Nothingstar Academy: Season 1

Listen to it all, right now!

Harry Potter. Dungeons and Dragons. Podcasts. Me.

If you like those four things this post is for you. If you don’t like those four things, then I bid you farewell and hope you have a stellar day.

For the past two years I have been writing and producing the first season of a podcast called Nothingstar Academy, the premise of which is: What if Hogwarts was a school for DnD characters instead?

It’s the most amount of work I’ve put into anything ever. And as with every creative endeavor I’ve ever set out upon my friends said yes to me every time I asked for their help along the way. Which was and continues to be a lot.

Nothingstar is a primary school representing the region of New England for murder hobos set in the real world, unbeknownst to real people.

The podcast is a bi-monthly news program run by the editor of the school newspaper, The Daily Vagabond, documenting the goings on at the school including all feasts, rituals, sporting events, prophecy progress, and of course keeping a very special eye on the evil forces slowly but surely taking over the school and the world.

Below is the script for the finale if you’re interested in comparing page to product. Thanks to everyone who listened this year. Thank you to my friends for your undying support. Cya September 1st for the Season 2 Premiere.

The Battle of Nothingstar 

(Justin) Gio: Relax. We’re not live yet,  just give that pigeon a piece a’ kraken tenderloin to refuel it and we’ll be good to go. 

(Spenny) Lorenzo: The Kraken?! That’s our last piece and you’re gonna give it to a dumb bird? Why not just shove a water chestnut up its ass and call it a day. 


Gio: Oh shit, turns out, we have been live this whole time and we’re totally boned

Lorenzo: Okay little pidgeys it’s your time to shine. Go up there with your lil holo cams on your precious lil heads and get us them good good camera angles, okay? 


*Pigeons fly away* 


Toga: Greetings and Salutations – welcome one and all to the 2022 Dragonball World Series brought to you by Vagabond Mobile here at the newly constructed Nothingstar Stadium. I am Saratoga Random Dent Jones but my one friend calls me Jonesey. 

Apto: The championship is finally happening, Tuna! After a 17 match bracket that saw the Nothingstar Sloths beat Rwenzori Heights and The Blackwater School beat The House of the Spark in the Final 4, we have reached the championship AND I AM SO EXCITED. 

Toga: That’s right we have Helja Blackwater and the Blackwaters vs Oslo Santiago and the Nothingstar Sloths facing off today for World Dragonball supremacy. Stay tuned as we interview the stars of the show as well as try our best not to brag too much about finally being the Liar’s Dice World Champion. 

Apto: Wait…am I the liars dice world champion? 

Toga: You are not. I am. 

Apto: Are you sure? 

Toga: Did you win the Liar’s Dice Championships yesterday against Helja Blackwater with the ingenious plan concocted by myself and Magnus Peppercorn to never lie the entire time? I think not. That was me. The goddamn champion. 

Apto: If you say so – but I still feel like it was me. 

Toga: Wonderful. So – Apto – Do you have any predictions as to how the match will go today? 

Apto: OSLO SANTIAGOOOOOOOOOOOO needs to care – like, at all, about this match. If he does, Nothingstar will DESTROY BLACKWATER. And if he doesn’t Blackwater will win again – they are very good at this game

Toga: For those of us who know nothing about this game or how it’s played perhaps you can describe that in detail for us? 

Apto: I CAN DO THAT FOR YOU PLEBS – Dragonball is a 11v11 knockdown drag out battle to the death, or, a game that ends in 20 minutes and whomever has the most points wins, whichever comes first. 

There are 3 attackers, 3 midfielders, 3 defense, 1 goalie, and 1 Dragon Tamer who does jack shit most of the time – and they all compete 50 feet in the air upon dragonflies the size of, well, me! hahahahahaa

From there you throw a ball and try to put it through the goal although it is important to note that the ball absolutely hates you

If all three balls are put back in the box before the end of the game by the dragon tamers a giant dragon comes out of the box and eats everyone on the other team………. the end. 

Toga: That was…very clear and I understood all of it. 

Gio: Get the pigeons to do a swoopy thing Zo – the interviews are about to start. 

Zo: I’m swoopin’ here! 

Toga: Uh – guys – I can hear you in my ear but you’re also broadcasting yourselves onto the main feed so if you could, I don’t know, not do that hahah 

Apto: No! Let the giant rats stay! This is a complete shit show, might as well embrace the poopy

Gio: Swoop there it is, babyyyyy. 

*Pigeons swoop in* 

Apto: And now here with us is Helja Blackwater – Helja are you sad you lost the liar’s dice championships yesterday to me and will that affect your dragonball game here today? 

Helja: Who doesn’t lie in a liar’s dice game, Toga? It’s like…the whole thing. You’re washed. Complete horse shit – and no it won’t affect me in the slightest – I’m going to crush these idiots and bring home the cup again for Blackwater. 

Toga: *cough* You lost *cough*, oh – we also have Oslo Santiago, star Nothingstar Dragonball player and shifty high elf here – same question to you. 

Oslo: Jes. 

Toga: Yes? Yes, what? Does that mean you believe you’re going to win? 

Oslo: No….but also….Jes. 

Toga: This has been illuminating and I’m glad I agreed to do this. We also have here French Bulldog goalie Genimax and Baby Ninja Turtle Attacker slash Vagabond Mobile Developer slash the sponsor of today’s event, Gilcrest Stankbagel. 

Gilcrest: Vagabond Mobile, now available on everyone’s holopads! Send me money, you idiots! 

Apto: Genimax – who do you think is going to win today? 

Genimax: It is very likely the game does not end, the dark council attacks, and we are all lying in pools of our own blood in say – 30 minutes from now. 


Gilcrest: Make sure to put in the coupon code I AM A DUMB ASS – all caps – to send 500 coins straight to me upon purchase – and go dragonball! 

Genimax: Goodbye to my family. 

Toga: Augustus Dragonball – Okay. 

Apto: Hey Tuna, do you think what Genimax said will actually happen? 

Toga: Nah – I’m sure it’s chill – oh and Phineas Whistlepig is here to perhaps update us on that very fact. 

Phineas: *Snorts* Better start this game soon! Also I hope you have your weapons on you, you’re definitely going to need them. 

*Spencer and Zander yelling at each other from afar* 

Zo: Gio! Do a zoomy swoop in on the stands – some primo reality TV is happening up there between the two Thundersnake brothers and you know I love my stories. 


Spencer: It’s happening, Zander. I know Dad talked to you. So – Once shit starts to pop off just know that I’m going for the artifact with or without you. Stop being a little puss, pick up your Thundersnake rune blade, and be by my side – where you’re supposed to be. 

Zander: First off puss is a derogatory term that Taylor Swift would disavow immediately, so maybe come correct on that one. 

*Phone beeps – not mentioned* 

Spencer: Shit, you’re right my bad. But that doesn’t change the fact that if you don’t join us today Dad is gonna kill you. Or he’s going to have me do it and I like, totally will dude. 

Zander: Spencer. I don’t CARE I will NEVER pick up a thundersnake blood rune blade again. I’ve made up my mind! Sorta!  

*Phone beeps again*

Zander: So, shove it up your poop shoot and also god damnit make your phone stop beeping, that’s so annoying 

Spencer: Don’t worry about my phone, that shit isn’t your concern. And suit yourself, nobody likes you, you’re a disgrace to the blood rune anyway, fuck the fuck off.

Zo: Now zoom in on Onyx Surge, Gio, he’s creepily listening to all of this, and making a face like oh hey, how bout’ that?    

Gio: Don’t tell me how to direct you rat fuck, I can do it without you chirping in my ear. OH, screw Onyx, go to the field, Grigory and Korter are almost done sweeping – that is the good stuff. 

Zo: Sweeping montage INCOMING! 


Grigory: Well, as per usual Korter you’ve been no help whatsoever. I’ve been going non stop for days now tirelessly getting the pitch ready – and you’ve just been standing next to me playing games on your holopad like a jackass. 

Korter: We’re both in this game Grigory, how can I not send Gilcrest money to unlock us?! 

Grigory: Oh my gods – it’s very simple. Just…DON’T?!  *to himself* Calm down Grigory. Keep the pain inside. Watch Rudy again and keep the pain inside. 

*Phone beeps again from afar*


*Large noise of electricity pulsating, slight crack*

Gio: What in the shit is that? 

Zo: I don’t know but fuck this game  – pan up to the bubble and zoom in ya dingus.

Gio: You can also move the cameras ya fuckin’ putz, if you wanna do something just do it, you don’t need me over here holdin’ your rat dick. 

Zo: You’re such a grumpy Gus, here, eat this capybara pie Naemar gave me. 

Gio: Oooo let the exotic meats flow through me! OOP – I see a wild Judas Cradle in the stands heading over to Headmaster Whistlepig – split screen that shit! 

*Electric Pulse happens again, this time louder – more cracking* 

Judas: Headmaster – ya see the bubble – how it’s pulsating purple, has huge cracks in it, and how there are a bunch of bloodied body parts scraping down the sides? If you want my expert opinion, that’s hella bad.

Phineas: Thank you for that insight Judas. I trust you have your chainsaw on you? 

Judas: Do I have my chainsaw? Are you kidding me? Do every one of my farts contain an entire nugget of poopy? Both answers are obviously yes. *Chainsaw revs* Come and get me coppers! 

*The electric Pulse happens again and again and again  as the bubble shatters and water starts to rush in* 

Gio: Holy shit the school’s protective barrier just shattered! 

Zo: Gio – What happens if we lose this impending fight and then the dark council breaks into the directing tent and kills us too? 

Gio: Well Zo, I suppose in that instance we gobble our final gool and then kiss our rat asses goodbye. Also zoom in on the oncoming horrors, this is some dank ass shit. 

Phineas: *casting a spell* Protego ButForRealThough!  *Magic – water flowing fades out* TOGA, GET THE FUCK OVER HERE. 

Toga: Headmaster! The Dark Council is attacking! 

Phineas: Yeah no shit, I told everyone this was gonna happen so many times. We had an entire assembly about it. 

Toga: What do we do?!

Phineas: I’m going to keep the River at bay because I’m a very powerful gnome – you round everyone up and begin to FIGHT YOU FUCK! FIGHT FOR YOUR SHITTY FUCKING LIFE! 

Toga: Uhhhhhh right. Okay. Got it. 

Spencer: It’s now or never Zander. Dad is here and I’m going for the Nothingstar. Don’t try and stop me! 

Zander: You sound like you want me to stop you. 

Spencer: Don’t you do it! I’ll have to stay here and fight you instead if you try to stop me by just saying the word stop! 

Zander: Uh …okay… stop? 

Spencer: Wow you’ve really done it now. You’ve left me no choice but to not go get the Nothingstar and to fight you instead. 

Zander: O…kay? *SHING* OH SHIT you tried to hit me with your blood rune blade! You know I gave up my initial class of blood hunter a year ago and my dex stats are incredibly low now! 

Spencer: You should, like, I don’t know, get your blade maybe and also like, just remember how to be a blood hunter – that shit doesn’t just go away – so this is, like, a fair fight or whatever.

Zander: I will never use our families blades ever again so kill me you puss. 

Spencer: Hey! Don’t disrespect T-Swizzles by putting down all women with your words like I did moments ago! *SHING* 

Onyx: Headmaster Whistlepig! They’ve come, and right on time. 

Phineas: Yes. Time. Time is an interesting thing Onyx . We all have to decide what to do with the time that is given to us – and right now – the time is yours. 

Onyx: Phineas? 

Phineas: Kel. This is your time. Take what is yours. Let out the beast within! Find your father. And kill that son of a bitch! 

Onyx: Okay – sure, but first, I’d like to give you my letter of resignation. 


Onyx: Right. Of course… I always knew this day would come. Where vengeance was at my fingertips. Where my real identity would be revealed. Where my destiny would-


*A beast hollers in the distance* 

Onyx: What…what was that?? 

Phineas: That would be Terry, a 50 foot tall 130 ton lizard monster who is a very good boy – but probably not so much today. NOW GO! 

*Transformation sounds – elephant whinny* 

Kel: Ah, yes. My true form. Kel – the Loxodon – a 9 foot tall bipedal elephant, the last of my kind, and an identity I’ve been hiding for a decade to escape my torrid past –


Kel: Right – my bad. Are you going to be good, holding up the sea? 

Phineas: Not for long – so have a sense of urgency, you moron.  

Kel: K – will do – uh, brb. *elephant noise – charge* 

Zo: Woah! The Librarian guy is hacking and slashing at a buncha book worms while crying hysterically alongside a bunch of sexually adventerous trophies that have broken out of the sloth common room, gimme a close up!


Worms: *ensemble improv* 

Trophies: I give you all consent to kick some worm ass! *Trophy Improv*

Gio: Ooooookay, nuff of that.

Zo: Yeah I PUKED, I hated it. 

Gio: OH Judas is fighting a giant ant with a chainsaw and OH FUCK WHAT THE FUCK 

Gonna BeBigington: I – Gonna BeBigington – King of the Ants who were once small but now are big – claim Nothingstar as my own! 

Judas: Like fuck you will. *Chainsaw revs* 

Gonna BeBigington: Oh shit, my thorax! HA! That wound ain’t shit, Judas. It’ll grow back, we are still out here chillin. Take this! *Swipe* 

Judas: Oh shit, my torso! It’ll grow back, we are also out here chillin. Oh… wait… nope. Nope it will not. That’s a lot of blood. Well – I’m out. *dying noises* 

Zo: That ant just karate chopped Judas in half! This fuckin’ rules. AND the three primary members of the Dark Council are now entering the battlefield with a mind controlled legion created for the sole purpose of our destruction – gonna do a sweet 360 drone shot on that. Hard Zoom on Gax, Shay, and Xan! 

Xan: Prepare for trouble. 

Gax: And make it double. 

Shay: Try triple you idiot – you’re supposed to be a genius Gax – do literally any math. 

*Terry roars* 

Shay: Yes Terry you don’t have to be here for our bad guy intro thing, go and murder at will. 

*Terry roars again – excited – stomps off* 

Xan: Are we good now? Can I finish?

Shay: Oh my god just say your stupid words, we have an artifact to steal and a world to rule. 

Xan: To unite all monsters with mind control. 

Gax: To alleviate all creatures of their cursed souls. 

Shay: To denounce all good within this World. 

Xan: To finally find a word that rhymes with World. 

Gax: Gax the Mad Scientist. 

Shay: Lady Shay. 

Xan: And I, Xan the Beholder. Surrender now or prepare to fight! 

Gax: Can they really just surrender? 

Shay: No – they can not. 

Xan: OH MY GOD Hurled rhymes with world. Shit fuck. I JUST thought of that. 

Gax: And hurled does makes narrative sense – people yak around me all the time. 

Shay: That’s because you smell like a pile of a thousand dead babies. 

Xan: Gottem – nice. Anyway – both of you take your legions and do what you do best. Pillage and murder – you know the drill…… And you can leave Phineas to me. 

Shay: No, I got the gnome. *Flies away* 

Xan: Oh, what?! Okay….. Fine. Whatever. I’ll fight Kel the Loxodon – our old laboratory assistant who has been in hiding to forget his torrid past. 

