Thursday, 23 August 2018

ConBravo 2017: Nostalgia Critic Q&A

I was not able to attend ConBravo in 2018 - but I had yet to tidy up my recap files for 2017. So let’s get on that... the main post is here. This post is a look at the Nostalgia Critic Q&A that occurred on Saturday morning. (Again, this was 2017, so over half a year before the near complete implosion of the “Channel Awesome” website.)

Here was Doug’s Intro: Malcolm is going to be here too, if you’ve seen the VLogs, “he’s usually late.” I am Doug Walker, I work for a website called, do a bunch of characters including Nostalgia Critic. “He tells his audience to applaud.” (Then does an impersonation of Malcolm.) “I need him for the Devil, I can’t do that thing.”

This is a straightforward Q&A. Is there anyone in charge of the panel doing layout? If I’m right, there would be a couple things in the aisle, a microphone and a camera. Do this [line up] very slowly, very calmly. You’re Canadian, I don’t have to tell you that, the last con I was at, it was crazy. Know I cannot see any of you now, so if you say “remember me”? I’m going to say no.

(Then Malcolm arrives, big rock star intro.) “Let’s have one line from Bill!” (Malcolm sets up for “Mmm hmmm” - it’s Bill’s only line.) Remark on how this is the craziest room setup for just a Q&A.


Q: Great to have you back after four years. Giving back to the community, what inspired the charity shoutouts?
DOUG: There’s a lot of eyes on me when I do videos. People say buy this toothbrush, and nobody says give to these people. And I know not everybody stays to the end, but compared to the grand scheme, a thousand clicks more of checking out a site that people didn’t know existed? Just wanted to be nice. 

Q: What want rebooted in new batman?
DOUG: The Riddler would be pretty cool. Really weird would be Baby Doll, a lesser known villain.
+Q: Guy drops the “bat credit card” line.
(Doug runs down and smacks the guy with his hat.) “That’s your one, Canada. ... I already almost threw my voice out introducing Malcolm.”

Q: Considering your more recent style reviews, which is preferred for easier/harder, or more analytical or comedic?
DOUG: It’s old versus new! The new ones are definitely harder, but that’s why I like it, it’s more of a challenge. Being in front of a white wall and talking isn’t an interesting way to make a living. Complete freedom with company, I like trying new things, and it’s video. Why not try to take advantage as much as you can, with rhymes and sketches and different ways? It’s more difficult and takes more time, but I like that. (Crowd doesn’t applaud question this time. “He didn’t get applause? You’re Canadian, do the polite applause at least.”)

Q: All reviews usually have sketches, how do you come up with characters?
DOUG: Alcohol. Many meant to be one-offs, but are brought back, like Devilboner. And then the mosquitos I thought I’d use a dozen times, but it’s been maybe twice. I don’t want to force memes to be too repetitive, doing less of that now, being organic with whatever feels right.

Q: In Season 2, Sonic shows. Why not Sonic Underground?
DOUG: I’ve had that request a lot. I didn’t watch it, I want to represent it right. I wasn’t a huge Sailor Moon fan but saw enough of it, just did an “at the beginning” thing. Don’t have the time for Underground. (Asks Malcolm if he saw it?)
MALCOLM: It didn’t appeal to me, I was 7 years old. But maybe if I’m stuck on a desert island.
+Q: Thoughts on remake of King’s “It”.
DOUG: The balloons look more scary! I’m glad it’s two parts, the one real downside is while I didn’t find the original scary, at least Tim Curry is funny as the clown. He’s good at what he does, he’s entertaining. If you see the new clown, from the trailers, you just run. I feel like that’s the wrong direction, but maybe they’ll make it work.
 (He tries again, Doug says keep the line moving.)

