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TheInterviewer's News

Posted by TheInterviewer - April 15th, 2012


[ Index Page | Theme Song | Official Thread | Twitter | Google+ ]

Interview No. 94
Interview By:
The-Great-One

Today we'll be talking with Tom Fulp once again. He is here to talk about the redesign as well as other matters pertaining Newgrounds. His full story can be found here, he was The Interviewer's 1st Interview, he was here a second time, and today he joins us once again. The creator of Newgrounds... Tom Fulp.

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Q: When it comes to this redesign, when did the creation begin?

A: Even during the development of the redesign that launched in 2007, we knew we wanted to make bigger changes and go wider with the layout. Actual visualization of the new site started in 2008 and went through several revisions until the final concept in 2009. From there it came down to addressing every single page, overhauling a lot of back-end systems, developing new features and rewriting all the front-end code and javascript.
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Q: Many members including myself have been wondering where two things are. Where is the Lit Portal and Chat?

A: The Lit Portal is waiting on the existing portals to be in better shape and still more unified, since it will share a lot of elements with them. Chat has been waiting on the multi-user server and API PsychoGoldfish was developing a few years ago. Other projects have been keeping it on the backburner.
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Q: When it comes to this redesign, a lot of it has been cleaned up and many different sections of Newgrounds were given well deserved attention. However, we haven't gotten many new features with this redesign. What other new toys will we get over time?

A: We're pretty secretive with features because companies with more resources can attempt them quicker than we can. What I can say is that we'll be accepting other formats for games and movies, which is why we removed the term "Flash Portal" in the first place. We'll also be expanding a lot on the feed data available to individual users, so it's easier for them to keep tabs on their favorite artists and responses to their own contributions.
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Q: Where does Newgrounds stand as far as the Video Portal is concerned?

A: It's not a standalone video portal but rather the option to upload your animation as an MP4 file instead of SWF. The feature is ready to launch but we're holding off on the big premier. For the immediate future it's an invite-only option for animators; we want to avoid being a video dump and focus on animation and film with cool post-production. I know we'll get heat about "Everything, by Everyone" but that slogan has always had a dual-meaning anyway, as in everything you see on the site is the result of everyone here working together.
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Q: When did your brother Wade join the Newgrounds team?

A: Wade came onboard in 2000.
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Q: With this new design comes the Project System. Could you explain how this system to those who don't know much about it?

A: The project system addresses some things that have been long-term issues with NG. It allows artists and developers to fill out their information and preview their files ahead of actually publishing them. It also creates a space where teams can share assets and invite beta testers, while integrating the API directly into your project. Before this, people had to set up their API entry in advance and HOPE it linked up to their final submission, otherwise we had to manually link it. It has made it much easier to integrate ads, set up medals and make sure everything works before you publish.
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Q: Will we be getting any new holidays or contests with this new redesign employed?

A: We have plans for contests and one-off events but I'm squeamish about additional annual commitments since they really add up.
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Q: The Newgrounds Tank Awards are on the horizon. To celebrate Best Movie, Best Game, Best Musician, and Best User. Any new awards to be implemented?

A: There won't be any new award categories this year but I'd like to make adjustments in upcoming years.
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Q: Randy Solem recently passed on. He meant a lot to different people on this site, he's how I came to find Newgrounds. What mark did he leave on you and how do you feel now that he is gone?

A: Randy was part of an exclusive club of early Flash enthusiasts and it's a wake-up call that we won't be around forever. Randy and I are almost the same age and he lived nearby in New Jersey, so the whole thing hits close to home. It's a reminder that there is limited time to get things done and I don't know when my own window will close so I need to keep pushing ahead. I want NG to be around in 100 years and I want people to know about Randy 100 years from now.
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Q: People have wondered whether or not we would be getting Portal Moderators. With groups such as The Newgrounds Police Department and The Elite Guard Barracks keeping an eye out on the Movie and Game Portals for a good long time now, what would the implementation of Portal Moderators bring to these clubs? Will we be seeing Portal Moderators in the future?

A: We do intend to have Portal Moderators who can un-publish projects that break the rules. It means these clubs can have members with actual administrative power, rather than depending on the staff as much.
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Q: Is there anything new coming from The Behemoth?

A: BattleBlock Theater is on the way and coming along great! I've been working with JohnnyUtah on what could be Game 4 but that is going to stay private until we're ready to show something.
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Q: What can we expect to see from Tom Fulp and Newgrounds in the future?

A: More games from me and more features from NG, along with more NG everywhere. I want to be sure everyone who sticks around feels like their time couldn't have been better dedicated to any other website.
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Tom Fulp is always a very chill and amazing person to talk to. A lot of us here know his story and what he wants to do for Newgrounds. The future is always out there and Tom is always wanting to find it and he is always looking towards others to help him on his journey. What else can be said?
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Posted by TheInterviewer - April 8th, 2012


[ Index Page | Theme Song | Official Thread | Twitter | Google+ ]

Interview No. 93
Interview By:
The-Great-One

DESPITE IT SAYING Entry #100 AT THE TOP THIS IS NOT THE 100th INTERVIEW. THERE HAVE BEEN TWO PART INTERVIEWS IN THE PAST THAT TAKE UP ENTRY NUMBERS THROUGH THE BLOG SYSTEM HERE ON NEWGROUNDS. THIS IS THE 93rd INTERVIEW

Today's guest is a cartoonist. His series Guinea Something Good has achieved a small bit of fame and touches on real world topics through the ideas of adorable guinea pigs. From works such as Car Games, The Daily Grind, Lost and Found, and Shades of Fear. He is Jeff Mumm he is known on Newgrounds as WaldFlieger.

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Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?

A: I found Newgrounds when I was in high school, back when the original "Star Wars Gangsta Rap" was first popular. We used to watch Flash videos in any class we had that revolved around computers, and that's how I learned about Newgrounds. A few years later I joined in the hope of gaining some exposure for my comic I was creating at the time.
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Q: When did you get an interest in drawing?

A: I was interested in drawing ever since I could hold a pencil. When I was five I drew a children's book style story called "Starman." When I was nine I started drawing comics about my pet guinea pig, Joe. I drew a 160 page comic book about him, actually. And I've been drawing comics ever since.
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Q: What is Obscured By Species?

A: "Obscured by Species" was one of my first real attempts to create a comic series NOT based on Joe. I had been drawing Joe comics all through middle school and high school and posting them online. At the end of high school, I felt like I was really being held back by this commitment to a character I created as a little kid. For some reason I refused to completely redesign him, so he always had this little kid's stick figure look. Actually, you can see a drawing of what Joe originally looked like in this comic I made recently: http://joegp.com/assignment/ . Sort of an inside joke for anyone who read my comics when I was a kid. (Obviously an extremely limited audience.)

Anyway, I wound up doing "Obscured by Species" first as a graphic novel style comic, and then as a comic strip. I updated it for about two and a half years and then lost interest in the premise. The "Obscured by Species" 'games' on Newgrounds were just my attempt to show my comics to the Newgrounds audience. I don't think there was an Art Portal back then.
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Q: Your art submissions are a comic series hosted on your site. It is entitled "Guinea Something Good". Could you tell us what this series is and how you came up with the idea?

A: After I lost steam with "Obscured by Species," I went to the Center for Cartoon Studies, a school for comics, and developed my comic series, "featuring Talking Guinea Pigs." (http://www.ftgpigs.com) The idea for that comic was just to combine things that I felt were unique to my interests - namely, sci-fi, guinea pigs, and Dostoevsky. To be honest, I haven't owned a guinea pig in years, but I've always thought they were nature's cartoon characters. They're just fun to draw.

One of my ideas behind fTGP was to make a storyline so involved that I'd be forced to stick with it longer than my previous failed comic series. But the pattern took hold again. After about two and a half years, I burned myself out. I had been pushing myself too hard, trying to update this graphic novel style comic three times a week, and I was getting like four hours of sleep most nights of the week.

"Guinea Something Good" just started as a joke to myself. If you read the first comics, you'll see that they're intentionally stilted, the backgrounds look horrible, and the copy-paste nature of it is ridiculously transparent. I threw in random things like Mario backgrounds and things that just didn't really make any sense. It's called "Guinea Something Good" because that was the stupidest name I could think of. I was so burned out on taking fTGP so seriously that GSG was really just a way for me to let off steam and have fun with comics in as pure and simple a way as possible. Take it back to when I was a kid, when I just did them for fun. That's why they're about Joe again. It was sort of my way of looking back and saying, "remember why you used to make comics?" I also thought it would be fun to see how a realistic version of Joe would look in a comic series.
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Q: Your first art submission to Newgrounds would be Invention Invention. Although it is the first one you brought to Newgrounds the first guinea comic appears to be Signs. Why not start from the beginning when coming to Newgrounds?

A: By the time I had started putting more of my attention on Guinea Something Good, and developing it as my primary comic series instead of a side-joke-project, I hadn't used Newgrounds as a comic mirror in years. I had uploaded a few animations to Newgrounds, but I was done with trying to make interactive comics. One day, though, I realized that Newgrounds had the Art Portal. I'm not sure when they added that, or if I just never noticed it before, but that's when I decided to start uploading my comics to Newgrounds again. By that time I had easily more than a hundred comics in my archive, and I just didn't feel like uploading them all to Newgrounds, especially since the beginning ones have such a different feel than what I'm going for now. So I just uploaded that day's comic and have been updating it along with my main site on a daily basis.
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Q: These guinea pig characters have very funny personalities to them and you seem to draw their situations from real life events. Which comics have been events that have happened to you?

A: Thanks! I honestly try not to write about things that have actually happened to me, but there are definitely recurring themes in my life that I draw from. Just scanning some of the recent comics, there are two that stick out that are more directly based on my experiences.

The first is http://www.newgrounds.com/art/view/waldflieger/a cquaintance . I'm so bad with talking to acquaintances, especially people who I sort of know but never really talked to in high school or whatever. I always feel like running away from those interactions. Sometimes I actually do, if I'm pretty sure I saw the person and they didn't see me. I'll slip away. But then I feel bad about it. So now I usually try to make a some sort of gesture and just man up to it. It's still a feeling of sinking terror, though, when I recognize a semi-acquaintance just within eyesight.

