Lightheart



Adventures

051: Orion D. Black is having a blast with Dimension 20

 

Our guest today is Orion D. Black, the Creative Director for Dimension 20 and a game designer with publications on itch.io. Orion has had a huge impact on the TTRPG scene, and it was an absolute honor to have them on the show. We talked about how Orion went from playing D&D to designing their own indie games, to working with the incredible crew of Dimension 20. If you are not familiar with Dimension 20, I’m just gonna do that fangirl thing right now and tell you to stop what you’re doing, go to YouTube or whatever podcasting platform you’re listening to this on, look them up, and add the three free seasons of their shows to your playlist. Then when you’re addicted, you can snag a subscription on their website, Dropout.tv to get access to a whole bunch more amazing stuff. And no, I am not being paid to promote them–they are just my absolute favorite Actual Play group. Orion has been working behind the scenes for quite a few seasons now, so I loved getting just a tiny glimpse into their world. 

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Time Stamps

  • 00:00:00 Introduction & Updates
  • 00:03:51 Orion Introduction
  • 00:08:12 How Orion started working in TTRPGs
  • 00:12:04 Mutants in the Night
  • 00:16:36 Plot Armor
  • 00:19:44 How Orion joined the Dimension 20 team
  • 00:24:47 Helpful tips for working with a cultural consultant
  • 00:26:57 Being the Creative Director for Dimension 20
  • 00:34:43 Are there any challenges or surprises you’ve faced in this role?
  • 00:38:22 Orion’s favorite part is when the season is done.
  • 00:40:55 Orion is just having a great time
  • 00:41:43 Where can people find you?
  • 00:42:18 Wrap-up

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Transcript

Courtney:

Hello & Welcome to Episode 51 of Roll Play Grow, the podcast for tabletop entrepreneurs, creators, and fans. I am Courtney Stover of Lightheart Adventures, and in this podcast, we talk to the creators behind the brands in the tabletop roleplay gaming space about who they are and how they are turning their passion for gaming into a career. 

 

Our guest today is Orion D. Black, the Creative Director for Dimension 20 and a game designer with publications on itch.io. Orion has had a huge impact on the TTRPG scene, and it was an absolute honor to have them on the show. We talked about how Orion went from playing D&D to designing their own indie games, to working with the incredible crew of Dimension 20. If you are not familiar with Dimension 20, I’m just gonna do that fangirl thing right now and tell you to stop what you’re doing, go to YouTube or whatever podcasting platform you’re listening to this on, look them up, and add the three free seasons of their shows to your playlist. Then when you’re addicted, you can snag a subscription on their website, Dropout.tv to get access to a whole bunch more amazing stuff. And no, I am not being paid to promote them–they are just my absolute favorite Actual Play group. Orion has been working behind the scenes for quite a few seasons now, so I loved getting just a tiny glimpse into their world.  

 

If this is your first time tuning in to Roll Play Grow, hello! This podcast is a part of Lightheart Adventures, which is a small company I co-founded with my husband. We also do blogs, one-shots, and maps that you’ll find over on our website, lightheartadventures.com. This podcast updates weekly on Fridays, and I get to chat with so many amazing folks across a wide spectrum of industries within the TTRPG scene, so be sure to subscribe to Roll Play Grow on your favorite podcast player. I’ve got some absolutely AMAZING guests coming up, and you will not want to miss them!

 

Lastly, another way you can help support the show is by checking out our affiliates like the creator behind the most delicious and nerdy tea, Friday Afternoon Tea. Friday makes some truly amazing blends inspired by so many different books, movies, shows, and more. We’ve got plans to swing by her shop in a week, and honestly, I think my list of what teas to replace has gotten a little ridiculous. It’s about 15 teas long, plus I want to pick up the Lord of the Rings sample pack she just released. I’m legitimately obsessed with her tea. To learn more about Friday Afternoon Tea and our other affiliates, go to lightheartadventures.com/ourfavoritetrinkets

 

That is all for now, so sit back and enjoy this conversation with Orion.

 

Courtney: 

Hello friends. It is now time for you to meet an absolutely incredible guest, Orion D. Black, the Creative Director for Dimension 20. Orion, I am so excited that you are here today. How are you?

Orion: 

I’m doing great. How are you?

Courtney: 

Pretty good as well. It’s been a easy kind of Friday, which is always exciting.

