Interview No. 174
Interview By: @The-Great-One
Today's guest has been with us once before as part of The Review Request Club. He went by the name Corky52. He would change his name in years to come and during that time he would become not only one of Newgrounds most helpful members, most beloved members, and a dear friend to myself and many others. I am most honored to welcome back, The Father of Forums, @Fro.
Q: It has been over ten years since we last spoke here on The Interviewer. Back then you were Corky52. Back then you wanted to make a Review Request Club Flash. What changed for the Review Request Club over the years and you as a person here on Newgrounds?
A: We did end up making a Review Request "Flash" in 2010 called The RRC Awards. It followed the same format as one of Tom's submissions where he presented the 2nd Annual Tank Awards. The production value was low. The jokes were cheesy, but at the end of the day it turned out exactly like we had planned. The club was a lot different back then and my mentality about reviewing has changed.
The club was very structured, lists were kept of submissions that were posted, scores were kept for those who completed their reviews as a motivation system to review everything. I eventually got married and then divorced shortly after, life caught up to me, I didn't have a working computer for a long time, and basically just stopped visiting the website. Sometime between when I left the club and the site and when I returned, the club had basically died out as did a majority of the clubs in the forums. In my opinion it's now just a place where people post their submissions and in return get 1-2 reviews, if any. I had posted in the thread multiple times with my own submissions and received 0 reviews. I had even posted a couple of years ago and asked if anyone was interested in making it more structured like the old club. It only had negative responses. In return I figured it wasn't worth reviving.
I mentioned that I changed as a reviewer as well. I used to leave very detailed reviews, but it grew tiresome. If I didn't leave short reviews for friends submissions or a "hey I like this" review, I wouldn't review anything anymore. I still appreciate receiving detailed reviews, but at the end of the day I don't think it really matters. If you have the chance of helping someone improve with more information or criticism then go for it, but if you want to tell someone that you liked something and leave it at then it's ok too.
I started as someone who really wanted to be a moderator. I thought maybe the way to do that was to just be as helpful as possible. I really wanted to be a review mod, so I figured super helpful reviews would help me get there. I did end up modding for a few years and generally enjoyed it, but discovered that it was so distracting that I would let it eat into my work time or family time. I'd be eating dinner with my family and modding the forums instead of enjoying the 1 on 1 time with my family. I retired. I don't think I would do it again.
Q: You made some fun videos with your friends in the past, some of them being on Newgrounds. One I am interested in that's not on the site is entitled -Rawk-. It's about being friends with a rock. Could you elaborate more on this? Why was this one not posted on Newgrounds?
A: You can view this on youtube on a dead account that I use to post some videos on. This was well before I made videos with friends as a fun to do. I had a video technology class in high school and we went to a workshop about... video stuff? I don't remember it's quite a long time ago. There was a part where they asked us to go around and make a video and then allowed us to use any of the tools that they had. Their computers, cameras, editing software, etc... I went with a small group of friends who were also in the class. We couldn't think of anything to do and as time started to run out someone suggested we just make a video about... *picks up a rock* about a rock! We made a short video where we talked to the rock, named Rawk like it was just another person and put it into person like scenarios. I honestly can't remember too much of what we did as I haven't seen that video since the day we made it.
We had always talked about how funny it could be if we had more time to make it. A competition came up, the Rod Sterling Film Festival I want to say. We used this as a good reason to make the video.
Basically we did the same thing. Put it in normal human situations. We entered it in the competition and received a letter saying that we had won the best comedy. We were then brought to the event and got to stand up on stage to receive our award as they showed our video on live television. (PBS) It was a cool moment in life. It made me want to continue to create short stupid videos which I did for a long time. None of them as successful though. We had entered multiple other competitions, but as we grew our humor was never quite what they were looking for. We had changed as short movie makers, but the competitions weren't ready for what we were producing. That and they probably just weren't that funny outside of a small group of people.
It was a lot of work to post the videos on newgrounds and they were never well received. I think that's why I never went back and posted that submission. People would get angry and just talk about how they weren't flash. It would take a lot to get the quality decent enough to convert into a swf. file and the audio was usually a nightmare. It would be much easier to reupload remastered versions on the current newgrounds, but I just don't think they would be well received.