The second is sort of related: http://www.newgrounds.com/art/view/waldflieger/o pen-seating . It's sort of an alternate reality version of how I perceive my interaction with strangers that approach me when I'm working in a coffee shop. Semi-frequently I find that women will approach me when I'm drawing my comic or whatever I'm working on and ask me about the digital tablet I use or my setup. I'm usually so focused on my work, that when I respond, even though I'm trying to be polite, I think I just come off as kind of grumpy or uninterested. Their reaction is always the same: embarrassment and awkward departure. The comic is kind of like the next step of social awkwardness. What would happen if I took my obliviousness to the next logical conclusion? But fortunately I'm not quite as screwed up as Joe. I just put my headphones back in and keep working.
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Q: One of my favorites by you has to be The Daily Grind. You're not the first to make fun of Starbucks Coffee here, illwillpress was doing it with Foamy for years. What made you want to mock Starbucks' customers?

A: I'd have to say that it's because I've become such a Starbucks tool myself. Not that I judge other people or care what drinks they order. I don't even have any loyalty to Starbucks, really. I just like their drinks, and I like the fact that no matter where I am I can find one. But that might also be part of what interests me about it. I kind of refuse to assimilate into Starbucks culture, yet I observe it on a near-daily basis. Not to mention that I've assimilated whether I like it or not. So yeah, it's ripe for commentary.
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Q: Many artists out there tend to have people who inspire them. Seeing as you are a cartoonist who do you draw your inspirations from?

A: As far as comics go, when I was a kid, I drew my inspiration from Calvin and Hobbes and Dilbert. Sam and Max and the Tick inspired me in high school. I don't really read comics anymore, though. I was a huge fan of Dinosaur Comics when I was doing Obscured by Species, and I think that was a big influence on those original Guinea Something Good comics I made. Outside of comics, though, I'm inspired by a lot of different things. Cartoons, comedies, stand-up comedians, game developers, YouTube video creators, novels. Anyone who's making something interesting, or funny, or new, and especially the people who put it online and are able to make a go of it. I get huge inspiration from them.
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Q: Your first movie on Newgrounds would be entitled Morning Coffee fTGP!. You were already a cartoonist with some great comics, why take a jump to animation and will we be seeing more?

A: I've always experimented with animation, even way back when I was in grade school. I used to make nine-frame animation cycles in Mario Paint all the time. I made Morning Coffee after I got burned out doing the fTGP comic (and before GSG) and was exploring new directions. I sort of rediscovered my love of animation, made a career path change and decided to go to school for animation. So I'm actually in the middle of studying 2D animation right now. So yeah, you'll be seeing a lot more animations. It might be a while, though, because every time I start one these days, a month will go by and I'll learn so much new stuff that I'll want to start from scratch and apply everything new I've learned. It's actually made me decide to hold off from doing my own animations for a while until I really feel like I've learned enough that I'm not just spinning my wheels.
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Q: What can we expect from WaldFlieger in the future?

A: Well, I actually just released my first Flash game, called "Bounce or Die," based on Guinea Something Good. (http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/589790 ) So you can expect more Flash games! That's something I'm really excited about. You can of course still expect new Guinea Something Good comics every weekday. And a few months down the road, you can expect a Guinea Something Good animated series - that's the hope, anyway! That's the ultimate goal.
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WaldFlieger is an amazingly funny man. His comics bring a smile to my face and make me laugh, as I'm sure he does for others. As a cartoonist his artwork is great, but the humor he brings is even better. If you haven't checked out his works yet, they tell the tale better than I can.
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Posted by TheInterviewer - April 1st, 2012


[ Index Page | Theme Song | Official Thread | Twitter | Google+ ]

Interview No. 92
Interview By:
The-Great-One

HAPPY APRIL FOOL'S DAY!

Today's guest, is one of the best Newgrounds members ever! His enlightening posts have fueled his generation and many others throughout the eons (which is some years on Newgrounds time). As a member of the Kitty Krew, his amazing works have graced an audience here on Newgrounds and has brought emotions upon them that they themselves cannot control. He is the one and certainly the only Sevkat.

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Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?

A: Wow uh... Well, I first started using Newgrounds like most of us probably did way back when. Assassin, Dating Sims, and Dress-up Hentai. I'd spend hours playing Love Hina Sim Date. And to be entirely honest, I don't remember when/why I joined. I wasn't really that into the internet when I was in highschool, and I think I joined when I was in senior year. Not sure, though.
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Q: Could you explain exactly what it is you are?

A: Of course. Sevkat. But no really, what the fuck is that supposed to mean?
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Q: Your early posts show that you were a gangsta. You even went out to make a NG Ballers crew. When looking back on this, how much would you said you have changed?

A: Ugh.
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Q: What the fuck, Sevkat questioned you on your posting ability and you as a user. This wouldn't be the first thread to talk about you, there would be others. What do you think of these threads?

A: Meh, my life would probably be exactly the same with, or without them. It's the buttmad '12 users that keep me fueled. I swear though, it's other users trying to get my attention, so I guess it's kinda sweet.
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Q: Last year, we talked to Xyphon202 and how he was meant for greatness. When did you realize that you to were meant for greatness?

A: Who in the name of fuck is Xyphon202?
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Q: What can you tell us about your lover Rummy0?

A: It's eternal and flat-chested.
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Q: Would you ever like to be a Forum Moderator?

A: Why would I want to be one of those faggots?
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Q: Who here on Newgrounds do you like and who do you not like?

A: Don't like? Honestly, besides the recent trends of ponyfaggots, it's been okay, I guess. BBS is the same as always when it boils down to it. Same rotten shit hole it's always been... Oh and likes? Uhh... There are a few posts I see every now and then that I can kind of admire, but I just think the BBS is slowly degrading. I can find better conversation on /a/ half the time.
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Q: At one point in time, you were an original member of the Kitty Krew. What can you tell us about your experiences with them as well as BigFuzzyKitten?

A: I don't really know if I'd call myself an original member... I've never even really talked to BFK before, when I made flash for the KK it was usually with Inf0xy, Magyar, or someone else. I'd rather credit the Teh-NoN flashes I made with Grub-Xer0 if I was to credit any flash I've done. They were by far the most fun and quite a gag. GX is absolutely hilarious, anything with him in it's bound to be good.
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Q: What can we expect from Sevkat in the future?

A: Nothing great, I s'pose.
I've been picking away at my website, trying to learn me dat dur php ukno. If you really want to know what I'm up to, I'd suggest registering on my forums.
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Sevkat is truly a bizarre individual, he should be recognized and given credit for his contributions to Newgrounds. Because let's be honest... if Sevkat wasn't here, this place would be less interesting. It's like Gotham City without it's Joker. What is the purpose of the city then? All bow down to Sevkat.
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HAPPY APRIL FOOL'S DAY!

You People --- Make Me Laugh!


Posted by TheInterviewer - March 25th, 2012


[ Index Page | Theme Song | Official Thread | Twitter | Google+ ]

Interview No. 91
Interview By:
Sketchy

Today's interview is with a person with a passion for flashin'. Not only is his artwork astounding, but his programming too is starting to show a silver lining. Today's talented artist is the one and only Tarienn!

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Q: How did you find Newgrounds, and what encouraged you to join?

A: But yeah it's mostly because of my interest in Flash. The community on Newgrounds was uh... Special haha. But yeah it's mostly because of my interest in Flash.
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Q: Since when did you start animating and how old were you?

A: Well, I was about 15, I think. I played around with Flash the same year I found Newgrounds. I wasn't all that good at traditional "animating", so I just did abstract stuff instead.

I actually just spent most of my time seeing what kind of effects I could make. I never really made anything worth posting on my own back then.
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Q: How long have you been programming for?

A: Actually, I've only been programming for about a year and a half now. I never thought I'd learn to program at first as it really intimidated me. I started off by learning PHP back in 2010.

I started learning ActionScript though about 8 months ago I think, and I've just recently started learning C#.
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Q: Is programming something you'd consider staying with?

A: Oh yes, I don't think I've ever done anything better in my life. Since I've started learning I've learned 4 different programming languages and planning to learn about 5 more. I can just sit there coding all night, it's really something that changed my life. Literally.

If I never took the dive into programming, I'd probably still be stuck in my dead end job and not be going anywhere. It really gave me confidence and motivation to try to create more. And even if my own projects don't work out, I have the skills I need to get a job that require programming skills.
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Q: Do you make all of the art for your games?

A: No, that would actually be my girlfriend, who I actually met on Newgrounds.

When I started AuraCore, she joined up around the time we started BitterSweet Symphony. She's always been the best animator in the group. I've always been mesmerized by her animation and art skills. I also never thought we'd become a couple, but skip a few years into the future and we're living together and working on starting out careers as indie game developers. She's the one who inspired me to learn programming, it just really worked out that way.

Without her (Jeinu), I probably would have left Newgrounds and Flash behind years ago.
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Q: So Tarienn, do you have any favourite flash artists?

A: Well, it really has to be Celarent and Proxicide, both of them have pushed Flash to its limits and I really can't ever hope to compare to either of them. Celarent has done 3D effects with Flash BEFORE it had its 3D tools. When I first saw his "Future" music video, it just made my head explode. I've been trying to emulate his work without 3D tools but I just can't do it. But I even had him join AuraCore for a few collaborations.

Proxicide on the other hand, his flashes are just so over the top with beautiful lighting effects and backgrounds. It's so ridiculous how much he can fit in one flash! I can't really say I look up to him, because his work is so ludicrously good that I just fume with jealousy. Even if I could do as good a job as him, there's no way I could find the time or patience to do that type of work.

Both of them have really made an impact on my graphic style, and even my thoughts on what Flash's limits are. They really make me believe that Flash will go as far as you can push it, and further.

Now I'm going to sound like an Adobe advertiser, but I really think Flash is the only medium that could present the work they do.
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Q: How did your company "AuraCore" start out?

A: Funny story actually. I was lurking on Newgrounds one day, and I ran into a Flash that had a really nice tune in it. I checked out the Musician that made the tune, his screen name was Winterwind at the time.

Now at the time, I had an idea that I wanted to start up a collaboration group, but it was just a plan at this point. But I thought I'd send him a message anyway. And all it said was "I may have something for you to work on soon", or something close to that.

Well, he replied within minutes.

He said he was really interested and would prefer to know what it was immediately. Now see, he put me on the spot, I didn't really have anything for him yet, I just wanted to start contacting him to see what he was like before I actually started anything.

That's when I created a group called "Aura Media". Right then, I made it up right there. And I told him he was invited to join, but I couldn't tell him that he was the first member, so I had to run around asking people to join!

So I found a handful of people and invited them all to join at once, and in the confusion, no one really found out who the first member was.

It was all coincidence after coincidence from then on, stuff just happened, and we all started talking and became really good friends. In fact, they were some of the best friends I ever had. We'd all watch movies together, and share links. Those were some of the best days of my life. We all inspired each other, Winterwind made the music, I made really nice designs. And I mean INSPIRED, one of us would make something, like a techno song or something like that, then another one of us would get really pumped and make an animation to it or drew something to it. There are a lot of things we made that we never showed anybody.