Q: Back when you quit being Nostalgia Critic for a long game with the studio, were you ever planning to bring him back?
DOUG: We figured on bringing him back for a couple things, but if things were really bad we could. In “Review must go on” video, new ideas were coming to me, and I really did want to do this again and in a different style, and I wanted people to know this movie [Odd Life of Timothy Green] is the one that brought him back. “Demo Reel”, we all know how well that went over. Reason I got rid of him [Critic] before was I thought I was done, getting too repetitive... but having the break and seeing that movie, I thought, if I have more time with more performers, we could try things that haven’t been done.
 (Doug remarks about Malcolm doing ads for McDonalds in the US.)
Malcolm: And my voice gets around on iHeart.

Q: When you did filming for “Passion of Christ” scenes in park, any difficulties with that?
DOUG: Yeah, lightning striking us, it was weird. (Context is crossover review with Brad Jones - Cinema Snob - where Santa Christ is killed, and he bleeds maple syrup.) Pretty much the only difficulty we had was it was cold, it was the fall. There’s one scene where we’re beating this guy and he falls over, and I’m supposed to cry out, and this car drives by. It’s like, “hi, killed a guy”. With Brad’s videos, you kind of hope something will go wrong, you keep rolling. When we were doing Suburban Knights, and did that thing in the field, some people were bringing lawn chairs. And we were fine with that, just asked them to move to the left for the shot or whatever. Adds: Please don’t abuse the audio equipment.

Q: Every since “Timothy Green”, you’ve been doing sketches. Any previous reviews you’d redo with sketches?
DOUG: Some earlier ones I’d love to redo, like Mario Bros or Space Jam, but you could only do 10 minute videos back then. Part of me wants to do a theme montage, but people will think I’m running out of ideas. There’s things I could do in more detail, but I already have three theme months planned.

Q: Transformers is so formulaic, what would you do to change the formula aside from everything?
DOUG: “Man, I’m trying to think.” There’s other places you can go, there’s cooler spots, with action themes in general. Why not more fighting in theme parks. Everyone does the Ferris wheel, but on roller coasters? With Spiderman fighting the Vulture, they just missed it, landed in the sand, it’s like, come on. Transformers, giant robots, there’s giant machines jumping buildings or turning into planes while downtown, and then they keep doing that. So go to different planets, have a fight on Big Ben, try other cooler ideas. Like have a battleship, they’re searching it, and suddenly someone says “this isn’t a battleship” and it transforms.

Q for Malcolm: Voice manipulator or voice memory?
MALCOLM: Adapting for a character is key, a lot of people need to get caught up in the character. What’s important is, are you getting the emotion across, so it’s the manipulation more than the range.

Q: How you liking it?
DOUG: “I like it, how do you like it?”
+Q: I’ll give best 2 out of 3 questions. About the Nostalgic Fuck Ups, will you have it return?
DOUG: There’s a lot more screwups I’ve made, but I wonder. I might try just to see if they get clicks, but now because they take double the time to make, people might think “we waited for this?”. There are people who ask about it. Though Douchy the character is so annoying to do, even I got tired of him.
+Q: (Comments on new eps, where missing old days without productions.)
DOUG: “Oh, I can look at both versions and see pros and cons.” And if you don’t like them, don’t watch them. I don’t mean it negatively, people watch stuff that’s different. Then things are “this is what we want, like the old days” and they do terribly. Though “Tom and Jerry” and “Willy Wonka” didn’t have sketches and did well, so I know where people are coming from, and I get it, but I like trying to bring stuff. If you like it, cool.

Q: Have a weird question.
DOUG: “Maybe in five minutes.”
+Q: “I’m too early like always.”
DOUG: “You’re your harshest judge.”
+Q: If you were on RuPaul’s Drag Race, what’s the—
DOUG: I love the start of this question.
+Q: — what would your drag queen name be?
DOUG: “Drag Walker?” I’m terrible at this. What about Malcolm.
MALCOLM: “I don’t know. Oh, here we go. OneDra Woman.” People who have seen me in drag before have asked.
DOUG: I think we’ve all done drag, but probably you most of all. That show [RuPaul] doesn’t interest me much, but the one that kills me is when they had to impersonate celebrities. Maggie Smith is really funny.

