Interview No. 15
Interview By: @The-Great-One
Today's guest is one I've been tempting to interview for quite some time now and have put it off for far too long. He has won awards for his flash movies including Santa's Last Stop and Prostitute Mickey. He started the Apocalypse Lane series and had done much more work and will give us more in the future. He is none other than @Jonnyethco.
Q: The best place to begin is at the beginning. How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?
A: I found Newgrounds a long time ago. I think I was still in high school, which would have been in the late 90's and early 2000's. I've been coming to the site ever since occasionally to play games and watch cartoons but I never joined until recently when I had something that I wanted to submit.
Q: Your first flash was entitled Why Leave? Short Cartoon. It won a Daily 5th Award. Tell me what was the process in creating this little flash?
A: Why Leave was actually my third animation. The first was a short I did called "Don't Play With Closet Monsters" You can see it here. It's not very good, but it was a learning experience for me with After Effects. After DPWCM I did an 11 min pilot called "Doraleous and Associates" for the comedy troupe, Hank and Jed, which not a lot of people have seen because we are shopping it around to the cable networks. It's a great pilot, I'm extremely proud of it and I'm hoping that one day it will be seen either online or on television. Why Leave came after that and I did it for a kid named Zack Weiner who was doing his student project. We got together over a few days, recorded the audio and animated the toon. It turned out pretty decent, but this was the first one I did where aferwards I said to myself, "I'm ready to try doing my own stuff again." Through Doraleous and Why leave I had gained, I guess, enough confidence in myself to start making something more my style. Why leave was also the first one I submitted to Newgrounds, and getting an actual trophy for it was very exciting.
Q: Your next two flash movies would be Santa's Last Stop and Tree Balls. Both these flash movies earned you a Daily 5th Award and a Daily 4th Award. Why did you want to make two Christmas themed flash movies and what was the process behind it?
A: Santa's Last Stop came from a dream I had where Santa came out of the chimney and then called me a Cocksucker. I woke up and was laughing at just the thought. With Christmas on the way I took the dream and wrote a short script that turned into Santa's Last Stop. I went to a friend of mine named Duke and asked him if he would be willing to play Santa in this thing. He agreed and we got together one night and laid down the audio. I did the drawings and animated it within the next few weeks. When I went to submit to Newgrounds I saw that the Christmas competition was going on so I said, "What the hell, I'll submit this and maybe people will dig it." It got a huge response and it was my first submission that got on the front page which, to me at the time, was the most exciting thing in the world. After it got on the front page I was hooked and I just started making cartoon after cartoon. Tree Balls was next and it was a little idea I had, not to complicated ant only took about 3 days to do. This was also the first cartoon where I did both all the voices and all the animation. I was the happiest guy on the planet when Santa's Last Stop took 3rd place in the contest. That was the point where i realized I wanted to start doing this for a living.
Q: A series begins with a flash movie entitled Renegade Awesome Episode1. What is the story behind this series and what can we expect to see from it in the future?
A: That was me trying something a bit experimental really. I had seen a bunch of game and movie reviews on youtube where these pathetic guys in their parents basements would record themselves on a webcam doing movie reviews. I thought to myself, I should do an animated show in that exact some format. I recorded an episode and had it drawn and animated it in a week. i did the two others after that and they only took about 2 days each because I already had all the elements drawn so it was a simple process of laying in a new lip sync. They got a decent response but they really didn't take off like I wanted so I moved to other things. Now there is a bunch of people who want me to continue the series and if I'm ever given the opportunity I might.
Q: You know I love a good parody, and you have proven this with the flash Obama's Inauguration. I'm sure there is a delightful story behind this. Could you please share it with us?
A: I made that real quick, a couple of days after the actual Inauguration. I was watching the Inauguration at the house and I saw the slip up at the beginning. I thought to myself, "He must have been distracted by Aretha's ridiculous hat." That's what sparked the concept. I animated it over a weekend to try to capitalize on the Obama craze going on at the time.
A: Christ, this one was a fun one to make. Basicaly Bryan Mahoney, who is a member of Hank and Jed, said to me, "Hey, I'd love to get together with you one night and help you write a cartoon." I said, "Sure man, lets get together and just shoot the shit, have some beers and come up with something." We got together one evening and we started tossing ideas. The economy was starting to tank at this time so i wanted to do something that kind of related to that. We first had a sketch we recorded that night where the Monopoly guy couldn't get a loan from the bank. It was really funny and I may go back an animate that one day when the economy crashes again. About 12:00 midnight we were done and stepped out back to sit on the porch and keep drinking. We started talking about how, like in "Santa's Last Stop" and the Monopoly thing, it was fun to see classic characters in bad situations. Then i said, "Yeah, like what if Mickey Mouse had to whore himself out for money?" right there on the spot, i came up with the pitiful Mickey voice and said something like, "Ahh gee. I'll suck your dick for a dollar." We started cracking up and we just start throwing lines back and forth as Mickey and the guy wanting to fuck him. Now we're pretty drunk at this point and we say, "Screw it, lets go record that right now." The result is Prostitute Mickey, which to this day is still one of my personal favorites.