Orion: 

That’s good. Easy days are good days.

Courtney: 

Indeed. Well, to kick things off, can you please tell us a little bit about yourself, where you’re from and how you got into gaming?

Orion: 

Well, I I’m from Northern California actually. I’m from the bay area I grew up there. And I got into gaming from mostly just well, I guess video games to start, which really eventually got me towards people who played tabletop role playing games and. I always say that I wish I had a cooler story, but I got into tabletop role playing games because there was a girl I really liked who also liked tabletop role-playing games. And she was really excited and happy when we played. And so I started playing more because why wouldn’t I.

Courtney: 

What was your first TTRPG?

Orion: 

It was D&D and I rolled the natural 20 on an athletics check and she freaked out. From then on, I was like, yeah, I’m going to do this because it makes this person very happy. And It turns out. It made me pretty happy too. So I kept playing.

Courtney: 

That’s awesome. And then what were your first video games?

Orion: 

Oh, geez. I remember getting, I don’t remember getting it, but I remember having Duck Hunt and Super Mario– the combo.

Courtney: 

Okay.

Orion: 

I was really young. I was born in 1990 and I think those games came out I’m like 89 or something like that. But I think that was the, the oldest games I remember owning.

Courtney: 

I was also born in 1990. But we were a Sega family, not Nintendo until honestly recently.

Orion: 

I had a Sega too. I liked my Sega more. I was a big Sonic fan.

Courtney: 

Oh yeah. Sonic was the best. Well, what about these days? What are you playing for video games? Or what campaigns are you in? All that fun stuff.

Orion: 

Video games wise, I’ve been playing a lot of Magic, the Gathering, MTG arena specifically. And a friend of mine got me One Piece Pirate Warriors Four, which is really good. I am a big One Piece fan. And I gave Elden Ring a shot. Ordinary was cool. I don’t have the patience for that type of game anymore though. It’s just not for me anymore. Yeah. I’m actually only in one campaign right now, or I am secretly GMing for a couple of friends. One of which was a forever GM, so I’m very, very happy to be giving them a chance to play as a player. And that’s been a lot of fun.

Courtney: 

What do you mean by you’re secretly GMing? As in it hasn’t started yet or?

Orion: 

Oh, it’s started. I just don’t tell anybody that I play for the most part.

Courtney: 

Okay.

Orion: 

I, I’m so busy working on tabletop role-playing games stuff all the time. That most of the time, I don’t spend my personal time engaging in that stuff. Because like the amount of hours that I end up doing something tabletop role playing game related is really high. So I don’t unwind by like watching Critical Role or anything. Not that they’re not fantastic. They’re great. When people ask like, oh, like he must play in like a bunch of campaigns, no, I don’t. I do a lot of other things. So I don’t, I don’t talk about a lot when I do play. So it’s kind of a secret now, but it’s public now. It’s it’s out there. You got the scoop.

Courtney: 

And thank you for blessing me with the scoop. No, that honestly, that makes a lot of sense that your Career is all around this, and I would imagine wanting to take a break a lot.

Orion: 

I do, I do want to take a break a lot.

Courtney: 

Well, I now feel a little bad asking questions about “tell me about your tabletop career,” but sorry. That’s why here.

Orion: 

[Laughs] No, it’s fine!

Courtney: 

So yes, please tell me what’s the story, like at what point did this transition from something that you did for fun and started because of a girl that you liked and how did that turn into your career?

Orion: 

Well it was all sort of on accident. It just kind of happened. A friend of mine had gotten me a job as a paraprofessional at a a school in San Francisco and while working with him he was doing game design as a hobby. And I was not. I would help him out with some of the stuff that he worked on. Cause he would just like ask if I wanted to play test stuff and stuff like that. So I started working on stuff with him just a little bit, and eventually I started playing– I was playing in a campaign and I just got the itch. So I started making, I made a couple of like alternate races and a new class because something that I am fairly well-known for is like, my approach to Dungeons and Dragons. I have issue with the way that representation isn’t necessarily very fair, accurate to a lot of people. So I started making my own and it was good for a while. I had a lot of interest in expanding from where I was. But at that point, I realized after finishing the project that I’m working from the outside in just wasn’t going to get me the effect that I was looking for. It wasn’t going to get me the actual change that I was looking for. So I needed to like make my own game, like from the roots. So I started doing that a couple months after, and that’s when I came up with the idea for Mutants in the Night. And it is a hack of Blades in the Dark. That worked out really well for the system, the way that things needed to be. So I pursued it and kept working on the game for like two years and I started going to conventions and stuff and it was just kind of a whirlwind. Cuz when I get passionate about something, like I really get into it and tabletop just had a lot of space for me to grow and learn stuff and fight for what I wanted. So I did. And eventually I got a job at WotC (Wizards of the Coast) I worked there for like eight months or something like that, and that went bad. But then after that I had been doing some mostly because of on Twitter. Like I would just I guess I still do, but I talk a lot about my perspectives on tabletop and on actual plays and stuff like that. And it had caught the attention of the Dimension 20 team. And so I had done some consulting for them. So after I was done with my job at WotC, they hit me up to do some consulting for them in a larger scope. And I did that for like six months and then they hired me as Creative Director and then I’ve been there ever since.

