Interview - Outer Space Astronauts, The Production

Interview - Outer Space Astronauts, The Production
Here's our interview with Russell Barrett and Adam Clinton of "Outer Space Astronauts," continued. It sounds like a very interesting story behind how this show’s gotten on the air. Could you tell us how that happened?

Russell Barrett: It’s certainly a very long story.

Adam Clinton: How long do you have? It’s eight years.

Russell Barrett: We did a lot of tinkering and Adam and I both wrote the pilot, I’d say around 2004 to 2005. We knew that since we were newcomers and didn’t have really any other credits, it would be difficult to get some meetings around town. So we decided to go ahead and get the pilot written and get some test scenes done so we could show what the show would look like and what we had in mind. And from then we kind of shopped it around town and started to get some meetings at Syfy. They seemed really into it and from then on it was a question of how low-budget do we need to go to do the show. Because there were certainly different ways we could go about it. And it was about this time that we decided to jettison the 3-D animation because that means we could kind of get rid of a whole department of animators to do the more simple 2-D animation. We knew that we were a risk because no one’s ever really done a show like this. We’re all unknowns. And so at the end of it, we basically just presented the Syfy, a bare-bones, low-budget way to do the show. That basically meant that over the course of a year, I would make these episodes myself. By doing that, it just cut a lot of the overhead out. I did all the animation. I did all the music. I did all the editing.

Adam Clinton: It’s amazing when you think about everything. You hear the songs - that’s Russell singing. When you hear the music, that’s him playing. It’s pretty amazing what he’s been able to do singlehandedly in his basement.

Russell Barrett: And luckily I had a lot of very talented friends who would work for very little money. The greenscreen stage was my bedroom. It was the one room in my house where we could get pretty good sound and had enough space to have the camera and the subject and the green screen and have everything lit okay. Thankfully I have a very patient wife. About every two months or so, we’d have to live with two weeks of a greenscreen stage in our bedroom. But everything about this was very much a homemade approach. Our goal was just to put as much hard work as we could in there and hopefully it shows on the screen. So a lot of this is still produced out of your own house?

Russell Barrett: Yeah. We’ve done five episodes and all five of them are going to be airing here in December, starting on December 8th. We’ve got those episodes complete and delivered, and they were all done, in that manner in my house. And I had a few actors that were living out of town and so I would fly with my portable green screen and set it up there and get those shots taken care of.

Adam Clinton: That’s the good thing about it. You can take the production on the road.

Russell Barrett: Three lights, a green screen, and by the way, those are $40 Home Depot lights. If you saw this, you would not be impressed - but basically all we needed to do was get a good image that we could put together in the computer and make it work. Was there any situation under which the actors have actually gotten together and worked on it or is it all done separately.

Adam Clinton: It’s completely separate as far as the shooting of it goes. We all know each other and have gotten together socially and talked about it and have had writers’ meetings and stuff. But as far as the actors being on the show, Russell - has there ever been more than one actor in a room who was actually working?

Russell Barrett: The plus side of employing all of your friends is they do all know each other. Brimley (Weapons Officer) and Matheson (Chief Weapons Officer) tend to be in a lot of scenes together and they’re played by Tony Bravo and Laura Valdivia. I know that they have gotten together and talked about different ways to approach things. But the most difficult aspect of the show is just to keep the tone. I have to keep the tone in my head and remember the performances of the actors that I’ve shot before and just maintain. It’s almost like remembering musical notes where if one characters is rising to a certain level, you’ve got to make sure that the other character is reacting in a proper way. And the best way to do that and be successful about it is to get as many takes as you can and get the best variety. That way when you’re putting it together, you can pick and choose. And it’s actually turned out really well. There are some scenes where I think it’s shocking that they were shot sometimes three weeks apart and in different time zones even. And that has been a challenging aspect of the show. If the show does well, I wonder if you could give us a hint of how you’d like to see the plot develop. Where would you like to see this go?

Russell Barrett: Well, we certainly have many, many ideas. The writers of the show, which is myself and Pete Burns and Laura Valdivia and Anthony Bravo - they’re all actors on the show and they really get it. We have been talking over several different ideas and we plan to delve, if we’re lucky enough to get more episodes - and at this point that’s up to the Syfy and the viewing audience. If we can get enough people to view it, hopefully we can continue to make them. But we would love to see more about the character Ka’ak fitting in with the ship. She’s kind of an outsider and an unusual alien race and I think there’s plenty to go with that. We’ve got several subplots like Adam’s character and his secret relationship with Sunny and there are ups and downs there. And besides that, we’ve just got lots of crazy situations to bring up.

Adam Clinton: There are a lot of ships in the Outer Space Fleet. Many other ships also named after states. There’s many other aliens out there besides the red aliens.

Adam Clinton: And many other planets with all kinds of characters to get involved with and to mess things up.

Russell Barrett: And the fact that we’re the O.S.S. Oklahoma, there’s got to be a rivalry with the O.S.S. Texas, you know.

Adam Clinton: Exactly. And we know who wins that.

Russell Barrett: That’s right. We’re limitless in our possibilities. And luckily, we’ve got so many characters on our show. There are 10 or 11 major characters that we can play with in kind of A, B and C stories. I just can’t wait to delve deeper and show you more about who these people are.

Catch the five new episodes of the new series "Outer Space Astronauts", which debuts Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 9:30 p.m. ET. From the links below, you can get to the first part of our interview, or check out a full episode preview of the show on SyFy Rewind.

You Should Also Read:
SyFy Rewind (Full Episode Here)
Part 1 of the interview

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