Hey reddit! We created American Vandal - let’s talk Turd Burgler!




Comments: 472 • Responses: 49  • Date: 

IsThisNameTakenSir525 karma

u/AmericanVandals at what stage in writing the script did someone come up with the idea for the iPhone glitch? IMO that was the most brilliant part of the whole season that really brought the story into reality.

AmericanVandals498 karma

Exactly when the glitch actually happened! We were working on episode 204 when the glitch screwed up our phones and we thought this would be a good complicating factor to mix things up mid-season!

snowlarbear519 karma

Who came up with Demarcus Tillman's violin celebration? Did Melvin have violin experience, his wrist bowing motion is surprisingly good.

AmericanVandals487 karma

Melvin came up with it! We wanted to give him a celebration gesture, but our ideas were too lame - one was him shooting a bow and arrow into the crowd, the other was him baking cookies. The violin was cooler than either of those.

snowlarbear174 karma

it's incredible I hope we see it in the NBA this season

AmericanVandals163 karma

I told him that too! I will be getting an NBA League Pass membership to check on this nightly.

JacobiousPrime459 karma

Do a lot of people think that the actual creators are Peter and Sam? I did at first, then learned the truth, then the opening of season 2 made me do a double take.

AmericanVandals508 karma

Yeah, there's been a handful. I'm so happy the studio/network/unions allowed us to make fictional joke credits.

capy6ara330 karma

As a bunch of adults, how do you capture the stupidity of high school humour/behaviour so perfectly? So much of the show has hilarious and stupid stuff that is spot-on to how high school actually is.

AmericanVandals634 karma

Dan Lagana has a teenage step-son, so that experience helps. And we do interview younger people, both in high school and recent grads. But honestly, we're kinda just really cool young people who totally get it and we like to keep things 100%

settleyourkettle224 karma

Wayback Boys or Horsehead Collective? Be honest. I personally think Baby farting is an act that can't be topped.

AmericanVandals151 karma

I won't pick among our babies, but I'd love to see some kind of remix video of the two.

dhb1022202 karma

The acting seems so organic. How much of the conversations do you script and how much are improvised?

AmericanVandals428 karma

The episodes are all fully scripted before production, but we do a tremendous amount of improv on set to make it feel as doc-ish as possible. So we’ll let the Dylan Maxwell school board hearing or the Kevin McClain run for 15 minutes without calling cut. We’ll let Tyler (Peter) conduct his own interviews with major suspects, so that it will actually feel like an interview subject coming up with answers on the spot to questions that a teenager wrote. Shooting tons of footage that isn’t in the script allows us to edit it like a documentary, which is probably the most painstaking part of the process. Sorry if this is a rambling answer. But basically, it’s fully scripted by our super talented writers, and then there’s an incredible amount improvisation by our super talented cast, for our super talented editors to sort through for months.

razorbacks3129192 karma

How much did the stress of the show contribute to how quickly you've aged?



AmericanVandals136 karma

I honestly think it's made us look a lot better.

MonsieurBlueSky179 karma

What subreddits did you frequent when creating Travis's character, Kevin?

AmericanVandals364 karma

Haha. r/iamverysmart


But those are the tropes and we wanted to ground it and not make it an absurd caricature of those traits. It was fun to go down those rabbit holes though.

AmericanVandals92 karma

r/iamverysmart was probably a bookmark on our browsers early on.

arw1710178 karma

I don't really have a specific question but having watched the first season, i wanted to let you know that it is a fantastic show and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I can't wait to watch season two when I get some time to binge watch it.

Actually here's a silly question: what are your favourite current Netflix shows?

AmericanVandals162 karma

Thank you! But man there’s so much... and it’s so diverse. Been watching Chef’s Table recently. Love it. But Bojack, Stranger Things... They’re making more great content than I can watch. So, thanks for watching ours!

subspaceboy154 karma

How much time did it take to create all the fake instagram/YouTube videos. Not to mention making all those instagram accounts. How do you keep all those damn passwords?

AmericanVandals257 karma

We have a great post team and a visual effects genius named Peter Poot who is extremely detail-oriented and hilarious. We take a lot of pride in the little details of the show. Our hope is that if you pause at any time during a social media moment there would be no reason to believe these aren't real posts and profiles if you didn't know the characters were fictional.

Dr5alty153 karma

How did you come up with this idea?, what made you choose these kinds of stories and the actors?