Courtney: 

Okay. Believe me, we are going to dig into a lot of the things that you just talked about, but guess to go in order then, yeah. I mean, I would love to learn a bit more about Mutants in the Night and Plot Armor. So for any listeners that aren’t familiar with, either of those games, just maybe a little bit more about what they are, and then I will probably dig into some questions around how you designed them.

Orion: 

Yeah, for sure. Mutants in the Night is a game about the intersectionality and marginalization and how there’s a lot of different ways that we physically and mentally express those marginalized identities when we are Like playing games together. There are a lot of different ways that like it comes out in tabletop games and I guess just in general. So when when I was creating the game, I had the approach of like, oh, I want, I want there to be space for black people to feel really comfortable in this game and in this setting and to explore things that are like specifically black, but at the same time, there’s the intersections of other marginalizations that are just as important. It took me a while to kind of like figure it out, but X-Men was like the thing that broke the code for me, that was just like, Hey, if you want to talk about people’s different marginalized backgrounds and how those things manifest, the mutant metaphor is perfect. They’ve been doing it for years. So like use that and it’s worked perfectly for me. So what I figured was to make the game about trying to get by in a world that is against you honestly, and to see what sort of like challenges and aspirations and aspects of your person are reflected in your culture and in your hobbies and all that sort of stuff, just like through and through. So it’s more of an experience that is collective of more aspects of yourself than just like, are you strong or do you have some ability to like destroy something or create something. It’s much more about who you are as a person. And so when you ask that question of like, what is your power look like? That it’s reflective of all of those aspects of who you are and not just something that is functional.

Courtney: 

Tell me a little bit about what it was like to create this game. What kind of steps were you taking to get there and what has it been like since it published?

Orion: 

Making it was pretty awesome because it was a lot of help from people who had been making games for longer than I had. People who are like still friends to this day who have helped me learn about game design, but also helped me like find my own space and find my own voice in the community which has been super influential. And a lot of my time figuring out all of the aspects of what I wanted in the game just came from me experiencing time with these other people who were at all different levels of game design themselves and wanted to help and support and see what I would end up coming up with. So it was a, it was a fun time that was like heavily community-based and that helped me figure out what I wanted to do with the game itself while it was being made. Since there are so many reflections of like one’s own personal, like theirself their hobbies, the people that they hang out with, since those are all aspects of the game that like community was a very big aspect of how I was figuring out how to how to make it. So it was a pretty big deal.

Courtney: 

Yeah. Sorry. Did you say that you got connected with them through the friend that you were kind of helping out or did you meet them some other way?

Orion: 

I met them. I met most of my friends in tabletop role playing games spaces, just from Asking around. Yeah, that’s mostly how that ended up happening.

Courtney: 

yeah, I I feel that, I feel like I have better friends on Twitter that I’ve never met than. Well, granted, I just moved here, but still.

Orion: 

Yeah, no, I vibe with that. I did make some really, really good friends on Twitter, who I still hang out with to this day. So I’m glad for them,

Courtney: 

Yeah. And then what about Plot Armor?