The flashes with AuraCore's logo on it are really just a fraction of what we all made.
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Q: "Operation: Graveyard" in my opinion is one of your best projects. Are you or AuraCore considering making sequels to this one of a kind flash?

A: Ah I actually was talking to Jeinu about that this morning haha. But yeah, we are considering entering Pico day this year. But I want to wait and see if we finish Salem before April to see if we have time.

Operation Graveyard took about 35 days of constant all nighters to finish in time. And it's not something I'd want to repeat. So if we start earlier, we'll probably finish it without needing to kill ourselves or rushing it.

But the story line for the next Operation is pretty much planned out to star Darnell. So hopefully we'll have time for that this year, if not, then there's always next year. It really is something I'd like to make though.
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Q: Well Tarienn, what can we expect from you in the near future?

A: Oh my, that's a big question haha. Well, as I said earlier, we're starting out trying to be Indie game developers, so I'll keep my fingers crossed that it works out! I have at least 3 flash games, including Salem planned for this year. Next year I have several more.

Next year I also plan on entering the Steam, iOS and Android platforms. So I'll have games planned specifically for those systems. But I do believe that games that I develop for Flash, belong on Flash, and I don't think I'd ever port them.
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Q: Well thank you for the interview Tarienn (Joshua Lambrose), on behalf of Newgrounds, we wish you and your company "AuraCore" the best of luck.

A: Yes! I hope I provided an interesting story! I'm flattered that anyone would find me worthy to interview, thank you much.
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Like many others on Newgrounds, Tarienn has a talent in the arts. His works continue to improve and please the audience, in my opinion, Tarienn is capable of taking his career anywhere.
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Posted by TheInterviewer - March 14th, 2012


[ Index Page | Theme Song | Official Thread | Twitter | Google+ ]

Interview No. 90
Interview By:
The-Great-One

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[ Part 1 ] + [ Part 2 ]
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Q: When it comes to exposure, do you feel that the Symphony of Specters is well-known or do you think more could be done to get your name out there?
A:

MaestroRage: Depends on the market. In the indie flash scene I believe we are one of the strongest names out there. Maybe we have waned a bit since we've shifted focus in other markets but without arrogance I can claim we are one of the best in this scene. When it comes to the other game markets we are still an unknown face. We plan to drastically change that this year.

ZStriefel: I think for how little we've invested (both time and money) in marketing, we're doing okay. We're still a pretty tiny blip on the radar though.

NickPerrin: Symphony of Specters is a name in the Flash game community that gets recognition, for sure. And with Selcuk (MaestroRage) speaking at the Flash Game Convention in Feb 2012, and myself speaking at a videogame convention (still in planning stages, top secret!) taking place August 2012, that exposure is only going to grow bigger! Beyond that, we've had some recent expansion, such as having one of Zach's (ZStriefel) tunes place in a TV ad from Disney, and other big placements like that. We're planning increased advertising and an even bigger presence than ever before in the near future, so yes, more could be done to get our names out there and we are in the process of doing it now. We really want to expand our horizons and make this a sustainable full-time business for everyone involved, it's a shared goal.

sorohanro: Well, game and movie music is not all what I do, so, yes, as for my music career can be done more but that's not really a Symphony of Specters thing to do, is more on my side. I have already an album "out there", collaborated with some other artists on their albums, produced a album for Timohi, album that got signed to one of the biggest record labels in Lithuania.
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Q: What is the process that an animator or developer must go through to acquire music from you to put into their game?
A:

MaestroRage: Depends on the circumstance. In most cases we deal with small indie guys and so we kind of skip through all the super lengthy procedures. They give us an asset list/project overview. We provide them with an estimate along with what license those estimates are for and what they entail (in easy to understand English). And we go from there. If they agree, great, lets get started!

ZStriefel: Shoot us an email! Tell us about your project, what your needs are etc.

NickPerrin: Pretty simple, actually - they can email any of our symphonyofspecters.com email addresses if they have them (group member's name, with @symphonyofspecters.com afterward), contact our NG account, or simply go to our website's contact form (http://www.symphonyofspecters.com/contact) and you can send us a message explaining who you are, what you're looking for, and when you need it! One of us will get back to you ASAP and fill you in on our current rates, and from that point on email correspondence is the name of the game (we are also open to talking on the phone if you want to go that way and have lots of money for long-distance calls).

Remember that we're not just composers, but sound designers too - so SFX and voice acting are all part of our group's skill set as well, and we encourage animators and developers to contact us as a one-stop shop, making it easy and convenient to get all of your audio needs handled at once. Discounted rates for multiple services help you save cash, too.

sorohanro: Go on my Newgrounds profile, search for a suitable track, click "download". Well, if they would like more customized then it gets more complicated than that, but not much more.
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Q: What advice do you have to give to those wanting to get more into music?
A:

MaestroRage: This bit of advice will not be warmly received, because had I told myself this a year or so earlier I would not have liked it either. Honestly if you want to get into music, and I mean really get into it in such a state that you can make a living you need to recognize that music is a craft. Every great painter must first learn how to draw a circle. Every great architect must first learn to draw a straight line. In such a sentiment every composer must learn his theory. I have written a much more indepth post about this in our blog but the short jist of it is this.

A composer in this day and age writes music on demand. (S)He cannot wait for inspiration to hit and save the day. For years I used to do this, muddle around until I found a streak of inspiration that kept me going. While it is not IMPOSSIBLE to make a living this way you are going to waste a LOT of time. You will not be able to further your craft as quickly as those who have put in the effort to learn the basics. There are many great self taught composers today that give me the belief you can learn all this without going to expensive colleges/universities.

ZStriefel: Don't let anyone tell you that you can't. Work hard, and be humble.

NickPerrin: You have to be nuts to consider music as a full-time career, especially in this economy. So be nuts, first off. All of us at SoS are totally f-ing insane. That out of the way, I can definitely give a little advice, but take it with the following points in mind: first, I'm not yet at the level of professional work that I plan to be in the foreseeable future, and second, there is always more to say than can be fit into an interview answer. Be on the
lookout for more advice from veteran industry professionals of all sorts, who will be much more qualified than myself to give you rock-solid advice.
So, listen attentively and critically to music. Don't just hear it, listen to it, dissect it, understand it, know it. You give me an mp3 of a Tchaikovsky waltz for strings and I will tell you what the first violins, the second violins, the violas, the cellos, and the basses are doing at any given time. Maybe orchestral music isn't your thing, but whatever your preferred genre, develop an ear for what's going on, recognize the idioms and events that are taking place under your eardrums, and use their strengths to your advantage when creating your own work.

Don't limit yourself to one or two genres. It pays to have a localized strength, for sure, but take in influences from everywhere. Good music is good music, throw away any prejudices you have. I always believe that if you truly love music you will not care how it is categorized. My always-expanding music library contains ambient, classical, electronica, film & game scores, flamenco, jazz, funk, metal, etc. etc. If you don't like it, don't listen to it, but you might be surprised what you find if you dig enough and have an open mind. I absolutely LOVE finding (quasi) new genres to explore.

Ask yourself, why do you want to make music? Is it for people to love you, or to love what you create? Even if your first efforts suck (and they probably will), do you still enjoy making it, the feeling of accomplishment with a job well done, and the process of getting better and better at your craft? That's the way to go. It's not about getting girls. You want that, learn to play some mediocre uninspired songs on a cheap acoustic guitar.
Always take criticism in stride, but don't be too ready to accept ALL the advice you get - especially from less experienced people who may not know what they're talking about. Self-tutelage from trusted sources, as well as outside teaching from trusted instructors is the best way to keep learning more, and of course straight-up application by continually composing!

This is always going to be difficult, but don't look at music as a competition. When you hear or meet, whether online or in real life, musicians who are better than you, be able to admit to yourself that they're better. But don't get angry, learn everything you can from them and work even harder.

Now, these are all points regarding getting into music, as the question asked, not really the industry. But they're essential points to consider for that as well. As far as getting into the industry goes, well, that's a whole other topic for another time, and one I really haven't even figured out properly yet myself! (Please refer to first line, IE you must be crazy!)

sorohanro: Learn what you do. Theory, instrument playing, song writing, recording/ mixing technique, listen to TONS of music and try to reverse engineer it but at the same time don't rip off other artists. Learn from them but be original.
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Q: MaestroRage - You have had different accounts in the past, one being MaestroSorrow. I want to talk about your last song on that account and what you said would be your last song on Newgrounds. It was the first song I heard by you and on the Audio Portal and it was _-=[The Maestro's Requiem]=-_. There is an interesting story to tell here and I want to know as much as I can about it.

A: Ah TGO, to tell this story would be a short novel in of itself and it is not a new and fresh one. It was around this time that I was battling inner conflicts. My new budding love for music waged fierce struggle with my old idealogy of coding. Even then I knew music was a very difficult career path. I could find work much easier as a coder, my life would be much simpler. But... the passion just wasn't there anymore. I had also used music as an escape for my entire MaestroSorrow career. I did not have the happiest childhood and I realized this escape should not be what dictates my life moving forward.

But music saved me. Music in it's abstract and formless shape molded me without me even knowing. At some point I had to come back. If only for a short while I said to myself, I had to keep writing.

That short while, has been 5-6 years and counting.
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Q: MaestroRage - You have befriended different Newgrounds members, from MilkMan-Dan, Tom Fulp, and myself. However there is one person that I want to know more about and that is LadyArsenic. How did you come to meet her and what was your relationship with her?

A: Strictly off the record here. LadyArsenic, ie Mandi was somebody very dear to me. I met her through another online friend who was very heavily into writing. We had a creative site of sorts where we all shared our craft. Music, writing, drawing. All of it. We collaborated and in time we found ourselves more and more in tune with the other. She came up to me mid collaboration and confessed she had feelings for me. It was mutual and despite it being long distance we wanted to give it a chance. We wrote such things together to this day some of my best inspiration comes from the ashes of our old work.
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Q: ZStriefel - When JAZZA was here we talked about his works on The Kill Kar and the LARRY series. It seems you got to do some work with him on these? What can you tell us about your involvement with these and what is it like to work with JAZZA?

A: I did the sound design on both of those projects. Kill Kar was actually the first game I ever worked on. I had no clue what I was doing, but it was a blast. I love working with Jazza. He's a pain in the ass sometimes when he makes me stay up for 2 days in a row while we do last minute crap before a release, but he's a great guy, and a really great friend. Absolutely love working with him.
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Q: ZStriefel - Your recent news post states that one of your songs was licensed by Disney and used in a Club Penguin commercial. How did Disney come about contacting you? What was your initial reaction then and now that the song has been used? Also have any doors been opened for you upon this?

