Hi, We're Indy Neidell and Spartacus Olsson. together we started The Great War, the first ever global real time interactive documentary. In 2017 we set off on a new adventure to make even more awesome historical content, even while Indy continues with The Great War. A few weeks ago we started Between 2 Wars about the interwar years in preparation of the big premiere of WW2 in real time week by week starting September 1, 2018. But who are we? Indy is a historian, actor, and professional musician that loves telling complex stories in his unique, fascinating, and engaging way. Spartacus is a film and video producer, writer, and director that has been studying history fanatically since he was seven years old (a long time ago). Indy and Sparty are both descendants of Charlemagne King of the Franks and Nefertiti Queen of Ancient Egypt.


Comments: 109 • Responses: 21  • Date: 

Arab-Jesus13 karma

Hi guys! Massive fan of the shows, and studying history myself! You two are really the coolest. I have two questions for you:

With such massive wars, how do you plan on making sure you're covering som of the less known, more peripheral stuff? Say, the campaign in Syria and Lebanon, or other even more niche subjects could easily disappear in between Stalingrad, pearl harbor, etc. - with such events covered in a million documentaries already, I hope you focus a bit more on less famous events!

Having spent almost 4 years on TGW, and now going into Between Two Wars, followed by 6 years of WW2, are you at all afraid of 'burning out' and getting sick of the format/job/or something?

SpartacusOlsson11 karma

Regarding burnout - this is pour passion, like Indy said at some point; "this is what our entire lives so far have been leading up to" so get bored... never! - but if we don't get more help soon we might collapse ;-) but seriously though, that's why we see this as a collaborative effort. Only problem right now is that we're not even getting to the point of starting to collaborate - but we're very positive fools and we're loving this, so with some love and perspiration we'll move onwards and upwards.

CRH1135 karma

Hey guys! What particular event during WW2 are you most excited to do a video on? Can't wait until September 1st!

SpartacusOlsson9 karma

Well. there's so many events during that war that are absolutely nuts and mesmerising - the obvious ones about the war like Kursk, the collapse of Barbarossa, D-Day and stuff like that will be in Indy's department. I'll be covering the War Against Humanity and when it comes to that the most exciting event will probably be the meeting between Himmler and the lead Rabbi of the Swedish Jewish Community (most of the other events in my area can't be described as exciting, only very sad, or absolutely horrifying). In any case in that meeting Himmler asked 'the Jews' to please stop carpet bombing German civilians - the absurdity and the horror of that situation, how it exposes the depth of the insane ideas about a jewish conspiracy with the Nazis, the daring move to fly to Germany being a Rabbi in the middle of the Holocaust, and of course that it saved tens of thousands of lives at the end is absolutely fascinating.

Elkyrian3 karma

Speaking of Barbarossa, how much of an effect do you think the decision to postone it so the Axis could invade Yugoslavia and Greece had towards the final outcome?

SpartacusOlsson2 karma

This is a super tricky question to answer in a forum like this. We actually had great discussion about this on our TimeGhost Army Forum here https://community.timeghost.tv/t/why-nazi-germany-lost-ww2-an-analysis/109/37

Engineer_daddy915 karma

Hey guys! Big fan, contributed to the kick starter and am a patron.

What do you guys feel is the most interesting, relatively obscure story of world war two?

SpartacusOlsson5 karma

The first one that comes to mind its how the plans for the Nazi atomic bomb were smuggled out of Germany by a monk and Sam Woods the trade attache to the US embassy in Berlin. It's obscure and pretty banal, but very telling of how the intelligence gathering was based on haphazard luck and opportunity (as I guess it always is).

Thanosaekk3 karma

1.Will you be doing more than one episode for other years full of interesting events? 2.Won't it be necessary to release episodes quicker to be able to start WW2 at the 1st of September?

SpartacusOlsson5 karma

Oh we will most certainly do many episodes for each year that needs it - 1919 had 4 and 1920 will as well and then we will see. And yes we will have to start releasing episodes faster to catch up ;-) This was actually why we were hesitant to do B2W in the first place, but we love doing it and now we're committed. Right now we're both working triple shifts and the growth of the channel hasn't permitted us to get any extra help yet - we hope to change that in the next weeks.

Alexs2203 karma

Hi Indy! I am worried about your cooperation with other channels on WW2 show. I know that you are very unbiased, and i trust you, but I am not so shure about other channels. How are you going to make shure that they are as unbiased as possible?

SpartacusOlsson4 karma

Well... we're setting up a fact checking workflow and the actual week by week events will be covered by us. Indy will do the war itself and I will do the 'War on Humanity' - the latter is probably the most difficult area that we will deal with when it comes to bias. For specials like guns and tech, you don't need to be worried - we have the best partners you can imagine. On specials we will always be involved in some way.

KameradePingu3 karma

Will you treat Stalin with love and respect??

