Even if you don’t know Gabe Michael, there is a good chance that you know his work, because it is the stuff that permeates YouTube lore — from “Epic Rap Battles” to the Nick Offerman-helmed “Movember” Mustache Charity Drive and the soon-to-be legendary “Man At Arms.” You might say he’s been involved with just about every established YouTube happening on Earth lately. But now, Gabe Michael has set his sights on a whole different planetary existence.
“Forge Apollo,” the dazzling and effects-laden new series by Michael, premieres its second episode today, and if these initial glimpses are any indication, space is where Michael’s storytelling narrative excels.
So far, the hook of the series is this: A little girl finds a strange transmission sent by an alien planet in the midst of catastrophe. Then a man finds what seems to be a broken camera and craziness ensues. Where it goes from here, only Gabe Michael knows.
There’s probably no better way to get some insight into the secrets of a series than to throw yourself upon the mercy of the brain that conceived it all. And so that is what I did. You know his work, now get to know Gabe Michael. And, when you get a chance, get to know Forge Apollo (first ep below).
You are working on some major scale stuff now, but how did you get your start in the YouTube world?
Gabe Michael: Back in 2008 (right before YouTube started to let you post videos in HD), I created a channel called TheBigTimeShow with a friend of mine, David Wuest. We started to get some traction but eventually had to stop when I made the decision to go back to school at UCLA. To get through school, I produced and directed a bunch of PSAs for a few well-known non-profits that lived on YouTube and did some online branded videos. After graduating, I went to work for Pete and Lloyd on “Epic Rap Battles.”
How did the idea for the “Forge Apollo” project come about?
I’ve been working on an idea for a sci-fi feature film for some time now with my producing partner, Ryan Holloway. While developing it, we kept talking about my obsession with the digital space vs. the traditional distribution route and thought: “Wouldn’t it be cool to do both a feature and a YouTube channel of sci-fi content and base them all in the same universe?” The feature is in pre-production and will start filming later this year, but our Forge Apollo YouTube channel will release about 20 more videos between now and December to establish the universe.
Will these “transmissions from a dying planet” that “Forge Apollo” deals with all come from the same sphere that the little girl finds, or don’t we get to know yet?
You might see the same characters coming back here and there in different stories, but expect to see a completely different tale from this universe in every video. Past, present, future, bizarre — it’s all possible. But I do like your idea about multiple orbs. Maybe we’ll use that for season 2.
You recently secured a deal with Fullscreen — what’s that all about?
We are really happy to be partnered with Fullscreen. When I first met with Ezra Cooperstein he told me everything that they were up to as a network. I immediately knew I wanted to be a part of it. Everyone has been great so far, and I am excited to cultivate our relationship further throughout the year.
You also worked on the Movember campaign with Nick Offerman — is he simply an awesome guy or is he the most awesome guy?
Mr. Offerman is the most awesomely classy kind of awesomely classy a guy can be. I was very excited the guys at Break and Movember gave me the opportunity to work with him. My favorite part about the shoot was that Nick was willing to do multiple takes eating that onion … and he brought his own wooden mustache comb.
Damnit, I like what I’ve seen from “Forge Apollo” so far — you gotta give me some dirt about what happens …
All I can say is … Aliens exist, alcohol lets you time travel, a lot of people die, a war breaks out, people leave earth. You know … first world problems.
We just did a piece on “Man at Arms” — how did you get involved with that production and do you have any of the weapons that Tony Swatton produced?
Yeah, I produced the first six episodes for Break Media when I was working there. Tony was awesome to work with and I learned a lot about metal working (and how to be manlier) by just being on set. I don’t currently own any of the weapons Tony made, but I have to say just holding Raphael’s sais and sitting in the TMNT van made my year.
As someone who worked on “Epic Rap Battles,” who are two people you would love to see rap duel?
Personally I love each and every rap battle Pete and Lloyd have written (I am also a big DisRaps fan), but I have to say … I have always wanted to see, and I hate to reference the turtles again, but Leonardo the Ninja Turtle Vs. Leonardo Da Vinci.
Talented guys like you always have a few pokers in the fire. What else do you have going on?
Like I mentioned above, we are excited about the film we have in the works and are looking at cool ways we can tie that into the YouTube page. I’ll have more I can tell you about that in the fall as things progress!
I just want all of you to notice that he liked my idea for “multiple orbs.” Come season 2, I think it’s going to be “Gabe Michael and Jeff Klima present … Forge Apollo!” I’m kidding, of course, but I do expect to see something badass come of all of this. Knowing Gabe Michael and his body of work though, it’s a sure bet.
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