Two-time backer here and a fan since the first Comedy Central season.
I have to say the 1st virtual set tour was a fiasco.
The writers room visit with the live riffing was excellent, but lasted only about an hour out of the 4 hour or so event. That was the only part that went well.
The introductory portion seemed to be killing time until the writers room was ready. After the riffing, when the Q&A was supposed to begin, Ivan pretty quickly indicated in what was supposed to be the video chat room where backers were to ask questions on camera that there were technical issues then shut it down, never to return. My 13 year old son was all set up to ask his question but had to sit there mystified while nothing happened.
Meanwhile, in the main livestream, there were so many writers in different Zoom windows that the video and audio became terribly choppy. It was a mistake to have so many for another reason—-they spent the vast majority of time talking to each other, referencing inside jokes they wouldn’t explain. An event that was geared toward making backers feel like insiders made us even more clearly outsiders based on how poorly it was staged. Joel took off early—-he seemed uncomfortable with how things were going.
It was 6:24 Eastern—-almost 3 hours into the event—-before any backer questions were asked. They asked a handful then wrapped it up. At least they remembered to thank the backers at the very end.
Ivan looked miserable, but I don’t think this was all his fault. If you’re going to do a virtual set visit, you need to make some attempt at the type of interaction visitors would have with the cast and crew in person. There was more actual interaction in the two live shows we’ve attended. If you can make a few thousand people feel like part of the family for a moment, you should be able to do it with a few dozen. And given how Covid’s separated people these days, we don’t get enough feeling-like-a-family time.
I’m not bringing this up to Joe Don Baker Joel, Jonah, and the gang, but rather to identify some ussues I hope they’ll fix in the remaining virtual set visit sessions. MST3K is not supposed to feel like their club, but all of ours. Right now it feels more like the former and I hope that changes soon.
Thanks to all for their hard work and commitment, but especially to the backers for so loving a 30-year-old show so much they’ll sacrifice significant time and money to keep it alive. MSTies are unique in fandom for such never ending loyalty—-as opposed to those MSTers, who are just bandwagon jumpers and fairweather johnsons.