Now Streaming in Austin: The Trolls

Austin comedy takes a potshot at tech culture

Rob Gagnon and Lisa Friedrich take on patent abuse in Austin tech comedy The Trolls

Welcome to Now Streaming in Austin, highlighting locally made titles to watch while self-quarantining.
While the global economy seems to be tanking, the truth is that many tech businesses are flourishing. So it seems a perfect time to take a trip into the world of cubicles and computing with The Trolls.

Writer/director Lex Lybrand was inspired to make the crowdfunded comedy when he read the story of Adam Corolla being sued by a Texas firm that claimed they owned the idea of podcasts. What they did is called patent trolling: File an amazingly vague patent, then come threaten to sue anyone whose product comes anywhere near its wide terms.

It's the opposite of what big companies, especially tech firms, do: they file a grab-bag of patents so that no one can stop them from entering a market. This is basically about shakedowns on small firms that can't afford a lawsuit, and that's where Lybrand focuses his story: a tiny startup (staffed by a who's who of Austin comics including Rob Gagnon and Lisa Friedrich – oh, and look for a cameo by future wrestling superstar Keith Lee) that gets targeted by a professional patent troll, and decides to turn the tables by trolling the trolls.

There was even a good dose of dramatic irony when Lybrand saw ... let's say similarities between his film and an episode of the hit series Silicon Valley that aired a year later.

But for now, let the laughter and lawsuits commence!

The Trolls

• Vimeo (Link)

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Now Streaming in Austin, The Trolls, Greenless Studios, Lex Lybrand, Rob Gagnon, Lisa Friedrich, Keith Lee

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