Brent Spiner Extended Interview | Fresh Hell the web series | Those Video Guys 34

Uploaded by ThoseVideoGuysTV on 02.08.2011

JOHN: Hello, The Internet!
ELISAR: Hello!
JOHN: My name is John [Atkins]Ö alongside, as always, my good friend, colleague and co-conspirator
Elisar Cabrera and together we areÖ
JOHN & ELISAR: (together) ëThose Video Guys.î
JOHN: As I say, a bit of a departure for us this week.
ELISAR: Indeed.
JOHN: Weíre not going to be reviewing any shows, per se. We have got a special celebrity
guest, a WYTV exclusive, only here on ìThose Video GuysîÖ a manÖ some time ago, I think
he played Data on Star Trek: the Next Generation?
(photo of Brent Spiner as Data is shown)
ELISAR: Indeed.
JOHN: But, heís basically a household name for the web series, ìFresh Hell,î of which
he is the writer and starÖ Mr. Brent Spiner. Itís a great interview. We got to meet him
a couple weeks ago when he was in town for theÖ
ELISAR: It was the London Film and Comic Con.
JOHN: Indeed. He was so generous with his time. He was a fun, engaging and genial host
and we think youíre gonna love the interview. So, check it out, and weíll be back in a
couple of weeks time.
(Scene switches to the interview)
JOHN: Okay. Hi! Welcome to a very special ìThose Video Guysî exclusive interview.
Myself, John and Elisar are here, with a man who needs very little introduction. We reviewed
his web series a few weeks back and now weíve got him on the show. Itís an honor for all
of us. Weíre very pleased to have you, Mr. Brent Spiner.
BRENT: Oh. Thank you so much. And Iím honored as well, by the way. Thank you for having
ELISAR: Welcome to London.
BRENT: Is that where we are?
JOHN: We certainly are, yeah.
know your agent didnít tell you these things, butÖ
BRENT; No, itís true. Can we mention right off the bat that Iím sitting in a seat thatís
lower than yours and Iím not exactlyÖ you guys are not giants.
JOHN: Absolutely. If anything, we are both below average height and when we stood up,
you towered over us.
BRENT: Oh. I wanted, actually, to beat the both of you up, just from the sheer power
of it. But, Iíll refrain.
JOHN: Thank you. We appreciate that. We are indeed in London. I think Buckingham Palace
is justÖ (points)
BRENT: (points too)Ö right outside. Right outside the window. (smiles and waves at Buckingham
JOHN: I think we might actually be using the Queenís WiFi at the moment.
BRENT: (laughs) Yeah. Probably, we are.
(Introduction to ìFresh Hellî plays)
JOHN: Youíre here obviously, because we reviewed your web series, ìFresh Hell,î a couple
of months back I suppose itíll be by the time this goes outÖ
BRENT: Exactly.
JOHN: For anyone who didnít see that show or hasnít seen ìFresh Hellî yet, why donít
you just tell us a little bit about that show?
BRENT: Well, ìFresh Hellî is aÖ how do I describe it? I mean, easy to describe for
people who do not work on it or create it. It appears to be a sort of sit-com -ish show.
We think of itÖ I think of it anyway, as a sit-traj. Because I really think the showís
a tragedy and not a comedy. Itís played as a comedy, but I think underneath it, itís
a very sad showÖ and there is always sort of a verisimilitude. Chris Ellis who directs
the show will be very happy I said that.
JOHN: Itís one of my favorite words, actually.
BRENT: Itís one of his too. He uses all the timeÖ inappropriately, as Iím sure you do
JOHN: Yes. Thatís the best way to use it.
BRENT: Anyway, I had a bowl of verisimilitude last night. No. What we try to do is balance
the comic and the not-so-funny at the same time. But itís a story of me, Brent Spiner,
in an alternate life, basically, where Iíve done something absolutely horrible, something
terrible which we refer to as ìThe Incidentî and ìThe Incidentî has destroyed my life
in every possible wayÖ my career, my family, Iíve lost all my money. I have no job or
any possibility of getting a job and basically everyone in the world hates me.
(cuts to Dakota saying, ìHey, wait a second. Arenít you that guy everybody hates?î)
BRENT: Thatís not particularly funny, really, but itÖ
JOHN: It gets funny.
BRENT: It does. It is funny, but I think it turns out that itís incredibly topical. Itís
almost daily now. First it was monthly, then weekly, now itís almost daily that some well-known
person does something absolutely horrible and destroys whatever credibility they ever
ELISAR: Indeed. Youíve actually just arrived in London at the time of this media storm
over News International. The phone hacking scandal, which is obviously now affecting
Rupert Murdoch and his businesses. The point now, heads will have to roll and people will
have to lose their jobs.
BRENT: Yeah. Iím not sure. I tried to read about it this morning to be clear of what
itís about but I couldnít perceive it at all. I actually know James Murdoch a little
bit, who is a very good guyÖ uh, personally. I know very little about his business or even
his fatherís business, but I know James and heís a real decent person. ButÖ yeah. So
I was perplexed by that, but there it is again. And last week in America, we hadÖ who was
last week in America? Well we had Representative Weiner, Iím sure you heard about him.
ELISAR: Yes, weíve heard of him.
BRENT: Ö and prior to him, we had Arnold Schwarzenegger, Charlie Sheen, andÖ
ELISAR: Were there any particular stories in the news, Lindsay Lohan, or Paris HiltonÖ
that kind of thingÖ that was in the back of your mind when you thought of ìThe Incident?î
BRENT: No. Not really. Iíve been thinking about this for a long time. Long before any
of those people weíve mentioned actually did anything. But let me just say, we do know
what ìThe Incidentî is.
JOHN: Do you? You do?
BRENT: Yes, I doÖ and the writerÖ
ELISAR: Will we ever find out?
BRENT: Thatís none of your business.
