A Chief's gotta hang his helmet somewhere!



DigitalPh33r: Behind Arby n the Chief | mrsmiley { January 25, 2008 }

If you haven't yet seen an episode of the new Bungie proclaimed Halo comedy series, Arby 'n' the Chief, take a break from Grifball and go watch it! In this week's Halo community spotlight, we interview the mastermind behind the smash hit Machinma himself. How does he do it? Read on!

Real Name: Jon Graham
Age: 19
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Occupation: "Video Producer"
Company: Machinima.com

So you work for Machinima.com? That's convenient! What do you do there?

Haha, I don't know how in-depth I can discuss my involvement with Machinima.com but I'm basically a video producer.

I see. So can I ask if it's a paid position?

Yes, but I don't want to go into any further detail than that.

Hehe understood. So how did you get involved with them? Were you there at the beginning? (I still remember the "coming soon" page!)

Well I started making Machinima years ago, then started uploading to YouTube a litte later. Several months after I released the first Master Chief Sucks at Halo, they saw how successful I was and wanted me to be a part of their team.

A true success story. What made you first get into machinima? Did it start with Halo?

Yeah, it was Red vs. Blue that gave me the idea of doing Halo machinima, but I didn't start actually doing it until Halo 2 was released.

What was your first film? Is it online anywhere?

My first real film was Abnormality, filmed in Halo 2, and was my first attempt at serious, more dramatic machinima. There's also an Abnormality 2. They're basically both superhero-type stories, and I'm a little embarrassed because some parts are quite cheesy or over the top, haha.

I have some corny videos on YouTube as well. I feel your pain. So as the years progressed, how did you?

I think I've come along way. I was never a part of any organization or team so for all of my videos, I had to do all the scriptwriting, screenplay, character movement, filming, editing and voice work, so I've built and improved on each of those aspects throughout the years I've been doing this, I can see it myself when comparing my current work with the likes of Abnormality.

So do you still do all the work yourself, or do you have help?

I currently still do it all myself.

Wow, that's pretty committed. So how long does it take you on average to create, say, one of the "Master chief" videos?

About two days minimum for a script, a few hours for live action filming, even more if I'm doing any in-game filming because I have to do set-building in Forge first, then act out the gameplay with up to four controllers. I then go over it in theatre mode with the camera and capture it all. After that, the editing process takes about two days I'd say.

I try to produce a video a week now.

That's intense, man. So do you have a fairly clear-set idea of where "Arby n the Chief" is going, or is it a week-to-week thing?

It's a little intimidating, for the past few episodes I've always had a decent, basic idea prior to making each one, but I always feel like I'm gonna run out soon. Then I just go on to Halo 3 matchmaking and I'm almost immediately inspired for new episodes, haha.

So it's basically week-to-week.

From the
That leads to my next question, What inspires the hilarious antics of the show? Obviously XBL is a plays a big part...

Xbox Live, forum arguments, pretty much any online environment that I can pull a hot topic from and introduce it in an episode using Master Chief and the Arbiter as catalysts. Master Chief is the epitome of every illiterate, non-nonsensical idiot I've come across in the online world, and the Arbiter is basically a representation of me. I just have them argue back and forth about various issues
many gamers can relate to, and I can voice my own opinion on the matter at the same time.

So have you actually run into someone on XBL that closely resembles your Chief character?

Absolutely, I can't go more than like, three games into matchmaking without encountering some child responding to older, but equally childish, gamers with harsh language and mom jokes.

So true! Almost everyone can relate!

Haha, I'm sure, I think that's one reason why people like the series so much.

Well that and the fact that it's freaking funny!
So as you look to the future, are there any rumblings of future projects that could branch of from Arby and the Chief? I know that Arby 'n' the Chief kinda branched off from the original Master Chief series, right?

Yeah. I don't really see the series evolving any further, the reason Arby 'n' the Chief branched off from Master Chief Sucks at Halo was to introduce the new character, the Arbiter, and to get rid of the name instead of keeping it as "Master Chief Sucks at Halo 4", 5, 6 and so on.

I wanted to start fresh since the Arbiter complements Master Chief's idiocy so well.

Well so far it's working, so keep it up!

Thanks a ton for sitting down with HBN. Congrats on your success with this series. I'm sure I speak with pretty much every Halo fan when I say I'm looking forward to the next episode!

Thanks a lot man, it's coming soon.***

***Episode 3 of "Arby 'n' the Chief" is now online! Check it out! Be sure take a look at the "Special Thanks" in the credits, too. ;) If you haven't checked out Machinima.com yet, DO IT! There's plenty more where this series came from!

14 comments so far (leave your own)

1 | Zach says:

This is cool, i had no idea that the creator of some of my favorite Machinima was so young, im glad of that fact. He keeps it fresh.

2 | dylan says:

Nice interview. w00t new episode of arbie n the chief!

3 | ZZoMBiE13 says:

My favorite DigitalPh33r vids were the "Megaman goes to Willamette" series. Check them out on YouTube.

4 | mrsmiley says:

I just have to say, the episode 3 had me in pain I was laughing so hard. Definitely check it out from the link after the interview if you guys haven't already. :)

5 | MachShot says:

Deus Ex Machina. Need there be words to describe the awsome-ness of that?

I subsribed to his favorites list on youtube (theres a business reason, as I understand, why he no longer publishes videos under his channel. Instead, they go through Machinima.com's channel only), I suggest everyone do the same.

6 | half jaws gran says:

digitalph33r for the win all the videos like road to voi and playin with the chief are the best since red vs blue i cant wait for episode 4,5,6,7,8,9...

7 | project_aye says:

All I can say is that I love your Digital's works... but, I hope he doesn't over milk it whore the series out to much, but at the same time, I can't wait for another episode of any of his works, Megaman (which I hope to see more of), Deus, and Chief. His vids are teh sexy!

8 | lolsam1337 says:

Hey I live in British Columbia too.

9 | i r guy who t33ch u l3sson says:

Dude, you are the freakin' reincarnation of Jesus!!!!!!!11!!!1111 lololololololololololooololopololllol

10 | plasmachief1 says:

it definetlty gos without saying that didgital ph33r spawned the greatest action hero in halo machinma

11 | Wipe117 says:

me and my best friend braden live by the series and catch all the new episodes!!!1!11!one!1
we totally love your shizzle doode

12 | JpStryder says:

Cool man,i didnt know the megaman movies where you'rs too.
I loved those.
Props to all of your projects.

13 | Hell Jumper says:

digital ph33rs work is da bomb. mainly deus ex machina. i downloaded every episode and can't wait for number 6. i dont mind arby 'n' the chief, i'll watch it but I'm not a fanatic. (but i am for the deus series!)

14 | Ricky says:

Your videos get me in stitches, good work mate.

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