The madcap geek comedy, The Inventor, is back for a second season, exclusively on The Fantasy Network’s Premium feed. Fans of snarky, smart sci-fi will love where the show’s creators, including Wyatt Moore (writer, director) and Tyler Stoudt (writer, filmmaker, actor), take this new season, exploring Miller’s unique approach to life in a mashup of settings that will have you hunting for Easter eggs and laughing out loud.
For those who haven’t seen it yet, season one tells the story of Mikel and Gardner, and their new roommate Miller, an undiscovered scientific prodigy who keeps exposing them to his experimental tech. Over the course of two weeks, they’re introduced to a malfunctioning teleporting gun, universally translating ear buds, two sentient robots, a memory altering helmet and a performance enhancing suit. But all the technology in the world can’t cover up Miller’s past, a past that Gardner is dead set on unfolding.
Season two explores the idea of letting go of the past. And to kick off the season two fun, we chatted with Wyatt and Tyler about the show and its inspirations. Check out our interview below.
TFN: What’s it like to both act in and produce a show like The Inventor?
TYLER: A challenge for sure, but one I am quite used to. Wyatt and I have been making things together for over a decade now, and it’s always been guerilla filmmaking, so we’re used to wearing all of the hats at once.
Are the moments between the characters inspired by situations from real life? As in, you all channel that annoying coworker or roommate you once had?
TYLER: I’ve known Miles (Miller’s actor) for about as long as I’ve known Wyatt, so acting against him has always involved our relationships with one another. I see him as a little brother, and Miller really annoys Gardner sometimes to say the least, but that doesn’t mean they don’t care about each other in their own way. I’d say that our relationships with one another definitely fuel our scenes together.
Did airing season 1 on The Fantasy Network influence how you approached making season 2?
WYATT: Absolutely! We made Season 1 of The Inventor purely for the fun of it. When we ended up on TFN and realized there might actually be a viewer base for this, we knew we needed to keep pushing.
TFN: Season 2 of The Inventor goes through several genres. How did you decide which genres you wanted to play with?
WYATT: For me, any genre shift was purely fueled by the needs of the story or informed by character. If there was ever an opportunity to lean fully into a style for a scene, we took it. Like when Miller is flying around in his jetpack in Episode 2—Miller has referenced feeling like a superhero before, so we went all out with the music and the imagery to match. Episode 3 has a heist, so we leaned into heist tropes. Episode 4 deals with an action-movie style break-in, and Episode 5 has a long interrogation scene so we dialed the noir setting up to 100.
What did you learn about storytelling during the making of season 1 that informed how you approached season 2?
WYATT: When it comes to storytelling, the big lesson Season 1 taught me is that character and story matter above all else. Take an image from Season 1 and compare it to Season 2, and it’s obvious that Season 1 was a bare-bones budget, but that doesn’t make the character any less enjoyable.
How about production and budgeting?
WYATT: Scheduling is paramount when dealing with a micro-budget. Filmmaking is a matter of having the right people in the right place at the right time. If you’re on a microbudget, chances are the pay is low to zero, so you need to be insanely flexible—like filming in a game shop at 4am kind of flexible (which we had to do several times on this season).
TYLER: Micro-budget filmmaking is always a challenge. We had to have tons of conversations during production about reconciling our vision for the show against what we could realistically achieve with the resources we had. We were lucky enough to have received a great deal of support in our crowd-funding efforts, but it was still a challenge getting everything done. We always tried to focus on the story first. If the audience cares about the characters and the situations those characters find themselves in, they will forgive the quirks of a micro-budget project.
Also, we aren’t getting paid for this project, and so everyone had to either call off their actual job for an extended period of time or find a way to manage both their responsibility to the shoot and their job. You just need to stay focused on the end goal, and look at how hard everyone else is working towards that goal, to find the motivation to do your part as well.
I’m really proud of what we were able to accomplish given the challenges we had to face, thanks mostly to Wyatt’s inhuman drive and the dedication of our principal crew (Aaron & Marissa, I’m looking at you guys).
In terms of behind-the-scenes filmmaking, how has season 2 differed from season 1? Did you find yourself focusing on different things?
TYLER: For the first time really, we had access to film equipment we were excited about. Wyatt could really express his vision with different lighting setups, colors, shot compositions, etc.
And for me as an actor, it was a rare opportunity for me to really prepare for a part. I’ve been acting in our stuff pretty much since we started making things, but I almost always had to focus on producing first, simply due to the time we had to finish everything. It was nice to be able to really focus on delivery and timing in the funny scenes, and have a game plan going into a scene, as opposed to mostly improvising… Ha!
Is there anything you haven’t done yet in these shows that you dream of doing if the situation, finances, actors, etc., align themselves to allow it?
TYLER: Wyatt and I love coming up with elaborate action sequences, both comedic and straightforward. I think Miller has a great deal of untapped potential for physical comedy and action, and it’s definitely something I would love to be able to bring to life in the future.
Also, there’s always more to be done with crazier and crazier inventions. We have some pretty crazy ideas that we’re keeping to ourselves in case we ever get the opportunity to make them real.
How do you keep coming up with inventions for Miller to create? Where do those ideas come from?
WYATT: The inventions are insanely fun! I brainstorm some of the best superpowers (telekinesis, flight, teleportation), then add in a catch so terrible that it makes you not want to use that power. Telekinesis? Great, but once you put on the telekinesis helmet, you can never remove it. Teleportation? Fine, but you incinerate the original when you teleport something. All the comedy comes from the caveat the invention has, not the invention itself.
Where would you like to go if/when you do season 3?
WYATT: We have a few episodes for a third season mapped out already and can tell you they involve Miller creating gadgets for spies, much like Q in James Bond. We want to see how he stacks up against other inventors, and we have a strong urge to twist some Frankenstein elements into there. Fingers crossed!
What advice would you give to others who want to make their own show?
TYLER: Take your time! One benefit of passion projects is that you aren’t usually beholden to anyone’s deadlines but your own. Take the time you need to get the story where you want it, build your crew, research locations, and PLAN, PLAN, PLAN.
If you haven’t seen season one of The Inventor, now’s a great time to binge them. The entire season one line of episodes is available for free on The Fantasy Network. Sign up for the affordable Premium membership to watch season two and support The Inventor team. Premium memberships allow TFN to support indie creators financially so they can create more of the films, webisodes and livestreams you love.
And remember—it’s a perfect time to sign up for our Premium membership tier, or buy a membership for a family member or friend this holiday season. Simply visit our subscription page, or check out the TFN Store, where we’re offering holiday specials.
(Use the discount code TFNHoliday10 for 10% off selected physical merchandise through Dec. 25, 2021. Doesn’t apply to TFN Premium tier membership.)