JOHN & ELISAR: (laughs)
BRENT: Can I slap you on camera? Is that alright? (presses Johnís arm warmly) No, Iím kidding.
Of course, I think eventually, you will find out. Harry Hannigan, who is our brilliant
writer, Chris Ellis, who directs the show and myselfÖ we know what it is and all I
can tell you right now is itís worse than anything any of those people did who got famous
forÖ with the possible exception of O.J.
ELISAR: The clue is, of course, actually, this has affected your family, work you can
understand, maybe, but actually youíve lost your family, youíve lost everything.
BRENT: Right. And indeed, everyone who comes into contact with me who knows of ìThe Incidentî
is disgusted by me.
(cut to scene in Episode 1 on the set of Jolinda in the Morning)
BRENT: I wanted to be in show business and the movies since I was a kid, and uhÖ I,
IÖ ya knowÖ itís like a, a dream came true. (smiles)
Jolinda: And then there wasÖ ìThe Incident.î
BRENT: (smile fades) What?
JOLINDA: ìThe IncidentîÖ where you lost everythingÖ your family, your home, your
wealth, your career, your adoring fans. ìThe Incident,î Brent.
(back to ìThose Video Guysî interview)
JOHN: What I was wondering watching it isÖ you know the old adage ofÖ
BRENT: (interrupts) I keep turning this way, Iím sorry, because this is my good side,
actually. (pushes the right side of his face towards the camera, then sits facing away
from John) So, go ahead.
JOHN: We should have set it up the other way.
BRENT: Nah, donít. Iíll just ignore you. Go ahead. (smiles and laughs) Yeah, yeah.
ELISAR: (laughs)
JOHN: Iíll face this way. (turns away from Brent) What I was wonderingÖ isÖ you know
the old adage, ìNo publicity is bad publicity.î
BRENT: Yes. Itís not always true.
JOHN: Itís not always true. For a couple diffÖ
BRENT: No, as it turns outÖ
JOHN: Ö The Charlie Sheen thing. You could argue thatís done as much good for his career
as bad.
BRENT: Yeah. He may be one of the few who skated past it, although, it remains to be
seen. I mean, he has lost millions of dollars, although I read yesterdayÖ the premiere of
his showÖ his late showÖ now with Ashton KutcherÖ heís going to be roasted on Comedy
Central on the same night. And he has a new sit-com for somebody else. So, I think he
kind of played it, in a way, better than anyone. I donít know how, but he did. But there is
a slew of people whoís bodies you could step over at this point, who you wonder, ìWhatís
it gonna take to get them back?î Mel GibsonÖ Mel GibsonÖ I think Mel Gibson will come
back, but Arnold, I donít know. But thereís some like, umÖ thereís so many, itís just
ridiculous. Michael Richards, who really, when you look at it now, a racial slur is
minor compared to what some of these other people have done, but it seems to have really
taken a toll on his career. I donít know if you know the comedian, Tracy MorganÖ last
JOHN: I just heard about it recently, a lot of homophobic comments.
BRENT: But itís justÖ every week, itís almost every day now, so this became much
more topical than I ever knew it was going to be. It was really supposed to be about
one person, which was me.
JOHN: Do you think that ultimately, there is a way back for ìBrent Spinerî the character
in ìFresh Hell?î
BRENT: It remains to be seen. Iím thinking maybe somewhere around season seven, something
will happen toÖ uhÖ
ELISAR: The famous season seven.
BRENT: Exactly Iíve told the guys already, I donít want to do this for more than twenty
years, if I can help it.
ELISAR: Well, you donít want to be typecast as Brent Spiner.
BRENT: Well, exactly.
Time: 9:15
BRENT: But in truth, and I donít like being philosophical, so Iíll go right ahead and
do that. But underneath it all, I think thereís another incident thatís going on. Thereís
the big incident, which we speak ofÖ which is reallyÖ you know, it doesnít really matter
what it is. If we never found out what it was, it doesnít really matter. I think we
will discover it, just because itís so good, it would be a shame not to show it.
ELISAR: Maybe at the very end?
BRENT: YeahÖ or well, weíll see! I donít know. AndÖ itís sort of what Hitchcock used
to refer to as the MacGuffin.
JOHN: Exactly. An unseen device that drives the movie somehow.
BRENT: Exactly. He called itÖ he said the MacGuffin is basically that thing that everybody
is after but it doesnít matter what it isÖ and this is kind of a MacGuffin. But, underneath
it all, I think thereís another incident and that incident is that Brent Spiner, the
character, made the mistake of getting old and getting used up and itís a mistake that
I think has been made byÖ I mean certainly itís not true of my life, but in the characterës
life.. but, itís true of a lot of people today and a lot of people are losing their
jobs because of the recession and because theyíve been dismissed, basically, from this
fraternity that theyíve spent their lives wanting desperately to be a part of, finally
becoming a part of, and now theyíre kicked outÖ and, in many, many cases, spend the
rest of their lives desperately trying to get back into that fraternity no matter what
humiliation they have to face. Thatís kind of underneath the whole thing.
ELISAR: I think people could easily miss that, because in the scene in Episode Three during
The Showcase where actually youíve dyed your hairÖ
JOHN: I was sharing that, yeahÖ
ELISAR: Ö to bring back the youth.
BRENT: Exactly. And frankly, by the way, I donít care if anybody gets any of that that
I just said, because obviously our number one goal is to entertain people and to make
them laugh, hopefully.
ELISAR: But the great thing about the character, is of course, heís the only sane one in the
seriesÖ because everybody else is completely off theirÖ
BRENT: Theyíre all madÖ
ELISAR: Theyíre all mad.
BRENT: Itís true. Itís true. I donít know if thatís what happens when you reach rock
bottom is that the population down there is all insane, but thatís the way itís happened
for him.
JOHN: What I was wondering watching itÖ obviously, Iím assuming thereís no big incident in
your lifeÖ but is it partiallyÖ
BRENT: (reaches out, touches Johnís arm) Yet.