Q: When did you start playing football? What position did you play?
A: I can't remember exactly what year that I started. I was young though. I remember my parents being really surprised because I had never showed interest in sports. I honestly can't remember why I wanted to play. Perhaps because a few other friends were playing. I started with peewee and vividly remember a few plays and experiences. I remember never knowing what to do the first couple of years. I understood no concept of football. I had no clue what we were trying to do. There was no retention, there was only hit the person in front of me. I got a lot of playing time because I hit hard. I'm known as a pretty strong person, but I was small my entire life. I went into 7th grade weighing about 90 pounds. It wasn't until later that I got bigger.
I remember my last year of peewee football. I played along the offensive line and as a defensive end. While I was on defense I would completely destroy kids. It would get to the point where the opposing team would just run the ball to the side that I wasn't lined up. I don't remember much about offense until later on.
We learned quickly that I was better put in the middle of a defense. One game where the opposing team would just run the ball the opposite direction over and over coach decided to put me in at middle linebacker. He told me my responsibility was to just find the ball. I had well over 30 tackles that game. This started my career as a linebacker.
I remember Jr. High football. I was a tight end on offense and a linebacker on defense. I caught a few touchdown passes and caught quite a few passes overall on offense. Mostly I blocked. Defense, more of the same. Played linebacker and made tons of tackles. I still hit hard. Other players were always scared. After my Jr. High year I started to lift weights. I got very strong. I was lifting way more than everyone else at the gym. I gained a ton of weight, added a lot of muscle. I entered 7th grade as a 90 pound skinny kid and left 9th grade as a 200 pound "meathead".
We moved on to 9th grade, which would put most players on a "freshman" team or a JV team. I was able to play all 10 JV games and all Varsity games. Every single play, every single snap of all 20 games. Offense, defense, special teams, I never was off of the field. On the JV team I played as a linebacker and as a guard. The games were extremely easy. They were slow and easy to react to. I piled on huge numbers of tackles. In Varsity I didn't do so well. I got pushed around a lot. I remember not understanding the concepts and ideas again. I'd often find myself doing the wrong thing. The ideas got much more complex year to year and I wasn't quite ready to start as a freshman on the Varsity team. I did anyway.
After that year I joined the track team. The track coach convinced me that I would be faster for football. That sounded good. He was right. I got a lot faster and matched with the weight room and endless amounts of food my mother made me, I was getting huge. By the end of 10th grade I was around 220 pounds. Extremely fast. Extremely strong. I had broken all of the schools weight lifting records and brought home a lot of medals from competitions. For track I tried triple jump, high jump, long jump, 100 meters, 200 meters, shotput, discus, etc... You name it, I probably tried it. By the end of my track career I could compete at the district level in all of the sprints and shotput.
In 11th grade I got moved to runningback. I did well enough for my first year. Due to injuries on the team we needed me to move back to the line. I was pretty upset because if I were to have had the whole season as a runningback I think I would have been highly recruited at the position. I was large, 240ish pounds, and could run a 4.4 40 yard dash. (Faster than a lot of NFL players at that position and size)
In 12th grade I was moved to fullback. This was close enough for me. I lead the team in receptions, rushed for quite a few touchdowns, and got to do one of my favorite things. Get a running start to block someone! I ended up on the All-State team as a fullback. I was recruited heavily as a linebacker to quite a few schools. Sadly during track season I tore both of my hamstrings and that was that. I lost 50-60 pounds of muscle, kind of went into a depression, and stopped lifting. I played a year or two of semi-pro football in college, but my heart wasn't quite in it anymore.
Now I get to coach both track and field and football at a local high school. I really enjoy it. I still get the urge to play every now and then. When Covid clears up I would definitely play for a semi-pro team locally. Especially since I started lifting again a few years back and I'm quite strong and fast again. (Much stronger and faster than I ever was as a kid)
Q: You attended Lock Haven University. Your decision was based on pricing as being the cheaper option. Would you have attended a different college if you the choice wasn't financial. What can you tell us about your time at Lock Haven?
