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You did it: you brought back MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000! Thanks to you, MST3K shot FOURTEEN NEW EPISODES in 2016, including a new holiday special, and returned in 2017 on Netflix!
You did it: you brought back MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000! Thanks to you, MST3K shot FOURTEEN NEW EPISODES in 2016, including a new holiday special, and returned in 2017 on Netflix!
48,270 backers pledged $5,764,229 to help bring this project to life.

That's a PRODUCTION WRAP on Season 12! Joel's report on shooting PLUS… the SEASON 12 PLEDGE DRIVE starts THURSDAY at 10am PT!

Posted by Ivan Askwith (Collaborator)
224 likes

Dear MST3K Revival League,

How's it going? It's Joel again, back after a pretty busy month! But it was all worth it, because I'm really pleased to share some good news with you:

We've finished shooting Mystery Science Theater 3000, Season 12 and we're already done editing a Director's Cut of the new season!

Now, I've got to say, it was really fun getting our on-set crew back together for the new season. Our production partner, Abominable Pictures, assembled a really wonderful and talented group of folks last time, so I was very happy that so many of them decided to return for Season 12.

In Hollywood, it's actually sort of unusual to get most of the same crew back together each time, because so many people get tied up with other projects and shoots. But my impression is that, even though Season 11 was a very intense and demanding shoot, everyone involved had a lot of fun, liked the finished product, and wanted to be part of doing it again.

Also, I really have to tell you: having so much of our Season 11 crew back made things a lot easier this time around. There are a lot of unusual details about shooting a show like MST3K, and last time, we needed to figure out a lot of it as we went, and there was some extra work involved to help everyone understand the vision, and how to make so much of the show work "in camera" – meaning, to shoot exactly what we wanted in the studio, rather than trying to do most of the work after production, in editing, like a lot of other shows would.

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But even though we had most of our Season 11 crew again, there was one very important person who we just couldn't get back this time: our wonderful co-director from last season, Rob Cohen, who was already tied up directing Stan Against Evil – a great series from our friend (and former MST3K writer) turned showrunner Dana Gould. When we realized the schedule wasn't going to work out this time, Rob and I spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out the right replacement for him – and when he suggested Rob Schrab, I knew he was the perfect choice.

A Few Words About Rob Schrab

So yeah: Rob Schrab, if you don’t already know, is this incredibly multi-talented guy. He created this long-running, proto-punk comic book series called Scud: The Disposable Assassin, and has written and directed for a ton of great shows, including The Sarah Silverman Program, Children's Hospital and Community. (And speaking of Community, Schrab is also pretty famous for his long-time collaborations with Dan Harmon, with whom he co-created the influential monthly short film showcase Channel 101.) And I'll also have you know, Schrab was a remote writer on MST3K back in the day: when he was about 24, he was one of the writers on Santa Claus Conquers the Martians!

I knew he'd be a perfect fit, and I have to tell you: as our Season 12 co-director, Schrab just killed it. He has this hilarious attitude and shrill voice that helped keep everything moving, even though the set had a real "back to summer camp" atmosphere this time around. He did a fantastic job "running the floor," and made quick work of our ambitious schedule.

Anyway, I’m so pleased to tell you that the Season 12 shoot went beautifully, and that our marvelous cast, crew and creative team have done it again. And this next season, I’m happy to report, holds some of our best work – and crummiest movies – yet.

We can't share too many images from set yet, but I did ask Jonah and Schrab to shoot a quick hello with me just after we finished the last shot:

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After the shoot, I stayed in LA for about a week and we went straight into editing. It's always so satisfying to see the show come together on the screen, and I think you’ll be able to see how our cast and crew and creative team are getting even better at making the show. 

The new episodes are looking terrific. Your feedback has been really useful as well, and without revealing any spoilers I hope you’ll find some of your suggestions manifested in the new season.

Of course, even though we're finished shooting the new season, things haven't slowed down much at all. I'm back in the Alternaversal offices now, and things are as busy as ever.

For one thing, we're still involved in post-production on the episodes, and now we're also getting deep into writing and planning our MST3K LIVE 30th Anniversary Tour for later this fall. The shows are selling pretty fast, so if you want to see Jonah Heston, Joel Robinson and our screwy robot companions riffing live on stage, you might want to grab your tickets now.

