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Interview No. 147
Interview By: The-Great-One
Today's guest is a remarkable game developer whose titles have given people great joy with Nodes, Break the TV, and Arcalona. His titles have also driven anger yet ultimate satisfaction in the end with The Unfair Platformer. His works can be found on mobile devices and throughout the Internet. I am pleased to welcome, Eggy.
Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?
A: Like most kids I found Newgrounds in highschool in the golden era of Flash. Where Stick Death type animations were the most popular things online, I instantly took a liking to it and would watch stick animations and play stick games on Newgrounds.
Q: When and how did you become interested in video games and games in general?
A: To be honest I can't remember a time when I wasn't into video games! I was your usual nerd that would be on the console playing sega and N64 games all day everyday from a very young age. I remember being in love with N64 growing up. Specially platform games like Mario and Banjo Kazooie.
Q: What brought you to Albany?
A: Well I grew up in Albany, it's a very small town with not much to do really, which I later moved to Perth when older.
Q: What did you study at Great Southern Tafe Albany?
A: I studied multimedia. It was a combinatiom of Flash and 3d modeling. Though I was so far ahead in Flash then the teacher I end up teaching him some things and I finished making my game Nodes in class due to finishing the work quickly.
Q: What stories could you tell us about school life at North Albany Senior High School?
A: It was your pretty standard High School I'd say. Mostly being bored and standing around extremely cold in the weather from Albanys terrible weather. I used to always finish my work quickly to get onto the computer to play flash games and java games. I used to look up Flash Tutorials when I should have been working instead which is how I slowly learned to make games by slacking off from actual schoolwork!
Q: What brought you from Albany to Perth?
A: As I got older to 22, I needed a fresh start as I was sick of the small town with not much to do and lack of jobs. So I moved to Perth for a new life. Where I found myself a job in Poker and had a lot more to do up there.
Q: All games matter when being a game maker. Whether it be board games or video games. How did you come to be a Tournament Director for the Australian Poker League and the Perth Poker League? What experience have you gained from these leagues that you could possibly attribute to your game making?
A: I have always loved the game of Poker. Specially when betting for real money. The games rules are simple, but it takes a lifetime to master due to how much information there is available in reading people and there bets. I find it very fun and interesting. It's also exciting. It's a great game for being social as well, so I can meet new people while competing my wits against theres. So eventually after playing it a lot and getting quite good I applied for the job and got it. They were fun jobs. I worked in over 30 different pubs and clubs around Perth hosting poker, and even a strip club at one point. That was a fun event to host each week. I've learned a lot about people during this experience and also how a simple game can evolve into a complex game. It's interesting that a simple card game can still be as complex as video games we have today when you delve into it. It teaches me that the Meta-Game is very important.
Q: Your first game on Newgrounds is entitled Soul Fishing. What can you tell us about the process in making it? Looking back on it, how much would you say you've grown over time?
A: Soul Fishing was finished in high school when I was slacking off from my computer work. It was my first ever game to have a proper start and end. It was a big learning experience showing me the potential on what I could achieve in Flash. I've definitely hugely grown from that game. It's crazy to think that was over 12 years ago now. I feel old!
Q: Nodes is a creative spin on connect the dots. How did you come up with this idea?
A: I came up with the idea by experimenting in coding on drawing lines using programming. After I managed to program singles lines that would auto update between two nodes I thought to myself...hmm how could I make this a game... and then it clicked. By making it a puzzle!
Q: Before we go any further with this, I would like to say that up to this point, you can't deny... this has been a good interview. Now we come to the first game I ever played by you. The Unfair Platformer. All I have to say you about this game is this... Fuck... You. I have beaten this game in the past, and now that there are medals I have to beat it again. When I interviewed mirosurabu and Xerus in the past, I got to ask mirosurabu about Tower of Heaven and Depict1, two games known for their difficulty, traps, and changing the rules. What possessed you to bring forth such evil onto the world?
A: Haha yes, very good interview sir. *Tips hat and sips wine* The Unfair Platformer is definitely my most popular game and my most hated. I must say it was one of the most funnest games I had the pleasure of making. Theres something extremely fun about turning the level design rules on there head and just saying "Nah, take this instead!" Maybe I am a bit evil for taking such delight in peoples anger?
Q: Silly Chicken is a fun and yet difficult game. I loved the humor in it. Where did the story come from for this game? What was the process in making it a reality?
A: I felt like making a small cute game based on a chicken since my logo is Eggys Games. Also the story on him being in love with someone online was based on a girl that I had a close relationship with online at the time and I could never see her because she lived in America. I decided to dedicate a game to her and she loved it!
Q: A Rube Goldberg machine if I ever saw one, Break the TV. Many humans are fascinated by Rube Goldberg machines, I imagine you are as well. What gave you the idea to put it into game form? How hard was it to get each moment right while still making it a puzzle?
A: I had actually never heard of Rube until now, I will definitely look him up! I have made a few puzzle games over the years. I spose the idea was based on having a lot of objects interact with each other. It wasn't too hard to design levels as I just make them in a linear fashion by letting each thing need the next to work but also allowing multiple answers to each puzzle.
Q: We now come to the grandeur of it all, Arcalona. You said it took over a year to make, when did you start, when did you end, what were the trials and tribulations that went into it?
A: Yes my most recent game and my biggest! I started in 2016 and only released late 2017. It was huge, with over 48 items, 36 enemies and over 10,000 lines of code. It was just massive and each thing took a long time. I got very stressed along the way and just needed to get it done from having it loom over my head. Stress really gets involved in bigger projects due to always thinking about it and remembering all the pieces to put together. Flash also isn't very equipped to handle bigger games like this, so a few bugs and glitches started happening that were very strange. Hence it's my last Flash game and moving onto other programs.
Q: One of the movies I saw here on Newgrounds at an early age was entitled The Best Flash Ever. Watching it then, I thought it was funny, today I still think it's funny. The question is though, where did you get the idea for this?
A: I remember making this in only one night! I was drunk and took the idea from movie trailers over-dramatizing their adverts so I decided to parody it and put it all together and it turned out quite funny!
Q: How and when did you pick up the guitar? How long have you been playing? Will we get any pieces from you in the Audio Portal?
A: Guitar is a side hobby of mine, though I'm not that great still. Not as good as I am at game making. I just dabble here and there and have fun playing songs that I enjoy listening too. I'm not sure if I will ever release anything on the audio portal I'm afraid. Maybe one day Ill get better!
Q: What advice do you have to give to those looking to get into games or to those looking to expand their games to mobile devices?
A: Basically choose the latest program out or one you are comfortable with making games and then just practice and practice. You need to keep at it and keep making resources for yourself. Force yourself to finish things and learn as much as possible and make as much as possible. Unity is a great new engine for getting onto mobile I would recommend that.
Q: What can we expect from Eggy in the future?
A: I am now learning Unity. I have finished with Flash and now intend to make more 3D based games or at least better 2D ones. It will take a while for me to adapt to the new program and coding language but you should expect a much bigger 3D egg based adventure in the future. My dream is now to make something like Banjo Kazooie after seeing what Unity can do. Keep an eye out for my next best thing!
Eggy is certainly a hardworking individual, anyone who doubts that is a fool. To see how he can be a game machine and for just over a year to produce an RPG simulation game on a professional level, within over one year? That is amazing. He can only grow to the heavens in terms of his skills. Soon he will be teaching others the craft, and the lucky, will be the students.
Interview No. 146
Interview By: The-Great-One
Today's guest has been here twice before. The first time he was here, he was one of my first interviews. I invited him back a second time to cover his newer works. It has been nearly four years since his last interview. Since his time he has been hard at work composing new music taking different venues with The Popular Kids (Loop), A Newgrounds Legacy, and Teaching My Students, which has become an inspirational piece stemming from being a sixth grade teacher. I am proud to welcome back once again, Bosa.
Q: Last you were here we talked about Quest of Eve and Boutista Entertainment. Boutista Entertainment has since become Kingdom Crown Entertainment. Why the change in name and what is the progress on Quest of Eve?
A: I changed the name because I felt as though it would be easier to remember than 'Boutista.' As far as Quest of Eve goes, I've had a few plans change, but I intend on funding a new team and hopefully have something presentable in the next few years. The old project was Flash-based, so I plan on starting over and coming up with something far more in-depth and contemporary to independent PC games that we see on the market today.
Q: You, like others here, have gone to school. What brought you to Liberty University?
A: I went to Liberty to pursue a degree in education because I heard that it was a very reputable university and offered some of the best on-campus and online courses available. Also, I plan on taking some classes at Berklee College of Music later this year to improve my knowledge of marketing and publishing music and to get a better understanding of the business side of the music industry.
Solution to zero voting:
Review other people's music, remain active in the community, and get your music featured in games/movies. Scores will not matter at all, really. It's all about your relationships with other users -- a lesson I have had to learn the hard way after all the years I've been submitting music to this site.
How to change the audio portal:
Wait until they actually begin making major changes and then toss your idea into the hat. The audio portal was meant to be a production library for flash, so consider it as such; and realize that there are other priorities on the plate. Our time will come.
Would you say that the Audio Portal is being improved? If not then what else can be done?
A: I would say it has definitely improved from where it used to be back in the early days. I really love the options added to the licensing side of things -- being able to dictate how music is allowed to be used is very useful for producers like myself who work closely with a performance rights organization, because it helps to avoid unwanted royalty claims. I have a few other ideas to enhance the audio portal, but right now I don't see anything particularly wrong with it. If they ever seek more ideas, I am always available to offer my suggestions.
Q: The Gift of Christmas Contest was a contest that you held. For those looking to hold a certain contest, what would you recommend to them in preparation, picking a theme, and judges?
A: First of all, let me tell you that contests are difficult to manage and are extremely stressful if all eyes are on you, so make sure you have some help if you're just starting out. You can always look at my contests or others if you want to get an idea of how to prepare and structure a contest in regards to rules, themes, layout, etc. But what I've really found that makes or breaks a contest are the rewards. You don't necessarily have to offer huge rewards, but make them unique. The better the personal rewards are, the more interest you'll have for the contest. Tom Fulp suggested that I should make the rewards novel for each contest and focus less on money, so offering unique rewards combined with a unique theme will really help you achieve the popularity you're looking for in a contest. This not only goes for musical contests, but for art/game/movie contests as well.
Q: Her Wish is a beautiful piece that you were working on, but have said you didn't finish. It is a beautiful piece returning to the days of Farmland. If this isn't the finished piece, I can only imagine what is. What stopped you from finishing this piece and will we ever hear the finished product?
A: I have actually been wanting to revisit this song for a while, but I've yet to do so. The song was originally composed for a contest, and I barely met the deadline because I had to do some traveling that month. So, I was limited in what I could do, and I had to make sure I could finish everything in time. Someday I may finish it, but my current project schedule keeps building up, so we will see.
Q: We come next to your tribute song for Newgrounds entitled A Newgrounds Legacy. In your description you state that...
My tribute to Newgrounds. I created this composition to honor all that Newgrounds has provided to the community, and to tell a story of my own that depicts the legacy of a legendary website.
You say that you tell a story of your own that depicts the legacy of this website. Perhaps you could break down that story for us all.
A: What I meant by that was I composed something attributable to my style which celebrated Newgrounds. Basically, it was my tribute piece to the website. The music also tells the story of how much I've grown as a composer since my first days on Newgrounds. The piece itself is a little old and not my best work, but at the time it meant a lot.
Q: Bosa Piano Intro intrigues me, mainly because you say that you rarely post your piano performances on Newgrounds. Why is that? Do you set them at a higher quality than your other works?