A: It was the cheaper option for sure, but I also decided to do it for love. I was blind. It was closer to my high school sweetie who was a senior in high school my freshman year of college. I literally skipped over a lot of scholarships and other things to go to the school. If I were to do it again, I would do it the same. I would have never gotten married, never gotten divorced, never met my current spouse after the divorce, and never had my daughter. If you're telling me I would have still lead that path and still have my family the way it is then I would absolutely go to a different school. I would have went to one of the schools that wanted to pay me to play football.
That being said, college was one of the best times of my life. I had an extreme amount of fun and have a lot of stories that I've told. Ranging from ghost hunts, fun parties, nerf gun wars, dressing up like ninjas and fighting in public with other ninjas, making funny movies, making the Pyroscape series, etc... One of my best friends, Nick, ended up being my roommate and I don't think college would have been as amazing without him there with me.
College was interesting though. I don't think I'd go back. I almost failed out my first semester, but realized that I needed to get my act together. I ended up making the dean’s list every other semester and graduating overall with something like a 3.8, which was impressive because of the 2.0 that I started out with. I really like the town that the college was in. Super simple, small, but still just a 30 minute drive away from some bigger areas like State College. (Penn State University) I ended up living in Lock Haven for quite a while after graduating college too. Sadly when things heated up with the latest elections we discovered how dangerous the area actually was. It was no longer safe for my family. Mobs would surround my family to do harm, men in robes would drive their trucks with nooses hanging from the back. When my spouse got an offer to do her doctorates on the other coast we jumped on it without question. I'm happy we left the area behind.
Q: At first you were interested in history, but switched to teaching. What made you want to make the switch? Why did you decide to teach elementary?
A: So… My high school track and field coach was a History teacher and I really looked up to him. He was very intelligent, hardworking, and taught me a lot of stuff that my own father never did. I wasn’t aware that men were allowed to show emotion or cry until this man. I had raced really badly in a relay event and let down some other runners in a race. Some of them were seniors and this was our district championship where we could have gone to states. It was probably the first time that a sports failure had effected other people so negatively. I broke down and cried. My coach hugged me and cried with me. He had always been so supportive in every aspect of life. I wanted to be like him.
Sadly I found that I really wasn’t that interested in history at this level. I made a lot of decisions and switched majors a few times. I realized that I had signed up to be a History major. Not a history teacher major, but still wasn’t as interested as I thought I would be. I figured I worked well with kids and switched to social work. Realized the nightmare that would be for me emotionally and next semester switched to Elementary education.
It was hard. I had a hard time dealing with a classroom environment. I was a poor planner. The kids basically tore me apart. At this point I just wanted to finish college and get out of there. One placement with 1st graders went extremely poorly. Another placement with 5th graders went much better. I realized that the history teacher/high school environment was probably better for me, but there I was graduating with an elementary teaching degree.
Even though I never taught after that I still wouldn’t change anything. I believe it helped me get my first management position, helped me understand how people learn, and had a lot of influence on my coaching career. If I had to go back to college, which I really don’t want to, I would do something business related. Everything I’ve done work wise has been management and a business degree would have had some carry over. They do say education majors make some of the best managers. I do admit, that managing adults is almost exactly like managing children.
Q: You and I have something in common. We're both writers. At what age did you become interested in writing? What can you tell us about your writing?
A: In highschool my friend Nick and I would write a lot for our short films. I can’t remember exactly what grades. I want to say somewhere between my sophomore and Junior year is when I started. Almost everything I’ve written has been scripts.
There have been multiple times where I’ve attempted novels, but never finished. I once wrote well over 100 pages of a novel my freshman year of college. It was mediocre at best, but at least I was writing. Sadly, I never backed that file up and eventually lost it in a computer crash. (Damn limewire!)
So even today I write in script form for most of my work. I’ve written a collection of really mediocre shorts and have a thread here on Newgrounds.
I wrote a bunch of comedy scripts for the latest two voice acting collabs. I’ve discovered that my inability to make my ideas funny on the camera didn’t mean that they weren’t funny ideas, just that I was bad at producing the ideas. Once I got some great voice actors bringing my ideas to life it was obvious that I did have some merit as a writer. It was funny to just more than me!
