The CrowPac Faq!
We're always open for more updates or corrections to this FAQ!! Please email Danielle at firstname.lastname@example.org with your additions and corrections.
I-MST3K's history; the short, short version:
1: What is this MST3K?: It's a common abbreviation for a show that's anything but common; Mystery Science Theatre 3000. Born in Minnesota In 1988, it's a show all about an average janitor, Joel Robinson (played by Joel Hodgeson) who's shot into space on the Satellite of Love (SOL) by his boss at Gizmonics Institute, Dr. Clayton Forester, and his assistant, Dr. Lawrence Erhardt (Known, collectively, as The Mads). It's all part of an experiment, in which Joel is forced to watch stunningly inept B-grade movies and educational films, allowing the scientists to monitor his mind. To keep himself company, Joel created the robots, Tom Servo (The Little Red Guy with the gumball machine head), Crow (The little gold guy with the basketball net for a headpiece), Gypsy (The Big Purple Girl with the long, snakelike body and large purple head) and (presumably) Cambot (The little gray guy with the camera who you never see, cause he's "filming" it all). Between watching chunks of the movie with Tom and Crow (Gypsy could never attend because of her attachment to the higher functions of the ship, not to mention that she realizes they're horrible movies right off), Joel and the Bots put on skits, or plays, sometimes centered around a certain theme (A 'La the "Waffles Episode"), others non-sequiter, but most in line with the movie they're
Thus, the show aired for two seasons on a local Minnesota station, and developed the beginning of a monster cult following before being picked up by the soon-to-be Comedy Central (AKA: The Comedy Channel). The second Comedy Central season saw Dr. Erhardt being replaced by TV's Frank. In season 5, Hodgeson left the show, and Joel Robinson escaped the Satellite of Love in an escape pod when Gypsy feared that the Mads were about to do away with him. He was replaced by temp worker (and Real-life series Headwriter) Mike Nelson in the midst of that season. At the end of season six, TV's Frank was assumed into second-bannana heaven by the angel Torgo (And, in season Ten, fans would learn that he'd been demoted to Soul-Taking). HE then was replaced by Pearl Forester, Dr. Clay's mother, for one more season. The end of Season Seven brought the end of MST3K's time with Comedy Central, and the show filmed an ending that prepared for their (presumed) cancellation; Mike and the Bots were turned into pure spiritual enery after Dr. Forester disconnected the Satellite from it's tether due to lack of funding for the experiment. Dr. Forester himself was turned into a star baby, and all was left up in the air for season eight (And this is a wild simplification of the CC finale EP: Go to Satellite News for a complete description of the episode).
MST3K switched networks for their last three seasons; the show aired on the Sci-Fi Channel thanks to diligent fan campaigns in the show's honor. Mike, Tom and Gypsy returned to the satellite to discover Crow already there, and without a concrete memory of Mike. Pearl returned to play the role of the Mad, but in this incarnation, was much tougher and more assertive; we quickly learned that she had smothered Clayton after her attempt to bring him up again brought forth the same results. The show held a plotline this time; Pearl would chase Mike and the Bots in her WOM (Widowmaker Of Doom; a flying RV) through time and space. Along the way, Pearl picked up a sidekick, Bobo, a childlike man-ape from he future, when Mike blew up BoBo's home planet by mistake. It happened again a few shows later, allowing Pearl to pick up The Brain Guy, an albino Observer who carried his green brain before him in a pan. A few more twists and turns (including a trip back to Roman times and a stint baby-sitting for some omni-powerful kids) occurred before the show settled the Mads down in Castle Forester, Pearl's ancestral home, in the middle of season nine. Sadly, the show was cancelled in the middle of season ten's production. BBI went out with a bang, however; Pearl's experiment failed when Mike got his hands on the ship's controller and broke it, sending the satellite back to Earth. Stoically, the Mads moved on; the satellite crash-landed. Mike, Tom, Crow and Gypsy (and, presumably, Cambot) made it back to Earth; Mike, Crow and Tom moved in together, Gypsy became a successful business-bot.
Poignantly, the last scene showed Tom, Crow and Mike riffing the first movie ever riffed during the show's network run, "The Crawling Eye" from their couch. The show is still in reruns on Sci-fi.
II-A: MiSTings And you
1: Ah yes, thanks for the history lesson; but what's MiSTing?: MisTings are sort of like fanfic for Mystery Science Theatre 3000, and actually a pretty neat lesson in Internet economy. There is no better way to pay tribute to what BBI had to go through than to put together your own MiSTing.
2: And How, smart guy, would you do that?: Well, first look for a particularly juicy piece of fanfiction, a longish flame, even longform Spam or a forward that's irking. This is the beauty of belonging to a DiBSing list (more later on that). Check for clearance to do the MiSTing, and, after you've established it, sit down and try to riff.
3: OK, what's the proper procedure for "Riffing" something?: That's something the MiSTier themselves usually determine themselves. Some rush through; reading as they riff, tearing the words to pieces and then reconstructing them and tagging the riffs to speakers. Some spend a little time with the fic, gingerly peel apart the layers, assigning each riff on the basis of character. Some spend months brooding for the best possible Host segments possible, some don't even write them. It depends on the author's style.