Kel: Hello father. 

Gax: Hello son….no longer hiding your true form, I see. I’d say I was proud of you, but I am not. I am, as always, disgusted. 

Kel: Today is the day you DIE OLD MAN! *Elephant charge – hit – fighting* 

Xan: Oh, what the fuck? So like…what do I do? Oh – I got it! I’ll kill the Thundersnake boys. 

Duncan Thundersnake: You leave them to me. 

Xan: Oh, Duncan, you scared the shit out of me – were you there the whole time? 

Duncan: ….Yes. *charges away.* 

Xan: Well, shit. Maybe I’ll just watch, I guess? Watching is cool. Lots of blood over there. That’s very cool.…..Looookin….good. Ohhhhhh – now …..what do we have here???? It seems we have a very lost boy on the field….Saratoga Random Dent Jones. NO ONE CALL KILLING HIM OR I’LL FUCKIN MELT YOU WITH MY DEATH BEAM… He’s mine.  *evil laugh – floating noise away*  

Gio: Alright we know where Xan is going but Tuna doesn’t know he’s coming – should we tell him, or? 

Zo: No. Definitely not – but zoom in on Tuba so we can see him die. 

Gio: Yes – that’s the best plan. Pass me that Ostrich filet. All this terrorism is making me hungry. 


Toga: Apto! Are you alright?! 


Toga: Oh my god – is there anything I can do? 

Apto: You can literally fucking heal me, Tuna! 

Toga: Oh, right – right. *Magic* 

Apto: Perfect now I’ll just stand up – *falls over*  Oh what the shit, Tuna? 

Toga: You’re not bleeding anymore but I can’t make your legs come back! 

Apto: Then what fucking good are you?! 

Toga: I saved your life!

Apto: You want a pat on the back you shit bird?? FIND ME SOME GODDAMN ROBOT LEGS. 

Toga: Uhhh uhhhh okay – I….I don’t know how to accomplish that – but I’ll try. 

Judas: (ghost ) Hey guys! I’m a ghost now – Look! I have a ghost chainsaw that I’m fighting other ghosts with! *ethereal chainsaw revs* 

Apto: Does that actually work?! 

Judas: Oh yeah – they disintigrage and go straight to the 9th level of hell the moment I slash into them – being a ghost fuckin’ rules. 


Toga: I could kill you now, ass hole, is that what you want? 

Apto: *le sigh* Ugh – I guess not. Hand me that scimitar though I’m gonna hobble around on my stumps and chop mind controlled idiots down and then eat their heads.  *hands over weapon* 

Judas: *ghost* Aight Imma go keep ghost sawing – check in with y’all later! Come over here you transparent ass bitch and GET SOME. *flies away* 

Gio: Xan sure is taking his fuckin’ time – go back to the Thundersnakes to see what they’re doing.

Zo: Hey Gio, do the Thundersnake’s voices sound familiar to you? 

Gio: Nope. Zero percent. 


Spencer: *really broken up about this shit* Just get out your blade! PLEASE. 

Zander: NO. I will DIE before I go back on that rash decision I made a year ago that I kinda sorta regret every day. You and daddy can FUCK. YOUR. SELVES. – 


Zander: Oh shit, hey dad. Sup?

Duncan: Spencer – you’re not heading for the artifact. Am I to believe you’ve gone soft like a flaccid penis and given into the will of your chicken hearted ginger snap of an older brother? 

Zander: The fuck? 

Spencer: Uh no sir – I’ll go get it right now sir – but um, just so I know  – when I leave what are you going to do to Zander? 

Duncan: Well – I think that’s pretty obvious, son. Use context clues and stop wasting my time. Off you go. 

Spencer: Um. Yeah. Sure. Okay. Uh – Zander….it’s. Um. It was nice. Ya know. Like. Having you. As like. My brother. Or whatever. 

Zander: You too, dude. And for future reference. There are like, 400 bags of cool ranch doritos in my room if you want them – oh and also the magical yankee candle train – I told Toga I returned it but I ain’t no bitch. 

Spencer: *laughs* Nice dude. Anyway, I … guess I’ll be goin –

Duncan: Zander… I should have done this a long time ago. 


Zander: Oh shiiiiiii-



Duncan: Spencer – what are you doing? *Hit* 

Spencer: Uhh saving Zander? I guess? *HIT* *Spencer gets fuckin hit hard noise, also hits the ground – don’t punch him this time JR lul* 




Duncan: DIE! 

Spencer: *sword hits the ground* Oh no, my sweet ass fucking sword! 

Zander: No one is allowed to kill Spencer, unless…it’s….ME! – I’ll take this.  * Pick up weapon and then SHING SHING CLANG SHING WAHHHHH – Duncan and Zander fighting noises* 

Duncan: *dying noises* Oh my word. You did it. You picked up a Thundersnake rune blade once more. Somehow I always knew my soft pensisd son would chop me the fuck in half but I always figured it would be Spenny… *more dying noises* Boys…take care of your sister. She needs you. 

Spencer: What about mom? 

Duncan: Let that vicious life-sucking bitch from which there is no escape die for all I care. Like I’m gonna do. Right now. *Dies* 

Spencer: Dude! You killed Dad! 

Zander: I know, it was sick and like, way easier than I had dreamt like 900 times. Are you good? 

Spencer: No, that douche bag clipped my leg real bad – I can’t walk. But – you have my blood rune blade now and you gotta get out there, it’s not looking good. Apto is literally stump surfing and biting people’s knees and that’s all we have going for us. 

Apto: *from afar* Kneel before me peasants!  *SHING – BITE*

Zander: Okay – but if I’m going to do this. We gotta do… the thing 

Spencer: I thought we agreed to never do… the thing…. ever again. 

Zander: Well – these are extenuating circumstances – all of our aquaintences are out there getting smacked the fuck around.  

Spencer: Giving you all my powers with a super sick fusion dance would be what T Swift would want me to do, so… I guess I’m in.

Zander: Good. Here’s your sword. *pass weapon – makes a blood rune attunement noise*

Spencer: Oh cool, my sweet fucking sword. 

Zander: And I’ll use dads. *makes a blood rune attunement noise*

Spencer: Ew, gross. Okay – a good ole fashioned Fusion Dance – for old times sake. Do you think this will work with you holding dad’s sword instead of yours? 

Zander: Only one way to find out. 


Spencer: *depleted* It worked! You have all my strength and powers, and you’re a bloodhunter again! … What should I do now? \

Zander: *swing swing* *blood hunter voice* Stay safe – maybe play dead? 

Spencer: How’s this *plays dead* 

Zander: Less noise probably. 

Spencer: Okay, how bout this? *does the same thing* 

Zander: *grunts disapprovingly – runs off* 

Spencer: Okay, later dawg! …..*Improv about 10 seconds of bleeding and being in pain – fighting happening all around you, and then* Oh shit. The dragonballs from the game are all on the ground over there. Hmm. *crawling*  Crawlinggggg hurts my skiiiiiin, my wounds they will not healllllllll- 

Gio: The Gax Onyx battle is coming to a head – quick pan babyyyyy

Gilcrest: *from afar* Haha Gio said head.

Steve: *from afar* Bark! 

Zo: His name is Kel now. 

Gio: Augustus Dragonball, I’ll call him buttercup if he wants me to but not right now pan to the guy why don’t ya – also pass me that sliced moose nut. 

Zo: Herrrrrrrre ya go and PAN! 


Kel: *tired AF* Ya know….it’s taken me many years…but I don’t blame you for what you did to me. 

Gax: Don’t care. 

Kel: I chose to do what you wanted for so long because I wanted – no – I needed your love. 

Gax: I’m not listening – I’m not listening! 

Kel: But that was wrong. I was wrong. You committed a genocide in front of my eyes. And…Someone has to make you pay for that. And it might as well be me. 

Gax: Blah blah blah blah shut the fuck up. I am not going to pay for anything and you will admit to me right now you enjoyed every second of it. You loved innocent eyes fading and going to black. 

You yearned to be the hands around the throats of the sorry sacks I suffocated with my weird umbilical cord that comes out of my big ole tum and just kinda drags on the ground wherever I go. 

Kel: You’re right. I did. 

Gax: You….what? I didn’t expect you to just say you did, that’s fuckin crazy – You’re a psycho. I mean, I’m a psycho but like, that’s what I’m supposed to be. You’re Kel – the last of the Loxodons – flailing orphan with daddy issues with me, your daddy, that looks like an albino poop someone took after 20 years of constipation when they only ate goop and bile sandwiches and then came to life. 

Kel: I loved every second of it, father. And that is a shame I will carry with me from this life to the next. 

Gax: Which for the record is gonna be in like 10 seconds – OH FUCK *BLUNT OBJECT HITS HIM* Ya caught me slippin’! Oh shoot, you’re wrapping my umbilical cord around my own neck! Poetic justice! Oooo, now you’re forcing me to the ground – kinda weird! What you doing you tub a lard string bean lookin’ mother fucker. Now you fucked up! You have fucked up now!  *wkuk ref*

Kel: Hey dad. 

Gax: Uh – yeah? 

Kel: I’m gonna sit on you now and suffocate you with my ass hole. 

Gax: That tracks. 

*Slam Gax into the ground – suffocating noises – Kel lights up a bogie and exhales* 

Kel: Now you’re Gax the Dead Scientist. 

Gio: That was bonker sauce- 

Zo: Oh boy – we got a lot going on – time for a fast paced montage! 

Gio: You got it! 


*MUSIC HITS as we fly around the battlefield – every cut is a swoop, intercut Spennys song*

  • Apto Improv
    • Fighting and Introduces Genimax to the battle 
      • Tank Murderfist also there
  • Judas Improv 
  • Zander Improv
  • Spenny Improv 
    • Crawling in my skin is the structure of this montage – always going back to it
      • I yearn for Toga’s healssss
      • Daddys dead and gone 
      • The dragon I’ll revealllllll
  • Grigory/Korter Improv 
  • Oslo Improv
    • Jes – I am here, btw. 
    • Going back and forth to each side based on who he thinks is winning 
    • Maybe he has a conversation with Spenny
      • Whatcha doing? Trying to release the dragon? 
        • Uh – yeah. 
          • Tonight. I’m gonna go get the Nothjingstar for Master Xan. 
            • You do you, king. Fear is howwwww I fallll – our fusion danceeee was cooooolllll. CRAWLINGGGG-
  • Ralph the Bridge the Troll Improv – within the fight 
  • Twister in the booth
    • I’m here to hack the bubble – make it stronger! 
      • Gio and Zo tell him it’s already dead 
        • Alright – well, I’m out. Later haters. 
          • That guys hat and sunglasses combo was next level cool 
  • Panda Sneeze Exploder setting off an explosive improv 
  • Blep fighting 
  • Dust Bunnies, Attack! *noises*
  • The Rot Troll enters the fight 
  • *lets go arrow* I’m Deadeye Crawford and I never miss. 
  • Arthur Stratton Improv 
  • Nistion surfaces – Improv 
  • MONTAGE ENDS WITH: Kel walks up to Phineas 

Kel: I can take it from here, Phineas. *MAGIC* 

Phineas: What about Gax? 

Kel: I sat on him. 

Phineas: haha cool. 

Kel: They really need your help out there. 

Phineas: I know *Terry roars in the distance – Lady Shay stabs someone through the stomach – dying noises* 

Lady Shay: Come on Terry – let’s go visit daddy. 

Terry: (in tarrasque) yay! 

Phineas: For now they’re gonna have to fend for themselves. I have something I have to take care of. *scurries off* And get someone to find Toga! He must be protected! 

Kel: The worm?!?! Why??? Sir – you’re scurrying away – I would strongly advise you don’t do that –  everyone is dying *teleport noise* – annnnnd he’s gone. Cool. I’ll just hold up a river after I killed my dad, a pretty big traumatic experience, AND, no good job Kel, by the way? No – ya know what, no – I’m just trying to replace Gax with Phineas – I have to be my own dad now and FUCK this river is heavy. 

Gio: Xan has to have gotten to Toga by now what the shit has he been doing? 

Zo: He stopped to have a margarita. 

Gio: A what?! 

Zo: I know! 

Gio: Does he have more?!? 

Zo: Go out onto  the battleground and see. *Door opens and closes*  I didn’t mean to really do that! Gio!?!? GIO?>!!>?!> Get me one too! Salt on the rim! NO ICE DON’T YOU DARE PUT ICE IN THAT SHIT! 


Toga: Okay – kinda lost at what do now *dodge* SACRED FLAME – I guess I just keep lighting people on fire? TOLL THE DEAD – and hope for the best. 

*ZAP – gets hit – hits the ground* 

Toga: *hurt* What…what just happened? 

Vehemas: Xan just shot at you, and then I tackled you from the top ropes and saved your little shitty life and now you owe me forever, Toga HAHAHAHAHA

Toga: Vehemas! Holy shit! Thank you. 

Vehemas: Ew – don’t hug me that’s gross – being out of the water is weird and terrible – I gotta go find a puddle or something also I lost my pal Mannix the King of the Leprechauns in the mix at some point, but I have to go find a puddle to put my mouth on so I don’t die. If you see Mannix tell him I’m suckin bubbles to stay alive. Oh and look btdubbs – Xan is here. 

Xan: Saratoga Random Dent Jones. 

Vehemas: Okay good luck byeeeee *coins – vehemas walks away, fading out* Oh hey Mannix – what?! No, I saved Toga’s life but then left him to die and now I’m finding a puddle to put my mouth on  – it has been a  VERY productive day. *coins* 

Toga: *clears throat* Hey Xan. My one friend calls me Jonsey. 

Xan: Ya know – you say that all the time but I’m starting to believe that one friend you reference doesn’t exist. 

Toga: I mean, a merman who is my sworn enemy just saved my life so – that has to count for something. 

Vehemas: *from afar – bubbles* Not your friend, you tried to bang my Mer-Daughter, you can still fuck right off! 

Toga: Well – that’s….okay not great. But also accurate. 

Xan: I wanted to thank you personally for making your little show, Saratoga. It made this extinction event today a whole lot easier for us. 

Toga: I’m always trying to be helpful. 

Xan: And as a thank you, I figured I would end your life. 

Toga: K, mean. 

Xan: Ya know. It’s too bad your real parents will never know about their son’s death. 

Toga: I mean – when I stop calling they’ll probably be like, that’s weird, and assume the worst. Also, they’ve met Phineas, they know I’m into some weird gnome based shit out here. 

Xan: I’m not talking about the Joneses, Toga. Didn’t the gnome ever tell you? Of course he didn’t. That shifty fuck. I suppose you deserve to know at the end of days. 

The Joneses were tasked with keeping you safe. Getting you to school age and then setting you free. To keep the truth within and let the idea of you die. 

What you could be. Who…you could be. One of your real parents is even here today and they don’t even know you exist HAHAHAHAHAHAHA and….I say – that’s an interesting scar on your arm there you’ve got there. 

