Read part one here.
Airship Ambassador: Viewers of the show know that you were eliminated in the first episode, but let’s start at the very beginning of the process. How did you first hear about the show and the opportunity to actually be on it?
Tobias McCurry: Well this guy who works with Airship Ambassador pinged me, and I totally ignored his e-mail. Then he sent me another follow up e-mail, and I decided to be less of a jerk and actually submit some photos to the network. After that, zing! Suddenly Skype interviews, and suddenly a trip to LA for casting.
AA: Oh yeah, that WAS me, LOL. What was your interest or motivation to be on the show?
TM: While nobody would gawk at the chance to win a hundred thou’, I had a pretty strong feeling that the individuals with decades of experience would come out on top. Regardless of that, being a part of the competition allowed me to network and become friends with incredibly talented makers from across the country. I’m proud to be able to call many of them my friends, and look forward to working with them in the future.
AA: The final part of the selection process was a sample challenge to steampunk a common everyday item. What was your item and what did you do with it?
TM: The final casting challenge was hilarious in many, many ways. But what I will say is, I definitely went with the EZ-Mode route. I, without shame, (untrue) went and grabbed a foam dart blaster minigun. After working with incredibly limited materials, I eventually got a decent paintjob on it, rigged up a two point sling with a chain, and chugged cokes off of the nearby snack table in order to get some scrap metal which I adhered to separate parts of the minigun barrel. After a judge came and spoke with me about it needing a story, I then offered the tale of the French Revolution. My inner theatrical nerd needed Jean Val Jean to have a minigun. So after very little debate, I tied a bunch of red fabric and silk to the weapon and painted, likewise in red, 24601 on the weapon. #SteampunkLesMis
AA: Les Miserables and the Paris Revolution would have had a much different ending with you on board! What are some factors that you had in common with the other contestants or set you apart?
TM: In what set me apart, I seemed to be one of the few people, Charles (Mason) as an exception, who was competent with working with small props in foam. Not that, you know, it came into play too much.
AA: What were some challenges for you personally during the filming?
TM: Alright. So check this. You get to the hotel. You can’t talk to anyone. You’re sequestered. You’re placed in a hotel room (see: minor security prison) and not given a room key. There is no internet. There is no personal cell phone. There is a chirp phone, which you often order your food through. Let’s not forget a lack of booze of any kind with your meals. You are brought out of the cage and expected to either A. Look pretty, or B. Make cool stuff. While A and B were awesome. The downtime was killer. You’d stress over projects and mull them over in your head. Read a lot. Stuff like that.
AA: No internet?! It’s a wonder any of you are still alive! How was it coming home and getting back to your regular schedule and life?
TM: It wasn’t! After I got home, I immediately traveled to New Jersey and Massachusetts to go be a nerd and LARP, followed by being flown out to Gencon to be a right proper booth babe (otherwise known as boardgame beefcake, hall hunk, booth bro, etc.) for Incredible Expeditions, The Quest for Atlantis, a steampunk board game by Liz Spain.
AA: LOL, it’s good to know you have options in life! What suggestions do you have for people who are thinking of applying for a possible season 2?
TM: … Learn interior design skills… and carpentry.
AA: Now that the show has aired, what comes next for you?
TM: I’m off to look for new and amazing projects! Currently I’m heading the marketing for Dystopia Rising: Washington, and I will be a guest at Steamposium, a steampunk con in Seattle. (Cough I like guesting cons.) I’m debating pulling together a small crafting company, but I very much live in the now. We’ll see what opportunities arise, shall we?
AA: Looking beyond steampunk, what other interests fill your time?
TM: I am a Live Action Roleplayer, and often participate in the post-apocalyptic zombie LARP Dystopia Rising, along with Vampire: The Masquerade. Though I founded such roots in the Steampunk LARP, Rise of Aester. Furthermore, I very much enjoy theatre, and have professional experience both in the spotlight and behind it. Otherwise, I spend my time attending various conventions, events, shenanigan based congregations, and places where people think it’s cool to high five in passing.
AA: How do those interests influence your work?
TM: Theatre has given me a solid understanding of what an audience is looking for in a performance or presentation. Along with the technical knowledge I’ve gained through it, I’ve become a terrifying amalgamation of gimmicky knowhow and practical application. LARP has also lent for my desire for a costume to be rugged, something that does not only last, but is also useful and comfortable in almost any situation.
AA: There’s only so much time in a day – what interests don’t you have time for?
TM: Much to the dismay of my wallet, I make the time.
AA: I’m sure many us completely understand that. What other fandoms are you part of?
TM: Well. I could probably spout more Warcraft lore than the average human being… those were a dark seven years. I primarily enjoy my PC gaming, and am slowly waiting to perhaps maybe kind of put together a Final Fantasy VIII cosplay together. (Definitely Squall.)
AA: Are there people you consider an inspiration, role model, or other motivating influence?
TM: There are literally dozens. I get to meet so many talented individuals in the Steampunk world, I am driven to at least try and stand alongside of them in spite of the fact that they are absolutely way cooler than I am.
AA: Any final thoughts to share with our readers
TM: You guys are clearly the coolest for even checking out this interview. Thank you for the support, and I hope to meet many of you in the future.
Thanks, Tobias, for catching up with us and for sharing all of your thoughts. We look forward to hearing about your next projects!
Keep up to date with Tobias’ latest news on his website.
Follow the latest news about the show on the Steampunk’d website.