Mary Jo Pehl is a seasoned writer and performer on both Rifftrax and seasons 4-10 of Mystery Science Theater 3000. She joins me today to talk about her book Dumb Dumb Dumb: My Mother’s Book Reviews (also available on her website and Amazon). We start off with the difficult process of resolving grief and the sometimes necessity to do so with a bit of humor, and this rolls into a discussion of the mechanics of riffing… and some speculation about educational shorts in particular.
A lot of research is going to come from this discussion. At one point, I mention a quote from Bill Gates discussing what computers can’t do to save the world.
Jim Dirschberger is the creative director at Wide Right Games, the company behind Rifftrax: The Game. Jim and I discuss the game from a design perspective, but also from the perspectives of two fans who really, really want to see riffing in new and exciting ways. The game is something of a spiritual sequel to the company’s earlier hit, What the Dub?
This was a really fun chat. Jim talks about the VHS era of movie discovery, while I talked about my fondness for educational films and the one I remember most, The Magic House. I’d also pointed out that Rifftrax: The Game seems to pull a lot from the SegaCD era of gaming, but done way better.
Rifftrax: The Game is available now on all major consoles, as well as Steam. You can follow Wide Right Games on Twitter, Instagram, and on their YouTube Channel.
This episode also introduces our collaboration with Sci-Fi Coffee.
Tonjia Atomic is the director of many cult films, not the least of which being “Manos Returns”. In this episode, she and I discuss how the film came together, and how to create the perfect balance of solid filmmaking craft with a low budget and the most surreal of source materials. Obviously, the sequel to Manos could not be totally serious, but no one wanted it to be outright campy either.
I had a great time discussing Hungry Trilobyte with Don Smith from The Life Radio Show, out of WWSU. We got to cover a lot of ground on why fandom helps people cope, and how to use it to prompt creativity and positivity. I cover my favorite Treks, analyze the newer Star Wars movies, and gush over MST3k in the 21st century.
Director of the 2020 indie film, The E-Listers: Life in the Back Lane, Michael Mueller is one of the most promising independent filmmakers today. His movie is based on the lives and career struggles of
“extras” in the movie industry: people who have non-speaking parts in films. Based in Atlanta, GA, Michael took a script by Edward Reid and delivered a real love letter to people with a passion for making film.
Jack O’Halloran is an actor from one of the greatest eras of Hollywood filmmaking. Star of some of my favorite movies, like Superman and Superman II, Jack has some amazing insights into movies. In this episode, he and I discuss working with greats such as Marlon Brando, Chuck Norris, and Robert Mitchum. Jack also shares first-hand experience with the JFK assassination and the rise and fall of the drug war and organized crime. His current novel, Family Legacy, looks to tell the true history of the connection between the Kennedy family and the lives of ordinary Americans in the 20th century.
Deana Dolphin, MST3K’s “Fan Ambassador” has become a champion for the show and for getting MSTies around the world together– both online and in real life. Hosting watch parties, live events, and meet-ups, Deana reaches out to fans everywhere. In this episode, she and I talk about her adventures in the fan community, visiting the MST3k set, and her love of Agonywolf Media. Currently, she’s trying to organize the 5th Annual Turkey Day MSTie Meet Up.
Zoe Plait is one of MST3K’s biggest “Professional Fans.” She worked with Trace Beaulieu and Frank Conniff on “The Mads are Back” live show, and in this episode of Hungry Trilobyte, she and I sit down and get to the heart of what makes the show great. More than that, we address how fandom can have a positive effect on mental illness, and ponder her future writing projects. During the episode, we also bring up the MST3K Playstation Underground issue.
Mur Lafferty is an author and podcasting pioneer. Having released her first book, Playing for Keeps, free as an audio podcast, she helped pave the way for e-books and audio distribution as we know it today. Authoring the novelization of the Solo movie, this brings her into the Star Wars universe, and with her latest book, “Minecraft: The Lost Journals,” she brings life to the amazing video game franchise. Currently, she continues to connect with her fans via her podcasts “I Should Be Writing”, “Ditch Diggers” and “Escape Pod”. In this episode, we discuss how the digital landscape has changed since she got her start, what it’s like to be an established writer, and how to keep up your motivation to be creative.