Emerald City 2012: Interview with Glitch Webseries Creator Tyler Hill
Sunday at Emerald City I chatted with Tyler Hill, creator, writer and director of the new web series Glitch. To check out the pilot before its official release, head over to watchglitch.com and enter the following ECCC exclusive code: 1123581321
Glitch is the main character’s nickname as well as the premise of the show. Brian “Glitch” Banner is going through his quarter life crisis; he’s out of college and has a job as a game tester, but isn’t happy with his life and is unsure what to do about it. He makes an offhand comment wishing that his life was more like a videogame and poof! The show premise gods make it be. Weird video game elements, mostly bugs, start showing up to complicate his life. Sometimes they give him a little luck, sometimes they fuck with him, and sometimes they’re just there for him to puzzle over. In one scene in the pilot a BioWare style dialogue tree pops up when Glitch is attempting to pick up a girl.
The main characters are Glitch and his friends Samus and Wyatt. Tyler assured me that Samus would not be a love interest for Glitch, rather an example that geeky guys and girls can successfully have platonic relationships. Wyatt is a zen-geek; he loves his life being a geek and takes things as they come.
GFBR: So Brian, or Glitch, is frustrated with his life already, and then these weird glitches start happening. Are these a metaphor for the ups and downs of a “quarter life crisis” as you call it? Or do they just make Glitch’s life more interesting?
Tyler Hill: We just call him Glitch. I wouldn’t necessarily call the glitches a metaphor for his life, but they are a way to spice up his life. In the pilot, it’s a little more on the nose: getting stuck in a wall, running because he’s late for work. It’s much less 1:1 in the rest of the season. They are there to wake Glitch up, more than serve as a metaphor. They make his life more interesting, as you say, but they also help steer him a little. Based on the glitches, he kind of learns a little about himself each time. In the pilot, he learns that he’s just ready for something interesting; in other episodes, he has little mini epiphanies about growing up and staying a nerd. These moments aren’t *really* the point (the point I guess would just be the comedy, telling a funny story), but they *are *there. The initial “wish” I suppose is something of a catalyst for Glitch to shake him out of apathy; he starts having fun with his life. Even when it’s frustrating, he’s more alive. In a way, the glitches are his companions, you know? Like a zany friend that crashes on your couch and makes a mess of your life, but you like it better that way.
GFBR: What kind of development will the characters go through? Will Brian make progress with dating, work, etc. during the show, and hopefully become happier with his life?
TH: The show is a love letter to geek culture, but it’s also a show about growing up. The three main characters (Glitch, Samus, Wyatt) are all friends for a while and work well with each other, and will all kind of progress through the course of the show, if we get to do it all. Season 1 is about Glitch growing up, and later seasons will be about other characters doing the same. By “growing up” I really mean becoming comfortable with who they are. They are all nerds, geeks, whatever; and in the current climate, that’s more acceptable now than it’s ever been, but we still have a stigma. We’re told eventually we’ve got to put away the video games, give up the nerdy things and become “adults.” So a small question of the show is, how do you become an adult without losing what there is kidlike about you, childlike, wonder-filled and nerdy? It’s a small facet of the show at first, but in some ways the lynch-pin.
GFBR: Will Glitch follow a plot based format, or be more episodic comedy without much direct continuation between episodes?
TH: Glitch is an episodic show with small things overarching throughout the course of each season. Each episode has a different premise with an arch contained inside it; little beats transfer across the whole six episodes, and that bigger arc will change season to season. The premise of the show allows us to experiment with different things, so we have a massive reference episode, a ticking clock episode, an adventure episode, etc.
GFBR: I noticed in the credits you also did the special effects. How did you design the special effects?
TH: As well as being the director and head writer, I’m the editor and as of this moment, the special effects artist as well. I do all of it in After Effects. When we came up with the concept, it was a brilliant way to do a show that was extra-natural without having to have the most up-to-date, breathtaking special effects there are. The best part of the premise was that if any special effect didn’t look all that amazing, it was inherently part of the joke.
GFBR: I saw some references to classic 8-bit games as well as the dialogue choices in
Bioware games, and general gaming glitches. Will the show continue to use a variety of gaming elements, or will it mostly be old school stuff? (And where is that wizard from?! It’s killing me.)
TH: The show is designed to go everywhere. I’d say a reliance on old-school everything will always be there, because the show is a love letter to geekery, and so should harken back to our childhoods. But anything is fair game. We don’t just reference games: we do television shows, movies, comics, books, everything, and we pull from old and new. The actual effects that will be on screen will be whatever the joke works best with. But on the whole, the style tends to favor the older stuff. It’s where everything else came from, so in a way 8- and 16- bit games are the primordial soup of our geek culture. They will always be prominent. And the wizard is from Zelda, are you kidding me?! Look at the fire! Haha (btw, the Old Man, played by the same actor, is a different “old man” in each episode, from a different game/movie/etc.).
The show will be hosted on blip.tv, although Tyler hinted that he may receive a wider distribution with a larger company. Keep your eyes open for Glitch: season 1.