A: I'll never forget that day. I was sitting on the couch, and I got a text message from Selcuk saying "omfg go read your emails". So I go to my computer and I'm like "okay.. whats the big deaaaa-- OH MY GOD". So my first thought is, "yeah, that's hilarious Selcuk.. F**K you too." But after a few mins I realized that it was seriously Disney emailing me and I spent like 20 mins running around the house giggling like a little girl. When I saw the commercial I was pretty jazzed. I had never seen my work on TV before, so it was a real treat for me.

As for other doors opening, not so much. I've done a couple other commercials since (I'm not sure if it's safe to talk about them yet so I won't), but nothing really major.
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Q: NickPerrin - Heavy Troopa is Ready to Launch! in an interesting project of orchestrating the music from Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. Two entries from you would be Super Mario RPG - Moleville and The End (Super Mario RPG). How did you come across this project and what was it like working on it? Also will the Symphony of Specters ever create a project like this?

A: Wow, that's ages ago, 2008 in fact! For me that feels like a different lifetime in music-making. My process and understanding have really evolved a lot since then.

Back then I started a project called 8-bit Philharmonic, which was orchestral arrangements of 8-bit music from NES games. It was very purist. I loved the NES growing up and today I still love it, partly because of nostalgia, but also because the games were great and the music is fantastic. It was also purist in its arrangements. I didn't want to simply copy over notes into orchestral instruments, but instead really arrange the 8-bit pieces so that they sounded as if they could have been written originally for the orchestra. To some degree I succeeded.

Super Mario RPG is of course a 16-bit game on the SNES, but it was Anthony Ruybalid of gamemusic4all.com who contacted me about the compilation album. He found the 8-bit Philharmonic page and asked me to choose some tracks from the OST to arrange. There were only a few left that hadn't been taken, but I knew I had to make a big epic arrangement out of the ending track. The Moleville track ended up as a more last-minute afterthought, a track that still needed to be done near to release but didn't have any takers, and I think it shows that it was rushed.

I did contribute to another compilation album from gamemusic4all.com, which was Welcome to World 2 (http://gamemusic4all.com/wordpress/gm4a-records /gm4a-compilations/welcome-to-world-2/). On this album I contributed probably the best arrangement from the old days under the 8-bit Philharmonic name, a symphonic suite of music from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. That arrangement is available on my account here on NG. (Disclaimer: It's also pretty old, and as such also not indicative of my current work).

Now as far as I know, Symphony of Specters isn't working on any projects like this right now. Or we might (or more specifically just me) - but that's top-secret! Suffice to say, something is in the works on a slow burn, will make NES music fans like me very happy, and revive the "8-bit Philharmonic" project back from the grave... Stay tuned!
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Q: NickPerrin - I believe my favorite song by you has to be - Horizon -. It is a beautifully rendition of many genres and elements combined together seamlessly. You stated that it was inspired by many film and video game genres. It strays from your usual style, but your skill more than makes up for it. Your girlfriend's voice is also quite beautiful. What was the process on working on this behemoth? How did you come to have your girlfriend supply her voice in it? And can we expect more of her voice with your music in the future?

A: Horizon was a fun track to put together. Up until that point I'd been desperately holding on to Logic Audio as my DAW (Digital Audio Workstation software) of choice, except that the program had been bought by Apple and made an Apple exclusive years ago. This meant I was running a really old version of the program. Luckily, it was years ahead of other DAWs, but full of glitches, lack of support, general instability, and investment in a nice new custom-built PC tower meant it was time to switch. So I picked up Cubase 5, and intimidating as it can be to start with new software, Horizon was like my boot camp. After creating the track I felt a lot more confident on my new platform (which now today I love).

I was inspired by a lot of sci-fi minimalist scores that were floating around at the time and got cracking on my own ideas. The song is and was admittedly musically very simple, but that was always the point. I wanted to make something that sonically delivered a lot of punch, and compared to anything I'd made before it was a big leap. I also knew I wanted a live element to it, and a big soaring vocal section with lush strings was part of the plan. For that I enlisted my girlfriend, writing out her parts in advance with a synth, having her listen to that then giving her specific directions for the phrasing and nuances of the notes when she sang them (which notes to bend, hold, vibrato etc), so it wasn't a straight verbatim performance of the guiding synth's notes.

What's cool is just about each bar of music is a separate take but combined sounds seamless. We did it this way because I wanted really long sustained notes with a lot of power and vibrato behind them, which might not have been possible had she been forced to do it all in one take and breathe quickly in between notes. Today I would definitely record her in much better acoustic conditions, but at the time I got excited and recorded her in a crappy space which really killed a lot of the body and width her voice could have had. Luckily the musical content of the section meant I could drown the imperfections in reverb and get away with it ;) You'll definitely hear her again in the future, recorded better and in very different styles, just when I'm not sure.

I'm glad you really enjoy the track but the truth is today I find most of it bad, personally. I really like the mid-section (atmospherics and the string orchestra/vocal section) for soundscape and atmosphere, but the two ends of the track (beginning and end sections) really don't do it for me anymore. I recognize a lot of the issues now and don't feel that I can hold that track up as a calling card anymore, without feeling its inadequacies that sound truly amateur in my opinion. I suppose this is a good thing, it must mean I'm improving or something. Windswept is definitely my favourite of my own tracks right now, and I hope in a year's time I can look on it like I see Horizon now, and continue to progress as a composer.
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Q: sorohanro - Well, one of your songs is being used as The Interviewer's main theme, however the first song I ever heard by you would be the old version of Paper Dragon. Where did the song come from and what is a Paper Dragon?

A: O, that's an old one with a long story. Is not only the first song you've heard from me but it's also one of the first tracks made by me on my first computer. I remade that one several times. the oldest version is actually a remake of an idea that I made on a friend's keyboard (I think it was a Roland JV 80) and then he lost the floppy with my project... so, first time I got a PC with a FL (at that time was Fruity Lops 2.3 or something, found it on a CD from some French computer magazine) I tried to remember it and remake. Soon, this one became a favorite of my friends, they liked it so much that they wanted it as their wedding song.
Then, when I got more "pro" I decided to remake the remake and made THIS
Soon, I had to make a wedding version for each one of my friends, so, this came up. Now I think to make it again, for my new album...
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Q: sorohanro - Listening to your music I tend to find an exotic style with each song you make. Like I'm in Casablanca. However one song that seems to set itself apart from others is Good Morning America. Now this is an interesting song. I and others expect something like a news show to start, but it can spell so much more such as military and patriotism. You say it was an attempt at something "Epic" and although you hit the nail on the head one must wonder how you came to make this? Is the inspiration just simply "America" or is there something else there?

A: He he... the title is actually random. I really can't come up with titles, I always end up with stuff like "the third track in f minor, jazz with guitar solo like Scofield". This one was like "that with trumpet solo in Bb, like in Star Trek".

I made it as a request for some WWII themed game, somewhere here on the Audio Forum. After finishing it, I asked my wife, how should I name it ? I want to post it on Newgrounds, and she answered "Good Morning America", without any kind of second thought I named it like this and... the rest is history...
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Q: What can we expect from the Symphony of Specters in the future?
A:

MaestroRage: We can expect some serious ass whoopings haha! We're charging into this industry with our guns blazing. We've spent years honing our skills and we're ready to show them off.

ZStriefel: Good question.

NickPerrin: We'll have more flavour and be 3 times as crunchy! Now with less trans fats!
Nah, but we WILL be in bigger and better projects as the years go on. We are at an interesting point in our development (and this is a fact far more apparent to the guys who have been part of the group longer than myself), where we are taking the first steps to being truly big players in
custom audio. Our skillset and team is ready for this, getting there can be difficult but we have full confidence in our abilities.

Plus we'll be enriched with B vitamins for your metabolism!

sorohanro: I hope a future
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This interview has been one I've been wanting to do for quite sometime now and I feel very honored to be able to speak with these four people, seeing as how sorohanro was generous enough to let us use one of his songs as our theme and MaestroRage being an old dear Newgrounds friend, who helped me out here when I was new whether he knows this or understands it or not. These four live and breathe music and they're not the only ones. The Symphony of Specters has gotten a redesign lately and not all of its members are listed from the previous design the one I mainly used for information in this interview. With all that is said and done, these four are just the tip of the iceberg that upon further inspection, is a vast mountain filled with music and wonder. If you're a game developer and you're looking for some grade A music, or even just an animator... you can't go wrong with these guys.
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[ Part 1 ] + [ Part 2 ]
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Posted by TheInterviewer - March 14th, 2012


[ Index Page | Theme Song | Official Thread | Twitter | Google+ ]

Interview No. 90
Interview By:
The-Great-One

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[ Part 1 ] + [ Part 2 ]
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Here we are at the 90th interview for The Interviewer. This one took a long time to do, mainly due to technical issues, confusion, delays on writing questions and delays on receiving answers. This interview was planned back in November, however the holidays came up on my end and so I could not get the questions written that I wanted written. Then I got sick, so that delayed this interview even further. I finally got around to getting the questions written and sent off to Matt Wiesen, he is better known here on Newgrounds as DarKsidE555, so that he could send them off to those I wanted to interview as part of this group.

He got the questions sent off to one person and then my laptop's monitor decided it was going to unhinge itself and not work. It also didn't help that Matt's computer was having technical issues as well, so I had to take matters into my own hands, send the questions off to the others myself and await the answers. That time has now come.

The following members I am going to interview are all Newgrounds musicians, but they are a part of a group that dedicates themselves to offering commercial music for big companies as well as those within the independent gaming movement. They are Selcuk Bor, who is the Founder, Acting Manager, and Composer, he is also known on Newgrounds as MaestroRage. Zach Striefel, who is the Assistant Manager and Lead Sound Designer, he is also known on Newgrounds as ZStriefel. Nick Perrin, who is a Composer, he is also known on Newgrounds as NickPerrin. And last, but certainly not least is Mihai Sorohan, who is a Composer, he is also known on Newgrounds as sorohanro. These four musicians an elite core that are part of The Symphony of Specters.

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ANSWERS WILL BE POSTED BENEATH THE _A:_ DUE TO TWO PEOPLE BEING INTERVIEWED PERSON ANSWERING WILL BE NOTED AS SO.
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Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?
A:

MaestroRage: I found Newgrounds waaaaay back in early 2000. I didn't actually make an account there until about mid 2005. I joined simply because it seemed like a pretty fun place to hang out and spend some time.

