Welcome, everyone. We’re so excited to have you as part of the team for the filming of The Dark Shadow River. We…

(Assistant whispers in ear.)

Sorry, sorry. I’m being told the book series is actually called The Dark River’s Shadow. My apologies for…

(Assistant whispers in ear.)

(To assistant.) “Seriously? Why are the titles of these book series so goddamn interchangeable?! Fuck it, I don’t care what the books are called. We’re calling this The Dark River.

Okay, sorry, everyone. Let me start again. Welcome to The Dark River. We’re going to make an amazing fantasy show to help people realize that no matter how crappy things seem for them, life, as imagined by fantasy writers, is a whole lot worse. This is exactly what the tens of millions of data points of user data told us they want to see.

I must start by informing you that many of you will not make it through the first season. Some of you won’t make it through the first episode…

(Swordsmen suddenly appear out of nowhere and drag off several cast and crew.)

(Audible screams in the distance.)

A few of you did not make it through this speech. Let us take a moment of silence for our fellow cast and crew who have given their lives so that The Shadow River may live on for three to six moderately entertaining but ultimately formulaic and unsatisfying seasons.

(Short pause.)

Amen. Now, down to business. We’re going to start referring to cast members only by their character names shortly, so everyone should begin to get used to that. If it helps you remember them, note that all characters will have one of three kinds of names. One group will have names that almost sound like common names, but are just a little off, like Glimothy. Others will have essentially unpronounceable names like Yyvui’geiyyn-uyynyg. And the final group will be single-syllable names, like Thud.

It’s also important that you familiarize yourselves with the key elements of the storyline. If you haven’t finished all forty-five books of the series yet, I’ll cover the basics now. There’s a major dark force that’s getting stronger and looks like it’s about to return for the first time in a hundred or a thousand years or something. And nobody can stop this force, except some relatable and attractive teenagers who don’t realize that they possess immense power that has been totally overlooked by their parents and others in their high schoo—sorry—in their remote village.

That’s most of what you need to know, but read the books when you can find a couple hundred free hours.

For wardrobe, cast members will all be assigned your dirty and drab beige costumes, except for the main characters, who will obviously have unnaturally colorful and spotless clothing at all times, despite supposedly living in a world without plumbing or detergent.

Cinematography crew, the bad news is that the outdoor scenes will require filming every angle of every kind of terrain and topography on the planet, most for just a few seconds. The good news is that all indoor scenes will take place in a tavern or a castle, so the prep for that will be pretty minimal.

Screenwriters, honestly, this is going to be the easiest paycheck you’ve ever gotten. Because some of the main characters will be just as unfamiliar with the magical concepts as the audience, you can literally just pack that exposition straight into the dialogue like tuna in a can. Keep it simple. Also, we’re going to kill a lot of the rest of the screentime with staring and brooding, because we know it’ll feel nice and familiar to some of the key demos.

All right, that’s about it. Let’s get this thing rolling, so everyone can get on to the bigger projects they’re really interested in. Thank you for listening, and I look forward to working with all of you on The Dark Shadow.