Thursday, July 25, 2013

S.O.F.T. EXCLUSIVE: InterNerf - Saulsbury St. Studios

(Link) Hey Squaddies! This post has been a long time in the making. Wondering what it is? Well, I'll explain.

I thought about giving interviews with some of the big name bloggers/personalities a go after seeing some examples from our friends on the NIC. And who better to start off with than the fine fellas from Saulsbury St. Studios, the creators behind the popular 'The Great Nerf War' web-series. So, I shot them a few question via FB, and they got back to me today! :D 

Link: First off, I'll say: what a massive honour this is for us, and it's a pleasure to have you guys here with us today. Could you introduce yourselves, and what you do?

Austin: Well actually, this is Austin Hill, I play Edgar in the series and am the co-founder/caretaker of the YouTube channel, Saulsbury St. Studios!

Austin (Cpt. Sullivan Edgar)
Link: For those new to The Great Nerf War, could you give the Squaddies a quick synopsis?

Austin: The Great Nerf War is a web-series that takes place in a world where Nerf weapons are the only weapons and a civil war has broken out between the rising threat, The Belligerwitch, and The Peace-Bull.

Link: In case you guys don't know, we here at the Squadron are massive fans of your work. What was your inspiration to kick start this great series? (A huge love of Nerf, we ALL know that :P)

Austin: Well thank you very much! Well I actually created the series from a pretty humble and almost silly moment. I was playing Call of Duty: World at War (Btw, I'm a pretty big WWII history buff) and I would glance occasionally at the Nerf gun in the corner of the room which was a gift from a friend who has yet to appear onscreen! The idea just started brewing That rifle is the same one Edgar almost always uses; we call it Baby Blue. The night I shared the idea with my best friend - who plays Baineswolf - we filmed the Unofficial Training Video!

Link: When you first started, did you ever think that your series would reach this level of popularity in the NIC (Nerf Internet Community)/YouTube? I know for a fact, those first days of starting something new are a bit all over the place. 

Austin: No, definitely not. I am still shocked at its success! The training video got a much bigger response among our friends then any of our previous videos and that was really the start of it.

Link: The series has come a long way since 'Rescue Cue', hasn't it? 11 episodes, 2 seasons, and going strong. Do you have any favourite behind-the-scenes memories while filming? And any particular episodes that stand out?

Austin: Well each episode is very special. Everyone puts a LOT of heart and work into each one. I don't know if I can really slim down to really one favorite moment or episode but I can give a few OF my favs, lol. I love the journey/story that "Deceased Feast" reaches, it's our longest episode and was the hardest to make but it also packs the most in. During "Lost in Frost," one of the Bulls comes in on a sled and that wasn't easy to choreograph and at one point he flew right past the camera! Luckily we were recording! "Fight by Candlelight" will always be a very special episode to me personally, even though it is our lowest view count lol. We were just trying different things and the series changed a lot in that episode. There are literally hundreds of phenomenal memories/moments of filming!

TGNW: Rusted Trust
Link: What makes the series so great is the characters, in my opinion. Their personalities, the in-jokes, their struggles against each other, and of course, their signature blaster of choice The people that star in your videos, are they all friends, locals, or volunteers? (All united by a love of Nerf, I reckon. :P) And do they choose how they want to portray their characters?

Austin: Yup, they are all friends! I am a theater major in college so I have been blessed to be surrounded by tons of talented folks. They all kindly come out to help me. Earlier on, I had specific ideas for characters and approached people with who I wanted them to play, like New Mexico, Nhine, McSaint, or Soloman for example. Others were the creation of certain people but they had to run it by me at least lol.

Link: Do you ever get questions asking whether how good Commander Nhine or Firefly would be in a fire fight? 

Austin: Do I get asked that? Lol, well sure. I never wanted Nhine to even really touch a gun because I thought it would break the illusion we built for him and Firefly... I don't know lol.

Link: Two questions in one now, if that's okay. Do you guys film at locations locally, and how do you pick them? I love the episodes set in the snowy forests.