JOHN: Ö yet! We hope, fingers crossed. Touch wood.
ELISAR: International News hasnít revealed it yet.
JOHN: Yeah, actually, theyíre unpacking the voice mail as we speakÖ but what Iím wondering
though, is there is an element some sort of autobiography to itÖ just the scene of you
watching TV, waiting for the phone to ring, and agent to callÖ
BRENT: Not really.
JOHN: Good! Iím glad.
BRENT: No, no, no. Not Really. I mean, to be honest with you, I wish I worked more than
I do. I wish I wasnít here now with the two of you. I wish I was way too busy to have
the two of you doing an interview with meÖ (grins, joking) But, no. One of the reasons
I said is the reason Iím doing this show is because I want a TV show and nobody will
give me one, so, I decided to do my own. One in which, by the way, I canít get cancelled.
Because Iíve done that. But no. Iím not in any desperate shakes myself right now.
JOHN: Good.
ELISAR: Was this conceived as a TV pilot before you made it into a web series?
BRENT: You know what? It wasnít even conceived. It just hatched on its own. We did put it
together at one time, the first few episodes which youíve seen, without some of the Intros
and kind of put them all together as a half hourÖ but we never went out and pitched it.
We went straight to the web and our goal at this point, right now, is to find a sponsor
so we donít have to keep paying for it. The first five episodes, the ones youíve seen,
cost a total of eight hundred dollars.
ELISAR: Really?
JOHN! Wow, thatís nothing.
ELISAR: Thatís astonishing.
BRENT: No, no. ButÖ and I have to say in our defense, I think it looked like nine hundred.
Can you imagine, by the way, what we would do with a thousand dollars? Itís fa-uh. (incredulous
gasp) But Iím looking for someone toÖ for some big company likeÖ umÖ (looks at camera
and smiles) Ö well, you know who you areÖ to come out and have your ad in front of our
show and to give us some dough and let us make it look a little better than it does,
because, the production value wasnít quite what we hoped for but we shot it in a day
and a half for eight hundred dollars. That was, by the way, sandwiches. Not that good
either. (soft chime) Ah! Computer. Iíve got a message! Maybe itís a job! (excited) But
it would be niceÖ I donít want to take the quality of the show, the production quality,
up too much. I donít want it to look slick and beautiful. But, I would like some other
angles, and a little more light and the sound to be better.
ELISAR: People to be paid.
BRENT: People to be paid would be really nice. I mean, I know when I was first watching it,
I was watching it and I was going, ìOkay, cut. To close-up. Go. Go.î and then I remembered
we didnít shoot any close-ups. How could? You know. We didnít have time. So thatís
sort of where we are.
ELISAR: And the script, how much were you involved in this?Ö Because I know Harry has
got the screenwriter credit, butÖ
BRENT: Well, the three of us metÖ actually, I met Chris first and we talked about doing
this and this sort of general idea, and he said, ìHey, Iíve got a pal who I think really
needs to write this with us.î And so, he brought Harry in and the three of us met and
then it kind of evolved intoÖ we have meetings and we throw out ideas and Harry takes notes
and then he goes and writes them. I glad he does because he really is a fantastic writer.
Itís amazing how quotable the show is already. And thatís due to Harryís genius.
ELISAR: Iím still trying to work out how to incorporateÖ pull off a Spiner or twoÖ
into everyday conversations now.
BRENT: Well, you know? Iím telling you really, Iím going to. Weíre doing some t-shirts
that, basically, have ìFresh Hellî on the front and ìAt least Iím not Brent Spinerî
on the back.
JOHN: Great! For me the catch-phrase of the show, although it was only said once, but
in five very special waysÖ is ìCoach! Youíre not supposed to be in here!î Iíve watched
that bit of the show so many times. I love that. Iíd probably wear a t-shirt with that
on, I think, if you were to offer it.
BRENT: You know, thereís so manyÖ the manager, Valerie, has a line that I love when she says,
ìIím borderline delusional.î Thatís her reason that I should take her as a manager.
I think, ìIím borderline delusional,î was very nice. And then, Dakota, the wonderful
Kat Steel who plays Dakota next door, the next door neighborÖ she has a line that just
kills me every time I say itÖ she says, after I do the whole acting gig thing, she says,
ìYouíre like some magical creature, like a leprechaun or a tiger!î I just love that
line. ìLike a tiger!î
JOHN: Yeah, yeah.
(cuts to the aforementioned scene with Dakota (Kat) and Brent)
DAKOTA: (claps excitedly) Bravo! Bravo! Oh. That was amazing! Oh! Youíre like ó some
kind of magical creature ó like a leprechaun or a tiger!
BRENT: Well, itís not really magic, Dakota. Itís.. you know, anyone can learn to act.
All you have to do isÖ put in the time and pay your dues.
(back to the interview with Brent)
Time 17:12
JOHN: I mean, it is a funny, it is a properly funny show. What I wanted to ask youÖ weíve
talked about it being a web series, itís on the Internet. Do you like the kind of instant
feedback that you get from fans?
BRENT: I do. I mean, thatís another, I think, bonus of being on the web rather than being
on television. There are a couple of them. One is the instant feedback. The other is,
itís instant feedback coming from all over the world, instantly. We have people whoíve
watched the show and commented on it from Russia, from China, Germany, England, AustraliaÖ
everywhere! Itís amazing. Thatís instant. You know, you donít have to sell a package
to another country.
ELISAR: But with the idea of letís go out and make a web seriesÖ was there any pressure
from an agent, maybe just from yourself, that it might be easier to do a science fiction
[series], letës say?
BRENT: UmÖ well, isnít it science fiction, really? (laughs) No. Well, first of all, I
donít have an agentÖ and so, that was not a problem. Also, if I were to sell this to
television, ëcause I still I wouldnít mind, frankly. In case anybodyís listening. (turns
to camera) Agents, if youíre listening. I wouldnít mind it being on television because
it feels like a television show.