ZStriefel: I found Newgrounds through my brother when I was about 9 years old. I made an account way back then, but I have no clue what the login info was. I made a new account in 2009 with the intention of posting some music and talking with some other musicians, and hoped to work on some flash games/movies.

NickPerrin:
It's so long ago now that I can't even remember! Haha. Newgrounds was always this site with the funny and inappropriate animations when I was much younger, something we'd load up in middle school in the computer lab when the teachers were gone. I never knew about any audio portal. I suppose years later I found it amidst the wide variety of free audio communities, but having some familiarity with the site already, decided to stay a while...

sorohanro: Some years ago a friend told me about some funny animation, some guy with salad fingers... Googled, found (the classic) and there was a link to some awesome website where you could share your music and people would use it in their movies and stuff...
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Q: Some of you are fairly new to Newgrounds, others have been here for a while, while others have been here even longer. Could you tell us of two of your experiences here on Newgrounds that you will never forget?
A:

MaestroRage: Winning the Musician of the Year award is going to be my peak hands down haha! I had never actually won an award before then for something I started on my own and pursued on my own. So to be given such an awesome prize was simply mind numbing. My second moment was my first big project which I had worked on being uploaded to NG. Dark Cut 3. I was running around rampantly showing it off and beaming at how awesome it looked on NG's front page and how it should stay there forever and ever... my opinion regarding this has not changed over the years.

ZStriefel: Talking to Marsume (Dylan Meville) for the first time during "talk like a pirate day" would definitely be one of em. We hit it off pretty well, and still work together today.. The rest of my memories are blurs of people trolling and freaking out on the BBS.

NickPerrin: Firstly, submitting music. The first track I ever submitted was "The Belmont Legend," a symphonic arrangement of two classic Castlevania tracks. This was a significant moment because it was my introduction to writing orchestral music, and putting material out to the public that I thought was actually worth listening to (having made admittedly worse music before that I mostly kept to myself or close friends. In fact I encourage this practice, don't always share your very first batches of music... unless you're an automatic genius, it's going to be garbage, and no one wants to hear that haha). From that point onward I kept creating in multiple genres, but orchestral music took its hold.

Secondly, and this happened this year, was winning first place in the NAC2012 Orchestral Contest. It felt like everything had come full circle from that first full symphonic track I had ever released there years ago, to being recognized as one of the best symphonic artists on the AP. It also helped me produce what I believe is currently my best orchestral track - hopefully to be topped soon if I can manage it! You can hear the extended cut of the track at http://www.newgrounds.com/audio/listen/473691 .

sorohanro: There are many things... my first review, by Bad Man Inc, the congratulation thread for my wedding, winning MAC Flight In Freedom...
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Q: How did you discover music?
A:

MaestroRage: Purely by fluke actually. Most people I tell this part to have a hard time believing me but until about mid 16 I actually hated music believe it or not. I used to think all things musical was a waste of time and how dare it interefere with my coding. I was hard core into game development then. Then one day I opened up Fruity Loops 3. Made a few pretty bleeps and bloops. Then I made more pretty bleeps and bloops. About 8 years have passed and I am -still- making pretty bleeps and bloops, albeit on a more serious level at this point.

ZStriefel: I have no idea.

NickPerrin: This is another really tough one to remember. In our global culture it's pretty much impossible not to be exposed to lots of music, all the time. That said, like most people I never really listened to music but just "heard" it for years. Later in life I was introduced to metal through my brother (who now heads up my favourite metal band in the world, regardless of familial relation - check them out at www.quietus.ca !), a genre that contains so many different styles, as well as bands that could still be considered popular music but took a very different approach to the creation process than the mainstream artists of the time. I was hooked, and the music required more investment on my part, more attention to what was going on. I began to develop a whole new way of listening to music that only became more and more in-depth and eventually led to me trying my hand at creating music. While I listen to and compose in many different genres now, and metal is really not my foremost genre for listening or composition, it's the genre I really began trying to compose in years ago. I have an old project called "Haunted Era" with those early tunes, if anyone wants to Google that. It hints at the symphonic music to come...

sorohanro: As a kid I used to hum and sing all day. My mom thought that I am retarded and wanted to put me in a special school but my grandmother said: "NOOOOooooo, this would be a shame, put him in music school, he sings anyway".
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Q: What first inspired you to make music?
A:

MaestroRage: People are going to go "ew really?" on the answer to this one. But honestly it was RPG Maker and anime soundtracks. Both of which I was really into when I was younger and every single RPG game I made I was always spending hours upon hours trying to find the perfect song. I am proud to say to date I am still the only person (that I know of, maybe this has changed) who created a seriously complex music management system in my RPG's. Truly adaptive music depending on what was happening in the game. Sadly none of my games ever reached conclusion and so all those stories and engines fell to the sands of time. Arguably for the better. I wasn't a good story teller when I was young. As for Anime soundtracks, to this day I still listen to X TV's Sadame (look it up, it changed my life). These powerful songs moved me to try and write songs like this. Even today I have marked Sadame as my magnum opus. I will write a song as good as that and then I can die happy.

ZStriefel: Nirvana.

NickPerrin: In respect to the previous question, it was the process of finally becoming really invested in music as a listening experience.
Before music I'd had the approach to many creative endeavours that if I enjoyed it very much as an audience - whether reading it, playing it, hearing it, etc - I would want to try my hand at doing it myself. I did this with drawing, writing, beatboxing, game modding, and other things in smaller capacities. Music was just another addition to the heaps of things I'd tried, the difference being that it really stuck.

I'm not sure how much of its permanence compared to my other interests can be attributed to some kind of intrinsic "calling" that I finally found, or to the influence of my brother (got into music as a musician before I did) and the deep depression I went into around 2007-2008. This was a strange and tough time in my life. At that point music was just a hobby, but that year I invested myself so heavily into it that my progress shot forward faster than before and I found I wanted to keep doing it as long as I could. Things got better and the love of music stayed, and over the years has become less of a starry-eyed dream and more of a focused, disciplined craft where I seek a better understanding as well as I can.

I just want to note, a lot of people note "self-expression" as their motivation to make music, and while this helped to create some work I've done, I mostly create music for the inherent aesthetic value that it has. Music doesn't have to tell a story or mean something (does a sunset mean anything? No, it's just beautiful)! I like to explore many emotions whether or not I can relate to them.

sorohanro: Chicks. With bad and good. LOL
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Q: What is in your opinion the definition of music?
A:

MaestroRage: This question is impossible for any musician to answer in my opinion. What is the definition of the question? Do you explore Genre? Style? There can never be a single definition for music is like a language. You cannot say what is the definition of language for each language has strengths and weaknesses, and all languages together co-exist across the globe in various forms filling a need all humans (and to a lesser extent other species) need.

ZStriefel: Music is a lot of things to a lot of people. I really have no answer, myself.

NickPerrin: Music was historically an extremely rigidly defined practice, and not even in the sense that it followed particular tonal "rules." It simply wasn't conceived in the same paradigm as today, where most see it as being an expression of self, or expression of other sentiment and emotion. And with the advancement of electronics and experimental music, the definition has gone beyond even that, with often stunning results. As such I believe that the definition of music, as a subject of ongoing evolution, now becomes a really amorphous thing that will squirm its way out of any definition you try to hold it in. So I'll leave it at this - any collection of pitch, timbre and rhythm, intended for other human beings to hear and regardless of any system or lack thereof used to organize the aforementioned characteristics, can be music. Whether or not one enjoys it is another question! Of course the birds singing in the trees aren't doing it for humans and it's still music to my ears, but I'm talking in the practical sense of human-created sound, for humans - you don't see many artists trying to get emotional rises out of birds!

sorohanro: ??? Still don't know, but here's a deal: when I will know I'll tell you first
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Q: When was the Symphony of Specters originally created?
A:

MaestroRage: SoS was created about mid 2006. The three founders at the time were David Rathbun (our system administer today), myself and Mandi Nittinger. Mandi left us long ago however some of her work still lives in my old MaestroRage account, engraved in Newgrounds servers exclusively as a tome of history.

ZStriefel: 2005 or 2006

NickPerrin: I believe it was in 2006. Our "god and creator" Selcuk (MaestroRage) decided to approach music as career and wanted others with similar goals to work together so we could all share the burden of this seemingly impossible task. It's very cool because I remember meeting with him in Toronto years and years ago when I was just about starting out on NG, when MilkmanDan came to the Sutton Hotel and we all collaborated on a piece (that I never heard the end result of!). At that time Selcuk was just pursuing music as a hobby, but I guess like myself he felt it grab him and knew it had to be more than that. And aren't we all glad it worked out that way! As far as the rest of the Symphony's history goes, I'm not quite up to date yet. We're making it as we go, glad to be part of the ride now.

sorohanro: Ask "Maestro" (aka Selcuk), I think everything started from his idea.
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Q: What is the purpose of the Symphony of Specters?
A:

MaestroRage: To create custom audio to developers across all gambits and scales. We've worked with indies without a penny to their name to large corporations like Coca-Cola and Disney. We just want to make pretty sounds for things, we are always looking for those things to make pretty sounds for.

ZStriefel: The original purpose of SoS was to provide a "brand" for composers/sound designers to join under to get decent credits to build their portfolios, so they could go on to bigger and better things. But SoS is slowly becoming that bigger and better thing. So now we're just doing what we do. Providing custom audio for games.

NickPerrin: The Symphony of Specters was actually created by the almighty god Zorthan who wanted some really kickass, epic tunes for his celestial ipod, so he gathered the elements of the Earth and from each created a different composer to satisfy his every aural need.

Seriously, bottom line, the purpose of our group is to create music for all media we can get our hands on. A lot of us are gamers, and love games and game music and scoring for games. We also love film, film music and scoring films. We also love... you get the point. We all love to create and appreciate music, we love being involved in fantastic creative projects with artists of other disciplines, and we all want to do it for a living. For me, and I can probably speak for the rest of the group too, there's nothing better.

sorohanro: Have fun, make some good music, get paid for what you like to do
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Q: Out of all the games and movies you have worked on. Which one was your favorite to work on? Which one are you most proud of? And which one was the most difficult to work on? And why?
A:

MaestroRage: My favorites to work on were always so odd people claim. To date my favorite is a tie between two difference games, both produced by Difference Games. One is called the Musuem, and the other called Moonlight. The music and the visuals to both these games were simply astounding to me, and the players were agreed on both accounts. In these two titles everything came together perfectly. I am very proud of these two, and though I fear I won't get a chance to work on such titles as we grow and expand I will hold them close for a very long while yet.

