So writer’s block for a new article has struck me again, so I decided to share one of my projects that didn’t get off the ground because of all the down times my sites were having last year.
Most people have probably heard the horror stories of famous creators dismissing criticism, even if it’s well thought out and presented constructively, as just trolling or bashing. And with the internet, those types can just ban and delete as they wish. But what if someone like that had to live with someone who could not stop pointing out their flaws?
I’ve referred to the website That Guy With the Glasses in a couple of my past columns. I used to be a big fan of the man himself, Doug Walker, but around 2011 he stopped appealing to me. Nothing bad, it just was not my thing. In 2012 he brought an end to the website’s flagship title, The Nostalgia Critic, to move onto a show called Demo Reel, which was a comedy that parodied well known properties, while also following the lives of the studio making said parodies. I gave the pilot a chance, but it just did not grab me. A day or so after the first episode premièred, I was talking to a friend about the show. I told him I wasn’t going to be following the series and he started to get a little defensive, which he tended to do whenever he felt someone was attacking something he cared about. I might have been, actually, I could be a little over critical back then. So we go back and forth, arguing about the series, until he delivers his trump card: “Well how would you do it differently?” I was unfazed and told him that I would just take out the parody angle and make it a sitcom about an indie studio struggling to find their big break through original properties. We dropped the conversation, but the idea stuck with me for a while until it started morphing into something else.
I should make it clear that while Walker’s comedy was partially the influence for Pat’s style, he is not the entire basis for the character. Doug Walker has no issues with admitting when he’s wrong. This guy is based on the sorts of people who used to appear on the TV Tropes page Small Name, Big Ego when it was used to give examples of the creators rather than characters. With Pat, anything even slightly negative is a troll. Mention his audio is out of sync, troll. Mention he got his facts mixed up on a movie, troll.
However, Jerry is not exactly the noble hero here. The idea is that both of them are presented as right and wrong in many areas. Pat does not put much effort into his writing or research, which causes many of his jokes and comments to be either weak or flat out wrong. But this is because he does not have much time, as he does his best to get videos out almost every second day in order to keep up with the rent on the large apartment they currently live in. Also, Jerry makes his comments, but never offers advice for how Pat can improve. This way, the audience can decide on who they feel is more sympathetic and in the right (A big worry was overdoing it for both and alienating people).
After a live stream in which Pat routinely fails and screams at Super Mario 64, Jerry can take no more and finishes the level for him. This immediately catches the attention of the audience, with many anti-fans loving Jerry for putting down Pat. Seeing a new opportunity, Pat uploads the takes Jerry ruined by interrupting him and they become a massive hit. After seeing the money that can be made off the videos, Jerry agrees to join the show. As the comic goes on we see the amount of effort Pat puts into his production levels and also meet some other creators. There’s some other character development and we even get a little back story into why Jerry has a four-bedroom apartment even though he lived alone until the comic started.
I do regret that the project slipped my mind and I may come back to it some time this year since I do like it enough to want to keep going, but most likely I would hire another artist for it, one who could actually do the thing some justice. It also helped teach me the value of planning, I had the first 120 pages planned as a graphic novel that would contain its own story and that really helped me keep the writer’s block at bay. Also, doing the background designs and character sketches made the drawing process much quicker, since I didn’t have to constantly go searching through a pile of pages to double check consistency like I had to do before. It was also fun to try and challenge myself with the art by pushing beyond my comfort zones.
Just goes to show what you can accomplish when you put some effort into your work.
* Refers to the last panel in this comic.