Exclusive: THE ANGRY VIDEO GAME NERD movie interview with James Rolfe & Kevin Finn (audio too!)

Exclusive: THE ANGRY VIDEO GAME NERD movie interview with James Rolfe & Kevin Finn (audio too!)


James Rolfe and Kevin Finn are childhood friends who made their dream come true. Years ago they met in school and shared their love of movies. They collaborated on some projects here and there and went about their separate ways. But the pact was made and here it is, the dream has come true with their release of the movie: THE ANGRY VIDEO GAME NERD.

Born as a popular web-series, AVGN has lasted several years, over 100 episodes and is one of the many staples of video content at James’ site: cinemassacre.com – Meanwhile Kevin went out to California and got into TV production, working on such shows as The Biggest Loser and Duck Dynasty. But the plan set in stone years ago was never forgotten and this year became true. I have been a fan of all AVGN related things since around 2007. I’m more of a classic gamer, and I could remember and relate to all the frustration James would bring up in his AVGN videos. I also have great affection for horror movies and metal music, which his website houses plenty of content about. I had the great pleasure of talking with both of them in this interview for Bigfanboy.com – If you listen to a MP3 of the accompanying podcast (LINK HERE) you can hear additional questions I asked the guys for this interview. Thanks again to Kevin and James for chatting with me about this! Here’s some of what we talked about:


Click on image to see it full-size.

Q: This film got funded via crowdsourcing. Did you find the crowd funding way of doing things an easier way to get this project done?

James – Yeah, we would go to L.A. and we were trying to shop it around, trying to get someone to bite on it. But it just wasn’t happening. It seemed like this movie is in its own world. I mean, we might have been able to do (a more traditional way of funding a movie) if we had more time, but we just needed to get this movie started. You know, lets pull the trigger on it and lets fund it ourselves. And at first we were thinking we’d only get a portion of the budget and maybe some major studio or somebody would take notice and we’d get the rest. But instead the whole thing got funded by all the fans.

Kevin – Just like youtube was new when AVGN series came out, crowd sourcing was new when we decided to try this thing out. So this movie was sort of like, we don’t know how to do it, or how we are going to do it. But the answers would sort of pop up for us. You know how to make a movie, but technology kind of came to help us out.


Click on image to see it full-size.

Q: There was a concentrated effort on this movie to use more practical effects, miniatures, costumes, and other classic elements of filmmaking. Why was it important to stick to these methods to make this?

James – Cause every movie now is almost completely CGI, and I think practical effects never had the chance to evolve a little further. I think that practical effects could still keep getting better today if people kept doing them. But now it’s a dying art. Of course you want to use CGI sometimes, but its overused today. I just think that practical effects looks cooler and when it looks fake it helps people appreciate the process more. Cause they can see how you did it like, “Oh I see what you did there!” And its kind of funny sometimes. The imagination is still there. It still tells the story. Its sorta like what woulda been there had you had a million dollars. It gets the audience into it more. But also I realized how hard practical effects are and the reason why people don’t do them as much anymore because practical effects are a pain in the ass! Its something physical. There’s so many problems that can happen and its so time consuming to shoot them. We spent two years to finish this film. About a year and a half was pickup shots and effects shots. It was time consuming. So at some points I was regretting it, but now that its done, I’m happy we did it.

Kevin – I think during the writing, we imagined the effects to be campy and that’s sorta the cinemassacre style. I that freed it up to be how we wanted it to. Cause we knew it was gonna be done in a fun campy way. It was cool because it took the limitations off of us. And all these effects artists came out of the woodwork so we could do all these effects shots. It was a nice mix of practical and CGI.

James – Yeah it has suits, animatronics, CGI, green screen, rear-projection, pretty much every effect that exists!


Click on image to see it full-size.

Q: Now that the whole process is done, if you could go back in time and tell yourself something at the beginning, what would you go back and change or do differently.

James – Well, probably a ton of things. But I wouldn’t want to change the end result and the stuff we learned. I think we ended up with something that is really awesome. Assembing the crew… A lot of the people I worked with I’d work with again. I mean, we really learned a lot while making this. This was real hands on film school.

Kevin – Yeah from start to finish it was exactly that. We got a taste of every part of the process. And James and I have been doing this in various ways a lot but this was definitely the feature film experience from start to finish. There’s so many things I could change, but the main thing we wanted to do was to make a feature, and make it with my best friend and people you trust. It’s a dream come true I wouldn’t want to change.


Click on image to see it full-size.

Q: This time around there’s a lot more of the “NERD” world being shown like he has a best friend and a villain. This isn’t one big review in a movie. Was there some worry about how the long time fans would see these additions?

James – It was hard to convince people at first but I can imagine a lot of people thought “How is this going to work?” It seemed like it happened organically. It was a great story and it’s the only kind of story that could star THE NERD. The things that motivates the character. The things that motivate him to go on this huge quest of denial to try to get people to lose interest in a game that traumatized him as a kid. Like he hates the game so much, its his kryptonite. It had to be the nerd. But its also this science fiction story that combined everything we liked into one thing.


Click on image to see it full-size.

Q: I know you said you had ideas for future projects, have you already started to think about whats next?

James – Yeah it’s a curse, you have ideas whether you want them or not! I’ve narrowed it down to choose between six feature film ideas. Time will tell. I’m going to go back to making some web series and we’ll see.

Kevin – I’ve got a heist comedy I wrote, so that’s the first thing I am going to jump into. I’m also doing more television and then some web stuff. But I think getting started on the next feature is the main thing I will be doing.


ANGRY VIDEO GAME NERD will be released on VOD September 2nd – see Cinemassacre.com for details.

Be Sociable, Share!

About the Author

Raised primarily in central Michigan all his life, Adam is a successful writer, artist and self publisher. He is best known for his comics: PLEASANT LIFE, THE EXPENDABLES, WISE INTELLIGENCE and the upcoming ANNA POCOLYPSE. He also wrote a free online how to book called "IN THE TRENCHES: HOW TO SURVIVE AS A SMALL PRESS COMIC BOOK PUBLISHER." He also has done some pinup work for ANTARCTIC PRESS and logo designs for many other clients. He has been featured on web sites, newspapers, television and magazines talking about his work and travels around the country promoting it. He resides in Southwest Michigan.