A: Not really. It's just that I spend more time composing orchestral and film music rather than piano pieces. I try to keep my music fresh and not always produce the same thing over and over, so sometimes I'll come up with something unique. I believe the song was popular because a piano only piece is not what's expected from me, so it drew people's attention at least.
Q: One of my new favorites by you absolutely is Teaching My Students. I love this piece! It gives me memories of Tutorial Man. Would you teaching the sixth grade be the inspiration behind this? What do you teach for your sixth grade students?
A: Yes, my students do inspire me sometimes. I teach math usually, but recently I've been teaching younger grades.
Q: A change in mood can produce different results from a creator. To see Truman Capote go from Breakfast at Tiffany's to In Cold Blood was certainly no accident. It was a change in his mood, how a real life event affected his writing. This change would hit you as well with The Popular Kids (Loop). What was the change in your mood? Why this title with this song? What changed you in this creative process?
A: I usually compose music according to how I feel unless it's for a specific project. Emotion should fuel a composer like petrol fuels a car, and I cannot stress that enough. I recall hearing about what Jeremy Soule went through while he was composing the score for The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. After almost losing his life in a car accident, he came up with music that reflected his thoughts and emotions after his brush with death. If you listen to the music in Oblivion, there is a sense of something peaceful and almost spiritual in nature. I always strive to capture strong emotions in all of my tracks.
Q: A trip back in time with Classic Bosa Loop. Why the return to your roots?
A: Because I sometimes miss the early days of creating music and even the early days of submitting audio on Newgrounds. I had a lot of great experiences back then, but to be truthful I'm having much more success now than I ever have. It's fun to look back on the past and tap into it, but I'm keeping my focus on the present and sometimes looking ahead to the future.
Q: The Journey Home, I believe to be your new magnum opus. I'm not sure if you will be able to top it. Such beautiful orchestration, everything belonged, nothing was out of place. It gave me an eargasm. What was the inspiration behind this gorgeous music?
A: It certainly took me a while to compose and I'm not exactly sure what inspired me the most at the time, but I do know that I had thoughts of medieval and a ancient fantasy. At first I was going to go down a more celtic route, but I had a change of heart later as I began planning what I wanted to do in regards to vocals. I wanted to come up with something similar to Lisa Gerard, but I still maintained my style throughout the song.
Q: What can we expect from Bosa in the future?
A: I've got a few big projects in production right now. One project is a collaboration I've been working on with a pretty famous singer and all I'm waiting on are some instrument recordings (I'll definitely post the song on Newgrounds as soon as it's ready). I'm also composing more for television shows like Blue Bloods and commercial ads thanks to my recent connections with some high-end publishers. I will, of course, continue supporting Newgrounds and continue offering advice to musicians on the site. Expect to see more music submissions and maybe a few extra surprises. Newgrounds is like the mom and dad of my music, and I don't plan on moving out of the basement anytime soon, haha.
Bosa is quite possibly the most underrated musician here on Newgrounds. Yes he does have over 1,000 fans who follow his music, myself included. I don't usually hear his name brought up much on this site. Which is a real shame. He is one of the most skilled musicians here. Not as much a travelling bard as Back-From-Purgatory, but most certainly one who can master the genre he decides and varies between classical music, to bluegrass. When he explores a genre, he goes more in-depth than anyone else on here.
Interview No. 145
Interview By: The-Great-One
The day this interview has been posted I personally have spent 10 years on Newgrounds. I thought it would be proper to celebrate my Newgrounds Birthday with a special interview. One of my most requested interviews. Today's guest has been known for the creation of Newgrounds classics such as Bitey of Brackenwood, the YuYu, and the Last of the Dashkin. He has also worked professionally for The Walt Disney Television Animation Studio and Bob's Burgers. He is a professional animator, and one of Newgrounds cherished creators. I am most honored to welcome, chluaid a.k.a. Adam Phillips.
Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?
A: Back in about 1997-98 I set up my first website as a kind of digital portfolio and personal animation journal. A couple of years later, some random guy emailed me, recommending that I submit something to Newgrounds. I checked it out and decided that it wouldn't hurt to submit my movie Nightshift, just to gauge the reaction. It was such a simple little story but within minutes I found myself hooked on reading the comments. It's something I'd never experienced before; people from every corner of the world looking at my work and telling me what they thought of it. It was strong motivation for me to make more shorts.
Q: You stated that you've been drawing since a toddler. You could hold a pencil before your legs could support you. What became the drive as you got older?
A: Some artists swear they create art to change the world, move people emotionally, get people thinking or "start a conversation" about some important issue. But I don't believe it. I do it for my ego, as I believe we all do. As an adult, it's not much different to when I was a kid; I just want to impress everyone. I want people to look at my stuff and say "holy shit that is amazing!" because that's what gets me up in the morning. It was the same at Disney. We were all aiming to do the most impressive animation so we'd get encouragement or constructive feedback from the artists we respect the most, our colleagues. This goes back to my previous answer on how praise and feedback on Newgrounds was strong motivation for me to do more stuff and improve so I could get more feedback (mostly the good type).
Q: What brought you to The Walt Disney Television Animation Studio around 1993? What did you learn there? What was their purpose overall?
A: In 1991 I was working in a steel factory up in Queensland because I was too stupid to do electrical engineering or games programming. One day while dreaming about being a ninja, my glove got caught on a spinning part of the mesh-welding machine. Thanks to the ninjutsu I learned from magazines and movies, I managed to quickly hit the stop button, but not before the machine had pulled me in and snapped my arm to bits. The result was surgery, followed by six months of paid recovery time, during which I developed my drawing skills focusing on anatomy and perspective. I was a comics enthusiast so my artistic style was pen and ink and I learned so much from comics. My heroes back then were Eastman & Laird and Simon Bisley and I started to develop characters and pages for my own comic book ideas.
Soon after returning to work at the factory, an inexperienced crane operator dropped several tons of steel rods from above me and it landed all around me like a giant metal bird's nest. It's actually a miracle I wasn't killed. In fact, it was such a close call that the steel shredded the back of my shirt when it fell. I knew I had to get out of there, so a couple of weeks later, I told everyone at the factory that I got a job in Sydney doing comics and I resigned. In reality, I just saw the factory as a deathtrap and didn't want to work there any more. There was no job waiting for me in Sydney. I just wanted everyone to think that I'd finally hit the big time. So I went to work on a farm in my home town, driving tractors and digging holes and eating dirt sandwiches for lunch.
About 18 months later my mother cut an advertisement from the newspaper and brought it over to my place. Walt Disney Studios was calling for artists to apply for a trainee position. In short, I sent Disney a bunch of my own comic pages and they put me through a couple of rounds of testing before offering me a job. When they told me that thousands of people had applied for those 8 trainee positions, I was suddenly grateful for that factory accident and my time spent sharpening my drawing skills and reading comics. Everything that had happened, the tattered glove, the comics, the falling steel, the dirt sandwiches, all had led me to begin my career in animation.
At Disney, I started in the inbetweening department and over the years moved up through animation and into FX, eventually becoming the FX supervisor. We started out as a television animation studio doing shows like Duck Tales, Gargoyles, Jungle Cubs and stuff like that, then we became a movie studio, mostly doing direct-to-DVD sequels, like Lion King 2 and 3, Jungle Book 2, Lady the Tramp 2, Peter Pan 2. Yeah pretty much anything with a 2 or 3 after it. My first movie as FX supervisor was An Extremely Goofy Movie (that's a title btw, not an opinion).
Q: What made you decide to leave The Walt Disney Television Animation Studio around 2004?
A: One day I realised that I was mostly on autopilot at Disney and I no longer felt challenged. I applied to the character animation department in an attempt to freshen things up a bit but I was denied, so I decided to quit. After all, this was around the time my online work had begun to attract a following and I was turning down several work offers every week. Using Flash, I had even completed a music video for my favourite band at the time, Ween. Anyway, Disney really was a dream job, and after all that factory and farm stuff, it was like a happy ending. Leaving was terrifying at the time but I'm glad I did it. 18 months later, Disney closed their Australian studio and I was glad to have that head-start making my name on the internet and getting my own work out there.
A: Brackenwood was originally about a character named Bingbong. It was the adventures of an idiot in a perfect world. It was a pretty thin concept and in an attempt to fatten up the story, I decided Bingbong needed a nemesis. For that role, I created a cruel trickster in the mould of Pan, the ancient Greek god of the wild. Before Bitey came along, Brackenwood had been years in development, but from memory the "Bitey of Brackenwood" movie itself only took a few weeks. My comment about hating the movie doesn't mean I still hate it today. It happens toward the end of every project, kind of like an overdue pregnancy. You just want to get that thing out of you and when it finally happens there's an emotional high, followed by a crash. So I don't still hate it, and I wouldn't change anything (apart from some smoother animation and better lighting); it's just how these things go for many artists.
Q: Bitey's journey would take him through Prowlies at the River, littleFoot, and what you have claimed to be your best work, the YuYu. What made you want to continue Bitey's journey and why do you believe the YuYu to be your best work?
A: Bingbong was a very shallow character. The only real reason for him to exist in the world was to be laughably stupid. Bitey on the other hand was instantly more interesting. He was created to fill a specific role, which instantly gave him a depth of character that Bingbong didn't have. It also gave him motivation for any situation I could put him in. So it was easier to think of new stories for him and as I released more, the feedback and growing fan base validated it. I think The Yuyu is my favourite Bitey movie to date simply because it was an unexpected little interlude that allowed me to collaborate with one of my musical heroes, Spider Stacy. On top of this, I had tons of fun animating it and it's one of the few projects I can look back and wonder how the fuck I did it.
Q: You are one of the few animators who has done professional work. For animators looking to work in the profession, what advice do you have to give them?
A: I wouldn't say I'm one of the few animators who has done professional work, unless you mean on Newgrounds specifically. For aspiring animators who want to work professionally, I recommend compiling a 60-second show reel of all your best work and putting it where people can find it. Update it regularly with only your best work. Spend all of your spare time developing personal projects and improving your skills. Even if you do find professional work, continue to work on your personal stuff in your spare time. Even though I'm working professionally for games and animation studios, the personal work I put on my YouTube channel and my website feeds the fan base and attracts regular work offers. If I devote myself too much to professional work and stop producing my personal projects, fans will move on and my name will fade into obscurity. I recently tweeted that "As a professional artist, my biggest fear is being unable to pay the mortgage. As an independent artist, my biggest fear is being forgotten".
Q: What can you tell us about the Last of the Dashkin and its upcoming sequel?
A: While all his previous movies were simple scenarios without much depth, The Last of the Dashkin was the definitive character description of Bitey to set up the bigger story of Brackenwood. As for the sequel, I can't tell you anything about it I'm afraid. Nobody knows the story but me, so if I die early, the story does too.
Q: When AlmightyHans was here we talked about Africa Dudes. A collaboration of multiple Newgrounds artists including Oney, LazyMuffin, Stamper, and Egoraptor. How did you come across this collab and what was it like working with these other artists?
A: I didn't actually work with other artists on Africa Dudes. Stamper just emailed me and asked if I'd like to contribute. When I said yes, he sent me a bunch of specifics and I sent him my bit. The next thing I heard was that it was released.
Q: How did you become a storyboard artist for Bob's Burgers? What was the experience like working on this show?
A: The Supervising Director on Bob's Burgers is a close friend of mine, Bernard Derriman. He was a character animation supervisor at Disney when I was the FX supervisor and we had learned Flash together in our spare time, each working on our personal projects, sharing techniques and providing critique for each other. We've always kept in touch over the years and collaborated on a few things. He's still the first person I show my personal projects to because he knows so much about story telling and films. When he moved to the US and started at Bento Box Entertainment, he contacted me a few times to do some FX animation for Bob's Burgers, like fire, water and some animated props. Later when they were looking for storyboard artists Bernard threw my name on the list because he was familiar with my Brackenwood shorts. After storyboarding on Bob's for several episodes, I was promoted to Assistant Director which is my current full time job. I love the job and the ability to work remotely is icing on the cake.