ZStriefel: I work on so many games every month it's really hard to even keep track of that I did 3 months ago, let alone of all time. But I think my favorite of all time to work on would be Larry. Simply because I have a lot of fun working with Jazza. The one I'm most proud of? Can't really say. I'm never happy with what I do for more than a week lol. The most difficult would also be Larry. There has never been a single time where I didn't have to cram a weeks worth of work into 2 days or less.

NickPerrin: As I've been finishing up school, I haven't had as much time to dedicate to work with the Symphony as I'd like, but there have been some good projects I've had the opportunity to score. However, as I have only done a handful because of my situation, I won't name names at the moment to remain impartial to all the clients we've had.

That said I'm proud of any work I do with SoS because generally, I ensure a level of quality that I'm personally happy with before sending audio to a client, rather than simply putting something together that is just good enough for them. While it's true I might not always have enough time (or funding!) to make the absolute best possible product by a deadline, it's also true that I could have spent less effort or thought on projects I've worked on because it's always easier to make a non-musician happy with music that you yourself as a musician wouldn't be pleased with. So this is a road I try not to go down, and that's part of what makes Symphony of Specters so competitive right now - we often produce audio at the highest standards, and charge substantially less than other composers and sound designers.

sorohanro: When I work on something, THAT is my favorite, after I finish it, the next one became my favorite and the previous one gain the "meh" status
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Q: All of you have your individual Newgrounds accounts, but the Symphony of Specters shares a Newgrounds account. Why is this so?
A:

MaestroRage: So that we can have a place to store our collective work. Seperate we are impressive, together we can prove that we know our business and we've done it all, probably twice over. The work you see on Newgrounds is not even half the work we've done under the SoS banner.

ZStriefel: We all joined SoS individually. Selcuk, Matt & Charles are the only guys around from the beginning . I have my own account because I do stuff on my own sometimes and I still freelance on occasion.

NickPerrin: While each of us core members have been active in the NG community for a while, it was important to separate our own work and its achievements from the achievements of the group. The mentality is one of great teamwork, where we all lift each other up and benefit from working together. We want our achievements as the symphony to be recognized in this way. Of course, more practically, for marketing & business purposes it makes a lot more sense to have our organization represented not just on NG but anywhere on the web by a centralized presence through which all our business, correspondence and music flows. We have a web presence in everything from Newgrounds to stock audio sites to indie game advertising and beyond.

sorohanro: I guess to keep a common ground for all of us, to show Symphony of Specters as a group, like a band
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Q: When it comes to the musicians in the Audio Portal, who there do you like and who there do you not like?
A:

MaestroRage: The first thing we learned in the audio forum is you never make lists like this. Or if you do, you never share them. People get offended, or they feel wrongfully singled out. I hate everybody equally!

ZStriefel: I don't dislike a lot of people. Just people who are rude to newcomers or are just generally pretentious. It's not any one person, but there's a couple people that tick me off every now and then. As for people I like, there's tons. I'd have to say my favorite musician on Newgrounds would have to be "Robomanus".

NickPerrin: I don't think there's anyone in the AP (that I've talked to at least) that I don't like. It's a pretty awesome community if you respect each other (and the forum rules)! I have to say I don't like musicians who think that music is as easy as pirating a popular DAW and pressing a few buttons, because in most cases they lack the work ethic necessary to truly advance their craft, and end up only doing it for praise and not for the music itself. If all you want is for people to tell you how talented you are, stop now and go learn something else. I like praise just like everyone else but it's not the driving force behind anyone who really loves to create music. Naturally, people like that can be found anywhere, not just in the AP.

As for people I like, well, many more! The SoS guys are of course great, and there are some great classical artists on NG with a lot of passion. I see some slightly younger artists who are really making strides and the community nurtures them. To mention everyone would take too much space, I'd probably forget at least one person so I won't name names, and they all get decent exposure these days. However, there is one artist who I haven't seen get much recognition, and his music is excellent, so I'll mention him - sinequanon (http://sinequanon.newgrounds.com/). His music isn't this big, obvious, blaring "epic" stuff that gets most of the spotlight and is less accessible than such work, so it gets less exposure. But it's real music with integrity and requires listener investment, making him probably one of my favourite composers in the AP.

As for other genres...I guess I haven't been keeping up on those on NG lately.
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Q: You are all known for your wonderful music made not only for projects, but your individual works as well. When you joined the Symphony of Specters has it put a stop to those works, made it slower, or shown no change? Also would you say you have learned more since joining?
A:

MaestroRage: It has but nearly all stopped entirely for myself. I have not written a song for me in over 3 years and counting. There is simply no time and I say that with both a taint of sadness and happiness. I like to keep busy but sometimes you forget why you do it at all when you don't get to vent creatively. It's a balancing act I have yet to master. Have I learned a lot? The very short answer is yes haha.

ZStriefel: I don't think I've uploaded anything that wasn't a 1 min looped "wip" in quite a long time. Since I joined SoS it became a full time job and I really just don't have time or just don't feel like working on anything else lol. I have learned quite a bit since I joined. Particularly from Mr. Bor.

NickPerrin: Truthfully, I see all of these works as one and the same - original music created by myself. Having created music either of my own accord or to someone's specifications is still exciting and produces that same feeling of accomplishment if the job is well done, and it's why I know I can pursue music production as a full-time career and never feel like I've "sold out." It's nice to be able to create what you want, when you want, but in fact having a deadline really pushes you to be creative and much more productive than you usually are on your own. So joining SoS has increased my output, by giving me projects to work on but also teaching me to compose with more planning, fluidity and speed than before. Unfortunately with commercial work, I can't share the final product with NG like I can with my personal music, but they can always play the games that use it, many of which will end up on NG's flash portal anyway!

So yes, I've definitely learned more since joining. I plan better, work faster, and over the past year I feel my music has improved in terms of plain quality (but that is also owed to other study, through school and my own self-teaching in multiple music and audio topics. Musicians should always be honing their craft continuously...)

sorohanro: Somehow they figured out to give specific tasks to specific people who enjoy that kind of stuff, so, for me it is just a opportunity to get paid for what I do best because I enjoy it.
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Q: We have interviewed a handful of musicians overtime who all aspire to be greater. What does it take to become a part of the Symphony of Specters?
A:

MaestroRage: Contribution. The symphony is far too small a company to take on somebody purely on musical merit alone. Every member to date has contributed to it's foundation in many ways, be it marketing, human resources, trailer productions, site maintanence. I used to do it all but it almost killed me. We want people to get involved and we want to see that they believe in the company. Too many people have signed up only to quietly fade away. Nobody has to time to babysit or to dedicate precious resources for the sole purpose of finding audio work. Audio work is only 50% of the battle and this is a point very few people understand.

ZStriefel: We don't really take applications or anything. To this day, everyone who joined was invited. Basically, we like honest, hard working, talented folks. Experience definitely helps, we don't really have an criteria though.

NickPerrin: First off you MUST be able to produce music on demand, in the required style, a skill which takes time to acquire. And it has to be up to a certain standard of quality within the timeframes you get. But this is all the usual for anyone working in the music industry. What really matters for Symphony of Specters especially, in my opinion, is the teamwork. We're all in this together, we all love music, and there's a certain camaraderie you get that most jobs wouldn't have because you are always prepared to do favours for each other and get excited about new projects. We circulate ideas as a group and everyone's opinions are equal. We brand all our "product" with the SoS logo, not using our individual names, so you have to leave egos at the door, bring a good work ethic, and work WITH people who love music just as much as you, rather than AGAINST them. And we all win in the end!

sorohanro: Sexy sexy music! Seriously, to do what you do at a high level, to work fast and to get over your ego when dealing with customers that want to change "your baby"... well, that's pretty much what you always need in freelance work.
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[ Part 1 ] + [ Part 2 ]
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Posted by TheInterviewer - February 12th, 2012


[ Index Page | Theme Song | Official Thread | Twitter | Google+ ]

Interview No. 89
Interview By:
Sketchy

Today's interview is with one of Newgrounds lasting longest members. Not only has he been a regular on Newgrounds for over 12 years, but he has also been animating for just as long. Who is he, you may have already noticed from the topic title, but he is the one and only, JeremyLokken!

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Q: So Jeremy, how did you find newgrounds, and what had convinced you to join?

A: I can't remember what steps led me to finding Newgrounds.com, but I'm glad I did. I was convinced on staying having experienced Tom's Teletubby interactive flash game. Knowing that you can make something this interactive and reach just about anyone with a computer, that was very exciting.
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Q: You have a large number of 94 flash submissions submitted to the flash portal, are you proud of your creations?

A: Not all of them. I've had some taken down because I realized I was 18 when I made them, and probably not wanting to explain myself later. Over time, you realize that some of them are just plain stupid, poorly done, made too quickly, or show their age well. I'm proud of the ones that still have something to say, long after their release. Just the few that have a clear message/story.
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Q: Who had inspired you to become who you are?

A: Other artists on Newgrounds have inspired me, from well known animators on here to not-so well known. I'm inspired by other styles of artwork that are incorporated into a cartoon. I like Marc's bold, blunt, and edgy comedy that fits well with his style at Sick Animation. There are social rules that can block the flow of creativity sometimes. His works tell me that it's okay to creatively cross boundaries. Firth's otherworldly atmospheres create a captivating story that I really like. He can focus on something very simple and draw from it. That's inspiring. Filmmakers like Lynch and Gilliam, who tell stories in an unusual way are an inspiration. While sometimes they don't make a whole lot of sense, they can create a unique one-of-a-kind experience. Back to Newgrounds, what new animators don't know is that they could be inspiring someone who has been doing it for awhile. Who knows, maybe your cartoon could be watched by Bruce Willis in his RV, who then goes back to his production set and paraphrases your dialogue into an adlib line in his next movie. I'm pretty sure Wil Wheaton heard about one of my star trek flash games, and I know Bill Cosby's lawyer knew about another. The point is, even if you have no clue about who sees it, your work does have an impact and does inspire others.
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Q: Who is your favourite NG flash artist?

A: The one who has something to say. A lot of the people on my Favorite Flash Authors list are ones who had something to say. You don't have to draw good to have something to say, but you need something interesting to keep people from closing out of your cartoon. Or keep it so short that by the time they want to exit out, it's already over.
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Q: How did you come up with your online business "Rainbow Animations"?

A: It was 1999/2000 and my flash collection was starting to accumulate. I figured since a lot of my work at the time was varying, from senseless to dramatic, I covered all shades...little did I know, I picked the gayest thing I could find. One of the cartoon parody series I was working on at the time was Reading Rainbow, so that also played a factor. I find that much like a flash cartoon, a rainbow is intangible, something that is there, but cannot be touched. It's strange creating something that physically does not exist, but can be experienced.
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Q: Do you consider yourself a great flash animator?

