughs) Yeah, still awake. Also most still alive. Important.
D.J. Sylvis 4:58
But yeah, so that’s sort of how I put it together structure wise. And then I started writing things. And actually, I’ve got to talk about this in one of the other answers as well, but sort of, we sort of structured the creation of the show the same way we did in season one with rehearsing bits and send them back – and sending them back to me. And I was doing revisions and everything. Yeah. And then I went to Australia for (laugh) the summer. Well, for like, what was it a month or something? A couple weeks, three weeks or something. And that was when I did like the bulk of the editing for the season. So.
Cass McPhee 5:32
Yeah, that was interesting.
D.J. Sylvis 5:34
I was awake, like, three hours before my – my in laws, my hosts. And so I would try to like get the episodes edited and designed and everything while they were all asleep.
Cass McPhee 5:46
Yeah. So we have a question from Holly, who was wondering how much harder it was to do the soundscape editing? (Deej laughs) ‘Cause of course, you know, season one was simple. Just Roger. And you know, there are a couple little tiny things like a little Oh, “we we lost the signal for a second” kind of situations. But other than that, it was very simple. So how… how was it expanding that in season two?
D.J. Sylvis 6:11
Yeah, it was a pretty huge leap, I had… the first – because I did like, there were those couple little times where we lost a signal or else I added a different sort of like beep in for Moddy Sarah, in season one, but I wasn’t even doing any background noise or anything in season one. He was apparently (laughs) editing all of his reports very well before he sent them out. Doing the soundscape in season two was a big difference. I had just started in one of the bonus episodes at the end of season one, to add a few effects in. Just – I was just starting to teach myself. But for season two – well, before I even talking about effects, it was a lot – took a lot more time editing takes from the actors as well. Because Leeman and I, having had a working relationship together for well over a decade at this point, he pretty much knew from the scripts what I wanted, and sent me takes that were very… very deliberate and very like, complete. He – he tends to just sort of like do one take and he’s done. And I accepted that because he knew (laughs) what the hell I wanted. (Cass laughs) But adding all these other actors who had never – most of whom had never worked with me before, that was a lot different. And so I wound up spending a lot more time helping to develop the characters through their work. And some of the actors work in different – I mean, every actor has a different style, and work in different ways, and give me more ad libs, or give me more alternate takes. So editing takes from the actors was a lot different from what I was used to. But then doing the actual design for the episodes was just a huge, huge thing for me. I added – first thing I did was I created sort of a room noise for every area on the base, that I would plug into the background. And for some of them was pretty simple for like Michell and Roger, it’s fairly the same. It’s just this little cubicle with air conditioning in the background. But then for Nessa in the garden, it’s fairly involved. And then… the observatory, because I kind of assumed the observatory has a lot of moving parts and has a lot of stuff going on all the time, like the controlling the telescopic arrays and everything. And so I had more sort of random noises in that soundscape. And then just sort of making little decisions like what type of type of chair each person was sitting in. So I would add some chair noises and squeaks and slides and stuff. And then there were a few little fun things like creating tardigrade noises.
Cass McPhee 8:50
Yeah, little squeak buddies.
D.J. Sylvis 8:52
Yeah there’s really – there was really nowhere to go from as far as like designing what noise a like… giant tardigrade would make. (laughs)
Cass McPhee 9:00
Do tardigrades make noise? Like – obviously it would be such a tiny amount of noise, we wouldn’t be able to hear it. But like, do they make noise as the normal size tardigrades?
D.J. Sylvis 9:11
I have no idea. Like, I’ve never found anything where anyone talked about it. Again, because they’re microscopic. I don’t really know if it’s something that anyone’s really tried to record. But I just sort of watched them and they have, at least the ones that I was looking at – there are different tardigrades, of course – but the ones that I was looking at had sort of like a little plunger thing on the front of their mouth, were they… on the front of their face, where they like sucked in water, or sucked in whatever they were… So I sort of assumed, Okay, well, maybe that makes a little sort of like, plunging noise and sort of – I sort of added this little wheezing noise, where they were like going “pjeww! pjeww!” And it was really cute. And I was like, that works for me.
Cass McPhee 9:49
Did you make that noise and then just pitch it up? (laughs)
D.J. Sylvis 9:52
No, no, I looked around on Freesound. I use Freesound extensively. That’s where I got most of the effects for the season. And I think I just looked for little like, plunger type sounds – not plunger as in like toilet plunger, plunger as in like, hypodermic plunger type thing.
Cass McPhee 10:08
D.J. Sylvis 10:09
So that was interesting. And then creating the olfactory for Michell was interesting because again, it was an effect that there’s no real, real life equivalent. So I tried to just think of it as like, it was probably just doing a little spritz in the air when it gave that to you. And so it’s just this little like… that’s, again, I just found an effect that was like a little like, spritz noise and just paired it up so that every time it happened, it was twice, and then just threw it in the background every time that Michell’s in there talking about it. So every so often, it’ll just be this little “ksst ksst!” Or as, as Lehman, as Lehman would say, “squirt, squirt.”
