Saturday, May 23, 2015

QUICK GUIDE: Arby 'n' the Chief

Who are you?

My name's Jon Graham. I'm a screenwriter, joke writer, director, video editor and composer. I've been writing for ten years. I created terrible movies with video games as a kid. I'm now a film school graduate.

What's Arby 'n' the Chief?

A web series I created for Machinima in 2008. It ran for seven seasons, ending in 2013.

What's it about?

In my house, two Halo action figures -- Master Chief and the Arbiter -- inexplicably come to life. In my absence they play video games, frequently online, and clash with the community's abundance of haters, trolls, hackers and psychopaths.

Where can I watch it?

All the old episodes are currently available on Machinima's YouTube channel. The links are below.

So -- it's not over?

No. Through the magic of crowd-funding, I'm attempting one last run -- even though I've said that twice already throughout the series.

Where can I watch new episodes?

They'll be uploaded to my YouTube Channel.

How can I support the show?

Become a Patron.

* * *

The 'Master Chief Sucks at Halo' videos are the seeds of the show. I made them when I was young and not under any contract, just as a hobby, not expecting to be developing a series afterwards:

Master Chief Sucks at Halo

This is when Machinima hired me as a director; I chose to develop Master Chief Sucks at Halo into a larger series and created the first season of Arby 'n' the Chief.

Some links are accompanied by a separate "Com." link to the right -- these lead you to episodes with an overlayed commentary track from me, all of them cringe-inducing. Seriously, some of them are from when I was much younger, and I was a shithead:

Season 01

Here's the third, which is a bit hit-and-miss and suffers from jarring shifts in tone, but has a couple of gems, namely "Wedding":

Season 03

I quit the show after the third season, burned out.

To keep the audience, Machinima produced a spin-off series in-house that was poorly received.

I later returned as showrunner, taking the writing more seriously with season four and reaching a distinct plateau in my storytelling abilities during the production of "Digital Fruitcakes":

Season 04

Season five marks a drastic shift in the show's format and tone while I attempted to balance them with its classic comedy. Episodes are no longer self-contained, now serialized, open-ended.

The story-telling is non-linear; the first scene of the first episode is a flash-forward to a scene from the last of the season:

Season 05

Act I

Act II


Season six maintains the non-linear storytelling and my attempted balance between comedy and plot, featuring stronger antagonists and overall story structure:

Season 06

Act II


Whereas season five and six were relatively upbeat, the show took a dark turn in the seventh season, with stronger emphasis on theme, story structure, character development and cinematography:

Season 07


The episodes of seasons one through seven listed above are what I call 'Story' episodes. Alongside its universe, another universe runs parallel, containing seasons of episodes called 'Bytes'.

These 'Bytes' are shorter, mostly self-contained episodes with a reduction in plot and drama and a focus on comedy, usually featuring just the toys. Here's the first season:

Bytes: Season 01

Here's the second:

Bytes: Season 02

Birthed from a plot point half-way through the fifth season's storyline involving the toys creating their own web series, the links to the Hypermail episodes below are the episodes of that series -- a show within a show featuring the toys answering fan mail. There's only one season:

Hypermail: Season 01

Throughout the series' run, occasionally I'd create a short video featuring the toys for promotional reasons:


Short #1

Lastly, I'd also periodically produce various one-off specials, available below: