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plasticbugs
Dec 13, 2006

Special Batman and Robin

EDIT2: gently caress. Can a mod change this to "Ask" & "TV"? gently caress me.



I started as an intern in San Francisco on a live-to-tape call-in show aptly named Call For Help starring Leo Laporte and Cat Schwartz. I ran the teleprompter.

I was eventually hired as a production assistant on The Screen Savers where I learned the ropes of working on an hour-long live TV show. I began assisting the show's Line Producer, who timed out the show, wrote all the "tags" and "teases", and prompted the on-camera talent/producers with wrap cues, "have a great show" stuff, etc.. Eventually, I took over the Line Producer role when the show moved down to LA.

In LA, I was roommates with Kevin Rose and Dan Huard, two of the show's on camera hosts. I'm the guy who wrote "and I'm not wearing any pants" in the teleprompter to prank my friend Dan. I never expected him to actually read the words, but he did.

Ultimately, I became a Senior Segment Producer and created all the content for regular segments like: "In Your Pants", "Who's Who on YouTube", "Kings of Dot Comedy", "Go Hack Yourself", "Apps", "Quick Hit", and countless guest interviews from Michael Cera to The Old Spice Guy.

If you watched the show, I was also Jimmy the Geek, whose sports predictions were supposed to be based on the outcome of EA Sports CPU v. CPU matchups, but in actuality were based on the predictions of an actual Irish bookie/odds-maker who produced the segment and was right so many times that people were watching the show just to find out what teams to bet on.


Here are some tales I can tell:
The time Something Awful's Dr. David Thorpe "pranked" me/us on live TV. Yes, I'm responsible for this fiasco.
The time we almost poisoned Olivia Munn and she never knew
The time I made "frozen in carbonite" statues of our hosts, which turned into an epic clusterfuck involving a Mexican midget
How one of the TSS hosts paid for his SF rent by slowly stealing viewer giveaways
NEW: Alt-F4: The secret plan to sabotage G4's The Screen Savers from the inside
The time they hired Olivia and then hired Olivia's mortal enemy, setting the stage for an E3 catfight and a new rule
The time the accounting department gave me $1,000 of Comcast's money to bet on the Super Bowl and we doubled it

Here are some commonly asked questions to save you the trouble:

Is Olivia a bitch? gently caress no! She's awesome. Olivia worked as hard if not harder than anyone on the set. She also put the screws to G4 with tons of stipulations in her contract that allowed her to leave the show for weeks on end to pursue her acting career. Good for her! She got a great deal, made lots of money and gently caress G4 anyway.

Here's a quick Olivia story: She was on the cover of Maxim or Stuff or FHM (I forget which). Anyway, the network cut some deal with the magazine and it basically amounted to "buy the magazine, mail it to us and Olivia will sign it". Olivia walked around with mail crates full of magazines wherever she went. Sitting in make-up, sitting in table reads, between commercial breaks, signing every single one. She took a box home every night. She wouldn't let them hire someone to copy her signature or use an autopen or a stamp. It took months, but Olivia signed every single one. Class act.

Does Morgan even play video games Yes. She wouldn't review a game she didn't play. Morgan is also super awesome and nice. She's also very quiet and owns a tarantula as a pet.

Maybe you want to hear about other things. Ask away!

plasticbugs fucked around with this message at 00:44 on May 8, 2016

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Alan Smithee
Jan 3, 2005



After it went under were you not able to parlay the last G4 gig into work elsewhere?

Scudworth
Jan 1, 2005

When life gives you lemons, you clone those lemons, and make super lemons.



Dinosaur Gum

Just tell the drat stories dude.
Just post.

JohnCompany
Jan 16, 2015

this sentence no verb



I think I speak for a good number of people in saying: ALL the stories. Don't ask permission, we don't need to vote, the answer is YES.

Not a Children
Oct 9, 2012

Don't need a holster if you never stop shooting.



Never saw that G4 interview before, I'm dying

Cast Iron Brick
Apr 24, 2008


I genuinely want to know: Is Leo Laporte great? Is he awful? Was that really his dick that he showed on camera?

I'm generally interested in Leo Laporte.

plasticbugs
Dec 13, 2006

Special Batman and Robin

Alan Smithee posted:

After it went under were you not able to parlay the last G4 gig into work elsewhere?
I got completely burned out on live TV, but would probably still be working in third tier cable TV had my fiancée not landed a job at Pixar in 2011. So we moved up to the Bay Area and I got a gig producing video for a tech & games magazine publisher here in SF. I now head their video department. She's still at Pixar and I'm much less stressed, so it all worked out.

Live TV is grueling work. I was producing upwards of four segments each week (plus the daily news segment called The Feed) - some days working past 10pm writing scripts, capturing stills of web pages, or shooting video of a lovely iPhone app in my darkened cubicle.