P.S. Love the show! It's executed so well and the humor is spot on! Good job guys!

AmericanVandals319 karma

True crime had such a huge spike in 2016 - it was kind of a no brainer for us to try a satirical take on it. We found high school to be the best setting comedically, and it also had some interesting parallels to the justice system.

As far as the crimes, Tony had the idea for dicks, and I think a lot of us thought poop was the natural next step. Dick jokes and poop jokes have been neck and neck as most immature jokes since the earliest civilizations.

SouderK151 karma

Any news you can give us regarding Season 3?

AmericanVandals366 karma

No news... If Netflix lets us do another (hopefully), we’ll want to make sure a new season will be different from the first two and can be our best before jumping back in.

TooLazyToCh141 karma

is poop funny?

AmericanVandals287 karma

Poop IS funny.

musclemetal92136 karma

I felt that the second season was much more serious and at some points was a very real commentary on our justice system (such as talking about false confessions). If you guys make a third season will you keep this more serious tone or make it less serious like season 1?

AmericanVandals144 karma

I think the silliness of the subject matter will vary a little depending on the crimes we choose, but we'll always treat it as seriously as you would an actual true crime investigation.

SadisticAiden129 karma

How did you come up with the idea to spike the lemonade?

AmericanVandals338 karma

The better question is: how did we come up with The Horchata? And the answer to both questions is: we actually don't remember.

prissy_frass89 karma

Oddly enough, this actually happened at my high school. They put laxatives in the slurpee machine. But it was not nearly as catastrophic as on the show. I think a few people hurried to the bathroom and word got out that these kids did it.

AmericanVandals209 karma

How did they find out what kids did it?? Do they have any physical evidence? What color was the poop? If it wasn't blue or red tinted how can we be sure it was the slurpee machine that made them poop? Sorry, it's our job to ask these questions.

fritzianbale127 karma

One thing that I've wondered since watching the finale is what Diapey Drew did in the video. What was the act that he did that made the whole school learn about his "flexibility"?

Loved both seasons, this is my highest recommended Netflix show, your casting is incredible, writing superb and I think the pace is always on point. Can't wait to see what else you guys have in the works!

AmericanVandals184 karma

It wouldn't be legal for us to say, really. But we welcome all guesses.

Poramo119 karma

Hello. Please be honest. Did you hire Kevin from "The Office" to play Ms. Shapiro in season 1? I believe I have concrete evidence that they are the same people...and excuse my terrific photo-shopping skills. https://imgur.com/5lqbznC

AmericanVandals268 karma

No we cast Madge from "The Office" to play Ms. Shapiro

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/M/[email protected]_V1_.jpg

Creeees185880 karma

Did you find Melvin Gregg similarly like finding Jimmy Tatro because of his online success? He was hilarious as Demarcus this season as well all all of the other actors. I would love to know who comes up with all the complicated twists and turns in each season.

AmericanVandals135 karma

We actually cast both of them in SPITE of their online success. When possible, we love to cast relative unknowns so audiences never get taken out of our documentary world. But ultimately, we’re just looking for the best actors. And both Melvin and Jimmy were cast because their auditions stood above the rest. We’re very fortunate to have found them.

TooLazyToCh53 karma

Will there be more seasons and if it's the case, will Peter and Sam investigate somewhere else than in high schools?

AmericanVandals118 karma

If it’s dumb enough to be funny, but compelling enough to carry a real mystery, nothing is off limits.

phinnthehuman46 karma

Shouts out from Downingtown, PA!!

Have y’all heard stories of Downingtown East High School’s ‘thursday shitter?’

An anonymous vandal would smear shit on the walls of the boys bathroom by the lunchroom every Thursday.

Other highlights include a kid shitting in someone else’s backpack and drawing a huge dick and balls in left-center field of the baseball field with bleach (killing the grass)

I guess my real question is to what level do American vandal story lines take notes from your high school (Tony being from Downingtown) experiences

AmericanVandals52 karma

Go Cougars!

I have NOT heard of the Thursday shitter. Two of the writers in the room had a “poop bandit” at their school that would do something quite similar.

And 100% of the storylines run through my personal “could I see this happening at Downingtown” mental filter for realism. But all of the writers do the same for their own high schools. It’s cool to see talk about high school all these years later and realize the things you thought were unique about your school were exactly the same as others, and the things you thought were universal were unique to your little town.