Q: What advice do you have to give to other animators and artists?
A: If you have your own ideas for characters and stories, work on them as much as possible. Even if you're animating professionally, try your best to continue producing personal work and continue to grow outside the box of your professional job description. Compile a show reel specifically for prospective employers and keep it under a minute. No matter how good the soundtrack, no prospective employer will sit through a 5 minute video of mediocre animation, so keep it short and keep it updated only with your very best, most recent work. If you want to make a separate personal show reel though, you can go nuts there. Make it as long as you like, put whatever music you like, put all your shit alongside your gold, if that's what you want to do. All the same, people will find it more watchable (and shareable) if it's short and contains only your best stuff.
Q: What tools and software have you used throughout the years and what can you recommend to new animators?
A: I started experimenting with Macromedia Flash 5 and used it to make all my early movies including Brackenwood. In 2006 I visited the Toon Boom booth at Annecy (animation festival in France) and was flattered when they recognised my name on my name tag. They demonstrated the software for me (at the time it was called Digital Pro) and they encouraged me to try it out on my Brackenwood projects. Long story short, I started using it and immediately found it difficult to go back to Flash. I'm still using Toon Boom now for all my work, both professional and personal. To broaden my horizons a bit, I'd also like to try TV Paint and Cacani.
Q: What can we expect from Adam Phillips in the future?
A: For the past few years I was trying to complete a Brackenwood game, but when progress stalled, that initial momentum seemed irretrievable so I reluctantly cancelled it. Now, thanks to my supporters on Patreon, I'm able to restart work on a substantial Brackenwood project, so my current goal is to finish The Last of the Dashkin sequel and later, hopefully, make that game.
One of the earliest movies I ever saw on Newgrounds was the YuYu. It was in the portal in the high ranking area. I decided to watch it and loved everything about it. It was the most impressive animation I had ever seen on Newgrounds at that time. It was a mark that other animators looked to. To try to better themselves to. Adam Phillips is a legend on this site, and for good reason. Here's hoping that he brings more of that brilliance to us, because he has certainly shown, that he's still got a few tricks up his sleeve.
Interview No. 144
Interview By: The-Great-One
Today's guest is an underrated artist here on Newgrounds. Her works range from character creation one being The Stranger. However she is more of a teacher and mentor to other artists here on Newgrounds. I am most pleased to welcome, Template88.
Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?
A: Newgrounds really found me more so than I found it. I remember being so young that I didn't have regular access to a computer, so it was mostly my friends that would show me the funny or gruesome stuff they found on Newgrounds as a way to pass the time when I was over at their house. This must've been when Newgrounds was actually new and exciting and home computers were not extremely common, back when AOL internet discs came in the mail and hamsterdance.com was a new thing. I remember seeing Madness, Pico, Neurotically yours and Retarded animal babies back then, though their order chronologically speaking probably doesn't make much sense as I likely saw some of these things way later. I remember being particularly attached to Neurotically Yours for some reason, but going back later and being kind of disappointed with it and having that same feeling about a lot of the older stuff I remember watching. I remember the animation and the writing for the things I liked being so much better than it actually was. There was only one video I really went back to and STILL thought it was pretty awesome, and it’s a kind of obscure video I was completely obsessed over at the time by @livingfruitvirus called A "Ball" Movie. While not perfect, I think this one still stands the test of time for both animation and writing. I joined Newgrounds back in 2008 because I wanted a chance to talk to these people making these flash animations and try to become friends with them. Alas nobody on Newgrounds actually uses the forums as far as I can tell or just about everybody has left if they ever did! The animation forum is one of the most dead forums on the site and it’s a real bummer. Livingfruitvirus come back and let’s make a sequel! I might have to make it myself, for myself at this point, I don’t think he is ever coming back.
Q: At what age did you become interested in drawing?
A: Some time during my sophomore year in high school I believe. I certainly was not somebody who ever thought of themselves as an artist or wanted to make art growing up as a younger child, it was only way after I graduated high school that I ever took it up seriously. You can pick up drawing at any point in your life!
Q: Toast-Tony, Fifty-50, CosmicDeath, and Cairos are all artists who have been here in the past and they all have made art threads to showcase their works in progress. You also have an art thread entitled Have art, will travel.. Why did you want to make your own art thread? How important would you say it is for a new artist to make an art thread when they join Newgrounds?
A: Making your own art thread is like saying 'hello' to the art community and it’s your contribution to making the site better. The forums are underused and it’s a good way to introduce yourself and get exposure while also having a casual place to get critique and dump your sketches. If you are an artist who only posts in the portal and never leaves reviews or interacts with anybody else, you are using this site wrong. People like that often wonder why they aren't getting any exposure or utility out of the site, it’s because they're using it in a superficial way without really making any kind of impact on the community. I honestly think the portal is less important to use than the actual forums for this reason. The flip side are people who only ever make one post in the forum, find that their thread isn’t going gangbusters, get discouraged and never post again. I call those one post wonders, and there are many of them. There needs to be some understanding that forums are not "fast", it may take some time for your thread to gain any momentum and to get a reply, and also unless you are posting something somewhat exceptional or out of the ordinary or are specifically asking for input, you might not get any for quite a while! I blame this on the severely outdated forum technology on this site and the resulting low forum user base. Why isn’t there a sticky thread explaining basic rules and warning against certain common problem behaviors for each specialized forum? Its 2016….hello?! The mods also seem to have almost no ability to interact with the forum to make it better. I remember when I was told I couldn’t change my thread name to have NSFW in the title and I thought how ridiculous that was.
Q: In your art thread you made quite the statement about art, criticism, and advice for new artists. Draw everyday is a bit of advice I hear from a lot of artists through The Interviewer. However when it comes to criticism you say that to improve you have to show your works to other artists. Shouldn't art be appreciated and evaluated by everyone? How subjective is art?
A: The short answer? Yes, but non-artists don't have the tools at their disposal to form an opinion that is useful for helping the artist improve. The longer answer? The non-artist is the likely target audience for artwork, so their collective opinion does matter a lot but they don't have the technical knowledge to form their opinion/critique in such a way that they can help the artist improve their work. A non-artist can say "That looks funny." "Her head is too small." "I don't like it, somethings off." "Would've been better if it wasn't so dark." "BIGGER BOOBS!" A more experienced artist can break down the entire image from the foundation, explain everything in the language that an artist understands that could be improved AND also draw over the mistakes and SHOW the artist how they could've done it better and what to improve for next time. Critiques in general are often extremely poor, and I want to change that, I promise you will see me around critiquing the artwork in the portal and giving general critique to those who ask for it and are ready. Good critique is the kindest thing you can offer another fellow artist, because it shows you care about their work on a much deeper level than just taking a brief moment to judge if their work is good or not and clicking 1 or 5 respectively. Even an artist that isn't more experienced has the advantage in being able to speak the language of the artist when giving critique and has a more experienced set of eyes for searching out details that may be missed by people who only superficially look at a drawing. There are of course exceptions, but they are not common. The most common comment is just “LOOKS GOOD” which while kind that somebody would take the time to comment, is more or less just white noise.
I think to answer the last part of your question I need to clarify what Art, art, and illustration are. I spend my time critiquing and attempting illustration and art. Capital 'A' Art is subjective. Capital 'A' Art can be anything the creator wishes it to be as long as he wishes it to be Art. A frozen pile of dog shit encased in a milk chocolate shell on a pop-sickle stick can be Art, that sort of thing can’t really be critiqued in a useful way, though it might be fun to try. People often associate the Old Masters’ artwork with Art but it is more akin to illustration because it has a set message or story to tell and has followed the rules to tell it in the most dramatic or efficient manner, while more abstract works that lack any clear message or story but still have a great presence or aesthetic are often Art or at least art. Old masters’ work practically wrote many of the rules for illustration. Illustration is practically a science and is not subjective; illustration follows rules to be better at expressing a message that everyone can easily understand and digest using a visual medium where there are wrong and right ways to do it. An under case 'a' artist is simply a somebody who enjoys drawing stuff and doesn’t think too hard about it, drawing something just for the sake of drawing can be art at the very foundation, it can always be more than mere art if the artist ever wishes it to be though. I am an illustrator, designer and an artist, but I certainly am not an Artist. A capital 'A' Artist is concerned with expressing themselves through their Art in any way they wish through any medium they wish and may not be concerned with expressing a message at all, or expressing it in an efficient manner that is easily digestible and understood, there are rules they could follow but they are not beholden to follow them for success. Artists may not need to follow any rules but they can still adopt some to be an Artist, an Illustrator or Designer, casual artist or any other kind of skillset they could want. It can all overlap and mix and some of the greatest examples of Art and illustration in history have mixed qualities of multiple fields or disciplines and approaches. I spend a lot of my time critiquing pornography because it’s purely Illustration and can objectively be made to be better, and often the mistakes made by beginners are very easy to see and point out and understand. Plus there are many mediocre pornographers that post here on this site. The worst is when pornographers think their pornography is Art and refuse to follow the basic rules, leading to terrible pornography and a stubborn attitude about improving.
Q: Improving your illustrations (Hell) I believe is a topic that should be immortalized or at the very least be a sticky thread on the Art Forum. It takes the beauty of being an artist and hits it with reality. What made you want to come out and say this?
A: There’s a lot of assumptions and misinformation out there that targets artists and illustrators that is assumed or proliferated by non-artists and beginner artists. I seek to mitigate this through education. One of the biggest myths is “talent”, the false idea that there is some magical spark inside your mind or soul that either makes it possible for you to be an artist or not. The truth is anybody can be an artist and that it’s a learned skill just like any other. I started out drawing stick figures when I was in high school, which evolved into noodle people, which evolved into bad anime people, which evolved into what I draw today. This sort of progression is pretty normal. For some people who are very clever in understanding the rules of drawing or find it something so interesting they think about it a lot or practice it more, they might skip some of those steps, that doesn’t mean they have some superior god given magical ability, it means they figured out one facet of drawing faster because it interested them more. My figures will keep evolving and becoming better because I keep drawing and trying to improve and figure out what I am doing wrong and that’s all anybody else ever needs to do. Anybody can do this, really, anybody (even shadman did it!). Another myth is that drawings appear instantaneously out of thin air, (it takes me several days to ink and color one of my figures) and that artists are just bored out of their minds waiting around for some non-artist to talk to them all day and give them their great new idea so they can draw it and have something GOOD to finally do. I see this sort of behavior from non-artists all the time, in the prices they expect to pay for art (WELL below minimum wage), and in their pitching ideas or requesting artwork for no monetary compensation at all! (DO ALL MY WORK FOR FREE, ALL THE RECOGNITION YOULL GET IF MY PROJECT DOESN’T BOMB IS ALMOST LIKE BEING PAID ISNT IT?!) There is little else you could do to an artist or illustrator that would be as rude as suggesting their work is not worth anything at all! Of course they don’t do this on purpose or with such a malevolent intent but they do it out of ignorance, and the only cure for ignorance is education, or death, but until I learn to manifest deadly bolts of arcane energy through the internet, education will have to do. There’s more education to be had, but I’d rather not fill up your interview with it.
Q: Looking through your art, you tend to draw more characters than anything else. It seems as though you take a stance of drawing your characters in geometrical shapes first then shaping them into beings. It's like you draw as if you're molding clay. Is this your approach or am I missing the mark entirely?
