Elements of Justice has been seeing a really good run after its debut on June 5, 2019. It’s crazy to think that it’s been nearly 2 years since the project was released by AlJavis. Nevertheless, the project has seen a lot of growth and changes throughout its history. Knowing this, I decided to interview the production team of EoJ to ask about their memories surrounding the project.
Of course, managing a project like this is a balancing act that’s often seen in the brony community. More often than not, the people who work on projects like this tend to do it out of passion rather than as something to do as an actual paying gig. I mean, if you consider the recent rise in tension toward fan project monetization; anyone is justified in thinking that fan projects need some sort of sustenance in order to… Well, be completed.
I was curious about many aspects regarding the production of Elements of Justice. So, let’s dive right in and see what we can learn from the people working on this magnificent work of art.
The Lone Artist Pleads for Help
We’ll start this section by saying that AlJavis essentially was a one-man show during the earliest stages in the “Development” of Elements of Justice. Unfortunately, doing things by yourself will end up hurting a project of the scale of EoJ in the long run.
We could see the problems in the writing during the first episode of Elements of Justice. Sure, one can easily just point at the “Cakewalk” word and laugh. However, there were many other instances of awkward dialogue choices; grammar mistakes; missing sentences; and more issues that kept piling on without Aljavis noticing. This only became worse when you take Aljavis’s busy schedule into account. Since he himself had a lot of Real life plans on his plate. All of this, in turn, made the first episode of Elements of Justice take over half a decade to release!
So, imagine what would’ve happened if the episodes kept being released by this One-man-show guy. Fortunately, Aljavis was going to learn a very important lesson about projects of this size. This lesson, by the way, was going to come from the place he least would’ve expected.
Becoming a Better Version of Yourself
Once more writers became involved in the project, it was obvious that EoJ needed more work than anticipated. Because of this, it was decided that a complete rewrite of the project would help it more than anything. This rewrite (spearheaded by lead writer Serenity) ended up making EoJ’s writing become almost on-par with some of the best Ace Attorney cases. When I asked Serenity about this, he told me about the process behind the rewrite:
“The idea of the rewrite behind the second half of Case 1 came after I, and the other writers, were hired by Aljavis during the hiatus between Episodes 1 and 2. He gave us the script for the second episode (at the time, Case 1 was only going to be 2 episodes long). I grew concerned that the quality wasn’t up to par with what the audience would’ve been expecting after years of delays. After telling Aljavis this, he confessed that he was no longer happy with his scripts for Case 1.
As such, I offered him an alternative course of action for the second half of the case, and he liked it enough to suggest I propose it to the other writers and see what they thought. After about a day of discussion, tweaking the details here and there to satisfy the team, we firmly decided upon making the rewrite a reality.
As for creating the rewrite itself, it was hardly what I’d consider a challenge. Aljavis had already laid down the foundation of what needed to be done; all I had to do was add some extra information, and give our characters (primarily Coco) a bit more of an arc for the trial, as they were all lacking one in the original script.”
Building on the Foundation
The ending of Case 1, Episode 1 pretty much marked a turning point for Elements of Justice. What once started as a project with a small team slowly grew into a project of a grander scale handled by 40 people. Nowadays, the team consists of a director; 2 Managers; 5 Writers; 19 Voice Actors; 3 Audio Engineers; 3 Animators/Riggers; 5 Background Artists; 3 Video Editors; 2 Graphic/3D Artists; a Concept Artist; and 2 Musicians.
What does Aljavis think of his team? Well, I asked him what his thoughts on his team were and he had this to say:
“I LOVE THEM! During production of Episode 1 of Case 1, I did the entire episode by myself minus the VAs. I used to be against having a team, because I felt that no one would want to help me and I was afraid of handling a team. Having this team helped boost my morale with the production of EoJ, and I always look forward to getting into voice chats with them on the EoJ Team Discord! Seriously, everyone is awesome!”
