For those out there who are aware of the Dungeons & Dragons community and have always looked at the hit Web series The Guild and wondered why there wasn’t one for you, look no further than Standard Action, a quick-paced, witty, and earnest look at the lives of a handful of characters in a Dungeons & Dragons campaign that come together to make a party of heroes.
Once our lovely Kat knew that I was covering Dungeons & Dragons material, she quickly got on the horn and found people she knew who were involved in Standard Action and introduced me to the lovely Joanna Gaskell. Joanna writes and produces the show along with some of her friends and I was excited to get the chance to pick her brain about where it came from and what she was aiming for with building up a Web series and even promoting on Kickstarter for season three.
You don’t know what Standard Action is? Well, don’t worry — I’ll be including the first episode for you guys to get an idea of just why I fell in love with Edda, played by Joanna, but I thought it was best to give you the synopsis straight from the mouth of the writer. While Edda is just one character, the series boasts so many of all makes and models with some hilarious moments and breathtaking visuals. Even the jackass Cedric, a foolish, powder-blue robed wizard, is fun to get your eyes on. There’re mimes, you guys. Mimes. I asked Joanna to give me a brief rundown of the people that comprise the party of the Standard Action series.
“Bumbling, marginalized characters who don’t really fit into the world around them. They’re kind of alone, you know? Kind of rejected. The ‘nerds’ of the fantasy world who have chosen paths that aren’t particularly conventional. They find each other and, in finding each other, they find their strengths and confidence and take off into the world to quest for new party members. In the process, they go way in over their heads and end up on an adventure far bigger than they could’ve ever guessed.”
You know, that old tale. (Insert laugh track.)
Talking to Joanna, let me just say, was as easy as breathing. She’s got this exuberant and happy tone to her voice that reminded me of my very best friend Amanda, but most of all, you could tell she was excited about what she was doing.
Nowadays, with everyone having access to a smart phone and the Internet, so many people take themselves to be these amateur filmmakers with an idea and big dreams. We see so many good ideas get wasted on YouTube because not everyone has the access to sound and lighting and, my god, good actors. Joanna was in good company though because she had the friends, experience, and patience to put together something special.
“We started out in fall of 2010 and I had written a couple of scripts just for fun. It’s a fantasy show! It’s fantasy, which means costume and budget and props, so we felt a bit in over our heads. Rob, my partner, and I had done a couple features together, but nothing with this kind of fantastical feel. We met Edwin, who plays Fernando the Bard, and it turned out he had played D&D! Oftentimes, you meet someone and they don’t readily admit that they play it, but once we found out he did, it was off to the races.”
After showing Edwin a few scripts and realizing they might have something great that they could put together as a series, Joanna and Rob took six people into “the bush” to film what could be considered Episode 0, but what actually aired in the middle of the first season. When they started trickling the series out onto the Internet, they found that it actually picked up ground and became quite popular. They gained a bit of footing and that led through a series two, but then they realized that if they wanted to make season three really stand out, they were going to need help.
Joanna says: “A big part of that was that we started with just wanting to give people visibility. We spent the first two seasons wanting people to see what we could do, but then we really wanted to step our game up a bit but that meant funding. We had worked with Indiegogo because [it] will work with Canadians, but we truly wanted to bring the project to Kickstarter.” And they did. Through having their project also branded in the United States, their Web series could be funded through the popular crowdfunding website.
Offering a league of rewards for early adopters and contributors, Standard Action is one of those nerdy dreams come true where people can have the opportunity to truly be involved in the next season if they choose to contribute to the funding. Make sure you take a look at the series and then Standard Action’s Kickstarter for more news! They’ve only got mere hours left!
After listening to Joanna tell me about her loves of witty British comedy and getting to nerd out with another fan of my favorite show, Red Dwarf, I realized two very important things about Standard Action. I’m not even sure if she meant to put it across, honestly, but she did. One is that she is passionate about the show, the characters, and the people who have been at her side through making this series with her. That’s a big deal because you hear so many stories about people who put up a few episodes of something and inflated egos become too complex to parry or even engage with. Nobody ever gets to season three easily, you know? The second thing is that she’s a real person with a hobby that most would like to leave in the dark, but Joanna puts her nerd on overdrive and happily touts her character, Edda, for everyone to see.
So come along into the world of the Elven Barbarian, Edda, and her unlikely friends and get to know a cast of characters you could easily love. Once you do that, head on over to the Kickstarter and see just how much love and devotion is going into their season three. I know I’m excited for more and I can’t wait to see what the Standard Action kids come up with next.