• Thwackers

      And Then Plans Changed

      6 years ago


      As I warned, yes, we're pushing the Thwackers release schedule back by a week. But we have a very good reason - we just made it better.

      To the total annoyance of our post audio mixer who is delivering his audio on time, Geoff and I decided to do a bit more editing on Ep2 and 3. After taking a fresh look we realized we could tighen things up and pick up the pace a bit. We worked away last night and I'm really happen with the result. So deepest apologies but we only did it to make a better show! Trust me, it will be worth the wait. Here's the new release schdule:

      Thwackers Episode 2 "No Pain, No Game" - Monday, September 21, 2009

      Thwackers Episode 3 "WiiDistraction" - Monday, October 5, 2009

      In it's place this Monday I'll be posting a new journal entry all about our trip to PAX this year. As always please follow us on Twitter, tweet about us, and become a fan on Facebook! And thanks for your support![img]

    • Thwackers

      So what's the plan anyway?

      6 years ago

      I hope you’re here because you’ve watched the first episode of Thwackers and thoroughly enjoyed it. We just thought we should give you a quick rundown of where we’re going from here. Basically we’ve shot the first 3 episodes of Thwackers and will be releasing the next 2 in the coming weeks. Here’s our planned schedule:

      Ep 102 “No Pain, No Game†â€" Monday, September 14, 2009

      Ep 103 “WiiDistraction†â€" Monday, September 28, 2009

      Notice how I say “plannedâ€Â. We have the next 2 episodes well into post-production but of course we have no money and the people helping us with sound and color correction are doing it on their own time as volunteers so there’s a chance we won’t hit those dates. But be sure to check back, we’ll let you know if something’s changed and when the next episode will be out. Trust me, we’re doing everything possible to make this happen on time!
      Otherwise look for new entries in the Thwackers Production Journal each Monday (except release days) and behind the scenes pictures from each episode the week of its release. And as always, please follow us on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook and tell all your friends! Thanks!

    • Thwackers

      Writing Thwackers

      6 years ago


      Writing a web series is hard â€" there’s a lot to fit into a very short amount of time and when you’ve spent years upon years honing a craft that takes 120 pages to tell a story, trying to do it in 7 is tough. But we were taking the “Thwackers†idea back to the concept, back to the beginning to see what else we could come up with if we freed ourselves from what we’d already done. That was a great idea.

      When we started writing the pilot we really played around with format and talked about all the ways we could do it. Eventually we settled on writing a 22 minute show with three equal length acts. This gave us the most diverse show â€" it could fit into a broadcast half hour if we were able to sell it to someone who wanted that, or we had three 7 minute webisodes ready to go. Since we were now doing “Thwackers†ourselves, this meant that it will only be a web series so we had to focus on writing really funny, concise 7 minute episodes.

      We started meeting at Jeff’s office on a weekly basis to hash out our ideas. One of the biggest problems with the pilot? Not enough lady time! The pilot only had 3 female characters in it and they were pretty small roles. We really wanted to change that so Cat was our first and biggest addition. The old coach used to be another guy, it was a big sausage party. Our DOP, Glenn Pineau, actually sat in on a few of these meetings â€" he’s an accomplished writer/director himself. When we decided to “change the coach into a girlâ€Â, Glen threw out the idea “What if you actually change him into a girl, like in the show he becomes a she.†We were all stunned. Obviously this didn’t end up happening but this is the sort of wacky out-of-the-box thinking we needed to really change our approach. As Jeff put at one point we were “being too cerebral†and Glenn’s ideas really showed us to break away from logic.

      In the end we maybe didn’t take it that far out of reality but it certainly gave us the freedom to do whatever we wanted. We looked at “Arrested Development†and “Spaced†for inspiration. (BTW, if you haven’t seen those go do it, probably the funniest shows ever on TV.) We cut several characters to create more conflict and put more of the focus on the goal of becoming pro-gamers, rather than focusing on their lives outside gaming. Anything from the outside world had to directly conflict with their goal to game.

      The unfortunate side-effect of all this was that our cast from the pilot wasn’t going to work anymore. Only Jakob and Mikey made it to the new version and we changed their characters so much that re-casting was necessary. It really sucked to have to let everyone know this but I guess that’s the way it goes. They all took it well I think. And since a year had passed I don’t know if anyone was too surprised - most of them had moved on to other projects (or different countries). With any luck we’ll keep expanding “Thwackers†and we hope to bring them into future episodes in some capacity.

      [script page] So after a few weeks of re-vamping the concept Jeff took the first pass at the script and outlined the season. He then passed the script to me and back and forth we went, revising the draft, punching up jokes and just fine-tuning things. This went on for a while, maybe too long because Jeff finally said “Okay, we’re just going in circles now, let’s just shoot this thing and work with the actors to make it all funnier.†That’s what got the ball rolling.

