Q&A: Kyle Walters and Shawn deLoache of The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy

Today we’re continuing our awesome Q&A series with two of my favorite YouTubers: Kyle Walters and Shawn deLoache! (That’s right Ladies and Gents, two for the price of one) These gentlemen are the co-creators (and lead actor/writer, respectively) for the new webseries, The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy! It’s a fabulous show based on the J.M. Barrie book most of us know as simply “Peter Pan.”

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If you’re a fan of shows like The Lizzie Bennet Diaries or Emma Approved, I highly recommend checking out NPW. Their cast and crew is extremely active on Twitter and they even have their own newspaper that follows the show. (And uh… yours truly might be a columnist for the newspaper, so check out the Town Life and Gossip section if you get a chance!) Check out their extremely informative — and pretty darn adorable — kickstarter video here.

On top of all that, the show is like a nerd nirvana, with references to Doctor Who and Star Wars other scifi staples making appearances not only in script, but also in unexpected places like set dressings and in Peter’s weekly comic strip. Plus they’re sponsored by Loot Crate and ModCloth, so the characters always look fabulous and they have lots of cool toys that are nipping at my credit cards.

Alright, enough about how awesome I think it is; let’s meet these fellas so you can know for yourself!

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Hey Shawn and Kyle! Thanks for joining us! So for those of our readers who are hearing about this for the first time, can you explain who you are, and what The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy is about? 

Shawn: I’m Shawn deLoache the writer and co-creator of The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy!  The show is a romcom about Peter Pan, a late 20’s something man child in Neverland, Ohio, who has 3 main goals:
1) Never Grow Up!
2) Do as little work as possible while having as much fun as possible.
3) Win the heart of his best friend and advice vlogger, Wendy Darling!

Kyle: What Shawn said…. except I’m Kyle Walters!  I play Peter Pan and co-created this whole thang.  I’ll expand a little bit more.  Right now, it’s a 24 episode series on youtube (plus a prologue) with a rich and developing “INworld” experience, where you can go deeper into the characters’ lives, interacting with them on twitter and reading their work at 

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Ok, what if you had to explain it in just five words? 

S: It’s New Girl with Fairies.

K: Plucky Peter Pan Plays Pong

 

So Kyle is a familiar face to some of us, having acted as Edward Dedham in Welcome to Sanditon with Pemberley Digital. NPW and WTS have a similar concept in that there’s a role-play aspect for the fan base. Can you talk about your team’s decision to include that in NPW? 

K: Absolutely!  We knew for sure that there would be an INworld element to the show.  Originally it was going to be twitter accounts and the articles, comics, etc. in the Kensington Chronicle.  When we did the Kickstarter for the show last year, we were trying to come up with exciting-sounding rewards… a typical reward for backers is to be listed on a thank you page of some sort.  I thought it would be more fun to thank backers by including them in an “official town ledger” for Neverland, Ohio.  We honestly thought that would be it… but when we posted the town ledger, tons of fans wanted to join the town.  So we are rolling with it.  Neverland, Ohio is such a fun place for us to create stories… everyone else should get to as well!  So we immediately opened it up to a role-play environment, and are trying our best to support the awesomeness that y’all are creating.

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Why do you think fans react so positively to role-playing with webseries like this? WTS is the only other example I can think of where the fans were such a large part of the story. Why did you decide to include it in NPW, and did you ever think the fans would take so well to it?

S: I think anytime you invited fans to be more than just viewers, to be actual participants in the world, you are going to get a more enthusiastic and loyal fanbase. Plus, it’s just fun! We definitely try to keep track of what’s going on and love how the fans are helping us to build Neverland!

 K: Roleplaying doesn’t work for every show.  I think, other than the universal knowledge of the Peter Pan mythos, having a semi-magical semi-known-to-us (read: suburban) location that everyone can get behind really helps solidify the RP.  

Do either of you do any RP? 

S: I used to a lot. Time doesn’t permit it as much anymore, but writing for a living is basically RPing as a career!

