TomSka at Vidfest UK at the MCM London Comic Con May 2013

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Many great creatives took to the stage as part of VidFest at the MCM London Comic Con. One such creative (and with one of the biggest lines of fans) – Thomas Ridgewell, aka TomSka on YouTube – spoke before a packed audience about his most recent of works.

He opened his panel discussion with the presentation of his most recent video: Guitar Warfare. A film made in collaboration with Freddie Wong (FreddieW on YouTube) as part of YouTube’s recent comedy week. The video was a brilliant blend of music, special effects, and humour among all other elements that embodies what TomSka is all about.

Despite his rapid success and brand that continues to grow with each new production, Tom wanted to instead make the panel about his failures. He explained that he would once again be doing what he called “Scrap’d Week” on YouTube on his second channel, DarkSquidge.

The basic premise was to showcase some of the videos he was left less-than-pleased with, projects that died or he just gave up on. Throughout his session on stage at VidFest, Tom showed the audience several short clips of such videos, interspersed with questions.

His first video that he showed was an offshoot of one of his popular asdfmovie videos, where an idea he had went into a different direction and created an animation about a magical flying bed…that’s then brought down by jet fighters in international airspace.

The clip, like the rest shown, was not quite finished (and Tom explained that they would be edited before uploading to YouTube to “finish” them) but it finished at such a hilarious point one would question why it was scraped, though Tom explained how he just didn’t feel the way it was going.

Afterwards he took some questions, one of which asked about what working with Freddie Wong was like. Tom said that he was nice to work with, nothing like this idea he had in his head where Freddie would be this superstar in comparison, plus Tom joked of how he stole both Freddie’s hoodie and his burrito!

The next question asked about the joke “Do The Flop” from his videos, and whether he or his friends have tried it. Tom said that obviously he hadn’t, but he has seen 8 year olds do it on YouTube, leading him to make an aside comment where sometimes he has to make his jokes ones that can’t be as easily imitated by younger audience members, just in case things go badly. One such example was a joke that went, “I wonder if my pony can fly!” Originally it was, “I wonder if my baby can fly!” Tom found the latter funnier, but then cited that, “It just takes one 2 year old to then go, ‘I wonder if my baby can fly?’ and throws his little brother and then that’s my legacy…”

In the next video shown, Tom introduced the project as a collaboration with The Living Tombstone called TomSka Song, a video that had promise and was only really scrapped because Tom just loved the music track on its own so much he scrapped the idea of remixing his videos to just use the song. And rightly so, for that track is a very effective theme that TomSka has subsequently used in his videos.

An audience member asked what his favourite video was that he’s made, to which Tom answered either Standoffish, an older video he made where he and a bunch of people just point guns at each other, or Christmas Demolition, a video where he fights Santa Claus. 

A different question asked if the video Psycho Girlfriend was real, and Tom said that that video is fake, much to the observation that a lot of places have picked it up as legit despite not being real at all. Tom also explained the making of the video, where he got the girl angry enough to smash an Xbox by getting a 22 kill-streak on Call of Duty in order to annoy her enough.

Tom showed a video called Homosexuals that was spawned by his vomiting rainbows character from an asdfmovie video. It was a very rather random project to his admission, a video that was essentially just a song following the character as they walk down a street, vomiting rainbows everywhere. It got lots of laughter and ended on a nice punchline, but ultimately it was another of Tom’s scrapped projects.

When asked about the budget for a film such as Guitar Warfare, Tom discussed how YouTube contacted him about making a project for YouTube Comedy Week, giving him a sizable enough budget to fly him to LA to work with Freddie Wong and a crew of people. He explained that it took a lot of people to do that, but argued that it could still have been accomplished with a few less crew members, even joking about what some of the roles credited even were, by saying, “What is a gaffer? What do they do? I don’t even know what that means! Does he tape stuff up all the time?…We have a script supervisor. ‘Yup, that’s a pun’ (laughter).”

On the topic of what he calls his fan base, Tom described how he used to call his viewers Turbo Fans, something that Tom discovered didn’t quite make sense given it was meant to go alongside a website called TurboPunch that didn’t come to fruition. He also gave three points as to why he didn’t want to name his fans: 1) He didn’t like the idea of a collective, 2) He didn’t like the idea of the term “fans”, and 3) The “Turbo” side didn’t make sense. Because of this, Tom decided to just address his videos to “You”. For he felt that there is only really two people involved when watching his videos: Himself, and the individual viewer.

The next video on display was the first couple minutes of a pilot called Crash Zoom, an animation Tom had always wanted to make, but always for one reason or another never quite got made. The problem, usually, was with animators. He told a story of one such problem he had with an animator, whom he had to fire because he wasn’t getting results from them, but said that he felt like it was finally going to see the light of day.

When showing the extract to the audience, Tom explained that it was from the pilot, and obviously a few jokes and elements would be changed in the light of developments over time, but he was very excited to see it be realised.

When asked about what content creators he would love to work with that he hadn’t done so yet, Tom said he would love to work with BriTANicK one day, citing their most recent work – Sexy Pool Party, a video that guest-starred Nathan Fillion – as a highlight as to why he’d love to collaborate with them.

One of the final questions was on Eddsworld, and how Tom felt about it resting on his shoulders after the passing away of his good friend Edd Gould. He said it was an emotionally heavy weight on his shoulders, but after all the efforts so far, he’s looking forward to next month where the team will be working towards making more and more content.

To finish off, Tom showed a final movie that would actually be part of Eddsworld: Tom’s Tales Of…, a series that had existed previously, and was much like asdfmovie before asdfmovie, but for Eddsworld. He said that these videos had longer jokes Tom would probably not use in asdfmovie, and the 6-second clip shown showcased a lot of promise.

Ultimately, Tom gave a Q&A session that was insightful and funny, and even despite taking a tone of TomSka’s “failures” and lost projects, the videos shown showcased the love of the craft, and they all showed that Tom had his heart and his mind in the right place, but things just didn’t quite pan out.

What will be exciting is to see where things do pan out in the future, because if it’s anything like how it is so far with his YouTube channel and other projects, the future of TomSka looks to be a bright and dubstep-fuelled one. 

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