      I was really reluctant to jump right in. I didn’t feel the script was what it could be. We had some funny jokes and were starting to lay down a story, but it was really rough and it wasn’t something I felt we should start working with. I didn’t want to show it to anyone yet because I knew it could be better. It was my turn to do a pass and I really wasn’t understanding how to make it work. I also think Jeff was starting to lose interest here â€" he still really liked “Thwackers†but his life was getting busy with his own business and I think he was tired of working on the same script again and again. Plus, to be honest, I really wasn’t getting it and that was probably frustrating. He and Geoff seemed to have a vision in their head and I just couldn’t figure it out. I knew my version of the script wasn’t good, it didn’t have any punch.

      I’m not sure how, I don’t really remember, but suddenly it clicked for me. Maybe I walked away from it for a bit, or maybe it was out of sheer frustration, but I took another look at my script and I got it. One of Jeff’s complaints was that the scenes were too long (they really were) and it just felt drawn out. So I just started hacking at scenes. That line is funny? Great, the scene ends there, moving on. I think this is the feel Jeff was trying to achieve all along and boy did it feel great to get it. While watching “Thwackers†you’ll obviously see how much we cut from scene to scene, but if you think about it logically and fill in the gaps, there are times where we’ve only cut out one thing a person would say, maybe 30 seconds of real life but I can’t believe how much of a difference it makes to just cut it out. I’ve seen the script where we didn’t and it feels looooooong.

      And as I said, this is around the time Jeff started to get busy in his personal and work life (you know, that thing outside of “Thwackers†that allows us to pay rent and eat) and wasn’t able to devote as much time to “Thwackersâ€Â. But since he’d already said “Let’s get moving on it†Geoff had already put a few things in motion. After all, I think these concept/writing meetings were torture for Geoff, productive yes, but he just wanted to shoot it! So with little free time, Jeff gave us his blessing to carry on and he’d help out where he could.

      I can’t remember how fast pre-production was but it felt fast, probably because Geoff and I were both working full-time jobs. Suddenly things started to move forward and “Thwackers†became

    • Thwackers

      Thwackers Ep101 - "Enter The Cat"

      6 years ago

      It's finally here! Episode 1 of "Thwackers" is released. Hope you enjoy, we've put a lot of work into getting this out there.

      Just to give you a quick run-down of what our plan is - we've got Ep2 and 3 nearing completion of post-production and will be releasing those in the coming weeks. I think that each episode just gets better and better so I can't wait for you to see them. But then we need help.

      Everything we have went into these three episodes but if we can get a large following it will give us the support we need to keep making more, and we really want to do that - we've got some great things planned for the rest of the season. So if you like the show we'd love for you to pass it on to friends, co-workers, casual acquaintances - anyone who you think would like it. Right now it's totally up to word of mouth to help spread the, uh, word.

      In the meantime, feel free to join the Facebook group and follow us on Twitter to get the latest updates. We also welcome your comments, we'd love to hear what our viewers have to say about the show. Thanks for your support and we really hope you enjoy it! After all, that's why we made it.

    • Thwackers

      The Thwackers Pilot - Part 3

      6 years ago


      Once we got the “Thwackers†pilot cut together we had a show, but it wasn’t really what we'd hoped for. We rushed things too much and there were certain elements we thought could be better. So rather than release it to the world we decided to use it as a selling tool. After all, web series were getting big and we had something to show! (PS - this is the last bit on the pilot, then I'll talk about the "Thwackers" you'll be watching right here!)

      So off we went, cold-emailing people and trying to get the word out. I’d like to blame the “current economic crisis†but we learned that people just aren’t shelling out money for web-series yet. At all. There is still no guaranteed way to make money and unfortunately that’s what drives everything. We still had a lot of passion for the show but unfortunately it was just too costly to continue funding it ourselves (and when I “we†I mean Geoff). Sure, we could have put it out there and tried “The Guild†method of asking for fan donations to keep the show going but as I said, this wasn’t the show we wanted to release, and that’s the most important reason we decided not to. We rushed to make it and in the process the quality suffered. We knew we could do better.

      ScreeningStill, we had a lot of great people who put a lot of work into it. We held a screening for the cast and crew and a bunch of friends. There’s really nothing quite like seeing your work in front of an audience. There were a lot of laughs â€" we were very quickly able to see what worked and what didn’t. I think everyone appreciated being able to see it on the big screen â€" the screening was at Vancouver Film School â€" and it was good to get everyone together.

      Now I should clarify that this pilot was definitely not a waste of time - we learned a lot. This was the first production we’d done together. We’ve all worked in the film industry for years and we all knew what needed to be done, but actually doing it yourself on the tightest budget you can imagine is a daunting task. But now we’d got our feet wet and we knew where we could do better. We learned where we could cut corners and where we need to spend more time. People say the best way to learn is to just do it and that’s entirely true.