TorontoLandlord40 karma

Why did you leave Season 1 on a sort of cliffhanger where you are not so certain who drew the dicks, but decided to reveal the turd burglar in Season 2?

AmericanVandals84 karma

It's a question we get a lot but honestly we never saw the ending of Season 1 as a cliffhanger - we do feel like we pretty strongly suggested a culprit. But Peter felt he would be no better than the school board if he accused someone without concrete hard evidence.

We also wanted the ending of Season 1 to be more about the unfair labeling our characters went through as opposed to just an answer to the dick question.

With Season 2, it made sense to have a definitive culprit like Grayson, who could deliver a sort of manifesto for Peter to break down. Here was someone who did some totally unethical things but had a few fair points about the nature of how social media can distort reality. We thought it was an interesting challenge for Peter to face.

Chtorrr40 karma

What are your feelings on pineapple as a pizza topping?

AmericanVandals87 karma

It's real hit or miss -- honestly, it's really only good when combined with a strong primary topping. Pineapple is not a primary topping.

FrogKidFrankReynolds34 karma

How did you get inspired to create a true crime parody?

AmericanVandals59 karma

We were all fans of the true crime genre, especially Tony. And when Serial, The Jinx, and Making a Murderer came out within about a year of each other it became clear that the true crime genre was hitting a new point of mainstream popularity. We had done a lot of short film parodies to that point and were looking to do something in a more long form format, so it felt like the right step for us to take on true crime


I've seen people on reddit who suggest that Grayson is the true hero of season 2. What would you say to them?

AmericanVandals159 karma

No dude Grayson SUCKS. He's like Kevin Spacey in Seven. Except with poop stuff.

MAFIAxMaverick32 karma

First off thanks for doing this and engaging with fans. It’s always awesome for people to do these AMAs. Second, I love the show!


How important do you think Jimmy Tatro was to getting the show noticed? Honestly, it was the reason I watched the first episode of season one and then I was hooked. Do you think the show would have taken off as well as it did if Jimmy wasn’t a part of the equation?

AmericanVandals51 karma

Thanks! We're happy to do it.

Jimmy was and still is a huge part of the show's success. He's obviously hilarious, but I think some people were surprised with how much they ended up empathizing with a kid who was introduced to us in the first episode as a "known dick-drawer." He's very collaborative and easy to work with. And we were super happy to hear Season 2 got his stamp of approval!

92tilinfinityand29 karma

What makes high school such a ripe place for a true crime parody? Will American Vandal always take place in various high schools or do you see Peter and Sam taking the project elsewhere in their near future?

AmericanVandals59 karma

High school is a perfect platform to tell a story about injustice. And it's a great setting comedically too - our approach to comedy is basically taking silly things very seriously and the things we all treat as high stakes in high school sometimes feel a little silly in retrospect.

In terms of the when/where of Vandal, we're just excited about the show always evolving. We honestly don't know what the future holds for the show, but we love the idea of exploring different types of people and different places.

padrock23 karma

How do you go about finding such convincing teenage actors? Do you give them any kind of coaching on how to "be themselves" while still being self-aware participants in a documentary?

AmericanVandals29 karma

We have an excellent casting director in Wendy O'Brien who's done a great job on both seasons. And Cast Iron Studios in Portland helped us with a ton of casting of local talent as well.

crispybacon40414 karma

Do you guys have a favorite character? And is there another topic besides dicks and poop you'd like to tackle?

Also, I want to thank you for this wonderfull series and all the laughs I had! The satirical take on the genre is so well executed and while I love the show's humor in general, the most hilarious part for me really often comes from the fact how serious those silly events are taken by the characters of this world you created!
Speaking about characters, you really created some great ones!
Since I'm on a phone right now and old enough, to struggle with touch keyboards, I'll leave it at that but I'd have so many more good things to say about your show!

Your show quickly became one of my most favorite ones not only on Netflix but in general!

Really hope there will be anther season!

Thanks again and good luck with all your future endeavors!

AmericanVandals18 karma

This is so great to hear, thanks for the kind words! We don't have one favorite character but we're very happy with both casts and feel very lucky to have found those actors. And we're glad to hear you enjoy the seriousness we apply to this silly subject matter. One of our favorite things to hear is when people kind of laugh at themselves halfway through a season when they stop to think that they just spent hours of their time trying to find out who did a weiner or poop crime.

razorbacks312912 karma

How often do people think your show is real even for just a few episodes? My girlfriend thought it was a real documentary based on actual events for the better part of 5 episodes..