 K: What is acting but the pursuit of RPing?  I’m definitely of the ilk to RP, but I need scenarios and events that are a little less open-world… otherwise I would just play forever and never return.  So things like murder mystery parties are great for me.

Shawn, can you take us through how you write an episode? How hard is it to work in transmedia into your writing? 

S: Well, first I light some candles, put on some smooth jazz and slip on my silk kimono…no…wait…that’s…that’s something else.

WRITING, you asked about writing! Well, Kyle and I sat down and did a basic outline on what needed to happen in each episode. We started going from the last episode and worked backwards. We knew how the season ended so we needed to make sure we got there logically and working backwards really helped. I usually know the last line or last scene of anything I write before I write it.  So knowing what had to happen I would just sit down and then try to figure out what was either the most fun and/or most heartwarming/wrenching way to make those things happen while still being true to our characters and the tone of the show.  There were a lot of scenes I’d go back and cut because while they were, I thought, funny, they didn’t match the characters.

As far as transmedia goes we wrote the episodes first and built the transmedia around it after, which has been a relatively easy, and definitely fun process. Our head of transmedia, Emmett Furey, is a genius so I usually babble at him for a few minutes and he goes off and does something brilliant.

Tell us a little about what goes on behind the scenes. For instance, how many people work on NPW?

S: Behind the scenes there’s a lot of …well mainly work…and fun…but work. We definitely all became a family while shooting, and while it was exhausting I think we all had a good time. I’m not even sure the exact number of people we have working so I’m just going to say A LOT and that they are all amazing!

K: It was pretty hard to be Peter “No Work” Pan while putting this show together.  I’m still in 2-3 meetings a week about the show, and working up to 12 hours a day on it.  Not as complaints!  But as awesome time spent on an awesome thing.  As far as how many people?  Depends on the phase of the production.  While filming, we had up to 15 people on set.  Now we have 5-7ish people treating this like their second (or third) job.  

What obstacles, if any, did you have to tackle in the process of adapting this kind of story to a real-life scenario?

S: Budget was a huge constraint. We really had to do a lot with very little money. The other was keeping the magical feel.  We could have made Tink a person or a dog or a goldfish or a figment of Peter’s Imagination but we wanted her to be a FAIRY! Without Tinker Bell, without magic, the show would have lost what makes Peter Pan so special.  However, making Tink a fairy, doing the Tink Cam, was definitely a challenge, but one that DP Alex Parker and 1st AC Chidi Onyejuruwa conquered under the watchful eye of our director Matt Breault.

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An example of NPW's "Tink Cam"
An example of NPW’s “TinkCam”

K: The actual adapting of the story was the easy part (because it is the most fun!).  We both love JM Barrie and his world, so that fueled us to spend hours upon hours created P+W.  What’s tricky is that the show needed more than just Shawn and me.  And that comes with favors, money and Braveheart-inspired speeches.  Though luckily everyone involved with the show was passionate about the project and gave way more than 128%

Those who have seen the series so far know that fairy dust has a… Certain quality to it. What was the process behind adding drinks and drug-like substances to the script? How do you think the audience has responded? 

S: Drugs? What drugs? Fairy Dust is all natural! Would you call chocolate a drug? (‘Cause I would. I’m addicted to it and it makes me do bad things).  For all the fun and goofiness of our characters, they are still adults, and a good number of adults drink. We wanted to show them doing it responsibly, i.e. having a designated driver (Which you should always have, people!), but we definitively didn’t want to shy away from it. It does give a sense of age and “maturity” to the our characters.  As far as fan reactions go, usually when we have fairy dust or drinking we get some complaints, and that’s fine… if you don’t make a few people mad, you aren’t doing it right.