It’s important to note that each and every one of these members volunteered for the role. It’s clear that everyone wanted to make this a project that both the brony and Ace Attorney fandoms would fondly remember for a long time. Without hesitation, the team managed to finish the rest of Case 1. Giving the audience one of the most engaging mysteries that would keep everyone’s eyes glued to the screen. Not only that, but the case had so many loose ends that the audience would surely return to watch the story unfold in later cases.
Working as a Team and Learning the Craft
Some of my readers might have noticed that the team doesn’t really add up to 40. There is a reason for that. Some of the people in the staff have more than one role. In fact, the team organically helps each other in more ways than you can imagine. When I asked Aljavis to elaborate on this, he had this to say:
“The team is very willing to fill in roles when we are lacking anything needed. For example, SilverFeathers, our Scootaloo VA, helped our animators/riggers (MV and age3rcm) when both were having a hard time with the number of characters needed. I’d dare say that she was the main reason why we were able to release Episode 1 of Case 2 the day we released it!
Another example is Jarvy Jared, one of our writers, when he stepped up to being a musician, despite having no experience in producing anything. So, he learned how to use FL Studio, where he created Private Eye’s and Turning Page’s theme!
Not to mention, just very recently, our managers (Serenity and Destro) are currently learning how to use Adobe Animate. With Serenity learning how to edit and Destro learning how to animate. One more example I want to add is Soundman, our Audio Engineer! I can’t exactly say what he’s working on yet, but trust me, what he contributed to EoJ will reveal itself in due time!”
You can tell from this that Aljavis learned a lot since people stepped up to the plate to help the project. It’s heartwarming to see that even after MLP ended the fandom is still willing to produce memorable projects.
Delving into the Writing Process
At this point, you might be wondering. How tedious is the actual writing process? Well, according to the writing team, not a whole lot. When asked about it, Jmboote had this to say:
“In terms of coming up with ideas for the plot, a lot of it comes from sitting around as a group of writers and suggesting ideas for story beats that don’t conflict with and enhance the basic story structure Aljavis had in mind for EoJ.
An example of this is having Athena as the attorney for case 2, where, in the original layout for the case, Phoenix was the attorney. A few of us pretty much unanimously suggested that someone else should lead the case. Long discussions also apply for things like character arcs, the backstory for the series, etc. It’s essentially us sitting around a pot and dropping ingredients into it after discussing at length whether or not they would make what we’re creating something that people would find fulfilling.”
The Finish Line
Once the writing is done, we go straight for edition and spellchecking. This is majorly done by Jarvy Jared and Andrethyst. I asked Andrethyst about their role on the writing process and they had this to say:
“The process of editing and polishing the script is a remarkably painless one. Once a new script is released, Jared and I comb the script for issues of any kind, grammatical or otherwise. Most of the time our changes are simply fixes to sentence structure and spelling, but they also include altering word choices to better fit the speaking character as well as rearranging or outright cutting lines in order to improve clarity and episode pacing.
The other writers are very receptive to any proposed changes, so it’s generally quite easy to resolve any issues that might require a bit more discussion.”
In addition, Jarvy Jared had this to say about the writing process.
“When the writers initially got onto the project, we wanted to make sure that no one was tripping over each other’s feet. As such, we decided to divide the writing process into manageable components. So you have Serenity and Destro as our lead writers, James helps flesh out the ideas there, and Andrethyst and I help with presentation – we proofread and polish and try to ensure lines can be spoken.”
Room for Improvement
Wow, that’s a lot of words to describe the writing process alone in Elements of Justice ain’t it? There’s even more where that came from! However, since I don’t want this to be an absolute bore to read, I will be dividing this interview in multiple parts. I’d like to extend a huge thanks to the Elements of Justice team for providing this opportunity to me. We’re going to dive even deeper into the production blessings and woes that have accompanied the development team.
In the meantime, what do you think about the writing process behind Elements of Justice? Are you a fan of other MLP works? How were you introduced to the series? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. If you haven’t seen it yet, we’ve reviewed the first episode of Elements of Justice. You can read it here. Of course, if you want to watch the whole series so far, you can access the playlist with every episode here.