We were live four days a week, and on Thursday night we'd cut together the 'best' segments of the week making it fit the exact 42 and some odd minutes running time of the show. Every Thursday, one of us would have to work until 2 am cutting together the half assed repackaged show that aired each Friday. Then we'd have to come back at 8:30am on Friday to sit through the entire cut with one of the show's executive producers who questioned our decisions and inevitably asked for arbitrary changes that would add another hour of work.

Plus the pay wasn't that great for what we were doing. The network was forced to give us all big raises when Comcast bought NBC. Our pay was so much lower compared to the same jobs on NBC's live shows.

Alan Smithee
Jan 3, 2005



drat, sounds like they had you by the balls because it was a "passion project". Never know what you're worth until a better company stops the guilt tripping

I'm just glad you aren't working at BAVC, I mean all due respect I've taken courses from some real burnouts there

plasticbugs
Dec 13, 2006

Special Batman and Robin

Cast Iron Brick posted:

I genuinely want to know: Is Leo Laporte great? Is he awful? Was that really his dick that he showed on camera?

I'm generally interested in Leo Laporte.
Yes, that was almost certainly his dick. If you're a straight guy and there's a dick in your photo stream, it's probably your dick. Leo was rumored to be a bit of a womanizer.

That said, Leo was actually a really nice guy on the set and in our morning news meeting where we picked the news stories that would make it into the first block of the show. It's not like we ate lunch together, so I can't speak to his character really, but he was always nice and smiled and laughed a lot.

In the final weeks of The Screen Savers, they asked Leo to step down and let Kevin co-host the show in his place. To help make the handoff go smoothly and to make it appear as if the show's next incarnation had Leo's blessing, they asked Leo to pre record a bunch of four minute segments that we'd slot into the show as a 'look live' after Leo's departure. Basically, the hosts would say something like, "now let's send it over to Leo for his daily tip. Leo?" The hosts would look in the direction of an empty part of the set and then we'd cut to Leo's pre recorded tip on another part of the set. On tape, Leo would start by saying "Thanks guys! Today's tip is great for ...".

The segment was called Leo's Tip and as a final act of defiance, basically a gently caress you for firing me because I'm not 25, Leo made sure his daily tip was some of the most inscrutable, arcane, impenetrable hardcore nerd poo poo he could come up with.

I was the producer for Leo's tip, but my instructions were to just let Leo do his thing. Which basically meant I would show up to the studio with a blank tape, the crew would turn on the lights, Leo would do his thing and we'd quickly shoot five tips back-to-back. I'd be the keeper of the tape and would keep track of each tip's running time.

Then, I'd report to the show's series producer Ken just what exactly each of Leo's tips were so we could write specific tosses. Anyway the look on Ken's face was priceless when I told him Leo's tips were things like setting up cron jobs, ssh tunneling and installing GRUB to boot different flavors of Linux. In the end they only used five of Leo's ten tips and I have no clue where that tape of unaired tips got to. When the show would run long, Leo's tip was the first thing they 'floated' (bumped out of the show) to keep the show to time. I heard 'float Leo' a lot in those last weeks in SF.

plasticbugs fucked around with this message at 17:19 on May 28, 2015

ShadowMoo
Mar 13, 2011

by Shine


Any tales of people raging because TechTV was shitcanned because it competed with (the worse imo) G4?

plasticbugs
Dec 13, 2006

Special Batman and Robin

ShadowMoo posted:

Any tales of people raging because TechTV was shitcanned because it competed with (the worse imo) G4?

Not really except for the stuff below. There is that Alt-F4 thing about internal sabotage at G4, which I'll post about later today.

In the first few months of the new Screen Savers in LA, someone called in a bomb threat and we had to evacuate the building. We all assumed it was from a disgruntled fan.

The musician Beck turned us down for an appearance on Attack of the Show because he was a fan of The Screen Savers.

For many years at G4, we were forbidden from mentioning 4chan on air because the one time we did mention them in a news story, the G4 website was DDOS'd for several days. The DDOS was probably because 4chan forgot G4 existed, then they remembered we existed and remembered they hated us.

The rule for any new co-host of AOTS was to NEVER look at the G4 forums, where the number of mean-spirited posts and amount of hate was difficult to moderate. Eventually, the old Screen Savers fans abandoned the show and the forums, but it took at least a couple of years.

Cast Iron Brick
Apr 24, 2008


plasticbugs posted:

Laporte is a cool guy with a cool dick

That's amazing to hear. The Screen Savers "all a dream" ending to AoTS was the best TV payoff that could have ever happened to me. I was a massive fan of Screen Savers so to see them get a nod at the end literally left me feeling redeemed for seeing my favorite TV station get canned for buzz media.


Along with that- what ever happened with Martin Seargent? I knew he was doing a podcast on Twit.tv for a while, but that seemed to have died without fanfare and he disappeared from the internet.

e: Nevermind. Apparently, he and Leo are doing this coincidentally https://www.youtube.com/c/TheNewScreenSavers

Cast Iron Brick fucked around with this message at 17:28 on May 28, 2015

ShadowMoo
Mar 13, 2011

by Shine


Unscrewed with Martin Sargent was frequently good for a laugh.