Cass McPhee 10:47
Squirt squirt, yeah. Part of me likes to imagine that Michell has a – has like just an array of little squirt bottles that he’s (Deej laughs) that like he’s talking to the computer, but the computer doesn’t actually do anything. He just has to grab the squirt bottle and go “ksst ksst!”
D.J. Sylvis 11:03
I mean, it’s possible. He does break it though, in the finale.
Cass McPhee 11:07
Yeah, yeah, we know it’s an actual part of the station, or the base.
D.J. Sylvis 11:14
Which was kind of an interesting thing to design, too, when I got to that, because I had to combine… I’m not really great at combining into multiple effects. That takes me a lot more time. And that will I’ll talk about Wilder’s arm in a second, too. But when you punch it at the end, I had to sort of combine the punching and metal breaking at the same time. And a sort of losing that little “squirt squirt” noise. And it was kind of interesting creating that on the fly. And then yeah, that was probably the other really complex series of design for it was Wilder’s arm.
Cass McPhee 11:46
D.J. Sylvis 11:46
Which… I had no idea at all like, I mean, obviously, I’ve heard artificial limbs and cybernetic arms in sci-fi and stuff. But figuring out what I could do, that would make sense. And that would give that impression. I’m still not entirely sure I pulled it off (laughs) to be honest, but.
Cass McPhee 12:05
Feels like a big piece of machinery to me? Which I mean, that’s fine. Maybe it is, but it feels kind of – it feels chunky.
D.J. Sylvis 12:13
Yeah, and that’s fair. I kind of wanted it to be obvious enough that people were gonna know what’s going on. And so I may have sort of overshot a little bit. But what I did was I took, I figured that they would be like standard servo motors, and I took a… I think it was a camera lens effect? Just like a camera lens, like opening and closing. And I played around with that and pitched it down a lot and stretched it out and messed around with it. And I added some clicks behind it. And when it starts going bad, I started adding like metal stress noises behind it, so you can hear the things are cracking, going bad. Yeah, I made – again, at the beginning of the season, I made like probably three or four standard Wilder’s arm effects that I used most of the season (both laugh), and just sort of clip or turn backwards or something every once in a while. So yeah, that was quite the experience, too. The whole thing… This was – that was the one part of it that I’d never done. I mean, I know about acting, I know about writing. I didn’t know anything at all about sound design. So I’m sure there are many people who do it better than I do. But I was absurdly proud when I would actually pull something off.
Cass McPhee 13:22
(laughs) That’s kind of the nice thing about podcasting in general. And having a show that goes from a small scope to a larger scope is you can slowly ramp up to it.
D.J. Sylvis 13:31
Yeah. And I mean, I think you can definitely hear, even just from the beginning to the end of the season, or from the beginning of the season to the stuff I’m doing now for like MonkeyTales episodes that I’ve gotten better, or at least gotten better at making more intricate effects. Although I’ve also started farming a few episodes out to other people, too.
Cass McPhee 13:48
Yeah, I mean, you know, you – you only have 70 projects on the go. And you’re but one person. (both laugh) So you’re talking a little bit about… so you, obviously – you’re an experienced writer, you’ve written a whole lot of stuff. Did you find – Evan was wanting to know that, did you find that whether the characters changed once they were cast?
D.J. Sylvis 14:08
There were a few tweaks to match the actors in particular. I mean, I think, talking about when they were cast, they certainly changed from anything that I had thought about in season one. Well before I wrote, but I tried to write… I think I had the first few episodes written before I did the casting. And so the changes once – I mean, from what I had written to what they cast, there are a few things. When I cast Tau Zaman as Ashwini, I made Ashwini Bengali because Tau is Bengali and since I wasn’t married to anything beforehand that to make that match the the actor who’s portraying it. For Alex, I gave Taneko more lines of Portuguese once I knew that he spoke it fluently (laughs) I mean, that definitely helps. But having a chance to work on that and of course, he had more notes on the background of the character and what, like, it’s like to actually live in Rio or Sao Paolo, because he’s lived in both. Actually lives in Sao Paolo now I believe. And stuff like Tina, I think, Oh, my God, just Wilder. I think Wilder became more Tina Daniels every time that we worked through a draft. (both laugh) And at this point, I don’t think I could possibly like untangle the two of them.
Cass McPhee 15:28
They are one!