Austin: Yeah locations are a big deal to me. There are literally thousands of videos with Nerf fights in people's backyards and I am all about showing an audience something they have never seen before. I can never tell you where we are though lol, only because I want our fans to place us wherever they like. I have heard so many different ideas of locations that I think it would break the magic of not knowing. Yeah the snow ones are a blast, and twice as hard to film but twice as rewarding once we wrap!

Link: What sort of camera and editing software do you guys use? I would imagine it would take a while to get everything just right for publishing.

Austin: Well sometimes I edit and sometimes some of our cast have edited. We have filmed with several great cameras but the main one we've been using lately is from Florentine himself! He and his family have been essential in helping make TGNW the series the way it is today.

TGNW: Fight By Candlelight

Link: How does the making of an episode process go? (I would imagine it would start off with pen and paper/keyboard) And do you ever find yourselves improvising? (Making it up on the go) How do you guys come up with such awesome names for your episodes? There have been some real creative ones. 

Austin: Well I usually plan the episodes several in advance. I actually wrote all the initial episode scripts except for "Convoy Ploy" (which was written and directed by Florentine), "Fight by Candlelight" was co-written with Captain Harry and "Deceased Feast" was largely comprised of ideas from our cast. I plan a film day about a month in advance, rally up as much as I can and usually we just take a day to film. A couple of our episodes have required re-shoots but the bulk is always done in one day. We improvise some, I'm always open to new ideas so my cast knows they can contribute something if time is permitting lol. Yeah a lot of thought goes into those titles lol. We just try to find titles that correspond with the events of the episodes and go from there, ya know? Like "Fate Ain't Late," stemmed from me speaking out loud to the frustrations with uploading "Lost in Frost;" boom. Title. lol!

Link: The music of each episode is a highlight for many. Now, I do know you guys feature a band on your channel as well, 'The Jones Noir'. Do you have an awesome time writing and featuring your own music?

Austin: I am very glad to hear the music is a highlight! The composition and playing is me as well, actually. We record with the very very kind Florentine and his father (who is also a character in the series). The Jones Noir is actually me and the character who plays The Lion, and "Apparition's Mission" was the first time we combined forces - wait, actually that's not true. We wrote a tune for "Deceased Feast" that never got recorded. However, a lot of the score in that episode are the riffs from that song; kind of like the AM tune is sort of played throughout and then you hear the actual tune at the end.

Link: And just one quick general Nerf question: Is there a favourite blaster between your cast and crew? It can be any blaster. And are there any upcoming blasters you'd love to feature in future episodes?

Austin: Well Captain Harry loves that Optimus Prime blaster, I love Baby Blue. The Strife has been a big hit among us and I think more than a couple of the cast were frustrated that I put the Hail-Fire on the shelf like I did because they all wanted to use it! I'm actually a huge fan/supporter of the Vortex line and the Ravyn is always popular. Flo loves his duel-wielding of course, ingeniously cocking both without putting them down. I have recently seen that Elite RapidStrike - I think it looks pretty boss.

TGNW: Almost Ghost
Link: Any chance of a hint of what is set for the next series?

Austin: Well the war is supremely changing so expect some major changes to the series (in a good way of course), there will be lots of surprises. There is a new Belligerwitch leader, and she is pretty darn intense! We also are currently filming our five-part web series, "I, Batman" which I am very excited about!

Link: Well, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to us today mate. And of course, we'll be looking forward to Season 3. 

Austin: Thank you very much, Link! This was really cool and you asked some really great and thoughtful questions. Feel free to ask anything else! I don't know if our series would have continued had it not been for such great fans like yourself. So thank YOU. 

- Austin (Cpt. Sullivan Edgar)

So there you have it, S.O.F.T.'s first interview! What did you guys think? :P If you and your blog/website/YouTube Channel/yadda yadda yadda :P would like to be featured in an interview, send me a message at and we'll sort something out! :D

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