The first episode of the unapproved, Community-inspired Inspector Spacetime web series — titled Untitled Web Series About a Space Traveler Who Can Also Travel Through Time has hit the net. You can watch the episode below:
Originally started as a show within a show during NBC’s Community it has since gained popularity at an alarming rate and it has also but is also made it’s creator Travis Richey a fair bit more famous than he was previously. A self-promotion machine and entertainer of all trades, the star of YouTube hits Robot, Ninja, and Gay Guy and 2 Hot Guys in a Shower saw potential in the forty seconds of air time the Inspector initially had.
Since then Travis and company have been hard at work on the Insp… the Untitled Web Series About a Space Traveler Who Can Also Travel Through Time and took a few minutes out of his busy editing schedule to speak with Nerd Bastards. We discussed everything from Travis’ beginnings as a podcast host, the development of UWSASTWCATTT into the phenomenon that it’s grown into and a certain Doctor Who star that has openly admitted to loving a certain Inspector. So let’s all climb into the time traveling phone booth and get this party started!
EDITORS NOTE: This interview was conducted mid July, but was never published. It got lost in the shuffle during San Diego Comic Con.
You started out with the production of many short films and television shows originally, what turned you on to writing, acting and producing your own web based shows?
Travis- Well that actually wasn’t how I started with self-production. My very first thing was doing a podcast I think with a friend of mine named Curtis Frisle, we did a podcast called Boy Cow Radio…I joined YouTube in 2006 and a friend of mine introduced me to a pair of brothers who were vlogging back and forth to one another and I found the concept fascinating. That was the Vlog Brothers. Now one of the biggest youtubers on YouTube and they inspired me to do a YouTube vlog channel called MuseCast. I asked Eric woya, one of the guys on MuseCast season two, if he wanted to be the head writer and he sent me three scripts in May of 2009. I loved them so much that we started production in July with no money, no camera, no anything and the rest is history.
After seeing fans expand the universe that was created out of just bits and pieces seen on Community, when did you decided that it was time to make an entire series?
Travis- Before the first episode even aired on Community Eric and I decided we want to write a web series cause we thought Sony and whoever would want to do a web series of this as a special for the DVD at least. So we thought “Hey, let’s write it in case nobody at Community has time to write it and you know if they like it that’s good for us” And that’s what we do, we write and produce. So we wrote it and tried to pitch it to the people at Community, but no one even got back to us…Obviously they weren’t interested so we just decided to do it on our own and Eric and I just sat down and worked on what we needed for the universe for the Inspector. But what amazed me was in those 15 seconds fans literally took the framework of Doctor Who and built an entire history of Inspector Spacetime which just blew my mind.
UWSASTWCATTT started out as a spoof series on NBC’s Community and has since taken on a fantastic life of it’s own in the 6 episode mini-series you’ve been developing the last several months. What are some of the things you think have grabbed the attention of the aptly named “Inspectators”?
Travis- That was something I actually picked up from a fan and actually a new word has cropped up. The fandom as a whole is being referred to as “The Inspectrum” which I love. They filled in all the gaps. They cast all the previous inspectors, they had episode titles and seasons all worked out for the show, it was just so amazing and I loved being a part of that production of information. It blows my mind when I find something on Inspector Spacetime, a show that never actually existed.
Did you decide on ever changing the name of the Inspector? Or did you just alter a few things to keep Sony and executives from issuing court orders?
Travis- He’ll still be “The Inspector”, you can’t copyright a job title so he’ll still be the Inspector…if you’ve seen the pictures, the fans came together and helped us make the costume. The costume was designed by a fan and the optic pocketknife was designed, and built, by a fan who did an amazing job of creating a working prototype. It actually works, it doesn’t actually scan anything, but it lights up, it has a flip-up screen and laser scanner in the front. 99.9 percent of what was created was created by fans, it’s very cool.
The fan base that this series has is simply insane. One fan in particular, a miss Karen Gillan, said she wanted to be part of the show. How do you feel about that and should the opportunity present itself would you let her?
Travis- We have already written the first draft of season two of Inspector Spacetime and we have written a role for Karen, should she decide she wants to be involved. Now, obviously she’d have to be ok with it not being produced by Sony and not being called “Inspector Spacetime”, but it is as much of Inspector Spacetime as anybody is going to be able to do I think. And so If she still wants to be involved we will contact her people or try to contact her and see if she wants to be involved in season two.
Speaking of other members of Who, has show creator Steven Moffat seen anything from this first season yet or are you saving that for when releases online?
Travis- I don’t know if he’s actually seen it, Karen was talking about it at the Doctor Who convention onstage with Steven and Matt [Smith]… I think Steven has been asked about it since then, but I don’t know what he’s said or if he’s seen it. All we have right now is the teaser trailer, which we just released the week before, and also the pictures we put out on Facebook.com/untitledWebSeries.
Do you have any final words for those looking together into the production of their own content? Maybe a few words of wisdom from the Inspector on dangers of inter-dimensional travel?
Travis- Well it’s very simple: You just do it. If you look at what I did early on with “Robot, Ninja, Gay Guy” the camera that I bought for that was about a $550 camera you can get for maybe $400 now. You can get a good microphone for 200-300 bucks and then you just have to write and produce, you just have to do it.