DOUG (notices next person is cosplaying as him) “He looks more like me than I do.”
Q: “I have hair.”
DOUG: “You’re the old school.”
+Q: Question for both of you, the craziest thing that’s happened from a fan?
MALCOLM: Crazy good or...?
+Q: Either.
DOUG: I’ll go crazy crazy, it’s a furry story. I’m fine with that community, but a guy in an elevator, has this face on the whole time. Points, runs, I think his tail’s waggling, and he gets into hotel elevator with me and my wife, cornered. Is staring at me with a fixed face, says, “enjoying the con?” I nod. Then he breaks character, he’s a huge fan. We leave the elevator, with glasses you can see out the side, he’s following us. We’re almost at the room and I’m about to say please give me my privacy. I turn around, and he’s gone. Okay, whatever. I go inside, another panel in 15 minutes. I change clothes, and open door, and there he is. I don’t say anything, to not worry my wife. Head back to elevator, I didn’t see him after that.
MALCOLM: Mine is kind of similar, at a con, right before a panel. Some guy’s just asking me questions, and I’m answering them, saying I can answer the rest once the panel starts. I legit have to use the bathroom. He’s following me. He comes in with me. I go into the stall, and that’s where the cutoff happens. I come out of the stall to wash my hands, and Tamara comes up behind me. And she says this is the wrong bathroom. It was the ladies bathroom, but he followed me in anyway.
 (Doug remarks on “Ladies” washrooms with “Gender Neutral” under, but “I’m not taking the gamble”. You couldn’t put that sign on top of the other one?)

Q: Deadpool dressed as Mickey Mouse. Wants to do reviews himself. What inspired you to do movie reviews?
DOUG: Just a bunch of that, I love Lewis Black, Siskel and Ebert, Frank DeCaro who critiqued on The Daily Show. It’s similar to old critics. But also Basil Fawlty and comics.
+Q: Thoughts on Disney LiveAction Remakes?
 (A Canadian is playing Aladdin which is awesome.) “It’s hard to read your face.”
DOUG: I haven’t liked any of the ones other than Pete’s Dragon. They range, but of course you can retell, the trouble is they’re remaking THEIR version. Go back to the original story. Jungle Book’s actual story is intriguing, it’s like political drama with animals, I love that story. Disney does things like the original but not as good.
MALCOLM: Mulan could be interesting.
DOUG: Could be, but will they. I’d like more variety.


Q: Back when you had a [review] cutoff, what year was it?
DOUG: I think it was 2000, something like that. But I made exceptions all the time, “I will never - I probably will.”
+Q: And for Malcolm and Tamara, ever done standup comedy?
MALCOLM: Tamara did when she started with us, but that took time, likely doesn’t now. Doug’s never done standup, but has done improv. I did a lot of theatre and some improv, acting is my thing, no standup though.
DOUG: Hats off to anyone who does it, it’s very difficult.

Q: Something you look back on see as worse or better than you remember it?
DOUG: “My old home movies.” It’s kind of where Nostalgia critic came from, looking at old things. Like Lord of the Rings, the [Ralph] Bakshi one, I still love it but there’s no comparison to the [Peter] Jackson one. First ninja turtles also doesn’t hold up as well.
MALCOLM: I loved Pebble and Penguin, anything with funny voices and bright animation, but what was I watching. Tamara used to like RockADoodle, then she saw my review and was, oh no, it’s bad.

Q: When it comes out, review of “Five Nights at Freddy’s”?
DOUG: First game was a fun idea, they’ve got the overkill, I’ve got to see it. Yet lots of movies you’d think would be tailor-made to be done, and they’re not. “Junior”, two scenes but otherwise it’s dull, it’s so dull. We had so little for it. Had dream sequence, tried experimenting and it didn’t work.
+Q: What was the play on “supercalafragalistic” you did?
DOUG: How did we come up with it? From Turtles 3, I asked Rob, I said I need a word, something that could sound real, and he came up with it. Not used at the time, filed it away, and Batman and Robin was next, I turned it into the musical. But I don’t even know the words to the whole song.