A: There are many methods used to construct a figure and I am still figuring out what’s best for me. You might be confused because in ‘Improving your Illustrations (hell)’ I was trying to express how one might deconstruct a figure and understand them better by replacing the complex shapes their eyes see with imaginary simple shapes when one attempts to draw a figure. I don’t say, take a sphere and then whittle it down to a human pelvis. I use something similar to what’s called a “mannikin frame” to lay down the gesture then build upon that with (somewhat) human anatomy. A mannikin frame is basically an advanced stick figure that is similar to those posable wooden puppets you find in art shops, only it’s a virtual mannequin frame that lives in my mind’s eye that I can draw easily in any position. It’s a very important mental tool for an artist to develop to draw from imagination!
Q: The one piece by you that made me want to see everything you've doen is entitled Belial-Abaddon. You stated that...
"Abaddon whispers hopeless truths to slay and corrupt the wise -- I know them well."
I love the imagery here with the two demons combined into this skull with amazing fire eyes. There seems to be a story behind this piece though. Would you care to share it?
A: Really the only story to be had here is that @JackDCurleo agreed to do an art trade with me and so far my process with art trades is “Draw one of my original characters and I’ll draw one of yours.” He had two choices for me to pick from and they both looked similar, so I figured I would just combine them into a new being. It seemed to work out. I actually have no idea what names his OC’s had so I just made some up and gave it a little lore. If he minded he didn’t really say anything to me about it.
Q: My favorite piece by you is entitled The Stranger. I love the idea of space being inside the character's cape. It all around just looks really cool! How did you come up with this design?
A: Honestly? Modified Morgan le’Fay from DC comics + Cool space cloak effect. I didn’t reference her directly or anything but she was totally what I was thinking about when I made this, I always thought she looked so cool. The character was supposed to be some dark void divinity thing and what shows dark “voidness” better than space? but she ended up looking too weak and human so The Stranger was born.
Q: When it comes to writing, we have all of these programs and computers that make writing easier. I've always stated though when the pen and paper are replaced will be the day that I am done as a writer. We would agree on this at some point because you believe that people should instead draw by hand on paper or on a tablet than draw using a program. I can understand why you would believe this, but could you explain to our readers why this is important?
A: I actually don’t understand this question at all lol. Drawing on paper or using a tablet to learn how to draw is the same as long as you are comfortable with them as a medium. When you use a tablet though you have to draw using a program….what program you pick is likely going to change the look of your art, so picking the right program for the kind of work you want to make is important. I never learned to draw using traditional media and I think it actually hurt me by making my understanding of depth and form slower, so for a beginner I would probably suggest they learn the fundamentals using pencil and paper unless they really want a head start being familiar with digital art programs and using a tablet. People who stick with traditional media and then try using a tablet later often hate it until they get used to it, and then they love it. So plan accordingly.
Q: What is in your opinion, the definition of art?
A: I defined that stuff in relative detail in a previous question. Basically though, it’s all bullshit. Illustration and animation is where it’s at, hey-o!
Q: When it comes to your art, where do you begin? How does the creative process start and when does the creation become finished?
A: It starts when there is interest, when you think of an idea and it ends when you are satisfied with it. It may never end. Such is drawing and design.
Q: What can we expect from Template88 in the future?
A: I’m trying to make the art forum and portal slightly better places for people to be, that I am sure I can do. I would like to make Newgrounds as a whole a better place in general but I am only one person and my contribution is a small drop of hard water in a sea of piss, blood and god knows what else.
You should expect more binary character drawings from me in the art portal, perhaps a couple of one shot comics, lots of art forum/general/newspost posts (on other people’s pages) and art critiques.
A goal this year is to make an animation describing what tropes to avoid as a beginning artist and some general starting out tips. Any art advice I typically give to only beginners/beginner intermediates as I don’t consider myself that good of a teacher or artist, but I have a lot of passion about art and mostly know what a person needs to do to make better illustrations! So if you think I can offer your gallery or a single piece a critique all you need to do is ask, but be ready for some harsh realities.
Out of all the artists I have come across, I must admit, Template88 has been one of the more interesting ones. She appears to be more of a teacher than an artist. This is not a passion of hers, but a skill, one she has adapted and refined over many years. I can honestly say if you're looking for a proper critique on your art, you should go to her immediately.
Interview No. 143
Interview By: The-Great-One
Today's guest has been with us once before. When he was last with us he gave us works such as Dollar and Wii Are Sold Out. He has been on a bit of a hiatus, but he has continued his works and brought us American Politics and Donald 'n Gang. I am pleased to welcome back, SardonicSamurai.
Q: The last time you were with us nearly seven years ago. We spoke about a movie called Stamper N' Johnny. You seemed to have disappeared for the remainder of that time and did not return until 2010. Why the long absence?
A: It was around this point in time that I graduated from college. I had an associates in Information Tech, and needed to look in to furthering my education. Unfortunately, I soon realized I could not get the financial assistance required to continue on to a Bachelor’s degree. I tried for a year to find a job that was NOT an unpaid internship, but to no avail. To be quite honest, I was pretty depressed at the time. You’re told that if you do well in school and in college you’ll find yourself in a decent paying job. I felt that I wasted several years of my life getting a degree that I couldn’t possibly progress further with financially. Not only that, but I was supposed to fly out to Pico Day around that time and had to cancel. Apparently, a girl I had been seeing at the time had Mono... I thought I had a very long winded flu, until the day of my flight, in which I got very sick trying to rush around to catch my flight. Funny note: the time I took off of work to go to Pico Day was the very first paid vacation I ever had. I ended up spending my vacation, and the following couple of weeks later, sick as a dog. My “return” to Newgrounds was never the same. Missing Pico Day was kind of the last straw. I felt like everything was against me at that point. I wasn’t nearly as motivated as I was, less active in the forums, and fell out of other forms of social media.
Q: Your return would be brought to us through a movie called IMMA BE(E). You said it was because you hate this song. Last you were here you stated that you enjoy venting through animation. What is the name of the song that has annoyed you? Would you say that you still vent through animation?
A: The song in question is “Imma Be” by the Black Eyed Peas. At the time I made the animation, the song was all over the radio, and I didn’t understand its popularity. Half of the song is just some guy saying “Imma Be”! During one of my drives to work it came on the radio, and I just pictured a bee rapping about himself. It’s really as simple as that! A lot of the animations I come up with are spur of the moment, not very well thought out catastrophes. I generally make the animations to entertain myself and to vent, but it always makes me happy to see that others enjoy them too!
Q: Gramma's Halloween is absolutely hilarious! How did you come up with this character and will we see more of her in the future?
A: Most of anything I create spawns from a voice I come up with. I spend an unhealthy amount of time talking to myself, seeing what kind of sounds and voices I can come up with. I believe the character was inspired by the grandma in Squidbillies. I love the idea of a slutty yet sex deprived, easily aggravated old woman, ha. I can actually talk like the Squidbillies grandma (at least I believe so), but I wanted to make her sound more soft and caring. Her visual and demeanor is more shared with Granny from the Looney Tunes, however. As far as seeing more of her? I never really thought about it actually. It was another one of those “spur of the moment” things. So planning to use her again kinda goes against that pattern? I can say maybe though!
Q: American Politics talks about political ads on television and how you don't like them. I honestly thought this movie would have expanded a bit further than it did. What can you tell us about politics that you don't like? Will we see anymore political satire from you in the future?
A: There were a lot of political ads on the radio and on television that annoyed me around that time. It was between John Kasich and Ted Strickland for Governor of Ohio. (Thus the last name “Kasland”, a combination of the two). From what I remember, both of the candidates ran smear campaigns against one another. That’s generally what politics is about. They barely ever talk about what they plan to do. They’re more interested in bashing their opponents, and I find it disgusting. Not to mention you can barely ever trust what any candidate is saying. It’s just tiring. I ended up stopping the toon because I felt my point was made. No matter what you do (in politics), anything you do will be caught, repurposed, and used against you. Even doing an animation ABOUT politics was tiring, so I doubt I’ll do more political cartoons… Scratch that… Trump is running isn’t he? He’s a damn gold mine for content. I’ve actually thought about doing something on him but I’m not sure!
Q: You would participate in a collab called Happy Birthday Joy!!, a birthday tribute to CosmicDeath. Unfortunately this came out after I had interviewed CosmicDeath. How did this collab come together? How do you know CosmicDeath? What did she think about it?
A: Oh man, it’s been so long! Most of everyone I knew from the old Paltalk days, where we would chat about newgrounds or whatever else we wanted! I honestly don’t remember how it came about! As you’re aware, I have a shit memory, so my guess is it was probably another spur of the moment thing! Regardless, it was very fun to be a part of!
Q: And now we come to the part of the interview where I have to say... that I hate you. Shape Up. The writing and voice acting for this was very good, it started off funny and slowly became pretty tense and serious. The part where I hate you is that it abruptly ended. Why did it just end?
A: Another shape cartoon! I never really made a shape cartoon until this one actually (since “Stamper ‘N Johnny wasn’t really about shapes after all) They’re surprisingly fun to make since you can only use basic shapes and colors to tell a story. I felt it was funnier to end it as abruptly as I did to be honest! The toon was at its grand climax: Green was potentially dying, Pink was on the verge of a mental break down, the police had no idea what to do, and then BOOM, end. Does green die? Will the brothers recover from this traumatic incident? Find out next time! Actually I just didn’t know how to continue making the toon funny and felt the ambulance showing up would ruin everything, so I just stopped, ha.
A: This was the first time I really voiced in any kind of cartoon! I was so excited to work with him! I was the voice of the Television/ Announcer of Why We Love the Great Lottery! Sarkasm was looking for voice actors and asked the Newgrounds community for tryouts. I jumped on the opportunity and was very lucky to be chosen for the part! I still wish I did more voice acting, but even at that time it was VERY hard to do as I still lived at home and lived in a rather noisy environment. I now live by myself in my own studio so I hope that changes!
Q: When Jonnyethco was here we talked about Prostitute Mickey and when HeRetiK was here we talked about Sickey Mouse. You join these two for The Interviewer with your latest movie Donald 'n Gang. What made you want to make a Disney parody? Will we see more Disney stuff in the future?
A: I actually met Jonnyethco at Pico Day last year! I can’t say if he remembers talking with me, as it was brief. There were a few people outside the office talking about his animation, and so a couple people started doing their impressions as well (So obviously I joined in. I can’t help myself sometimes). People said I was pretty damn good at it, so I was obviously delighted! I’ve actually been told that a few times. Donald Duck was one of the very first voices I learned to do a looong time ago. When friends started watching my cartoons on Newgrounds, they would tell me that I needed to make something with Donald doing something vulgar. The conversations I had at Pico Day, and a few others motivated me to make a Disney themed cartoon!
Q: When last we spoke you were a Forum Moderator. You are a Forum Moderator no longer. Why?
A: Nothing juicy, sadly! Just inactivity! Moderating was exhausting at times anyway. Constant messages of “Why am I banned?”, “Mister Police man come save this thread!”, or anything else really would get annoying rather quickly. Not saying being a Moderator is a bad thing, but it’s just not my thing. But I guess I do it well? I tend to be given Moderator privileges for other things, ha!
Q: What can we expect from SardonicSamurai in the future?
A: I can’t say for sure. I’ve learned that life is unpredictable. No matter what I say or do, I’ll never know what the hell is going to happen. It can be a fun, albeit rough, ride. I PLAN to make more animations. I WANT to do more voice work. I’ve made friends with people that are rooting for me. I have started backgrounds on another animation, so hopefully I’ll have another toon out in the next few months! I’ll also be at Pico Day again this year (So I’ll be even MORE motivated!) Sorry if this isn’t a very clear answer, but it’s an honest one!
I was attracted to SardonicSamurai's animation when I saw him vent through his craft. However he has shown that he is still a wonderfully funny storyteller. Hopefully he has returned to Newgrounds to stay here for much longer and help us expand even further.