And, of course, there's the little matter of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 comics. If you've been waiting for more details about our comic book with Dark Horse, be sure to keep an eye on your email over the next week, because I've got something to share with you before San Diego Comic-Con starts next weekend. More on that soon.

The Season 12 Pledge Drive

Before our team gets back to work planning MST3K LIVE in a few minutes, I wanted to say a few more words about the "MST3K Season 12 Pledge Drive" that I announced last month, since I know a lot of you have questions about it.

The SEASON 12 PLEDGE DRIVE will launch this Thursday, JULY 12, at 10:00 am Pacific Time, and it will run until AUGUST 13.

Now, there are three important things I’d like to share about why we're doing this:

1. You told us you loved being more involved during Season 11.

The most important reason for the Pledge Drive is because we've gotten hundreds of emails and comments and tweets from members of the MST3K Revival League over the last year or two, telling us how much you enjoyed the Kickstarter experience, and being more involved with production, and getting some of the neat rewards we offered – and, most of all, how much you enjoyed knowing that you were an important part of the show getting made!

2. We loved having you more involved during Season 11.

You already know this, but MST3K has always been kind of unique, and we've done things differently than most other shows. And you know, my favorite thing about the Kickstarter isn't just that we got to bring Mystery Science Theater back, but how we got to do it: with you. We got to make the show with, and for, the people who actually loved it most.

When we started the Kickstarter, I didn't realize how special that experience would be, or how wonderful it would be to have fans join us during production, or at the premieres. But it was: creating Season 11 with you didn't just make the show possible, it made it better. The shoot was more fun with fans on set, laughing at jokes. We've gotten so many messages about how it felt good to be part of something – and hey, we felt the same way.

That's why...

3. We want you to have the option to get involved again, if you want!

When we really thought about this season, we all knew we wanted to find ways to keep some of that experience going, and to make the process fun for everyone who wanted to keep going with us. And we also knew that there were plenty of MSTies, old and new, who missed out last time, and didn't get to be part of the fun. So, it was important to us to offer another chance.

But here’s the big thing I want you to know: I don't want you to feel like you have to keep making pledges to support Mystery Science Theater, you already #BroughtBackMST3K and we are so grateful. But the truth is, your support still makes a very important difference.

Every new pledge will be used to help us keep Mystery Science Theater healthy, and allow us to take MST3K into the future... plus you’ll get some cool rewards in return!

But yeah, the most important thing, whether you decide to pledge or not, is that we're so grateful that you gave us the chance to bring back MST3K, and we're excited that you're still here with us.

Anyway, that's all for today. If you want to be sure you get one of the really limited rewards this time, be sure to look for an email (and check our Kickstarter updates) on Thursday morning at 10am!

And as always, thanks for everything.

Cheers & Thanks,

Joel

Comments

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    1. Missing avatar

      Karin Lane on

      Just shut up and take my money, Joel.

    2. Johnny W on

      @godzfire I think it was just them finding their feet, but I know what you mean. I'm sure the live shows they've done together have helped gel this new family. Looking forward to Season 12! (I hope they're not short episodes :-/ )

    3. Joseph MacKie on

      I'm sorry, what?

      You already got the money from Netflix right? You surely don't need anything from us? And seeing what you spent the budget on in the last season? Cringey celebrity cameos, special effects that took away from the charm... I don't think you need me to pledge.

      I might consider it if this new season slows down it's riffs and the robot voice actors put in a bit more effort to not just sound like Jonah.

    4. Joe Lawler on

      @Madjo, you can buy DRM-free copies of season 11 from RiffTrax.com.

    5. Mario Villanueva
      Superbacker
      on

      I'm there for the pledge drive with all my shiny pennies!

    6. Jeffrey McDonald on

      I enjoyed Season 11, and thought it actually got better as episodes went on. Looking forward to another season, seeing what tweaks and adjustments were made, and enjoying the show. Excited for the pledge drive and keeping us involved. One suggestion: With Cinematic Titanic, I was skeptical at first, but the live DVDs were so incredibly enjoyable. It'd be neat, once you get enough under your belt, if you released an MST3K live series. Maybe as a bonus season or as special DVDs/blus/downloads?

    7. Missing avatar

      Patti E. on

      Yay for season 12 being in the can! Can't wait to see it! And can't wait to see you in New Haven this fall! Thanks for everything, Joel!