Orion: 

Plot armor just happened. I was sleeping and I woke up one day and was just perusing Twitter. And it was the last day of a, of a game jam. And game jams were like absurdly popular at the time or game jams were just happening every day. And I couldn’t keep up with any of what was going on. So like on itch.io. There was just a huge level of interaction going on between designers so that the game period posted on there this time, it was the last day of a sad MEK jam. So you make a game that’s about like sad gundams basically. And I, had an idea. It just kind of came to me out of nowhere and others just like, Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if this game existed? And then I remembered I make games so I can just make it myself. And so I got up, and I just made it that morning. I just thought it would be a cool idea if it was a journaling game then went through like episodes, episodic that looked at things that have happened, looked at the past. In groups. So that, like what happens is you roll the dice and it tells you how many episodes have passed. And then you start writing from that point about the episode that have just passed. So it’s a way to where everything is introspective and everything that’s coming from, like our narrator. And eventually you have to go through the experience of what happens with the second dice, which is just like what happens with your, your Armour, which is your Mech and how it saved your life in the last instance of a catastrophe really. And that’s how the game works. Yeah, it really just kind of came out of nowhere and it’s my most popular game. People love it. And I’m very fortunate.

Courtney: 

Is it bad that it gives me Evangelion vibes?

Orion: 

No, that’s totally, that’s totally up the street. Yeah. Like I wanted it to have a little bit of just the core of emotional mech stuff going on, because it’s always that the Mech is never just a Mech. The Mech is always somebody’s emotions or the physical manifestation of some person or something like that. Like, it’s always something. So I want it to just hit like as many beats as possible so I’d give people the opportunity to be like, oh, this does feel like X and that’ll be like a good direction to guide them into playing how they want to play.

Courtney: 

Yeah, that’s cool. And I just loved that. You’re like, well, I was sleeping and then I felt like writing a game. So I did that day.

Orion: 

That is exactly what happened. Yes.

Courtney: 

I love it. Well, I want to pivot a bit and just talk about Dimension 20 and dive a little bit more into that journey. So I suppose I should start with the question that in case somehow one of my listeners, I don’t know, maybe my Mom’ll listen one day or something, is not familiar with Dimension 20, Can you please give us a little bit of a synopsis on what that amazing group show is? And then we’ll dive into your work as a consultant or how it started as a consultant.

Orion: 

Yeah. Deminsion 20 is, an anthology show that usually plays Dungeons Dragons. And it is created by College Humor Media who is mostly known for the College Humor YouTube channel that it’s been super popular for over a decade. Mostly because of the sketch comedy that was aimed towards like college aged individuals that they did for a really long time and sometimes still do. And so This one guy, Brennan Lee Mulligan, decided to make a, a D&D show with a bunch of his friends from mostly College Humor. And it became widely popular on the internet. And it’s been around for 20 seasons or something at this point. Now it’s like a million seasons.

Courtney: 

Perfect. Thank You for humoring me on that. I felt a little silly asking, cause obviously I know, and I feel like most of my listeners will also know, but you never know.

Orion: 

You never know

Courtney: 

And I just said the word “know” way too many times. it’s fine.

Orion: 

It was different kinds of nos.

Courtney: 

True.

Courtney: 

So you said that you started off doing some consulting work, so, as much as you’re able to explain. I would like to know what that looked like.

Orion: 

Yeah, it was just some, it was some really basic stuff. Like first it was just like some cultural consulting, like Hey, can you double check my work on this” pretty much was what was coming from Brennan at the time? It was like the first time that we had ever spoken or anything, it was just like a cool 30 minute, hour long conversation about something; I forget. I know it was Unsleeping City season two, or maybe. I don’t remember. It was a long time ago. There’ve been a lot of seasons since, but it, it went really well. I was very impressed because I’d been doing some consulting on the side for a couple of years at that point. And people are usually very bad at it because they don’t know what questions to ask and like aren’t very prepared in the way make it easier for consultants to be able to do the job. So Brennan had done a great job and that was first thing that like had caught my attention, and it was really nice to be able to talk about not only the cultural aspects of what we were talking about, but also like creative aspects of the show and have my opinion, like very much be important to the whole thing. So that was a good time. Then six months passes or some amount of time. And I had gotten a call for another consult and it went just about the same way. It was just a whole lot of like forethought and very like attentive listening and. It’s just a good time. And at the end of it all by that time, it was just Brennan and I had kind of become fans of each other’s work. And so it was really easy to later on just like transition into doing more creative work together. It was just after after I was with WotC for like eight months or so I had availability for work. Then Brennan said like, hit me up. Let’s talk. And he’s told me about what was going on with the company and how they needed somebody who knows tabletop role playing games and has like that eye for entertainment and actual plays and like knows where the future is going with all this kind of stuff. I was like, I kind of fit that bill. And so I started working on… hmm. Pirates of Leviathan? I think was the first season I started working on it and then six months later they brought me on as a Creative Director and I’ve been working there ever since happily.

