Pants puns abound in a conversation with former Oak Bay resident Dan Christensen.
The St. Michael’s University School graduate of 2006 worked extensively on the wordplay as part of his award-winning web series All My Pants.
In a bit of an homage to a soap opera of a similar name, All My Pants utilizes marionette and puppet work that exposes a realm of what life is like for pants when we’re not around.
Christensen grew up in south Oak Bay and still returns a couple times a year to visit family. Upon graduation from SMUS he headed for theatre school in Toronto.
“I was surprised to get in because it was a difficult program to get into,” he said.
After a year, he opted to pursue a philosophy degree at University of Toronto, returning to arts upon graduation and working on a couple of friends’ projects. That led to a one-year writing program at Vancouver Film School.
There he connected with Shelley Shelley Stein-Wotten from Nanaimo and the true saga of the pants began.
“I wish there was a story behind it that was logical at all,” he said with a laugh. “Shelley and I are both fans of soap operas, it was generated out of the title I think.”
A handful of the scripts in their writing program were selected for production at the school that also offers animation, acting and film production.
“The writing program doesn’t typically do their own production,” he said.
The three-episode first season of All My Pants was one of six projects produced.
“The idea was so silly,” admitted Christensen. “We thought it was suited for hyper-short episodes.”
“Making All My Pants was a really hands-on experience,” said Stein-Wotten. “Not only were we producing a web series on a tiny budget, we were also sifting through racks at thrift stores to do our ‘casting’ and turning those pants into believable characters.”
The series is directed by Ryan Jackson with a cast including Sean Conley, Taizo Ellis, Josh Hallem, Isaac Keoughan, Sidika Larbes and Kwasi Thomas. The writer’s brother Brian Christensen, formerly of Oak Bay, scored the award-winning work.
It revolves around Gene, voiced by Sachin Sahel of CW’s The 100, a reliable pair of jeans who hopes to get a leg up in the world when his dress pants boss, Mr. Hemmington, offers a promotion. Naturally, there are strings attached and Hemmington threatens to air Gene’s dirty laundry if he doesn’t carry out a deadly deed.
“The writing process was half sitting there developing the characters and tales. The other half of it was just sitting there drumming our heads, being like ‘We need a pun in this line.’ We had a whole long list of pants puns that we had to get in,” Christensen said. “I didn’t even really realize until later that we’re zooming in on crotches. It didn’t even cross my mind.”
Being a student project, instructors had them pay attention to elements beyond the script, such as promotion.
“Typically writers aren’t involved with promotional production at all, they write the script and move on,” Christensen said. “We decided to really throw ourselves into submissions for festivals and things like that.”
The work paid off with student awards at the Los Angeles Web Series Festival on April 4 for Outstanding Student Series, Outstanding Series Premise (Student), and Outstanding Score (Student). All My Pants is also an official selection of the Korean Web Festival July 30 and 31.
“On the Internet with a web series you’re competing with so much content,” Christensen said. “Trying to carve out your space is challenging.”
The team already has a 13-episode second season planned out.
“Gene isn’t going to be left hanging,” he said with a chuckle at the now-natural pants pun. “We’re hoping to make it more robust in the second season.”