Interview No. 153
Interview By: @The-Great-One
To try and categorize today's guest would be nearly impossible. I'll give it my best though. He has brought us many classics on Newgrounds such as Albuquerque: THE MOVIE, Avada Kedavra, and We Love This Place. He was also part of the collaborations Shorts To Wear Pants To and Tire Pressure Project. It gives me great pleasure, to welcome Newgrounds beloved... RWappin.
Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join? Also your original username was Mr_Finkleburg. Why was this your original username and what made you want to change it?
A: Wow, you knew about that? In any case, yes, that was my username at one point - I think it was from a Fairly OddParents episode. I later changed it to R Wappin which is a shortened version of an OC of mine. It was Rocco Wappin, is now Ray Wappin. I think it was my younger brother that actually came up with the name.
Q: At what age did you become interested in drawing and animation and why?
A: Like many 90s kids I was raised in large part by Disney movies and cartoons on TV. I was always creating shows in my head inspired by what I was seeing. I kind of thought my life what a cartoon show. I tried to make comics for a while but I started discovering flash around the time I was 15-16. That's when I realized that making cartoons didn't just have to be something I fantasized about.
Q: You would graduate with a Bachelor of Arts Degree at Columbia College Chicago in 2010. What brought you to this college in 2007? What can you tell us about your time there?
A: That was a crazy time. After being kind of an outcast in high school it was the first time I was around people that in some ways has similar aspirations to me. It was also the same time I started getting positive feedback for the things I was posting online. I don't recommend art college to most people just because cost/benefit financially isn't there, and you don't really learn much that you can't learn on your own. I still don't regret it for myself because it was such a transformative period of my life. Experiences from that time will certainly show up in my work later on.
Q: TmsT, ZekeySpaceyLizard, and Dave Bruno have all shared their experiences and time over on Albino Blacksheep. What can you tell us about your experiences over there?
A: I love AlbinoBlackSheep and was actually just recently catching up with the owner, Steve Lerner. That was also the where the original TOFA (Tournament of Flash Artists, later NATA on Newgrounds) was born, which I was the winner of. It was just another community that was bit smaller than Newgrounds which had it's advantages. There were a lot of fun rivalries between animators especially during the TOFA competitions. I remember two of the years where TmsT and Zeurel just crushed everybody.
Q: You regretted not making something for Pico Day 2007 because something came up in your life. Would you mind sharing with us what that was?
A: Pico Day 2007... it's hard for me to remember. That's probably the case because there were big cash prizes for Pico Day back then, and I don't remember making anything. That would have been around the time I was working on Everything You Know Is Wrong and getting ready to go to Columbia College. I was still going to a Community College though so I was probably just busy with school.
Q: During your time on Newgrounds you have been vocal about the works posted on the site and the winners and placements of prizes. Stating once...
There are so many creative and awesome animators here, and that's what makes this website so great, but the problem is the middle-school-age ignoramuses who go to this site vastly outnumber the people who actually care or know anything about animation... yet are still get to control and vote on what wins stuff. Imagine an art show where the judges are a bunch of horny 13 year olds. That's what this site is actually like.
... only of course... a lot of the people who enter the art show actually ARE horny 13 year olds... or have the mentality OF a horny 13 year old....
Teen Titans Hentai winning money? C'mon guys... JohnnyUtah you really get your butt kissed too. Everyone just votes for the same people and the same kind of stuff over and over and over. I doubt a lot of the voters even WATCH 90% of the eligible monthly flashes.
But that's Newground's biggest flaw. Sorry for going into kind of a mini rant there.
With the passage of time what is your stance now on how the site and content are?
A: Oh man, you're going through my old posts. XD I definitely have a different opinion now than I did on a lot of things back then, probably said a lot of other immature, dumb things. At this point I just accept that people like what they like. I think there's a tendency when we're younger to somehow see people that have different opinions as an enemy and that we just have "superior taste." Basically I was just being a hipster. If there's a kind of art anyone wants to see more of, that's just what they should make.
I do think porn should be in a separate category to other art just because they are watched for... different reasons, lol.
Also I've met JohnnyUtah at this point and he is an amazing artist working on a great game.
Q: One of your first movies submitted to Newgrounds is the 11-Minute epic known as Albuquerque: THE MOVIE. You would also later give us Everything You Know Is Wrong. Both of these are music videos based off of songs by Weird Al Yankovic. When and how were you introduced to Weird Al's music and why did you want to bring them to life through animation?
A: I was on a roadtrip once and someone played Albuquerque and it was the best thing I ever heard. When I first started learning flash I was trying to think of something epic to animate, and Albuquerque immediately came to mind. While I was working on it I think I got Weird Al's whole discography off Limewire or something (I own a lot of his CDs legitimately now, haha.) I listened to all of his songs over and over and had pretty detailed videos in my head for a lot of them. Everything You Know Is Wrong was the one I wanted to do the most. Others that I never got to were I Remember Larry, Hardware Store, Germs, Frank's 2000 inch TV, and Slime Creatures from Outer Space. I later met Weird Al at a booksigning and he knew about my videos and even asked for my business card! I'm still holding out hope that he'll hire me for something someday.
Q: Bowling Alley is a weird dream. Is it your dream or someone else's? Can you divulge more into bringing this dream to life?