I’m really proud of the Halloween contest entry that I submitted. I didn’t win any prizes like some of my older submissions to contests, but I do feel that this is probably my best writing to date.
It was full of emotion and real life fears/concerns. I’ve grown to write about things that are true to my heart now instead of cool Sci-fi stuff. That being said, I do have multiple ideas that I’m rolling around right now. 1 novel idea, 1 comic/episode type idea, and one B-Horror movie script idea. I really would like to get all 3 of these ideas out of my head and onto paper some day. Even if they never become anything.
Overall, I don’t know if I would call myself a writer. I feel like I can finally do that when I publish something and you can find it on a bookshelf. The chances of that ever happening for me are pretty rare right now. I’m content as just writing for fun when I have the rare motivation to do so.
Q: A collection of stories that I am fascinated with was Daily Diary of an Uber Driver. I suggested turning it into a book and you were quite keen on the idea. Is there still a book coming? If yes, when? If no, could you tell us what made you want to get into Uber in the first place? How did you find out about it?
A: This was one of my attempts of trying to write something small every day. It was a lot of fun while it lasted. I knew it would eventually get repetitive and that I would eventually need to cut out customers because of the repetitive nature of most of the rides. The reason I stopped writing was because I stopped driving. The reason I stopped driving was because I had reached a financial goal and it was starting to get stressful.
Basically I had taken up driving Uber as a second job to help pay for our moving expenses. We moved across country, east coast to west coast. It took quite a bit of my savings away and I needed help catching back up. So I drove Uber for a bit. I had forgot that there was a sign up bonus when I first started. You were guaranteed to make a certain amount in your first 100 trips. If you didn’t make that amount you got the difference in a lump sum after your 100th trip.
After a bad day of driving, a few short trips, not a lot of riders in the night, and witnessing multiple car accidents while driving I was basically an emotional wreck. I had just witnessed a man get hit while riding a motorcycle. The car that hit him sped off and the cars behind him literally beeped for the man to hurry up and get off of the ground out of their way.
It was very disturbing…
Then that lump sum hit. It was substantial. I think $700 give or take a little. I retired from driving Uber on the spot and went home. I don’t think I would do it again.
Q: How did The Dom and Fro Show come into existence? Will we see it return?
A: Simply, we thought we were funny and were trying to make funny videos. Video editing was a lot of work and they never quite turned out like we pictured in our minds. The cuts were choppy, the jokes fell flat, there were audio troubles, etc.. I moved away from Dom when we moved across coasts and there was always the conversation that we wanted to make more videos someday.
I don’t know whose idea it was first, but we came up with the bright idea of trying a podcast. We were thousands of miles away, our videos usually fell flat, and we still thought we were funny. Just because we couldn’t put our humor into production of a video skit, didn’t mean we couldn’t talk.
So we tried it. It went surprisingly ok. Things hit hard at home with a big fire across California that dislodged me from my house for a long amount of time. It lead to other events and before I knew it coaching season was a go again. This left no extra time for the podcast.
Would I do it again? Absolutely, but only if I didn’t have to do any of the planning or editing. It was kind of a pandemic hobby that I lost interest in after normal things started to happen for me again. Dom talks about it a bit and I tell him every time that if he comes up with the show idea and does the editing that I’ll be there.
There are actually two episodes out there right now fully recorded that just need edited down. They’ll probably never see the light of day.
Q: What were your thoughts on The Fro Collab (or the Frollab, if you will)?
A: That was interesting. I loved it. I wish people would make more things about me. I very well know that I’m not popular enough for things to be made about me though. I was pretty excited when I saw the final product.
I had announced that I was going on vacation and that I wouldn’t be on the site at all minus depositing experience points. I stuck to it. I didn’t visit the site at all and when I came back to the forums I noticed an entire art collab made about me!
I remember showing Dom all the art and plot and he was just as pumped as I was to see “fan art”. Some of the art I used as icons and banners for quite a bit. Some of the art did a pretty good job at depicting a younger/more muscular version of myself.
Q: You are currently in the process of competing in a Strongman Competition. What piqued your interest in this competition? How well do you think you will do?