Q: Any plans to bring Dreamworks back?
DOUG: Probably not, they really like to throw strikes at us, there’s even some they’re not letting go of now. Also a time issue, and DisneyCembers do better. I could do a VLog. Probably not for Emoji movie.
 (Guest saw it last night, didn’t miss much. Something about direct sequel Prince of Egypt.)
DOUG: It’s weird, Prince of Egypt was already a hard to do project. It was okay, haven’t seen it in years.
+Q: For Malcolm, how often do you see the movies before Doug does?
MALCOLM: It’s 50/50. I have older brothers roughly Doug’s age, but I’m also like Tamara, lots I haven’t seen. That’s why sometimes we’ll do stuff together, and I may do more with her.

Q: Given the possible properties you’ve done, any newer stuff you’d like to see with puppetry instead of CGI?
DOUG: Oh, lots. Even with “Force Awakens”, wonderful mix. I’m not against CG, am just against using it for everything. Things at cons look like the real thing, why can’t multimillion dollar movies do these things? But then it’s illusion of puppet that’s not really there, another hurdle to jump, but it’s also cheaper. So I understand it.
 (Audience member suggests Adventure Time.)
DOUG: I saw a bit of Pete’s Dragon, though it’s not there... Game of Thrones, they have a giant in the show, and it looks like he’s there. Because he is, they slowed him down and used some CG, but used the real thing. “Hashtag, get real giants.”

Q: Fan since 2007. Trying to get used to bald look. Any risks/benefits?
DOUG: If I wasn’t planning to keep this, more would be grown out by now. My hair was already disappearing and getting thinner, and I had trouble styling it. I hate when it’s flat and hanging, now I don’t have to do a damn thing. Once a week I’ll shave the head, showers go faster, I don’t have to look in the mirror. So it’s amazing how much I love it, no regrets.

Q: Ever play a game based on nostalgia properties?
DOUG: Sometimes I do a “Let’s Play”, much to my regret.
+Q: A movie that you really looked forward to reviewing?
DOUG: Probably Mad Max. I wasn’t even planning to when I saw it, but was sucked into it and hyped, wanted to recreate the energy. Tamara especially was so excited, she’ll walk around as Furiosa.
+Q: Is Meaning of Life a good movie?
DOUG: It’s not as good as Life of Brian. Do I like it? No. Wonderful ideas, not executed very well.

Q: Most requested review that you haven’t done?
DOUG: Everyone’s asking for the Emoji movie now. Want it clipless to see. But there’s nothing nostalgic about that. We got plans for Dragonball of Illusion. Everyone wanted Cats Don’t Dance, but I thought it was a good movie, cute, so I did an editorial on that. I’m sure there’s others, that’s what comes to my head.

Q: How do you feel about the T-Rex?
DOUG: We saw Jurassic Park again on the big screen when rereleased, and got a lot of memories. Coolest thing in the world. Even Spielberg when making it decided we need to bring the T-Rex back. In the movie it makes no sense, but it doesn’t matter, it’s the coolest goddamn thing in the world.

Q: Would you ever do Inspector Gadget 2?
DOUG: It’s bad, but it’s not Grrr bad, it tries to get a little closer to the cartoon. Still doesn’t succeed. There’s something about Matthew Broderick’s acting that’s just so... and that director too. (Audience member comments sparkle sparkle)

Q: Top Ten Best, the seahorses, who would be behind it?
DOUG: Aquaman’s not a bad choice. One of the my little ponies, they’re already half horse. Nobody would expect it.
MALCOLM: I like Snorks. That I actually watched.
DOUG: “Much better answer.”
+Q: Being scared of Canada’s PSAs, would you ever do a compilation of Top 10 Most Fucked Up?
DOUG: The only thing is, how many of those [commercial] specials have I done, I’ve done half a list already. People are constantly sending me Canadian PSAs that have scarred them now. I’ll look into it, it kind of throws me off, maybe if I say I’m not including the ones already done.