A: No. I'm lazy. I was one of the first generations on Newgrounds, so timing played a part. I love the process of it though, how it all comes together (or doesn't) for the viewer at the other end, from idea, to writing, to drawing, to voicing, to editing, to exporting. I usually don't like the painstaking animation process, but really want to tell a short story or joke, and see it through. Like waiting in line on the freeway to see an accident. You've done your time going 10mph, God be damned if you miss that stretcher. See it through.
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Q: How long have you been practicing flash for?

A: Fall 1999 to present. I've slowed down my releases because I got a job, and because the quality of the work that comes out now makes me look like a cripple with a tablet. The standards are incredibly high, and it's always refreshing when Marc makes a release, he brings them all down a notch with his hilarious cartoons.
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Q: You also have quite a few art pieces submitted to the art portal, the majority of zombies. Tell us why you mostly submit zombies?

A: I'm not as big of a zombie fan as the average zombie fan is. I like their expressions, they can be so silly sometimes. It's fun to draw gory things too, I don't think that's changed since 7th grade. By the way, the Newgrounds art portal has some of the best artwork I have ever seen on the Internet. Amazing artists there.
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Q: Who is your favourite artist? (Not flash)

A: My favorites are usually the ones that inspire me. They offer something that I can use. When it comes to music, my favorites are ones that I can put in the background and continue drawing or whatnot. Ladytron, Dragonforce, Crystal Castles, Amy Winehouse, Rammstein, Radiohead, Gorillaz are regulars. You might say, "Hey Jeremy, you prick, don't you know KMFDM was around long before Rammstein, and half of those other bands are just remixers." You might be right in saying that, but I'm not all that angsty with music. You listen to what works with you. Ethan, over at Axecop, listens to bluegrass while he draws. It sounds hilarious, might give that a try to see what comes of it.
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Q: Well JeremyLokken, what can we see from you in time to come?

A: I've been working on (blah blah blah...it's been a couple years now) a few cartoons. One is about a two-headed man that must decide between his brother or love. Another is about a puppeteer who comes home to find his wife with another man, and creates a puppetshow illustrating his experience. And another one about a news reporter who arrives on the scene of a car accident before 911 finds out (similar to my Coffee Break cartoon). One of these days...
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Posted by TheInterviewer - February 5th, 2012


[ Index Page | Theme Song | Official Thread | Twitter | Google+ ]

Interview No. 88
Interview By:
The-Great-One

Today's guest is one with an underrated merit to him, but is known as a comic book artist and writer. His works include being a part of Creaturing : Begins. However he is most known for his works on 1976: Issue 1, which can be purchased in the Newgrounds Store as Issue 1 along with Issue 2 and Issue 3. He is none other than Robert Hays also known on Newgrounds as deadspread83.

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Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?

A: I found Newgrounds through a buddy of mine back in 2001. He wouldn't shut up about this cartoon he saw that he thought I think was hilarious, which turned out to be Stamper's Keeblur. I was hooked ever since.
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Q: You have been here since 2005. An early time in Newgrounds life, what was Newgrounds like then compared to what it is now? Any changes for the better or worse?

A: Well, it was a little more raw I guess. It's tough to say, really. There were less game parodies, but a lot more Brittany Spear dress up sims... whatever is in pop culture makes its way into jokes, and people that animate put those jokes in their animation. I guess it's always been that way. The big difference I guess is that everything that came out was limited by the technology. Some of the stuff from that time and before looks dated, but it's amazing when you consider the limitations that the software had and the ways you had to work around it.
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Q: Your first animation on Newgrounds would be entitled ~Cookies~. It involves the Cookie Monster from Sesame Street, my question is where did this idea come from and how did you come about choosing the song for this?

A: Oh man... it's tough to remember where the idea came from. I don't think I sat down and thought it out... I just kind of made it up as I went. I picked the song because at the time I was staying at my parents house, and they happened to have a Best of Three Dog Night album, and that song just seemed go along nicely. I had to change it actually, because the intro piano part wasn't long enough, so I cut it and added another couple of beats to the beginning so it would fit.
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Q: ~PrintError~. Is an interestingly creepy short. The only question is, where did the idea come from and looking back on it, do you feel you could have expanded on it more?

A: When I made ~PrintError~ I was a Copy Center Manager at Office Depot, and I was making copies all the time. It always cracked me up when I saw people on TV or in the movies sit on these things, because the glass is so damn thin! I can't imagine why someone would risk getting their taint cut up just to get a copy of their hairy ass. So obviously, when people do fall in, they are sucked into the copier never to be heard from again. It just seemed the logical conclusion to me. In all of my animations to this point, I was really just playing around, finding out what my limits were. I'm sure it could have been expanded, if it had been done by someone who had the patience for it. I did the awful music too, in case anyone is interested.
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Q: =aDarknessInApril= would be your entry for Pico Day. It is an interesting look into what possible trauma Pico would have gone through. What made you break this simple game into something a bit more serious? How did you come about seeing this serious tone?

A: Ever since I played the original game (which was awesome) I had loved Pico as a character. It seemed to me though that everything done about him for Pico Day so far was loosely based off of Mindchamber's Pico's Unloaded, and the original game, but I hadn't seen anything done about him as an adult. I guess I just wondered what happened afterwards... like if this story continued, what would the next chapter be. The tone of the flash is due in large part to snayk's dead good and cigarettes, which I stumbled on and loved. I'm not the world's best animator, I'm more of an illustrator if anything, so having a strong song like that one went a long way in setting the atmosphere for that flash.
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Q: 1976: Issue 1 is one of your best works. A comic book series that is truly very interesting. What is the story behind the writing of this comic book series and for those still on the fence about it, what can you tell them about Issue #2 and Issue #3 to get them more interested in possibly buying them?

A: I had this idea a long time ago to do some paintings of local landmarks in my small town with strange stuff happening in the background, like the post office being eaten by giant bugs or zombies invading main street. I never did anything with the idea though, and it got shelved for other projects.

Then, in 2008, I got divorced. It was probably the worst time of my life, and I was really despondent and couldn't find a reason to get up and keep doing the same old shit every day. Then one night, I found this sketch I had done for one of the paintings, and the entire story came to me. I would write a fake history of my hometown. I would pick a date and a few landmarks and I would just make up what happened in Dickson Tennessee in 1976. I wrote the whole thing down, probably 30 pages or so of dialogue and events, just little pieces that would make up the whole story. I really wanted it to be a suspense or horror story, but not be about the "big reveal", like when they finally show the monster's face in a movie. I wanted it to be about people. People are terrible and kind and interesting creatures, and I think the best horror story, or any kind of story for that matter, is about our humanity.

It's been really slow going, but hopefully people with stick in there with me. I would finish it whether anyone else ever read it, because it's a part of me, but I really appreciate Tom giving me the opportunity to share it with everyone. I know the comic is more expensive than one you would buy at a comic shop, but I share a big chunk of that with Newgrounds, who deserve it by the way for being so damn awesome, and the other part goes to pay for printing.
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Q: When we spoke with RicePirate he talked to us about a project of his called Creaturing: Art with (and for) Kids. He states that...

"The purpose is to inspire children to create and to be inspired by them. It's come leaps and bounds, considering it started as a single seed of an idea."

We then come to the flash Creaturing: Begins. A beautiful concept taken to this kind of level is truly spectacular. How did you come across this project? Do you agree with RicePirate's statement? Whether you agree with it or not could you tell us in your own words what Creaturing is and why you decided to become a part of it?

A: Well, I met Rice Pirate at Pico Day last year, and he was a really nice guy. We both had backgrounds in graphic design, although I'd say he's probably miles ahead of me in that department. When he asked if I would be interested in re-imagining one of the kids pictures, I jumped at the chance. I think it's a great idea, and I agree with him about it being inspirational. I know that when I was a kid, if someone had taken the time to re-draw one of my sketches, I would have been thrilled. And as an adult, it's fun to look at this drawing a kid did and try to imagine what they would have drawn if they had more experience. Kids see the world in a really unique way, without any double meanings or hidden messages or bullshit. They have such unbridled imagination, before they get so full of other people's ideas, and it's inspiring to see that, especially in their art.
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Q: What advice do you have to give to those wanting to get into the art and animation?

A: If drawing or painting or animating is what you want to do, than do it, and do it all the time. Don't worry if people don't like what you do, as long as at the end of the day, you like it. Some of my favorite art I've ever done has the lowest scores and fewest views of any of my stuff. That's just the way it goes sometimes.
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Q: What can we expect from Robert Hays in the future?

A: I really like the idea of telling stories with a single picture and people filling in the rest of the story with their imagination. That's what most of the art I do is about. Expect more of that from me. Also, I will keep plugging along with my comic, and hopefully I won't die before it's done.
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When it comes to Robert Hays, I must admit that like many others here I am surprised that I not only didn't know about him or his works, but I am also surprised by his story. Many Newgrounds members here have interesting stories to tell about their craft, hobbies, and how it affects them and the others around them. Robert Hays is no exception to this. His 1976 series is pretty damn cool and I look forward to one day purchasing Issues 2 and 3.
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Posted by TheInterviewer - January 29th, 2012


[ Index Page | Theme Song | Official Thread | Twitter | Google+ ]

Interview No. 87
Interview By:
Sketchy

Today's guest is one of the most beloved animators on Newgrounds, that I'm sure puts a smile on everyone's face. James Bowman is mostly known for his popular online flash series 'Gone too far' and another rising success 'Villainy'. He is DonkeysBazooka.

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Q: How did you find Newgrounds, and what encouraged you to join?

A: I was led to Newgrounds by Madness Combat. A friend showed me Madness Combat 3 on some other website (probably a site it wasn't supposed to be on, probably eBaum's World or something), and I liked it enough to go looking for the other episodes. At that point Krinkels was up to episode 5. I guess I must have liked other stuff I found on Newgrounds after that? I don't really remember what finally encouraged me to join, probably just wanted to be able to post reviews or something.
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Q: You have 13 classic flash animations to your name on your profile, are you proud of your works?

A: Ha. I hate to be one of those guys that doesn't like any of his own creations. But I'm usually one of those guys. I'm really not proud of anything I did before 2010. The first cartoon I made that I'm actually proud of was "Snowfall." It's entertaining, and I'm proud of the animation. I'm mostly embarrassed by all the flashes I submitted before that, whether it's because of the lousy animation, or because they're just embarrassingly not funny at all. Since "Snowfall," though, I've been pretty happy with how things have turned out.... mostly. I'm probably my harshest critic. I can't look at anything I've done without thinking, "Man, I wish I could go back and do that better."
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Q: What made you think of your NG username "DonkeysBazooka"?