Interview No. 142
Interview By: The-Great-One
Today's guest I have been listening to for quite sometime now and am just now getting around to interviewing. He is a musician from the Audio Portal who has bounced from genre to genre and mostly works with Vocaloid. His works have ranged Pleasure, to Steam's Wonderful Contraptions, and to Perfumer's Perfect Fumes. I am pleased to welcome steampianist.
Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?
A: I find out about Newgrounds in 2008. I saw my brother playing a game called Pico School in Newgrounds and it was about shooting other students in a school and it looked so silly and funny and I found out there were animations too so I would just casually watch some flash animation using my brother’s account hehe. The first animation I saw was “There She Is”. I decided to make an account and join Newgrounds in 2012 because I was so sick of making videos just to upload my music in Youtube and Soundcloud is boring, so I decided I’d try Newgrounds plus you can play loops so to me that was really neat.
Q: One thing that is important to these interviews are people. People influence our creations in life. You have quite a few that I want to know about. Who is Arjen Lucassen and what about his music inspires you?
A: Arjen Lucassen is a multi-instrumentalist and mastermind behind Ayreon. When I first heard Ayreon it totally blew my mind because it was something totally different for me and I really love his instrumentation one example of his songs would be “Carried by the Wind” where it feature this really catchy theme and another would be “The First Man On Earth” which I may have quoted a melody in a certain vocaloid song of mine. But what really amazes me about Arjen Lucassen is that it’s all him, I mean the ideas, the composition, and arrangement, all him; he’s a genius and I guess that is how Arjen inspires me to compose. Another band would be Abney Park and Beats Antique where their aesthetic made me want to pursue steampunk but I wanted it to present it with sound rather than fashion and to name a few others, Edvard Grieg, Erik Sate, Rammstein, Iron Maiden’s Stever Harris, Korn, and Raymond Scott are my biggest inspiration in music as well.
Q: I know you've said that when you met morbid-morsel that it is a long and weird story. Would you please share with us who morbid-morsel is and how you two came to meet?
A: Well one thing to know about TravelBySheep or morbid-morsel is that she does not like sharing too much of her personal life ONLINE or in real life, so all I can say is we met when I moved into her town and strangely enough became friends, I say strangely because I don’t think she liked me very much at first hehe. As for the music thing well, one day, she told me about vocaloid and that she found this one vocaloid, Oliver, really cute and I proposed if she wanted I can make music for Oliver. She agreed and that’s how we started.
Q: You are called steampianist so naturally you create beautiful music with the piano, which we'll be getting to soon. At one point though you seem to have lost a bit of love for the piano. One person came along though that made you love the piano again and she was Amanda Palmer. What about the piano did you lose love for and what was it about Amanda Palmer's music that made you love the piano again?
A: Ah yeah… I did. I think this was somewhere in 1st year high school and I was a part of the “Abbey Band Club”. I just felt like the piano/keyboard was so old fashioned. I mean, I played a lot of classical and old standard jazz music but I felt like I wasn’t relevant in the band club. I mean sure there are electro bands at the time but I didn’t have a synthesizer and in the band club no one liked electro music anyway. They mostly played punk, OPM (Original Pinoy Music) and sappy ballads and some metalcore, which I’m not fond of. But in the end I just took my guitar and formed a punk band. It was fun. then one day my cousin told me about the cabaret punk duo “Dresden Dolls”, he thought I’d be interested in it cos I was in a punk band and played piano, so he told me it just consisted of Drums (Brian Viglione) and Piano (Amanda Palmer). So he lent me his bootleg copy of the Dresden Doll’s “Yes, Vigrinia” (I’m so sorry Amanda), and when the first track played, Sex Changes, That piano riff was just heavenly and the drums came in and it was all just epicness for me so naturally I wanted to play her songs and I was back on the piano with a renewed passion and became a fan of Dresden Dolls and Amanda Palmer but if you’re going to ask if I was inspired to form a drum and piano duo in the band club? Well no I wasn’t. I still played guitar in my band because no one knew who the Dresden Dolls were, singer can’t sing it, and I’m sure they don’t like it that much. It didn’t matter really I played piano again.
Q: What is Vocaloid?
A: It’s a vocal synthesizer where a 40 year old Japanese man records syllables and stuff and then the sound engineers tweaks it to sound like a 15 year old Japanese girl and my source of youtube revenues. I’m kidding. But it is a vocal synthesizer developed by Yamaha where voice actors/singers record their voice and is SYNTHESIZED into a vocaloid voice bank.
Q: Your first song on Newgrounds is entitled He Marches (to golgatha). You describe it as the feeling and experience of Jesus Christ carrying the cross, twistedly exaggerated. I can most certainly see this image, but is this the image you had while making this song? Also looking back on it today are you still proud of it? Are there any changes you would have made to it?
A: Well, actually, this was supposed to be for a visual novel that did not pull through. Initially I was imagining a world similar to Silent Hill because that was what the artists wanted. So I try to portray that image with sound and that time I didn’t have those Kontakt Libraries and shit. I had to use FL STUDIO’S stock samples and VST’s and listening to it again I think I did a good job with those stock samples haha. So I guess yes, I am proud of this old track. I’d probably replace some samples here with better sounding samples from Kontakt but I can’t because I lost the .flp file of this song along with other older songs.
Q: When I found out about you I was listening to your most recent stuff. While preparing for this interview I came across one of my top three favorite songs by and that is Pleasure. I must admit when I saw the genre tag as Jazz I was expecting just some smooth jazz with a little bit of industrial flair that you tend to have. I was surprised with something more Copacabana with just a hint of a mad scientist laboratory in a volcano. What was the process you took into bringing this to life? What made you want to tackle the Jazz genre?
A: Copacabana you say? Ah, well, I can’t really recall what was going through my head while composing but whenever I make jazz music I guess, it’s usually improvised and this was composed for a character theme and the artist wanted it… Slutty? And sexy? IDK. I think I did a very bad job at this hahaha, I’m actually not sure what would make for a sexy sound, so I thought SAX? Maybe. And some smooth jazz and I thought why not add some moaning samples for that “sluttiness”. Listening to this again I think this has to be my most random track. What made me want to tackle jazz you ask? Well I used to play in a showband/variety band where we play a lot of jazz standard, “Nearness of You”, “Ain’t Misbehavin’”, “The Way You Look Tonight”, “Spain”, “All Blues”, “Milestones” and a bunch of Bossa Nova music. I guess I picked up some jazz chords and decided I should try and compose some simple ones.
Q: Evokation I see brings a parallel of two worlds together. The ritual dances of the tribes and the club scenes of today. Where the youth are both dancing to music. It seems like tribal themes work very well for contemporary dance music of today. Where did you get the inspiration to take tribal ritual music and convert it to techno?
A: These are some old tracks… Well I was inspired by the occult idea where certain high frequency sounds can make you see certain astral beings. I guess you can say this is an attempt of that. Did you see any astral beings? Frustration also made me compose this track because at the time I wasn’t really good at making techno/trance music. I didn’t know how to achieve certain sounds or transitions so Instead of using the usual synth and samples that makes techno/trance I decided ill just use some choirs and some tribal drums and use some basic synths and that’s pretty much it.
Q: If anyone asked me the best way to describe what your music is like, I would instantly send them a link to Steam's Wonderful Contraptions. From what I've heard it seems to sum up a lot of what your music represents. Sometimes happy, sometimes sad, sometimes dark, sometimes weird, but all around in some way fun. There are so many components going on in this song that I had to listen to it multiple times to catch everything and I still don't think I have caught everything in it yet. What is everything that makes up this song?
A: I really like making music with erratic mood changes but recently I’ve gone simpler, I guess. I’m not sure what you mean by everything but if you’re asking about the instrumentals, well I was very specific in the arrangement. I wanted to include things that won’t usually fit with the other instruments and I wanted to avoid traditional percussion, with a few exemptions, and of course keeping the whole piece meshed well with each other. As for the Image I’m trying to portray, I wanted to give the listeners an impression that the music is being played by a huge contraption/machine. So I made sure every instrument or sample here is in constant motion. One instrument plays a melody, the other instruments plays another. Percussion and noise samples constantly playing in the background to really give the constant motion. As for the emotional aspect of this song, I admit it does not have any or at least I did not stay in one mood so it can give the impression that it does not convey any emotion. It was supposed to appeal to your imagination.
Q: Real Life Absurdities simply makes me laugh every time I hear it because the visual images are different for each listen. What were the inspirations behind this psychotic piece? I imagine the process in making this fast pace song would be difficult.
A: I love the music/score in cartoons great examples would be the old Fleischer cartoons, The Animaniacs Theme, The Tiny Toons intro and the compositions of Raymond Scott and Carl Stalling. These are all my inspiration for this piece and, no, it wasn’t hard. In fact it felt natural when composing this. Every Idea just clicked.
Q: My second favorite song by you is one that just puts a smile on my face and at one point a couple of months ago I needed a smile while pushing through this interview and that is The Umbrella Salesman. The lyrics, vocals, and music were all just absolutely wonderful to the ears. This would be a good time now to ask who is Oliver? morbid-morsel wrote the lyrics, did you have any input on her lyrics and did she have any input on your melody? Do you know the inspiration behind this song and its meaning?
A: Oliver is an choir type English voicebank for the vocaloid engine created by PowerFX. And, no, morb did not have any input, not because she can’t but because she would rather not because I think she trusts that I will compose something decent and I did not have any input in her lyrics because I trust her as well. I’m not sure what the inspiration behind the story is, but morb told me she just wanted a story with pretty umbrellas and that she just wanted to draw umbrellas and also she was inspired by the father in the movie Charlie and The Chocolate factory. She told me he looked sad and depressed and so I guess that’s what prompted her to write the umbrella salesman.
Q: You got to team up with ZipZipper when making three songs. They are Are You Afraid?, Rainfall, and The Mouse Went Up The Clock. How did you two meet up and what parts did you play in making these songs with him?
A: I found out about ZipZipper when I was participating in NGADM (Newgrounds Audio Death Match) Iwas pitted against him. So naturally I checked out who I’m up against and I just instantly loved his work so after NGADM I thought maybe I can collaborate with ZipZipper in next year’s NGADM which we did and made this 3 songs. For “Are you Afraid?” I did the main motif and we sort of split the song in sections where we exemplify ourselves and the ending is a combination of both our ideas and of course ZipZipper wrote and sang the lyrics. “Rainfall”, I think this time ZipZipper did the theme and I just added the bassline and a couple of embellishments and for the last track “The Mouse Went Up The Clock”, well, the first half was by ZipZipper and the other half by me and ZipZipper ended it with an atonal texture.
Q: Secrets of Wysteria is a very creepy song, listening to the lyrics it is no secret that there is a story here. You've stated that you and morbid-morsel have a fascination with serial killers and sociopaths. This is a theme I believe we have in common. What made you two want to write a song about one of them, one being Albert Fish?
A: Well it was mostly me who wanted to write a song about Albert Fish. I think morb was just going along with me and in my opinion I think Albert Fish is the Epitome of what a serial killer is. He was so horrendous to the point he just didn’t seem human at all I guess I just wanted to show my listener what a serial killer truly is and that is someone who has lost his/her humanity and became this horrible creature and so I thought this would make a great scary Halloween song and the best part is that he was real.
Q: My favorite song of all time by you absolutely without question is Perfumer's Perfect Fumes. It is amazing that this program can handle the Heavy Metal genre so well. If I'm not mistaken I sense a backing orchestration behind the heavy metal instrumentation in this song and it compliments extremely well. Tell me, every step that came into making this beautiful song. I want to know everything! In other words, what was the process you took into bringing this song together?
