Last night, I went to the New Beverly Theater in Los Angeles to attend a double feature of Mystery Team and Ghostbusters. Mystery Team is available now on DVD, and you can read my review of it here and Dr. Venkman's review here. The members of DERRICK Comedy were there to do a Q&A after the show for the audience, and I had the chance to interview them after both films were over. I asked them about the making of their first feature film and what they're up to next. Watch the video below, or read the transcription to see what happened.
[Note: we did the interview in the theater, so I kicked on the night vision on my video camera - hence the green video.]
DC: Thanks for sticking around.
DAN: You know what? Let me take a peek. (Gets up, checks the framing on my camera.)
DONALD: Jesus Christ.
DC: Can't leave it at the office.
DOMINIC: You know, I have a lens in my pocket we can use.
GT: Can you each talk a little bit about what you felt personally were the most challenging aspects of going from sketch videos to a feature?
DONALD: The divorce.
DAN: Yeah. We were all married.
DC: Honestly, I think - and they'll not back me up if I'm not speaking for everybody, but there wasn't one thing that was surprisingly...like, all aspects of the filmmaking process and especially the independent filmmaking process and the distribution process and the marketing process are super, super difficult. Especially when you're doing it independently. But there wasn't anything that was surprisingly difficult about being a sketch group to making a narrative movie because we knew that we were making a narrative movie with a story. So we weren't like, "oh man, we're just a sketch group! We've never really..." You know, we knew that we had this collaboration and we were approaching it like we knew that we had to create something that's a story. And so we just kind of went after it.
DAN: Yeah, I would say it's pretty much the same kind of stuff that any short filmmaker who's been doing a lot of shorts on their own would go through with going to a feature, which is a fuckload of stuff. But yeah, no different necessarily, sketch-wise.
GT: Cool. I've been reading a lot of interviews and stuff with you guys, but Meggie - you haven't been part of a lot of them. So I just wanted to ask you, what was it like producing Mystery Team and what was the most rewarding part of that process for you?
DOMINIC: I'll field this one.
MEGGIE: Oh sure, yeah, yeah. I guess it's sort of simultaneously the most fun thing you've ever done, the biggest blast you're ever having, and the most tired you've ever been, and the hardest thing you've ever done. So, that sort of like rolled up into a neat little ball of stress. But I guess the most rewarding thing was like, that we all, at the end of the day, just loved each other and had so much fun making the movie. That we got to experience it together. Even now, we'll talk about stuff from back on set and stuff like that. It's just great that we all got to be there and do it together as friends.
DAN: Yeah, I think we officially became a family on that set.
GT: Cool. You guys have said that you pitched another idea around Hollywood for a little bit before you decided to make Mystery Team. Could you tell me anything about that project?
DC: You've heard of Scary Movie, right?
DC: It wasn't that, it was like Scary Movie, but with food. It was called Food Movie.
DONALD: It was called Food Movie. It was just food going bad.
DAN: It wasn't for anyone.
DONALD: Here's the problem with food going bad: it doesn't play well in areas that don't have a lot of food.
GT: A lot of time lapse shots, I'm guessing.
DONALD: So over in different countries, when it was at the South African Film Festival - holy shit. Oh my gosh, people were outraged.
DAN: We managed to get it made and into a festival -
DC: Yeah, it was like the movie Babies, but with food. Some nice food in San Francisco, some food in China, some food in Africa, and the African food just gets eaten immediately. We could just have a shot of a table that we could keep coming back to.
DAN: I wouldn't be surprised if we see that movie.
DOMINIC: It's like a lot of things but impossible to describe directly.
DONALD: So there's our answer that's not a joke.
DAN: That wasn't a joke. That's a true answer.
DONALD: No, but it was called "Picked On."
DAN: It was called "Picked On."
DOMINIC: When we first moved to L.A. some of us were looking through it and it was like, some of the bits were standbys. Like, "oh, that's a decent bit." But we just weren't as excited about the core idea of it.
DAN: The pitch of the movie was different from what the movie that you read was. And that was kind of a disconnect. After going around pitching it, we were kind of pitching a cooler movie than we'd written, and then we came back and we were like, "well, maybe we should write it into that movie that should have been."
GT: Is it something you guys are thinking about revisiting at all?
DONALD: We could definitely lift jokes out of it. There are definite bits and jokes that could go -
DAN: We took some -
DONALD: That's the problem with it.
DC: We did that with Destiny.
DONALD: We kind of did some of that. Oh yeah, we did it with Destiny. Because that was a bit that was actually in "Picked On," when she gets thrown out of the car. But I think that was the problem with "Picked On," that we could just lift it out.
DAN: It was exactly the movie that I think people expected out of us in the sense that it was basically just a series of sketches even though it did have a narrative. The characters didn't really progress in a way.
DONALD: Like, you couldn't lift the joke in Mystery Team of [Jason, Donald's character] going to his car and and lifting it up and there's a bike there. Like, that's totally Jason.
DC: That's a really good question.
GT: I know that, Donald, you were talking about Childish Gambino [his rap alias] and doing an album and stuff [his upcoming album, Cul-de-sac, drops "hopefully sometime next month."]. Are you guys talking about doing any guest spots, verses and things like that?
MEGGIE: DC does!
DAN: DC does it on a lot of it now.
DONALD: DC's on the last two mix tapes, and the last three albums.
DAN: Yeah, I think he's been on all of them.
GT: Cool. Good stuff. Now that Mystery Team is out on DVD, do you guys have any ideas for the next feature? Or is it something that you're just waiting until you all really agree about something where you're like, "oh yes - this!"
DAN: Yeah, we've been talking a lot about it. It's just that, I think we've said it a lot, it's like we are afraid of the sophomore slump, so to speak, and we really want to make sure that when we come out with our next movie it's an order of magnitude leap forward. So it just takes some time. And all of our careers, and all of that stuff...
GT: Last question. Have you guys gotten any crazy offers to be in any big blockbuster stuff?
MEGGIE: I've been offered to be President.
DAN: She did. Turned it down.
MEGGIE: They wanted me.
DONALD: [Barack Obama impression] Please do it, Meggie. Meggie, please.
DOMINIC: Every movie that's come out in the past six months, I was offered the lead in and I said no. Because, it's just - I'm an artist.
DAN: He was going to be the dragon in How to Train Your Dragon.
DONALD: Was that question like, have they come and we've turned them down?
GT: No, just what crazy offers have you gotten maybe based on Mystery Team?
DAN: I would argue that [Donald] being on Community...
DONALD: I would not be on Community without Mystery Team. No joke. Literally, those guys saw Mystery Team and were like, "we want to meet him."
DAN: They were at the screening a year ago.
GT: Cool. OK, I think that's it. Thanks guys, I appreciate it.
MEGGIE: No, thank you. It was nice meeting you.
DC: Thanks for sticking around, I really appreciate it.
DONALD: It was nice seeing you again.
Special thanks to Lionsgate and the New Beverly Theater for putting this all together. Mystery Team is available now on DVD, so check it out!