      Nearly a year had passed since Geoff and I first met to discuss making a web series and although we said we were starting over, it never felt like we were back at the beginning. We were now a tight group who’d learned a lot and gotten to know each other really well. And after a year, Geoff had more money to invest in the show. Now it might seem crazy to invest personal money in a project with no guaranteed return, but Geoff’s always been very passionate about this show. And since we now knew what we had to do differently, we knew we could do it cheaper but still make it better.
      So after everything we’d done we realized that if we want to get “Thwackers†out there we’re going to have to do it ourselves - no sponsors, no funding - and this time we’re going to have to do it right.

    • Thwackers

      The Thwackers Pilot - Part 2

      6 years ago


      So after 3 crazy weeks of pre-production we were ready to shoot. Or should I say “ready†to shoot? Actually, we were in pretty good shape, it’s just that going into production on something so tiny, you never really know if you’re ready. We knew we were in for an insane weekend and luckily we had a great cast and crew who were on board and in it for the long haul. And if we didn’t have enough going on already, God said “Hey, how ‘bout some snow?â€Â

      To start the shoot we all crammed into Geoff’s apartment. The living room was our set and his office acted as the green room and makeup room. Oh, and we also didn’t have room to put the monitor in the living room so Jeff was never really able to see what he was shooting. That probably wasn’t the best idea. But things went reasonably well. Looking back it would have been nice to have more time get work on a few things and we were constantly fighting with the amount of space we had but after 15 hours, day 1 wrapped. But it wasn’t as simple as just going home to sleep.
      This is where the snowstorm came in, it was easily the worst of the year, crazy blizzards â€" the likes of which Vancouver never sees. Luckily everyone made it home safe and sound (even if it did take hours) and the cast and crew pitched in to give rides. Unfortunately this cut into our valuable and already reduced sleep time. Not only did it take forever to get home but we all had to get up early because it was going to take longer to get to set.

      Day 2 held two location changes (still in the snow of course). We had a comic book store and a video store who agreed to let us shoot for free providing we finished before they opened. Now that was a rushed morning! (Side note: Geoff and I made our acting debuts. It was pretty amazing let me tell you.) Then it was back to Geoff’s place for the rest of the shoot. Which of course wasn’t easy â€" we had every cast member on set that day, I think 7 people in total. Chaos! But somehow at the end of the day (a 17 hour day!) we had it done. Again, I really have to stress that our volunteer cast and crew were amazing to stick through it all. No one complained, everyone’s spirits were high and it was fun all the way through.

      Now for the edit.

      And guess where we editing this thing? Geoff’s house! I’m kind of sick of being there now. Actually I wasn’t as involved in this because I was back to work (that real world thing that pays for food and shelter) but Geoff and Jeff spent many editing sessions working on it. The footage was certainly a challenge â€" 2 handheld cameras, a rushed shoot, etc. It was tough but somehow they got a show cut together.
      So after 2 crazy days of shooting and a few weeks of editing we had a show. But it wasn’t quite the show we wanted. To be honest all that rushing may have backed us into a bit of a proverbial corner (probably a corner in Geoff’s apartment) and this wasn’t exactly the show we wanted to release. So what to do? Sell it. Easier said than done.

    • Thwackers

      The Thwackers Pilot - Part 1

      6 years ago


      Now before we really get into how “Thwackers†came together, we need to briefly touch on the original version of “Thwackersâ€Â. Yes, we shot a pilot â€" different script, different actors, different characters. Different show.

      We originally decided to create the show in the most diverse format possible. It was to be a 22 minute show, ready for a broadcast half hour, but split into 3 acts, each about 7 minutes long which would serve as the webisodes. We felt this would give us the broadest range of sales possibilities â€" we could either sell it as a half hour sitcom or a web series with the first 3 episodes already complete. Looking back I think we overestimated the demand for this type of show. Or at least the amount advertisers or distributors would be willing to pay for it.

      So as I said, when Jeff joined us he and Geoff shared a similar idea of two best friends wanting to go pro. Turns out Jeff already had a very well-developed idea because a week later he delivered the script to us. And since we had a script, hell, why not shoot it! I think the entire process from conception to production was only 3 or 4 weeks.

      The script was 27 pages long and we had one weekend to shoot it. That’s about 13 pages a day. That’s totally insane but we took on the challenge. And why only one weekend? Everyone was volunteering their time so we didn’t want to ask for two weekends of that. But mostly because Geoff was funding the whole thing and renting gear for one weekend is much cheaper than two weekends. We figured we’ll just bust our ass for one whole weekend, pull a couple really long days and get ‘er done.