A: This was actually a collaboration with another Vocaloid Producer named Momocashew. Momocashew is one of the few who uses/tunes Oliver very well and her musical works with the voicebank is amazing so naturally when I first used Oliver I’d always end up listening to her works get some ideas and guess on how she was able to make Oliver sound that way. I recommend listening to her Pumpkin series if you’re curious about Oliver. Anyway she wrote the lyrics and tuned Oliver in this song. The song is based on “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” thus the title. I’m not sure what made her want to write a song about Perfume, I guess she just likes the book. I composed the instrumental and got my band mate mark to play the guitar and Abe who played bass for me. This was actually my first metal track so for me mixing it was a bit of a challenge for me because the guitar was much much heavier and I found that the distortion guitar seem to drown out the bass and vocals doesn’t seem to sit well on the track but eventually with a couple of youtube videos and asking people here in Newgrounds helped me a lot in making finishing this track. For me this was a taxing song to make because before I got a guitarist I have asked a lot of guitarists to play for me but all seem to be either turned off by the idea of a vocaloid singing or the song was too hard. Fortunately my bandmate agreed and can play the song but he lived so far away from where I am living so recording took a week to finish because I remember he had gigs somewhere at around 6PM and I get there at around there 3PM in the afternoon and didn’t have a car so I had to commute with my recording equipment hahaha. It was the same thing for the bassist but the bassist only took 2 days to finish. Despite all this tiresome effort, I’m very proud of this track and I hope to make more metal music in the future.
Q: What is in your opinion, the definition of music?
A: I’ll keep my answer simple. Music can be defined in anyway. But for me personally it is the best form of self-expression and because I think I can connect with people better both on an emotional and intellectual level.
Q: You've been through a lot of different programs throughout your musical creation. For anyone looking to make music, what programs would you recommend they use? What equipment? Any advice you have for them?
A: Well it doesn’t really matter what program/DAW or equipment you use. What matter is how well you use them I personally prefer FL Studio simply because I find it easy to use and I think it’s a great DAW. Now I really can’t give any advice when it comes to recording because I still consider myself an amateur when it comes to recording and I’m not much of an audiophile either. I just have simple set up of a laptop a mixer and earphones. I can however give 4 rules I follow when it comes to mixing and mastering
1. When mixing, make sure your mixer level is at least half in level to avoid any clipping in mastering.
2. Always use a 20hz high cut off in all of the instruments in the mix to avoid any muddiness in the track.
3. Pan. Never put all your instrument in just the center your track can sound whole if you fill the audio spectrum.
4. Never overuse any effect, chorus, reverb, delay and flanger etc. unless you have a creative purpose for it.
Q: When it comes to writing your music without really much to inspire you, where does it start? Where does the first note come down and where does the song end?
A: Well usually when I’m not inspired or just not up to composing a piece of music I usually just don’t. But I am in a business where I compose for other people so when I’m uninspired and I’m required to compose I just sort of pull out this typical set of chord like a template and just improvise on it and just keep adding into it until I can’t think of anything to add or take away.
Q: What can we expect from steampianist in the future?
A: Well me and TravelBySheep are slowly working on a new vocaloid album and I notice I’m getting a lot of fans who play Geometry Dash maybe I can make something for them specifically for the level creators and upload it here in Newgrounds.
I've been listening to steampianist since about late 2013 early 2014. He is an absolutely amazing musician who I have put off on interviewing for too long. When I went through his full scope of music I was damned impressed. His skills are certainly wonderful and he is expanding further and further into his form. He reminds me of when Back-From-Purgatory was here, a traveling bard.
Interview No. 141
Interview By: The-Great-One
Today's guest only has two movies here on Newgrounds, but his works have most certainly been recognized here, but outside of Newgrounds as well. Many of you here mainly know him for There's a Man in the Woods. Today I am privileged to welcome Jacob Streilein.
Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?
A: I knew about Newgrounds growing up. Seems like its always been pretty big as long as I’ve been on the internet. I actually didn’t join, though, until Tom Fulp emailed me about allowing a wider range of animated films into the site, which was right after I’d made Swelter.
Q: At what age did you become interested in drawing?
A: I’m not quite sure. I remember being excited about it in Kindergarten when we got to write and illustrate our own books, which our teacher helped actually bind for us. Seeing my drawings in a finished, well presented context definitely made me want to do more. The next big moment was probably in second grade when I did a drawing of a frog for a teacher and lots of my classmates complimented me on it. I think that was the first time I remember thinking I had done a “good” drawing, which was fun.
Q: When and how did you become interested in animation?
A: One of the upperclassmen was interested in animation when I got to high school, and I think I started looking into it just because I heard my teacher talking about it. My art teacher actually created a short film screening so that my classmate had a reason to learn storyboarding in preparation for college applications, and one of my good friends and I made this really dumb cartoon and submitted it. After that screening I started to find pencil tests and short films online and slowly built a real interest in it. I think the scales tipped towards wanting to actually study it my junior year of high school.
Q: Who would you say are your influences?
A: Oh man, so many. CalArts was the biggest introduction of foreign and exciting work that I’ve probably ever had, so my most direct influences are my classmates. Jason Reicher, Taylor Price, Dylan Forman, Ryan Matias, Vitaliy Strokous, Nelson Boles. I feel like this list could go on forever-- Ian Worrel, Romney Caswell, Phil Vose, Eddie West, Elle Michalka, Eliza Ivanova, Evan Spiridellis, Chris O’Hara, Tyler Chen.
And then kind of wider scope— I’ve kind of consumed a lot of work from Masaaki Yuasa, Euan Uglow, Egon Shiele, Paul Rand, Nas, Eminem, Outkast, Kendrick Lamar, Gary Larson, Bill Patterson, Paul Thomas Anderson, Guy Ritchie, Edgar Wright, Paul Felix.
This is a hard question haha, sorry.
Q: When and how did you become employed to Jib Jab?
A: I sort of started the Summer of 2012 in the internship program, and have worked for them on and off ever since, either through that same program, freelance work, or my current full-time position that I started in August of 2014. I met those guys when they came to Calart’s Portfolio day and I had an interview with them based on my work.
Q: Your first submission to Newgrounds is a little movie called Swelter. A story of a father and son looking for water in a post-apocalyptic world. What was the inspiration behind Swelter and do you feel you might expand on it in the future?
A: I think it was actually just an evolution of an idea about the summer in my hometown being obscenely hot, especially after a fairly temperate Californian school year. I originally had this idea that it was so hot outside that fire itself melted. It kind of took a different direction as I boarded through it. I don’t have any plans to expand on it in the future, no.
Q: Punctuwool I find to be a telling of appreciating the little things in a hilarious way. I loved the creativity behind this. Representing the clouds as curious sheep and a little man in a helicopter to guide them. How did you come up with such an idea?
A: I was trying to think of ideas when I was writing Swelter and I did this tiny drawing on a Post-It of a sheep cloud with lightning for legs just bouncing around. At the time I didn’t know how I wanted to expand it, but it came up again when I needed an idea for my third-year film at school.
The appreciation of little things was just in response to working too hard/ too much and not really having time to have fun, so naturally I worked too hard and had no fun while I made it. Just kidding it wasn’t quite that bad.
Q: My absolute favorite by you has to be Theres a Man in the Woods. You stated it was based off of a rumor that went around your own elementary school. Are there any parts of this movie that are true? What made you want to present it as a poem? What made you want to bring this story to animation?
A: The only part of the movie that is true is the section about his description. Batman ears, yellow eyes, a shotgun, and a lady’s leg. Those are the details I remember from 4th grade. We did have a honeysuckle bush, but nobody was hoarding the flowers and no parents or teachers actually ever got involved. I did have a friend who tried to convince us that a screwdriver in a Ziploc bag full of cherry Kool-Aid was actually the killer’s murder weapon in a bag of blood. He planted it on the playground and also found it— he was part of the inspiration of Sid. But that visual description of the killer just seemed fun to draw, so naturally I wanted to try and work it into an animated film.
I had been studying a lot of rap music, specifically Kendrick Lamar, Outkast, and Eminem, and reading a lot about rap flow the summer before that year. I hadn’t written anything for an actor before and was not super confident in my writing skills so I figured It might at least be interesting if I tried to write in rhyme, even if the writing wasn’t great.
Q: What advice would you have to give for artists looking to become animators?
A: Draw, watch films, make comics. Just keep drawing, mostly. I always feel like I can draw until I realize that I can’t again. Its a rough cycle. Keep drawing.
Q: What can we expect from Jacob Streilein in the future?
A: Oooh I don’t know. I’ve been doing a lot of stuff at Jib Jab that people will see soon. I’d like to make more shorts—I really like the format and I don’t know if I have the attention span for a long form project. Otherwise, I post most of my drawings on my blog here: jacobstreilein.tumblr.com.
Jacob is a brilliant animator and writer who has a lot to offer in terms of his animation. However I feel that he has a sense of there isn't enough time to truly make everything he wants to share with all of us. He is indeed absolutely brilliant though and I hope we see more of his works. Hopefully he'll enter next year's Newgrounds Annual Tournament of Animation on here.
Interview No. 140
Interview By: The-Great-One
Today's guest is the winner of The 2015 Newgrounds Annual Tournament of Animation. He has graced us with works such as Ten Facts, Surviving the Future, The Ice Cream Man, and Little Snails. I am pleased to welcome, TheSilleGuy.
Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?
A: As a child I would frequently watch flash animations on the internet because I already had a big interest in cartoons. Some of the first flash animations I remember watching was "There she is!", "I love death" and several episodes of Eddsworld. These flash animations were however embedded on several Swedish sites, and so I did not really visit Newgrounds that much. It wasn't until I seriously started getting into animation that I created an account in 2012.
Q: At what age did you become interested in drawing?
A: I have been interested in drawing for as long as I remember. I can recall sitting inside, alone in kindergarten drawing animals while the other kids where outside playing football. If you want an exact age then I was maybe 1 or 2 years old.
Q: Informative Man is about a man who goes around answering people's questions in a strange, but hilarious fashion. Whose idea was this and will we see more Informative Man in the future?
A: The original consept for Informative man was that he was supposed to be on some kind of infomercial on TV, but this evolved into a deranged kids show where he answers questions. I honestly think he is a very interesting character, and for a while I really wanted to make a sequel to the video. I really don't know when I'll have the time to make one though.
Q: DuckTales - Treasure Hunt is a parody of DuckTales. I love how the voices don't even come close to matching the original characters and the ending is priceless. When did you become introduced to DuckTales and what made you want to make a parody of it?
A: Oh man! Ducktales was one of my favorite shows as a kid! It was on every Saturday morning on TV and loved watching it. I wanted to make a parody because I thought it would be fun to do a weird little skit version of it. I thought it would be funny if the voices where super exaggerated or just not accurate at all to the original cartoon and I guess it payed off.
Q: One of the last times I asked this question was when I interviewed Sexual-Lobster. Your movie The Ice Cream Man... what the fuck did I just watch? Where did you get the idea for this and the song?
A: It's kind of a funny story. I wanted to do a cartoon and I was frustrated by the fact that I had no ideas. Then all of the sudden I remember randomly rapping to myself and I had a very weird ice cream man rap song out of nowhere. Then I just kind of wrote the rest of the sketch around the rap.
Q: You would contribute your voice to many entries for the Newgrounds Annual Tournament of Animation. However you would compete during the 2015 Newgrounds Annual Tournament of Animation and go on to win it. Why did you want to contribute to other animator's entries and compete yourself? How did it feel when you were announced as the winner of NATA 2015?
