After speaking with Will Friedle for his upcoming appearance at Awesome Con (It’s a Boy Meets World and we’re just living in it!) I learned a lot about him in a very small amount of time. He’s a feminist, a D&D player, a painter of miniature figurines and he proposed to his wife at a Blockbuster. Sort of.
Brightest Young Things: Will, as you already know, you’re going to be here this weekend for Awesome Con!
Will Friedle: I am! I’m very excited to come back.
BYT: I was zipping through your Twitter which sounds creepy, and I need to know what this Happy Little Minis hashtag is. It sounds adorable.
WF: I was on a show with a bunch of my friends called Critical Role, and these are all voiceover friends of mine who play Dungeons & Dragons. They got me addicted to D&D. We have a home game that we started that we play. It’s myself and Brian Foster who hosts the show and our friend Bobby who raps under the name Logic plus a couple of voiceover friends. We all get together at least once a month if we can. The first time we played I had a mini that I bought at the store and very badly colored in with magic marker. So Marisha Ray, who is one of the cast members of Critical Role and also one of the creative directors at Geek & Sundry called me and said “Your mini is one of the most horrible things I’ve ever seen in my life. Can we do a show about you learning how to paint them properly.” I didn’t think anyone was going to want to watch that but now it’s become very popular and that is what Painters Guild is and where #HappyLittleMinis came from. It’s me hanging out and having these amazing painters come in who teach me how to paint.
BYT: It’s a lot more nuanced than some sort of paint-by-numbers situation. I’m not going to say Bob Ross level but I think Bob Ross would have loved it.
WF: We spent two full episodes, which again are cut down to 22 minute episodes…that took 6 hours. The entire two episodes were spent on one quarter of one mini. It was literally just the proper technique for shading. That’s why we have Bob Ross as a Happy Little Minis hashtag.
BYT: Wow, I made that joke without even making the connection. That’s delightful. Okay so I went even further down your Twitter feed like a real weirdo and I saw you Tweeted out that you were going to maybe join Instagram.
WF: I think I may, and I don’t want to speak out of turn because I haven’t figure out exactly how to do this…I do want to join and I think if I do my first photo will probably be Ben (Savage) and Rider (Strong) and myself at Awesome Con.
BYT: STOP IT.
WF: I think it would be cool.
BYT: It would be cool! Is this the first time you all have been together at a Con?
WF: I started on the Con circuit about two years ago. I’m a huge huge nerd so I’m completely in my comfort zone and I told Rider how much fun I was having and I asked him if he would join me at one and he had so much fun that he’s now done 2 or 3. We called Ben and said “You gotta come with us.” This would be the first one where it’s the 3 of us together so that’s certainly going to be special to be on stage, doing the panel and meeting the fans.
BYT: I’m very excited. I am a fan of your work. I’m a fan of Rider’s work. I’m a fan of Cabin Fever! So you’ve got that weirdness going on. There’s going to be a lot of that. That’s my favorite part of any Con. Literally anything you love you can come dressed as that thing and people are like “Okay. That’s fine.”
WF: I always tell people that when they say “Oh I’ve never been to a Con.” I always say if the entire world were like a Convention it would be the greatest place to live. There is no judgment. It’s a safe zone. Everybody can go and be a dork and have fun and it’s absolutely incredible.
BYT: It’s really very lovely.
WF: It is! There are always a lot of strong, empowered women at these Cons and there is a great representation of the LGBTQ community.
BYT: Awesome Con has a section called Pride Alley featuring LGBTQ creators and artists and it’s all focused on the LGBTQ community.
WF: I love that. I love how they represent everybody. Nobody cares! Oh you want to dress like a giant Chewbacca or Wonder Woman? Perfect.
BYT: Wanna dress like a Zombie Luke Skywalker? Do it.
WF: I love going to them. I have an absolute blast. I’ve now had the honor of doing them all over the world.
BYT: I’m someone who is a fan of puns and wordplay almost to a fault. When you Tweeted about starting an IG account you also asked for name suggestions so I thought of a couple. You could maybe call it @NerdOfMouth which is like Word of Mouth. This next one is incredibly long and impossible but you can call it @RosencrantzAndPaintersGuildenstern.
WF: Ha ha ha, I love that. It’s so funny that you mention puns because Rider Strong does a podcast called Literary Disco. We did the absolutely horribly awful sexist book from our childhood by Piers Anthony called The Chronicles of Xanth. They are fantasy novels where the entire world is based on puns. So if you’re invaded by a nightmare that’s a horse that comes at night. It’s the most sexist book you’ll ever read but the puns are really fun.
BYT: Puns are the highest form of comedy. Speaking of puns and comedy, there is a movie you did that I’d love to talk about. It’s a movie I really like…called Trojan War. Will, I love this movie. I’m 38 which in lady years is 875. I was 17 when this movie came out in 1997. And this is actually the year, I apologize for the overshare, I lost my virginity. In the cushions of a couch (kidding).
BYT: That’s a respectable year! I remember renting this movie from a little mom and pop shop called Blockbuster and thinking “Is this what it’s going to be like?” It really left a mark. I went out and bought condoms thinking “I would hate for someone to have to go through so many wacky hijinx to get a condom.” I sound like an idiot but when you don’t know anything about something you are an idiot.
WF: Oh my God that’s awesome. First let me start by saying that without Blockbuster I wouldn’t be with my wife. My wife and I originally dated 18 years ago but we remained friends. We kind of lost touch with each other and hadn’t seen each other in a long while. One night I was returning a movie to Blockbuster and ran into her literally in front of it and 5 years later on the exact spot where Blockbuster used to be I proposed to her. It’s a Fed-Ex now.
BYT: What would have been great if you had the ring Fed-Ex’d to her at that moment!
WF: That’s a great idea. Back to Trojan War, one of my closest friends is still George Wong who directed it. We had a blast. It was shot for 40 straight nights which was exhausting and insane.
BYT: For people who haven’t watched it, it’s a little bit Some Kind of Wonderful. It’s a little bit Say Anything and a teeny tiny bit License to Drive. I forgot how funny you are in this film. It’s weird to think of a world where someone wouldn’t be immediately attracted to Jennifer Love Hewitt but okay.
WF: It’s weird to be in a world where someone wouldn’t be immediately attracted to Mary Stuart Masterson, the hot drummer!
BYT: There are a lot of great cameos but the best one is by far Anthony Michael Hall as a disgruntled, angry bus driver is as good as it can get.
WF: It was also just the idea that I was working with the guy from Sixteen Candles and Weird Science that was so crazy. It was nuts.
BYT: It’s a really fun movie. They just don’t make these movies anymore. I guess Superbad is the last movie where your main character goes on this quest to get laid. Why can’t we just have fun anymore? Let’s have fun.
WF: I agree. My brothers and I were just talking about the amazing amount of movies that we grew up watching where the entire plot is about not being able to find a phone.
BYT: Ha ha ha ha, okay final question. You are a nerd. You call yourself a nerd. What, in your opinion, is the nerdiest thing you like that is not painting miniatures.
WF: I am a huge giant, the thicker and longer the better, fantasy novel reader.
BYT: Favorite author or series, or both.
WF: My favorite author is Brandon Sanderson. My overall favorite series because I love the characters is the Belgariad Series by David Eddings. I love those characters. I always return to them. What do you like?
BYT: I’m a huge true crime fan. It really comes down to the psychology of it. The human brain is so complicated and it’s more about how do people come to these places. I spend a lot of time reading about busted brains.
WF: My wife is really into that stuff too!
BYT: She’s got good taste. I guess I will see you this weekend! Sorry I talked about liking murder before I said I’ll see you.