AirSWAT – The Web Series – Chapter 2

With the idea firmly in place and a large well of jokes my friends and I have created over many years of acting like morons, we were off to writing.  That is to say, I was off to writing, and quite a lot.  The night after we officially created AirSWAT I went home and began to write the first episode.  I was prolific in writing the ongoing adventures of Irish and the Car-Bombs.  Within a few hours I had a first draft of the episode along with rough outline of two others.  Within a week I had written five episodes; within a month, thirteen.   After three months, our finished script had 25 episodes at 128 pages, practically a feature-film length script.

I vaguely recall the actual writing process.  I would sit at my computer, open my notebook and pick a concept, place my hands on the keyboard and then . . . I’d wake up five hours later, one hand chained to a goat eating a watermelon and the other holding the freshly scripted episode.  We all have lost track of time when engaged in an activity that we enjoy, but I seemed to be losing my sense of time.  Eighteen pages would take less time than it took for the water to heat up in my shower, while one particular joke would last for the NBA playoffs. To use terminology that I understand, it was like being drunk and listening to a jukebox.  It seems to take forever for it to get to your song but when it does, that bluegrass rendition of “Never Gonna Give You Up” is over before you know it.

What was that?  “But Nic, weren’t you dead-ass drunk while writing most of these?”  I’ll thank you very much not to burst the Artistic Genius Savior image I have going on here.  I wrote the whole thing enraptured by the spirit of the Lord and fueled by the power of the Elder Gods!  Dare you defile my glory with the insinuations of inebriation?!

In truth, I did not write the whole thing.  Pete wrote a good chunk and Mark wrote some, and their episodes were the best in the script.  The only reason I ended up writing so much is that I’m crazy and I was the more experienced writer at the time.  One of the others would have an idea for an episode and before they knew it I had swooped down, taken the idea and written a thesis with it.

But in retrospect it’s incredibly easy to write webisodes.  You have no set time length so you can stop whenever you want to, and there is no censor involved so sky’s the limit with the content.  The people we were writing about were basically heightened and exaggerated versions of ourselves, so we also had a very strong grasp of the characters.  I believe the fact that we knew these four guys so well made it easy to write.  Place them in any situation and we wouldn’t worry about what everyone would do because we already knew what they would do.

It also helps when the characters you are writing about are borderline idiots.  If you ever get stuck you can have something stupid and random happenOHMYGOD LOOK IT’S A PUPPY!!!!!!!!!

Like that.

All in all, the writing and revising the script was the most enjoyable time in the whole experience.  It was nothing but laughter and good old fun, and once we were finished we felt even more inspired.  We had a script, and the script was good.

Now we just had to film the lil’ fuckers.

AirSWAT – The Web Series – Chapter 1

(This is the story of the comedic web series, AirSWAT, from its creation to its end.  Each chapter will come with an AirSWAT video, just re-released onto the internet.  For the sake of not pissing my friends off, I’m gonna use different names for people here.  Matt, Mark and Pete should do well.)

In the spring of 2008, my friend Matt came to me with a new hobby he was interested in, and I was slightly nervous.  Ages ago, Matt had been the one who introduced me to laser tag, a game full of fog machines, large rubber vests, and “guns” that looked like they were designed in a cartoon and were attached to you via a telephone cord.  After a few years it seemed that laser tag no longer held any excitement for Matt, so he moved on to paintball, an outdoor affair that did away with the cords and replaced them with compressed air and a watering can full of colored fish oil pellets.  And so did I, and my friends, how we did laugh and play.  But this new hobby, this airsoft, only marked a dangerous progression in these hobbies.  The ammo had gone from light waves to gelcaps and now to small plastic pellets that are shot out at such a high velocity that they break the skin upon impact (I have scars.)  And the opposition had gone from nerds to active nerds to ex-military, police force and the GOD DAMN NAVY SEALS.  I suspected, as I still do, that one day we would simply give up the charade, strap on bullet-proof vests, and go “play” in the streets of Los Angeles.  I’d label the game Realistic Ballistic Urban Tactics (RBUT) or, if that was taken, Reckless Endangerment and Attempted Homicide (REAH) or, if that was taken, Shooting at Each Other With Real Fucking Guns (SaEOwRFG).

But still, I followed Matt as he took me to an airsoft store so I could buy my first gun.  I tried to pick something that, if caught by the police, wouldn’t get me immediately arrested/shot.  After a few minutes, I realized I was surrounded by products designed to look as real as possible, down to the serial numbers on the barrels, and that no matter what I picked I was most likely going to jail in the immediate future.  Should I go with the AK-47?  Eh, too cliché.  How about that double-barreled shotgun?  In a game it wouldn’t work so well on its own.  Every time you fired it, you’d have to retreat to reload the fucker, causing you to miss on valuable combat time where you might be able to sucker punch a few of the opposition if you’re lucky.  I decided to follow my pocket book and get two gas-powered semi-automatic glocks at a reasonable price.

That night, Matt and my other friend Mark, played a few rounds in the street with just pistols, and it was a lot of fun.  We ruined a few parked cars on the street, but we were at war, son, and collateral damage is expected.  From that moment, airsoft was the new group hobby.  Between Matt, Mark, and another friend of mine Pete, we formed a ragtag airsoft group that I jokingly called Irish and the Car-Bombs, after one of our favorite libations.

After one game, Mark walks up to me and says that he had an idea for a web series.  It would be titled AirSWAT, and would be about the four of us acting like idiots while playing airsoft.

“So, being ourselves?” I said.

HAR HAR HAR, my brain said, MY LORD AREN’T YOU FUNNY NIC.  PLEASE, MORE WIT, POST HASTE.  (My brain talks to me in caps, and is very abasing.)

But the idea stuck in my head as I drove home.  As young creative adults who were also broke and lazy, I found that my friends and I often spoke of starting our own projects but no one ever pushed to get them off the ground.  We’d merely intellectually circle-jerk each other until we all felt that we were better than every successful artist out there, and then continue to eat our barbeque chips and watch Stargate.  I had been working in a corporate setting for a year and hadn’t done anything artistic in that time which had left me extremely frustrated.  I was itching to get my hands on a project, to fucking DO something.  So before I went to bed I mocked up a logo for the AirSWAT team.  I emailed it off to the Matt, Mark and Pete, and said that if they were onboard I suggest we give this “Personal Artistic Endeavor” a shot.  At a party a few weeks later, as we all waded in the pool enacting slow motion fights scenes underwater, we all agreed we were interested in pursuing this, if nothing else than to see how far we could go with it.

Thus AirSWAT was officially born in a body of chlorinated water between four half-naked men hitting each other in the head with beach balls.

I went home and began to write.