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Irregular Podcast! #92007-05-21: Irregular Podcast! #9 - "Holiday special: The secret is out." (8:52, 2.03 MB)
WARNING: In a world where the only thing that stands between humanity and the plunging abyss is a secret that could shake reality to its core, one listener is ready to risk everything to hear that secret. That listener - is you. So don't blab.
[opening theme, to the tune of The Muppet Show Theme]
It's time to put on headphones
It's time for bleeding eardrums
Why did we make this intro?
Vladimir: As you may know, David Morgan-Mar was recently on vacation, and now he's back. There has been tremendous speculation and rumour on the Irregular Webcomic! forums recently as to whether Dr. Morgan-Mar is, in fact, real. It's time to come clean. There are too many people's livelihoods at stake to keep up the pretense any longer. As must be abundantly clear by now, David Morgan-Mar is actually a large team of hard-working people.
Vladimir: During our recent holiday, we voted to finally reveal all.
David: It all started when a group of university graduates got together to create a multidisciplinary art installation, code-named Danger Mouse.
Andrew: To get Art Council funding, we needed a single artist name. So we came up with a pseudonym, David Mar, which is an acronym of all the participants: David, Andrew, Vladimir, Ingrid, David, Michael, Andrew, and Richard. The art installation consisted of a pseudo-office of cubicles, with a variety of computers, from the old - Richard had a typewriter, as I recall - to the very newest. All the paperwork was in binary, and each worker was writing something in a different esoteric programming language, which was linked in some way to the appearance of the worker. It was a critical, if not commercial, success. We had bonded well over the creative process, and decided to continue working together.
Richard: Our next project, of course, was the famous webcomic. We decided to create a web presence that would be absolutely regular and reliable, but give it a name and character that constantly threatened complete chaos and disorder. From the Esoteric Programming Language project, we already had a Computer Scientist, Webmaster, Astrophysicist, Art Director, Graphic Designer, Publicist, and Producer, but for this project, we were missing some roles - Moon-Unit, Oliver, Rodney, Geoff, Apple, and Norbert. We expanded the name correspondingly.
Andrew: These, of course, added the roles and skills of Lego Engineer, Studio Photographer, Milan Photographer, Lead Writer, Models Painter, Gaming Consultant, Animal Trainer, Story Direction, Prosthetics, Resident Philosopher, Forum Persona, and Moderator. Not least of which, we decided we needed a public face for the David Morgan-Mar persona.
David: The latter proved a daunting project. At one point we were strongly considering having a muppet as the public face. Well, we were doing auditions for the puppeteer, and one guy really stood out - he had the most extraordinarily mobile face!
Richard: We barely noticed the puppet.
David: That's right. We immediately realised we had our persona.
Richard: Fabio - that's his name - actually had to go back to Milan, but we knew that his face was perfect, and none of us were willing to compromise.
David: His facial expressions were just awesome.
Richard: We ended up hiring a photographer and crew specifically for Milan. And luckily, it really paid off. I don't think the project would have worked nearly as well without that face.
Michael: The early years were really a blur. We were working hard on Irregular Webcomic!, full time, and for a while we really had to sscimp and save. Luckily, several of us were art graduates and were already used to living on pot noodles. Most of us were sharing a dingy room in Soho, those of us who weren't in Milan. We were creating incredible art. The whole fantasy theme, as I'm sure you're all aware by now, is based on the life of Buddha, and another theme - I won't say which, but it's pretty obvious - is taken verbatim from the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Vladimir: Creatively, we were on a roll, and the audience really responded. It wasn't long before the money started rolling in.
Michael: Well that's always the dilemma, isn't it? Money makes things much more complicated. All of a sudden, we were buying prestigious homes in New York and Paris, we were jetsetting across to Milan and Fiji. Fabio became a well-known model, and locals in Milan will have seen him on the catwalks for quite a few prestigious shows: the Versace fall collection, I think, his high point so far. But Irregular Webcomic! was his big breakthrough, and he's been very loyal.
[Sound of the photoshoot]
Photographer: Once more... yes, that's marvellous. Now, I don't know, a wry expression? Show me the humanity, connect with me here. That's it, darling! Perfect.
Richard: Fabio is always professional, of course, but unfortunately the demands on his time have lead to... certain price negotiations. About a year ago we tried the infamous Darrin experiment, just to see... well.
