Fanficisode: Riffing on The Incredible Petrified World (Voting closed)

UPDATE: We are now in the voting stage, at least until early September. We are finished collecting riffs, but you can still join to vote for your favourite ones to assemble the final script. Message me for access to the Google sheet with a Google account to join.

Come join the fun as we gang-write riffs of the helpless (yet deserving) movie, The Incredible Petrified World!

Use this YouTube video to keep the timings synchronized with everyone else.

Direct Message me with a Google account to gain access to the Google sheet we are using. It has a movie script with times to help with organization.

This post is still a great place to get feedback, bounce ideas around, and do some fact checking (I’ve watched this 12 times now, so I’m pretty much an expert!)

TIPW Movie In The Hole
Recognition to @DeepHurting for the excellent visual. :arrow_double_up:


I’m no good at riffing things but hope to see your finished product at some point. :slight_smile:



A few carryovers from the previous thread:

@MyWy 's Google sheet is currently the master version, and the best one to use. Click on his name and message him to gain access.

He’s even gone so far as to insert bits of dialogue next to the time codes, just in case you’re watching from a slightly different cut of the movie (I’m using the print, which is cleaner and doesn’t get interrupted by commercials every time I try to rewind and go back and rewatch a previous bit, but does appear to be a few seconds off from the YouTube cut.)

MyWy’s spreadsheet is broken up by theater segments and commercial breaks, each of which appears as a separate tab down at the bottom of the spreadsheet (1a, 2b, 2a, 2b, etc.)


For those who want to write on their own separately, or are mainly interested in skits, the breaks we decided on in the previous thread are as follows:

  • Intro segment/Commercial sign/Invention exchange
  • **Movie segment 1A (00:01-08:14)** (Intro and Matheny bits)
  • Commercial sign 1
  • **Movie segment 1B (08:15-15:59)** (The first time we see the ship; the bell’s accident; Mallard talking to the press)
  • Host segment 1 
  • **Movie segment 2A (16:00-24:07)** (The divers survive and make it to the cave; Mallard tells the press there’s no hope)
  • Commercial sign 2
  • **Movie segment 2B (24:08-31:49)** (The survivors explore; radar detects something)
  • Host segment 2 
  • **Movie segment 3A (31:50-42:09)** (The survivors look for an exit, and find cave Torgo)
  • Commercial sign 3
  • **Movie segment 3B (42:10-51:01)** (The survivors check the volcano; Mallard flies to California)
  • Host segment 3 
  • Movie segment 4A (51:02-58:56) (Mallards and Matheny get ready for another dive)
  • Commercial sign 4
  • Movie segment 4B (58:57-67:14) (The exciting climax!)
  • Host/end segment 4

If you’re sitting down to write a skit, keep these breaks in mind so that any movie events you’re thinking of referencing have already occur prior to the placement of your host segment. (Gotta maintain the illusion that the bots are watching the movie at the same time as the audience… even though they broke this rule on occasion during the first couple of Joel seasons)

Yes, I have come up with my own pitch for the Intro Segment and both Invention Exchanges, which you can view here, but WE HAVE NOT VOTED TO GO WITH ANY PARTICULAR PERSON’S IDEA(S) YET.

If you have an idea for a skit or invention exchange… post it.

I went pretty deep down the rabbit hole when it came to making storyboards for mine. You don’t have to get quite that crazy, but if you have the artistic skill to provide storyboards, concept sketches, or any other sort of visual reference to go along with your skit, I highly recommend it. A picture is worth 1000 words, and that especially go for things like the invention exchanges which typically involve physical props of some kind that might be hard to visualize otherwise. (If you aren’t a natural artist, then go the 1000 words route, and try your best to describe in detail what you envision happening on screen.)

The more complete and fleshed out your skit ideas are the better. Simply saying “the bots do something funny involving sharks and finger sandwiches” isn’t helpful. Explaining (or better yet, showing) exactly how Crow is wearing one of those goofy shark costumes intended for small dogs and locked in a life and death struggle with a multi-tubed GPC octopus, while Tom and Jonah (or whoever you imagine as host) stand around oblivious to his peril while munching loudly on finger sandwiches and arguing in minute detail about the various differences between a diving bell and a bathosphere… See, you can actually picture that in your mind.

Providing at least some rudimentary rough draft dialogue to show how the skit and it’s various gags play out and fit together will give everyone a better idea of whether they think your concept will work, and has enough going for it that it’s worth the effort of developing into a final script.