TipsyMc
Sep 5, 2004

I visited BYOB and all I got was this lousy avatar

I loved The Screen Savers. Leo was awesome, I have one of his books somewhere.

Wasn't Morgan related to Pat Boone somehow?

edit: for the longest time I couldn't remember where I had seen Olivia Munn before. I actually had convinced myself I had met her at some point in my life....

TipsyMc fucked around with this message at 20:04 on May 28, 2015

Alan Smithee
Jan 3, 2005



Knowing the kinds of people who would tune in, or not tune in and bitch, did you ever hear the on screen talent or crew slag off the "fans"?

The Shep
Jan 10, 2007


If found, please return this poster to GIP. His mothers are very worried and miss him very much.


G4TV was basically the only channel I ever watched on cable in my 20's and once it went defunct and Sci-Fi turned to poo poo, I said goodbye to cable for good. It's been over 4 years now without cable and I don't miss it. I don't have any questions but I wanted to say thanks for all your work at G4TV. I'll always have good memories of watching AOTS and other shows because they bring back nostalgic memories of a better, simpler, funner time in my life when the 360 was good and Adam Sessler wasn't (quite as) insufferable.

Millions of Crows
Mar 31, 2010

take a look overhead

You work with Kevin Perrera or Chris Hardwick? And did Tosh.0 copy web soup or vice versa or really they were both just clip shows. but tosh continues to be a show.

plasticbugs
Dec 13, 2006

Special Batman and Robin

The time we poisoned Olivia and she never knew it happened.

Every year, the stunt for our Halloween episode was that the hosts would dress in costume and they would change into a new costume between each commercial break. The show is live, so they have a maximum of 5 minutes to leave set, run into the hallway, completely undress and then put on new costume. One year, it was movie characters. But the year we poisoned Olivia, it was internet memes. You'd think we would have the time to plan this all out well in advance, but sometimes we threw things together at the last minute or left a small, simple detail to the day before or day-of. Anyway, such was the case this fateful Halloween when someone thought having Kevin dress as the Twitter Fail Whale on Halloween was a good idea.



You'll notice from the above image that the Fail Whale birds there are orange, while the iconic Twitter bird is blue. That's important. So Jeremy, the guy who produces "Around the Net" every day got screwed this particular Halloween with having to art direct at least a few of the costumes. It's been decided that the orange birds on this Fail Whale costume MUST be Marshmallow Peeps because the unspoken AOTS rule is "food is always funny" even though it never really is and, my god, how hilarious will it be when Olivia eats a part of Kevin's costume.

That morning, Jeremy walks in carrying a plastic grocery bag filled with boxes of Marshamallow Peeps in an array of colors, and even though it's Halloween, the only bird-shaped Peeps in his local grocery store are blue, yellow and pink. That's what he's got.



Jeremy goes in the EPs' office (there are two of them, both in the same office) to explain there are no orange Marshmallow Peeps shaped like birds on Halloween. The orange ones are all shaped like demented pumpkins that look like Mickey Mouse.



Now, I'm not calling out which one of the two EPs lost their minds over this, but basically it went like this:
"SERIOUSLY, HOW loving HARD CAN IT BE TO FIND ORANGE PEEPS ON HALLOWEEN? YOU'RE TELLING ME IN ALL OF LOS ANGELES THERE'S NOT ONE loving PACKAGE OF ORANGE MARSHMALLOW PEEPS? IF YOU CAN'T FIND ME ORANGE PEEPS, THEN MAKE THEM ORANGE GOD drat IT! I DON'T CARE HOW YOU DO IT, MAKE THEM ORANGE!"

Unfortunately, the art department is super tied up with the rest of the costumes and god knows what else, so it falls upon Jeremy and one of our PAs to trek down to Ralph's and Smart & Final on Wilshire in search of these elusive orange Marshmallow Peeps to serve as the Twitter birds. After a long, hot walk: nope, just more loving orange pumpkin-shaped Peeps and lots of pink, blue and yellow bird-shaped ones.

So, Jeremy takes his sad boxes of wrong-colored Peeps down to the art department and now it's like 20 minutes before rehearsal and Jeremy's got other poo poo to do, so they decide to use some ORANGE KRYLON SPRAY PAINT and paint these loving Marshmallow Peeps orange. Hopefully they'll dry before the show.

The costume changes are super-insane and that's not something we bother rehearsing before the show. The costumes are usually so fragile and thrown-together that they will likely only survive one change anyway. Throughout rehearsal, no one realizes that the now orange Peeps are still wet to the touch.