David: Heh heh, yeah... well...
Vladimir: There was an outcry, and Fabio threatened litigation and breach of contract, perhaps very rightly so. When we saw the forum response, we knew we had to tempt him back. Fortunately, we had just the right person to do so. Jane Goodall herself came to Milan and talked him back into the project. We were very lucky.
Andrew: Of course, Fabio is quite the environmentalist at heart.
Vladimir: The Lego was always a big problem. It turns out to be nearly impossible to build and photograph Lego in the normal scale with the kind of precision we needed. All the statues developed for the project for the fantasy theme were built full-size - you'll notice one of them is actually a copy of a Rodin. But we wanted them to interact with the Lego, so we had to specially build giant Lego. And then we shot everything with a very shallow depth of field; our photographer really is superb.
Michael: At one point we actually experimented with putting men inside Lego suits, but that ended pretty disastrously.
Vladimir: The other thing we had to do was actually hire a gaming consultant later one when we realised that we were really out of our depth with this whole roleplaying game thing. So, we hired Rodney. He's told us a lot about gaming. How would you describe your role as a gaming consultant?
Rodney: Well actually, it's more precisely a rules consultant. Rules are what interest me more than games; games are just manifestations of sets of rules.
Vladimir: How have you found working on the Irregular Webcomic! project?
Rodney: Well at first it was quite unbounded, but I quickly started applying a regime of rules on top of it. There are many subtle rules you may have noticed between the themes.
Vladimir: Such as?
Rodney: Such as at no point does anyone say "wibble". It's an important rule.
Andrew: Although there's still a tremendous amount to explore, we've been expanding our scope outside of just the webcomic. We may have to extend the Morgan-Mar name further - we were thinking of going to Woggle-Morgan-Mar, but now that the game is up, we can just mention that Warren, Oscar, Gillian, Gandalf, Luthee, and Eggwobbler are our new additions, responsible for most of the work on the podcast and the Infinity on 30 Credits project.
Richard: There have been some complaints about Oscar's music direction, so we thought we'd let him talk about it here. Oscar, how do you respond to complaints that the Irregular Podcast! theme songs are unlistenable?
Richard: That the theme songs are unlistenable!
Richard: That they're tuneless and incompetent!
Oscar: That the what with the who? What?
Richard: Thank you, Oscar.
Vladimir: And of course we also had a lot of trouble with the animals that we use, such as the Allosaurus. So we had to hire an animal trainer. Here he is, Norbert. So tell us Norbert, what was it like working with a live Allosaurus?
Norbert: It was obviously a little bit difficult. He was a bit shy.
Vladimir: Had you worked with dinosaurs before?
Norbert: Not as such, no. I'd worked with crocodiles, obviously, which are kind of modern dinosaurs, and I'd worked with small pigeons, which are also modified dinosaurs. But never your actual dinosaur, as such, no.
Vladimir: I hear that Cthulhu's a bit of a difficult customer to work with.
Norbert: Oh, you know, he's actually a sweetheart, underneath it all. His tentacles can be a bit difficult to matt down, 'cos they don't photograph well, bit shiny. He's very shy about them.
Vladimir: What was the process you had to go through to get yetis on to the set?
Norbert: Well the yetis were actually quite keen to participate in the process. They obviously knew about the project, but they were a little reluctant to have to put on the giant Lego costumes.
Vladimir: Can you explain that for the viewers?
Norbert: Because it's meant to look like Lego, we ended up having to put giant Lego costumes on several of the entertainers - including Jane Goodall, who wasn't too happy about it earlier on, and requested that we just show her normal face at one point. Just so that they knew it was really her.
WARNING: So, there you have it - the true story behind David Morgan-Mar.
It's time to put on headphones
It's time for bleeding eardrums
CastVladimir - Loki P.
David - Andrew S.
Andrew - David K.
Michael - David Mc.
Richard - Andrew C.
Photographer - Andrew S.
Rodney - Andrew S.
Oscar - David Mc.
Norbert - Andrew S.
Singers - David Mc, Loki P, David K, Andrew S, Andrew C.
This podcast was recorded without my knowledge or consent by various so-called "friends" while I was away on vacation in Germany recently.
It is all, unfortunately, true.