For Molly McIsaac, the road to tonight’s premier of Fangasm (a SyFy reality show which mashes up The Real World and Survivor, pitting geek-against-geek in competition for a coveted job with Stan Lee’s Comikaze) has been a long one: After a two year audition process, earlier this summer McIsaac left her home in Seattle, Wa. for Los Angeles, where she spent several months filming the show.
I’ve known Molly for several years, (and have interviewed on camera and as a guest of the Comix Chix podcast) and find her to be one of the most positive geek girls I have the pleasure of calling my friend. Of course, when I heard on the DL that she had been cast in this show, I was so happy for her. Molly is creative and fun, a fierce advocate for women’s rights and gender equality in all things geeky – I couldn’t possibly think of anyone better for this show. I am positive that this show means very big things for Molly, and I’m thrilled for her!
Today, Molly was kind enough to chat with me about her experience making Fangasm, our interview is below:
First of all, congratulations! I know that the road to the Fangasm premier has been a long one for you – how excited are you now that the day is finally here?
It’s so incredibly surreal!! I feel like I’ve been waiting for this day my entire life – and in a way, I have been! It’s been such an intense journey, from wishing for something like this my entire life, to casting, to the two years leading up to filming and the uncertainty of whether or not the show would happen or if I’d even be on it! I’m so excited for this new chapter of my life to begin.
Tell me briefly the process of being cast in this show:
Pretty straightforward– There was a casting call, I wrote essays to the questions and they called me within 24 hours and told me they wanted an audition video. I sent one in, and a week later I was signing the preliminary paperwork. It was a long two years – sometimes without communication [about what was happening] for MONTHS – of waiting and wondering. We filmed a pilot, I flew down to LA to film some promos for the pitch, I got medical and psych evaluations – and then finally, FINALLY I was flying down to LA for the last time as a girl who wasn’t going to be on TV.
What about Fangasm made you want to put yourself out there and participate in this reality show?
Well, I’ve always kind of known I’d be really good for reality TV. I have a big personality and very outspoken views, and having a platform like a TV show has always been a dream of mine. Obviously I was a little apprehensive at the beginning because I didn’t know if Fangasm was going to be an exploitation of the geek subculture that I love so much, but I knew that even if they tried to make it about that that I have a strong enough character that I could still show the true side of fangirls – and not the awkward, mouth breathing nerds pop culture so loves to portray. However, 495 Productions and SyFy quickly eased my worries when it became apparent that they wanted Fangasm to be different – they wanted this to be a series that celebrated and showed the touching, wonderful sides of fandom. I’m so proud to be a part of it.
I don’t remember meeting Stan Lee!!! That’s how intense it was. I’m going to learn about what I said and did when I see the episode! Elvira was less intense for me, because I met her at a party we were throwing so it was a much more relaxed environment.
But I had to PITCH A COMIC BOOK TO STAN LEE. PITCH A COMIC BOOK TO GOD. Pure terror.
How intense was your shooting schedule? Were there any moments when you thought “what have I gotten myself into?”
Oh, it was INTENSE. It definitely took a couple of weeks to adjust. We were immediately shoved into a world where we had microphones strapped around our bellies during all of our waking moments and had cameras on us 24/7. We went to sleep with cameras on us and woke up to cameras on us. We couldn’t speak to one another in the morning until our mics were on. It was very, very difficult to adjust at first but after a few weeks the film crew had just become part of the furniture. I barely remembered they were there!
I think the hardest moments for me were when I was super vulnerable. Crying in front of four huge cameras, two producers, and three sound guys is a tough thing to do, but I went into filming with the idea that I wouldn’t hold anything back… and I didn’t.
How surreal was it to live in a house filled with people as big a fanboy/fangirl as you?
Well, I’m very lucky to be very deeply involved in the geek subculture already and have a wonderful group of friends who are geeky and wonderful… so truly it wasn’t that different for me! I think it was a bit of an adjustment for me to live with six other people, though, as I generally live alone and I felt like the days of roommates and dorm like living was long behind me. However, it was really great to be able to always have something to talk about and my roomies and I were fast friends (for the most part!)
Did you know any of your cast-mates prior to shooting?
Yes! Kristin and I were good friends, but by the end of shooting we had become closer than sisters. She’s one of my best friends in the entire world. Dani and I actually vaguely knew one another on Facebook but had never met, and I knew OF Sal (because of the geek speed dating show) but didn’t know he was going to be on Fangasm until we all met the first day in the Comikaze conference room.
It’s a bit egotistical, but there’s a cut of me in interview where I’m making the “live long and prosper” hand signal and screaming. It’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen myself do. I hope the Internet makes gifs of it.
Also, the whole bit with Andrew and George Takei at the very end. You’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s incredibly emotional and touching.
Where are you watching the episode tonight and who will be with you?
I set up a little viewing party at a bar here in Seattle, and some of my closest friends will be at my side. Some of my friends from Idaho flew out to be with me (bless their hearts). I’ve already seen the episode about four times because I went to NYC on Friday for the pre-screening at Midtown Comics (and to surprise Kristin), but I’m so excited to see my friends and fans reactions.