Q: Malcolm, hear you’re part of SAG (Screen Actors Guild), so congrats. What are their views on web videos, rules to clear?
MALCOLM: It’s a new developing sort of thing, they’re still trying to figure that out. Contracts called “New Media”, and the union’s understanding of actors who need to get work. They’re trying to figure out how to work with it.
+Q: Doug, on plot for Passengers? How it was handled?
DOUG: Did a crossover with Chris Stuckmann about it.
+Q: So how would you do it better?
DOUG: There’s a guy, Nerd Writer, he took our idea about re-editing, and he showed us, and that instantly made it better. Same everything, but immediately more intrigue. Really fascinating. I hear that’s how they originally had it. Gets a Zool.

Q: Intentions of doing any Bill & Ted?
DOUG: It’s in the back of my mind, that might be one for an editorial. I can’t see a ton of people saying “finally” I’m doing it. It’s one of Keanu Reeves’ best performances, I believe every second of it.

Q: Do you know that Bunnicula is a thing?
DOUG: “What? I’ll say no.”
 (Audience says vampire rabbit.)
DOUG: I didn’t get the script.
+Q: Thought you’d be all ‘What the hell is a Bunnicula.’
DOUG: (obliges and says that)
MALCOLM: It’s a vampire movie I hear?
+Q: It’s a book but with an animated version adaptation.
DOUG: Well, nothing beats the book.
 (Gives dates for them, one came out last year.)
DOUG: I’m intrigued, maybe I’ll check it out.
+Q: (Quickly asked about Scott Pilgrim.)
DOUG: “I like the style but can’t get much into the movie.” So probably not, but we’ll see.


Q: Malcolm, looking through, where did Bill come from?
DOUG: It started in Smurfs 2, characters that just exist. But that outfit?
MALCOLM: The joke is how can you miss someone that’s dressed like that, we just grabbed anything.
DOUG: We always had a theory that Bill is the finger puppet [he wears].
MALCOLM: Symbiotic relationship.
+Q: For Doug, doing Saturday morning cartoons, things from that era?
DOUG: “I’ve done so many Fox cartoons” (refs other places?) There wasn’t that many, Toonami came around after I stopped watching.
MALCOLM: I loved Toonami.
DOUG: I don’t think I’m the person to do that.
+Q: In Canada we had YTV.
DOUG: Maybe I’ll check it out.

Q: CaddyShack 2?
MALCOLM: Brad did that one.
DOUG: Yeah, I don’t think that’s for my crowd. I might check it out for fun.
+Q: Malcolm, ever annoyed by Bill because you dress up for a short clip?
MALCOLM: “I love Bill.”

Q: Cliche, long time watcher. Besides Chris Stuckmann, any other non-channel awesome people for a crossover?
DOUG: A lot of them I just kind of did it. I’m sure others will come across, at the moment nobody I can think of. There’s a couple coming up, but I don’t want to give it away yet. “Coming this Fall”, a three way crossover...
+Q: Is Rob taking note of Mama Mia 2?
DOUG: “He’s still in a coma.”

Q: After the Passion review, no Santa Christ - is he gone?
DOUG: He was in Christmas with the Cranks, so he’s around. He’s even in the intro.
+Q: Who’d win a death battle, Benny the Assassin or DevilBoner?
DOUG: They’d call it a draw to watch Cinderella. Or ‘Ever After’, rather.

Q: Congrats on 10 years. In Mad Max, at the end when you realize why, did you always know or it came while scripting.
DOUG: You realize it’s all an action sequence, it took time to think about it, there’s not that much story or character or plot, but it stuck with me. It’s there, but not verbally said, shown through the acting and the world. So I did come around to it.