A: It's Neil Cicierega's song so you'd have to ask him. That song was almost like a mini-Albuquerque, I had a lot of fun animating it. I had ideas for a lot of his songs (Lemon Demon) in the same way that I did for Weird Al.
Q: When Andrew Huang and AlmightyHans were here we talked about Shorts To Wear Pants To. What was it like getting to work with the other collaborators? You were also noted in the special thanks as the "Nag" -- could you please tell us why?
A: Probably because I kept annoying Squeakytoad about when it would come out. That was one of my first collabs if I remember correctly. It was really fun!
Q: Two Perspectives II was a movie I quite enjoyed from beginning to end. Where did the idea for this come from and what was it like working with Zeurel?
A: The original Two Perspectives was one of my TOFA entries from 2007, the original TOFA. Zeurel completely blew that cartoon out of the water with his "sequel." He really is an incredibly talented dude who is able to pump out high quality animation faster than anyone I've ever met. I did the voices of the two germs in that cartoon, which is one of the only times I did voice acting for something but didn't animate in it.
Q: When TmsT was here we talked about a lot of his works and time on Newgrounds. However he would upload a project seven days after that interview was posted that you two worked on entitled Avada Kedavra. Since I missed the chance with him what can you tell us about turning a song from The Lion King into a parody song for Harry Potter? Also how long have you known and worked with TmsT?
A: : I first met TmsT on AlbinoBlackSheep. Andrew Kepple, or TmsT as he is often called, is more than anyone the guy who made AlbinoBlackSheep as fun of a place as it was. He always inspired me and many others to be competitive during TOFA, and even outside of TOFA to always push themselves to be their best. Later on he even made full fledged, army themed videos for one of the TOFA years, just to introduce the topics of each of the rounds. He wasn't paid for any of that either, he just loved making things fun. Needless to say I loved working with him on Avada Kedavra.
The song itself was from Jace Mclain of Nuclear Bubble Wrap who I also animated a music video for called Sharktopus
Q: We now come to what I personally believe to be your best work and that is a music video entitled We Love This Place. The song itself is incredible, but the life you brought into it is just amazing. What was the process in bringing this to song into this beautiful vision?
A: There was a couple I met through another client who have this band called Curious Grace. They commissioned me to make videos of two of their songs, The Universe Is Always Right and We Love This Place. Music videos are probably the things I enjoy animating the most so I was happy for the opportunity. I used the same process I use for all my music videos, which is listen to the song over and over and over, visualize the end result, make a super rough storyboard of it, and spend a solid couple months grinding the animation out.
Q: My favorite by you which makes me laugh my ass off every time I watch it is T. The windows start up sound, each frame on the gentleman's expressions, to even the end when he breaks down into a southerner is where I just lose my shit. I don't know why this puts me into hysterics, but it does. I remember reading that when writing you instead of asking yourself "what would be funny dialogue" you ask "what would I like to see that is funny". That seems to me to be a perfect example of that. Does that hold true or is there something I'm missing?
A: I have a folder on my computer of really old recordings, I'm talking like before Albuqueruque old. One of them was called A Spot of T, and it's basically the script of that cartoon but I tweaked it a bit when I re-recorded it. Essentially yes, I just do things that are amusing to me and hope that others are entertained as well.
Q: Alright I'll bite. What in name of all that is holy and sacred is the story behind the Tire Pressure Project?
A: Two of my pals, Lepy and KeeganMcFly, asked me to be part of the most incredible and timeline altering project ever made, of which it was my honor to accept.
Q: In 2013 you would become an animator for Studio Yotta. How did you end up working there? What can you tell us about your work on Sonic Mania and your experiences with the studio overall?
A: The first Yotta project I think I worked on was a Harry Partridge cartoon called Back to Tamriel. Jake reached out to me originally because he knew my work from Newgrounds and also from the rebel faction of Newgrounds: rtil's forum TheBackalleys. Studio Yotta has been a wonderful thing and given me the opportunity to not only work on a lot of cool projects also form new friendships with a lot of animators. I'm currently living with the founder Jake Ganz, and fellow Yotta animator, Javier Ulloa. Who knows what the future holds but here's hoping the best for Yotta is yet to come.
I only did a small bit of the Sonic Mania opening, where they come out of the elevator, but that was a really cool project to be involved in for sure.
Q: What is in your opinion, the definition of animation?
A: The act of bringing imagination into reality.
Q: What can we expect from RWappin in the future?
A: Something far better than anything I've created so far. I am working on a pilot to a series concept I have called End Times. This is something I'm really putting my soul into, and my whole life's experience so far has led up to it's creation. So, I will be posting more related to that! Also hopefully more music videos whenever anyone else hires me.
We have a lot of different creators here on Newgrounds. Those who make parodies. Those who tell stories of horror and drama. Then we have RWappin, who basically makes cartoons. We have one of the best cartoonists here, one who could've rivaled Edd Gould. Or even better collaborate with him. RWappin has been a name and a face I've seen on Newgrounds for a long time and his works never cease to make me laugh and laugh hard. He brings so much joy to the site and his dedication to his craft and his love for his fellow peers is a something we should all emulate. I'm not sure what his series will be about, but I do know it will be brilliant.