      Jeff would direct his script, I became the production manager/assistant director and Geoff was the producer. He also offered up his apartment as our location, something he’ll never do again and I don’t blame him. I actually had to kick him out of his office once while he was working on the contracts so we could get someone into makeup. I think he just about stabbed me in the throat with his pen. Instead it was just daggers from his eyes.

      Our pre-production time was so condensed I barely remember it. I was also working full time so I wasn’t as involved in everything â€" Jeff and Geoff both had time off. We did a couple casting sessions and found a great cast. We used all our contacts to bring in a very dedicated crew and somehow secured our other locations providing we shoot fast and get out before the store opens. We also had the challenge of turning Geoff’s apartment into a gamer’s apartment. Oh wait, we didn’t have to do anything, Geoff’s already a big nerdy gamer so done. We just had to put up some posters so it looked like guys lived there, no wife.

      Now it was time to shoot. And if we thought the pre-production was condensed, just wait until we shot 27 pages in two days.

    • Thwackers

      The Birth of Thwackers

      6 years ago


      Hey, this is Ryan, the co-writer and director of “Thwackersâ€Â. This is the first in a series of articles about the entire process we went through to create “Thwackersâ€Â. Since it’s the first one, I’m starting at the beginning. So just how did Triangle Productions begin? The short answer - Geoff took me to Seattle and we slept together. Or something like that.

      It started when a mutual friend told me that Geoff was looking for writers and I should give him a call. We met for lunch and Geoff explained what he wanted to do â€" start a production company that created web series for the videogamer crowd. Now this was totally new to me. I’ve always been into video games but I wouldn’t consider myself hardcore. I had no idea just how big it was. And web series? I’d never even thought about writing that before. So I had some research to do. And if anyone out there is a writer you know how much we love research! It means we get to do something besides write and it still feels like work! It’s a procrastinator’s dream.

      Anyway, Geoff suggested we check out this thing in Seattle called PAX. I’d never heard of Penny Arcade or their Expo but it was a weekend in Seattle and Geoff was paying so away we go. This is the part where we shared a bed. No funny business though, just sleeping. Geoff snores. But I shouldn’t laugh, I sometimes sleep with my mouth open and my throat clicks, it drives my girlfriend crazy.

      So PAX, that was an eye-opener. Tens of thousands of nerds. At first I felt like the cool guy in a sea of nerds, but then I got a little excited that Wil Wheaton was there because I used to love Star Trek and that reminded me that I’m not cool. And I feel comfortable calling people nerds because I’m obviously a nerd myself, it’s like how black people can call other black people, well, you know. PAX was my introduction to the video game world and really showed me how many people could enjoy a show like the kind Geoff wanted to create.

      Now the first show we started working on was not “Thwackersâ€Â. It’s a different show called “We Make Games†and it’s best described as “The Office†in a small video game development company. If you’ve seen “jPodâ€Â, that’s not it at all, ours is actually funny (sorry “jPod†crew, it just didn’t do it for me). We did a lot of development work on “We Make Games†but decided that it might be a good idea to bring in more writers to create more of a comedy writing team. That’s where Jeff Houde came in. Yeah, I worked with a Jeff and a Geoff. It looks fine here but try talking about your day to your significant other. “Which Geoff?â€Â

      So Geoff and I met with Jeff (and another writer who didn’t work out) to talk about “We Make Gamesâ€Â. Now I should also mention that Geoff had a few other ideas for other gamer-themed shows he wanted to make and it just so happened that Jeff had a very similar idea â€" 2 best friends who want to go pro. You see where I’m going with this? That’s where “Thwackers†was born. And why did we decide to do “Thwackers†first? Easy, the choice was to shoot a larger cast in an office building, or a couple of friends in an apartment. From a production stand point for our first outing â€" “Thwackers†just made more sense. And with that pre-production on “Thwackers†had officially begun.

    • Thwackers

      Show Info

      6 years ago

      Triangle Productions is currently looking for sponsors or advertisers who would like to be involved with “Thwackersâ€Â. If you or someone you know might be interested please feel free to contact us: [email protected]

    • Thwackers

      Show Info

      6 years ago

      “Thwackers†was shot over 2 weekends in Vancouver, BC. Produced independently the show has been a labor of love for Triangle Productions for the past couple of years. Not only did we luck out with an incredibly talented and hilarious cast, we managed to score an amazing crew of industry professionals. It’s been a lot of work but we’re very excited to present what we’ve created. These are just the first three episodes and we’re doing everything we can to bring you more.


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  • Comments (2)

    • griffon

      4 years ago

      very cool, thanks!

      • Thwackers

        3 years ago

        Hey Griffon, I listened to a PodCast where they said you liked the TV series Supernatural. I work on the show. They have a in-house VFX dept, Im a VFX compositor. If you are ever in the neighberhood of Vancouver Canada lemme know and I will get you a tour of the set.

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