If you haven’t seen the Roll a D6 video by now, you’re one of the few. In five days, they’ve amassed half a million views, and a mention on CBS News (as well as just about everywhere else throughout the blogosphere). We spoke with creator Connor Anderson, of Broken Records Films, about his video.
Wizards of the Coast: So, can you tell us about Broken Record Films—how long have you been creating short films?
Connor Anderson: Broken Record Films has been "in business" so to speak since August of 2009, but we have been making films for long before that. My best friend Aaron Mull (the Dwarf) and I have been making films together since freshman year in high school. We've gone to a bunch of film festivals together, and we seriously enjoy filmmaking.
Wizards of the Coast: How did Roll a d6 come about—what was the inspiration behind the project?
Roll a D6 came about while, actually, in the middle of a game of D&D. I was trying to do something with my character that was a little out of the ordinary, so Zac Smith (The Wizard, and the guy who helped me write the lyrics) told me to just "Roll a D6." The second he said that I started singing the G6 song in my head with the Roll a D6 in its place, and I thought it was a pretty funny idea. We wrote the song that night.
Wizards of the Coast: Can you introduce us to who’s who in the video (although you’ve already stated you won’t reveal if the lead singer is a wizard, archer, or ranger)? How did you assemble them as a party—as actors you knew, or as friends (and if so, how did you rope them into the project)?
Connor Anderson: All the actors are my friends. One day I just sent out a text that said something like "Hey you guys want to help with a movie?" and they seemed interested. That’s one of the reasons I like working with these guys. They are always interested in helping, before I even tell them what it’s going to be about. Leslie Phillipson, who plays Player-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Labeled is one of my longtime friends and we've been in bands together, so the second I thought about making this a music video I knew I needed that part to be hers. Zac and Aaron were pretty much made for their roles, so casting them was very easy.
Wizards of the Coast: How long did the video take to write, film, edit? Any problems during the shoot (you’re out in Colorado, correct)?
Connor Anderson: The entire project was conceived and finished in a four week period. We wrote the song in one night, over about four hours. I then spent the next week building all the costumes and props and storyboarding the film. We shot the film in less than ten hours, and absolutely everything went perfectly, which is very much a first for us. I then edited the film over the next two weeks.
Wizards of the Coast: Was it more fun to be an adventure or an orc? Any strange looks from the locals?
Connor Anderson: I would not have picked any other character to play other than the Ranger! That was so awesome to get to run around with a Dwarf, a Wizard and a (CENSORED) all day and just pretend to fight goblins. At one point, when the lead goblin, a guy by the name of Ches Bond, was in full costume out at the location, this guy and his young daughter walked past us. I kinda waved at him, since he was looking at us, and he nodded back. But then he saw Ches and immediately stated (quite loudly, I might add) "You look like a f***ing orc!" and just walked off. That was the only real interaction we had with the locals that day.
Wizards of the Coast: Did you have any expectation for the video, once you posted it? So far it’s at 200k views on YouTube and been written about in CBS News. How did you know it was first starting to go viral?
Connor Anderson: My theory was once it was posted, if my friends liked it, I would be happy. I had no idea it would go crazy like this. I think as of this moment we have 242,000 views or something like that. And that’s only on YouTube. The copy we put on Vimeo has another 176k views on it. I still don't really feel like it’s going viral—it seems weird to think that something I made is being watched by a lot of people, so I guess I'm kind of ignoring that fact.
Wizards of the Coast: Have you (and the group) done much gaming? With cokes and candles? Have you actually played through Thunderspire Labyrinth adventure we see on the table? Or harbor a love for sword-and-sorcery in general?
Connor Anderson: We do in fact do some serious gaming. I play with those guys a lot. I am Asmund Valgard, a Human Ranger from the North. We actually tried to do a game with the candles, but it made the room way too hot so we put those out pretty quickly. I have not yet played Thunderspire Labyrinth, I'm still in the middle of two separate campaigns with a couple different groups. And I would say my love for sword-and-sorcery was with the Lord of the Rings, which slowly morphed into a love of Dungeons & Dragons over the past months.
Wizards of the Coast: What might you have in mind for the next film?
Connor Anderson: Well, currently we're working on a superhero movie, a short kung-fu film, a spy movie, and a full-length action adventure steampunk film. And anything else that pops into our heads between now and then.
Bart Carroll has been a part of Wizards of the Coast since 2004, and a D&D player since 1980 (and has fond memories of coloring the illustrations in his 1st Edition Monster Manual). He currently works as producer for the D&D website. You can find him on Twitter (@bart_carroll) and at bartjcarroll.com.