This movie is basically the culmination of this insane vaping storyline, which came to a head long before the current moral panic about vaping started -- and it's much different here considering Tim, the character, is clearly in the wrong -- but I'm curious how you were thinking about that whole arc before and in light of current events.
Notarnicola: I think we were pretty surprised at how real life had begun to imitate some of the plot points that we had developed for On Cinema. These are all based on real -- like, we didn't come up with the idea of vaping, we started seeing people do it and thought it was kind of a funny thing. So you know, I think that just goes to show Tim and Gregg's really unique lens that they view the world through and they're able to find these things that are funny before other people might necessarily catch onto it or before it becomes a big thing.
But they're always looking around, I think, at things in the world that are interesting or funny to them. And vaping was one that kind of caught our eye early on, as well as the idea of EDM festivals where there's a chance for... there was an actual festival that was created in Los Angeles that actually turned into a really popular festival. But the first couple iterations of it, the first couple of years, there was, like, not enough bathrooms. They were underprepared for it. I'd heard these horror stories of people that would go and it was just a nightmare. That was kind of the early idea behind him putting on this festival and being sort of not prepared for the immense path it represented. And then almost a month or two after we had come up with that and started talking about this Electric Sun Music Festival, then Fyre Festival came out, and became this phenomenon of, like, how funny it is that this festival turned into a disaster. So it was just luck and a weird, I don't know, clairvoyance on Tim and Gregg's part, where they can kind of see these things before they become huge international jokes. Or disasters, depending on how you look at it. People dying from vaping is not a funny thing when it happens in real life. But at the time, no one had really died from it [laughs], so we felt okay to joke about it.
So, you were teased to appear on episode 3 of On Cinema as Josh Lorton to talk about Mister America [ed. note: "Josh" is a no-show in the episode, and Tim gives him a special "shame on you" for "going off the grid"], which I presume that, like basically every other movie talked about on the show, Tim has not actually seen. Can you tease what's to come for the rest of this season? Will Tim be obsessed with the outcome of the race, in addition to promoting Moneyzap.com and praying? Or are these decisions you can make as you go?
Notarnicola: Well, as the timeline of the show allows, Tim has already sort of had a couple months to get over his election loss. You are now talking about On Cinema, which is airing currently. So I think that the release of Mister America is certainly going to weigh on Tim's psyche a bit, and you'll see his reactions to it in upcoming episodes. I don't want to give anything away. But it's something that is going to affect him and you'll see his reaction to it. It's certainly a driving factor of this season.
I'm sure you guys think about this a lot, but I think that's why so many people obsess over On Cinema because there is this continuum; Mister America doesn't exist in isolation. There is a before and after the movie in the On Cinema universe, which has a mounting story that spans so many media properties that still intersect.
Notarnicola: It's so much fun for us to be able to make something that is not bound to any one particular format, or genre, or style of creating media. I mean, like, half of the On Cinema storylines take place on Twitter, between Tim and Gregg interacting back and forth. There's a book now; it's just really fun to just not be limited by a specific format, and to explore whatever format or way of telling the story interests us at the moment, or whatever fits the particular storyline the best. Some storylines, we feel like play out better during On Cinema, the show, some we hold for the Oscar special, others are better for online. And then eventually The Trial became another way of expressing that, and the movie is yet another. So we all enjoy following these hundreds of different places to get the story, and it's becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with everything, so now On Cinema fans have taken it upon themselves to create these guides. There's a fan in particular named Justin Gaynor who makes this incredible website that's called the On Cinema Timeline that allows you to trace every single story point in the universe across the different formats and track down certain characters or plots. He also makes these recap videos that are really helpful for people who want to get into the On Cinema universe for the first time.
It's really amazing how much work people put into it, and it's a labor of love for them. There's definitely a sense of community creating this, and we get to know the fans, we get to know the people who are interested in this kind of stuff and they think a lot like us and they're interested in the same kind of things we are. So it's a very communal relationship that Tim, Gregg, myself, and the people that watch the show have, which is I think really special. And it's fun to make things with them in mind. And they also get to participate, as well. I mean, there's not a lot of comedy out there where the fans get to participate as well as just watch.
It is very special! And the fans interact with each other in a way that isn't horribly toxic unlike most any other online communities.
Notarnicola: You mean the Tim-heads versus the Gregg-heads? Yeah, it's like a friendly rivalry that they sort of get to play a character as well in the show, which I think must be fun for them. It's very gratifying for us to get to watch these social media posts or interactions on Twitter. And so many of the fans are also like, very funny -- they make us laugh all the time with their contribution to the story as the loyal supporters of these movie reviewers, and they pick sides. It's really fun.