ELISAR: It does, absolutely.
BRENT: Weíd like to keep it slightly edgier. I mean, I think it would have to be a cable
show, but I could see it being on the SyFy network, frankly, just because Iím in itÖ
makes it a sci-fi product in a way. And the fact that the show is referred to, itís referenced
and the character is referenced and that gives it sort of a sci-fi thing. But it really is
just a comedy-tragedy. Whatever. I mean, obviously, we tip our hat to Larry DavidÖ
ELISAR: Yeah, ìCurb your Enthusiasm,îÖ tip it for him.
BRENT: Ö because it does have that sort of feel to it because he plays himself. But then
an even bigger tip of the hat further back to Jack Benny, who Larry probably tips his
hat toÖ who played himself always in an alternate reality that wasnít really his life.
ELISAR: Ricky Gervais in ìExtras.î
JOHN: Have you seen ìExtrasî at all?
BRENT: Yeah. I have, but Ricky doesnít play Ricky.
ELISAR: No, he doesnít, but heís an actor.
JOHN: But also, what I was wonderingÖ every week, because I think what youíve done is
really originalÖ but every week on ìExtrasî and Iím not a fan of it, I should probably
point that outÖ
BRENT: (turns to camera) I am, Ricky, if youíre listening. (points at John and makes a ìwhatís
with him?î face)
JOHN: Oh, if heís listening, Iím a big fanÖ but Iím just assuming that heís not. But,
every week, they sort of wheel out a big celebrity and they play hilariously against type and
they sort of act in a way you wouldnít expect them to do and make ironic racist remarks
or derogatory things that you wouldnít expect them to say. (pause) And, umÖ Thatís something
thatÖ oh dear, I didnít really think of a question. Itís just something I thought
of when youÖ uhÖ
ELISAR: You havenít been tempted to reel in the celebrity friends who can do a cameo?
BRENT: Yeah. Well, we will be doing that very thing. Hopefully, weíll be able to get Ricky
Gervais on the show at some point, butÖ Yeah. To tell us that weíre not doing it right
or something.
JOHN: Well, I guess what I was trying to say was youíre playing yourself like some of
these guys, but youíre sort of not playing yourself. I mean, youíre not the pathetic
BRENT: Exactly. Iím actually monstrous in person as you can see.
JOHN: Absolutely, yeah.
BRENT: I think what separates it reallyÖ You were saying something close to that. In
my mind, I donít know that thereís ever been a comedy about someone who is desperate.
If thereís one word to describe the show, what the umbrella is, it is desperate. ëCause
that is what he is. I donít think weíve ever seenÖ you know, Larryís show, Larryís
fine. Larry walks through the worldÖ um, and he affects the world that he walks through.
But heís doing great, and Jack Benny was doing greatÖ and Ricky was, I guess maybe
Ricky is the only one, he was kind of a loser on ìExtrasî in a way.
JOHN: OhÖ I think things picked up for him.
BRENT: It did, things rebounded for him towards the end, but he was sort of desperate in the
beginning. So, I guessÖ weíre just like ìExtras!î If we could just get some big
guest stars. Weíre like ìExtrasî without the big stars.
JOHN: Good. Well, itís enjoyable. I was just looking at your career bio and before you
even got into TV, you were a stage actor on and off Broadway.
BRENT; Yeah. But, Iím sorry, it just struck me, did we mention the fact that Iím sitting
in a lower chair than you guys are? I want this on camera.
JOHN: Yeah. We mentioned it once already.
BRENT: Did we mention that already?
JOHN: Once or twice.
BRENT; I think we thought about it. Did we mention it? I think itís worth mentioning
twice, by the way. Iím much, much larger than they are. Yeah, we did mention it.
JOHN: Brent Spiner is a very tall man.
BRENT: Youíre right. Okay. Alright. Weíll fix this in post [production} Go ahead.
JOHN: I was just saying, you started off as a theater actor, on an off BroadwayÖ and
Iím wondering, now that Iím presuming youíve got some sort of financial independence and
can do what you likeÖ including the web seriesÖ
BRENT: Yeah.
JOHN: Are you looking to also do more stage work?
BRENT: Lose money in other ways?
JOHN: Exactly.
BRENT: Yeah, Iím constantly looking for ways to lose money. That seems to beÖ thatís
another career of mine. I did a CD a couple years ago. Iím sure you have a copy of it.
ELISAR: Dreamland.
BRENT: Dreamland. Do you have it?
BRENT: No? Well, I may have to lay a copy on you, because I do have one with me. It
was aÖ *coughs* Ö pardon me. It was a concept album, CD thatÖ actually, I have not lost
money. But it took a long time. Iíve just broken even, finally, because it was a very
expensive CD. When you hear it, youíll see why. It really isÖ it was a labor of love.
Itís a kind of a surreal radio show, in a way.
JOHN: Itís a spoken word, itís not a music CD.
BRENT; Itís both.
JOHN: Okay.
BRENT: Itís a musical, but we think of it as a musical of the mind, actually. Because,
you have to imagine whatís happening with these people and there is dialogue. I sing
on it with a brilliant singer named Maude Maggart, whoÖ sheís played here a few times,
Maude. Sheís just one of the greatest singers in the world and youíll see that, or hear
it, when you listen to it. And Mark Hamill, actually, does all of the other male voices
on it.
JOHN: Great!
Time 24:09
BRENT: And so, I did that, and yes, I would like to do more Broadway or more Off Broadway.
I did a production of ìMan of La Manchaî in Los Angeles a couple of years ago. Didnít
think I was going to really want to do that show, I mean, ìMan of La Mancha?î (sneers)
But once I started working on itÖ a friend of mine, Jason Alexander, runs a theater in
Los Angeles calledÖ
JOHN: George! Or another one?