D.J. Sylvis 15:28
She would just give me these extensive takes of monologues. And she’s probably the one who did the most ad libbing, which was great. And I encourage that in first drafts, because I mean, who knows whether something’s working for an actor better than the actor who’s reading it. But she would just sort of just go off sometimes, too, and just ramble. And sometimes it would just be Tina. And sometimes it would be Tina as Wilder. And yeah. (both laugh) It was pretty exciting. And I’m absolutely certain that as – as Wilder devoped through the season, when you hear her in like the last few episodes, that is a lot of stuff that Tina has specifically brought to the table
Cass McPhee 16:05
Mm hmm. You were mentioning that tend to go lives in Brazil, did you have a particular reason that you set it in Brazil? Nerys was wanting to know.
D.J. Sylvis 16:15
When I originally started it, I wanted to place it somewhere that wasn’t just the US and Canada, I mean, everybody does… tends to sort of like wind up there. And I have friends from there, my friend, Mary, who’s done our Portuguese translations is from Sao Paolo. And it just seemed like another interesting locale to look at. Everybody wants to know how the future affects North America. And I thought I could at least go a little bit different. And I know that there’s a big launch pad near Rio, the Alcântara launch pad that they use for mostly satellite launches, but I knew there was somewhere that they could be legitimately sending people into space. I tried to… even though it’s kind of silly, it’s far enough in the future that all sorts of things could have happened as far as like developing other space programs. But I tried to stick to places where I know there are launch pads now and places where I know there are Space tele – telescopes now to sort of make those connections for the future as well.
Cass McPhee 17:13
When you were writing season two, Evan has a question of whether anything in the story surprised you as the bigger picture unfolded?
D.J. Sylvis 17:23
It’s – I mean, everything surprises you (laughs) when you’re writing a new part of the story. But I mean, as far as stuff that specifically didn’t seem to come out of season one at all, I think Tumnus might be the biggest thing. Because – like, we refer several times in season one to Oh, everyone thinks Ashwini is talking to zirself, and thinks they’re kind of a kook because of that. But – and I did always want that to be Oh, well, Ze is talking to zir computer. But I didn’t really think so much of that computer developing as a character until I started sort of outlining season two. And then particularly when I cast my friend Jen Ponton in the part.
Cass McPhee 18:02
D.J. Sylvis 18:03
I was like, having someone with that big a personality doing it. (laughs) It was hard to not sort of play with that personality in the character as well. And then I think writing Alex was a little bit more of a surprise, too? Because you don’t know really, really anything about Alex as a character in season one. Alex is sort of just this, like faceless name that you attach Roger’s desire to and Roger’s, like, loneliness to. But then developing him as more of a character especially near the end when he’s telling you what’s happened on earth. And he is like explaining why he has to leave. That was stuff I definitely didn’t expect going in. And then we’ve done a bunch of fun flashback stuff since then. The only stuff that was that was technically Season Two was Dr. Just which again, I had no idea at all that we were eventually going to do flashbacks and I didn’t -and these other characters that I had thrown around as just names, like Dr. Ringling and Dr. Day are mentioned in season one, but you have no idea who they are.
Cass McPhee 19:11
Oh, I don’t remember them being mentioned. Do you remember what episode it is?
D.J. Sylvis 19:14
Not off the top of my head. He does mention them. Roger mentioned them at some point. He doesn’t mention Dr. Just but he mentions Dr. Ringling and Dr. Day at some point, I’m pretty certain. Because I had chosen those names on purpose. They were friends of mine. And so I’d just sort of thrown their names and just as a little tribute, but yeah, then they became Dr. Ringling and Dr. Day.
Cass McPhee 19:35
Like Ringling and Day sounds like it needs to be a spin-off I’m just saying. (both laugh)
D.J. Sylvis 19:43
But it does, too. And like the names together sound like a comedy team. So.
Cass McPhee 19:46
D.J. Sylvis 19:47
But yeah, so that was that was fun. And then of course we’ve done a lot of flashback stuff since then – Before the Moon. But just to keep – like stick to specifically Season Two all the stuff in Doctor Just I would never have imagined I was gonna get to create – like just Roger in that episode was a Roger that you never get to hear anywhere else.
Cass McPhee 20:04
Oh, that was a – that was a wonderful Roger. I really enjoyed that.
D.J. Sylvis 20:08
(laughs) It was a very radio DJ Roger, and my constant references to Groundhog Day in that episode. (both laugh) punched it up
Cass McPhee 20:19
Better put on yer booties ’cause it’s cold out there!
D.J. Sylvis 20:22
It’s cold outside! (laughs)
Cass McPhee 20:23
(laughs) Did you find – so Trace wants to know, did you find the shift from a single voice to multiple voices changed your working process at all?