SpartacusOlsson6 karma

Actually... we don't treat anyone with love and everyone with respect. That's part of our brand. We don't take sides we tell the story as it developed. It's actually one of the great advantages with chronological documentaries the way we do them - we tell it as close as we can to how it was and then you can decide yourself. In fact if you look at our Cuban Missile Crisis series you get a compressed version of how that's meaningful. Usually the story is told as a good guys vs. bad guys story (depending on which side you're on). We just tell the story as it developed and something magical happens; you see that neither side had dogmatic good, or bad qualities - it was just simply a mess. With Stalin... well, need we really tell you that he was a pretty seriously dangerous and most probably deranged person? No, we don't so we focus on what he did and that will tell you more about him than if we tell you what we think.

27ianm3 karma

Do you guys plan on covering any other wars or maybe some other stuff like what you did with the cuban missile crisis?

SpartacusOlsson2 karma

Yes, but right now we've got our hands full (actually hands, feet, head, guts, and what not) with B2w and WW2...

IrishFlyingCat3 karma

Hey guys, fairly new fan, only found out about you guys from lindybeige about the kickstarter, which I backed after watching the cuban missile crisis series. If WW2 is anything like that or between 2 wars were in for a real treat! As for questions I've a few:

  1. A while ago Spartacus alluded to how he got his name, will we ever get the full story?

2.Will you ever do a mini series on other conflicts between or after the world wars, like the Irish War of Independence or the Suez canal crisis?

  1. Any update on the rewards for kickstarter?

Keep up the great work guys!

P.S. Thomas Malthus definitely deserves a spot on the World Dicktionary, if nothing else for swaying English policy that made the Great Irish Famine so Terrible, liek the population of ireland today, still isn't at pre famine levels, over 150 years later!

SpartacusOlsson3 karma

I'll tell the story about my name some day, but it's not that spectacular, mildly humorous maybe...

Mini chronological docs was what we actually wanted to focus on first with TimeGhost, then we railroaded ourselves into B2W and WW2... but if we get enough growth to build a bigger boat: yes!

Ahhh the rewards - I have a daily guilty conscience - the patches are in my office and I need to organise sending them out. It might seem trivial, but we're so swamped that it just keeps on moving from one day to the other. The other rewards are still not ready (as I said... we railroaded ourselves)

Thank for appreciating our work and Malthus is a really good idea... despite often referring him for how damaging pigheaded pessimism can be, I didn't think of him as an option until you said it. Good call.

josejade3 karma

Hi Indy how do you feel about the way you encourage alchoolism in the episodes of between 2 wars ?

IndyNeidell10 karma

Well, it was a very important part of the period in many ways. I mean- many people had tragic alcohol problems from the war, of course. The 20s saw the emergence of seriously dangerous "alcohol" in the states thanks to prohibiton, but on a global scale, it also saw things like the beginnings of both the modern cocaine industry in england, thanks to Edgar Manning and Brilliant Chang, and the heroin trade in the US, thanks to Arnold Rothstein. This does not in any way answer your question, it's just interesting stuff. My answer is- how do I encourage alcoholism in between 2 wars?

josejade1 karma

Well, you seem to drink something at the end of every video (I like it is a really nice touch), but maybe you are just drinking tea.

IndyNeidell9 karma

It's coca cola, actually, but I do like a drink now and then. But I fail to see how that encourages alcoholism. it's like saying the big knife on my desk on the great war encourages stabbing people.

SpartacusOlsson7 karma

Here's an aside: last time we shot we had to start putting diluted apple juice in the glass, cause Indy was getting to much caffeine... he already pops through the camera with excitement, and we feared deaths might occur.

VladTeves0 karma

So now the only mystery remaining is what Al Pacino sniffed in Scarface... ;)

SpartacusOlsson1 karma

Re, Al Pacino; I'll give you three options to choose from:

-Lactose powder -Vitamin B powder -Benzoylmethylecgonine

Or a combination of those...

John_Sux2 karma

Will the WW2 series start with the European theater 79 years after it began, or will you cover other things like the final year of the interbellum or the Second Sino-Japanese war, until the 80th anniversary of the invasion of Poland in 2019?

IndyNeidell3 karma

We're doing a between two wars series now to cover the interwar years with at least some justice before we get down to brass tacks. WW2 will start now in September 2018.

mego-pie2 karma

is any particular reason the Sino-Japanese war isn’t considered part of ww2? Or is it just a convention due to historical bias?

SpartacusOlsson2 karma

Its because it doesn't become a global conflict before September 1939. The moment the Commonwealth gets pulled into the war every inhabited continent is affected - so by definition it's a WORLD war - before not. There has been a case made for considering both WWs as one long war with 'down period' in the middle... but that's a bit speculative.

runvhe2 karma

Hello Indy and Spartacus. How time-consuming is the Between 2 Wars series? Like how much time do you spend on average a day on research, filming and editing?

