Tom Konkle, one half of the comedic troupe Dave & Tom, talked to us recently about some projects he had in the works. With one of those projects, Safety Geeks: SVI, coming to fruition, we thought it would be a great time to touch base with him and find out what’s been going on with his new show since last we talked.
ÜberSciFiGeek (ÜSFG) Last time we talked, you had a webseries in development. Episode 1 just premiered. Tell me about your new webseries, Safety Geeks : SVI.
Tom Konkle (TK) Safety Geeks was a labor of love that allowed me to do a comedy series as edgy, surreal and out there as I wanted it to be while trying to make it as professional and polished as possible. It is about a “semi-elite” safety team formed by an eccentric trillionaire who use their resources to ineptly investigate Darwin award type accidents.
(ÜSFG) What inspired you to do Safety Geeks: SVI?
(TK) I wanted to write this with my writing and producing partner David Beeler because it makes me laugh. I discovered I had been writing Adult Swim type comedy anyway and when they wouldn’t have us at the time (we did pitch the show to them) we decided to hang it out there and make it ourselves. There are SO many procedural crime dramas and it’s a great hook to hang the absurd scenarios on because everyone knows the conventions, like westerns were to Blazing Saddles, hospital dramas to Scrubs, etc… I really want to do a science fiction comedy as well because if there is a genre I love I want to work in it with my own voice which happens to be a comic one.
(ÜSFG) You’ve shot a lot of standalone comedy sketches and commercials. What was it like to film your new series?
(TK) It’s a BIG difference having to orchestrate a whole series and story arc from doing many, many sketches and one off films. The people moving aspect is difficult just getting the schedules down for all the talented SAG actors we had in the series, as well as the long hours to get it done on a deadline. Often the day would end at 4am with only me, David Beeler and Brittney Powell in the stage with Roger (Tonry) filming the main characters stuff after all the guest stars and effects were shot all day!
(ÜSFG) What can we expect from Season 1? Will it follow a story arc from episode to episode or will each episode be a self-contained story?
(TK) Season one has a main story arc which will be resolved in the final episode which is episode 12 but there are also mini stories and arcs like a possible connection between Budwin and Dr. Randi happening, learning more of Reginald’s past and Budwin’s secrets as well as seeing Dr. Randi in her first job! Every episode ends in some kind of cliffhanger, so we want you to come back. Hopefully as is the case with anything I do funny trumps everything, and it will be fun and funny and although normal to me, some say it’s downright bizarre.
(ÜSFG) How many episodes are planned for Season 1?
(TK) There will be 12 episodes ranging from 7 to 9 minutes in length.
(ÜSFG) You play Budwin Yacker on SG:SVI. Tell me a little about your character.
(TK) Budwin is actually a strange fit for me. I am usually more “showy” as a comic character like my Bo-Hey No character in the Invention with Brian Forbes series or the genie in our show etc… however I think he is a painful and imploded man who is very funny and dry in his awkwardness. It’s like he is a funny Vulcan really. We refer to Budwin now as Spock/Belushi (John Belushi not Jim). There is a nice competent person in there somewhere, but let’s face it, he was so sheltered from danger and controlled as a young person with horrible silly nightmare experiences it will take some work to draw it out. Who knows, maybe Dr. Randi Minky is the one who will finally draw Budwin out. Budwin imploded and parts of himself actually passed themselves, he probably joined the Army to get less structure.
(ÜSFG) Some of your cast has worked together before. How did the new ensemble get along? What was it like on the set?
(TK) Everyone was so cool and understanding of how we were trying to do something new and different without the resources available to the big companies and they were supportive. No attitudes, just laughs.
(ÜSFG) You are using a lot of digital effects and sets for this series. How do you like working with green screen? Does it slow down or speed up production schedules?
(TK) Green screen was the way to go. I didn’t set out to break the record for effects shots in a comedy but somehow we have ended up with more composite effects shots than the first three original Star Wars movies combined! It made shooting faster on set mostly, though Roger Tonry and his team had to take great care in lighting and staging the action and people. Roger and I worked very closely together on shot selection, planning schedule, and actors’ comic performances on set. Roger is a dream to work with. I am lucky he has the personality he has and that he allowed me to fully contribute with him on that. The green screen slows you in post because literally everything is created, positioned, rendered etc… and it takes days and days. Two teams of friends, Thor Melsted and Mike Smith, handled the effects and visual compositing and I worked with them both in person and on the Internet and texting and email. This could not have been made without technology and the Internet today.
(ÜSFG) How did you ever get The Whotles to do your theme song? Did you get to meet Raji Dandri and Teat Pownsend? What were they like?
(TK) The Whotles… well, what can I say. I am a musician and write music as does a Mr. Sherwood who I have done music with before, but The Whotles, come on, how lucky are we there? I do see Teat Poundsend occasionally, mostly in the mirror, and Mr. Sherwood updates me about Raji Dandri. We did songs together as Who fans and I loved how it turned out. You can see an exclusive Whotles webcam online of them recording a song.
(ÜSFG) Anything else you want to share?
(TK) Thank you so much for asking about the show. Please watch it in HD on KoldCast.TV. They are our sponsors and the best distributors a web series could have.
Episodes 1 and 2 are currently available. Look for the rest of Season 1 on KoldCast.TV.