D.J. Sylvis 20:33
Yeah, and we touched on this a little bit in talking about the process that I had to sort of adapt to people who needed a bit more direction than Leeman. And again, it’s not saying that they were like, in any way less qualified actors or less experienced actors. It’s just that Leeman knows me. Leeman has like, read my dialogue for as long as just about anyone. So having to learn to explain things more to the actors was a big deal. Starting to slip in dialogue scenes was kind of a big deal to me. Because one of the things that I really enjoyed about switching to podcasts from writing plays in general was being able to control the pacing more deliberately. You don’t get to choose how an actor says line on stage. But once you give me your recorded lines for a podcast, I can add pauses anywhere I want. (Cass laughs) But doing in dialogue scenes is a lot different. And so starting to switch to that was definitely something I hadn’t really worked on before. And then I think I’ve talked a little bit about editing as well how like editing takes from actors was a lot different from what I was used to with Leeman.
Cass McPhee 21:40
Tina wanted to know – Tina, from our cast –
D.J. Sylvis 21:43
Cass McPhee 21:44
Was there something you thought would be challenging, but wasn’t?
D.J. Sylvis 21:48
Something I thought would be challenging, but wasn’t – I thought all of it was going to be challenging. But I think I expected finding the other characters’ voices in this story was going to be more difficult than it turned out to be after, you know, writing from Roger’s point of view for so long and creating them sort of in his image. But I think, particularly since we found actors – every actor in this show has just been so amazing, and has like jumped in and worked in developing the characters through the drafts and like through… like individual consultations and working on them. And I really think that having just such a great cast that it was much easier to create the rest of the cast than I expect – the rest of the characters that I expected. Especially, since she asked, Wilder. (laughs) I’ll just drop that in there for her and give her a little present.
Cass McPhee 22:38
(laughs) Okay, and now we need to ask: have they heard of Pokemon? (Deej laughs) Who is most likely to have an emulator? What version would they play? What’s their favorite Pokemon? Is Pokemon still a thing? Or is it just vintage?
D.J. Sylvis 22:49
Alright, some of those I’m not answering. (both laugh) As far as – I’m gonna, I’m gonna sort of stick to have they heard of Pokemon (both laugh) try to get that one at least answered. I mean, I think Wilder definitely does. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before anywhere. But Wilder actually has double degrees in – I think it’s Electrical Engineering and Media Studies. So part of the reason why she’s so obsessed with the memes and everything is she has done extensive study in the media of previous eras. And so I’m 100% sure that she loves Pokemon, that she got into it and found like, play – ways that she could play it and tries to like talk to all her friends about it, and they don’t care. (laughs) And I think Ashwini still knows, and probably still plays every once in a while. Ashwini seems to be, again, fairly plugged into a lot of media. I mean, based on zir fan fiction, they, their interests go quite a ways back. But I don’t think anyone else really knows or cares. And I think Wilder probably got into it as much just because of the name as anything else. (laughs) I have a feeling she is quite fond of Squirtle (Cass laughs) it sounds like a name she would love. What do you think? You played a character, you were part of the show. Do you think that Michell would know Pokemon?
Cass McPhee 24:14
Oh, God, no. (both laugh) I don’t think he knows. And I think if he heard about it, he would think it was the stupidest thing. I think he’s, he’s definitely not into Pokemon. (both laugh)
D.J. Sylvis 24:30
Yeah, I have a feeling it’s a pretty niche thing. Again, I’d say probably Wilder, Ashwini, not much of anybody else in the main cast would care. It’s again, like the meme thing where she goes on and on about it. And they’re just sort of like yeah, that’s – that’s our Wilder again.
Cass McPhee 24:44
Speaking of memes. We got a couple of more questions from Nerys, one of them is: will Roger ever find out what a Doge is? (Deej laughs) And then also what are the favorite Dairymilk flavors of characters like to eat?
D.J. Sylvis 24:57
Will Roger ever find out what a Doge is… I think – and again, this sort of ties to last one, I think if he wanted to know he already would. Wilder has given him lots of information. Wilder has given everyone lots of information about every meme that she knows of, and nobody cares. So I think he is never gonna find out. (Cass laughs) ‘Cause he doesn’t know – he doesn’t know of course why Doggo is so funny. As far as Dairymilk, the Dairymilk thing really sort of became – a lot of little references that were just in season one sort of became a bigger thing in… because of fans of the show? And Dairymilk somehow sort of became a bigger thing in this because of that. There are jokes all throughout – there’s a joke, a nice joke in the Wi-Fi Sci-Fi minisode about Dairymilk that I hope I’ll get to share with everybody something someday. But yeah, I think most people are happy to take what they can get. (laughs) They don’t really care that much. Getting any chocolate on Base Theta is apparently a struggle. So Ashwini and Roger I’m sure are purists and only want you know, the plain regular dairy milk. They don’t want any mix-ins or weird stuff. I’m sure Wilder wants them to send every like new wild flavor up. Wilder’s the one who would try like durian or bonito flakes or anything they wanted to mix in the chocolate (laughs). And I think Nessa would probably you know, go along with her just for the new experiences.
Cass McPhee 26:23
Michell probably a dark chocolate purist.