WE DO NOT HAVE A SET TIME FRAME FOR THIS PROJECT, but are currently in the “freestyle” riffing phase. This will probably take us at least a few more weeks, but if you want to participate, I recommend wading in now, as this sort of comedy writing takes a lot longer than you might think (it only looks easy and spontaneous when Joel and the bots do it).

Once it looks like we’ve got a fairly full spreadsheet the next stage will be anonymous voting on the assembled riff and sketch ideas to decide upon the basic framework that the episode with be built upon. Even if you don’t feel up to contributing jokes or host segments of your own, you can still assist at this stage to help judge the submissions of other and decide what’s “comedy gold” enough to make it into the rough draft script.

But wait. The experiment’s only just begun! After that, we’ll be looking to polish and plug gaps in the draft script to tie all the various bits together into a (mostly) coherent product that feels like a real episode. If you missed the first round of riff-writing, you can still make suggestions at this stage, but it will mainly be restricted to suggesting slight tweaks to improve the existing voted upon host segments (ex: “Maybe when Max says Hamdingers, he can do it in a posh London accent”?) or helping to shore up sections of the theater riffing that have been identified as being a little weak (ex: We’ve got a 3 minute segment about 2/3 of the way through the movie where the cast are just sort of milling about aimlessly in the cave system and nothing happens. We’re looking for jokes or joke suggestions that can be used at these timecodes to keep the riffs flowing.)

After that, we’ll be figuring out production. What that’s going looks like? We’ve got no friggin’ clue! You’ll have to help us when we get to that stage. At minimum though, we should be able to pull off a caption-only text overlay over a print of the movie that gets uploaded to YouTube or someplace similar. And if you feel like you joined too late, other people have beaten you to all the good jokes, or don’t like this particular movie and want to sit this one out and wait for the next one, I suspect this is going to go well enough that we’ll be able to make at least a couple of these Fanficisodes each year.

NOTE: Edited to remove some production discussion stuff that should probably wait until we get closer to actual production, so it it doesn’t interfere with riff and skit discussion


Oh, and if you’re paranoid about other people accidentally overwriting your stuff in the communal spreadsheet, this is how you protect your column so nobody but you and the owner can edit it:

Pick a column that nobody is using and write your username on the black line, then click on your columns letter (ex: I’m using ‘N’ on this tab) to highlight the entire column:

Click Data, then Protected Sheets and Ranges:

Click “Set Permissions”

Choose “Only You and Spreadsheet Owner”

There. Now, nobody else can mess with your stuff. You’re the god. YOU’RE THE GOD!!!
Please note that since there are 8 tabs, you’ll need to do this individually on each of them.

If you’re new to Google Sheets and have only used Excel, you can find the Align, Word Wrap and Merge Cells options under “Format” up on the top Menu bar.



To add to @DeepHurting 's point above about merging cells and word wrapping your riffs, in the image above the first highlighted object is to merge cells and the second is to word wrap. You’ll need to select the middle option on the 2nd one to ensure it is wrapped properly in your cell.

In my opinion, it’s important to do this in a couple ways. First, it makes it easier for you to see, generally speaking, how long it would take to say your riff. For example:

Character 1: says line at 38:28-38:30
Your riff: takes up 5 seconds of time, from 38:30-38:35
Character 2: in response to Character 1’s line has dialog from 38:32-38:34

You miss Character 2’s entire dialogue because your riff was just a bit too long there. So this tells you that you need to either punch up the joke and make your point quicker, or kill your riff baby.

The second thing is that it helps when it is time for everyone to start melding together 20 people riffing on one movie. Instead of having to click on my cell and seeing 1/3rd of the riff, you’d see the whole thing. That’ll make it easier when deciding to choose @MyWy 's riff over mine, when the time comes :wink:

Anywho, so, if you’re not already doing this, I’d suggest you go through and see how your riffs look after merging and wrapping. Thanks for coming to my TedTALK.


Good points on the merging and line wrapping. Makes it MUCH more readable!

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If there is still time I would like to contribute to the writing. I also can help with audio and video editing when the time comes.

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Yes, there is time!
Send a message to @MyWy to get access to the spreadsheet. Choose an unclaimed column and jump on in!

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I’m often accused of having a radio announcer voice. I don’t sound like any of the cast, unfortunately. Oh, and you don’t want the Canadian accent stinking up the place like back bacon. :laughing:

Oh, but this place is for riff discussion. Let’s move the production discussion elsewhere.


I’ve got a sharktopus comment at 3:11 (during the shark vs octopus fight), but I haven’t been able to get it to “gold” level. If anyone can improve on this, please do.

