Thursday, April 10, 2014

Steve's Quest: A Q&A with Chris Edgar

One of the reasons I most wanted to start this blog was to be able to create a dialog with other fans of the musical genre and foster a sense of community among those of us who want to know what the future of musical theatre is going to look like. It's been great getting to know the people who read this blog, and one great example of someone whose work I've gotten to know through the blog is Chris Edgar, the creator of the now-launched animated musical webseries Steve's Quest.

Telling the story of a software engineer with his head in the clouds and futuristic ambitions, Steve's Quest is an imaginative and tuneful new webseries written by Chris, who also provides the voice of the titular character. He also has been blogging for a while about the development of the webseries, documenting the process as he's developed songs and tested out logos. Chris was nice enough to answer some questions about Steve's Quest below:

Me: What is your background with musicals and writing songs?

Chris Edgar: I’ve written songs, and played drums and piano, for most of my life. I’ve run the gamut from being a surly, long-haired, fourteen-year-old drummer in a heavy metal band to playing percussion in the orchestra for musicals. I’d never written for a musical (or rock opera, animated song cycle, or whatever we should call this show) before this one.

Me: Where did the idea of Steve's Quest come from? Where did the story come from, and how did you assemble your production team?

Chris: One day, on a long flight (despite my dislike of flying, I always seem to get inspired on planes), I had the idea to make a video of white-collar workers doing mundane tasks like faxing and stapling, but with this out-of-control heavy metal music playing in the background. I was having so much fun with the idea that I started writing lyrics to the tune, which eventually became a song called “Maximized.” Then, I started coming up with a story (yeah, it was a super-long flight) featuring the characters described in the song, and more lyrical ideas. Most of the lyrics I wrote on that flight ended up on the cutting-room floor, but “Maximized” is still in the show.

As for the production team, I found them through a whole bunch of different sources. Just as a few examples, I actually met the animation team (who are, in their “day jobs,” comic-book artists) through someone in a yoga class I took. The musical director and guitarist, Tim, is my brother, and he was an obvious choice because I always appreciate chances to work with him. The most intimidating part of it was working with Gina Breedlove, who was in the original Broadway cast of The Lion King – she sings the part of the narrator in the first scene of Episode 1, so we basically did a duet.