AmericanVandals22 karma

It's pretty common actually and we love hearing that. Despite the ridiculousness of the pranks, we try to make the world feel as authentic and true to real documentaries as possible.

OSUBrit12 karma

Why did you chose Seattle/Bellevue for your setting? And do you guys know there isn't a mall in Kirkland?

AmericanVandals24 karma

Yet! We're hoping they build one soon to help with the accuracy of the show, it's probably just a matter of time.

And we thought shooting in the winter in the northwest would give the show a colder, darker feel that differentiated us from the look of Season 1 and match the darker nature of the S2 crimes and their aftermath.

Captain_Numbnuts11 karma

Were there any specific real true crime documentaries that you guys took inspiration from?

AmericanVandals43 karma

Oh yes... We’re huge fans and students of the genre. Thin Blue Mind blew my mind in film school. One of my favorite films. Then I felt Serial was really game changing for the genre. For years, documentarians always tried to pretend like they had no biases when tackling a particular subject. But we ALL have biases. Sarah Koenig was the first to really lean into it, and present herself as a human being. She would talk about FACTS, but wouldn’t be afraid to talk about her own gut instincts about the case. So we wanted to bring some of that POV and humanity to our fictional documentarians.

But Errol Morris is a god. The Jinx is incredible. Binged Making a Murderer in a weekend. Staircase was a huge reference in the writers room. Central Park 5 is heartbreaking. Keepers. Shadow of Truth. Confession Tapes. Doing all of this “homework” is a highlight of our jobs.

_DeadyBear_10 karma

What's your shit position?

AmericanVandals24 karma

Pretty standard until I tried that squatty potty thing they have on infomercials. Surprisingly effective. I don't own one myself but if it's an available option I take it.

kingofthediamond9 karma

Big fan of the show! Can you say what’s in store for next season?

AmericanVandals26 karma

Nothing's confirmed but we hope it happens! Every year we'll be focusing on a new crime with a mostly new cast and we got some ideas we're really into for S3.

DannyShikari5 karma

Did you put yourselves off of drinking lemonade?

AmericanVandals17 karma

I still like lemonade, maybe even more so because I guess I've been around it more lately. We had a Turd Burglar themed ice cream and lemonade truck ride through LA a couple weeks ago and so many people drank that lemonade with no fear of pooping.

PeanutButt8235 karma

What is the hardest part of writing a story like this? How did you guys write true crime so well?

AmericanVandals5 karma

We try to watch every remotely popular true crime documentary out there so I'd like to think we know the genre pretty well at this point. And writing a compelling mystery is usually harder than making the poop and dick jokes.

gravytrain3953 karma

How do you differentiate between the two Dans?

AmericanVandals26 karma

One of us is strikingly handsome. The other one is Perrault.

Bisexual_kitty3 karma

Have people asked you if the story is based on true events?

AmericanVandals16 karma

Yes we've been asked that. In a way it is, in the sense that everyone had a dick drawer at their school and, in some cases, a poop bandit. You'd be surprised with the amount of poop vandals there are out there.

Battlescarred982 karma

Would you rather fight 100 dick sized turd burglars, or 1 horse sized turd burglar?

AmericanVandals2 karma

In this hypothetical, what does "turd burglar" mean? Like, a big living turd emoji?

cantremeberstuff1 karma

I greatly enjoyed Season 1 but have found Season 2 to be formulaic and repetitive to Season 1.

Is this just indicative of the genre - do you see both Season 1 and 2 as just following the same formula?

AmericanVandals58 karma

You’re formulaic and repetitive.

AmericanVandals30 karma

We actually are huge fans of repetition, and the true-crime formula, and repetition.

BusinesslikeIdiocy1 karma

Advice for filmmakers?

AmericanVandals6 karma

Make as much of your own content as possible until someone notices you!

aadmiralackbar1 karma

Favorite Netflix originals (that aren’t American Vandal, of course)?

AmericanVandals7 karma

A few of my fav's are Black Mirror, Stranger Things, and Making a Murderer (pumped that it's coming back!)

Kh0nsuu1 karma

Are the main characters based on you guys ?

AmericanVandals4 karma

Not really but there are elements of Peter and Sam we can relate to. Tony and I (Dan Perrault) both did work with our AV clubs and student-run TV shows. We could be perfectionists like Peter at times, but we could just as easily goof off during an otherwise serious moment like Sam.