P.S. As a collaboration, I think it’s okay to view other people’s contributions and try to improve upon them. There is no “stealing” ideas here. We will all get equal credit in the end. The goal is simply to be the funniest we can be.

Full disclosure, I’ve fed off ideas from EBK (cave Torgo, Jerry Warren’s other activities), Captain Dolphin (home movies), and griff17matt (pointed out “Kelpsuit”). And I hope the rest of you feel appreciated when I “expand” on your ideas! :smiley_cat:


I edited the version on the internet archive so the timing matches the you tube version and added a running timecode at the base of the video. If anyone wants to use it I uploaded it to the archive at

I also wonder if editing the movie might be something the show would do. It would be easy to edit out the section after the opening credits til after the shark/octopus fight.


I’ve gone back and edited my original post. We can probably still use this thread, just hold off on the production-y style discussions until we get to the stage where we need to start discussing production.

I would be very curious to know if we could pull off a musical number though.
I had the inkling of an idea for a musical cat-fight between Lauri and Dale (played by Tom and Crow), but then I remembered that bit occurs at the end of segment 4A rather than 3B, so it falls too late in the film to be used for anything in a skit, as the final host segment is traditionally used to reflect back on how awful the movie was as a whole, rather than something specific to a particular scene (unless it’s the ending).

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Knowing you (as slightly as I do), I bet you’re thinking big. That might be ambitious for our first attempt, but try it if you want to. I’ve already added a couple of musical bits, but no instrumentals, just Tom Servo’s lovely singing voice. A rendition of the Fraggle Rock theme song, and the Carol of the Not Technically a Bell.


I have added a Stats sheet to graph out Riff Density. This will highlight the times when we don’t have a lot of options to choose from (or any at all).

It’s approximate, but it does give each riff a duration depending on the number of letters in the riff. Call me RDGM :wink: You can see the dead spot around 0:40 - that’s just before cave Torgo (or just after “hot spelunking action”, as @griff17matt calls it).


That graph kind of visualizes what I felt going through the movie. Lots of opportunity in the first 20-30 minutes and it really drops off after that. I think you can still fill up most of the movie but the 2nd half really needs some help hitting a steady riffing quotient. If I get time this coming week, I’ll probably try to focus my efforts on the 2nd half of the film.

ETA: I think we should put EVERYTHING we can think of out there for the 2nd half, even if we don’t think it’s the greatest or even mildly funny. We can collectively punch it up later on down the road and your observation may make the light bulb come on for someone else.


I’m adding in my riffs in as big chunks as I finish them in my own spreadsheet, so I’m a little less than half-way through at this point. Since we’re not rushing to get this out in two weeks, I’m guessing most other folks are doing the same, rather than trying to do the middle or end first.
I just dumped in everything for theater segment 2A (16:03 to 24:07) and I’m working on theater segment 2B (24:08 to 31:46) now.

While it’s slow as hell, I’m finding it easier to riff this way if I force myself to watch the segments in order and pause after each line of dialogue or every 5-7 seconds or so to try to think up something funny that the bots would say in at this point in the movie. (As @ griff17matt said, even if it’s not the greatest joke, sometimes just having something there is enough to give you something that you can go back and punch up later)

Then, when I’m done, I watch the whole 10 minutes or so back in real-time and kind of mutter the riffs to myself under my breath to try to judge timing and see what lines may need to be tweaked to be funnier or fit time constraints.


Continuing on @euphoriafish 's theme:

[?] “There is a lot of dead space in this movie.”
[Tom Servo] “That’s what I’ve been saying! None of these characters survived the diving bell accident!”

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Nice but should probably be a little less subtle. Maybe, “Never has a movie needed Cole Sear more.” Or something to that effect?

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At least three times, I’ve gone with option C: Speak over the movie. Why not? Sometimes the dialogue is too dense to get a word in otherwise. And this isn’t unprecedented - MST 3000 totally talks over the movie sometimes.

I think it will work out in the voting & editing. It just means the riff is competing with more options (riffs at the same moment, plus riffs on the movie line you are speaking over). If a sprawling riff is gold :1st_place_medal: and all the competitors are bronze :3rd_place_medal: or less, I think it’s an easy decision.


Another thing to do with a dead spot is rant/debate some minor but pervasive detail of the film, like how the characters transported their nice clothes from the bell to the caves and kept them clean, dry, and wrinkle free while swimming in their wetsuits.
Seriously, HOW?!