Courtney: 

Okay! I want to circle back to something that you said because I’m just super curious. So you mentioned that you really appreciated that first consulting call because Brennan was asking the right questions and was being really open. So what is an example of the type of questions that you’d want to be asked as a consultant, like a cultural consultant? What’s a good way for someone to be able to prepare for that conversation?

Orion: 

Oh, that’s really just like having done your research and knowing what the problems you’re looking for are. An example would be like like if somebody has given you an empty Mine Sweeper board, And it just, anything you click on could be anything. It doesn’t even have any of the blank spaces gotten an out of the way. You don’t have any notifiers for how close or far away you are from a potential mine. Then that’s what most cultural consulting gigs are like. It’s like, oh, I haven’t done any work yet. I just want to know if I did a bad thing. Well, that’s not particularly helpful for anybody because like you haven’t dived into anything. So like knowing when there are things that or if there are specific things that you’re worried about, there is a better understanding of what sort of potential pitfalls that you’re looking at, and you can guide someone in a direction of saying, like, here’s what I’ve been thinking about. Here’s the things that like, obviously I care enough to have done a baseline amount of research beforehand to know that there is some kind of an issue here. Guide me on that. That’s the kind of work that people enjoy doing, because it gives you an actual direction and the like shows that that the person really genuinely cares about the issue.

Courtney: 

Yeah. that makes sense. That’s definitely cool to hear that they were respectful and receptive, like right from the get-go.

Orion: 

Yeah. They do their homework. I should say we now, I guess. We do our homework best we can, and like put a lot of effort into things so that people aren’t just like thrown into the wind.

Courtney: 

Mhm. Okay, so you, after a little while of working in other ways you became the Creative Director. So I know this was several seasons ago, but about how long ago, time-wise?

Orion: 

It was. It’s April. So it was a year and two months ago.

Courtney: 

awesome. So please tell me, what does the Creative Director for Dimension 20 do?

Orion: 

That is a common question that I keep trying to come up with better answers for, as I go along. What I do is basically, I don’t think that people know that when you’re working in a big production, that most people only do their own one job. And so it’s not like when you’re doing something privately, like you’re the director, you’re the Creative Director. You’re the Writer. All these things. And so you are this constant that is carried throughout all different phases of the production of this thing. But when you’re working in like a larger space, there’s a pre production phase and production phase and the post-production phase. And in these phases, people are just doing their independent job. There isn’t someone who’s like carrying the torch between each one of these independent phases. Unless there’s like a Creative Director. And Creative Director is the person who goes: hey, this is what we’re making to everybody all the time. Preproduction: it’s like, oh, Hey, here’s the season that we’re going to have. Here’s the GM that we’re going to have. Here are the themes that we’re going to have. Here’s the writing that we’re going to do. Here is the sort of art style that we want, or like theme, all sorts of things that we’re like trying to lean toward stuff like that. And then during production, it is a lot of just overseeing so much stuff a lot of little details of everything. Like for everything to remain consistent with the overall vision of the creation and what has been planned out for it, because like you’re coming on set and you’re working with a bunch of people who were not working in pre-production. They are the production teams. So Making sure that their vision and their work is working towards what has been planned before and what you’re planning on, what will come next. And so it’s a lot of stuff. And it’s the same thing in post-production, as it’s just here we go into the next room with the next group of people who are like, okay, what’s the season? What are we doing? All this sort of stuff. And you’re like, okay, well, this is the season; here’s what’s happened so far. Here’s what we’re trying to get. So it really is like being in control of the overall direction of the creative aspect of the project.

Courtney: 

Yeah, that is a lot. And I’ve, I mean, I would imagine it would be a really fun, overwhelming, and cool to have a lot of different stuff all of the time.

Orion: 

It is. I’m answering like a thousand questions all the time and answering them with emails and doing a bunch of review and stuff. It’s there are so many different aspects to my work that it’s never boring. It’s always like, Hey, there’s another part of the process is like up now. And it’s time for you to do this part of the process.

Courtney: 

How does your job change throughout the cycle of a season?