Toga: Oh this? Yeah I got it from palming the Nothingstar, it was nuts. I was supposed to die and I didn’t and- Hey. Wait – weird scars have historically denoted the main character in all important literature. Am… am I the main character????

Xan: Perhaps. In another time. In another place. In another world. But in this one. You’re just. Dead. *Beam charging throughout* 

Toga: Gulp.  …………………….. Uh. What’s happening? … This is taking so long. 

Xan: It’s a death beam. Okay? It takes a little bit to charge, just give it a sec. It’s not always ready to go, it has to be worked up – DON’T LOOK AT IT, you’re making me self conscious. 

Toga: Oh, sure, no problem. Hey, that’s weird,  my main character arm scar is glowing purple. 

Xan: For real? Well. I wouldn’t pay attention to that. 

Toga: Oh, no? 

Xan: Nope – just let that detail pass right by you cause my beam of death is comin’ for that ass in 4…3….2….2 and one quarter….2 and 2 quarters…

Toga: I think I’m gonna touch your weird giant eyeball with my glowy arm now. 

Xan: Oh but like, don’t though. *let the bodies hit the flow*

Toga: *from the deep* CONTAGIONNNN *Hand on Xan – melting – blood gushing – Xan dying noises – beam fades – Toga’s body hits the floor*  

Vehemas: Okie doke I got me a puddle squirt and I’m back and ready to – Toga? … Ya dead, man? 

Mannix: I’m Mannix McSweeny and I’m king of the Leprechauns! *coins – stabbing – blood* Oh shit, is Toga dead? 

Vehemas: Looks like it. 

Mannix: How sad. Get his wallet. *Coins* 

Vehemas: Okie dokie. 

Toga: *groggy* hey HEY get off me I’M ALIVE!!! 

Mannix: His wallet is on a chain, what do I do now?! 

Vehemas: I’m officially out of ideas, run for the puddle! *coins*

Toga: Ow…my head….what the shit was that?! Also is SOMEONE here my mom and or dad?! 

Zo: What a sad orphan dumb ass. 

Gio: Yeah who cares – pan away to this touching moment I’m witnessing between Grigory and Korter. 


Grigory: KORTER! Would you stop hiding in other dimensions and be helpful? 

Korter: No – I’m not looking to die today! 

Grigory: I’ve lived multiple lifetimes, if today is it then today is it. 

Korter: If you play Rudy one more time I’ll actually kill myself before a legion of mind controlled Orcs gets the chance to. 

*big footsteps approaching* 

Grigory: It’s my safe space! 

Korter: Watch out behind you, a big ole Orc is coming to snatch ya. *portal*

Grigory: What? Oh bloody hell! *snatch – in the background, “Rudy! Rudy!”*

*Spennys notification happens in the distance*

*Tarrasque roars – bites – kills in the distance* 


Oslo: Wow! That big sexy lizard just ate 12 people at once. Team Dark Council for the win! OH SHOOT – Toga just melted Xan the Beholders eyeball – that’s very hawt – Nothingstar rules, go sloths! I was with you the entire time! *runs off*


Spencer: I’m….almost……there. 

Spencer calls the dragon Three Balls enter the Box, the third one takes a bit more time, suspense and shit AND THEN  – Dragon is unleashed noises! 

Dragon voice joke – haven’t talked in a long time – you know that thing where you have’t talked in a while – excuse me – regular low pitched down voice – Spenny IMPROV with the Dragon

Spencer: Hey Dragon, what’s your name, guy? 

Dragon: I am Shen. 

Spencer: Sick – well Shen – look out behind you cause there’s a fuckin T-Rex stampediing towards you. 

Dragon: One moment please. 

Dragon v Tarrasque 

  • The Dragon bites Terrys head off – burns the legions of mind controlled fighters – Spencer IMPROV narrates this. 

Dragon: My job here is complete. *Back in the box*

Lady Shay and Phineas meet at Terrys dead body 

Phineas: Terry!!!! NO!!!

Lady Shay: Terrance!?! Terrenace, please wake up! 

Phineas: He doesn’t have a head, Shay. He’s not going to wake up. 

*the ground is dug up beside them*

Nistion: Ah. Phineas. 

Phineas: This is not the time, brother. 

Nistion: Oh, I think it’s the perfect time. I’ve been waiting decades for this. Thinking about it every waking second I was in the underground. Plotting. Scheming my revenge…. On you. And now, I am strong enough – I can SEE AND FEEL AND HEAR THE TRUTH – and the truth is. This moment was written in the stars. I will ascend. And it is through your end MY ascension will-*flick – screaming as he flies away* 

Gio: Holy shit the Headmaster just flicked that little fuck across the earth. 

Zo: Awesome. 

Lady Shay: Phineas…Xan is…

Phineas: Gone. I know. 

Lady Shay: And now… Terry is gone too. I have no one. 

Phineas: You still have me. 

Lady Shay: You….You? It is because of you my world is in shambles!


Phineas: No, Shay, don’t do this! 

*Magic – BIG MAGIC BATTLE ENERGY – SHAY AND PHINEAS FIGHTING NOISES – bodies hit the flow* – get sam fighting noises here 

Shay: You’ve beaten me. Just end it. 

Phineas: I… can’t. 

Shay: Well you have to do something, no one will forgive you for sparing me. 

Phineas: Oh Shay…You must not remember who I am. I am Phineas Danger Whistlepig – Headmaster of the greatest vagabond school on earth – Nothingstar Academy – home to the most courageous, and stunningly talented vagabonds this universe has to offer. And all of them made their own way in life. They couldn’t be kept in a box. They destroyed the box because I showed them how. Because that’s what I do. 

Shay: The Terrans will hunt you forever if they find out. 

Phineas: Let them fucking try… Goodbye…for now. 


Genimax: Headmaster….

Phineas: Oh….Genimax the Would Be Conqueror – you startled me. Well – looks like we won the day! Good job….! 

Kel: *from afar* Oh, what the fuck. 

Genimax: I…saw what you just did. 

Phineas: Defeated and then exploded Lady Shay?! Yes – it was a pretty valiant maneuver, I must say. 

Genimax: No, I saw what you actually did. You shrunk her down and put her in your little gnome  pocket…. Give her to me, Headmaster and let me finish this. 

Phineas: Oh, bugger off Genimax you’re barely an established character. You don’t get to tell me what to do. 

Genimax: Give her to me right now or I will take her from you. 

Phineas: Ya know what… it has been a hard day and my patience is wearing thin so – *FLICK*  Boom, fuck you, get flicked across the earth, bitch. And say hi to my brother when you get there. Fuckin’ kids these days. 

Zander: *Both walking in on this scene* Oh my god, your legs work dude stop dragging them. 

Spencer: All my shit hurts! Give me a piggyback, you weak ass bitch. 

Zander: Get…Down! Dude. Fuck off with that. Oh – hey headmaster. 

Phineas: *still bummed* Spencer. Zander. 

Spencer: Hey, Headmaster Whistlepig, so I was thinking. I want to switch houses. I don’t think the French Bulldogs are like, my deal anymore now that my dad’s all dead and stuff.

Phineas: Is this the right time for this, you think? 

Spenny: Uh yeah it’s like. A huge character development for me so it’s like. The best time. I was thinking I’d be a Baby Ninja Turtle cause I love ninjas and pizza so, kinda fits me perfectly. 

Phineas: Spencer. Listen closely to me now. And I can not be clearer about this. Do whatever you want. I don’t give a flying fuck. 

Spenny: Sick. Thanks, Headmaster! 

Oslo: *walks in on scene* Hola everyone! Que dia mas victorioso! I always knew we could do ittttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt (*FLICK*)

Phineas: I just be flickin’ everyone’ today. 

Apto: *drags himself in* Oslo Santiagoooooooooo is goneeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! 

Gilcrest: Wow! Today worked out so well! Now that the dark council is dead their characters in Vagabond Mobile can be promoted to legendaries! 

Toga: *runs in* Hey guys! I just killed Xan the Beholder! 

Apto: Sure you did, Tuna. Did you find me some robot legs yet?!

Toga: No but – seriously. I did. My weird purple scarred arm melted his, like, whole giant eye in the middle of his face and when that was happening I went into this weird fugue state where I was riding a giant elk thing coming out of pure sunlight and-

Phineas: *Sad* That’s very nice, Toga. Shut up. 

Toga: Headmaster! We won! ….kinda. Judas is dead but he seems alright with it. 

Judas: I am psyched to do ghosty stuff, personally, I think this really worked out for the best. *ethereal chainsaw revs*

Toga: We can’t find Grigory currently but I’m sure he’s around here somewhere. Lots of others are dead. But we won. We did it. Don’t be sad, sir. This is a great day!

Phineas: …..Is it? I’m not so sure if we made this a great day. Or not. And the choice, as it were… was mine. 


Post Credit Scene: 

Nistion: Annnnd we’re back. It took months but…we’re back on the shores of North America. 

Oslo: Jes. 

Nistion: We need to make that immortal juice Oslo – we need to make it work – that’s the only way this will ever happen. The only way Phineas dies. 

Oslo: Gax couldn’t make it work, what makes you think you will? 

Nistion: Well – I know someone – the only being to ever distill a stable version of the iridescent immortal goo…

Oslo: Who? 

Nistion: Well – He’s currently in the LIRHSHSP

Oslo: That place is a fortress! No one has ever broken out of there.

Nistion: Yes but….Their warden is a ghost now – all their backs are turned…I would say now is the exact right time… 

Oslo: Time to do what???

Nistion: *turns to Oslo* To break Daddy Whistlepig outta prison.


Oscar Wilde & The Matterhorn

I have some facts I’d like you to know before we get into this and these are those facts:

  • The Matterhorn is the 6th highest mountain in the alps with undoubtedly the best name of any mountain ever
  • Known for its appearance – it looks like a giant angry horn, basically the Grinch’s house
  • It has 2390 reviews on trip advisor – so, V Popular tourist destination
  • About 3,000 people summit the Matterhorn annually
  • It was first ascended on 14 July 1865 by a party of seven, three of which lived
  • As such, it’s an obvious Death Trap

mattyhornWhen you look at the list of highest peaks in the alps a bunch as I did you start to notice that all of them were summited in the 1800s. As you read the years so close to one another, it becomes like reading a race. You can see the enthusiasm in the dates. Climbing was all the rage in the 1800s and there was generous competition – and the last peak to be climbed on that list of mountains in the Alps was The Matterhorn.

You get drawn in by what it looks like. It is truly a prodigious horn, a rising monster in the distance. I needed to know more about it. But once you find out it’s not even the highest mountain in the alps let alone close to the world’s top 10 highest peaks perhaps that initial interest may fade – I know it did momentarily for me.

But thankfully due to the human spirit being morbidly curious as to the soup that death makes, this curled and mangled creature held on to my interest. The Matterhorn is one of the deadliest peaks in the world – over five hundred climbers have died trying to conquer this rock including four of the seven that made up the climbing party first to ascend, an incident that ostensibly ended recreational climbing for a generation.

This mountain is also tied to famous poet and author Oscar Wilde’s downfall in a truly intimate way that is fascinating. The moment you begin to climb the mountain that is The Matterhorn it instantly becomes many stories all rolled into one. This is the story of Oscar Wilde’s trial, an awful man named John Douglas, and the first ascent of The Matterhorn.

John Douglas, The Man That No One Liked

The golden age of alpinism was the decade in mountaineering between Alfred Wills’s ascent of the Wetterhorn in 1854 and Edward Whymper’s ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865.


A. Willy

So, let’s start at the beginning. 1854 – and Alfred Willis.

Sir Alfred Wills was a judge of the High Court of England and Wales (like the supreme court in America but with better wigs) and a well-known mountaineer. He was also the third President of the Alpine Club – a place where rich white men met in London who really liked chilling in the alps.

Mr. Justice Alfred Willis was a gay bashing troglodyte who wrote a legal document called “An essay on the principles of circumstantial evidence: illustrated by numerous cases” that still gets referenced often in academic settings today.

But, as interesting as that document both sounds and reads, he is even better known as  the judge who gave the maximum punishment at the end of Oscar Wilde’s sodomy trial. Said punishment was 2 years hard labor/prison to which Judge Willis described the sentence, the maximum allowed by the way, as “totally inadequate for a case such as this,” and that the case was “the worst case I have ever tried.” Wilde’s response “And I? May I say nothing, my Lord?” was drowned out in cries of “Shame” in the courtroom.

The reason Oscar Wilde was within this court case to begin with was that he was engaged in a homosexual relationship with Lord Alfred Douglas whose fathers name is John Douglas, an infamously secular and opinionated brute plus the main character of our story.


John Douglas, local dink

John’s divorces, brutality, atheism, and association with the boxing world (he published the rules for modern boxing that someone else wrote and he got all the credit for) made Mr. Douglas an unpopular figure in London high society.

In 1893 his eldest son Francis was made a baron, thus giving him an automatic seat in the House of Lords. John resented his son sitting in a chamber that had refused to admit him previously, leading to a bitter dispute between himself and both his son and the Earl of Rosebery, who had promoted Francis’ ennoblement and who shortly thereafter became Prime Minister.

Francis Douglas would go on to allegedly kill himself. It was called a hunting accident which was a commonly used term at the time for suicide and or murder. He did so after the rumor got out that he was shtucking his boss, the recent Earl of Rosebery and the now Prime Minister, whom Francis was both a secretary and a lover. This all occurred only 8 months after the Prime Minister came into power. John Douglas said his son post death as “he died unmarried and without issue.” John would later say of the Prime Minister, whom he so lovingly referred to as a “Snob Queer,” that he had corrupted both his sons and held him responsible for his sons apparent suicide.

John’s other son, Lord Alfred, was also gay but instead of Prime Ministers he was more into poets, or at least one in particular which was Oscar Wilde. John Douglas didn’t like that two of his three sons were gay and blamed the Prime Minister once more for this egregious coincidence.

This is a man – John Douglas – whose father also killed himself in a “hunting accident.” A very clumsy family indeed.

Add to that John’s wife Sibel, whom after 4 sons and a daughter successfully sued for divorce in 1887 on the grounds of his adultery, which was not a thing at the time. The fact that she won in a time where women’s rights were all but not is insanity and shows the amount of people both in the public and within the court who had a distaste for the man. This is a man whose second marriage was annulled a year into it, another rare occurrence. Literally no one liked him.

John had an awful relationship will all three of his sons – the second one we have yet to discuss name was Percy – John called him “that so-called skunk of a son of mine” and disowned him for marrying a clergyman’s daughter. A scandal, indeed.

During the Oscar Wilde trials in 1895, John assaulted Percy on a London street leading to both men being arrested and charged with disturbing the peace to the tune of £500, and I’ll save you some time converting that to American dollars, it was a small fortune. In 1900 on his death bed John Douglas spat on Percy when he came to visit. So yeah, not a great relationship.

Three weeks following their father’s funeral, the new Lord Queensbury (Percy) and Lord Alfred visited Oscar Wilde in Paris. Wilde recalled that they were “in deep mourning and the highest spirits. The English are like this.”