A: A friend of mine competed in NATA the year before and that inspired me to want to participate as well. I couldn't in 2014 because I was at that point already working on another animation, so I participated in 2015 instead. Since some fellow animator friends also participated I decided to help them out with voice acting. One of them, MCakeri, I've been friends with for a long time and we skyped together while working on our respective animations.
As for how I felt when I won: It's kind of indescribable. I had been working on Little snails, non stop for two weeks straight and I was stressed out of my mind. I was sure I was going to lose because I thought Dylans video was far superior to my own. You could guess how I felt when I won.
Q: Your first entry in NATA 2015 was entitled Telling the Truth. How did you come up with this idea for the Open Round Theme and how were you feeling about moving up the bracket?
A: At the beginning of NATA I wanted to do some more "meaningful" videos with kind of message to them, and I thought about how with the theme "10 amazing facts" reminded me of the internet and how there are so many inaccurate facts on it. I thought it would be interesting to have someone constantly telling lies and then have someone else not question them and this eventually would lead to the liar dying. It was not that popular though and I almost got left out of the competition. Because of that I felt like I was going to lose the next round.
Q: Surviving the Future would be your entry in the Novice Round. Could you tell our readers the theme for this round and how you came up with the idea for it?
A: The theme for the second round was "How I survived ______". Because of how my last video didn't turn out that well I wanted to do something completely different. Instead of doing something with a message of some sort I just wanted to do more of a cute adventure video. There's not much of a story to how I came up with the idea, I kind of just wanted to do a video about the future since the beginning of the round.
Q: My favorite animation by you is your entry in the Pro Round entitled Up in the Sky. The story for this was just absolutely beautiful. It actually made me a little teary eyed. What was the theme for this round and how did you come up with this beautiful story?
A: Haha, that's very nice of you to say! The third rounds theme was "A tragic misunderstanding" and very soon after I read the title I brainstormed an idea. I had recently read the Wikipedia article for the S. A. Andreés Arctic balloon expedition of 1897. Back in the late 1800s Norway and Denmark had explored most of the arctic. Sweden was left behind, and so a man named S. A. Andrée wanted to be the first person to reach the north pole by balloon. Andreé however ignored many of the problems with going to the north pole in a balloon, and so the mission failed and he and his two crew members died.
I thought the story was very interesting but I wanted to simplify it so it could fit into a NATA video. Originally it was going to be a man and his two crew members like what had happened, then it was a story about a man and his wife and eventually it was about two siblings. I really like how the story turned out and I really want to do more dramatic stuff like it in the future.
Q: Your entry for the final round is entitled Little Snails. I thought this was an endearing and funny movie. What was the theme for the final round? Also how did you come up with the creativity for backpacks being the snail shells?
A: "Against impossible odds" was the fourth and final theme for NATA. My video little snails went through A LOT of changes during the two days I wrote it. At first it was about humans and not snails at all, and it was going to end with the villain throwing the little girl of a cliff with her rising behind him as a giant glowing magic entity and destroying him. The "little-girl beats-the-bad-guy-to-protect-her-sister" theme was prevalent throughout the idea process but it was for a while only about humans.
It wasn't until later I sort of just spontaneously thought it could be about under water snails that it changed, and this was again changed to land snails in the final version. As for the shells as backpacks, it was just something i just thought about, it's not really any story to it, I just thought it was a cute design choice.
Q: You have one song on Newgrounds entitled Knights. It feels like being inside a techno castle with robotic knights. How come you haven't made any more music? Will we see more music from you?
A: I have actually been doing quite a bit of music since I made "Knights", though I don't think any of it is good enough to upload yet. I don't feel like I know enough about music or music theory yet. (I mostly ask people to make music for me.) That being said, I do have many ideas for songs and if I get more experience with it I will definitely upload some stuff. Otherwise it will mostly be crappy joke songs.
Q: What advice do you have to give to aspiring animators?
A: Try going outside your comfort zone! One thing I did for NATA was that I tried to do things I've never done before, and it payed off. If you don't take risks you won't evolve or get better.
Q: What can we expect from TheSilleGuy in the future?
A: I actually started work on an animation a couple days ago. It's pretty short so it will most likely be done in a month or two. I'm also developing a webcomic with two of my friends. Don't know when it will be up but hopefully soon. Finally I'm also working on a pretty big project, a short film. It will be my first animation with a budget and it will be pretty long. I have just started writing the script so it's gonna take a while to finish it.
TheSilleGuy seems to me to be another TomaMoto or RicePirate. Always willing to expand past his comfort zone. Always willing to give a helping hand, lend his voice to something, whatever he can do to help someone else's creation grow. I mostly focused on TheSilleGuy's works in this interview, but most of the other movies on his page is simply him helping others. Make no mistake though, when TheSilleGuy stands alone he is truly an animation force to be reckoned.
Interview No. 139
Interview By: The-Great-One
Today's guest has been with us once before. He was here exactly one-hundred interviews before. When last we spoke we covered Pleasure Island and Angry Dog. Today we talk more about his roots in animation and the Manwhore series that has come to fruition. I am pleased to welcome back, Sexual-Lobster.
Q: It has been over five years since I interviewed you last. At the time of posting this interview it would have been exactly 100 interviews. I can safely say that when I interviewed you last I had just gotten into my own groove. Now I am firing on all cylinders. I would like to thank you for gracing me once again.
A: It's a pleasure to be here.
Q: When I started this I didn't really go through the journey an artist might take. Let's begin with yours. You have stated that once you were able to hold a crayon in your hand you began drawing. Do you know what age this might have been and what were your parents thoughts on this?
A: Directly after the phase that little people just want to put everything in their mouths. So probably 2 years old? I think they were proud and uncritical of my scrawlings. They probably still have them.
Q: When did you discover Dragonball Z and how much of an influence has Akira Toriyama had on your work?
A: When I was 16. At first I aped his style quite a lot, and it's obvious when you watch the first bunch of things I uploaded to Newgrounds. But over time, I think the thing about Dragonball Z that has had a lasting impact on me is the way the show is directed and the way action is paced. There's usually (but not always) just enough action to provide something for your eyes to look at. When I direct a scene I think about giving the audience enough fresh art and/or movement to keep them interested, but also ways and techniques to reuse animation and get the scene done in an achievable time frame. Dragonball Z provides good examples of how to tell a story on a budget, but it also fails quite often at pacing, so it provides plenty of examples of what not to do as well.
Q: At what school did you receive your Bachelor Degree in Animation from and what brought you to Griffith University?
A: The campus was the Queensland College of Art. It was the only university level course in the city at that time that had a 2D animation focus. I understand it has since become more about games and less about 2D animation, so I'm uncertain if I'd do it if I was considering a course now.
Q: You started drawing comics first, but then made the shift to animation. What made you decide to tackle animation? Do you have any advice for aspiring comic artists and artists who are interested in getting into animation?
A: I never thought it would be possible to make a cartoon by myself. But when I discovered Flash I realised I could, so I started doing it straight away. I discovered Flash pretty late because I'd been overseas on a working holiday for a few years and didn't have a computer, which is also why I was drawing a lot of comics. Animation has always been a preferable medium to me if you can manage it, so many more people are interested.
General advice...Start with small achievable projects. Draw lots, work on your anatomy. When people give you advice, think about where it's coming from and whether you need to follow it, because people love to make rules about what they do. The vast majority of rules are actually just guidelines. For more specific advice, I'd need to know more about the person.
Q: Who is Lord Zorgatron?
Q: When last we spoke we talked about your music video Dance of the Manwhore. Since then it has exploded into multiple sequels with Quest of the Manwhore, Milk of the Manwhore, Passion of the Manwhore, World's Greatest Manwhore, and World's Greatest Manwhore 2. How did all of this come to be?
A: Hmmmm I'm not sure how to answer that, it's so broad. Each project has it's own set of circumstances that causes it to be birthed. The most recent group of Fernando-centric projects is a series called Manwhore Industries, which was funded by a grant from Screen Australia and Google.
Q: One of my newly favorites by you has to be Harder, Tiffany, Harder!!. It was based on a comic jam. What comic jam was it and what made you want to bring it to animation?
A: This one I mean, just look at it. How could I not animate that? I thought it would be a really fun project and it was. Not sure how fun it is to watch though.
Q: The last time I interviewed you the one animation that messed with me the most was Pleasure Island. Interviewing you this second time I have come across Babies. You would collaborate with TheWeebl on this animation. I only have two questions. Who wrote the song? What the fuck is wrong with you people?
A: With each collaboration with Weebl he'd send audio and I was responsible for the visuals, with occasional input from him. So all writing by him. Those projects I did for him were great practice.
Q: The Four Horsemen is a brilliant idea for a possible series with a lot of scenarios that they could fit into. Could be a commentary on different things around the world. I remember reviewing it and stating that it would be cool to see these guys meet Raptor Jesus. Will there be a series with these guys in the future? Will they meet Raptor Jesus?
A: My friends and I wrote quite a bit of material for the Four Horsemen using our comic jam writing method, and I have since tried to refine it and turn into a series concept. But for some reason no potential sequel has really stirred me to make it on my own steam. I do have a finished script where Famine must care for his young son, who he didn't know existed. I have pitched The Four Horsemen as a show concept on two occasions, no luck yet. No they won't meet Raptor Jesus.
Q: What can you tell us about the Raw Latex series?
A: It's a story about a young man coming to age in a world where everyone wears Latex forehead strap-ons. It's written by Jon Bellovin and animated by me. There's two more episodes needed to finish the series. I need a rest before doing another one.
Q: What can we expect from Sexual-Lobster in the future?
A: I'm not sure. I don't really want to talk about the financial aspect of making my animations so suffice to say that like most people I am a slave to capital and the opportunities that will arise will determine what I am able to produce. I've gained a measure of freedom by crowd funding using patreon but it doesn't look to be sustainable long term, so we'll see!
In the past I have said that Sexual-Lobster has a twisted sense of humor and a strange sense of creativity and I still stand by that. He has shown no signs of stopping since I interviewed over five years ago. I for one can only hope that he continues his works more in the future. We have seen Manwhore Industries grown throughout the years. Who knows which character will grow more in the future.
Interview No. 138
Interview By: The-Great-One
A couple of years ago I interviewed some The Forum Regulars of Newgrounds. Two who went on to be moderators and one who still is to this day. Today we bring you some new regulars who have graced the forums. They are Xenomit, Bit, KillerSkull, and Outlaw88. They are The Forum Regulars of Newgrounds.
ANSWERS WILL BE POSTED BENEATH THE A: DUE TO TWO PEOPLE BEING INTERVIEWED PERSON ANSWERING WILL BE NOTED AS SO.
Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?
Xenomit: I found newgrounds around 2008 when I was visiting with a friend. He was showing me a bunch of animations and shit and I thought they were hilarious. I occasionally visited newgrounds on and off for the next couple of years, and made my account in 2010. At the time I had no idea that I'd ever really do anything with my account, hence the uncreative and straight up plagiarized username. Xenomit is a rare mineral from a game called dark orbit that I played a lot at the time, and it was the first thing I thought of, so I went with it. I became forum active around fall of 2011, and from there newgrounds became my "home" on the internet. For the last 4 or so years, newgrounds has always been my default tab, and I always have the NG home in my leftmost tab regardless of whether or not I'm using it that day. My connection with newgrounds is more or less a compulsive habit that I don't feel like dropping.
KillerSkull: I found Newgrounds when I was real young, I can't remember how young but I remember it was shortly after I stated using the internet unsupervised. It was flash games that drew me here at first. I know I started visiting the forums in 2006 and finally made an account in 2008.
Bit: I was watching a flash parody on another site. At the end of the animation, there was a link that said "Watch the original on Newgrounds" and I thought that it would be cool to see where the original is from. I wasn't disappointed. I made an account months later. I'm not really sure why I made an account. I probably looked around the Newgrounds BBS and was pleased with what I saw.