Orion: 

Oh, well, in a, a lot of, lot of tiny, different ways. But I would say that like, it mostly stays the same if you look at it far away enough, but I’m just, I’m thinking of how every one decision we make in a particular phase is going to affect something else later down the line. And if the, if we’re going to be remaining consistent, In the way that we want to, or that we’ve been planning to throughout. So sometimes that looks like at the beginning going, okay, well, here’s what our themes are for this season. What does that mean for what graphics are gonna look like in post-production later. That’s something that most people they don’t care about. It’s not their job. For me, it’s like, okay, that’s something that actually stacks up. And like has to come together at some point. So then after we go through like the middle of production, having that thing in the back of my mind or written somewhere, really just to the back of my mind, I don’t write things down. There’s just like more potential, every creative idea that’s brought together and stack together. Cause like, while I am the Creative Director, I’m not the only creative, like everyone’s collaborating that they’re still; there are a lot of new elements of the creation that are coming together that I then get to piece together kind of like Tetris and decide. I’m like, how is this going to come together into something, if it’s going to come together into something at all? Like, is this just something that just happens? And it’s cool and much appreciated, but it doesn’t change anything. Or does this open up a brand new potential possibility for something in a different phase? There’s a lot to it and it’s, it’s a lot of just my own judgment.

Courtney: 

How do y’all decide if it’s going to be like another season of, you know, something like Fantasy High or Unsleeping City, or, I mean, really just any of the existing ones, or if you’re going to start a new storyline, like what all goes into that?

Orion: 

That’s a pretty easy one. It’s… That’s mostly, I’m like everybody kind of looking around the table going, Hey, what do you want to do? Brennan has stuff that he wants to do, specifically if he’s like, oh, I really want to do this kind of a season or he’ll have something where he’ll have talked to the Intrepid Heroes cast and are like, Hey What are y’all interested in doing next? Or a lot of the time I’ll be like, Hey, I have a GM that I really want to have on the show. It’s stuff like that. It’s always just everyone going like, Hey, what do you want to do next? What’s cool. What, what like weird ideas do y’all have. And so we go through and we pitch just like a bunch of ideas as to like a lot of the time I’ll have some concept that I’m like, Hey, I want. I like wrote the concept for the season that I really want to do. We’ll put that on the table and then figure out like, oh, is there a GM that we really want to have paired with this concept? Or like, no, do we just really want to have a GM? And then we’ll figure out the concept later, all sorts of stuff. It’s just everyone having a good time being like, Hey, what, what is awesome? And what’s going to be really fun.

Courtney: 

That sounds fun. That sounds like a really cool and collaborative environment for sure.

Orion: 

It very much is.

Courtney: 

How far ahead of time is this happening? And like when it is filming time, is this all within a set week? Is it spread out? What does the actual production process look like?

Orion: 

Oh, that’s just like; it’s heavily dependent on just what people’s schedules are like. If we’re flying somebody out or not. It’s, it’s heavily dependent on all that kind of stuff. So when for example, like Aabria has done a season and a special with us. Aabria lives in LA, so our shooting schedule can be a lot different. If it needs to be like two episodes a weekend or something like that, then that’s totally possible. But when we have somebody who they get flown out, for some reason, it might be that we have to do like four shoot days, each one with two episodes, every other day or something like that, or a couple, a couple of days in a row and then a break and then a couple more days, whatever it happens to be. So it’s highly flexible.

Courtney: 

Is there anything about this role that now that you’ve been in it for, I believe you said 14 months, that has just been, I don’t know, like more challenging that you’ve kind of had to overcome or just, or maybe surprising that you just didn’t expect?

Orion: 

Not really. Nothing that, that’s like super grand or like a lot of little things. For example, I am working with a production studio and I don’t have a lot of experience doing that in comparison to the other people who have been doing this for, at the very least like four or five years. And so for me it’ll be like, oh, this is a brand new first time experience for me doing something in particular. Which can be pretty interesting but really It’s it’s kind of the fact that like, everything that we’re doing is so all the time. I mean, like not just new for us, but just stuff that hasn’t been done in actual plays before, that it’s never like we’re charting ground that is known and comfortable. One of the parts of us doing new things, is that like, while we’re getting good at the aspects that we’ve done before, a new aspect of something changes everything completely. Like there’s always something that is now to be considered that wasn’t to be considered before. So when we sit down at a table and go, Hey, let’s do this cool new thing, even if it’s something that might appear small to the viewers, even just for a small bit more production value, it can really change a lot. It’s like, oh, well now we have to use a different camera set up. And because we have to use a different camera set up, we have to move the walls a little bit. Because we have to move the walls a little bit, that affects the lighting in this particular way. Now it affects the lighting, then that means that we have to edit in a particular way. It cascades in this huge way to where a lot of the time when, when somebody has a question, when they’re like, oh, Hey, I want to do something, there’s an aspect of like, Hey, is this cool and will this look awesome? And then there’s the aspect of does this, on a technical level, destroy the world? Like, is this something we can actually pull off? And a lot of the time, like we come very close to destroying the world or it’s just like, can we do this? It’s like, you can, yes. Should uh, I don’t know, but then we pull it off and it’s sick and someone goes, oh, that’s cool like at the end of the day, but for us, it’s like, holy shit, we did it! That makes it really fun.