D.J. Sylvis 26:26
He could be, I think he might like the fruit not as well.
Cass McPhee 26:28
D.J. Sylvis 26:29
I think fruit and nuts might be you know, acceptable. Make sense?
Cass McPhee 26:32
I like the fruit n’ nut!
D.J. Sylvis 26:33
Yeah. See, there you go. So that works. It’s typecasting! Alex, I don’t think likes sweets much at all. So I don’t think he cares much for chocolate.
Cass McPhee 26:41
D.J. Sylvis 26:42
But Alex doesn’t really have to worry about it anyway, Alex can walk to the corner store and get Dairymilk if he wants to.
Cass McPhee 26:48
So… Oh, here’s a question number one from Tina: after working – after getting to know the cast of season two and kind of hearing the reactions to it. Is there anything – and you maybe you don’t have to tell us what but – is there anything that you regret? Or that you would retcon? If you could?
D.J. Sylvis 27:07
(laughs) That seems like a minefield, waiting to… being unexplored? (Cass laughs) I don’t know if I have any big regrets. I mean, there’s a good chance that things that I haven’t gotten to use yet could still show up. But I mean, one of the beautiful things about doing a little indie audio drama that has no restraints, and no one paying the bills, but some Patreon backers is I can throw in anything I want. So anything that I really wanted to do, I think I got done. I feel like the season became what I really wanted to, I feel like we had a good chance to explore each character. The things that I really want to do that I haven’t done, of course, are again, like planned for season three or else I’ve gotten to slip in a bunch with the Before the Moon episodes as well. The Before the Moon stuff will start showing up in our regular feed in June. And I think that once we get to share those with a bigger audience as well that it’s going to be interesting to see how people react to that. As far as stuff that I’d like to put in that I haven’t yet. I’m still trying to bring in more multicultural elements. I’d like to share more of what’s happened in other places in the world. Again, trying not to just focus on the Americas. And I have some plans already in that vein for season three. So yeah, not so much regrets, but things that I haven’t gotten to.
Cass McPhee 28:36
And our last question that we’ll get to before we kind of start moving into, oh, what are we going to talk about next? Maybe what what could be coming in the future? (Deej laughs) But Leslie wanted to know: did the success of season one intimidate you at all in the creation of season two? And if so how did you press forward?
D.J. Sylvis 28:56
(laughs) As flattering is that is, I’m not sure if the extreme success of season one is necessarily how I would describe it. I mean, it was far more successful than I expected. But I mean, we went from again, you mentioned 8,000 downloads at the end of season one, to we’re at – currently, we just broke 150,000 downloads now. So I honestly think that season two took off more than I expected. But as far as the pressure I felt going from season one to season two. Like I mentioned before, we’re just trying to convince the audience they’re going to want to hear the same story, again, was probably the biggest thing. Making that decision and really like, committing to it meant that I had to find even in Roger’s monologues ways to make sure I wasn’t just telling people things they would already know, but expanding in interesting ways and adding to the background of the story each time. And – I mean again, bringing in a bunch of talented people to help me with that (laughs) made a huge difference. (Cass laughs) There are always sort of two ways that I keep myself creating, keep myself writing projects. And the first one is always bringing in other amazing people, whether they’re writers or actors or editors, or anything that add their own energy to the mix. And I mean, people who then I don’t want to let down (laughs) and making like really public commitments to like, the future of projects. So that again, I feel like people are paying enough attention that I don’t want to drop the ball. And I did both of them (laughs) moving into season two. So I think that’s how I kept myself going.
Cass McPhee 30:39
So. We’ve answered your questions. I don’t know, I’m trying to think if I have any questions for you. Do you have any questions for me?
D.J. Sylvis 30:48
Um… how did you feel about the fact – and you like, gave me some feedback on things and helped me to tweak some things as we went through. But how did you feel about creating a character who had gone through some of the same struggles you’ve gone through?
Cass McPhee 31:06
It’s interesting. Um –
D.J. Sylvis 31:09
I know, that’s kind of a personal question. And you can tell me no, if you don’t want to answer (Cass laughs) But I just I felt like in, in ways that like, were probably a lot closer than some of the other character – actors to their characters. There were things that Michell went through that are kind of connected, and I’m wondering if that was okay, if that bothered you, if it didn’t really come into it as much.
Cass McPhee 31:34
It’s interesting, because Michell is such a different person in a lot of ways from me, like more… more of a jock (both laugh) you know, more physically active and more… way more confrontational. Like, to the point where it’s almost the opposite of me, like everything he does is confrontation, and I try to make it so that 0% of anything I do is like – to a fault, honestly. So it, I think the big difference is, like for me, I don’t think I would ever be in a position of “I’m in a public place, and I need to transition and you’re gonna know about it.” I mean, honestly, I’m not even out at work. Although if anybody asked me, I’d be like, Oh, fuck, yeah. (laughs) But I’ve just, it’s not something that I necessarily feel like I need other people to… I don’t need to get that from the outside quite as much as Michell definitely does? So we’re such different people. It’s – it’s very interesting that – I think that’s kind of true to the trans experience, of course, because so many of us have totally different experiences. It’s not like there’s one narrative. (laughs)
D.J. Sylvis 32:45
Oh, yeah. For sure.