John Douglas had two younger twin siblings. The brother committed suicide by slicing his own throat and the sister was Florence Dixie a famous feminist, war correspondent, traveler, and writer. Super interesting woman. Look her up later after you read this. Please don’t stop reading this.


Florence Dixie, Queen of names

John Douglas – Whose other younger brother was Reverend Lord Archibald Edward Douglas, known for his role in Home Children.

HAVE YOU HEARD OF THIS?!  I HADN’T. It was the child migration scheme founded by Annie MacPherson in 1869 under which more than 100,000 children were sent from the United Kingdom to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa. It’s not clear how much Lord Archibald knew of the whole slavery part of all of it, but still.

And then there was John’s other younger brother, Lord Francis Douglas for whom John’s eldest son and future hunting accident is named after – that died two years before his nephew with his namesake was born during the first ascent of The Matterhorn. And more specifically, on the first decent of the Matterhorn.

John is really in a pickle here after Lord Alfred turns out to be gay as well after his first son Lord Francis kills himself or is murdered because John is obviously intolerant but doesn’t want his younger son to die as well so he takes the fight to the man who didn’t deserve it – His younger son’s lover, Oscar Wilde. And so, the downfall begins.

The Golden Age of Climbing

The Alpine Club is why we know The Matterhorn to be the murder mountain that it is today. It was the first Alpine Club ever created in the UK or anywhere for that matter and was instrumental in the development of mountaineering during the golden age of alpinism which spanned from 1854 to 1865.

Said golden age was dominated by British alpinists and their Swiss and French guides. Or, well, you can call them guides if you wish but really they were Sherpa-esque people to help the Brits up the mountain while the English dinguses pretended to be adventurers to create stories in their heads for their aristocratic friends at future dinner parties.

The golden age started with Justice Willis, the judge from Oliver Wilde’s trial, summiting the Wetterhorn in 1854. He would then grow old before meeting Wilde, not sentencing the famous poet until 1895. Nonetheless, from 1854 on climbing mountains as sport became highly fashionable in the UK.

Despite several well-documented earlier ascents of the Wetterhorn and the fact that Justice Willis was guided to the top he still was so bold as to call himself the first. Even in his obituary it read “certainly the first who can be said with any confidence to have stood upon the real highest peak of the Wetterhorn proper.” Alright, dude.

Enter The Matterhorn

ascentThe First Ascent of The Matterhorn – the last mountain in the way of conquering the Swiss alps was led by Edward Whymper. He was in a race with a guy named Professor John Tyndall to reach the summit and had already failed eight times. Edward was to climb this time with a valued mountain man named Michael Croz who was then yoinked from him by Charles Hudson, another avid climber who also wanted to ascend the untamed beast. The night before both parties left they met to speak and decided to join each other as they had just learned an Italian party was also leaving in the morning.

Edwards crew in total was:

  • Edward Whymper, a 20 years old athletic artist and leader slash guy who really wanted to finally get to the top of this mountain.
  • Charles Hudson
  • Michael Croz
  • Douglas Hadow, Hudsons protégé
  •  2 Local Guides: Peter Taugwalder and his son of the same name
  • & Lord Francis Douglas (Only 18 at the time)

Before leaving Charles Hudson vouched for his partner Mr. Hadow saying that he had done Mont Blanc in less time than most men while exclaiming, “I consider he is a sufficiently good man to go with us!” This will be important later as Mr. Whymper will claim in retrospect the entire expedition going down hill was Mr. Hadows fault, whom history now considers a novice.

Whymper and party left Zermatt, the town beneath The Matterhorn, early in the morning of July 13, 1865. Meanwhile the Italian party began their ascent three hours earlier.

Even with Hadow needing “required continual assistance,” and starting hours after the Italians, the Whymper party summited successfully in two days time with Croz and Whymper reaching the top first.

Whymper writes: “The slope eased off, and Croz and I, dashing away, ran a neck-and-neck race, which ended in a dead heat. At 1.40 p.m. the world was at our feet, and the Matterhorn was conquered. Hurrah! Not a footstep could be seen.”

Precisely at this moment The Italian Party were approximately 400 meters below still dealing with the most difficult parts of the ridge. When seeing Whymper and crew on the summit said party gave up on their attempt and went back down.

Later historians would write of this moment, “In order to ensure his rivals knew they were beaten, Whymper rather unsportingly shouted at the Italian team from the top and hurled rocks to make a clatter. The Italians turned and fled.” I’ll take hubris for $1000, Alex.

After Whymper took his time to sketch the scene he built a tower of stones to commemorate the conquering of the Alps. The tired yet adrenaline filled group stayed an hour total on the summit then they began their descent of the treacherous Hörnli ridge.

The order on the rope during the descent was Croz going down first, followed by Hadow, then Hudson, Lord Douglas, old Peter Taugwalder, Whymper, with young Peter Taugwalder bringing up the rear.

The accident occurred due to Hadow slipping on the descent not far from the summit, pulling Croz, Hudson and Douglas down the north face of the mountain; the rope between these four and the other three members of the party, Whymper and the two  Peter Taugwalders father and son, snapped, saving them from the same fate. Some have blamed Hudson for insisting on the presence of the inexperienced Hadow in the party and for not checking the quality of the rope or the boots Hadow was wearing. Some have blamed Hadow for his known incompetence. Some have blamed the father Peter Taugwalder for giving up the fight to save his fellow climbers.

Whymper later described the deaths as follows:

“Michael Croz had laid aside his axe, and in order to give Mr. Hadow greater security was absolutely taking hold of his legs and putting his feet, one by one, into their proper positions. As far as I know, no one was actually descending. I can not speak with certainty, because the two leading men were partially hidden from my sight by an intervening mass of rock, but it is my belief, from the movements of their shoulders, that Croz, having done as I have said, was in the act of turning round to go down a step or two himself; at the moment Mr. Hadow slipt, fell against him and knocked him over. I heard one startled exclamation from Croz, then saw him and Mr. Hadow flying downward; in another moment Hudson was dragged from his steps, and Lord Francis Douglas immediately after him. All this was the work of a moment. Immediately we heard Croz’s exclamation, old Peter and I planted ourselves as firmly as the rocks would permit; the rope was taut between us, and the jerk came on us both as one man. We held, but the rope broke midway between Taugwalder and Lord Francis Douglas. For a few seconds we saw our unfortunate companions sliding downward on their backs, and spreading out their hands, endeavoring to save themselves. They passed from our sight uninjured, disappeared one by one, and fell from precipice to precipice on to the Matterhorngletscher below, a distance of nearly four thousand feet in height. From the moment the rope broke it was impossible to help them. So perished our comrades! For the space of half an hour we remained on the spot without moving a single step.”

Croz’s body together with those of Hudson and Hadow were recovered from the Matterhorn glacier. Croz was buried in the south side of Zermatt churchyard, on the other side from the graves of Hudson and Hadow. Lord Douglas, on the other hand, was never found.

The rival party of Italian alpinists reached the Matterhorn’s summit three days later and not one of them perished.


Only father, son, and Whymper know.

A controversy ensued as to whether the rope had actually been cut, but a formal investigation could not find any proof. The accident haunted Whymper forever.

He writes, “Every night, do you understand, I see my comrades of the Matterhorn slipping on their backs, their arms outstretched, one after the other, in perfect order at equal distances—Croz the guide, first, then Hadow, then Hudson, and lastly Douglas. Yes, I shall always see them.”

Queen Victoria considered banning climbing to all British citizens but decided, after consultation, not to forbid mountaineering after this incident took place.

46 years later, shortly after returning home from another climb in the Alps, Whymper became ill, locked himself in his room, and refused all medical treatment. Whymper died sick and alone on at the age of 71.

Another Douglas Tragedy

The Matterhorn incident happened days before Lord Francis’ older brother John Douglas was to assume his majority as 9th Marquess of Queensberry. As guests gathered for a lavish celebration in his honor word came that Lord Francis Douglas had fallen to his death with three others after achieving the first successful ascent of the Matterhorn.

John Douglas traveled to Zermatt immediately with the intention of bringing home his brother’s body but came to find that nothing had been found of Lord Francis but some tattered shreds of his clothing. Upon hearing of his brothers fate John the Awful, without a guide and by moonlight, attacked the Matterhorn to find his younger brothers body. It was by only a matter of chance that two guides found and rescued him eventually before he died of the cold, unsuccessful.

John wrote apologetically to his sister Florence, “I thought and thought where he was, and called him, and wondered if I should ever see him again. I was half mad with misery, and I could not help it.”

Francis’ loss was deeply felt by his entire family. In 1876, Florence would accompany John on his return to Zermatt, and he would show her the slopes where Francis had died. Beyond the family, the tragedy was a long-running sensation, reported by newspapers all over the world.

To this day one of Hadow’s shoes can be seen in Zermatt’s Matterhorn Museum, together with the infamous snapped rope. main-image

Whymper’s 1871 book “Scrambles Amongst the Alps,” which detailed his Matterhorn climb closed with famous words of warning for fellow mountaineers: “Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are naught without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step, and from the beginning think what may be the end.”

In spite of Whymper’s words of caution, approximately five hundred mountaineers since 1865 have perished while scaling the Matterhorn, a death toll nearly double that of Mount Everest.

Oscar Wilde never wrote a poem about this brilliantly dangerous peak. It might have never entered his consciousness to care of the Swiss Alps at all. But the tangled web of this deadly mountain and his own personal grievances perhaps did deserve some prose.

While Thomas Hardy’s, another famous English novelist and poet, poem “Zermatt to the Matterhorn” has nothing to do with Wilde and his struggles against the norm, the words do ring true as to the mountains cruel nature and humanities inability to stray from a challenge. Thanks for reading.

Zermatt to the Matterhorn
by Thomas Hardy
Thirty-two years since, up against the sun,
Seven shapes, thin atomies to lower sight,
Labouringly leapt and gained thy gabled height,
And four lives paid for what the seven had won.

They were the first by whom the deed was done,
And when I look at thee, my mind takes flight
To that day’s tragic feat of manly might,
As though, till then, of history thou hadst none.

Yet ages ere men topped thee, late and soon
Thou watch’dst each night the planets lift and lower;
Thou gleam’dst to Joshua’s pausing sun and moon,
And brav’dst the tokening sky when Caesar’s power
Approached its bloody end: yea, saw’st that Noon
When darkness filled the earth till the ninth hour.


Eighth Grade: The Unbearable Heaviness

Bo Burnham’s movie Eighth Grade has a high rating on Rotten Tomatoes but not 100%.

Whether or not that is deserved is your personal preference but whenever a movie is doing really well on that website I LOVE to go read the comments of the reviewers who populate the negative side of the column and see if they have actual feelings about it as apposed to hating it for the chance to be singular. Hating haters feels so full circle.

Here is this article written by a lady whom I’d probably get along with in real life based on her spewing vitriol as it’s kinda also my thing.

The articles title: The unbearable heaviness of Bo Burnham’s ‘Eighth Grade’

In Eighth Grade, writer and director Bo Burnham depicts the female tween experience with such painful accuracy that it literally made me nauseous. I had to get up more than once during the viewing and pace the hallways of the theater, catch up on texts with friends, take deep breaths and steel myself to return.

So. You didn’t watch parts of the movie? Okie doke. I’ll make sure to skip the next few paragraphs of your article and then still try and eviscerate it so we’re matching! 

So far, the movie’s been universally lauded by critics, who are mesmerized by the film’s awkward realism, and most of all, mesmerized by Elsie Fisher as Kayla, its earnest, insecure and ultimately loveable protagonist.

Stop the presses, because I think you might secretly love this movie.

Everything you’ve heard is true; this really is the most realistic depiction of early teen angst I’ve ever seen on screen. Viewers are perpetually astonished by Kayla’s realistic demeanor and speech, which includes a lot of likes and ums, age-appropriate acne, difficulty looking people in the eye and a palpable anxiety.

But like I said before, the movie made me want to throw up. I was the opposite of entertained. I felt like I was getting drilled at the dentist in the center of a middle school gymnasium with kids pointing and laughing at me while opening mail about a bill past due and also on fire — and so, how can I possibly recommend this putrid experience to you?

Oh okay cool, sorry, I was unaware that your own glaring insecurities could make a movie objectively worse. Still think you love it, by the way.

We first meet Kayla while she films a YouTube video for her floundering real-talk vlog. Today’s topic: Being Yourself. You know, like not doing what everybody else is doing in order to be cool or whatever. It’s the last week of eighth grade, and besides the school shooting drills and ubiquitous cell phones, not much has changed since my own middle school horror show days, circa 1995.

…What? The outside is 100% different while humans don’t change, I believe is what you’re looking for here. You’re projecting so hard right now the light bulb in the projector is gonna burn out.

Children this age are essentially hormone-spewing monsters, which we see in chaotic classrooms and school assemblies refereed by exhausted teachers. It’s like what Mark says to Dawn in 1995’s Welcome to the Dollhouse, (pardon me, better movie): “High school is better. It’s closer to college. They’ll call you names, but not as much to your face.”

Movies from the 90’s were better because they happened a long time ago and I’m better for knowing they exist. 

At home, Kayla’s raised by a goofy, well-intentioned father (Josh Hamilton) who practices infinite patience with a daughter who we are meeting at the apex of her cruelty. I know Kayla can’t help but take out her social frustrations on a father who’s done nothing but sacrifice and support her, and phones are more interesting than dinner conversations, but still, these father-daughter interactions are not an easy thing to endure.

Don’t worry I am also still getting my Dad to love me, I just, ya know, don’t apply that feeling to the movies I watch to make me feel better about my misplaced hate. Is all.

What else is there to say?

Enough that you kept writing after you wrote this sentence.

Everything else you’re guessing might be present in a plot like this exists: Kayla likes the hottest guy in school, who mostly (but not entirely!) ignores her. But let’s not discount the affable goof hanging out on the film’s periphery. There are end-of-the-year pool parties, bathing suit panic attacks and embarrassments followed by genuine triumphs. And listen: Put down your tweet, folks. I’m aware that this is empirically a good movie and I’m basically incorrect and maybe even cowardly for my inability to stomach these plaintive truths.

I’ll do you one better and blog about it. I showed you! Also, you just said you liked the film. You didn’t, but you did. You’re aware that its good but it knocked on your feelings too hard for it to be good. I cringed during this movie a lot. Closed my eyes even. Because it put a mirror up in front of me and I was like hey, get that out of there, I’m disappointed in myself all the time and also there is a glare off that reflective surface that is making it hard to see the road while I rage type this. I’m not really driving, everything is okay. 

But might I posit that perhaps our premium on awkward indie realism is just a tad high?

I’d prefer it if you didn’t. See, now I’m letting my feelings get the better of me. I’m not better than you.

When you strip away this one poignant element, there’s not a lot left to the movie but a familiar coming-of-age trajectory and pretty bland, forgettable dialogue.

You’re the coolest girl this side of her own inferiority complex.

If you want to be reminded of the tortures of your youth, by all means, Eighth Grade is the picture for you. This summer movie season, you could see Ethan Hunt pilot a helicopter into a mountain to save humanity from nuclear holocaust, or you can watch a young person Google how to give a blow job. There’s room enough in cinema for all types of feelings.

