On Episode 18 of Nerdlocker! I mentioned Up Up Down Down: The Series as my pick of the week. (Click here if you haven’t seen the episode.) Well, after seeing the interest that Nerdlocker viewers had in the video, we decided to catch up with the creator of the series, R.A. Rayne about his nerdy influences, plans for the series and what celebrities he met while managing an actual game store. Please enjoy this exclusive interview with the creative force behind Up Up Down Down: The Series.
Don’t believe us?! Well, here’s a shoutout to prove it! 🙂
Up Up Down Down is heavily influenced by nerd culture, which has seen mainstream success in recent years. Does this affect the way you write the show, or do you try to stay true to the “real nerds” by keeping the Star Wars inside jokes and such?
Yes, it definitely affects the way you write. When I wrote the First Draft of Up Up Down Down I had several “nerdy jokes” that were funny as hell, well if you’re a “Nerd” But, when I let people who aren’t fluent in “Geek” read it they just looked at me like I was from outer space. Which if you think about it is pretty cool, but not when your trying to create a sitcom.
Can you give us an example of a joke you had to cut or change?
Yeah, the “Goldeneye/Gamer Tag joke.” When I first wrote the joke, I assumed everyone knew what a Gamer Tag was. After I let several people read the script, a lot of them had no idea. So my solution was to make the one character who should know what a Gamer Tag is, be clueless about it. I did leave a few jokes in the show that are just for the “Nerds.”
Like the 12 parsecs reference?
Yeah exactly. And the G.I. Joe joke about Ripcord actually being a Redheaded Irish Guy. If anyone has followed G.I. Joe over the years, they know Rip has always been redheaded, except for the movie and his brief appearance in the latest Renegades cartoon.
After viewing the pilot a few times, I’ve seen subtle references to Kevin Smith’s style of writing/shooting. Has he influenced you in your writing?
Yeah. I love Kevin Smith’s work. Actually I like his older stuff better but yes he is a strong influence of mine. I think I had watched Clerks for like the five hundredth time when I realized making a show inside a store could actually work. In fact, as the series develops you’ll see that Jack and Chris have a Randall/Dante type relationship. You know, when I pitch Up Up Down Down I say that “If you mate Clerks with The Office and splice in a little Big Bang Theory, the offspring would be Up Up Down Down: The Series.
Where did the idea for Up Up Down Down originate?
I was a manager at a video game store for five years. I don’t want to give any of my series away, but if you go into any game store and spend ten minutes just watching the customers, you’ll see where Up Up Down Down came from.
How did it progress?
Well, I think I had been working for the company for about 3 hours before I realized I had to make it into a sitcom. It was to perfect of a setup not to be made. I mean besides the, um “colorful characters” who worked for me, and would come into the store, we had celebrities coming in all the time.
Any celebrities worth mentioning?
Yeah, um Jada Pickett-Smith and the kids would come in, American Idols, Randy Jackson, David Hasselhoff would come in and pretty much announce to the entire place he had arrived. Oh and Ja Rule came right after the whole thing between him and 50 Cent. He was looking for a Grand Theft Auto style game, so I couldn’t help myself; I suggested 50’s game “Bulletproof”. Hey I thought it was funny, but Ja Rule, just glared and said, “Not Funny, man!” He was a good sport about it, but he didn’t get the game.
What are your future plans for the series?
I want to get Up Up Down Down on a network, as well as Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network. I am currently working with a couple reps from Xbox and PlayStation to make this happen. I have also met with a few Network Producers who have definitely pointed me in the right direction.
I heard from an anonymous source that Nerdlocker might be making an appearance in one of the future episodes. Any truth to this? 🙂
Ah yeah, you know I heard that too. And without giving away any details, the answer is yes. I am planning an episode with a heavy Nerdlocker involvement.
That’s awesome, we can’t wait! It’s kind of a tradition that we ask this, so what are your favorite movie, video game and comic book of all time?
Well, lets see… My favorite movie, wow there are so many I love, um I love the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, and Lord of the Rings, of course the Star Wars and Indy films. I think my favorite film is Empire Strikes Back. Which for the record Lando acted like a responsible leader, by putting the needs of the many over the needs of his friends, of course he got screwed but hey don’t we all by our Empirical leaders.
We’re all working for the man, man. What’s your favorite video game of all time?
Well if we are talking this current Gen, I’d have to say on Wii, it’d have to be Wii Sports. On Ps3 I’d say either Uncharted or God of War 3. On Xbox, wow this one is hard, most of the games I play are on the 360, mostly ‘cause I’m an achievement whore, but I also prefer the Xbox controller to the others. So, um, I’d say my favorite multiplatform game is Assassin’s Creed, and my favorite Microsoft title is Halo, even though I am average on FPS games.
So your character on Up Up Down Down isn’t much of a stretch?
Yea, no, Jack is not much of a stretch for me to play. They say write what you know, and well, what can I say I’m a slacker!
And what is your favorite comic of all time before we say goodbye?
My favorite comic book, well I love Arkham Asylum A Serious House on Serious Earth. I think Grant Morrison and Dave McKean put together an amazing story and the art is
incredible. In fact I would love Chris Nolan to take the next Batman movie into Arkham like the comic. Other than that I love reading Captain American, any Star Wars comic, G.I. Joe/Cobra, and X23.
If you’d like to find out more about Up Up Down Down: The Series, you can visit the official website and/or talk to R.A. Rayne directly on Facebook!
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If you have a question about this article, please feel free to contact Ryan on AIM: ryanbvegas