Among Us: The TV Show!
There's gonna be an Among Us TV show and I'm the showrunner
I’m going to be executive producing/showrunning the Among Us TV show! Here’s the Variety article about it.
Also, I’m one of Variety’s top ten animators to watch, which is a very cool honor! Happy to be included with everyone else!
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For those of you that don’t know what Among Us is, it’s a video game that got super popular over the course of the pandemic. The basic concept of the game is that a bunch of crewmates on a spaceship try to solve their various tasks aboard the ship while also trying not to be murdered by an alien that looks the same as everyone else. It has a lot of tongue-in-cheek humor and is pretty reverential to various classic science fiction stories.
If you’ve never heard of the game, then you’ve probably at least seen this graffitied onto a playground near you, drawn on your children’s homework, or randomly popped into some discord conversation somewhere:
What’s the Show Gonna Look Like?
Well, this is clearly the most iconic character design of the last 15 years, but TV pipelines require different things. It’s 2023, and the game came out in 2018, so at this point the designs are looking pretty dated. Therefore we decided we should update the character design to appeal to a more modern audience.
We wanted to keep the design elements the audience already knows and loves (being in a spacesuit, not having a nose) while bringing in things that would explain the crewmates and make them more realistic (arms, a zipper, a face, etc.)
So without further ado, here is the official basic character design for the Among Us animated TV show:
As you can see, the visual style is still being discussed, but rest assured that by the time we get to full production we’ll have the perfect style that everyone in all 4-quadrants, in every part of the world, and every demographic, will enjoy equally. I’m sure that once we get this design out to our focus groups that they will rejoice and consider it to be a resounding success.
How can you make a show from a game that has no story, no characters, and almost no dialogue?
Well we’re in luck, because it turns out every story that has ever been written started with no story, no characters, and no dialogue, so all we have to do is make those things and then we’ll have them.
It’s just part of the process, like with anything creative. Among Us actually has a lot to start from. It’s got a very specific tongue-in-cheek tone and it has a visual style. It also does have a story, but that story is different every time you play it. It’s a pretty simple story: you attempt to complete your task and try not to be murdered, then you either succeed or perish. The way it actually pans out is different every time, but that’s the very rough arc.
It also has themes. This is a game about trust and suspicion. Why do we trust certain people and not others? What sorts of changes in ourselves or in them do we need to see in order to let trust happen? Are we all actually monsters that want to devour others in our insatiable lust for blood?
Where Can We Watch Among Us?
That’s still being figured out, but as of right now, it’s currently a joint production between CBS and Innersloth. They’re just funding it on their own, which is pretty cool, because so far it means we have no corporate masters! We can just make whatever we want! This is probably the nicest way to make a show, I highly recommend it. Innersloth is very artist friendly and have given us a lot of leeway in how we tell the story we wanna tell, as long as it fits in with their tone and universe.
Excuse Me but What Gives You the Right?
Well I pitched my concept to Innersloth and they liked it, so I guess that’s it.
Joking aside, I don’t know! I’m just a guy. I’m trying to be as careful with the source material as I can be while balancing the needs of our capitalist overlords who want unethically large sums of money to use as toilet paper.
I Thought You Hated IP-Based Projects and Have Spent the Past Several Years Railing Against Studios Not Giving Original Ideas a Chance and Instead Putting All of Their Eggs Into the IP Basket Even Though Statistically it’s Not IP That Does Well but it’s Actually Anything That Has Had Any Advertising Dollars Whatsoever Spent on it?
Correct! Thank you for listening so closely and for clearly knowing as much as I do about the relationship between financial success of a film or TV show and its advertising budget.
I’m not actually inherently against IP, I’m just bored of it. Aren’t we all? It’s like the only thing being made for the past decade and it’s just so frustratingly safe and blah. It’s a joke at this point that people roll their eyes at every time a new remake is announced.
Every big movie or TV show now is a franchise-starter, so that means you never get actual complete stories, only stuff that builds up to some vague “later” thing that’s maybe gonna happen in a couple years (assuming the thing you’re currently watching does well). It sucks! I just wanna watch a story from beginning to end, is that so much to ask?
So if I’m so anti-IP, how do I justify this? It’s because…
No but really, I’m okay with doing an IP-based project as long as it fits at least two of these three criteria:
It hasn’t been done already (aka a reboot or a remake).
I can do something unexpected or unusual with it and not be afraid of corporate overlords clutching their pearls and saying “but our franchise!”
It doesn’t have a vast tomes of lore I have to read through and fans who are going to nitpick me to death because I didn’t read issue #157 of a spinoff comic from 1979.
Will these criteria change at some point in my life? I dunno, but please don’t yell at me when I’m 60’s if I don’t adhere to this list I made in my 30’s. I just don’t like IP being made just because it’s IP. That’s a trash reason to make something.
Also, I have to be interested in it, obviously. I like Among Us! Like everyone else in the world, I think it’s fun! The game is on 1 out of every 13 phones on the planet. Think about that! That’s fuckin’ crazy! I don’t actually play it that much because I find it to be very stressful, but I still really like it and enjoy it, if that makes any sense.
I’m excited for the freedom that Innersloth is allowing us to have. I like that when I talk with people at Innersloth, they seem like good people who made this thing from their own passion and without being assholes. The original germ of an idea wasn’t made from a cynical perspective of how-do-we-nickel-and-dime-people-to-serve-our-investors, but from a place of creativity and inspiration. I want to support that kind of behavior, that kind of art, and that kind of process in general, so I’m happy to join up with them on something like this.
Are You Finally Gonna Stop Posting Frogs in Hats on Twitter
Fuck no, Twitter sucks now. Everything on the internet sucks now. You know I’m right.
I’m on bluesky, but the minute I get a whiff of having a bad time over there it’s turning into frogs in hats too.
What about Infinity Train?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: every time the opportunity presents itself, I try to get more made. Sometimes it means I’ll realize a certain studio or producer might be into it and I’ll have my agent or manager call them, sometimes it means they reach out to me because they like it themselves and want to know how more can get made. All of these things do happen, have happened, and will continue to happen, however, I also need to have a job.
That said, I recently did an interview with Cartoon Base and covered a bunch of stuff about Infinity Train. You can read it here. In it, I touch on some subjects I want to cover with the show, and also briefly discuss the Gex TV show I tried to get made with my friend Toby Jones. Here’s a preview:
Music recommendations this week have been pretty eclectic. I’m really into the entire album PUNK TACTICS from Joey Valence and Brae. It’s great. It scratches that Beastie Boys itch like no other band I’ve heard. They’re fantastic, highly recommend. Also really loving XXX by Kim Petras!
Anyway, what are some topics you would like to discuss? I was thinking about AI, obviously, who isn’t? But also the greater topic of how art is thought about in society as a whole and why it’s such a chore to get people to even realize they care about art.
Hopefully I’ll have some more interesting updates for you in the next newsletter!
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