Can Ethan Hawk pilot that same helicopter into your subconscious and lighten the mental load you’re currently dealing with that didn’t allow you to gain solace from this pretty bland coming of age tale?

My guess is no.

I disagree with you but also not really because you literally said the movie is good and then continued to complain about it which honestly is so me so I get it.

We’re very similar. We should make a movie about us for someone in Tennessee to hate and blog about. Deal? Deal. 


Ryanked has a silent Y, but it’s a Y nonetheless. Just take that in and then move on. It will be for the best.

RYANKED is a column in which I’m going to rank things. I’ve always enjoyed the art of ranking. And brackets. Holy heck do I love brackets. March Madness isn’t even that interesting, but it has brackets, so I’m so crazily on board. I use brackets for everything. Choosing places to eat, places to visit, things to throw, people to hate; everything!

And for my first Ryanked experience I’ve chosen a topic close to my heart: Tom Hank’s movies. The Hanks is a once in a generation talent who has made so many good movies it’s hard to pick your favorite let alone put them in order. I have to say for the record now; this is not a list of Tom Hank’s best movies. It’s a ranking of my favorite Hanks flicks. Ones that are close to my heart for one stupid reason or another. I’m not here to speak for you or your thoughts and opinions. I don’t know what those are because I am, to my dismay, not you. PS: I include animated movies because, well, because of a little story about toys coming to life. But I’ll get to that later.

Here’s my top 5 Hank’s films!

5. Saving Private Ryan

If you’d like a masterclass on how to begin a movie, Saving Private Ryan is a great example. The stakes are high right off the bat. And no, I’m not talking about the awe inspiring Normandy D-Day invasion scene. If you remember, that is what happens second. What happens first is an old man falls to his knees in front of a grave at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Normandy, France. He is overwhelmed with emotion and he is crazy old. I don’t know about you but I sure as heck wanted to know more.

Tom Hanks is Captain John H. Miller, company commander, 2nd Ranger Battalion, U.S. Army. His job is to go find Private Ryan, who is the last surviving brother of four serviceman and also Matt Damon. By the way, Matt Damon got this role because Robin Williams took him and Ben Affleck over to meet Steven Spielberg while they were shooting Good Will Hunting and Mr. Spielberg was shooting Amistad. Upon meeting Matt Damon, Spielberg was taken aback as he recognized Damon from his brilliant performance in a Denzel flick called Courage Under Fire. Except, in that movie Damon was skinny as the dickens. When Spielberg realized that was only for the movie and Damon was in fact a normal sized human being, he was basically Private Ryan on that spot.

But anyway, if you want to know why Saving Private Ryan is on this list it’s because of this scene right here:

4. Catch Me if you Can

Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks come together to make a movie. It’s a good one. That’s a story you can tell a few times. In fact, not putting Bridge of Spies (a 2016 Oscar nominee for best picture that shouldn’t win but is pretty good nonetheless) was tough as it was another Spielberg/Hanks joint. But Catch Me if you Can is special. It’s two titans of the industry: Leo v. Hanks.

One of the greatest con men of all time played by Mr. DiCaprio and his arch nemesis, FBI agent Carl Hanratty played to perfection by Hanks. The back and forth, the long monologues, and the chase to end all chases. Hanks is as versatile as any actor that has ever been on screen. If you’d like to prove that watch Big and Philadelphia back to back. But when he dons a pair of glasses and a watchful eye on the law, he really shines. He’s the authority figure with a heart that you can root against and for simultaneously. Also, for both effect and heart string fodder, Carl Hanratty misses his daughter and still wears his wedding ring. What’s not to root for?

3. Apollo 13

In 2010 I watched Apollo 13 every night for four months. It was what I used to fall asleep. Thankfully I’d usually be asleep before Houston found out about a certain problem; otherwise I would never fall asleep. The moment where I was usually drifting off into space was the same one Hanks playing astronaut Jim Lovell, along with his wife, look up at the moon as he points out the mountain he named after her: Mount Marilyn.

Directed by Richie “narrator of Arrested Development” Cunningham, Apollo 13 brings you into space with Hanks along with the guy who yells as Helen Hunt in Twister, and the center of a large bacon themed actors connection game. Hanks again plays the guy in charge, always level headed and focused on the task at hand. Even in the toughest of times you feel as though a Hank’s character will pull you through safely. But can he do so even when his vehicle explodes in space? I don’t know, but I will probably have to watch it another 4 months in a row to reacquaint myself with that particular answer. Here’s a clip of Hanks explaining a tragedy to Aaron from Full House.

2. Toy Story

Toy Story launched Pixar into the stratosphere, much like Buzz Lightyear could also definitely do. Hank’s performance as the local sheriff slash Andy’s cowboy slash guy in charge jumps off the screen and into children’s hearts. Toy Story showed eight year old me that a whole other world of movies could exist and be executed to perfection.

Fun fact: because Tom Hanks is super busy being Tom Hanks, all of the Woody voiceovers minus the actual movies, are done by Tom Hank’s brother, Jim. There’s a Jim Hanks and his main job is to sound like his brother. That’s such a bummer for him. Someone should ask Jim if he’s sad and while wiping tears away with money he will reply, “Of course I am.”

Toy Story is the greatest animated movie of all time and in my opinion should have been nominated for Best Picture in 1996. It would have gone up against Apollo 13 and Braveheart, but you tell me how many moments in cinematic history make you feel happier than Buzz and Woody falling with style? Also, Apollo 13 and Toy Story in the same year, Tom Hanks? That’s not even fair.

I’d still give it to Braveheart by the way. That movie is so dope.


1. Forrest Gump

This Christmas my family sat down and watched one of my favorite movies of all time: Forrest Gump. When you talk about movies that narrowly miss impossible perfection, Forrest Gump is on that list.

I won’t quote this movie to shreds, although you could. I won’t expound upon the fact that Tom Hanks won his second Best Actor Oscar in two years for this movie. I won’t dive deeply into how that part near the end when Forrest asks if Jenny’s son is smart makes me break down faster than an old Honda. I won’t even mention that Forrest shows his ass to President Lyndon B. Johnson  OH WAIT I JUST DID but anyway – I won’t elaborate on all of those amazing things. Because this movie doesn’t need elaboration. It covers the spectrum. From heartfelt to hilarious. From sincere to silly. This movie has something for everyone.

The coolest part for me about this movie is that during all of the initial screen tests, Tom Hanks wasn’t that good. I’m not kidding. You can go find them on the internets but I wouldn’t recommend it. As Tom Hanks was preparing for this movie and doing screen tests with Robin Wright (Jenny/Claire Underwood) he had to break out his first impression of Forrest Gump and it was god awful. If I was the director and watching these screen tests, I would have chosen someone else. Which is why Robert Zemeckis (of Back to the Future fame, another nominee for near movie perfection) is a stone cold genius for choosing Hanks anyway. Watch this interview about how Hanks found Gump’s voice. Hanks instinctual compromise created one of most beloved characters ever. That’s talent, people.


Not including movies like Castaway, Philadelphia (which he won Best Actor for), BIG with the piano(!), A League of Their Own (crying and also baseball), the underrated Charlie Wilson’s War, Polar Express where he voiced practically every character, and The Green Mile for gosh sakes, plus many more….it burns within me not to have these films on this list. But they’re not so good riddance to them! Translation: I’m genuinely sad about it!

Have something else you’d like me to rank? Write it in the comments. And until next time, this has been Ryanked. The Y is silent. Later days.

River Manor: Behind the Series!


My friends and I created a season of television for the internet. I guess you could call that a web series. Or a miniseries. You can call it whatever you want. I wrote 6 intertwining stories and then we filmed them and now we’re showing them to the world to see if the world hates them. That’s the gist.

Here is where I’m going to post all of them and then write about each one along with adding behind the scenes photos and videos, mostly for my own enjoyment, so if you happen to take something positive away from this or are entertained in any way, that’s all gravy to me. Okay cool!

Oh also, S1E1 means Season 1 Episode 1. We’re all learning!

S1E1: “The Deli Caper”

I’m not good at writing pilots or introducing characters. I don’t like spoon feeding exposition and that is what a pilot wants to be most of the time. I had to be reminded the whole time we were filming this to make sure and say everyone’s names so the audience knows what to call us. Even that makes me uncomfortable. I don’t like insulting an audience’s intelligence, although in retrospect I should have bowed to that whim a bit more than I did.

I decided as I was writing the season that I was just gonna throw the audience into a whirlwind and see how they like it. Which is what this pilot ended up being. Also, the pilot sets up a big theme for the series which I call “filling the shot.” I wanted most shots to have 2 or more things happening in them at once. I wanted the audience to have to watch the episode a few times to catch everything. One of my favorite movies is Ocean’s 11 – I’ve watched it around 25 times and I still catch new things to this day. It gets me going, so I assumed it would get other people going as well. If you’ve already watched this, watch it again and see what new things you find. In fact, that applies to all of these episodes. Watch them all about 10 times if possible.

Oh, and the shot of us running across the backyard and Marc getting pummeled? Jo really hit him. Hard. Don’t be fooled by her tiny stature. She hits like a monster and we did that 6 times. Marc was sore for a week. It was hilarious.

DSC_6526DSC_6503 DSC_6507  DSC_6531

S1E2: “Everyone is Poisoned”

This is the first episode we shot which was purposeful. I wanted our first go at making this series to only have the 4 main characters in it so that we could build some semblance of chemistry and then carry that over to other episodes where there are more characters with screen time. This is also the day we realized GBaby’s character is wonderful in his simplicity which would be a constant theme throughout the season.

I go back and forth between what episodes are my favorites and this one always seems to pop up in my mind. I love Steph’s makeup, I love the Frasier scene & the good cop bad cop with Marc and Elliot, I love the dubstep Frasier at the end and how GBaby keeps eating the poisoned food the entire time. In fact go back and watch this episode and just watch GBaby. You’re welcome.

Marc and I acted out the good cop bad cop scene most nights for 4 months prior to shooting this. In fact that is the way most of this series was fleshed out. Marc and I sitting on our porch and acting the entire episode ourselves. We rewrote the entirety of episode 4 that way, but more on that later. Also, as a last note, this is the episode we had Alex Meeske on set for and you can tell if you know him that he was there. That warbler line G says? That was his. Fun facts!

IMG_9404 IMG_9406 IMG_9407 IMG_9408 IMG_0851  IMG_0855

S1E3: “Elliot Finally Shuts the Fuck Up”

This episode was to do 2 things. First off I wanted to show that Elliot’s character is basically the house scapegoat and secondly I wanted to introduce every character the audience hadn’t met yet.

At Elliot’s forced wedding we meet his insufferable brother Peter played by one of our Executive Producers, Johnrobert Vergati. You also get to check up on our local cockneyed talking delusion ridden Milk Toast played by our EP/DP Dylan after meeting Milk in episode 1 along with the ever quiet and mysterious Olive Druthers played by Stephanie Vergati who has a nice lil’ monologue in this episode. Then we add Olive’s best friend Lola Montez played by Allie Rivera, one of the funniest humans I know, throw in some Robinson Mahler, who brings a sort of grounded delusion you don’t really get anywhere else in the series played masterfully by Justin Hagen and then Jo is back, no longer tied up and in straight up in the dating game with Marc who is eye banging her most of this episode. Oh, and I can’t forget Abigail playing Elliot’s new Russian mail order bride, Ulyana Larinov!

This is a good time to talk about how we shot these scenes. There was no script. There was a detailed outline – sometimes I would give people lines to say, sometimes I didn’t. That means we built every new scene from scratch as we filmed it, did an average of 6 takes per shot with two cameras running, and usually used the last take.

We talked a whole lot prior to shooting about these characters with every actor who I chose specifically for their ability to make funny shit up on the spot. Some of the best parts of this series are things I didn’t write, and that’s my favorite. I bring this up soon after bringing up Abby’s Uly because she was so super worried she wouldn’t nail the Russian accent that she had me write every word of hers out. She then came in and murdered it anyway at which point I started making her say more things she hadn’t practiced, much to her dismay and much to my delight. And hopefully yours as well.

Also, it was raining that day. All of these shoots were one day long and that day the wedding was supposed to be out in the back yard but it was raining. Turned out to be a blessing in disguise because the garage looks like the absolute worst place to have a wedding, which Lola points out and to me makes it that much neater.

Here’s a behind the scenes video of JR hitting Elliot in the balls a bunch of times:

S1E4: “In Stapp We Trust”

Up until a few weeks before shooting began in the Summer of 2015 this episode was something completely different. Originally this episode was going to be called “Bed and Breakfast” of which the general gist was going to be that the boys opened up a B&B a la those food carts people open sometimes where their main selling point is being mean to their customers.

The boys plan goes awry once the first two people trying out the B&B is Lola and Olive and Lola basically takes over the entire day as GBaby and Marc escape by swimming away down the river while Ryan yells at them to come back and follow through on an idea for once instead of running away. In response, G and Marc tell him to shut up and keep swimming.

In all reality I wanted an episode that explained how good of friends Lola and Olive were and that idea was my chosen vehicle. But from idea to execution it felt weird. It just wasn’t written well and I didn’t like it which is something I made clear to Marc one night after coming home from the bar. And it was in that moment Marc pitched that he start a cult, and then I pitched that it be about Scott Stapp, and then we both improv’d the entire episode in the hallway in about 15 minutes. Then, still a little drunk, I opened up my laptop and wrote the episode, intertwining the Olive and Lola story line into the Stapp story line. Marc gets a writing credit on this one and deservedly so but he also brings a gravitas in this episode that was absolutely amazing to watch from the other side of the camera. He hit his stride acting wise as a cult leader, nonetheless. I don’t know if it’s the best one, but it’s the one we all laughed the most on set and that’s for damn sure.

S1E5: “Step Up Your Hat Game, Fool”

Most of the people around me thought this episode would suck from the beginning and I can see why. This is the most insular idea I chose to do. It’s based on inside joke after inside joke that I had the task of making into outside jokes as well. Step Up Your Hat Game, Fool acts in dual capacities. One is as the 5th episode of the first season of River Manor and secondly it is basically a time capsule for my late 20s. And from the outside looking in that looked like, to everyone else around me on the project, like not that much fun.

Until you see Marc and I screaming at a camera, or G fighting a plant, or Elliot dumping Sunny D on himself – Until you hear the soundtrack that JR put together – until you see that this episode is by all accounts a concerto of dialogue that ebbs and flows with a rampaging sense of urgency – until you see all of those things live I can very much understand how you could think it would suck.

Thankfully I love this episode and how weird it is. AND I HOPE YOU DO TOO sorry that was pushy have a nice day LIKE IT LIKE IT NOW.

S1E6: “Olive’s Low Key Get Together”

Season finales are important to me. When I was being a child I didn’t read enough, and it’s not because I didn’t enjoy reading. It was because Television was so god damn entertaining.

