Todd Kenreck: It's all been leading up to this. Just before the Dice, Camera, Action season three finale, I sat down with Chris Perkins to talk about the future of the show, and where he would like to see the Waffle Crew go next.
Todd Kenreck: Let's talk about the state of Dice, Camera, Action. How are things going for-
Chris Perkins: Things are pretty woeful in Dice, Camera, Action land. Things have been pretty grim. The characters were wrestling for a long time with the death curse, and watching their hit points go down, and down, and down, and one of the characters is currently dead.
Todd Kenreck: I shouldn't be laughing.
Chris Perkins: Yeah, they made some powerful enemies. Right now, as we're now looking toward the finish line of this sad season of death and carnage with a few laughing moments in between, I am looking to tie off a lot of loose ends, get the Waffle Crew back on their feet, and set them up for what will be a rollicking super fun season four, which tonally is going to be very different from season three. What I mean by that is I think the sort of heaviness of the death curse and the Tomb of Annihilation, run to your death kind of experience of season three was very harrowing. I'm delighted that it was because thematically that was appropriate. The story for season four is not what I would call harrowing, and so that means a lot of different things are going to happen. They're going to be in a new setting. They're going to make a bunch of new acquaintances, meet a bunch of new NPCs. There's going to be so much going on that it will be hard to keep track of, but it will be kind of fun chaos I'm hoping.
The season four starts on May 1st. The animated intro is locked and done. It's super awesome. It's kind of, I don't know if I want to terribly spoil it actually. It's not like any animated intro we've done before. It's animated, so it is like all the other ones we've done before, but stylistically it's completely in keeping with the season and not like anything else we've done before. I'm looking to bring in a bunch of fun new guest stars over the course of the next season, people we haven't met yet, people the Waffle Crew haven't met yet. But most importantly, I'm looking to discover new depths to each of the Waffle Crew characters. So, every one of them is going to I think change and evolve a little bit, mature in some ways, find new friends potentially.
I also would like, and I've thought about this a great deal, some things from the past to come back in new and unexpected ways going forward. I'm digging into things that have happened in the past that are just sort of hanging out there. Like what ever happened to blank. I'm looking at that and going hmm, let's find out what happened to blank. Or, remember that time when the Waffle Crew did this, and apparently there were no consequences whatsoever. Let's see what those consequences are. Like, Diath incinerated a bunch of people accidentally. Then kind of nothing happened. Maybe it's time for something to happen.
I feel like, I'm sure if I talked to Nathan and Jared, and Holly, and Anna, they would say that season three was probably the most stressful because the stakes were high, and their characters were so deep, and the fans are so committed to those characters that everybody's become very protective of them. So, every new bit of, every new threat is a threat to the sanctity of the Waffle Crew and those characters, and it hurts them very deeply when the Waffle Crew is unable to deal with it all. I've been needling the players, and needling the fans quite a bit. I think that they're having fun. I think they're having fun wrestling with who these characters really are and where they need to go next.
I think where they need to go next is going to be basically the theme or the through line of the next season. It's like I see a lot of more character directed adventures where things aren't just happening to them, they are making things happen. I don't know if the players are quite prepared for that yet. We'll have to see. I might have to tip them off and say, "Hey, in this next story if you want Strix to do something, or if you want Diath to do something, or you want Evelyn or Paultin to do something, let me know and we'll see where it goes." I think there will be lots of opportunities for that, and I look forward to seeing how they let their characters grow.
In terms of level wise, they're now tenth level, so they're kind of halfway along in their adventuring career, whatever that is. Now that we're kind of looking at the back end, what does that actually mean? What are the responsibilities of a tenth level character. Particularly in the case of Evelyn who has just saved thousands of souls and sacrificed her own existence to free them from the Soulmonger, where does she go and still have a meaningful journey with a character arc? I don't know because I'm just making this up as we go along, but if anybody wants insight into how I prepare for a new season of the show, I just think of myself as a show runner. I've talked with a lot of show runners and how they build seasons of their shows. They take their show a season at a time, but every season all the main characters have to have a journey in that season to make, and they can't be the same character that they were at the start of the season as they were at the end. Something has had to have changed, their perspective, or their goals, something has to change.
I think of it in the same way. As I'm thinking about season four, I am making plans. I have all 30 episodes of season four planned out, but the wild card is I don't know what the players are going to do, so I bet you half to two-thirds of those episode ideas I have will never happen. That's okay. I'm totally fine with that. I'm pretty sure the other third are going to happen because I know where they're going to be, and I know what's there, and they're going to cross paths with certain things. But then there's that space that I sort of leave open in my head where I may throw out half of the season I have in mind because something goes in a different direction.
That actually happened with season three. Before we started the Tomb of Annihilation season, I plotted out 30, and when I say plotted out what I really meant was I wrote down 30 episodes on a sheet of paper, and I did like one line TV guide lines of what's going to happen in an episode. "They're going to find a wrecked ship in the jungle. They're going to go to Oralunga and talk to an oracle. They're going to meet a pair of goblin brothers who are up to no good." That's all I wrote. Half of those never happened because I expected in season three to spend half of the seasons getting to the Tomb of Annihilation and then half of the season in the tomb running around. Well, we're now two episodes away from the end of season three and they've never been to the tomb, so that ain't happening. All those plans, whatever, gone. But, I don't feel bad about that because what did happen I think was just as cool, if not more cool, then what I had planned. I'm hoping the same thing happens with season four.
Todd Kenreck: You love this show.
Chris Perkins: I love this show. I love it because the fans are great. They're super awesome. They super inspire me, and they inspire the players. And the players are just so good at getting into their characters and just sort of going along for the ride. It's my favorite hour and 45 minutes of the week.