SpartacusOlsson1 karma

One episode takes about 16 hours to research and write, 30 minutes to record and 16 hours to edit. We record multiple episodes at once since setting up takes about four hours so it only makes sense when we get a bigger output. Indy is amazing at delivering in front of the camera - he just nails one script after the other, doing up to eight episodes in day (when we have enough scripts). Some episodes are faster to edit, but the ones with maps and troop movements take very long.

mego-pie2 karma

Been fallowing along since the start and contributed to the kick starter.

I’m curious because when I looked through the partners I didn’t notice many people who do a lot of doctrinal stuff. I was curious if you’ve heard of/contacted Military History Visualized or TIK History at all? They’re both great.

SpartacusOlsson2 karma

MHV is reconsidering his concepts and was taking some personal time at the shift of the year. Because of B2W we're a bit behind on growing the team, but TIK History is a definite option!

TimeEdgeWarrior2 karma

For Between the Wars will you have a regular video release schedule i.e. like every Sunday etc?

SpartacusOlsson2 karma

We're trying to catch up with ourselves at the moment but by end of May we should have schedule set.

josejade2 karma

Hi how are you guys planning any out of the trenches in the interwar period ? what are you guys planning to get out of ? Thanks to everyone working in the show you are AWESOME

SpartacusOlsson2 karma

Thank you! Yes we will do an "Out of ..." format for B2W, but what we will be sending out of remains to be seen... maybe "From the Barricades"

Die_Steiner2 karma

How deeply will you cover the Spanish Civil War and the other conflicts in the 30s? Will the Chaco War be mentioned? Also, you two are awesome. Kämpa på!

SpartacusOlsson5 karma

We will cover the Spanish Civil War in B2W as extensively as we can - personally it's a big interest - the 30s will be very focused on the conflicts, but which ones get more or less coverage we can't say yet (except the obvious ones like the Sino Japanese War) - we're still writing on the 20s. The problem with B2W is that we have so little time and so much to cover, but rest assured it will get coverage.

Signalam1 karma

Aww am i late, Anyway if i am not, where did you get your passion for makeing videos like this? and also do you think you will do something like this for any other wars?

SpartacusOlsson3 karma

We deal with history, so we're always late ;-) our passion comes from a lifelong interest in history, performing, and story telling. Beyond having a degree in history Indy is an accomplished professional actor, musician and performer. I've been working for decades (yes thats how old we are - it gets an s) as a producer and media executive. So it was a natural progression of things that led us here. It took us 14 years and many, many tries before we came up with The Great War though. Funnily enough TimeGhost existed as an idea before that, but needed the TGW format to be feasible. When Indy and I met the first time at the millennium shift we already decided to make history documentaries that were 'different' and with some persistence and after some false starts we finally found the formula (or at least that's what we tell ourselves).

Laulo891 karma

Hello both. Congratulations for the great work you're doing. I love your show and I was wondering about something. Would you consider covering other wars weekly like the American Civil war of secession (1861-1865) or the Franco-Prussian war (1870-1871) for example? Thanks in advance for replying. Take care!

SpartacusOlsson1 karma

If we manage to grow TimeGhost enough to get a team together our goal is to cover everything ;-)

[deleted]-1 karma


mego-pie0 karma

I imagine because it’s the “ghost of the past”, particularly how they cover events in “real time” by having events in the episodes line up with what happened at that time 100 years ago, in the case of The Great War channel, and 80 years ago for their WW2 series.

SpartacusOlsson2 karma

I think (s)he meant our names... anyway. TimeGhost is a literal translation of Zeitgeist, and is not just a fancy way to say spirit of the times, but it originates from Zeitgeist Theory which is an important concept in historiography (the science of history studies) that was formulated in the early 19th century by amongst others Hegel.

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27ianm0 karma

Indy why wint you answer my question on out of the trenches

IndyNeidell4 karma

Well, since we get tens of thousands of them, rest assured it wasn't personal. And it's Flo who chooses the questions and then I answer them- usually things that are asked by multiple people. What was your question?

27ianm1 karma

I was wondering if port cities in new jersey like Hoboken were as important to mobilization as they were in the second world war or if they had a different system for mobilizatiin. Thx for responding

IndyNeidell3 karma

Well, yeah, you had to use the ports if you're sending men across the ocean, and they have to be a focus of mobilization. It's also a great way to send the Spanish Flu around the world- NOTE: it's not certain where the flu originated, many, but not all believe it was the states, but that's far from certain.

SpartacusOlsson3 karma

It was a must to use ships in both wars - there were no other alternatives. It was only during WW2 that planes were developed with enough range and cargo capacity to transport troops over the Atlantic and they were experimental bombers... so ship ahoy it was - as the major ports in the US didn't change much between 17 and 41, they used the same ones.