As I started to figure out what stories were and the kinds of them that I liked, I realized that one of my favorite parts of a Television series is that it’s stretched out. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end – and all of them matter. With a movie you can skip the middle sometimes and still be just fine in the last 20 minutes. Television doesn’t allow for that. There are small details everywhere, there are character developments that happen in mere moments, and there is an ongoing decay that you as the audience member are tasked to observe and understand. The season finale is the ultimate payoff for all of it.

River Manor is not exactly like television, though. Character arcs are sporadic, plot details are heavy handed, and each episode can choose to be closed into itself at any given moment it chooses. That is, until you reach the finale, at which point you will perhaps realize it was all connected the entire time LIKE MAGIC. Hopefully. At the very least, that’s what I was trying to do. You, the audience, can be the judge of the success of that.

On a more grounded level, this finale was shot on one very long Saturday that was a day of pure exhilaration for me. We were filmmaking by the seat of our pants that day more than any other time we broke out a camera and hoped for the best. It was so much stupid fun.

If you liked this series at all I would urge you to watch it again. Every episode is meant to be watched multiple times with tiny little details you’ll pick up that you didn’t see before including running gags that wrap themselves up in the finale – one of which goes 6 episodes long and is my favorite thing ever.

But anyway, thanks to everyone who worked on this project and thanks to everyone whom enjoyed it. This is my favorite thing I’ve ever done. Okay cool bye.





One Man Show

Yesterday started so normal. Then. In other parts of yesterday. It got weirder.

I’ve had this idea floating around in my brain for like 4 months where I would make a short film about all of the embarrassing but incredibly normal things we as human beings do when we are home alone in our comfort zones. It is being alone with ourselves that I find the most interesting. (that sentence makes me sound like a freshman Philosophy major who sleeps through class because he doesn’t respect the value of a dollar.)

So. Yesterday. Yeah.

I went to work. On a Monday. Because it was a Monday. And you know this thing about Monday’s – and I’m 100% sure no one has ever mentioned this before and I am the genius who came up with this first forever…Monday’s aren’t great.

And you know why they aren’t great? Because on the weekend, if you were lucky, you got some alone time. And alone time is the best. It’s when you get to think. And feel. And love. And hate. And Master….skills. You thought it was going another way there. But I didn’t. Because I’m an adult.

So I had this video idea of being by yourself but narrating everything that was happening in your brain and I had a web-series that I’m writing. So, I thought hey, let’s destroy two birds with one stone and put those two things together. That’s my life right now by the way. The web-series that we’re shooting in June. I’m writing it and I have been for 6 months. It’s been done for 3 months. I’ve been editing every day. Rewriting entire episodes. It’s sort of all I think about when I’m not talking. Just for perspective.

When I was re-writing an episode I had the idea of making all of the characters do this thing where they narrate what they do by themselves and we see the differences between all of the characters. I thought it was a good idea. But it just didn’t work for me. I got no juice from it. I couldn’t wrap my head about it fully, so I had another idea, and wrote it. But I still liked the by myself idea as a concept.

Then came yesterday. I was bored. Finished my work. Low on creative energy. And a spark hit me which was so cool because it doesn’t happen very often. I texted my talented friend Steph, asked her if I came over her house in 30 minutes if she slap makeup on my face gracefully, she said yes because she’s the nicest. I went there. We talked about the video. She told me what it should be called, “One Man Show.” And then I left. Got home. Got the camera. Took out my new Rode Smartlav+ Microphone that hooks into your iPhone and or Android device. And went for it. 3 hours of shooting. Made it all up. 39 minutes of material. Imported it all. Edited sound on 27 clips. Synced the audio and the video. Edited for 3 hours. Cut it down to 8 minutes or something like that. And it was done and on YouTube. This entire paragraph is a humblebrag that makes me feel uncomfortable.

And I like it the final product of the video, which is a nice thing too.

I think I want to make this a series because it was fun to make and other peoples alone stories fascinate me. The stuff you do when you’re alone is so weird, and gross, and self righteous, and full of hubris, shame, love, hope, fear – you cover every emotion on the spectrum in complete silence looking at popcorn ceilings and sunsets. That stuff is beautiful and normal and so so so so so so funny. To me, it’s the times with no audience whatsoever people have the ability to be the best or worst versions of themselves – and that journey by yourself, I think, is inherently funny.

Also, for the record, I do hope very much that I get at least a C in my freshman Philo class – that Prof is such a narc.

Once Upon that One Time: Chapters 1-5

So…I forgot about this project until last night where I wrote more of it and finished out the outline because I really want to finish it. The idea was that is was a weird post apocalyptic saga that starred my friends and I was writing it like I talk. So. Not eloquently. Like. At all. The new chapters are 4 and 5, but if you’d like to catch up, here is everything that has happened!

Chapter 1

My name is Ryan, I’m 50 years ahead in time of whenever you are right now, and shit has — Just. Gotten. Real.

I know, that’s confusing, and I don’t care. Listen, I don’t have a lot of time. Only like, the next few hours, and then all hell is gonna break loose. Before that happens I’m writing everything that has happened in this past year to me, my friends, and the race we still call human beings. That hasn’t changed. A bunch of stuff has changed, but we still get called that, so there’s at least one win for us. Chock that shit up to the score board, ass holes.

49 years from where you are right now is pretty much the same. It has cars that don’t fly and run on crude oil, it has solar panels that no one uses except for like 3 people and they’re always so uppity about it, and the President of the United States is a white dude and has been since that one time that other thing happened. Then it all went haywire. Because white people are the worst. In case it all goes badly I’m going to write down everything that’s happened as quickly as I can and then put this letter into the time capsule code named “Plot Device” that can very actually go back in time and warn everyone what this planet has become – which is full of ass holes.

See, it all started when this science lab where scientists were paid to do science did something other than science. They might of accidentally sort of started a chain of events that ended in all of the remaining animals on the earth to evolve into genetically enhanced versions of themselves that you could tame if you had the balls. After that, the rest of the animals (who were not already paired up with a human being) were killed off or went to the woods or something, point is they are gone. Now the only human beings and animals left on this earth have their friends and each other. Some notes that are important to the story and that I won’t explain because there isn’t time and also fuck you is that some of these animals can talk, and some can’t. The ones who can’t talk aren’t called dumb to their faces cause that’s just mean but…they are. Sometimes that matches up with the human riding them, sometimes it doesn’t. Whatever blah blah so on and so forth.

Other important things include that there are about 1000 people left alive on earth, the sun is getting hotter each and every day, Pangaea is a thing again so the land is just all mushed together, and there is an ongoing war between the two factions called The Colony and The Disciples Inside the Calamity Kingdoms. I didn’t choose those names, someone else did. Also there are The Outlaws who aren’t really a faction, they are just people who don’t give a shit and are on their own side. That’s where my friends and I come in.

We are the leaders of The Outlaws. Pretty sweet, right? Yeah, I know it totally is.

Are job is to fuck shit up. For everyone. All the time. No matter who is doing what, we fuck it up. We figure the sun will roast us alive, the seas will swallow us whole, or everyone will end up getting stabbed in the face – so we might as well have some fun before any of that happens.

Before I go on with all that has happened in the past year I have to tell you about my crew. I can’t just start using names and telling stories without you knowing some background on these people. First off there is no leader, there are alphas and betas but we all decide what to do together. We aren’t some group of douche bags with one biggest douche bag who thinks they know best. No one knows best. People who think they know best is what got this planet into the situation in the first place. Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I’ll tell you bout my peeps.

There’s Abby and Mike who are married to each other. Abby, the cunning and the bold, rides Sepharoph (Seph for short) who is the king of the eagles. Mike, the logic and the balance, rides Jasper, the aging moose who is as wise as the amount of years he’s been alive grant him to be. Elliot, the wildcard, rides the Emperor Penguin Duo Koo and Stew who are strapped to his feet and make ice with their belly’s so he can slide around everywhere. Koo and Stew and stronger than most penguins and don’t like each other or change or learn lessons. There’s also Pat, who is on a brown bear that hasn’t changed at all.

Stephanie and JR are here too, they are engaged to be married on a mountain. Steph, the no bullshit go-getter and JR the deceptively kind ninja scientist ride on an albino Jaguar named Bertram and an Elephant the size of a house named Flounder, respectively. Marc, the hungry and bearded, rides a Rhino named Carl with steel for a horn that Marc forged himself in an erupting volcano. As for me, I’m on my trusty flying polar bear named Ralph who shoots acid out of every hole he has in his body. (that includes his butt)

Adam is on an iguana. GBaby is on an Emu. Kate walks. Also there are others who I will get too later as their story wouldn’t make sense yet.

So all of us are in the outpost like a year ago and then some shit got to shakin’, and I mean shaking bad. The earth basically had a fuckin’ heart attacked and changed all of its shit up. The Chancellor, the dick head leader of The Disciples, built a gravity device that brought all of the continents together again because, and I’m quoting Mr. Chancellor here, “Who needs friends when you made the continents friends once more.” Sad as shit, I know.

As all of this is going on my friends and I are all sitting around, probably intoxicated, and being all like, “woah what’s going on?” Then we found out everyone was going nuts and dying and we said to ourselves, “let’s ride our animal friends into the night and see what’s to do.” So we all jumped aboard our animal friends except for Kate because she walks and went to the biggest building we could find immediately which was a liquor store that was made to look like the Lincoln Memorial. Inside we see the guy standing behind the register who is set atop a big fucking lion.

“Whatchu doin’ fools?” said the guy with the big fucking lion. Then we proceeded to explain to him what was happening outside and he was like “we should drink” to which we were all like “yeah that makes sense.” So we all start getting fucking wasted and next thing you know we sleep through the next few weeks and wake up, only to go outside and see a barren wasteland with nothing left standing as far as the human eyes can see. Seph, Abigail’s eagle friend, flew into the sky and told us that she could see something so we all hopped aboard our animals and headed off once more.

Except Kate. She got stabbed by that Lion.


So, to get us back on track after that jubilant stabbing, we moved away from the giant liquor store that looks strikingly like the Lincoln Memorial and everyone is having a grand ole time watching Elliot ride around on his penguins who are using rusted out cars and broken sidewalks as their own personal half pipes.

“Be careful!” I yelled ahead to Elliot, Koo, and Stew, “The sun is hot today and all the ice your penguins are making will turn to puddles!” I yelled again.

Elliot said, “I don’t care about puddles, I live in puddles, I am a puddle, no one owns me!!!” Then he fell down. It was hilarious.

Abby, from far above everyone on her eagle king except me cause my polar bear Ralph can fly, called out that we were coming up on a building. GBaby sped up on his Emu and it started a race of epic proportions. Adam was in last cause his iguana didn’t give a shit, Kate was still dead, Elliot slipped, Abby and I flew, and Marc and Mike trampled on their rhino and moose respectively. Pat was on a bear. Steph and JR had time to perform a transcendent interpretive dance to the classic “My Heart will Go On” and still managed to beat everyone there on their mighty JagEphant duo.

Once we all reached the building, except Adam who was way back screaming obscenities at his iguana and Kate who was dead, we realized it was a giant yellow fortress, like if a castle was thrown up on by the yellow brick road. The gates opened immediately and we were met by a beautiful man on a metallic demon horse. The man had baller ass armor on and lifted his visor to show that it was in fact Dylan, who we totally knew from back in the day when the world wasn’t shit.

Dylan was all like, “Welcome to The Colony where the bitches flow like wine and the wine flows like blood.” Everyone thought that was weird. All 20 of the peasants came out from their homes to pet GBaby’s Emu. The rest of us, including Adam now who was now whipping his iguana with Twizzlers, went into the main gates and down a long hall way filled with empty dip and dots carts that lead to a big fucking door. The door opened and inside was a bright white room that had a bunch of chairs and a table in the middle of it. At that table there were no chairs, just 4 people sitting on their genetically mutated animals talking about whatever.

Among them were Jess and Jo whom rode Lelu and Lela the conjoined and hyper smell sensitive pandas as well as Allie “The Knife” Rivera who rode a robot crocodile with machetes for arms and Cain Xavier who has an awesome name and is cute until she and Allie stab you in the face and rides an orange bobcat with machetes for teeth. They were all like, “whatchu peeps doing all up in the Colony?”

So we told them this was the only place left and they were like yeah we know and Dylan was all like, you guys want wine? And I was like, totally.

Then we all sat down to talk and we found out Dylan was the head of security for The Colony and the council of 5 run that shit like it’s their job cause it for serious is. They were in an all-out war with The Chancellor of The Disciples and needed help from us, The Outlaws. To which we were all like, “stahp, what?”

They told us that anyone who isn’t factioned with The Colony or the Disciples were considered Outlaws and that we needed to choose a side.

Firstly I said, “I don’t even know what the other side is! I didn’t even know we were in a war, how can I pick a side if I don’t know anything about what’s going on?”

Then Abby said, “And furthermore why is there a war in the first place?”

Then Jasper the wise old Moose said, “Is this fighting really necessary?” To which Mike high fived him cause he made a good point. Steph sorta cringed on top of her Jaguar cause moose freak her out, especially moose who can talk.

Then GBaby said, “I’m on an Emu.” Everyone agreed. Also during this Elliot was just using the walls to penguin board, Pat was playing checkers with his bear, Marc was destroying columns with his Rhino, Adam was teaching his Iguana to love, and Kate was still very very dead.

Jess and Jo then said something in unison which was weird, “You guys should all join us and we can take down The Chancellor together” to which Allie and Cain were all like, “yeah that makes a lot of sense, The Chancellor is a douche nozzle and is trying to eradicate everyone’s existence including his own while he rides his giant squid and constantly playing “The River of Dreams” by Billy Joel on a boom box he holds to the sky in defiance of all things sacred.”

“I like that song” said Adam. Almost everyone agreed except for GBaby’s Emu. That Emu is a real prick, but he’s good at being an Emu, so I respect him.

Jess and Jo said (still together like those girls in The Shining, and still weird) “You peeps gotta join us or were not gonna be friends, straight up, dawg.” Cain and Allie sorta agreed. Apparently since the fall of man The Colony changed their main language from English to Ebonics. A bold move on all accounts.

Marc said, “Yall Panda ridin’ pucky poppers threatening us?” His Rhino sneered with delight from the thought of fighting some hooligans. Then Allie pulled a knife, like she pretty much always does.

Pat’s bear didn’t say anything because he was a bear and was busy getting the shit kicked out of him by Pat in checkers. Pat was getting better at checkers every day. The Bear was not. Cause he’s a bear.

Elliot painted the wall with puddles. “Puddle power!” He screamed.

Allie and Cain were waving around sharp objects and Cain was all like, “Dudes you gotta join up, if you’re not with us you’re against us. We’re trying to take down pure evil and see no reason why you can’t see that for yourselves. Everything we do is to try and save this world from pure destruction. The Chancellor will be truly happy to see this world be eaten up by itself!”

Then Cain followed that up with, “And to see the people devour one another before the sun explodes, ending us all including him and his squid. All he wants is to be the last one dying. Standing by himself on this earth until his Squid ingests him for nourishment, dawgs. Is that what you people want?”

“You people?!” Screamed Steph from her now translucent Jaguar that changes colors based on what Stephanie’s mood is.