Q: What’s the deal with you being in an anime, as a cameo?
DOUG: It was this really long process, they called me and James [AVGN] up, and we flew to Japan. They wrote the script, we had to learn Japanese, I had the line but they made him learn the language anyway. No, they just did it, we had no idea, but we did recreate that pose. To see if we can make that shot. Someone made a side by side.

Q: Back to Canadian PSAs, what about the house hippo?
DOUG: Everyone asked me to do it for so long, so it’s a nice way to bring the scary PSAs to an end. There’s only so long the joke can go. Now I’ll be terrified of British ones.
+Q: And I came in late, seen the Disaster Artist trailer?
DOUG: He’s been giving me updates for turning it into a movie. That dude is one of the coolest, nicest guys, always kept me in the loop. Even when Tommy was doing crap, he said he’d talk to him. And they’re releasing movie around awards season, so I’m really excited to see this. “Thanks for squat.”

Q: Any mini review plans like Cats Don’t Dance?
DOUG: Yeah, I’ll still do editorials, some stuff would be fun to talk about. Like the GI Joe movie, it wouldn’t be deserving of a huge review. Might do some more of these, like Ewok movie. Just want to talk about it, it won’t get as many views.

Q: Neil Breen movies, heard of them?
DOUG: Who?
+Q: His movies are kind of like The Room? Search “Fateful Findings”.
DOUG: I’ll check him out.

Q: I’m a theatre major, doing music videos and production. What’s the process when you create a script and planning?
DOUG: It’s very different than a professional music video, we do ours pretty fast. Which is why they look cheap but that’s part of the fun. Two weeks to watch a movie, write, film, put in effects. It depends, sometimes you want to do it the best you can, other times it’s very instinctual, “do this”. Bill took no time to think up. It just varies, and everyone has a different process, do whatever’s best for you.

Q: Most difficult review you’ve ever done, acting or scripting?
DOUG: I feel like one of the shooting days - you know what, WonderWoman. It was so warm that day, and we had to have the air conditioning off. It drained me a lot, something about that shoot in particular. Some you hype up, but I was tired.
MALCOLM: Maybe it was just that day? 
DOUG: Yeah.
MALCOLM: And the outfits.
+Q: The #WTFUse hashtag [Where’s the Fair Use], heard of Jim Sterling? Sued? I don’t think he’s gone that far with you.
DOUG: “Not yet.”
+Q: Anybody continuously hounded?
DOUG: Honestly, since we did WTFU, a lot of them have backed off. There’s claims, but they’re dropped much faster. I think taking attention helped. There are some, but I don’t want to name them. The big studios are being more relaxed, it’s some of the smaller ones, or movies that belong to 20 different right holders, as all it takes is one. It varies.

Q: He’s 2, he uses my old phone to go on youtube. And he has a doll of you.
DOUG: That’s so cool.
+Q: Say “Hi Brayden.”
 (Doug mishears at first, Raven? Corrected by Malcolm.)
+Q: Think he said ‘i love you’.

Q: With such diverse characters, how did you get into the heads of them?
DOUG: We just kinda do it, I feel like we don’t play the most complex characters. Some people are different, there’s no right or wrong way. There’s no rule book that says this.
MALCOLM: There are specific lines where I want to get this across in a certain way, we’ll do multiple takes.
DOUG: I’ve got good actors, they pick it up real fast.

Q: Watching since I was 8 and am 14 now. This DisneyCember, what are you going to do?
DOUG: The Disney channel original movies. There’s a couple that are okay.

It’s 11:30, panel over, sudden cutoff from staff (no “last two questions”, etc). Doug said he has autographs if you didn’t get a question done.

And that finishes the Nostalgia Critic Q&A panel. A reminder that quotations may have errors due to my typing speed, so don’t take them as fact; my raw file here was also sketchy in a couple places, hopefully I didn’t misattribute Malcolm to Doug anywhere. If you have a correction or something to add, do leave a comment.

For further reading, I was also at Reviewer Q&A on Day 3 of ConBravo, or you can look at other things I attended after leaving this panel.

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