A: I have no idea where that came from. I just took two words and stuck them together... I really wish I had a more interesting story than that.
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Q: How long have you been practicing in flash for?

A: I started using Flash about 5 years ago. But I've been doing animation in one form or another since I was 11. I started by making flipbooks out of post-it note pads, then I made GIF animations with this crappy old program I forget the name of. I didn't pick up flash until I got to college. I tried using it, and I just didn't get it. I had no idea what I was doing. So I gave up on it for about a year before I finally took another spin at it, and for some reason I got it the second time. It's been my software of choice ever since... (only because I'm too stubborn to move on to something else, like ToonBoom, which is clearly better. Seriously, I hate Flash. Adobe sucks. Photoshop is the only program they've consistently gotten right.)
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Q: Who is your favourite artist on Newgrounds?

A: Harry Partridge (HappyHarry). No one else really compares. Don't get me wrong, I look up to LOTS of artists and animators on this site (the list of whom I won't mention, for fear of accidentally leaving someone out) but Harry is a constant source of inspiration to me. His animation is some of the best on the site, he's a tremendous voice actor, he makes wonderful music, he's hilarious... he does it all! A true auteur. Creatively, he's everything I wish I was. And by now in his career, he's making a living just making the cartoons he wants to make. Will my jealousy of him never cease?
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Q: Well James, what can we expect from you in the near future?

A: In the near future, you can count on seeing a lot of my new series, Villainy. My friend Jeff and I have 7 full episodes planned for what we're calling the first season. Each episode will have its own stand-alone plot, but there's also a continuing storyline that runs across all the episodes, so they're going to get more interesting with each episode. Between the full episodes, I'll be doing individual little short cartoons based on the characters, like I did for Halloween (The Tape) and Christmas (The New Toys). Villainy's going to be my main focus for 2012.

The question I get asked most often is, "When is Gone Too Far 3 coming out?" And I don't have an answer to that. I have only the vaguest notion of where I'm going with the story, and I don't want to make a third one unless it's going to be better than Gone Too Far Too. So it could be a while. You're better off just assuming I'm never going to make it. That way you won't be disappointed if it never comes, and you'll be pleasantly surprised if/when Gone Too Far 3 finally materializes.
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Q: So, you said that you're focusing on your series "Villainy" this year, is there anything you can tell us about upcoming episodes?

A: I could tell you everything about Villainy! We've got all 7 episodes written. But what am I willing to tell you? I dunno. Probably little that's not already on the website: www.donkeysbazooka.com/villainy.

There's a lot more depth to the show than what was revealed in the first episode. Jeff and I are really into telling multiple stories at once, and that's kind of hard to do when an episode is only 6-8 minutes long. But as I said before, the big picture will start to take shape as the episodes progress. I think it's safe for me to say that Episode 1 is my least favourite episode, by far. So if there was anything you liked about the first episode, I can guarantee you'll like the rest of the series.
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Q: Thank you for taking the time in answering these questions. On behalf of all of Newgrounds, we wish you the best in projects to come... and in life too I suppose.

A: Hey, my pleasure. I wish I could contribute more to the site than I do. It's literally changed my life, and I'd like to think the stuff I make is at least somewhat inspiring to aspiring animators, or at least somewhat entertaining to the talentless hacks.
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Posted by TheInterviewer - January 21st, 2012


[ Index Page | Theme Song | Official Thread | Twitter | Google+ ]

Interview No. 86
Interview By:
The-Great-One

Today's guest is an artist of the Art Portal and his works range from creative, to weird, to beautiful. His works include Back to School, Earthquake, and Cityscape. He is none other than Vonschlippe.

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Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?

A: I've known Newgrounds for a while, and I used to lurk around once in a while, mostly to play games and watch some flash animations. One day I noticed there was an art portal. Having already showcased some pieces on deviantart.com, I decided I could give Newgrounds a try as well. I regret nothing!
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Q: When did you start drawing?

A: As long as I can remember, I was scribbling away on scraps of paper. I remember being four or five years old and drawing sailboats all the time. It was pretty much pencil and paper until my third year of high school, at which point I still cannot say that I was a good artist. Most of my pieces were very messy and full of mistakes. However, my sister taught me the use of the software Gimp, which is a freebie photo editing software. I started using it to color my pencil drawings on the computer. I got terrible results with a mouse. In order to paint within the lines, I made massive use of the polygon selection tool to create shapes, something which is still present in my drawings to this day. Since then, I've upgraded to Photoshop and I bought myself a Wacom Intuos4 tablet!
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Q: Is art a hobby for you or is it more of a hobby? If it's more of a hobby when did it become more of a hobby?

A: I am not looking at art as a potential career. I'm studying in mechanical engineering, and between exams I barely have any time for painting. This is the precise moment where I'll start a project: when I'm already flooded with other things and I am in a productive mood. When I'm on vacation and I have lots of time, I don't paint. I have better things to do; I guess that's why I'll rarely make more than a few images per year. I don't see painting as an expression of my inner creativity or any artsy fartsy definition: it's a technical exercise, not a stress relief.
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Q: Your first submission to the Art Portal would be entitled Starcraft Terran Medic and it would spawn the thread Starcraft Terran Medic, the sequel!. What can you tell me about this project? Also as your first piece here on Newgrounds, why a video game character?

A: Well, I painted that piece nearly a year before joining Newgrounds. It was a fun exercise, and I originally intended it to be used solely as a birthday gift to a friend. It was the first time I realised how fan-art for a popular game can get a lot more attention than a more complex piece about an unknown subject. That piece got me scouted for the art portal within 2 hours of joining Newgrounds, was frontpaged within 6 and still is a high-scoring picture on the art portal. Holy crap, the page views! That's the reaction I tried to re-create when I made a sequel to it, named Starcraft Terran Ghost, and I shared the making-of with the art forum bunch in the sequel thread. I had never received so many reviews and page views so fast, ever. That, in my opinion, is something truly unique to Newgrounds and that you won't find anywhere else. Thanks guys!
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Q: Your piece Earthquake is quite interesting. You say it was never finished and that it took 6 hours, with half of that time working on the face. When it comes to facial features do you have trouble with this or are you just a perfectionist?

A: I love drawing faces the most! Over time I've developed quite a few tricks to render skin and flesh tones in the most accurate way possible... However, with the Earthquake piece, I was not satisfied with the result. So I botched the shirt and arms, filter raped a quick background and called it a day. I'm not sure I should have posted it, but I still like the face, although everything around it is kinda messed up.
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Q: ROBOTS! would give us a taste of your comic book style. Where was the inspiration for this sort of style? Will we ever see a flash animation comic book from you?

A: The looks of my comics is intended to be drawn fast and to be very expressive. The leading inspiration for the style would be Ian McConville, from the defunct webcomic MacHall. He is a master at this style, and I strive to achieve similar results when it comes to comics. In the meantime, my style has turned out to be much quicker to produce and a lot less elaborate, since I have to produce them weekly for the University newspaper. While I am still considering making an animated flash, I am certain that it would be in this style if that ever happens.
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Q: One of my favorite comics by you has to be Back to School. An interesting look in the creator vs. creation style that has been done in the past. What is the story behind this piece? Also would the creator in this be yourself?

A: This was the first piece showcased in the school's newspaper, appropriately themed "back to school", which was the case at the time of publication. That's me in the pictures, talking to my drawn self, referring to my tendency to stop drawing completely during the summer vacations.
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Q: Out of your works, my favorite by you has to be Cityscape. The detail and design of this just has me staring at it on end. Seeing the sketch work and the painting I am just amazed at with it. What was the full process you took into bringing this to life? From the inspiration, idea, creation, and then final product?

A: This was the first painting for which I filmed the process, something I have not done a lot since. It was a Christmas gift for my girlfriend (depicted in a cartoonish way in some of my comics...) that ended up very close to the deadline. Actually, the worst thing to happen to this painting was Christmas, since I had to finish it very quickly. That explains the lower level of detail in some parts of the painting. The idea comes from a daydream I had in class, but the finished piece ended up a lot less dynamic than I would have wanted. The sketches shown in the early video were all done in the same class!
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Q: When we spoke with Toast-Tony and Fifty-50 they both told us about their personal art threads and recommend that artists have said threads. Besides your Starcraft thread you don't seem to have your own personal art thread. Why is this?

A: I did do a short lived thread with a few speedpaintings, but it's true that I don't have a real art thread. There are several reasons to this, the main one being that I am a very, very slow painter. With only a few pieces per year, the thread would barely stay alive! There is also the fact that the art portal is not thriving with artists giving meaningful input and feedback, although I like many of the regulars and I occasionally reply there myself. I just don't feel like showcasing my other (flawed) paintings on the internet!
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Q: When it comes to the Art Forum, have you come across other artists that you have befriended or tend to dislike? If so then who?

A: The art forum is mostly full of well meaning people which I have come to like. I greatly admire artists such as Morthagg and Ne7ers, and I also love watching the evolution of people like Rhunyc in their own personnal art thread. I don't really dislike any particular artist...
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Q: When it comes to drawing and painting, what advice would you have for those who want to expand their creative side of doodling?

A: Creativity is good, but it's all useless without technique. Children are very creative in general, they are all full of ideas, but you will rarely see one blow your mind with a painting. The technical side of painting is the area where most people hit a wall. In order to brush up your anatomy, know your tools and learn perspective, I mostly recommend copying your favorite artist's work. Of course, keep it to yourself and don't publish it! Copying stuff is a great way to become good fast, and after several hundred hours you will be capable of painting your own ideas to a satisfying level of quality. Only then will it be important to be creative.
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Q: Have you ever thought about taking a shot at animation or team up with animator?

A: Yes. The only major obstacle so far seems to be actionscript, but I am definitely considering making a flash movie. I've done some minor animations for websites before, but never anything with characters and storyline!
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Q: What can we expect from Vonschlippe in the future?

A: Currently working on a Diablo III piece, which will be released shortly before the game itself. There are two sneak-peaks on my news feed, and I'll try to pump some hours into it soon. I'm side-tracked at the moment with paying graphic design jobs and school, so it'll have to wait for some spare time!
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Vonschlippe like many artists here on Newgrounds is quite the creative individual. However his works are as I stated not only creative, but at the same time very beautiful. I find that an animator out there looking for an artist could do quite well with him. All in all, he is truly one of the best artists on Newgrounds.
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