Four o'clock rolls around and it's showtime. The show's going as planned and we make it to D Block (that's three commercial breaks into the show) and Kevin and Olivia bolt back onto the set. Kevin's wearing some kind of soft gray fabric vaguely reminiscent of a whale - honestly more shark than whale. Olivia looks like an old sea captain. There are stiff wires poking out of Kevin's back and at the end of each wire, a spray-painted orange Marshmallow Peep.


Watch video of this costume in action!


The whole point of the Peeps is that it's funny when Olivia eats stuff, so in all of two hours of rehearsal SOMEONE must have told Olivia, "now, don't eat the Peeps, because they're covered in orange spray paint." But it's Kevin's costume, not Olivia's so no one thinks twice to warn her.

We're back from break now and Kevin and Olivia both explain their costumes. Kevin's the Fail Whale and Olivia's the salty whale hunter, so she's got a pair of wire cutters and she hacks off one of Kevin's Fail Whale Peeps. Then, they toss to a packaged segment that runs and Kevin and Olivia take a breather to watch the segment as it airs from tape. As the package wraps up, Olivia and Kevin head back to their marks to toss the show back to commercial. They read the toss and then, just before we roll the "coming up after the break" teaser, Olivia gets a mischievous look in her eyes and reflexively grabs one of Kevin's orange Krylon spray-painted Peeps and stuffs it in her mouth. As we cut to commercial, Olivia's doing her "om nom nom nom" schtick with orange/blue Peep all over her lips. She eats the whole thing in one bite.

Only a few of us know about Jeremy's ordeal that day hunting down orange Peeps, and holy gently caress if Olivia didn't just eat and swallow a Peep covered in orange paint from a Krylon can that read "This product contains a chemical known to the state of California to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm. Do not take internally."

No one ever said a word about it and I think we were more afraid for Jeremy than Olivia, even now. The art department saw it all go down and everyone decided that to just not say anything would be the best course of action. Here's a video of the costume from that show. Unfortunately, I can't find the entire episode that would show what happened right before we went to commercial when Olivia ate a Marshmallow Peep covered in orange Krylon spray paint.

Om nom nom nom.

plasticbugs fucked around with this message at 00:48 on Jun 20, 2015

plasticbugs
Dec 13, 2006

Special Batman and Robin

Alan Smithee posted:

Knowing the kinds of people who would tune in, or not tune in and bitch, did you ever hear the on screen talent or crew slag off the "fans"?

Never. Even though we were overworked and underpaid, we were always very grateful to the show's fans. Kevin and Olivia were especially grateful to the fans. Interacting with fans at Comic Con Panels, autograph signings, etc. was important and from the looks on their faces, one of their favorite parts of the job. We didn't have a studio audience -- the producers and crew were those awkward, forced laughs (we called if flaughing) and sporadic clapping sounds you heard in the background -- so it was hard to even know if people were even watching and how they were reacting. Meeting actual fans of the show was always a big treat for the show's hosts and staff.

Once in a while the Make a Wish Foundation would ask us if we would grant a sick kid's wish by having them visit the set and watch it in the studio. Over the years, we had several sick kids who had major parts of their childhood stolen by illness choose a day at Attack of the Show (of all things!) as their wish. Which is pretty crazy, because some days I wished I was anywhere else but in that studio.

The families of these kids would gush how much their kid loves the show and how nice everyone was (everyone on the show really was very nice, even on their worst day -- USUALLY).

So, that's the kind of thing that always made me grateful to be part of the show - that someone, somewhere thought our show was so great that if they had a dying wish, it was to come visit and hang out with the people on TV who made them laugh or gave them some bit of entertainment. As much as I could complain, I and the rest of the folks that worked on the show were very lucky and our fans were (MOSTLY) good people. gently caress the haters. Sometimes we hated it too, but I guess you could say that about most jobs.

Millions of Crows posted:

You work with Kevin Perrera or Chris Hardwick? And did Tosh.0 copy web soup or vice versa or really they were both just clip shows. but tosh continues to be a show.

I think they all really were just copies of E!'s "Talk Soup" which was taped in the same building across the hall from the AOTS studio. E!, G4 & Style were all owned by Comcast/NBC Universal and so "Web Soup" was an obvious spin on the "Talk Soup" format. Because the same company owned both networks, there was no issue with one network taking the other network's show idea and part of the title. So, I guess Tosh stole from "Talk Soup"?

E!'s Fashion Police actually taped on the AOTS set on the weekends. You didn't ask, but everyone loved Joan Rivers. She knew everyone's name on set and at Christmastime gave everyone on the crew a box of very expensive Joan Rivers-branded Faberge Egg Christmas QVC ornaments. That's like 30 or 40 boxes of these things at $100 a pop. I know that sounds cheesy, but they really were nice ornaments. So many sad posts from my G4/E! friends on Facebook when she died.