JOHN: Okay. George from Seinfeld. I know him.
BRENT: Yeah. Among other things. (turns to the camera) If youíre listening. Because
I know there are certain actors who donít like to be referred to by their characterís
name. I donít have that problem. But anyway, he asked me to do it. I said, ìWhy do you
want to do ëMan of La Manchaí?î and he said, ìI love ëMan of La Mancha.í I said,
ìAlright, if Iím not doing anything, and you know, I was praying that something would
come and prevent me from doing it but it didnít. And so I did it, and really, within the first
few days of working on the material, I thought, ìMy god, this is really good.î Itís just
been done wrong many, many times. We had a director who was brilliant and he had figured
out this concept of what had been wrong with the show. So, it went very, very well. I tried
to get the rights to do it either here in London or in New York, but the rights are
held by the lyricist, Mitch Lee and he wonít give me the rights. He said, actually, that
only a superstar can do my show.
ELISAR: He hasnít watched ìFresh Hellî yet, has he?
BRENT: Clearly, he is not a web fan. But, a year went by and I tried one more time to
encourage him to give it to me. Because heís a lyricist, I wrote him, I said, ìDear Mitch,
hereís the sitch (situation), had an itch, to make one more pitch.î And he wrote me
back. The first time he didnít write me back, but the second time he wrote me back and he
said, ìLook, Iím really glad you liked the show, but thereís going to be a huge production
in London this year and then itís gonna come to New York.î Thatís not true. He just told
me that to get rid of me. But, uhÖ if you guys have any influence over the musical theaterÖ
ELISAR: We do. We do have your first album.
JOHN: Really? Wow.
BRENT: Oh yeah. ìOld Yellow Eyes.î
ELISAR: But both albums hearken to a previous era. Is that musically what you enjoy personally.
BRENT: (shrugs) Yeah, basically. I mean, not entirely. Itís more what Iím capable of
doing. Because I come from the theater too. Yeah, my heroes are singers of the past, really.
I like Sinatra and Bing Crosby and Roy Orbison and Harry Nilsson and people like that.
JOHN: Have you got plans to make another CD?
BRENT: No. I donít think Iíll ever make another one. (looks at the camera, holds out
a hand) Let me just pause for the groans out there in web land.
JOHN: The disappointment. Yeah, of course.
BRENT: No, actually. The first one took me about five years to make my money back on.
The second one took about three years, and itís just too hard. I donít have any machine
behind me like a studio or anything like that. As it turned out, the reason I made this one
in particular is I owned a recording studio in Los Angeles, co-owned it with a couple
of friends of mine, and it was a beautiful studio. The Rolling Stones recorded there,
the Red Hot Chili Peppers. All kinds of people. I think Tom Jones built it originally, but
it was redone and it was really spectacular. We had it for about three years and then the
music business tanked, so we got rid of it. But, in that three years, I turned to one
of my partners and said, ìHey, as long as we have this studio, we should do a CD.î
And he went, ìOkay, letís do one. Can you come up with something?î And so, I came up
with this idea and he is a brilliant mixer and engineer and producer and I got a friend
of mine who is also a genius arranger, John McKinney. Dave Way was the mixer and we came
up with this deal and did it.
Time 28:30
JOHN: So, we touched on it a little bit earlierÖ is there gonna be?Ö well, there is gonna
be a second series of ìFresh Hell?î
BRENT: Of ìFresh Hell,î yes.
JOHN: Have you started writing it or shooting it?
BRENT: Yeah, yeah. Itís being written right now. The idea is to have kind of a ten episode
arc this time. You know, itís a work in progress, this thing. Weíre figuring it out at the
same timeÖ maybe all TV shows areÖ you know, things like this. We sort of, kind of got
a lot of information from doing the first ones. One of them was just to trust ourselves.
We took a scene out that we later put in the deleted scenes that a lot of people really
liked. We got a lot of positive feedback, so we thought, ìYou know what? We should
have just left it in. Letís just do the things and trust and see how they land.î So, Harry
is writing ten episodes right now. (soft chime from computer) Good. Another job.
ELISAR: Itís another script.
BRENT: (laughs) Script. Harry. Good. When I last spoke to him, he had done six of them.
He had four more to do, he knew what they were and where they were going. Iíve read
the first three of them. I donít know where they fit into the whole ten and they were
really funny. So, Iím dying to get back out and shoot these. I canít wait to put them
on again. I had promised them by sometime this summer.
JOHN: Probably not gonna happen.
BRENT: I donít know. Maybe they will. Maybe they will. Last time I saw the guys I said,
ìJust as long as itís before September first, itíll feel like summer.î But, I donít know.
Weíre gonna try.
ELISAR: Is there room for a self-referential scene where Brent Spiner is watching the Internet
and he sees two guys reviewing stuff and they say, ìThat Brent Spiner, heís no good.î
BRENT: That could happen. That could happen. And you know? If it does, weíre gonna get
two guys who look nothing like youÖ to play you.
JOHN: To play us?
ELISAR: (laughs)
JOHN: Thatís fair enough.
BRENT: You know what? I guess we could come over. We are thinking about doing a world
tour and shooting around the world. And so, when we come here, weíllÖ maybe weíll do
a scene with you guys. That would be good.
JOHN: Really?
ELISAR: That would be nice.
BRENT; The thing is, now that we ìknow each otherî (makes air quotes) sort of, you know.
Do you feel obliged to kind of really like the next arc of the show? I mean, the next
few series? Or are you gonna be true to your craft? Or are you ever, actually?
ELISAR: Actually, I havenít had a chance to review it yet.
JOHN: And to be honest, maybe too honest, we normally just sort of contrive the reviews
so that one of us very much likes an episodeÖ
BRENT: Oh, I see.
JOHN: Ö and one of us has little time for it.