    8. Tracey Gaughran on

      Please come to Baltimore! I've been a fan since the 80s and an old school Info Club member, so last year's tour was one of the highlights of the year for me. Was bummed to see we're not included in this year's tour. Why you no love Baltimore, Joel? *cries* :(

    9. MadJo
      Superbacker
      on

      When will these episodes be viewable outside of the English speaking part of Netflix? Fans in The Netherlands have no legal means of watching this, and that sucks!

    10. Gene Savage on

      OK, now I want to see Joel, Jonah, and The Bots host Saturday Night Live!!!

    11. bonuswavepilot
      Superbacker
      on

      Huh, so that's what Cheapy Peepy looks like!

    12. Heidi Ruff on

      So excited for the new season! Got my tix for the live tour which sounds like a hoot. Getting these Kickstarter updates are a great heads-up. I truly wonder what an MST3K comic would be like... I'll be waiting eagerly, moon mug in hand, for the new season!

    13. Ralph Carusillo on

      Yay!! I can’t wait for season 12... and the two live shows my two friends and I are going to see in NYC! And I have a VIP ticket for the first show!! Proud to be a backer and see all the wonderfulness that has sprung from it. Thanks for the update, Joel.

    14. jt4703 on

      Any chance one of the pledge rewards is a recording of last years live shows? I couldn't make it to either and would love an opportunity to see them.

    15. Missing avatar

      Paul Foth on

      What amount do we have to pledge to get the Celtic Thunder on Mars DVD AND the tote bag?

    16. Missing avatar

      Gator Girl on

      It was so nice of them to start the pledge drive on my birthday. Joel's so thoughtful (tee hee).

    17. Paul Rabogliatti on

      @Harold I think the pledge drive is all about keeping all the MSTies engaged with the show and feeling like they are a part of it (which we all are). Plus, it's just plain fun to get Kickstarter stuff in the mail and they like the excitement it generates.

    18. Robert Kowalczyk on

      Love the show, love the video. Who played Trump? See ya in Orlando!

    19. Stig Høgset on

      Pledge drive, huh? Does that mean I can get season 12 on Bluray just like I did season 11?

    20. GodzFire on

      @Johnny W if that is true, I apologize for that point to the Joel and the crew. I was hearing (and reading) it both ways so I wasn't sure what to believe. I can't put my finger on it, but there's just something different about how the 'in theater' stuff feels compared to the previous series (besides the different people of course).

    21. Missing avatar

      Harold on

      Glad to see there is a Season 12. As for the pledge drive, I'm left a bit confused as to whether or not you need our contributions to actually continue on with the show or if it just helps a bit. You did state that it would help keep the show 'healthy' which left me thinking would it be on life support without this pledge drive? If it were really a matter of the show continuing, I'd donate for sure, of course, as I did for the reboot. I'm thinking if Netflix backs this show, then why is a pledge drive needed at all. Please advise.

    22. Johnny W on

      Ugh. Can we put the “they recorded separately” myth to bed. They did NOT record separately! They were together in a studio. It must be so frustrating for them to read the same myth repeated, over and over.

      While we’re at it, the puppeteers they used were from Jim Henson Studios — the best in the business. (Although I don’t know why Crow’s were so static — he looks so much expressive in the older shows where he eyes moved around a lot).

      Season 11 was produced under an incredibly tight schedule. My one hope is that 12 allowed them more space to breathe.

      Great article here:
      https://nerdist.com/mystery-science-theater-3000-jonah-ray-baron-vaughn-hampton-yount-mst3k/

    23. Paul Rabogliatti on

      Spoiler!...Jonah is "apparently" still alive for season 12. *smirk* Can't wait to see Kickstarter and the new season. Any word on when pictures from the on-set visit will be posted? Will see you next on the Live Tour. Tickets bought!

    24. Johnny W on

      What’s this about a Director’s Cut? Does that just mean an early rough cut or something more?

      I sure hope there’s more camera angles this time, either way. It’s strange as a new fan to go back to older episodes and for them to be more dynamic!

      Tremendously looking forward to Season 12!!!

    25. Rebecca Gill on

      We are so excited for Season 12. While we are semi-nervous about the new format, we know Joel would never do anything to make MST3K unrecognizable to it's fans.

      For the pledge rewards... may I request bringing back the MST3K Moon Mug? I still regret not getting one last time.

    26. The14th on

      Robot Bastard still holds a special place in my heart, so I'm glad to see Rob working with MST3K!

