Interview: Chatting With Members Of G4's Invitation To Party

One of the biggest additions to the relaunch of G4 last year was their own live Dungeons & Dragons show called Invitation To Party. Since it started last Fall, the show has had its fair share of intensity and hilarity as it shows what D&D can be without taking itself too seriously. The show is currently running through its first campaign called The Scoundrels Of Waterdeep, using a mix of G4 talent and special guests to come in and take part in the shenanigans on screen, often taking the roleplay center stage for some amazing interactive acting for the entire party and you to watch unfold completely impromptu based on the decisions they have made along the way. Today we chat with two of the people involved with the show, the DM himself B Dave Walters, and party member Kassem Gharaibeh, as we chat about how the show came to be and how it's been going so far.

Interview: Chatting With Members Of G4's Invitation To Party
Credit: G4

BC: Hey everyone! First off, how are things going for each of you with the G4 relaunch and working in the new offices?

KG: The relaunch has been wonderful. Feels like the training wheels are off now that we have a place to call home.

Dave, how did the concept for the show first come about, and at what point did you start chatting with G4 about it?

BDW: I was fortunate to work with G4 for D&D Live earlier this year, and they reached out to me fairly early in the development process of bringing D&D to TV!

Interview: Chatting With Members Of G4's Invitation To Party
Credit: G4

What was the process like for you to join on as DM and plan out a story that would work for a network?

BDW: I've been lucky that my history with Wizards of the Coast has built up a lot of trust, so it wasn't difficult to get everyone to sign off on my ideas. I truly love Dungeons & Dragons in general and the Forgotten Realms in particular, so I wanted to make sure we captured what makes D&D, D&D while blazing some uncharted territory. I'm basically trying to serve the past and the future at the same time. The biggest challenge has been trying to plan as far out in advance as TV requires while trying to maintain the spontaneity and agility that define TTRPGs, but I think we've managed to hit it about right so far.

With so many D&D-related shows on Twitch and YouTube these days, what did you specifically do to make sure Invitation To Party not only stood out from the others, but had its own vibe that didn't feel like the rest?

BDW: I'm intimately familiar with the abundance of D&D content available; I am a part of a LOT of it! I think the thing that sets Invitation To Party apart is our format and the scale on which we're able to tell our story. G4 has built a powerhouse team on both sides of the camera to let us push the envelope of the type of stories we can tell here. I'm so used to sitting at a table or on a remote call and painting pictures with words; getting to get up, move around, have lighting and audio queues is wild. But it lets us craft a viewing experience that nothing else can compare to. There's not a lot of firsts left in this world, so being the FIRST TTRPG on television has been a blessing and a challenge that I'm lucky to be able to take on.

Interview: Chatting With Members Of G4's Invitation To Party
Credit: G4

Kassem, what was it like being asked or invited to take part in the show?

KG: At first, it seemed strange to ask someone relatively unfamiliar like myself to take part in the initial campaign, but I'm glad they did. I think it's important for people who don't play D&D to understand that it's actually very easy to start and a lot more fun than you probably think. That was certainly the case for me.

What was the process like in making your character and making them notable and fun while also still useful to the party?

KG: Character creation was really great. B Dave really made that process fun. We were encouraged to find traits that would hook us into the characters physically, and also backstories that were interesting to start with but would also allow us to have fun finding more about ourselves over the course of a campaign.

Interview: Chatting With Members Of G4's Invitation To Party
Credit: G4

At any point in time did you all sit down together for a Session Zero and hammer out how the show would work? Or did you just go with the flow the first time out when the show first aired?

BDW: Not only did we have a Session Zero, we still meet weekly to figure out how to keep raising the bar. Now we're getting to the point that other people are actively pitching me things to try and ways to innovate; it's really important that everyone feels like they have a stake in this as something we're creating together. As the cast and crew get more comfortable with the path we're blazing, the sky's the limit.

KG: We definitely had a couple of sessions that gave us an opportunity to embody our characters and set up how our characters all came to find themselves in jail together in Episode 1. That was so important for me as I had a lot of doubts about how to play and felt pressure to play D&D "right". I had a lot of questions and sometimes didn't know what I was doing but those were the days I learned the most. I'm still learning so much every week.

What was it like for everyone playing that first game live on the network?

KG: The first game happened so fast and I remember nothing. It was a whirlwind experience and I was told people liked it?

Interview: Chatting With Members Of G4's Invitation To Party
Credit: G4

Dave, how has it been for you to manage the storytelling with both a chaotic crew and a format with commercial breaks and a time limit?

BDW: Without a doubt, the most challenging part of this is managing the breaks. Trying to find a moment that will keep both the cast and the audience engaged every 12 minutes or so is no small thing. Traditionally TV shows have the benefit of an edit to make it look seamless, but we have to do it live. Thankfully we have a small army behind the scenes that help keep me on track (shout out to Adam Rady)!

So far, as of when we're doing this interview, you've had a couple of shows out and have had some guest appearances. What are you all looking forward to as the show progresses?

KG: Most of all I'm looking forward to seeing what happens with Ignius. Because I have no idea. I had no idea this is where we would be as a group, and the uncertainty, although uncomfortable, is the part I come back for. I hope Ignius gets what he really wants at the end of the day.

Interview: Chatting With Members Of G4's Invitation To Party
Credit: G4

What do you hope the audience takes from the show as they watch the story evolve?

KG: I hope the audience sees a bunch of silly people having fun who really care about their characters and what happens to them. I also hope people who have never rolled a D20 find some friends and make a campaign of their own. It's hard to put into words, but the feeling of everyone suspending reality for a few hours to help create a story together is so very rewarding. There's nothing like it. There's a reason D&D has been around for decades. I'm glad we can tell our little story for a few people every week.

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About Gavin Sheehan

Gavin is the current Games Editor for Bleeding Cool. He has been a lifelong geek who can chat with you about comics, television, video games, and even pro wrestling. He can also teach you how to play Star Trek chess, be your Mercy on Overwatch, recommend random cool music, and goes rogue in D&D. He also enjoys hundreds of other geeky things that can't be covered in a single paragraph. Follow @TheGavinSheehan on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vero, for random pictures and musings.
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