ELISAR: (laughs)
BRENT: I thought you were gonna say that you, to be honest, that you contrived this, right
now. (motions between himself and John)
JOHN: Of course.
BRENT: Ö and this kind of like pleasant atmosphere that you like me and I like youÖ
JOHN: Itís all justÖ
BRENT: Ö because I DONíT.
JOHN: Well, I got that.
BRENT: Ö and I hope you donít like me either.
JOHN: Not at all. Not at all.
ELISAR: Not after ìThe Incident.î
BRENT: No, exactly, who does?
JOHN: Indeed. Indeed. But we canít talk about that.
BRENT: No, exactly.
(cuts to scene with Dakota saying, ìOh no, are you Mormon or something?î)
ELISAR: Twitter. Youíve got 1.377 millionÖ
BRENT: Yeah. Something like that.
ELISAR: Ö followers, yes.
BRENT: Iíve lost a few in the last couple of weeks.
ELISAR: Is there a lot of pressure on yourself to always have to do something for Twitter?
BRENT: You know, I do feel that it is expected of me and, you know, I look at other people
I know who donít show up for days and they have more followers than I have. So I think
it would really be smart of me to just be gone for a while and let my following build,
because obviously, when I speak, it goes down. The only thing thatís even slightly disturbing
is when people are like, ìAre you okay?î ìWhere are you?î ìWhatís happened?î ìIs
everything all right?îÖ just because Iím not tweeting. But otherwise, itís okay, itís
JOHN: You were telling us before we went on airÖ quite a unique and creative use of Twitter
that you were involved in earlier. Are you okay to tell us on film?
BRENT: Yeah, yeah. When I first started on Twitter, I didnít really know what to do
with it. And then I wrote something that was a complete lie and I realized, ìOh, thatís
kind of interesting. Let me just follow along with that,î and it became a story that went
on for a month that I tweeted like a serial. I tweeted six times or so a day and the serial
continued the next day and it went on an entire month. Then it wrapped up and it was a full
story. And it was very satisfying, actually, it felt like, ìWow, is this a new form of
some sort that Iíve stumbled on?î Actually, our tale of woe, ìFresh HellîÖ kind of,
in a way, the inspiration came from that first story. Since then, Iíve written four other
stories, only a week at a time. Again, I donët plan them, they just sort of happen. But,
each one of them, when I look back, I think, I might be able at some point to make that
an entire arc of ìFresh Hell,î because I am the lead in all of them and itís stuff
happening to me.
JOHN: Is it clear that these are fiction to the million people who read them?
BRENT: Yeah. Well, I donít know. (looks at the camera) You tell us. Is it? (waits for
answer) No. It is, itís fiction.
JOHN: Good. Good.
ELISAR: If Twitter had existed at the time of Star Trek, do you think you could have
been part of it? Would it have been too much to have the fans while youíre on TV so much?
BRENT: No, I think it would have been great. Yeah. I think it would have been great! I
think I could have possibly ruled the world then if that had happened. But we didnít
even have phones then. We had phones, but I had a phone in my car that was attached
to the car. But, itís an amazing tech world. Things have changed so dramatically. The real
reason to stay alive is just to see whatís next. Isnít it? I mean, itís so exciting.
There are negatives. I mean, I donít love the fact that everyone in the world is paparazzi
ELISAR: And the reaction to stories that they donít even know if theyíre actually true.
Itsí just like someone to writes one thing and everyone reacts to it as if itís gospel.
BRENT: Yeah. Exactly right. But, everyone has a camera now and on them at all times
and itís scary, it really is. That didnít used to be the case. I donít love having
my picture taken because I donít get photo approval. You know, I donít know if I look
good or bad. Like, I know I donít look good in this, but Iím gonna let you do this anyway.
JOHN: Thank you.
BRENT: Uh, yeah.
JOHN: You look good next to us, I think.
BRENT: Oh, clearly. But the thing isÖ (laughs)Ö it is my bad angle (gestures to left side
of his left cheek, smiles broadly, chuckles)
JOHN: We could have swapped ëround.
BRENT: I know, I know. But whatever. You know, Iím not vain. (looks up, as if to seek mercy
for his lie)
JOHN: Thank you. That comes over.
BRENT: Does it? (smiles broadly) Good, good. Good.
JOHN: Great. Okay, wellÖ uhÖ sorry, go ahead, were you?
BRENT: Uh, I was just gonna sayÖ (turns to John) Do you have anything else?
JOHN: No. (laughs)
BRENT: Well, okay.
JOHN: I mean, I was just conscious of taking too much of your time because youíve been
so generous with us.
BRENT: No, no. I could sit here for hours with you guys, you know, I really could.
JOHN: Oh, thank you.
Time 36:12
ELISAR: Having done ìFresh Hellî and knowing that youíre going to be making another series,
but also, just the freedom of letís go out there, weíll go and shoot something and thatís
it. Within a couple of days itís up there and everyoneís watching it straight away.
BRENT: Yeah. I love it.
ELISAR: Are you just inspired with more ideas? Are they all just coming together now as you
snap your fingers?
BRENT: A lot of things are, yeah. When we got together to decide where we were gonna
go with the secondÖ I mean, from now onÖ Harry came up with some brilliant ideas that
are really ideas that I think will take place a bit in the future. I mean, he just had this
great take and suddenly it was like, ìOoh yeah, but, letís go back and pick up where
we left off and sort of make it more of a through line there.î
JOHN: Are these ideas going to take, for example, more than eight hundred dollars to film or
are they still quite easily filmable?
BRENT: You know what? Eventually, theyíre gonna take more than eight hundred dollars
to film. I mean, we want them to. We donít wanna be restricted to location and things
like thatÖ and how many people we can have in a scene. It requires dough. If we have
to bring it in, we will. But, Iíll tell you what. I really so enjoy doing it. Itís such
a fun show to work on. I love the guys Iím working with. Theyíre so creative. The other
actors are terrific. Theyíre great! It couldnít be more fun. The only element thatís missing
is that weíre doing it for nothing. But, uhÖ (shrugs) You know.