Cmdr. Shepard posted:

G4TV was basically the only channel I ever watched on cable in my 20's and once it went defunct and Sci-Fi turned to poo poo, I said goodbye to cable for good. It's been over 4 years now without cable and I don't miss it. I don't have any questions but I wanted to say thanks for all your work at G4TV. I'll always have good memories of watching AOTS and other shows because they bring back nostalgic memories of a better, simpler, funner time in my life when the 360 was good and Adam Sessler wasn't (quite as) insufferable.

Thanks so much for your kind words! That really means a lot because it was so rare to hear that while we were grinding out shows day after day. Every day was an enormous undertaking with lots of talented people just trying to do their best and then, the second the live show ends, thinking about tomorrow's show and the next one and the next one...

plasticbugs fucked around with this message at 08:42 on May 29, 2015

banned from Starbucks
Jul 18, 2004






How many people did that Sara chick sleep with on the screen savers. Seemed like every male host.

Jedi Knight Luigi
Jul 13, 2009



What was your workflow like for closed captioning? I'm guessing you likely contracted a realtime writer?

plasticbugs
Dec 13, 2006

Special Batman and Robin

zVxTeflon posted:

How many people did that Sara chick sleep with on the screen savers. Seemed like every male host.

Only two! She dated one guy that left the show, moved back to SF and got rich - in that order, then she fell in love with another male host and married that one. She's divorced from him now - I think he sells real estate somewhere now, but Sarah's very happy and working for TechCrunch these days. I saw her not too long ago.

Edit: Yep, real estate!

Please enjoy Brendan Moran's Book Club (the guy Sarah married). I'm marrying "Margaret" from this video in August! Her name's not really Margaret because nothing on TV is real. There's even some G4 babies out there now. Yikes!

Jedi Knight Luigi posted:

What was your workflow like for closed captioning? I'm guessing you likely contracted a realtime writer?

We didn't have closed captioning for a really long time, and then one day we did and of course Kevin and Olivia hosed with whoever was doing the live captioning after we found out we were being captioned. They got no advance notice that we were going to gently caress with them and it was pretty funny actually.

Edit: They used some kind of captioning service pool. We had no clue who or where this captioning service was. TV magic!

plasticbugs fucked around with this message at 06:48 on May 30, 2015

Lincoln`s Wax
Apr 30, 2000
My other, other car is a centipede filled with vaginas.

Thanks for this thread, it's awesome hearing these stories. Wanna know who was swiping stuff to pay rent! And the full alt+f4 thing. How big of a deal was it when the one screensavers host posted headshots but left her boobs exposed in the exif data (Cat, I think?)?

Jedi Knight Luigi
Jul 13, 2009



plasticbugs posted:

We didn't have closed captioning for a really long time, and then one day we did and of course Kevin and Olivia hosed with whoever was doing the live captioning after we found out we were being captioned. They got no advance notice that we were going to gently caress with them and it was pretty funny actually.

Edit: They used some kind of captioning service pool. We had no clue who or where this captioning service was. TV magic!

That was great. Thanks for sharing!

KirbyKhan
Mar 20, 2009




Soiled Meat

For a long while AFN, the Armed Forces Network that was avaliable at the overseas military bases, showed AoTS. For a long while my shift would start with watching your show before doing any actual work. Thanks duder. I appreciate the work you did on the show.

Vagon
Oct 22, 2005

Teehee!


plasticbugs posted:

We didn't have closed captioning for a really long time, and then one day we did and of course Kevin and Olivia hosed with whoever was doing the live captioning after we found out we were being captioned. They got no advance notice that we were going to gently caress with them and it was pretty funny actually.

Edit: They used some kind of captioning service pool. We had no clue who or where this captioning service was. TV magic!

This is actually really awesome! It may seem ignorant of me, but I honestly had no idea there was a live writer that did closed captioning. It's even more amazing that they really -didn't- know who the person was, they were just some random person and they totally rolled with the hosts and played along. It's super cute.

bennyfactor
Nov 21, 2008


Are there any interesting places where AOTS alums ended up? I know Gavin Purcell is the producer for the Tonight Show now, and you mentioned that there are now some G4 babies. Anyone in particular who stands out in your mind with an interesting post-show career path? Jail?

plasticbugs
Dec 13, 2006

Special Batman and Robin

bennyfactor posted:

Are there any interesting places where AOTS alums ended up? I know Gavin Purcell is the producer for the Tonight Show now, and you mentioned that there are now some G4 babies. Anyone in particular who stands out in your mind with an interesting post-show career path? Jail?

Lots of great stories.

My friends Bruce Greene (AOTS, Drunk Iron Man, Gadget Pron producer), James Willems (AOTS producer for "Kings of Dot Comedy" before I had to take it over), Joel Rubin (X-Play producer) and Sean Poole (AOTS associate producer "spoole") all now are part of Rooster Teeth's "Funhaus". They each have like 200k followers on Twitter.