Q: It wouldn't be long until Prostitute Mickey 2 would be released. With the addition of Goofy some say that Prostitute Mickey 2 is quite possibly funnier than the first one. What was it like working on this next production?
A: Mickey 1 was a big hit on Newgrounds so how could we not want to make a second one. Plus it was so goddamn funny that Bryan and I both wanted to do another one. I agree that it's much funnier than the first cause, the first is kinda sad really. Goofy was only going to come to the door once in the original. We recorded it where Foghorn Leghorn came second as his landlord wanting money, and I cant remember right now who we had coming in last. But when we played it back, we were cracking up so much at Goofy that we decided, "Goofy's too fucking funny, he has to come back each time." I was the right decision and made the short funnier since Goofy kept pestering Mickey. My good friend Mario Marchioni was also with us and he did the voice of Minni Mouse, although we altered it with a pitch.
Q: It seems you and HankandJed would become quite the little team. What can you tell me about Mad Mad Mario? And will we see anymore video game parodies within the future?
A: The Mad Mad Mario spawned from me saying to Bryan, "It's amazing how many views some of these game parodies get. Why don't we try to make one just to see how successful it would be?" We came up with a fun concept and we laid down the audio one night, I animated it and submitted it to Newgrounds. Well, like I predicted it got an insane amount of hits and is probably the most successful thing I've done. It has about 450,000 views here on NG, 300,000 on youtube and a german fandub on youtube has about 400,000. So that's a ton of eyes watching this thing and it really helped get may name out there. It's not very original or anything but what I think sets it apart is the delivery. It's a string of obscenities yes, but the way you say them, the inflection on certain words, the anger, all had to be there to make this work and I think we pulled that off pretty well. I plan on doing more game parodies in the future. :)
Q: What can you tell my readers here about Apocalypse Lane? Where can they see more episodes and will more episodes be coming to Newgrounds?
A: Apocalypse Lane is an original web series that was picked up by The Escapist, who are famous for the Zero Punctuation videos. The Escapist is run out of Durham, which is about 2 hours from where i live. I went up there to answer a call for a voice audition for a new Cartoon series they are doing. (which will premiere soon btw) I was cast for 2 parts in the series and while I was there I handed the guy my card and said, "Hey check out my cartoons if you get a chance." I get a callback later saying they want me to pitch them an original series set in space or in a post-apocalyptic world. In about a week, we came up with the characters for Apocalypse Lane and we pitched them the idea. They loved it and the next thing I knew i signed a contract to produce 48 episodes. to me, this series is the best thing I've ever done. Parodies are fun, but this is something completely new, out of the box, and it already has a pretty strong fan base. People were iffy on the first few episodes but ever since episode 6 I've received nothing but praise for the series. I encourage everyone to start watching them because when the series is finished, people are going to look back on it and go, "Wow, that was a damn good show." Unfortunately I cant upload them all to Newgrounds but I plan on uploading one or two more if they will let me. Still, I'm actually getting paid to animate a weekly series and I consider myself one of the luckiest guys on the planet.
Q: Happy Harry describes animating...
I guess I love anticlimaxes and antijokes, it's not that I'm setting out to gross out people, or even make them laugh necessarily (though that is a welcomed side effect), I really just want to surprise them with something crazy and I love playing on people's abilities to second guess an ending.
After watching your flash movies you two seem to have a somewhat similar style, but different at the same time. For every flash that you wrote solo, what is the process you go through in writing and animating?
A: Happy Harry is fucking brilliant. His animation is so solid too. My animation style is cheap as shit compared to him but i attribute that to my ADD. If it's gonna take a long time to do, I'll get bored with it or I'll start thinking it's not funny anymore. Mostly when I write, I have the mic right in front of me. We more or less have a concept and then we write down, point A, point B and point C. But I don't really "write" anything until I'm in front of the mic and I start coming up with lines. A lot of what we say is improvised as well. I find that making a cartoon is so organic that way because you can listen to it right there and go, "No that sucks, let's try another line." or "That seemed funny on paper, but it's not really working, how can we fix it?" It's unconventional, but it seems to work for us.
Q: What can we expect to see from Jonnyethco in the future?
A: Well, we have prostitute Mickey 3 and Mad Mad Mario 2 recorded and already lip synced. Animating and compositing them come down to when I take time to do it. Apocalypse Lane takes up most of my time during the week and what off time I do have I try to spend with my 8 month old daughter. They will get done, but it may take a while to get them out the pipe. If things go well this year and next year looks good, i plan to hire an extra animator to handle my "Fun Stuff" like the parodies and whatnot so I can be doing a series that pays the bills, but also be able to do other projects as well and not worry about the workload. We're not going to stop. My ultimate goal is to have a TV show on Adult Swim or another network. Either way, plan on seeing a lot more content from this bunch of crazy mother fuckers.
Interviewing Appsro shows that no matter what your work is, whether it be animating, writing, voice acting, or making music. There is always a medium in which you can pursue a career with. He has shown that there is a chance to gain recognition no matter who you are or what you do. He is an inspiration to any and all people who submit their work to Newgrounds.