K: This is a good question, DRUNK Austen.  It’s always a little tricky when bringing in adult beverages into adaptations of children’s stories.   The core of our story (and the original one) is dealing with growing up.  For us, we’re trying to figure out the balance between our fun, playful childhood passions and all of the (good AND bad) responsibilities of growing up.  While we aren’t pushing alcohol, it is a very real representation of that struggle and balance.  It’s a beverage for adults that lets you feel young and free again.  When you’re being forced to grow up (college?) stereotypically we over compensate with drinking and things get messy!  But when you learn to drink responsibly you can be grown up and have your fun, too.  Not that sober adults don’t have fun.  It’s just that alcohol can be that dynamically slippery see-saw of the playground of our lives.  What?  You want a shorter answer?  Scotch tastes good. (We just can’t argue with that, Kyle.)

From one of our readers: “I think it’s interesting that they’ve set up the premise being about a guy who doesn’t want to grow up (parties, drugs/fairy dust smoking, video games) and a girl who doesn’t know how to be a kid, all couched in fairly common social activities… It’s like on the one hand those things are being presented as childish and on the other they’re not. I don’t really have a specific question but I would love to hear them talk about that if there’s something there to talk about.” Can you explain your thought process, as creators and writers, behind Peter and Wendy’s “childishness” and “maturity?”

S: Childishness versus maturity is what Kyle and I, and most of our friends, are dealing with in our lives right now. Specifically being in the entertainment industry, getting to “play” is pretty much our job….and unless you are very successful at it and have lots of money, it’s a job most people look down on. They think you need to get a “real job,” something that you get up for and go to every morning at a set time and get off from at a set time and they give you a check that you use to pay for your house and babies.  AND there is nothing wrong with any of those things, I personally WANT all those things, but I want to do it my way…through my writing…through playing…through being mature and responsible in the most childish way possible.

K: It’s obviously one of the main themes we are playing with.  But we sure as salt don’t have any of the answers!  (There may actually be no answers)  So we knew we wanted to present characters that fall in different parts of the range (though JM already did this for us).  The trick, though – and something Shawn, Matt Breault and the actors all did so brilliantly – is that no real person lives at just one point of the spectrum.  They pull from all parts of it.  And it sure isn’t black and white.

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What are your goals for the series? Can we expect a Season 2?

S:  If people are enjoying the series and our work that’s 1 big goal checked off.  My other 2 big goals are hoping we all get new work from this project and also being able to do a season 2 and 3.  But seasons 2 and 3 are up to the fans and sponsors!

K: I just want as many people as possible to see it, because I think the show can strike a cord with most of our generation (and others!).  Our story for Peter and Wendy spans three seasons, with lots of stories for the other characters, too!  By the end of Season One, we will have a better idea of the financial realities of a Season Two and Three.  But, for sure, there will be a break between One and Two as we, well, make the next season… y’know, just like all of the other shows on TV.

Both of you seem like awesome nerds, so I have to ask: What’s your favorite geeky guilty pleasure? 

S: I’m a huge comic nerd and have over 3,000 comics…but I’m going to go with DOCTOR WHO! Big Whovian!

K: I could probably copy and paste Shawn’s answer. I’m a huge comic nerd and have over 3,000 comics…but I’m going to go with DOCTOR WHO! Big Whovian!

And of course, because we’re Drunk Austen: If Peter was an alcoholic drink, what drink would he be? What about Wendy? 

S: For Peter? DUH, PAN PUNCH! As for Wendy- Lambic Framboise! From Wendy’s (Paula Rhodes’) own mouth! (Paula wins! Lambic Framboise is THE BESTESTS)

K: For Peter, anything green and sugary.  Grasshoppers?  Absinthe in Cola?  Pan Punch?  Green Kool-Aid with Rum?  I’d hope that at some point Peter might grow up to scotch on the rocks with a mini-umbrella.  But we all know he’ll never grow up.  Current Wendy would drink Charles Shaw, but she has aspirations to drink the finest $20 bottles of wine available. 

Thanks guys! We all look forward to seeing more from you and the cast and crew of The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy!

S: THANK YOU! Keep watching! AND TELL ALLS THE PEOPLES TO DOS THE SAMES!

K: Thank you!!!  Glad you’re enjoying the ride as much as we are.

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NOW GO WATCH!! ❤

-Admin R likes addicting theme music, fellow whovians, and befriends quirky dudes who do entertaining things with their webcams.

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