Gerry Duggan, one of AOTS's bristliest and most lovable writers was writing comics with Brian Posehn in his spare time while working on the show. Now Gerry has written on Deadpool, Arkham Manor, Marvel's 1872, Nova and his Infinite Horizon series is going to be a TV series. Word!

AOTS writer Chris Kasick directed a 2015 holiday movie starring Brian Posehn called "Uncle Nick". Hopefully in theaters or on Netflix this year.

Chris Hardwick founded Nerdist and ex AOTS producer Mike Shaw (he came up with the name "Attack of the Show" and wrote a manifesto to convince our bosses that "The Feed" would be a terrible name for the new show, also Mike was AOTS's Batman) is one of the senior writer/producers for Nerdist.

Jeremy, who poisoned Olivia, now works in video production for RIOT/League of Legends. Jeremy married Emily, G4/E!'s super-talented make-up artist.

Alison Haislip and Jessica Chobot are both co-hosts on the reboot of Battlebots! Plus they do so many other things, there's not enough room here to list them all.

Casey Schreiner (AOTS writer, host of G4TV.com's MMO Report, & AOTS's Steve Jobs) runs a hugely successful hiking blog called Modern Hiker and has been in the media himself by uncovering the culprits in two separate National Park graffiti incidents.

EDIT:
I'm not sure how I left out Jonah. Anyway. Jonah Ray (AOTS & Web Soup writer) now hosts The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail on Comedy Central. He's also a huge part of the Nerdist podcast, he's a talented actor and a stand up-comic.

There's more. I'll post them here when I have some time!

plasticbugs fucked around with this message at 01:16 on Jul 7, 2015

Empress Brosephine
Mar 31, 2012


Winner of the "Poor Games Poster" avatar.

Call For Help was my jam, and then the super nerd left (Chris?) and Cat's nudes got leaked online and then the show vanished. But thanks for your work.

Bloomington
Apr 20, 2010


Just popping in to say that I watched G4 (usually AOTS/X-Play) throughout my high school years and the work you guys did was fantastic.

Also, that peeps story holy poo poo. Definitely going to be trolling this thread for more stories like that.

Bloomington fucked around with this message at 01:08 on May 30, 2015

banned from Starbucks
Jul 18, 2004






plasticbugs posted:

Only two! She dated one guy that left the show, moved back to SF and got rich - in that order,

Kevin Rose right?

I hope you type of some of those stories from the OP. Who was the host that stole the viewer giveaway stuff?
How much bullshit did they feed you guys about the merger? It seemed like everything they told the viewers (networks new name, returning shows, ect) all turned out to be lies. Why didnt they keep Unscewed seems like a show up their alley. Can i have Laura Swishers phone number?

plasticbugs
Dec 13, 2006

Special Batman and Robin

zVxTeflon posted:

Kevin Rose right?

I hope you type of some of those stories from the OP. Who was the host that stole the viewer giveaway stuff?
How much bullshit did they feed you guys about the merger? It seemed like everything they told the viewers (networks new name, returning shows, ect) all turned out to be lies. Why didnt they keep Unscewed seems like a show up their alley. Can i have Laura Swishers phone number?

Yep, Kevin Rose! I'll definitely tell all the stories in the OP. It's hard because I like to be very descriptive, so it might take a while, but I'll get through it. I promise!

With the merger, they told us they wanted to keep The Screen Savers the way it was and it was a great fit for G4. Then, they started looking at our ratings and the ratings were TERRIBLE. It was obvious pretty early on that G4 wanted to merge with TechTV because TechTV was in 50 million homes and G4 was in something like 4 million total homes. So really, it was a play to get onto other cable providers and satellite networks without having to do much but pay a bunch of money to Paul Allen (co-founder of Microsoft and owner of TechTV). I guess Paul was interested in other things LIKE loving SENDING AWESOME EXPERIMENTAL ROCKETS TO OTHER PLANETS -- so I'll let that one slide because going to space will always win out over technology television.

After several months of terrible ratings in LA and things weren't getting better, G4 decided to do some drastic stuff. They put The Screen Savers on hiatus and canceled Unscrewed even though they were telling us Unscrewed was also a great fit for the network and it was here to stay.

What really sucks was that almost the whole staff had transplanted themselves down to LA and now, just a few months later, they were out of work. They did try to keep as many Unscrewed people as they could -- moving some of them onto X-Play and some of them onto other G4 shows like a top 10 show they were planning.

In good faith, G4 also killed their extremely "inside baseball" video game news show that covered video game industry news -- things like hot video game licensing deals and Richard Garriott's back pimples. That show was called Pulse. They moved Pulse's host, Kevin Pereira and executive producers over to join whatever would remain of The Screen Savers after they laid off half the staff.

G4 also canceled a variety show they had called G4TV.com and again moved some of that staff over to shows like Cinematech and X-Play. The hosts were given severance and that was that.