A: I’ll only mention it, but everyone says this when asked about Strongman, so I’ll just leave it as a mention. I use to love watching it as a kid. There, done. I gave the generic answer.
In reality I always considered myself kind of strong. I always wanted to compete again. That being said, I’m not necessarily the strongest in the normal powerlifting events. Squats, deadlift, and bench press. I am particularly good (top 1% in the world at my body weight) at pressing things above my head. The only strength sport that focuses on pressing strength above your head is strongman.
I checked out a video on how to sign up for your first strongman meet. It’s slightly more involved than finding a competition, signing up, and showing up. You have to pay for a yearly membership, pay for quite a few expenses including around $100 for every competition. I eventually found a local one and sent an email to the vendor about signing up for my first competition.
Big Tommy Burns, the man, the myth, the legend. He walked me through the process of signing up for his competition even though it had filled up. He then invited me to come train at his gym an hour away. I came out, he and others showed me the ropes on some of the more technical stuff, and I loved it so much that I kept going.
It’s one of the few competitive sports where the people you’re competing against want you to do well. It’s a, I want to win because I’m better than you at your very best mentality. They want you to bring your best when you compete. It’s extremely common to see someone cheering on another competitor who could very well beat them if they perform better in an event. It doesn’t matter. It’s completely about community and being the strongest person that you can be.
The first competition in May is a Novice competition. The weights are light and I’m only competing against other novice athletes. (First timers) I think that I will do extremely well, if not win that competition. My 2nd competition will be the light weight open division. I will be competing against some people at my skill level and some pretty elite athletes. This is where the true learning and experience will come in.
Q: You signed up in 2004. You've seen the site at an earlier process than others. I signed up in 2006 and we both would see the 2007 and 2012 redesigns. With both redesigns came new generations of members to the site. The 2012 redesign has slowly been smoothed out into a slicker feel. What can you tell us about growing with the different generations here. Seeing others who were teenagers and young adults becoming grown adults with lives and families of there own.
A: Most of the people that I spoke to no longer use the site. I wasn’t really active until my college years, so somewhere around the 2008 period. I’ve tried to catch up with a few people that I spoke to, but after the “hey what are you doing nowadays” conversation we didn’t have much to talk about.
The only person that I still talk to is the programmer that made my Pyroscape series. I still try and convince him to make games with me every now and then. I might peer pressure him in the near future.
Things were different. Maybe it was because I was an annoying kid and had a different attitude, but everyone seemed so uptight. People were always angry at me for posting spammy stuff or trying to be too helpful in the forums. Now the way that I use to post is the golden standard. It’s weird how the attitudes changed and everything got more relaxed.
At this point I just want newgrounds to thrive. I want the old people to come back to the site, the current users to want to stay on the site, and the new members to keep flowing.
Q: Any users who have left that you miss or talk to outside of Newgrounds still?
A: I mentioned a bit about this above. I still talk to the Pyroscape programmer @MonoFlauto.
There was one user that I talked to quite a bit, @SonOfKirk. We were in the RRC together. He stopped coming to the site awhile back and I’ve tried to find social media accounts and stuff, but haven’t had any luck.
Will you guys find him for me?
Q: What can we expect from Fro in the future?
A: I hope to get a lot stronger and competiting. Even if I don’t ever win anything, it’s just so I can be the strongest Dad on newgrounds. I’ll fight @TomFulp for the title if I have to.
I hope to take part in writing a few funny things that hopefully get turned into something, whether it be audio, animation, game, or whatever.
The guaranteed thing is that I’ll get older and more dad like as the years pass.
Some bonus notes: I did decide to become a forum mod again. I think taking part in this interview had influenced it a bit.
Most forum users who are interviewed here are known more on the forums than elsewhere on the site. This is not the case for Fro. His name resonates with many creators on here. He has always been there to give a helping hand as one of the best moderators on the site. I am thankful to see him taking that role again. One of the best reviewers, and best members that Newgrounds could ever ask for. I am lucky enough as well as many others to call him friend. I am glad to grow up on this site alongside him.
The Interviewer is a part of Dohn's Desk Productions