4: What do I do with a MiSTing after I've written it?: You could send it to your friends, post it on usenet (There IS an entire newsgroup devoted to MiSTings), submit it to an archive (even here, if it meets our guidelines), or just sit in the dark and read it, giggling perversely to yourself in the darkness..
III-C Little MiSTing Glossary of MiSTing Terms
1: Basic MiSTing form: Most MisTings (though not all) start out on the satellite you've chosen to portray. This is called a Prologue, and usually involve interaction between your hero and his/her/their sidekick(s). The events should wrap around the commercial break (usually signaled by "commercial sign," sometimes announced by a magic voice, depending on what era you're basing this on, if any at all). At this point, you could add your own commercial, a description or a full-length piece (think SNL's fake commercials). After this, the conclusion of your prologue wrap-around should connect to a "Mads Sign", and the introduction of your Mads into the piece. There could be an invention exchange, or not; in general, your Mads should be scheming and your heroes should be disapproving. At the end of the segment, you should have a thread to scoot you through the MiSTing; a scheme by your Mads, or the actual theme of the MiSTing itself. Insert a "bad -Misting Material-sign here," followed by a door sequence, which should take you to your theatre environment, in which your material will be riffed. Depending on the number of host segs you want to put into the production, you might want to cut the piece you're using into even chunks, with each chunk having some sort of basis for a host seg. A commercial or two may also be thrown into the mix. Make sure to peek in on your mads every few segs; come up with a strong conclusion, and run those credits. The whole package is usually neatly knotted up with a "stinger', or a particularly memorable line from the piece you're working on.
1: Host seg: A host segment is a skit or a play that takes place in between chunks of "movie seg" pieces of the MiSTing. May involve a recurrent theme, be loosely based on the piece you're working on, or involve current events.
2: Prologue: A skit that usually has nothing to do with the content of the MiSting or the recurrent theme of the episode. Usually pop-culture or personality pieces used to open the show and lead into the invention exchange or first host seg.
3: Heroes,hosts: Your basic "good guys" in the story: Mike, Joel and the Bots on the show.
4: Alternate Cast Mistings: When the Mads and/or Mike, Joel and the Bots are replaced by other personalities and placed into alternate situations. This is what this very archive is based on: In this case, wrestling personalities replace Mike, Joel and the Bots on satellites and in theaters. Other fine examples include Mystery Slayer Theater 3000, which replaced Mike, Joel and the Bots with the cast of Buffy The Vampire Slayer.
5: Alternate Universe MiSTings: Mike, Joel and the Bots are plunged into different situations; riffing under the sea, perhaps?
5: Movie Sign: A display of flashing lights and shaking camera, usually used to signify the transition between host segments and MiSTing segments. It's a signal from the Mads to the Heroes to get into the theatre or else.
6: Door Sequence: In MST3K, as Mike/Joel and the Bots run back and forth in front of the camera in a state of pandemonium, the camera dollies past them and through as series of creatively surrounded doors. Different MiSTiers have handled this in many different ways; providing their protagonists with blocks of ice to chop through or a wall of Oscarfics to burn through.
7: Commercial: Just as in the real world, a "Commercial sign" leads us to a block of commercials. In a MiSTing, they can be skimmed over, taken out, or turned into big epics. Take a look at any classic Saturday Night Live episode for guidance in the formation of parody commercials.
8: Mads: The "villans" or Mad Scientists, who monitor your hero's minds for the purpose of..stuff!! May or may not be obsessed with trying to take the world over, may or may not try to create diabolical inventions to do in the world. May be multiple, usually come in pairs of two.
9: Satellite: Usually where your heroes are, floating up in space. Give it a fun name/features; make it specific. A popular fan-created feature in some satellites is a Holo-Cabana, in which the Heroes have virtual-reality, stress-relieving fun.
10: Deep _: Where your villans are usually located. Same instructions as with the Satellite, replace Holo-Cabanna with "The Hole" or some special feature..
11: Episode, Season: If you're doing a series MiSTing with a sustained cast and storyline, the Episode Number indicates the order in which the MiSTings should be read. If you're ambitious enough to do whole seasons, then Season numbers are important too. If this is your first MiSTing and first season, Your first episode listing, for instance, would read: EP. 101 (For Season 1, Episode 1, add by one as you complete each season, your second season, for instance, would Read 201).
12: The Button: Used to close the show on MST3K; when pushed by the Mads, takes you to the closing credits.
13: Closing Credits: A place to insert your acknowledgement/viewpoint on doing the MiSTIng, but some also run phony credits that give full credit to the people "producing" The MiSTing (If doing a regular MST3K MiSTing, for instance, you would credit Tom Servo's pupeteering to Kevin Murphy, as if it were an actual episode of the series).
14: Stinger: A line that stands out particularly for you in the MiSTing, to be used, unedited, as the final line in the MiSTing.
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