“I’m offended I guess? I don’t know. Do you guys have any milk shakes around or maybe a pack of dogs for Flounder the giant elephant and I to frolic with?” asked JR with a perfectly reasonable question.

“No, sorry, we don’t.” Dylan pouted, as he was super sad about this too. Everyone was disappointed by this seemingly arbitrary news.

So we got outta there fast. While leaving, Dylan brought us out on his jacked up metallic horse with hoofs as strong as plastic packaging electronics come in and said unto us, “I’ll give you bros a day to get away, but then we gotta come after you, yo. The peeps are all pissed. So it goes, ya know, daddio?”

No one understood Dylan’s jacked up jive turkey Ebonics so we just left in a hurry. And that’s what it is.


We didn’t eat or drink anything while we were at the castle and the world was a barren wasteland. So we all cooked Kate’s stabbed body outside the castle and made coats from her skin, which totally helped us out. Everyone was psyched minus GBaby and his Emu but they were skin hungry and asked to eat all the skin themselves and we were like, no we need coats, so we didn’t care that they were sad. Marc called dibs on the torso. Everyone obliged.

Ralph, my flying polar bear that spits acid out of its butt and mouth and sometimes ears and nose took off along with Seph and Abigail, leaving everyone else on the ground. For the record, at some point in this story everyone starts flying as all the animals have the ability to fly but they must become in tune with their master in order to do so. Ralph and I were tight, so he could fly already. Seph and Abby were like two peas in a pod who could tear apart antelopes, so they were good too. Marc and his Rhino “Carl” were close but they were always fighting about who has the better beard/horn so they just weren’t there yet.

So we all were heading towards The Disciples layer to see what’s what cause we figure we need to see this evil guy for ourselves if we are gonna choose a side although the thought of choosing a side other than our own left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. Abby and I spotted a pack of other people at a camp from afar in the middle of the barren wasteland with tents set up and fires going somehow.

We both went down to hovering above the ground and then told everyone to speed up. Adam could not keep up so we left him and his regular iguana there. When we got to the camp site it was empty and the fire that was just lit was now doused. As we entered the center of the encampment, several human beings came out from behind the tents and surrounded us. From the crowd of maybe 20 human beings, all riding some sort of medium sized mammal, 3 mid-20’s gentleman came forward who were the leaders of the group we would come to know as The Range Riders. Their names were Collin, who was riding a Silverback Gorilla with laser eyes, Mitch who was chillin’ in the pouch of a giant kangaroo, and The Steve was riding a brilliant red bull named China Shop. I walked up to Collin cause it turns out we knew these guys, especially Collin because he’s my younger brother and his longtime friends Mitch and The Steve were now leading The Range Riders who live off the land and have no faction, like us. Also they set fire to most things.

Collin said, “Hey, what are you guys doing?”

I replied “We’re heading towards The Disciples layer to see what’s what.”

Elliot said, “We heard The Chancellor is a real dick.”

“Yeah,” said Mike “We want to see it for ourselves.”

“I’m on an Emu!” exclaimed GBaby. Everyone ignored him except Pat who gave him his patented stern nod of acceptance.

“Well,” said The Steve “I wouldn’t do that if I were you guys. It’s a total poop shoot.”

“Why not, also hi. I’m JR. It’s very nice to meet all of you. I really like your Gorilla, he looks top notch.” said JR, the ninja scientist. His giant Elephant Flounder high-fived him with his trunk.

“That shit sucks over there” said Mitch “Ole Chancy Chancellor is a real dick. His cult and him do weird shit all the time like move the continents back together. It’s a real drag. ZING.”

“That all sounds stupid.” Said Marc while poking his Rhino in the face to make sure Carl the Rhino knew what was what. Carl did not approve.

“Stop poking Carl, Marc. He’s going to retaliate.” Abby said making a solid point.

“He knows the rules,” Marc said “I’m the king of this here domain.”

“Alright then, just wait for him to impale you I guess.” Abby said while teaching her eagle about the importance of hydrogen bonds.

“My roots are growing out!” Steph yelled out of nowhere, “which makes me look like I’m not even trying.” Steph said even louder while looking at her hair through a mirror that she made out of crushed limestone while riding full speed on her translucent jaguar on the way to this moment like a true boss.

“Does that really matter right now, ladyface? We’re over here trying to save what’s left of this weird world.” Asked Michael.

Steph replied, “Uhhh yeah it does Mike, I’m over here lookin’ fierce, and it’s the main reason we’re constantly doing so well, so, like, whatever shut up.”

“Yeah,” Collin said “Just maybe never go over there bros. Nothing good can come from going over there and messing with that crazy dude.”

“This guy seems like a real ass hole” I said. “Someone should sick a large animal on him to eat him while he is still living.” Everyone concurred. “What do you guys say? You wanna go fuck some shit up for the sake of fucking some shit up?” Everyone cheered except for Adam because him and his iguana had just gotten there in time for us to start walking again.

“This is bull shit guys” Adam said while wearing shorts all the time.

“Hey Adam,” Elliot piped up for the first time in a while cause I forgot he was here for a second, “When you gonna finally teach that iguana to be at all useful?”

“When you don’t cry at the end of Toy Story 3, dick.” Adam said with malice, punching at the sky in heat.

“Shut up ya good gosh darn fuckface!” Elliot boisterously threw his words like anchors into the sea, “It’s a sad story about love and loss. WHATEVER DON’T EVEN. SHUT IT WITH THE YA KNOW. I CAN’T EVEN RIGHT NOW.”

“BUT CAN YOU EVEN?” Steph cheered.

“NO. I CAN’T EVEN. THAT’S THE POINT OF TALKING IN CAPS LOCK.” Elliot took a breath and calmed down. Koo and Stew, his penguins who were underneath/attached to his feet looked up at Elliot like he was a crazy person which is an unsubstantiated fact maybe.

“You guys should go before the sky turns off the light.” Collin said.

“That was a weird thing to say,” I replied “But you’re right. Let’s head out.”

“I’m still on this Emu!” GBaby once again said out loud for some reason. No one cared still and we all moved on. But GBaby didn’t care cause he lives his life like nobody is watching except for his Emu who is always there so it’s a pretty straight forward system for living that he is comfortable within and he doesn’t have to explain that to anyone, so he doesn’t. Then the Emu made a face like he was saying “whaaaaaaaat.” We all laughed and we went on our way.


So we kept on trekkin’ towards The Disciples layer. Abby and I were up in the air scouting long into the night. At some point all the humans except for me fell asleep while the stars shined, both in the air and on the ground. The animals stayed the course and would ride through the night unless told otherwise.

Suddenly above me the sky got darker in only way area, which happened to be moving closer to me. It was about 500 feet away and way higher up than I was. Slowly it crept towards our pack, like the dark shape had nothing but time. Out of the clouds a giant mouth opened, and it became clear very quickly what it was.

At some point most sea life out evolved the sea and moved right past the land and into the sky. This gave the riders who put time in under the sea a special leg up on the competition who now had animals that could traverse all the ground and air you put beneath them.

As the clouds were pushed out of the way a giant white whale, at least the size of 8 VW buses and the weight of 72 trucks full of GoGurt shipments, broke through with its mouth open wide, trying to catch SkyCrill. On its back was a terrible teenage girl who talked vaguely on the internet back in the day, but now that there was no internet she just trolled the skies looking for people to annoy. She was known as the MobyDonk. I peeked around the specimen who paid no attention to me to check on the rider. She was asleep. Thank goodness. If she was awake she would have made her white whale do all sorts of things whales do to us, which no one knows what that is, it’s a mystery that very literally no one knows the answers too. Hence the word mystery.

When the burning sun came over the horizon The Layer became clear. Unlike The Colony, The Layer was not a castle but instead a series of underground tubes used like mazes that all feed back into the sea so that The Chancellor could take a swim whenever his giant squid felt like it.

As we approached the series of tubes we stopped short as a large fire bolt shot up from the horizon. Everyone woke up in an instant while Abigail and I flew downwards to meet them and consult in their endless wisdom. In the distance a swarm of killer bees the size of couches flew upwards in a helix shape – all of them surrounding the biggest god damn squid I had ever seen, black as the night, and with The Chancellor on his back. I could almost recognize the man riding the squid but it was too far away. Marc spoke up behind me.

“Huh. Well. That looks. Awful. I don’t think we can beat all of those dick bag bees.” Marc said.

“I concur.” Said Mike, “That seems like more bees than zero, so, I concur.”

“Well poo.” Eeked Steph on the ground “That sucks nuts.”

“Yeah, but whatever” Elliot said, petting his penguins who were finally getting some much needed rest, “Maybe we just go off and keep doing our own thing like we’ve been doing? I’m sure if we stay out of everyone’s way they will just leave us alone and we’ll be fine.”

I squinted harder to try and figure out where I knew The Chancellor from right as the killer bees shot towards the ground, eating the dirt and quickly making a whole new tube – out from which came another fire bolt that shot miles and miles to our left, scorching the earth as it went.

“I feel like this is Elliot’s fault.” GBaby said. His emu started break dancing in agreement.

“Well, it’s pretty clear” JR said, “We are going to need more people to help defeat this dude or we do nothing. Which one are we all feeling? Maybe we should vote?”

“Voting’s for nerds!” shouted Marc.

“You’re a nerd!” Steph said.

“Okay! We’re all nerds!” screamed Abigail, “But we still need to vote. All those in favor of doing nothing and just sorta chillin’ like villains?”

GBaby raised his hand, as does Elliot.

“All those in favor.” I said. Everyone else raises their hand.

“Well fuck us I guess.” GBaby said.

“True.” I said.

“Alright, well I think we should split up to cover more ground.” Pat said while punching his bear in the stomach because that’s how you have to scratch a bear when it has an itch.

“Pat is a dick and also he’s right.” I said.

“BUDDY SYSTEM!” JR said while slinking up next to me and Ralph while Adam finally arrived on his very tired iguana.

“Really JR? You’re gonna ditch me?” Steph said as her jaguar turned red.

“We’ll be together soon, and I want this god damn elephant to fly, sorry Flounder for talking about you like you’re not here, but, I figure if one of us starts to fly around we’ll both be better off and the best way to do that is to pair with a flying creature like Ralph to learn it’s ways.” JR smiled real big and gave a thumbs up. Steph was like, “You’re such a nerd.”

Adam spoke through his teeth, “I call Ryan or Abby, someone who can fly. I can’t do this anymore. I’m at my wits end. I just want to die. Please, be considerate, and have me go with someone who can fly!”

“Okay cool, Adam, you go with Pat and his regular bear.” I said. Pat and the bear bumped fists in triumph.

“Yeah, and JR can go with me that’s fine.” I said, “And Steph you go with Mike and Jasper the aging Moose.

“What!? You gotta be shitting me you dingus. You KNOW I’m deathly afraid of moose why in the balls would I ever do this?” Steph was shouting and hitting her Jaguars head every time she made a point while the Jaguar nuzzled the ground unaffected.

“This is a perfect time to face your fears, Steph. Maybe it’s the last thing you need to do to make Bert the Jaguar who sleeps through you hitting him fly his ass off? Ever think of that?” JR grinned, walking the thin line, cause he was still in trouble for ditching fo sho.

“Fine. I’ll do it. But not because you told me to or you asked me too but because I am an independent woman and I’ll fuckin flip this moose a gosh darn new one if it gets close to me especially when I’m asleep that’s just gross.” Steph pursed her lips and crossed her arms in protest.

“Cool” I said, “And Elliot you go with GBaby because you two are the best of friends.”

“That’s false.” Elliot was shaking his head and making a frown face.

“Yeah, we’re not huge fans of each other. I think he stinks like piss.” G said.

“Right, and I think G should live with his head up that Emu’s butt all the time.” Elliot said while the Emu scoffed at the idea but then gave it a little bit of thought which was slightly concerning from G’s perspective.

“Okay perfect I’m glad we’re all in agreement” I said. “Now, Adam and Pat, you go back to see Mitch, CollBollPoliWOG, Steve, and the Range Riders and tell them we need them to come help with a bunch of killer bees…you know what, maybe leave out the bees. Tell them there’s gonna be pizza.”

“Got it.” Said Pat. The bear and the iguana looked at each other like this might as well happen as the Iguana climbed on the bears back with Adam still on it.

“Fuck yeah” said Adam, “this is next best thing!” The bear bucked up and threw Adam off of it. “OH COME ON!”

“Good, now” Abby said, “Marc and I will go to the forest to talk with those dirty dirty forest people –  perhaps Carl can get on board and start flying as well. Carl’s horn turned bright red in delight at the thought of fuckin’ flying through the sky. Marc’s beard also turned red with excitement – the heat from both warmed everyone up instantly which was also a nice thing.

“We’ll go around and to the sea I guess? It seems like the closest and easiest so I choose that ya dumb dicks.” Said Elliot while GBaby agreed.

“Good, you guys go guzzle sea men and Steph and Mike you guys go to the Mountain and see if those weird alternative human and animal people will join up with us.” I said.

“Where we gonna go?” JR asked me.

“We’ll go back to The Colony and tell them we now understand what they were talking about and they don’t have to try and kill us anymore. When everyone is done, meet at The Colony and then we will march on the swarm” I said.

“That’s sounds pretty dope.” JR said.

“Yeah. It totally is. Dope.” I said.

And with that everyone dispersed in their own general directions.

“I just want to point out that I’m getting shafted harder than shaft gets shafted when he’s getting a hand job.” Adam said. No one was paying attention. But the iguana laughed and that’s all that mattered to Adam.

Another fire bolt flew up from the horizon and an evil laugh was heard permeating throughout the world. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I knew that bro on that squid but I would have to put that behind me for now. I had 5 psychopaths to convince to fight a war against super icky bees. Flounder the Elephant and Ralph made noises at each other as animals do. Little did I know that was the last time I would see one of my friends. OH SHIT CLIFFHANGER WHAT.

Chapter 5

“Do you get the feeling that they put us together because both of our animals can’t fly or speak like they’re dumb shits?” Adam asked as him and Patrick walked over the wasteland while the sun rose over the edge of the world.

“Probably. I don’t know” said Pat. His bear snuffed hard out of his nose.

“Talking to you has been like pulling teeth and we’ve only been walking for like 8 hours. For the love of shit say something more.”

“Say some interesting shit and maybe I will.” Pat stuck his tongue out at Adam as did his Bear.

“I’m going to impale you up your turd hole with a blunt hammer.” Adam said.

“See, now that would make for some interesting shit.” Pat said, smiling wide.

“This is balls.” Adam said.

About 500 yards away from the Range Riders encampment the bear and iguana started to pick up speed as Adam and Pat mushed them along, creating a dust cloud behind them. Out from the camp came Mitch in his Kangaroo pouch, CollBoll on his laser eye silver-back, and Steve on his RedBULL (not sponsored) along with all 20 of their friends – all riding towards Adam and Pat.

“Well shit, do you think they’re coming over here to tell us they are big fans of ours and that we are welcome to stay as long as we want?” Adam said.