Courtney: 

Yeah, i, obviously this is on a much smaller scale, but I can, I can empathize a little, like I’m a stage manager. And so it is funny how, like the tiniest design decisions can just impact the whole set and you’re like, well, shit. Like, I just want it to move like two inches, but now I have to move all of these other things.

Orion: 

Right.

Courtney: 

It keeps it interesting? Hopefully.

Orion: 

It does. My work is not monotonous in like, anyway. So I don’t find myself getting bored. And then like, if there’s any process that’s less fun than another part of the process, because it’s still a job. It’s just how it is. It’s not going to be there for that long, like it’s onto the next project and on to the the next production, the next idea, whatever it happens to be.

Courtney: 

Yeah. Is there anything that you would consider, like your favorite part of the process? Like something that you look forward to with every new season?

Orion: 

When we’re done. uh, Pretty legitimately it’s like, I love all of it. It’s fantastic. And there are parts that I like more than other parts, but straight up when we’re finished with something. Like we did it. And it’s, that’s the most wild thing there is. I’m one of the few people who gets to sit and think up the idea and just have it be like some junk in my brain to then being like, we just did a whole season of Dimension 20. We had a bunch of actors and a bunch of crew members and hair and makeup, and like all of these brainstorm sessions and casting and all these things happen. And then it goes on TV and it’s like, yo, I straight up, I was a part of that whole thing. And then it’s just done the next thing, you know. And for me, and usually for like the crew in general, it’s one of these things where you… You get to see like all of this stuff happened, but because we’re working on like the next thing, the next thing, the next thing there, isn’t really a pause moment where we go, we sit back and we go like, oh, it is complete. And like, look, people are gonna freak out and like have a great time. For me, it’s just like, oh, we finished the review on last episode of last season. Great. I have other things to do. But when, when people watch the series and like tweet or something, or comment in the discord or whatever it is, and they’re like, That was freaking amazing. The editors are doing such amazing work. So, and so is doing this or that, that’s the kind of stuff that like slows it down and we’re like, Hey wait. Like, no, we did it. It was incredible. We had a great time. We learned a lot of stuff and now Look at what we did. I’m like, is anybody else doing the wild, crazy shit that we’re doing? No, that’s so cool. Like, I don’t know. So there are these moments, but just show up sometimes that are just good reminders that it’s like, Hey, still it’s it’s it was all real. It was all a really good time.

Courtney: 

That has to be just the coolest feeling. That’s, that’s awesome. I’m so glad that you got into this. Well as we start to wind down, whether it’s related to this job or any of your personal projects, are there any upcoming projects or goals that you are excited about that you’re allowed to talk about?

Orion: 

Oh No,

Courtney: 

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Orion: 

I can’t talk about anything, but just know that I’m having a great time and I’m excited for a lot of stuff. When there are announcements for things. just know that when the announcement drops, I’m very happy that it did. But. Yeah, I’m just having a blast over here doing my thing. And I just, when people are enjoying the show and the work that like I contributed to it, honestly that like anybody, any part of the team contributed to, it’s just joy over here. So thank you.

Courtney: 

Well, perfect. If people want to find you, and you know, so that way they know when you are able to, express this joy in a more solid form where should they go?

Orion: 

They can go to twitter.com/orion D black. That is where I do the talking.

Courtney: 

Perfect. I will have that linked in the show notes. Orion. Thank you for coming on today. This was really cool and thanks for letting me ask all of these questions about what you do, even though you talk about it all of the time.

Orion: 

Well for sure. Thank you for having me.

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