Fanboy Confessional is a new documentary series that celebrates “geek culture” without mocking the people being featured. The first season, which kicks of tonight (July 13) at 10 p.m. ET on the SPACE channel, delves into the world of CosPlay, Steampunk, horror fanatics, real life superheros, role-players, and furries. If this all sounds Greek to you, then most likely Fanboy Confessional is going to go over your head. But if you do enjoy dressing up as your favourite character or partaking in live role-playing sessions, Fanboy Confessional was made for you.
Criticize This! spoke with series creator Michael McNamara about how the idea came to be, what his favourite episode is, and what was the hardest group to crack. Read our Q&A below.
Brian McKechnie: How did the idea for Fanboy Confessional come to you?
Michael McNamara: I’m a fanboy myself, and doing this doc series seemed like a good opportunity to find out how deep the impulse goes and what drives it. And it runs deep let me tell you!
BM: Was it difficult finding “nerds” willing to speak with you on camera?
MN: When you love something so much you want to share that love and spread the word. The biggest trick was editing the fanboy and fangirl stories down to a fast and furious half-hour episode. But there are some areas that are more guarded than others and we had to gain peoples trust to get access to their stories.
BM: What were some of the more interesting characters you spoke with?
MN: They’re all awesome people. I loved spending time with the RLSH’s – Real Life Superheroes. These are characters you’ll never meet in a comic book — they’ve created their own superhero alter egos, make their own costumes and go out into the community to fight crime and do good deeds! We went out at three in the morning into some of the more dodgy areas of Vancouver’s downtown east side with Thanatos, an RLSH dressed in a black cape and skull mask, bringing bundles of food, blankets and water for homeless people. And all his inspiration comes from the comic books he read as a kid.
BM: Was SPACE on-board from the beginning?
MN: SPACE got this project immediately when we pitched it to them. They wanted to make sure we were going to mix the series with a healthy measure of good humour and respect, and I think we achieved that balance. This is about the SPACE audience – the fanboys and fangirls. And we’re celebrating them as the heroes they are!
BM: Do you have any online components to go along with the show or plans to do anything online?
MN: We’ve been doing lots of cool things on Twitter and Facebook — lots of contests with very unique fanboy/fangirl giveaways donated by some of the folks in our shows: a free weekend at the Underworld LARP, along with some custom “boffer” weapons to take you into LARP battle, a hand-crafted Steampunk leather flight helmet from Adam Smith, CosPlay supplies, Zombie supplies, Rue Morgue goodies, and even passes to upcoming Cons. To win you have to answer skill-testing questions after watching the show. Or something like that. They wont let me play.
BM: Were there any areas of fandom you wanted to cover but couldn’t?
MN: I mentioned that some areas are more guarded — this was the case with Furry – a much maligned and misunderstood fandom. And misrepresented in the press and media. So getting access to this community was tricky. But we did get the trust of a few folks and did a great job I think showing how much fun that community is. I hope the fact that we are treating the people in our stories with respect will lead to even better access to more inside Fanboy stories – there are millions of em!
BM: What’s your favourite episode out of the first season?
MN: I watched a lot of horror movies on Saturday afternoons from Detroit when I was a kid, introduced by a guy called Sir Graves Ghastly — so meeting and spending time with Gary Poulin, art director of Rue Morgue, and the creative folks at that magazine was a special treat. The offices of the magazine are in an old funeral home, and we got to spend the whole night there filming Gary getting a new horror tattoo for his sleeve with famed artist Bob Tyrrell. Spooky painful fun! (well, painful for Gary – fun for us!)
BM: What are you working on next?
MN: We’ve got a few dozen more episodes of Fanboy Confessional we’d like to make. If enough people watch and enjoy these episodes, hopefully we’ll be able to make lots more.
Full schedule of Fanboy Confessional below.
Wednesday, July 13
10 p.m ET: CosPlay Edition
10:3o p.m. ET: Steampunk Edition
Wednesday, July 20
10 p.m. ET: Horror Edition
10:30 p.m. ET: Real Life Superhero Edition
Wednesday, July 27
10 p.m. ET: Furry Edition
10:30 p.m. ET: LARPer Edition
For more info on Fanboy Confessional, visit spacecast.com.
Images from Fanboy Confessional courtesy SPACE.