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Light saber battle!

Blog posted by Ste Pickford on Thu, 24 Feb 2011
Subject: Magnetic Billiards: Blueprint

Ste Pickford

I received an unusual and surprising email a couple of weeks ago, inviting my brother and I down to London to be filmed being interviewed for a new BBC comedy show, being made by Hat Trick Productions, as "renowned names in the online and technological world". Wow!

The show is for the BBC comedy website, so not 'proper' telly I don't think, and is presented by Stuart Ashen, who I know slightly from various internet forums and for his brilliant YouTube videos reviewing dodgy cheapo Chinese electronics. He's already made a series for the BBC comedy website called Ashen's Tech Dump.

Ever mindful of the need to promote our new game, Magnetic Billiards, I thought this sounded like a great idea, but John wasn't so keen. He was too shy, and I'm a media whore, so I offered to do the interview on my own.

It was a good job I did it alone in the end, as the interview was to take place in the form of a Star Wars style light saber battle, between myself and the interviewer. A three way light saber battle would have been a nightmare to film.

As it turned out, a two way light saber battle was pretty hard work.

I was expecting to be asked a few questions and make some off-the-cuff answers as we swung the light sabers around wildly. I do have a tendency to waffle and umm and arr a bit when I'm interviewed in real life (I much prefer email interviews, where I can consider my responses more carefully), so I was grateful that the plan was to talk through the questions and roughly prepare what my answers would be, before the interview was actually filmed. I chatted with Stuart and the producer for an hour or so, and we pinned down three questions about the games industry and being an indie, with three corresponding answers from me, which I noted down.

When it came to the filming, the director wanted to re-film the interview from three or four different angles, which meant I had to give the same answers three or four times.

Blimey - I had to learn some lines!

Once we started bashing about with the light sabers it became clear that my answers were far too wordy and long-winded. There was no way I could fit them in between blows, without the whole thing taking forever. As Stuart filmed his intro I was frantically whittling down my notes for the answers I'd come up with, chopping out words and syllables, simplifying the points I was trying to make, rephrasing or removing whole sentences, to make them simple enough to come out of my mouth in the short time between each light saber swing.

Blimey - I had to write a script!

The actual filming was more fun than I was expecting. I wasn't as nervous and awkward as I thought I would be, but I did find it difficult to remember the words of my answers. We must have run through each question and answer about six or seven times by the end of filming, and my answers were starting to sound more and more stupid and ridiculous each time I repeated them. By the end I was convinced that I was talking complete and utter bollocks, and terrified that anyone in the games industry will point and laugh at what an idiot I am when they watch the finished interview.

I still think that now!

The makers of the show were gracious enough to allow me to plug our game at the end of the interview (have I mentioned that Magnetic Billiards for iOS is coming soon?), after which I chopped Stuart's hand off, making me the Darth Vader figure (which I only realised later), before I rushed off to get my train back to Manchester, still carrying the expensive radio mic in my pocket...

It was great to meet Stuart finally, who was a lovely chap, as were the rest of the crew. I'll post a link to the finished intervew here when it's available, provided I don't sound too stupid. In the meantime, check out Stuart's YouTube channel.


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