On the day they laid off half of TSS and all of Unscrewed, we were all super hung-over because the night before someone leaked the news and so we all went out and got drunk at a bar called the Arsenal on Pico Blvd. The next day, before they announced the layoffs, Unscrewed's Joey "The Intern" Rabier showed up dressed in what looked like a muumuu but clipped to the front with giant safety pins was a huge fabric Pink Slip that said "Pink Slip" on it signed with a forged "Charles Hirschhorn" signature. Hirschhorn was the weasely guy that founded G4. I guess while we were all getting drunk, Joey hit the fabric shop and started making a costume most of us will never forget.

As everyone's cleaning out their desks, there's TONS of bitterness and you can't really lay off half the staff anywhere in any kind of organized fashion. We had just upgraded The Screen Savers LAN Party machines with the latest and greatest hardware. These machines were each probably filled with $4,000 worth of parts.

The next day after the layoffs, those of us who remained decided to see if anything 'walked' and sure enough, anything not bolted down was scavenged. People stole RAM, people ripped out graphics cards, processors, hard drives. All that remained of the LAN Party machines were the empty cases. PLUS, people snagged DVCPro Decks worth thousands of dollars, people took home heavy rear end PVMs, people took tons of tapes and Xbox and Playstation games. It was bedlam. Anything and everything with a "TechTV" inventory sticker was pillaged - and who could blame them?

My thinking is that G4 canceled Unscrewed and The Screen Savers because G4 didn't really want the programming, they wanted TechTV's install base. But G4 didn't want TechTV's audience and G4's audience sure as gently caress didn't want to watch TechTV's cerebral/adult shows. Bad ratings and the high cost of producing two TV shows with a studio audience ultimately killed The Screen Savers and Unscrewed.

I don't have Laura Swisher's phone number anymore, but you can tweet at her! She came over my house once after work, but we just awkwardly watched TV in my living room together with my roommates, and unfortunately I can't really call that a date.

Bloomington posted:

Just popping in to say that I watched G4 (usually AOTS/X-Play) throughout my high school years and the work you guys did was fantastic.

Also, that peeps story holy poo poo. Definitely going to be trolling this thread for more stories like that.

Thanks! I'm glad you liked the show! We really were trying to make something we thought was good, but we usually had no idea what the gently caress we were doing and our bosses bosses were incompetent to say the least. The show's writers and staff regularly compared the network's leadership to a cat driving a bus. They'd veer way left with some dumb directive, and then "MRRRAAAAWWWRRRRR", they'd veer way the gently caress over to the right and overcompensate, making us all look like a bunch of assholes. To Kevin's credit, he rolled with all the changes and bad corporate decisions and proved to be the perfect guy to make anything (the worst guest, a broken segment, a flubbed line, etc.) work.

plasticbugs fucked around with this message at 06:35 on May 30, 2015

DanAdamKOF
Feb 11, 2007



plasticbugs posted:

people took home heavy rear end PVMs
Much respect, even the ones with handgrips are hard to handle.

Oh I met Alex Albrecht once on his podcast without having any idea who he was (he used to host TSS), you can see see it below if you care to but it's pretty dorky. He and his friends were bros for trying out our horrible nerd rhythm games.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGK0CvwOQzQ

DanAdamKOF fucked around with this message at 08:13 on May 30, 2015

Alan Smithee
Jan 3, 2005



So when G4 basically started playing dirty reality shows like Cheaters was it pretty much them putting it on autopilot and throwing their hands in the air because they literally couldn't do any better?

banned from Starbucks
Jul 18, 2004






I think it's funny that G4 buys techTV to get into more houses then gets dropped less than a year later by DirectTV. Oops. Was it obvious that the g4 people had no idea how to run a network when you guys got absorbed? Like what in the gently caress were they thinking with half their shows? A show that's nothing but video game clips set to shity industrial music (granted this was before YouTube ). A show g4tv.com??? with two annoying chicks yelling at each other. The loving cheat code show what the Christ. Then legit decent stuff like Icons gets dropped. Was anyone at that station above 30? The whole thing reminds me of that Casino quote "that's the last time street guys were ever given anything that fuckin valuable again".

Bonzo
Mar 11, 2004

Just like Mama used to make it!


Cast Iron Brick posted:



Along with that- what ever happened with Martin Seargent? I knew he was doing a podcast on Twit.tv for a while, but that seemed to have died without fanfare and he disappeared from the internet.



He's working for some ad agency making more money than he did in TV/Podcasting.