Cass McPhee 32:46
So, but I felt that his struggle was realistic, and that his… it was nice to have somebody dealing with that kind of – that kind of issue. I’m glad that his character wasn’t completely focused on it? I think I would have been less comfortable with that. But I think it’s also okay for that to be part of his…
D.J. Sylvis 33:08
Yeah, he was much more focused on being a dick.
Cass McPhee 33:10
Yeah! He was very focused on just just – just being a dick! (Deej laughs) Like, he’s, that’s the main thrust of this character (both laugh). He’s a dick. Um, and, you know, the reason that he’s a dick is not because he’s trans.
D.J. Sylvis 33:24
Cass McPhee 33:25
He’s just, that’s one of the things that people can use against him, and that he can feel that there – people are using against him.+
D.J. Sylvis 33:33
Yeah. And I mean, I tried… And again, like you were really helpful in telling me when you thought things didn’t work, or when you thought that, like a – a line change would make a difference here and there. And I tried really hard to make sure that no one was deliberately using that against him either. Like other than people on the Enclave who were jerks to start with.
Cass McPhee 33:54
People who even out-dicked Michell amazingly enough. (both laugh)
D.J. Sylvis 34:00
That naughty Enclave Officer.
Cass McPhee 34:02
(laughs) That was a fun scene to do. I’m – I’m glad people are gonna, you know, I hope our Patreon folks have enjoyed it. But I know when it hits a wider audience, there’s going to be people who go, oh, gee, wish I’d gotten in on this sooner (laughs) because that – I mean, that episode’s fun. And but then, you know, every episode of the Before the Moon has been like, Oh, this is a cool perspective. I’m looking forward to this. So.
D.J. Sylvis 34:26
And how has it been for you moving over into a production role? Do you feel like that’s changed how you look at the show as a cast member? Do you feel like you’ve enjoyed sort of like creating the sense of community which you’ve definitely done a lot more than I was able to do?
Cass McPhee 34:44
Um, I’ve certainly tried although you did so much of the groundwork. I’ve basically just had to keep, you know – like you already had the – your finger in the hole in the dike and I just had to go over and stick my finger in so you could go do other things, like (both laugh) Sure. Occasionally another hole would poke up. But like, you know, I wouldn’t have even known that there was a dike there if you hadn’t, like, you know. So I don’t know, I’m – I need to get better at it, there’s a lot of things that I want to… that I want to learn in terms of – I would like to be better at marketing and networking and doing all those things. I have a problem with, um, how would I describe this? I don’t want to bother people. And that’s very bad when you’re trying to market something? (laughs)
D.J. Sylvis 35:25
Yeah, I’m with you there.
Cass McPhee 35:27
But I hate – I hate being like, hey, check out my thing! (Deej laughs) Because, you know, I don’t want to interrupt people, but also, hey, check out my thing! You know. (Deej laughs) I’m gonna have to buckle down real hard when we get to like, looking at how we’re going to raise funds for season three, because that’s going to be a whole thing.
D.J. Sylvis 35:45
Cass McPhee 35:45
And I’m going to need to do a good chunk of that, because you’re going to be busy making season three into words that we can say. (both laugh)
D.J. Sylvis 35:56
Yeah, we have to start talking about that soon.
Cass McPhee 35:58
D.J. Sylvis 35:59
I mean, we’ve got a few things to say today as well. But I mean, we need to start having talks about that offline. Or off chat. (laughs)
Cass McPhee 36:07
Yeah, no, we’re, we’re gonna keep this one to ourselves. Sorry, folks. (laughs) But we do have a little bit of – little tidbits that we can dole out to
D.J. Sylvis 36:16
Cass McPhee 36:17
Just to whet your appetite.
D.J. Sylvis 36:19
We make our clumsy segue to the end of our list of notes here.
Cass McPhee 36:22
You have a few notes here that maybe, you maybe let’s slip on on Patreon?
D.J. Sylvis 36:29
Yeah, I was trying to – and this was like a month, a month and a half ago, when… I have a pretty full notes file, right now, for season three, I have, I think nine pages of notes at this point for season three, that I haven’t really… Again, I sort of start work by just collecting random notes, and that’s all it is yet. But I know the big arcs, I know what’s going to happen generally, with the characters, I know where the season ends. Getting there from where we start out is going to be an experience. But I made up a list of sort of vague little things that I mentioned on Patreon. And I thought I would sort of include those here as well. I’ll just go through them. And then if you have comments or questions after any of them, we can – we can pause in between each. The first thing is the season is going to start right, right where it ended. Like immediately after Tumnus – Tumnus revealed themselves to Roger. We’re probably going to do actually a bit of a prologue that is just focused on those two characters before we start into the main season three. So that’s, that’s the big – probably one of the biggest things is we are starting immediately from where we left off.
