Behind the scenes with Screen Junkies’ Andy Signore: San Diego Comic-Con

We’ve all seen them. We’ve all laughed at them. We’ve all tried to come up with something for Jon Bailey to say at the end of the clips. Honest Trailers is just a very refreshing take on the movie industry when so many others seem to pander to the movie studios. And now, they are Emmy nominated. I had the fortunate opportunity to sit down (read: have a telephone conversation) with Andy Signore, one of the creators of Honest Trailers from Screen Junkies. It was a great interview that I would have loved to simply transcribe for you, but due to an unfortunate corrupt file, I can no longer do so. However, being the good journalist that I am, I took ample notes with which to narrate the conversation. So here goes.

It was early afternoon, and Andy was just getting off a train headed to this year’s San Diego Comic Con. The first thing I noticed about Andy was just how friendly, and humble, Andy is. After my gushing fan boy moment, we talked about how the idea came about for Honest Trailers. Andy indicated that they were trying to crack the formula for reoccurring content on the Screen Junkies website that would bring readers back over and over again. He wasn’t too keen on the idea of bashing movies just to bash them, but thought about what would a trailer look like if it was truly honest about what happens in the movie. But more than that, what if were honest about what it was about and not misleading. One of the movies Andy mentioned as being a perfect opportunity to bring this idea to fruition was Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. He, as many of us did, felt that trailer for movie was very misleading and basically tried to trick us into watching the movie. It was from this that the idea was born.

Andy revealed that his favorite part of the Honest Trailer process was the writer’s room. He indicated that Spencer [Gilbert] and Joe [Starr] do a lot of the heavy lifting, but the entire process was very much collaborative. Once they pick a movie, they start dissecting the script, assuredly they watch the movies as well, and then start spouting out ideas and comments until things start taking shape. It’s all about the visualization, is what Andy indicated. But from start to finish, it takes about 1 week for each Honest Trailer to be made. There’s about 3-4 days to write, and the remainder is for editing and recording. Of course, this isn’t always consecutively as there are many projects and shows at Screen Junkies that are being worked on simultaneously.

Andy indicated that his favorite Screen Junkies production to date is the recently released Honest Trailer for Memento. If you haven’t had a chance to see it, you definitely should. The piece plays out like the movie, where you see events in reverse order, but they wrote it in a linear fashion, so it was really hard to know whether the jokes, or even the entire thing, would work well or not until the end of the process. He said that’s the thing he loves: when they take chances. Everyone involved seems to have more fun when they are doing something that deviates from the normal formula. Another good example is the Honest Trailer for Les Mis[erables]. It was fun being able to do a musical trailer. These, and of course he really likes doing Honest Trailers for movies he just really wants to be honest about.

This year at San Diego Comic Con, the Screen Junkies crew is hosting their second event known as Screen Junkies Central. Taking place at the House of Blues in San Diego, they will have 4 live shows with various known and surprise celebrity guests stopping by. There will even be a Celebrity Movie Fight (another fine production from Screen Junkies) with Elijah Wood and Kevin Smith. Additionally, they will be having an impromptu Spawn reunion, which includes Todd MacFarlane coming into guest host one of the shows. All in all, it’s a big party to celebrate on Saturday evening of this year’s con. But that’s not all they are doing. They are planning “Live from the Bayfront”, which is a live show every morning at 10:15 AM during the con, with live breaking news throughout the day. Plus their Screen Junkies panel taking place Friday night with many celebrity guests. Andy commented that it’s surreal the level that they are reaching, which is requiring the need for bigger and bigger rooms for their panels every year.

On this note, Honest Trailers has been nominated for an Emmy. Joe Russo (co-director, Captain America: Civil War) has stated that he had the Honest Trailer series in mind when making Civil War and aimed to make the movie “Honest Trailer Proof”. It seemed to have worked as Andy and the gang at Screen Junkies found it difficult to raise negative points about the movie, conceding that the film was good. They were even able to bring in Ryan Reynolds to co-narrate an Honest Trailer for Deadpool as the titular character. Honest Trailers has made it big, and it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down. I asked Andy if he ever expected this, in particular the Emmy nod. To be honest, he said he didn’t even know it was in the cards.

Wrapping up the interview, Andy mentioned from Screen Junkies that he was really excited to share with the world: Flick Bait! Flick Bait! is an improve based movie news show that premiered on both their news channel and their main channel on YouTube. It airs live on Fridays at 4 PM.

You may not always agree with the folks over at Screen Junkies has to say about your favorite movie(s), but at least they are being honest. Don’t forget to tune into their coverage of San Diego Comic Con this year.