Winsanity
May 14, 2015

Space magic is the best magic


When you did the sports predictions did you ever get any real bad hate mail (death threats and such) from disgruntled people who lost a big bet on one of your picks?

plasticbugs
Dec 13, 2006

Special Batman and Robin

How one of the TSS hosts paid for his SF rent by slowly stealing viewer giveaways

Okay, let me preface this by saying that if the pay at G4 wasn't so great, TechTV paid even less. When I was hired as a production assistant on The Screen Savers, I think I started around 24K/year. But I had been out of work for many months, so I wasn't complaining. Plus, it was the most fun job I ever had -- and I think that accounted for why they were paying everyone - even the hosts - so little. That was in 2002/2003 and this was in San Francisco, a not especially cheap place to live. The co-hosts: people like Sarah Lane, Kevin Rose, & Dan Huard couldn't have been making more than 50k tops. My guess is they were probably getting paid in the 30s or low 40s. The on-camera hosts' wardrobe was whatever clothes they owned. There was no make-up department at TechTV - the hosts did their own make-up. It was super low budget, but that's probably what made it so special - it was honest and real and if it looked like the hosts were hired because of who they were instead of what they looked like, you're absolutely right.

After I was hired, I quickly became good friends with Kevin Rose and Dan Huard. They both lived in the same little apartment on the first floor of a two story building in the San Francisco's Sunset District. I think you had to go through the garage to get to their apartment or maybe to get from the bedroom to the bathroom you went through the garage? I forget exactly, but it was very modest living. They did have a backyard, which is a total luxury these days. But this is San Francisco in 2003, so I think they were probably paying $1000/month for this place split down the middle between the two of them.

Both The Screen Savers (which was live) and Call For Help (which wasn't) made heavy use of taking viewer calls during the show -- in an hour-long episode of TSS, we were probably taking 4 or 5 live calls every show. And many of those calls came in from viewers with netcams. This was no coincidence. For at least four years, ZDTV/TechTV was sending free 3com netcams to viewers who registered on the site.



They sent out thousands upon thousands of these things and it seemed to have paid off judging by the number of live callers who said 'yes' when we asked if they had a netcam. "Call for Help" lined up callers a week ahead of time, and in some cases, we'd send the caller a netcam before the taping so when the time came for them to call into the show during their slot, we'd be able to video chat with them via their netcam.



The TechTV offices were on Townsend St. on the 3rd and 4th floor of what's now the Zynga building. If you walked through the offices circa 2003, you'd see a pretty standard setup of aisles and cubicles. At the end of each row of cubicles on each side the walkway were these huge metal filing cabinets. Some of them held files, some of them held show tapes, but most of them were storage for what remained of these ZDTV-branded 3com netcams. There seemed to be thousands of these things STILL and there was no accounting system for grabbing them and sending them to viewers. If a viewer asked for a netcam, we jotted down their address, pulled one from a random filing cabinet and sent it on its way.

If you opened a random filing cabinet at TechTV, I'd bet you $100 there'd be a loving shrink-wrapped 3com Bigpicture netcam in there.

The netcams were probably 320x240 res (if that!) and though they were a few years old AND they had the network's old logo emblazoned on the box, they were still 'state-of-the-art'. They worked, they made video calls, and they still retailed for like $100+.

Kevin Rose was not only poor & underpaid, he was insanely entrepreneurial and smart -- AND he was ALWAYS scheming. Kevin needed to pay rent each month and he had a seemingly endless supply of 3com Bigpicture netcams that were quickly becoming obsolete.

I don't remember exactly HOW he did it, but here's the gist:
Each day or every other day, he'd stuff a netcam in his backpack before heading to the studio around 3pm (the TV studio was down the street from the TechTV offices on York St). There were filing cabinets full of these things and he probably hit a different cabinet each day so that no one filing cabinet could be emptied. I think Kevin set up 2 or 3 eBay accounts each with random usernames. Every other day, he'd list a netcam on eBay and it would sell for like $75. He admitted that this was how he paid his rent and I'm guessing there was money left over each month for having a little fun.

He was kind of like Robin Hood, but I'm 100% certain his crime, if you could call it that, was absolutely victimless. He was stealing something no one wanted and selling it to someone on eBay who wanted it -- and they were getting it way below retail. Win, win, mostly-win. In the end, when TechTV closed shop, there were dumpsters full of leftover, unwanted 3com Bigpicture netcams.

Kevin's no longer poor, by the way.

Here's what I'll say about Kevin Rose and it should give you an idea of who he is:
If I had a lemonade stand and Kevin opened a competing lemonade stand across the street, I would set fire to my lemonade stand and go work for Kevin to save myself a lot of trouble.

Commissar Ken
Dec 9, 2006

Children STILL love me, dammit!



This poo poo is good. Friend of the family introduced me to Tech TV shortly after it switched from ZDTV. It's actually the reason I begged the old man to get us a dish since we hadn't had cable or anything but network tv for a good 6 years up till that point. Sure enough he finally broke and the receiver in my room barely left from there at least all the way up to the G4 merger. Even afterwards i'd still catch the occasional Xplay or AOTS. I always wind up crazy nostalgic for a bit after catching one of the cast for one of the old shows on something else and these stories are hitting the spot.

So thanks for the stories and for helping put something on the air that was, at the very least, background flavor for a chunk of my life.

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RNG
Jul 9, 2009



What was the fallout from the David Thorpe interview?

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