August 1, 2018

5 Questions With…Writer Nikolai von Keller

With the launch of the third Best Fiends animation, "Fort of Hard Knocks," we wanted to highlight a few of the very important people that helped bring our story to life! So without further ado, our series of "5 Questions With..." continues with the writer, Nikolai von Keller.

5 Questions with Nikolai von Keller

1. Describe your role and how you work with Seriously. What is your favorite part about your job? What do you do outside of Best Fiends work?
I work as a freelance writer, pitching and writing short scripts to be turned into animated shorts that take place in the Best Fiends universe. My favorite part of the job is coming up with silly jokes and outlandish set pieces, and then watching them brought to life on screen by talented animators and voice actors. I currently write for television, film, advertising, and other gaming companies.

2. What has been one of your favorite projects to work on and why?
I’ve really enjoyed working on the “Fort of Hard Knocks” short – it’s fun to tell a largely non-verbal story with elaborate physical gags. It reminds me of Looney Tunes, and the more time I spend trying to write similar pieces, the more I realize the Looney Tunes writers and animators were geniuses.

3. What are your tips for thinking of an innovative and interesting story line?
I don’t have any magic bullet or guaranteed process for thinking up interesting story lines. It just takes time, and a willingness to entertain all sorts of ideas. You carve out a chunk of your day, open up a black document or pull out a notepad, and just jot down anything that pops into your head without judgment (the judging and self-doubt come later).

4. Can you discuss the creative process behind a recent project?
For “Fort of Hard Knocks,” and most of my Best Fiends shorts, the process begins with a team brainstorming session. Other freelance writers and Seriously employees sit together and toss ideas back and forth, hopping from concept to concept, like a pseudo-writers room. Then I draw up more detailed pitches of Seriously’s favorite ideas. If Seriously wants to move forward with any of those pitches, I write a script, then usually several revisions. Finally, when the script is approved, animation begins, and I get to watch other talented artists make the story even stronger.

5. Who is your favorite character to write for and why?
It’s a bit of an unorthodox answer, but my favorite characters to write for are the one-off characters – a random slug, a gnat buzzing by, a security guard – because they’re often my opportunity for the most outlandish jokes and extreme personalities.  It reminds me of watching The Simpsons growing up, where my favorite characters were one-offs like Disco Stu and Handsome Pete.

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