Cass McPhee 37:38
By prologue Is that like a bonus episode? Before things start, maybe?
D.J. Sylvis 37:43
I’m not sure yet, the action of what happens in that prologue is going to wind up sort of shaping it. Because the first thing that Tumnus and Roger have to learn to do together is – although it may be kind of, kind of obvious as a fairly big thing. And so just sort of getting them through that process, I’m just gonna explore and see what the where that takes us. But so it may be a series of like minisodes, and maybe a bonus episode before the season. But I definitely have that in mind as a sort of a little prologue, because that’s going to be them working together before we like, get anywhere with the main plot of season three. The second one is similarly on Earth, we’re going to be starting right away from finding out that Alex and Moddy Sarah have made their way into this new community in Cape Canaveral. And so, there’s going to be a full plotline focused on what’s going on down there as well.
Cass McPhee 38:42
Cape Canaveral. That sounds familiar…
D.J. Sylvis 38:44
Doesn’t it, though? Again, I said, I just tried to sort of focus on places where I know, there’s going to be all of that tech waiting… Dot dot dot. Next point, there are going to be some significant new characters in both locations on the moon and on Earth. So I’ve already got at least a few like big characters that are gonna get involved in the plotline, both places that we’re going to be casting new people, we’re going to be adding some new folks, probably hearing back from some that you may not expect as well. But we’re definitely going to be adding new folks to expand the world of it.
Cass McPhee 39:27
That’s going to be exciting!
D.J. Sylvis 39:30
(laughs) Another little subplot is going to be, we’re going to dig deeper into the corporate systems on Earth. We’ve never really talked at all about how things run or how things are actually going down there by the end of the season. And so we’re going to tell a little bit more of that story. And it’s not just to give more lines to the Enclave Officer but
Cass McPhee 39:50
That’s exactly what I was gonna say, Oh, no, are we gonna have to hear some more from that –
D.J. Sylvis 39:54
Cass McPhee 39:55
I’m guessing very good looking –
D.J. Sylvis 39:57
You know, he is just you know, writing off the top of my head. He is dashingly good looking and you know I think most people around him have a crush on him at all times. (Cass laughs) Um, the next thing, there’s going to be more original poetry in the show. In the season two finale, we added the first original poem that Roger wrote to Alex, which, actually, it was an older piece of mine that I sort of integrated into the show. But we’re definitely going to do more of that. Probably more original poetry instead of using more previous – more like existing poetry, existing poets. I think Roger has gotten a little bit of a taste for it. And now that he’s completely out of touch with Alex he’s brooding and needs a way to sort of get that out. And what better way to brood and get your feelings out then bad poetry?
Cass McPhee 40:47
Oh, man, he’s gonna have like an emo hair cut (Deej laughs), and he’s gonna be wearing a striped shirt, and it’s gonna be great.
D.J. Sylvis 40:54
He’s gonna be yelling at Tumnus that they don’t understand him. Um, the structure – and I’ve sort of hinted at this, but the structure is probably going to change to a lot more dialogue in season three. Because it’s gonna be a lot more active. And we’re never going to completely get rid of the monologues, I love those, they’re too good for revealing character. But we’re probably going to hear a lot more dialogue scenes.
Cass McPhee 41:16
Are you thinking that you’ll be doing a recording asynchronously or trying to get people together when possible?
D.J. Sylvis 41:23
I think some of it’s gonna depend. It’s hard to make that decision until I do some writing. If we’re – if we’re gonna wind up having characters with six or seven people, it’s probably still too difficult to do, like simultaneous but if I have like a bunch of scenes over the – over the season that are like, just like Alex and Moddy Sarah or something like that, then I may try to get them together and play with those live. We wound up doing a lot of that for Before the Moon episodes, and I’ve really enjoyed getting the chance to rehearse live and to play live with the actors. I feel like it gives you a certain like, energy and spontaneity that is harder to capture with, just like folks recording their lines on their own and sending them in. My next point, this probably comes into it anyway, I’m – it’s probably something you could guess anyway, but pay close attention to those Before the Moon episodes when they come out. Like we’ve been, where are we at, we’re at… I think five just came out on the Patreon and we start with – with the episode one on the regular feed in June. But pay close attention to those every Before the Moon episode we’ve put out so far has hints to things that are going to happen in season three.
Cass McPhee 42:36
D.J. Sylvis 42:37
They aren’t just about the flashbacks. Like I didn’t – I don’t know if I intended that? But every one of them has had stuff in it that is like directly leading to plot lines in season three.