JOHN: Actually, there was one question I had on the subject of ìFresh Hell.î Most of
the web series that we review are done by, basically, unknowns, people looking for a
break into the industry. But Iím wondering if, as you are a big name attached to a web
BRENT: Big name. Yeah.
JOHN: A bigÖ HUGE name. The biggest name weíve ever had on our show, absolutely.
BRENT: Aw, please.
JOHN: Oh, wellÖ maybeÖ top two.
BRENT: Alright, yeah, yeah.
JOHN: We hadÖ
ELISAR: Weíve had Claudia Christian. (Babylon 5)
JOHN: Well, thatís what I was [getting to]Ö
BRENT: Claudia Christian?
ELISAR: Yeah. She was our first guest.
BRENT: Oh. Well, yeah then. No. I pale compared to herÖ in many ways.
JOHN: Some ways. Absolutely.
ELISAR: (laughs)
BRENT: Sure.
JOHN: But like I say, one of the biggest stars. Youíre a big star attached to a web seriesÖ
BRENT: Iím suddenly feeling sorry for her.
ELISAR: (laughs)
BRENT: I donít know why it is? (turns to John) Okay, go ahead. (pretends to be indignant)
Anyway, Iím not an unknown. Letís just leave it at that. Okay?
JOHN: Yeah. Actually, weíll get right to Claudia Christian in a minute, because weíve
got some unfinished business. (laughs)
BRENT: Iíd like to get back to Claudia Christian. (laughs)
JOHN: What I was wondering is do you think you being in a web series will lead the way
for other stars to do that kind of work, to look for that kind of freedom.
ELISAR: Would you even encourage them to say, îYou can go out and do this.î
BRENT: Yeah. I see myself as a pioneer. Thatís what Iíve always been. No. You know what?
I donít know. There are other people who do this aside from me. Lisa Kudrow has a web
ELISAR: Thatís right. Web Therapy. Itís been picked up.
BRENT: Ö that now Showtime has picked it up, right? (turns to camera) Which is wonderful
of you, Showtime, itís just such a brilliant thing to do, and there are probably other
shows out there that you might want to possibly look at to put on your Network. (turns back
to guys) Anyway! But yeah, there are other people. I donít know who they are, but there
are other people, and then there are people who are, as you say, young people who are
breaking through. Felicia Day (The Guild). Felicia. Do you know who Felicia Day is?
JOHN: Sure, we know.
ELISAR: Absolutely, yeah.
BRENT: Who doesnít? Sheís like the queen of the web now.
ELISAR: Millions of views of her.
BRENT: Millions of views.
ELISAR: Her series has been quite an incredible phenomenon.
BRENT: And sheís a brilliant young woman and she came up with it. She handles it all
ELISAR: She understands the marketing to the fans in a particular way.
BRENT: Yeah. She really does.
ELISAR: A lot of people can learn from her.
BRENT: Yep. Absolutely. Sheís the first person I spoke to and said, ìHow do I do this? What
do I do?îÖ because, she really does know.
ELISAR: Does she retweet you?
BRENT: Oh yeah. Iíve actually met her. I actually did a minor cameo on an episode of
ìThe Guild.î
ELISAR: Did you?
BRENT: It hasnít aired yet but itís coming up.
ELISAR: Do you play yourself?
BRENT: Once again, yes. I play myself, but I donít play the self thatís in ìFresh
Hell.î No. I play some other self. A third self.
ELISAR: Do you get quite schizophrenic with all these different Brent Spiners around?
BRENT: I know. You know what? That could be the next series, actually. That has happened
in some of my Twitter stories.
ELISAR: So, Microsoft are funding that series of ìGuilds.î Perhaps thatís another call
BRENT: (turns to camera) Microsoft, Iím a natural. You know, Iíll tell you who I think
Iím a natural for is anyone who makes an Android phone. You know?
ELISAR: Of course.
JOHN: Of course.
BRENT: I mean, itís a slam dunk, right? And particularly if I do the ad for them. You
know? (turns to camera again) Think about it.
JOHN: Thereís a whole world of possibilities.
BRENT: (laughs) Yeah. Thereís a world of possibilities.
JOHN: Great. Okay. (looks to Elisar) Do you have any more questions that you wanted toÖ
ELISAR: Anything else on the horizon, feature film-wise?
BRENT: Um (thinking) buh, buh, buh, buh.
ELISAR: That youíre looking forward to, TV shows, youíre appearing.
BRENT: (mutters) Yeah, working on another TV show but I canít tell you about that yet.
Itís a little guest shotÖ or a big guest shot. Iím doingÖ No! Nothing else! But,
let me ask you guys something. Would you prefer to be on television if somebody came to you
and said, ìYou know, we love what you guys do. Would you do it on BBC orÖ
ELISAR: (thinking) Wow. I mean, the bills, right?
JOHN: I mean, I would because my personal thoughtsÖ no, not that Iím particularly
vain or want to be on TV, but just because as you can see, this isnít particularly the
most professional set-up and despite what people say about it, anyone can be on the
Internet, anyone can put anything on the web instantlyÖ thereís still more money in TV.
And if we had TV backing we could have three cameras instead of one small one.
BRENT: Right. (nods)
JOHN: We could have three chairs of equal or better height. A nice backdrop. Thereís
just a little more that TV could do for us.
BRENT: Yeah, exactly.
ELISAR: I mean, I donít pretend to be a presenter or want to be one.
JOHN: I just pretend to be one.
ELISAR: I do it because I canít afford to pay someone to do it for me as the producer
of the show.
BRENT: Right. I think you guys would beÖ I think youíd win Emmys year after year for
your work. I really do.
ELISAR & JOHN: (laughs) Thanks, thatís very kind.
