Welcome back for the conclusion in our talk with Jenn Duncan, one of the producers of Steampunk’d, from GSN, the Game Show Network. Steampunk’d is the first steampunk reality show to be broadcast on cable television.
Read part one here.
Read part two here.
Airship Ambassador: How did the people and designs compare to other similar shows? Was there anything notably different because of the steampunk theme?
Jenn Duncan: I just loved the cast. The down-to-earth and yet wacky nature of steampunk folk is palpable. It’s a quality one can find in artists anyway, but something about steampunk brings an extra element of mystery to folks. I couldn’t get enough.
AA: Once filming ended, what came next?
JD: Post production – and then a camping trip with my kids!
AA: When the broadcast date is set, is it all red carpets and viewing parties for the premiere episode, or have you already dived into the next project?
JD: Viewing parties, yes. This year, however, I’m laid up after a hip surgery! How stupid is that?? I’d just trip over a red carpet!
AA: Ouch, tripping right after hip surgery would just be adding insult to injury. How soon might viewers hear about a second season?
JD: Oooohhh… that’s a good question. I’ll let you know as soon as I hear!
AA: As the first steampunk show out of the gate on cable television, what kind of attention has Steampunk’d already generated in the entertainment community?
JD: I’m very, very pleased with the attention it’s getting! People are hearing of it, and seem excited! Hopefully our numbers will reflect that.
AA: For viewers who are thinking of applying for a second season, what suggestions and recommendations would you offer?
JD: Be yourself – boldly. Let us know your talents. Where do you shine? Don’t be afraid to be competitive. It’s just a game and it’s just TV. Have fun!! Make me want to root for you!
It’s hard to witness yourself on TV, and every show I do I am aware that I am shooting a potentially cringe inducing moment for a cast member once they watch themselves on TV, because he or she is at that moment invested in a situation that is extremely intense.
Here’s the deal: we can’t “edit someone into acting like an asshole.” What we do is edit the episodes to show the highest highs and lowest lows. I mean, we have about 42 min to tell a story that was shot for multiple days. Audiences don’t want to watch literal paint drying. Or conversations about the weather. That goes on too on reality sets. Yawn.
My casts will tell you that I have likened the process to shooting any of you playing a rousing game of Monopoly. We humans get competitive. We get mean. We get stupid. In the end we are all so damn similar. If you ever get a chance to see a tape of yourself losing or wildly winning a board game, you might be horrified by your behavior – and even the looks on your face. Just saying.
Know that any “villain” you see on a reality show is not ACTUALLY evil. (98%of the time!) Mostly, they are wrapped up in a very tense moment – and it’s FASCINATING to watch how the human psyche works. They can easily revert to their Lesser-Self. You know, that self we ALL have and pretend we don’t?
That, ladies and gentlemen, is reality TV in a nutshell.
AA: Now, THAT is a good thing to know! If you weren’t a producer, what else would you be doing now?
JD: Jingling a cup on a corner?
AA: What other theme or type of show would you like on?
JD: I love any shows that show people on journeys to become BETTER. Motivational athletic challenges often show that, as well as artists. Anything of that nature turns me on.
AA: Are there people you consider an inspiration, role model, or other motivating influence?
JD: My kids are my motivating influence. I like to tell stories that bring people up at the end of the day, not down. I want my kids to be proud of their story-telling mom. We’ve told stories from the days of being gathered around fires in caves. They help us learn. They help us laugh and escape. I may not be curing cancer, but I do feel that if I can provide a little bit of healthy escapism for so many tired folks at the end of their long day, then I’ve done my part.
AA: What event or situation has had the most positive impact in your life? What has been your greatest challenge?
JD: Having children has definitely had the most positive impact in my life. They’ve also been my greatest challenge! The vision of trying to be a responsible adult who recognizes the suffering in this world, while at the same time attempting to see the beauty in this world comes into very clear focus once you bring new life into the game. Makes you think about each step you make that much more clearly. And in the end, it makes me a better producer, a better parent, a better spouse.
AA: Any final thoughts to share with our readers
JD: I hope you enjoy the show! We certainly enjoyed making it! We loved all the cast and each one of them has a little piece of my heart for different reasons. Thanks so much for the opportunity to talk about it!
Thanks, Jenn, for joining us for this interview and for sharing all of your thoughts. We look forward to hearing about your next projects!
Check out Jenn’s exhibit page at The Steampunk Museum.