Suffice to say, it has had an immediate noticeable effect on the show, with new people watching, a surge in YouTube subscribers, and... unfortunately... a lot of people thinking a) The series was about to end (you've at least three more eps to come), and b) That Charlie Brooker had more to do with it than he did.
It was a bit embarrassing for me, as it did look like I'd gone on and on about him in the interview for the article, when he was merely a backer. Though I do appreciate that Polygon were trying to find an angle that would get people interested - and there's no question that it worked. Thankfully, I dropped Charlie a line, and he is fine about it. Plus, I'm hugely grateful to Polygon for taking a punt on the show, when nobody else has done so.
The effect a bit of coverage has had already makes it all the more frustrating that I've struggled to get anywhere else to cover us... but... hopefully word of mouth is now spreading. We're not going anywhere, so over time I'm hopeful that more and more people will discover it, and enjoy it as a complete piece with a beginning, middle and end.
If you do want to feature Found Footage on your site, podcast, or whatevs... please drop me a line at email@example.com
The response to this ep has surprised me. I was worried that - because it puts more of an emphasis on plot over funnies - it might turn people off, but it seems to be a favourite for a lot of you. Which means you're finally seeing the pieces of the puzzle coming together.
Anyhow. Enough waffle. If you wish to discuss the episodes, I suggest you head over to Facebook, where the Brannigan's Vortex group share their theories as to the greater conspiracy. Or post a comment below. I like hearing what you thought.
SPOILER WARNING: Do not read on unless you have watched Manorak!
The making of Found Footage has been a learning curve for me, and among the things I've realised is that the weird stuff works best when played straight, and if it's too heavily scripted some of it feels forced. An exception is Manorak, as one example, which is obviously meant to be scripted. Albeit terribly.
So, with this I asked the cast to stop sticking to the script word-for-word, and improvise around it. We ended up with about 45 minutes of material, which I then edited down to the four minutes or so that you see in the episode.
The Blue Extruder's noises came about because in one take Tom, who was playing him, lifted his arms up and yawned. I found it so funny that I just kept asking him to do it, as if it was some sort of involuntary tick. You can actually hear us laughing in a couple of the shots...
This altered approach does mean that there might be some stuff that we filmed which will end up not featuring in the series. But... I will find a way to get all of it out there somehow.
You can see hints of the real me in that Knife & Wife pilot, but they're almost apologetic in the way they're featured. I was too green, too young, to have the confidence to assert myself on the project. Plus, being a low-budget animation, I was aware that it was hard to make changes quickly and easily.
Having total control over every aspect of Found Footage works with how my brain functions. I think it's quite hard for me to communicate to other people what I'm after a lot of the time, because it's so specific. And often I'll play around with half a dozen different versions of a thing before it feels right.
That Knife & Wife pilot has haunted me for years. The worst part was knowing that it wasn't very good, and having people tell me that it was, and knowing they were just being nice.
So... this clip is based upon a cartoon I drew when I was 17. I always intended to replace the voices - the ones you hear were only meant to be place-holders - but in the end I decided they were weird enough to fit the vibe of the series.
It was a bastard of a sequence to edit. I only let it go when I stopped trying to make it look slick, and fix the sound, and reminded myself that it was meant to be the vanity project of a lunatic.
Talking of lunatics, Manorak himself is played by my mate Jesse Ross. He's not an actor, but I realised on a night down the pub that he'd be perfect for Manorak. He was so good that I asked him to be in the series Finale as well. Oh, and that's his brand new baby son who features in the "I am Goujon John" sequence.
Also featuring in Manorak, as the boss of the terrorists, is another mate, Jon Downes, who runs the Centre for Fortean Zoology. And Manbag is played by Matt Casey, a friend of Jesse's. Again, not an actor, but brilliant nonetheless.
Also, I got to have goes in the speedboat, which was exciting - but also very uncomfortable. Manorak is a good example of my ambition extending beyond my available experience and skills. It's a miracle it turned out as well as it did.
Possibly it was a combination of the uplifting music coming after so bleak an episode, the fact that the voiceover is effectively my take on our real world, Goujon John having been erased from existence - in the first edit of the episode he didn't appear in the hymn sequence, and this was the first time you saw him - and the fact that I am so grateful to the amazing performance of the actor in question.
One of my goals for the show is to try and make you feel something. Comedy - sketch comedy anyway - rarely does that, and you certainly don't tend to see it in stuff as left-field as Found Footage. It's easy when it's a scripted narrative show to manipulate the emotions of the audience, but I see it as a challenge to see if it's possible with something like this.