As they gained ground Pat squinted and saw CollBOLL wielding a katana from atop his Gorilla. “No. I don’t think so. Battle stations!” Pat’s bear opened its mouth wide and picked up its pace with his fangs twinkling in the rising sun light while Adam’s iguana stayed as like, a regular old iguana.

“Pat! Don’t leave me behind! Pat?! Are you listening? You’re not listening. I’m gonna die. Great. I’m gonna die on top of a ding bat iguana who can’t even talk. That’s just great.” Adam mumbled through his teeth.

As they reached each other Pat’s bear stood on its hind legs while Pat stood on top of his bears head, making him tower over everyone. Mitch, PoliFOG, and The Steve sauntered on over to PatBear.

“Whatchu turkey’s want??” said Mitch.

“I’ll get straight to it,” Pat said, with Adam finally reaching them all on foot, his iguana far behind whom he totally sorta abandoned.

“We, The Outlaws as we are calling ourselves now not my idea I think that name is stupid for the record, rode over to see The Chancellor.”

“How’d that go?” Steve said. “I bet it went badly. Dumb ass.”

“It was fine except, well” Adam spoke up, “We saw all the killers bees and the fire balls and the whatnot and thought to ourselves, ya know what, maybe we might need some help killing all of these things to keep them from destroying the world ya know? So. That’s why we’re here. To ask ya’ll mother truckers to get all up in our grill and help the world out.”

Mitch, Steve, and Collin looked at each other and started to laugh, as did the rest of the rough riders behind them when the lackeys realized their leaders were laughing to make it look like they agreed but in all reality it was kinda windy and the lackey people had no idea what was going on.

“Listen, this doesn’t have to be complicated. Help us or we will all die.” Pat said.

“We’re gonna die anyway ya dumb ass,” Mitch said, “the sun is going to explode like, any second, and if that doesn’t happen then that giant squid will eat you when it chooses too. There is no chance to defeat that dick bag.”

“Also, there’s that whale.” Steve said.

“Right, the whale. Also the ghost.” Collin nodded.

“Yeah I don’t know about any whale or ghost or whatever. My point is if we don’t try what in the name of cheese curds is the point?” said Pat.

“The point is to live as long as we can and not go on a stupid suicide mission where 20 of us face hundreds of bees with teeth and those weird eyes and the stinger with fire in it, ya know, the god damn things of nightmares” said Mitchell.

“Okay, then let me make this clear.” Adam said now also standing atop his iguana’s head which is working less than what Pat was doing in fact it was sorta just squishing his iguana, “we are all going to die. So we are all going to fight. And that includes you douche nozzles. Now. Either come with us to help or I will straight fight you fuckers and you’ll die right here right now. Die now, die later. Pick one.”

“Come at me fluff nut.” Steve said while petting his Bull’s face.

Pat leaned into Adam, “I feel as though you just made this get real.”

“Yeah” Adam said.

“Your iguana is suffocating. Get off its head.” Pat whispered for no reason.

“Oh shit! Sorry dude. That was my bad.” Adam exclaimed and got to the ground to try and reshape his iguanas flattened head.

The iguanas eyes lit up as it shook it’s head and said, “No, that’s cool, I freakin’ love when people put their entire weight on my nose. It’s the best.”

“Holy shit you’re talking!” Adam screamed into eternity.

“Yeah, your courage did it? Maybe it was you being a dick to those guys? Like standing up for yourself in a weird maniacal way? That could be it. Honestly, I’m just glad I can tell you out loud to get the fuck off me cause I’m not even a fully grown lizard, there is no way you should be riding me. Like. At all. Also, for the record, my name is Todd. And I’m the best and only iguana there is. Look at my moves.” Todd shook his shoulders a bit. “It’s all in the shoulders nillas.”

“What does nillas mean?” Asked Pat.

“It’s like the N word for white people.” Yelled Todd.

“Oh. Well. Okay. Then make sure never to use a hard R or I will be straight pissed about it.” Pat said.

“Dually noted” Said Todd.

“Are we fighting or what?!” Collin was shouting over the crowd behind him and the bear in front of him with his katana still high up in the air. “My arm is getting tired, I want to rest this sword in someone’s eye socket.”

“Cease them!” Mitch said as the 20 troops behind them came around and took Adam and Todd away.

“Oh god damnit Adam! I just learned to talk and they are going to murder us, that’s just great.” Todd was so peeved while being dragged away across the dust and dirt.

“I’m not psyched about being tortured either you idiot. I wish you never started speaking. At least before I could ignore you and stand on your head.” Adam wiggled as much as he could to try and break free but the mongrels carrying him away were stronger than one person was so that math just didn’t add up. While the 20 dudes carried Adam away, Mitch Collin and The Steve looked back towards Pat who was now coming at them, claws out.

Collin swung his katana left and right as his Gorilla shot a laser from its right eye towards Pat who dodged it as he was now running in a circle around the 3 Ranger Riders. Collin tried to bring the katana down into the circle but narrowly missed Pat who was kicking the bear in the side and whispering sweet nothing’s in its ear about honey to make it go faster.

Mitch took his giant kangaroo pouch and pushed it forward, like he was holding the reins on a horse and entered the circle, giving chase to Patrick whose constant running was starting to kick up more and more dust, making it harder to see and breath. The dust hit the back of Steve’s throat making him flail wildly and accidentally hitting the top of ChinaShop’s head, sending him off in a frenzy toward the shack town where Adam was being carted off too while screaming obscenities in the distance.

ChinaShop ran faster than the rest of the Riders gang and ended up beating them to the shack town, gesticulating in a large way, quickly knocking down most of the houses and putting of the one fire they had which had taken them two months to start. With nowhere to hold a hostage now the Riders started to cry uncontrollably and dropped Adam/Todd to the ground. Steve and ChinaShop, tired from their escapade, fell to the floor and instantly started to nap like nothing was happening. Adam and Todd turned around and started to run back towards the fight.

Back behind them Mitch and Pat had caused such a dust storm that you couldn’t see inside of it from what once was the shanty town. Inside the dust storm the battle brewed as Mitch and his Roo got off track for one moment and ran straight out of the storm to see Adam and Todd running towards him. Adam was losing ground as Todd ran faster and faster.

“How are you running this fast?” Asked Adam while breathing heavily and with a twinge of anger on his breath, “Could you always run this fast? Have you been short changing me ya god damn dick?”

Todd’s tongue flopped out of his mouth and his eyes opened wide as his weird feet went quicker and quicker in front of him almost to the point of him tripping over his own new speed. “No! I swear. I’ve never been able to run this fast. In fact, I’ve never fought anything in my entire lizard life. This is exciting!”

Mitch and Roo locked in on Adam and Todd and stood ready to fend them off quickly, hopefully squishing Adam’s head in, and being done with them.

Adam was still losing ground to Todd who was now glowing from the tip of his tail to the front of his neck, making it look like his head was going to pop off at any second to reveal a fireworks show.

“What the crap is happening to you ya god damn lizard?” Adam started to fast walk while Todd kept going, “You got this man! I’ll be right there. I’ve been riding a lizard for a year and not running, this was such a poor choice, I did NOT plan this well.” Todd’s feet were getting bigger and bigger – at one point he vaulted up completely, going from a 4 legged creature to a 2 legged creature, his front legs retracting slightly to become arms. Adam scoffed at this change until he realized what was happening. Within 5 minutes he went from having an iguana that couldn’t talk or carry things or pretty much do anything to an exponentially growing and talking Todd lizard.

Inside the dust cloud the bear and the gorilla finally met in the middle. On top of them Collin was swinging towards the bears ears hoping to clip Pat in the forehead and end this shit. Underneath all of that though, Pat scrambled near the Gorilla’s feet, getting off within the dust storm so Collin couldn’t see.

Through the fighting the laser beam shooting gorilla didn’t notice Pat climbing up it’s back – getting closer and closer to Collin as he swung violently towards the bear, once hitting and scraping across the bears entire face, opening it up – only to close together once more as the bear screamed into the dust and went into overdrive, punching straight forward as hard as it could. The Gorilla from Manila started to fall back, losing its balance as Pat reached its apex and donkey punched Collin off his monkey.

The Gorilla fell to the ground in pain while the bear raised up in triumph as the dust cleared. When the Gorilla looked up towards the town a dumbfound look washed across his face and he got up on all fours as fast he could, picking up Collin in the process, and started running the other way.

“Yeah, you better run!” Pat said, high fiving his bear who apparently can regenerate instead of talk which was awesome for Pat because he didn’t wanna talk to his bear at all, he mostly just wanted to keep mumbling and having the bear understand what was going on. That was sorta perfect. Pat grinned from ear to ear, happy to have won that battle all by himself. He turned to make sure Mitch had been taken care of, but as he pivoted he was met with a leg. Just a giant, fuck off leg. Right in front of him. Green, and scaly, with sharp jackhammer looking nails coming out of its feet. As Pat looked up he saw Todd, the once iguana, now standing 3 stories tall and Adam on top of its head screaming as loud as he could with his arms spread like he was Leo on the Titanic.

“I’m the king of the world!” Adam screamed while shaking his head side to side in amazement. Todd had Roo and Mitch in his clutches and after he shook them like you shouldn’t a baby real quick he put them down, freshly dizzied. When he knew it was safe, Collin’s Gorilla stopped running and Steve woke up from his power nap. All of them slowly gathered around Todd’s feet and looked up at the towering Godzilla like lizard and the psychopath on its back punching the sky.

“Well” said Collin, “I know when I can’t win. And this is one of those times. Cause, ya know, giant lizard. So. Sure, we’re in. Wherever you wanna go, we’ll go.”

“TIGHT!” Adam’s guttural plea to the world rang out over the lands as Todd’s much more intense scream shook the land around them and further wrecked the shanty town.

“Plus” Steve added “You guys destroyed our home that took a really long time to make because you’re very inconsiderate. So. Sure. I’m in.”

“Yeah” Mitch said, “Whatever they said. Sounds solid. Let’s go fight a squid with evil in its heart.”

“Cool,” said Pat. “Very cool.”

“OH MY FLUB THIS IS NUTS!” Adam squee’d while hugging his giant lizard friend. “I don’t have to walk anymore!”

Todd reached around with his tiny and shitty arms and grabbed Adam by the shirt, putting him on the ground. “For that you have to walk eight miles.”

“Well….shit.” Adam said as they all started to walk towards The Colony and his shorts grew to pants, marking the end of his only short wearing era and the beginning of his rebirth.


Before you read this I’d recommend you watch the film because I’m about to spoil it below:

In 2011 I wondered if my friends and I had it in us to make a film. Now we’ve made 3 while also having a large ensemble cast web series being scheduled to shoot in 2015. Stay tuned for updates on our Facebook page.

Making movies with my friends is the favorite thing I’ve ever done. Last night one of those good friends asked me how I get all of these insanely talented people to help me every time. I told her I have to trick them into it, which is half true. When you are writing and directing, the first step outside of yourself is convincing people that the thing you want to make is going to be good even when you aren’t 100% sure of that fact. But they keep saying yes. So. That’s incredibly nice of them.

Buried was created around a table of friends at my apartment in 2013. The premise was that a guy accidentally kills his best friend’s girlfriend who no one likes and then decides that if he can convince his best friend to murder his girlfriend before he finds out that she was already dead, he’d be off the hook for the accidental death he caused. Or at the very least, he’d have some help with the situation from a sympathetic party.

It’s a super weird premise that just made me keep laughing and laughing. Just a guy grasping at strings in the most intense moment of his entire life trying to convince another dude to kill a girl who’s already dead. That is my sense of humor in a nut shell.

When it comes to the actual film itself, I as the director ask the audience to go along with a premise that is all or nothing. Whether or not the audience ends up jumping on board is still to be seen, BUT even if they don’t there are a few things in this film that I think will be for everybody.

First off there are shots in Buried that are crazily pretty. Dylan (my EP, Editor, and Cinematographer) came in to the shoot day after a few brief conversations about the shot list and with a whole lot of jet lag as he had just gotten back from a month in Asia. I’m telling you that because the sequence where Marc is doing the actual burying has a shot while the sun was going down that is so freakin’ gorgeous I want to cry and Dylan was sprawled out in the mud to capture it while somehow not falling asleep.

Dylan, as my Cinematographer, is there to add his sense of aesthetic to my shot list. So basically, he’s there to make me better than I am. While operating within that framework he consistently goes above and beyond and the camera work in this film proves that. As for our second camera run by Adam Carner, I use him as a wild card. I don’t give him a shot list. I tell him to find a cool shot and go with it. The side shot of Marc kicking the corpse prior to dumping it in the hole is all Adam. Every time he works with me he does something I’d never think of by myself. You need people like that if you want to make something cooler than you could ever make alone.

The second thing I wanted to highlight from this film is the music; particularly the music during the burying sequence. The way we at BFF pick music is a long and tedious exercise that our music supervisor, JR, performs beautifully. Every year South by South West (SXSW) releases about 6 gigs of free music for the purpose of filmmakers using it in their films royalty free. It’s an amazing service that has helped us immensely on all 3 of the films we’ve made. It’s JR’s job to get an insane scene note from me like, “I want the song in this burying sequence to be ominous but in a weird and quirky upbeat manner” and then subsequently make sense of it.

Then after he does that impossible task, he listens to all 6 gigs of the music (51 hours of songs for those of you wondering) and makes a ranked list of his choices that I, with the help of him and the EPs, use to pick the song. The song in the burying sequence, in my mind, is perfection and I hope you guys like it too. And even if you don’t, it makes me all warm and fuzzy every time it comes on and that’s all I could ever ask for.

Before I go I will add that this film is better because my other EP Abigail, who is my script editor as well, killed it on every note she made during this entire process. Add to that the three actors in this film whom all had multiple jobs within the process when acting is hard enough all came to play on the day of the shoot (of which we only had one) and laid down solid takes that made picking only one tough to do the entire time editing this film. I’m almost bored when it comes to talking about how good Marc is because it’s just the truth and, hell, Steph had to hold herself above the ground and then let go so her face slammed into it 3 times in a row for this film and didn’t question it once. (All in the gag reel btw) That’s insane. Friendship is insanity.

This film marks the first time I didn’t act let alone play the lead in something we’ve made which allowed for a few things. One is that I had to put all of my trust into the actors to say my words the way they are on the page while simultaneously infusing them with a very real weight and personality to which I was not disappointed. The second opportunity it allowed for was to be ingrained in every single step that occurred from the concept to the final cut. Ian and the Bishop and Zer0s are movies that I adore because for me they tell so many stories both personally and artistically but this film is the first one that is in my voice entirely.

Artists talk about searching for their voice all the time. Finding a way to make a product that genuinely describes an artistic moment in their life. If nothing else Buried will be a perfect reminder or who I was when I was 27, how reliable and talented my friends were, how supportive my family was, and how I have a deep love for the place where I grew up for both making me this person and being a beautiful setting for all 3 films we’ve made so far.

If you have any questions about Buried or anything else let me know. I could talk forever about these films. I like them a lot. If not just enjoy this gag reel of my friends being silly little geese and I’ll cya in 2015 for our upcoming comedy webseries. K cool.