Interview No. 166
Interview By: @The-Great-One
Today's guest is a momentous one and one to celebrate special. For his creation of the flash B. Which would lead to the creation of the first flash movie group on Newgrounds, The Clock Crew. A group of members who would start off by spamming the Portal for fun, who would go on to improve the craft of animation not only in themselves, but in others throughout the site. I am most humbled to welcome, The King of the Portal, @StrawberryClock.
Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?
A: I was a dumb kid with unrestricted internet access and stumbled upon it when I was 12 or 13 in the late 90's, before the automated portal even existed. To put things into perspective, I'm now 34 years old. It was unlike anything I've ever seen before and when the automated portal came about it got me excited. Only problem for me was my flash movies were terrible and got rightfully blammed. They were genuine attempts at first but down the line I decided to make flash movies bad on purpose to see how people would react to them. I wasn't expecting all of this as the result. Who would?
Q: RupeeClock recounts the tale of the Clock Crew's origins in The CC humble beginnings. In that movie we learn about the BLAMMED submission A. We also learn about B. How much about the origin movie is true? What can you tell us about B?
A: It's true, the idea was to submit the entire alphabet one flash movie at a time and see how people would react. I expected every single one to get blammed, but the surprising success of 'B' changed my plans.
Q: Although you and the Clock Crew are beloved on the site nowadays. Back then you and the Clock Crew were some of the most hated members of the site. With Anti Clock movies, other Newgrounds members hating you, and if I recall correctly the Clock Crew were also receiving death threats and doxxing threats as well. You're response to the situation was thusly...
Listen.... this has gone WAY to far.
Ive gotten alot of attention by posting shitty movies, is that against the rules? And people are trying to get me banned for THAT? You people are pathetic. Whoever wrote that is right (I DIDNT WRITE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Ban them, they have no lives. All day they spend on Newgrounds.com looking at flash movies and e mail the fulps everytime i submit a movie... people here are SAD. Thats why i picked this site to be an asshole on. Ive gotten alot of attention! I know some 15 year older is gonna reply saying that i suck, but you know what? I dont give a shit? Why? Cause i know im right. This site has more teens than adults. If they are adults they need to grow up. Cause if your making a movie to make fun of someone, you need to get a life. Go outside and play tag or something away from the computer, it will do you alot of good. As for th clock crew, i didnt make it. Some guy signed up as a bunch of accounts (Possibly GrandmasterJ due to his comments about my movie osmosis hones) Just want attention! Now if you dont agree with me, get a life. If you do, good for you having enough brain cells to figure out that i just shit... nothing more.
Looking back, how serious was this situation? Would you have done anything differently about it?
A: First off, I'd like to say reading that post made me cringe. I don't even remember exactly why I made it, what exactly I'm trying to convey or if it was even serious or not. If it was serious, it was an overreaction (which I used to do), if not, then I fooled my future self so well done teenage me! I think it was my confusion regarding how big this 'joke' became, when all I wanted to do was spam movies and read people's reactions to it. Not even I understand exactly why this all happened and I never will, but it did and I'm thankful for it. If I remember correctly, it wasn't until years later when people started getting involved with my personal life, like calling my house. I was confused why people were carrying out this joke years later and the lengths they would go to try to have a conversation with me. That turned me off of the Clock Crew for a while, but later I realized that it was unfair to the rest of the clocks, most of are really great people. Now I make sure to submit something every single Clockday and keep in touch with the clocks every once in a while.
Q: What can you tell us about The Clock Crew as a whole at the time of its inception? When do you think The Clock Crew started to gain praise and recognition?
A: Late 2001 was when the Clock Crew was formed by members like Orange Clock, but the reception was negative until years later when it had its place solidified in Newgrounds culture. It's when people saw the group for more than just people who submit bad flashses. The Clock Crew later was regularly collaborative and was a great way for new and experimental artists to gain support for their animation projects. It inspired people to make things not to make other people happy, but to make themselves happy. I still believe making yourself happy first-most with your animation project is the most important part, even if you believe most people won't understand it. After all, you're never going to please everybody, no matter how good you make something.
Q: Tom celebrated Clock Day on August 15, 2003. In 2005 is when Newgrounds started to record each Clock Day in its own section. It is almost 20 years old now. How did you feel about the Clock Crew getting its own day? Did you ever think a simple B would have grown into something so large?
A: I think it's great the Clock Crew has its own day to celebrate and that the tradition is still going on. I never thought 'B' would get as big as it did. As I said earlier, it originated from me just submitting low quality flash movies and seeing how people reacted to them. I spent more time uploading the swf to Newgrounds than I did making the flash. I figured I would get bored with the Strawberry Clock shtick one day, that would be the end of it and as the years went on Strawberry Clock would be forgotten. But here I am in 2020 in my mid 30s with a bunch of other stuff going on, making a new toon for Clockday, and many other Clocks are doing the same. Why? A better question is, why not?
Q: A lot of members of the Clock Crew would improve their animation and flash skills over time. It got to the point if you were a Clock then you were in good hands and would have access to a lot of resources and assistance. Would you agree that a group on Newgrounds has the capabilities of improving others works and the community overall? Where is the danger in the works becoming skewed?