    27. Brian Slivka
      Superbacker
      on

      If you gave me the ability to choose the MST3K co-director for Season 12, I couldn’t have hand-picked some better than Schrab. Probably because I would have picked Schrab.

    28. GodzFire on

      I'll be honest: The original MST3K as a show (especially the Mike era for me) was one of the most funny things I've seen in my life, and one of the few shows that genuinely made me laugh. I loved it, I treasured it. When Season 11 came around I was excited, but cautious as I just had this feeling there were going to be too many changes.

      I hate to say it, but upon starting to watch the first episode, my fears were realized. This was not the same show I knew. Whereas before I would inhale every new episode the moment it came on, and not believe how quickly that ~100 minutes would go, this new season had me feeling like it was going on forever, and frequently checking out how much longer the episode was. I started with watching full episodes, to making it through maybe halfway and getting bored and resuming another day, to finally...and I can’t believe I’m saying this, partway through Starcrash just stop watching all together and didn’t finish the rest of the season. It just wasn’t enjoyable, and that truly made me sad.

      The reasons why for me:
      1 - Too fast and frequent riffing: This, by far, was the crux of the issue for me. It was just like they HAD to say something every 5 seconds, whether there was material on screen or not, and felt so forced that the quality of the riffs suffered immensely, and even when there was a good riff, it was immediately steamrolled over. The old show allowed it’s riffs to breathe and step back until there was something in the movie worth riffing, and gave viewers the chance to let those riffs sink in.

      2 - Separately recording parts instead of as a group: Also an important factor that this season changed was having Jonah & the bots record their lines separately, not in the same location, or even controlling the bots! As it stands, part of the charm and what made the old series great was Joel or Mike & the bots played off each other in real time, as it was happening. It allowed for great, natural interaction and reactions that was essential in capturing that special “it” factor of the show. Yes, there were mistakes sometimes and it was I’m sure more challenging doing it all live and on the fly, but what’s what made it REAL, and another component that Season 11 lacked.

      3- No “Shaky Cam” host segments: Please don’t do that for the host segments. It just causes a distraction from what’s going on and can make people dizzy and nauseous who have motion sickness issues.

      Don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly happy that MST3K is back alive again. It’s exactly that love and passion for the show and what it means to me why I hope changes addressing these critical issues can and will be taken for future episodes and (hopefully) seasons. Now....I really should relax....

    29. Andy Nifong on

      Can't wait guys. I've been binge watching so many things I've darn near ran out of streaming shows and movies to watch. The wait is excruciating X-D.

    30. Missing avatar

      Kevin Trombly on

      Are the episodes going to be chopped down to 90 minutes again? That seemed like a pretty strange limitation given the broadcasting medium...

    31. Kevin R. on

      July 12th to August 13th should give us plenty of time to cause some dam, err, help fulfill out positive destiny of...of..more show, yeah. ;)

    32. Joe Littrell on

      On the subject of comic books, the Mystery Science Theater 3000 comic book from Dark Horse comics has become available for pre-order. If you've got a Friendly Local Comic Store, tell them you like to have the book pulled for you - Diamond Code JUL180423.

    33. Missing avatar

      atom8bit on

      How much time will we have to pledge? I want to make sure I can chip in as much as possible!!!

    34. Kevin R. on

      Well 'flix graciously gave us a season 12 and if we can give the next season a fair shot in the arm, by hedging a little, I'm in. :) Pledge Drive - we know what that means: Season Box Sets, maybe coffee mugs, calendars and something(s) other that are/is silly. ;)

    35. Philip Stephens on

      Sorry for butchering your name, though!

    36. Philip Stephens on

      @Garret: Yes, Felicia and Patton are back for season 12.

    37. Gordon Snow on

      Sprucing up the ole banking account in preparation for the Pledge Drive!

      Movie sign!!!!!

    38. James "Super Saiyan" Huffman on

      Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Very excited.

    39. Missing avatar

      Sam Locke on

      I love that Rob Schrab is involved! Love SCUD, and had no idea he wrote on SCCTM! This makes me even more excited!

    40. Missing avatar

      Garett Auriemma on

      Did Felicia and Patton both return, as well? Was TV's Son of TV's Frank's shame at ruining Kinga's wedding too much to bear? Or did Kinga feed him to Reptilicus Metallicus?

    41. Deana Dolphin on

      Thank you for the update!!! Can't wait for the pledge drive!!

    42. Stephen Cross on

      Haha if there’s rewards I’ll pledge. I was like nah til that point