Cass McPhee 42:46
D.J. Sylvis 42:48
Um, there is still more to hear about Nessa and her story, which, again, has been so amazing and so well portrayed by Elissa Park. I can’t imagine not finding some way to integrate a few more messages or a few more stories. We’re not going to change anything, I have sworn that I would never try to – I think it would be way too corny to try to like bring Nessa back or something like that. But I’m not planning on changing plot lines. But there’s a lot more that you haven’t heard and I’m going to try to integrate some of that.
Cass McPhee 43:23
I seem to remember Elissa had a great comment in one of our Patreon bonuses where we asked people in the cast how they felt about Season Two and what they thought about you know what was going to happen next and she – She said “I’m gonna – I’m back baby!” (both laugh) and she’s gonna like have Nessa come back as like a Terminator kind of situation. (Deej laughs) I was like, Okay, I can get on board for this fanfic. Please let somebody write this.
D.J. Sylvis 43:51
I can’t believe we have fanfic. (Cass laughs) Um, we have two more things here. They’re kind of silly, but there’s at least one bullet point right now in my season three notes. That includes the word En-Soy-Ment. So you – you have not heard the last of EnSoyMent, and it is important enough that I have actually put it in my notes instead of just making jokes about it. So.
Cass McPhee 44:13
I seriously think we need – we need some graphic design around EnSoyMent so we can get some EnSoyMent Merch.
D.J. Sylvis 44:20
(laughs) That’s definitely true. And the last thing, I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: I promise. I solemnly swear to each of you who loves the show. Nothing. Nothing will ever happen to Cas and Pol. There is – I cannot make that claim for anyone else in the show. There are a lot of things that could happen, a lot of ways things could go wrong. But our Doggo friends are safe forever. I would never hurt a dog.
Cass McPhee 44:48
So on the “does the dog die dot com” website make sure it says “does not”. (laughs)
D.J. Sylvis 44:57
(laughs) Never. The rest of – the rest of the may be a cinder. But Cas and Pol will be standing on that cinder.
Cass McPhee 45:04
Yep, frolicking around. (both laugh)
D.J. Sylvis 45:07
Chasing the ball.
Cass McPhee 45:08
Yep. Everything’s fine for Cas and Pol.
D.J. Sylvis 45:11
Cass McPhee 45:12
All right. Is there anything in particular about, like the structure of season three or anything that you want to talk about more? I mean, I feel like you’ve kind of given them a nice glimpse, just through those points. But I mean, it’s coming. It’s a ways down the line. (laughs)
D.J. Sylvis 45:26
Yeah, I think the big thing is just that we are like, getting close to actually starting it now. There was a lot that I wanted to get done before we could dive into it. The biggest thing was finishing up the Before the Moon mini series, which I have one more episode to do script revisions on and then that side of it’s done so I can start working on something else writing all the time. So I – it’s going to be very soon that Cass and I are going to start sitting down and figuring out how to take my wild ideas and make them possible.
Cass McPhee 45:57
I’m looking forward to it. It’s gonna be fun.
D.J. Sylvis 46:00
But yeah, and of course like, just so many thanks to every one of you. I just can’t imagine wanting to do a season three or getting to a season three without the amazing support we’ve gotten. The people talking about the show, the people supporting us on Patreon, the people making jokes and like gifts and writing fanfic of all things, and just the community we have on Discord. I just can’t find words when I think about the stuff that the show has become. I never could have imagined it
Cass McPhee 46:29
If you want to drive Deej nuts, write fanfic because they can’t read it and (Deej laughs) but knowing it’s there makes them really happy but also they’re really curious, so like you know, write fanfic and put lots of really good tags. (laughs)
D.J. Sylvis 46:44
Yeah, in fact, what you could really do is just go into AO3 and just, like add a bunch of interesting titles, and put like one sentence in because I can’t click through so I wouldn’t know.
Cass McPhee 46:57
Yeah. There’s so many ways that you can taunt our creator.
D.J. Sylvis 47:02
I want tardigrade fanfic.
Cass McPhee 47:03
(laughs) I don’t even know how – what that would look like, but I want it too, now.
D.J. Sylvis 47:07
Just focused on the tardigrades. They had lines in Dr. Just, they can become characters.
Cass McPhee 47:11
Oh, yeah, that’s true. They could come to every character and their moment of stress and give them advice.
D.J. Sylvis 47:16
(singing) Little tardigrades come to me, saying Let it Be.
Cass McPhee 47:22
(laughs) I think we’ve covered a fair amount of ground. Thanks, everybody, for listening. I hope that you enjoy this and I hope that you are well and safe and we are thinking about you. And keep watching the moon.
D.J. Sylvis 47:35
(MTO theme music fades in) Yes, thank you so much, everyone.