Outlaw88: I was looking for funny things to watch and came upon the site at random. I remember the first cartoon from Newgrounds I saw was Headache. After that I found myself returning more and more. It hit me at the right time as I was still fairly new to the Internet due to not being able to afford a computer or an Internet subscription as early as my peers, so when I found something that I connected with I stuck with it. After a while I felt it was common sense for me to sign up for an account as I was visiting the site daily. A habit that I still maintain.
Q: What is it about Newgrounds that you like the most and why?
Xenomit: I honestly don't know. "Xenomit" is just a character that I created in my early days on the BBS, and playing him is really, really fun. Yeah, most of the things I say are true about myself, but a lot of it is a vast exaggeration. Some of the older users know me for retardedly arguing with well received people, and some of those people know that I did that for my own pleasure. I mean yeah I know it made a lot of people think I was legitimately stupid but I had fun. I still get into them from time to time but most people know better than to bite my bait.
I guess that's what I enjoyed about newgrounds, I developed a character and had fun playing him. Now I just visit the forums every few days to make a couple posts. I think I might delete my account when I get to 20k posts.
KillerSkull: When I first signed up I really liked all the flash content on the site and I thought the community was great, even in the general BBS. Ultimately I'd say it was the BBS that pushed me to make an account and I'm glad because I started discovering other content such as the audio portal. To this day, the forums are still amusing though I don't post as much anymore, so I'd have to say the general forum is my favorite.
Bit: The open nature of Newgrounds is its best feature. Giving creators the ability to submit basically anything to The Portal has given them the creative flexibility to share some of the most ridiculous, high quality, and culture-influencing games and animations on the Internet. Even in an age where Youtube is a thing, nearly all of the best stuff is released here, which is usually the author's way of giving back to the community after getting their start here.
Outlaw88: I love that fact that there is new content every day. I'm a big fan of animation in general and being able to see some of the awesomely creative things people have made really does it for me. I also like that there are several creative outlets like the audio and art portals which really give the site a more welcoming feel for artists and viewers alike.
Q: What is it about Newgrounds that you dislike the most and why?
Xenomit: It has a hard time living up to its reputation. The very first flash portal ever made, despite the title it hasn't held up over time. The fact that the BBS has been such a tight, small community for the last several years has been both a good and bad thing.
Honestly I tried to think of more to say but I couldn't think of anything else. There's not really anything that I truly dislike about newgrounds.
KillerSkull: I honestly can't say. There are various updates that I haven't liked, such as the new voting system. I'm upset that the forums aren't as active as they were when I signed up but that topic has been beaten to death so I won't go into it......
Bit: Unfortunately, the open nature of Newgrounds is falling by the wayside as Tom attempts to make the site more marketable (read: actually profitable). The consequence of making this site actually turn a profit is that controversial (and often very culturally-important) submissions are removed like the Anita Sarkeesian Game and the Sandyhook Game. I can't really fault Tom for wanting to make his site bigger, but that doesn't change the fact that it's my least favorite thing about Newgrounds.
Outlaw88: The fact that there is still an awful lot of garbage that gets passed though the voting process.
Q: What first drew you to the General Forum and why? What made you want to stay?
Xenomit: It was the first non-game related forum that I joined. The first two were exclusively for two browser games, support and discussion and that sort of thing. I liked that it wasn't associated with any particular thing, the conversation freedom was great.
As for why I stayed, it made a lasting impression. I had a lot of fun, so I kept coming back, and after the fun levels started going down I stayed anyways because newgrounds had kinda become apart of me, and newgrounds actually led to a lot of really good changes in my personality.
KillerSkull: The general forum was the first forum that I actually started posting in. I don't know why but I could just have the most fun lurking and posting in the threads. I find the community to be fun to interact with and posting in a thread and then being able to come back to it an hour later and get back into the conversations going on in it is always a great luxury to enjoy.
Bit: I have always used Internet forums. My illustrious posting history is spread across many sites and thousands of posts. I am known by many names, but one thing that doesn't change is that, when I begin visiting a website, I become a regular poster in that site's forum. It was only natural that I should eventually begin using the Newgrounds BBS when I started visiting Newgrounds regularly. The reason I've stayed for so long is that, as someone who has used many, many different Internet forums, I know that the Newgrounds General Forum is actually full of relatively Intelligent users. And that's a scary thought.
Outlaw88: I liked being able to see what was going on with the NG community. I tend to lurk more these days though as I now only comment on things that I have an interest in. Its tough being an older member in that regard as its harder to relate to some of the topics that come up. Any least for me anyway.
Q: KillerSkull - When did you first become interested in Dungeons & Dragons? Do you still play today? Whatever your answer could you tell us why?
A: I got into D&D in high school, it was literally all my friends and I would do during lunch during my freshman and sophomore years. But I haven't played much since then. I play some JRPGs and Western RPG videogames though if that counts for something....
Q: Outlaw88 - You and I have something in common. We both love wrestling. At what age did you become interested in wrestling? Who is your favorite wrestler and what is your favorite match?
A: Sadly due to several factors (which would make this interview too long) I lost interest in the current product. I still have a love for it though and I do hope something comes along to spark that desire to watch it again.
I was in middle school when I first started to watch wrestling in the late 90's so I was maybe 13. In terms of overall character and heart: Mick Foley will always be a top pick. In terms of skill I'd say Chris Jericho. Favorite match.. Man there are so many good ones to pick.. The second TLC match from WM 2001 as it was the first PPV that I watched with a group of friends. That match captured the room in such a way that everyone reacted to what was going on made for a real experience.
Q: Bit - How did you come to join The Icon Mod Crew? What exactly was the purpose of this crew?
A: I was an icon mod for a while (no, it doesn't count as being a real mod) and my job was to create icons for submission in the new, larger, icon format. If I recall correctly, there was a thread where you could ask to be an icon mod (which is unusual in that asking to be a mod is pretty taboo) and I thought it would be interesting so I asked in the thread and Tom sent me a PM some time later telling me that I had been accepted. I made something like 100 or 200 icons during my time as an icon mod. This sounds like a lot, but some of the other mods made 1000+ icons so I probably just looked like a slacker.
Q: Xenomit - You would ask to join the Newgrounds Gay/bisexual Users Club on July 20th, 2011. You stated you weren't gay or bi unless you watched furry porn. One month later you would ask to join again this time as bisexual. Why the change -- were you merely in the closet? If so then why?
A: That's part of my character. One of the funniest tropes I can think of is a "straight guy" who looks and acts straight, but is attracted to feminine guys but swears to god that he's not gay. I'm attracted to feminine guys, but I'm well aware of and very comfortable with my sexuality. So, part of "xenomit" is that he has a lot of extremely homosexual thoughts, but he's adamant that he's not gay or even bi, and he justifies his homosexual thoughts with the fact that he's only attracted to really feminine looking guys.
In reality, I'm a bisexual top who likes nerdy girls, tomboyish looking girls, and girly guys.
Q: Would you like to be a Newgrounds Forum Moderator? Whatever your answer could you explain?
Xenomit: I would, but I know I'd make a bad moderator. I don't take anything on the internet seriously, and I'd just straight up never ban anyone. Basically, if I did become a moderator for whatever reason, I wouldn't see it as any power, I'd see it as nothing more than an honorary title.
Plus, I've used the BBS a lot. I've has a lot of interactions with the mods, and I know what the average person thinks of mods; they're lame squares who ruin fun. I could see myself being a lot like the cops from superbad; not really corrupt, they just don't take their own authority seriously whatsoever, and end up breaking a lot of the laws that they're supposed to uphold just to be cool and show how they're not boring joykills.
KillerSkull: In the past I did want to be a forum moderator but now I'm not so sure. I lurk a lot these days and I'm not as involved with the forums as I once was so I think there are other users more suited to the task than me.
Bit: Sure. I would be OK with that. I was a moderator on a few other sites and I was pretty good at keeping them free of spam. On the BBS, I like to joke that I'm running for 'Mod 2016' as if it were an election, but I know that being a moderator is actually a pretty serious commitment. It's not something that you would want to do if you don't already spend a lot of time here.
Outlaw88: I think the golden rule is that if you want to be a Mod you shouldn't ask and lead by example. That being said if you had asked me this a few years ago I would have said yes in a heartbeat. Now that I'm not as active on the forum as I used to be it would be a wasted position. I feel I wouldn't do the job justice right now.
Q: Which forums do you mainly visit and which forums do you seldom visit?
Xenomit: I'd estimate about 95% of my posts have been in general, 4% have been in video games, and the remaining 1% has been in clubs and crews. I've never posted on any of the other forums. I always intend to spend more time in video games, being I spend most of my free time playing them and enjoy talking about them, but I just never get around to doing it.
KillerSkull: I'm almost always in the General forum. I'll stop by the help forums and the video games forum from time to time as well but those are basically the only forums that I visit.
Bit: There are forums other than General?
Outlaw88: I used to just hang out in the clubs and crews section quite a bit but I mostly check out the general forum now. I never ever go to the politics area.
Q: If you could change anything on Newgrounds, what would it be and why?
Xenomit: I'd bring back chat, I'd get rid of all the pornographic content so that major corporations might start advertising to us, I'd find a way to bring back some of the more well known content creators, I'd allow webms to be posted on the BBS, I'd get rid of "word rules" that prevent you from saying certain words.
That's about all I can think of. Chat is obvious, real time conversations with people, getting rid of pornographic content could hopefully open the doors to larger advertisers which would mean more revenue, bringing back more well known content creators would obviously start returning popularity, allowing webms in the BBS would just be convenient for me personally and could enrich conversation, and getting rid of verbal censorship would just be for liberty.
KillerSkull: Bring back the chat. I just want traffic in the forums to increase again.
Bit: Newgrounds chat, user page headers, and a mobile app so that people will shut up about wanting a mobile app. I would also try to bring Newgrounds' 'edge' back by allowing offensive submissions again. Also a Literature Portal because it would be nice to have a portal which I can actually contribute to.
Outlaw88: That's a tough one.... I used to say "add an edit button" all the time and we now have one. I would bring back the NG chat. That was fun. I would also want to see NG try to compete with YouTube more but I'm not sure how to do that. I'm not an artist or an animator so the content I do create tends to be with video which really doesn't have a place here. I also am glad for that as I think having NG as the hub for animation is its strength.
Q: What can we expect from the forum regulars in the future?
Xenomit: Not much, a lot of us are way less active than we used to be, and I can't see anything keeping us here other than habit. Like I said, I still post every few days, but I ALWAYS have newgrounds open. I'm actually at an all time low point in my NG BBS career. I used to know everyone who came through the BBS, now I have a hard time recognizing any names. My inbox used to fill up every several weeks from talking to people every day, now I get exited when I see an unread message, they rarely present themselves to me.
I used to get on every day to see that I've been quoted dozens of times since the last day, now I only get quoted if I directly quote someone and say just the right thing. I'm just not a popular topic like I used to be.
I'd like to say that I'd do a xenomit revival and make a total comeback, but I just don't really care to, I don't have the energy.
KillerSkull: Hopefully the regulars keep on posting and the forums get busy aain, that's what I would like to see. I'll still be lurking and occasionally posting for sure.
Bit: Dank memes, shitposting, and phallic jokes.
Outlaw88: For me I hope to be around and post more. As I said I tend to lurk and not interact as much. That's something i know i need to change.
It's always great to speak with the regular members of Newgrounds. The people who this grand site entertains day in and day out. Because like it or not. This site helps so many grow and contribute to it. We were all regular members. Even Tom Fulp himself when he made the site 20 years ago. Every person interviewed here was once a regular member of Newgrounds.