BRENT: I think you easily could be on television. Youíd have to, of course, change your appearance,
but otherwise, you would be easilyÖ
JOHN: (looks down at his pink jacket and pulls on it)
BRENT: No, no, no. You guys look fine!
JOHN: Look, the jacket stays.
BRENT: Itís the seersucker.
JOHN: Thatís the one thing I wonít change, actually.
BRENT: No? No matter what.
JOHN: Absolutely. If the BBC came to me now and they said, ìYou know, we love the show,
but lose the jacket,î Iíd have to sayÖ
BRENT: You say, ìTake off, Iím outta here.î
JOHN: Iíd have to say, ìIím sorry, but you can stick your show. Iím gonna carry
on doing [this] in Elisarís bedroom for nothing, forever.î
ELISAR: I mean the show is about the stuff that we see on the web. It makes more sense
that we are on the web as well.
BRENT: Well, thatís true. UhÖ (turns to John) You do it in his bedroom, usually?
JOHN: Ah. We have done it in your house beforeÖ
ELISAR: My front room.
JOHN: Ö or someone elseís study. Wherever we can find a room withÖ
BRENT: Clearly. Yeah. Here we are.
JOHN: Exactly. Weíll do it anywhere.
ELISAR: And we only need a little camera and a tripod and weíre awayÖ and a WiFi connection.
Thanks to The Queen for this one.
JOHN: (salutes) Your Majesty, if youíre watching.
BRENT: And a sucker to sit and talk to you guys, right?
JOHN: Indeed. Well, we donít even need that most of the time.
BRENT: Yeah, usually, you donít. Yeah well, thanks again. Come back and join me some day,
will ya? (shakes Johnís hand)
JOHN: Itís been our pleasure, thank you!
BRENT: Itís been great having you on the show.(shakes Elisarís hand)
ELISAR: Thank you.
BRENT: Thank you so much. (turns to the camera, again) You know what? Iíd like to talk about
next weekís guest.
JOHN & ELISAR (laughs)
BRENT: Oh! Wait a minute. This is your show. Iím sorry.
JOHN: So, Brent. (shakes Brentís hand) Thank you very much for being on our show.
BRENT: Delighted. Delighted.
JOHN: Itís our pleasure. Weíve really enjoyed it.
BRENT: Thanks, Elisar. (shakes his hand)
ELISAR: Thanks very much.
BRENT: Pleasure.
JOHN: Youíve been very generous with our time.
BRENT: (grins, points his thumb at John and smirks at his mistake, laughs heartily)
ELISAR: (laughs loudly)
JOHN: (smiling) Please be sure and check out Fresh Hell the series dot com. Is that what
you need for the web site? You need to get a dot com address by the way.
BRENT: Yeah, weíre getting one, by the way. Yeah, weíre getting a web site. Itís a dedicated
web site to the show. As of right now, you can go onto YouTube. You can find the first
five episodes. Type in ìfreshhellseries,î one word. ìfreshhellseriesî and itíll take
you to the channel.
JOHN: And subscribe so when the new episodes start appearing youíll see them straight
BRENT: Exactly.
JOHN: ButÖ Brent. Thank you so much. Elisar, thank you very much. Lisa, behind the camera,
thank you very much.
BRENT: Thanks, Lisa!
JOHN: For myself, John, and all of us hereÖ weíll see you guys again next time!
Time 44:36
(back to ìThose Video Guysî study scene)
JOHN: So there you have it. The ìThose Video Guysî exclusive interview with Brent Spiner,
star of Star Trek: The Next Generation, one episode of the long forgotten sit-com, ìJoeyîÖ
ELISAR: (laughs)
JOHN:Ö and writer and star of his own web series, ìFresh Hell.î Brent Spiner, a great
man. We had a lot of fun meeting him, as you saw just there on the interview.
ELISAR: Just looking forward to more episodes of ìFresh Hell,î really, you know.
JOHN: Iím waiting for ìSeries Twoî and hopefully, three, four, five, six and seven.
ELISAR: Ö and the famous ìSeries Seven,î that he mentioned.
JOHN: I think, a bit like the Harry Potter books. You remember that she said sheíd only
written the first two or three books, but she said sheíd written the last chapter of
the last book and had it locked in a safe somewhere. Presumably thatís out now, as
the films and books are all out.
ELISAR: Indeed.
JOHN: But anyway, Brent Spiner is a great guy. What made him even better for us is when
we met him in the expo a couple of weeks laterÖ
ELISAR: Well, it wasnít a couple of weeksÖ it was like two or threeÖ
JOHN: A couple of days later. Yeah. I get a bit carried away. He shoved aside his adoring
fans who paid twenty-five pounds for his autograph. Genuinely! And beckoned us over and he was
like, ìHey guys! Itís ëThose Video Guys!í How are you doing?î He was just as nice several
days laterÖ and he introduced you toÖ
ELISAR: Ö the actress who played, Vampira (Lisa Marie), in ìEd Woodî with Johnny Dep.
JOHN: Youíre kidding! Hang on! Vampira, not as inÖ oh no, Iím thinking of Elvira.
ELISAR: No, not Elvira. That wasnít Elvira, it was Vampira.
JOHN: Oh, I was gonna sayÖ yeah. Anyway. So, he was a good guy. He knows all the right
people as well. That was our interview with Brent Spiner from ìStar Trek,î from ìJoey,î
from one episode of ìFamily Guy,î where he played voice-onlyÖ
ELISAR: And ìIndependence Day.î Do you remember the movie, ìIndependence Day?î
JOHN: Of course! ìIndependence Day,î as well. YeahÖ and many, many other things!
But as I say, a household name, most famous now for the web series, ìFresh Hell.î More
episodes, please. Weíll look forward to them. Brent, thank you so much for your time. This
is Elisar. I am John and we will be back with more of ìThose Video Guysî in two weeks
ELISAR: Two weeks time.
JOHN: Goodbye!