A: Absolutely, The Clock Crew and other Newgrounds groups are full of welcoming animators who all want to help others improve their skills and collaborate. It can be really confusing going into animation for the first time and it's easy to fall into common mistakes, that's what happened to me when I first made movies. But getting guidance from those who are eager to help and collaborate can help you get a great start and have a lot of fun too.
Q: We have had other flash groups appear after the Clock Crew. The Lock Legion, The Star Syndicate, The Kitty Krew, and The Soup Squad are just a few that come to mind. You have been around on the site a long time. What your thoughts on these other groups?
A: I think they're all great! There's none off the top of my head that I dislike. Each group had something unique to offer, so even if you felt you weren't a good fit for the Clock Crew, there were others you could join with the sole purpose of making flash and having fun. Many groups like The Kitty Krew, The Barney Bunch, etc. all had clear established identities and offered something different. Some people from the Clock Crew, Lock Legion and others became professional artists, animators or ended up making it big by other means. If the groups can help some people get started with what later became their careers, then I think it's all worth it.
Q: Your first Daily Feature is one I find quite hilarious and that is SBC Kills Pokemon (A.P.I). Where did the idea for this come from?
A: It reflects the culture change in Newgrounds. Back when "Pokemania" was around in the late 90's and early 00's, there were tons of anti-Pokemon related content on Newgrounds because the hype annoyed a lot of people. Fast-forward about 15 years later and Pokémon's reception is generally positive on Newgrounds and everywhere else. I could've done more with the idea, but I think the concept of an average Newgrounds user 15 years ago behaving the same way in the current year was funny enough. I used to pretend to hate Pokémon because it was "cool", but I actually like it for the most part. I even made a Pokémon ROM Hack, but that's a much different story.
There's a lot about the Newgrounds community, as well as the internet in general, that's changed within the last 20 years and reflecting on the differences is very interesting to me and I've been doing so in my recent movies as well. For example, 'Clocktube' was meant to reflect how differently a popular guy behaves and how hard some people try to keep up with the times in order to stay relevant. Strawberry Clock was somewhat of a trendsetter, but to keep his relevancy he became a trend-chaser with things like way-too-far pranks and over-hyped fraudulent cryptocurrency and ditches almost everything that made him popular in the first place.
But no matter how many years pass, Newgrounds retains the same vision of the Newgrounds I grew up with, but for a brand-new generation of animators and there's no doubt in my mind many of them will make it big with their evolving talents.
Q: What can you tell us about your work on NG's 20th Anniversary Collab?
A: It was fun working with Whirlguy and I wasn't a stranger to collabs. He gave out a list of years to everybody who wanted to participate, and I chose 2001, the year 'B' premiered and Clock Crew came to be. But I didn't want to make it 100% about Strawberry Clock since this was supposed to celebrate all of Newgrounds history. I did a lot of research on the year to find other things that also premiered and even discovered some gems that I've never seen before.
Q: Can we have a sneak peek of what you're working on for Clock Day 2020?
A: For the last few years I've really been experimenting with animation. They're not the most fantastic or creative pieces of work, but I've been a big animation fan my whole life and very interested in the animation process. Both TV and web animation from the 90's and early 00's helped shape the kind of humor I'd use in Strawberry Clock's movies. I still often get inspired by the great flashes right here on Newgrounds and elsewhere. I'm obviously not an animator, but it's fun putting these together. Each year helps me learn new techniques and better understand just how much work it takes to make something, even if my process is vastly simpler and shorter than a toon you'd see on TV or almost anybody else. I'll never get to the skill level of so many talented people here on Newgrounds and beyond, but that's ok.
Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic keeping me indoors far more this year, expect a slightly higher quality flash for Clockday. It continues a year after my last movie 'Clockmiration' where the popularity-starved Strawberry Clock tries to cope with the COVID-19 quarantine as he can no longer socialize in person. It quickly takes a turn when some hairy visitors show up at his house with a vendetta. It's a silly (with just a small dash of seriousness) story that I think turned out ok, and like it said earlier, yourself is the most important person you should try to please when making something. It also has a big twist at the end that I hope really intrigues people.
Q: What can we expect from StrawberryClock in the future?
A: As far as Strawberry Clock content goes, I'll continue the traditions as long as I'm around while also trying new stuff with it. While the Clock's aren't as big as they once were, they're still making flash movies and work well together. After all, Tom Fulp (an inspiration to me) has stuck to his guns with Newgrounds even though the internet has vastly changed over the last two decades. I've already helped drag Strawberry Clock and the Clock Crew out for almost two decades anyway and it's still a lot of fun, so I'll continue to make at least one new Strawberry Clock movie every year for the foreseeable future.
As far as misc content goes, my software development career keeps me pretty busy. I'm also leading a large scale game project that I want to pick up the pace with soon and a few smaller projects that haven't been announced yet. I'd love to discuss these more in detail when there's more to discuss.
It is amazing how the smallest thing from a teenager on this site can blow up into something not only hilarious, but fun and engaging to an entire site. I think in the end B became something better for the community overall. StrawberryClock at the helm for a while, others took the mantle and built friendships and built a creative group that others would go onto make on Newgrounds. Thank you to StrawberryClock. Without him. We wouldn't have this day or this much fun! Happy Clock Day!
The Interviewer is a part of Dohn's Desk Productions