Interview No. 30
Interview By: @The-Great-One
Today's guest is one artist some of you know and others may not. He has received Daily Feature awards for his works with system interrupted, things you shouldnt do..., Seraph, and many more. He is known for a lot of flash movies, too many to truly ask him about them all. He is none other than @HeRetiK.
Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?
A: I came across Newgrounds because a friend of mine told me about the back then epic Teletubby Funland and Assassins games. I started to visit the site on a regular basis and got a lot of inspiration from many of the Portal classics. Realizing that practically anyone could make their own games and cartoons I began to learn Flash. Once I finally had internet at home (until then, I only visited Newgrounds at school) I signed up and started submitting.
Q: Your first flash submission was a game entitled Cube Combat. It was a bit of a slow fighter, but for your first flash game what were the steps you took into making it and looking back on it are you still proud of it?
A: My first steps were a lot of trial and error. And then some more.
Looking back I'm proud about having created a fighter with so many special moves and secret combos. The fun thing is, that sometimes people stumble about the craziest secret combos just by chance.
The code itself is a mess though. It leaves me wondering why the game ever worked in the first place.
Q: o fortuna would be your second flash, the first flash to win an award, the Daily 2nd Place. An amazing flash movie no doubt, but where did the idea come from and how did you go about making these two characters?
A: It's all inspired by the music itself. It's just asking for a dramatic final showdown, mirroring the downfall of one and the rise of another (quite literally in this case). There's not much to say about the characters though. The main requirement for them was to smoke and die in style.
Q: One of my favorites by you is the flash freedom awaits. A twisted noir story of battling emotions. You stated that you enjoyed making it. Could you tell us why you enjoyed making it, in other words what was the creative process behind this flash?
A: Like most of my works, it started with a basic idea lingering around my head that evolved further once it got in touch music (which usually ends up as the soundtrack)
What I enjoyed most about making freedom awaits was that it basically animated and wrote itself. All I had to do was sit down, start creating and let things happen. As a bonus I also got rid of negative feelings and teen angst in the process.
Q: system interrupted would be your first Daily Feature win and your first Weekly 1st Place win as well. It tells quite the interesting story. Where did the creative process for this flash come from?
A: It was also my first frontpage :)
System interrupted started as the idea of a high-tech assassin in a hostile, computer controlled environment. I drew a lot inspiration from Peter Chung's animated series Aeon Flux. At one point I wanted to create it as a game, but the more time I spent with the character, the more it became obvious that it should become a movie. I found Aphex Twin's Come to Daddy to be the perfect track, so I based a raw storyboard on it. Once I had the basic outline of the story at hand, I started working on the movie itself and expanding the character's background.
Q: I have interviewed Appsro in the past about his flash movies "Prostitute Mickey" and "Prostitute Mickey 2." Before Appsro even had those down on paper you brought us Sickey Mouse. You stated that you turned Mickey Mouse into a serial killer. There is more to this story though. Why turn Mickey Mouse into a serial killer?
A: Actually, there isn't that much more behind this story.
It began with my first b&w "comedy" A lovely day. Some guy left a review about how he thought that I could even turn Mickey Mouse into a serial killer. At first I declined the idea for being too silly. A few months later I thought - "What the heck, let's go for it" - and had Sickey Mouse run amok as psychotic as possible.
Q: Exit is a bizarre and quirky flash movie by you. However some may seem disappointed that you didn't really branch out with this one. What was the process behind it and do you ever plan to make a sequel using more signs?
A: Exit was just a one shot. One day I saw an Exit sign and started giggling to myself because of the idea that later became the movie.
Q: We now come to the one flash movie I've been wanting to know a lot about and that is The Red Line. It was an Art Forum collab which started with the thread also entitled The Red Line. Tell me how was it to work on this collab with so many different artists? Also who did you enjoy getting entries from the most?
A: When I started the thread, I never meant to create a collab. It just seemed like a fun thing to try.
Then things took off and I started to compile it into a scrollable Flash gallery too see how it would look like. Since so many people participated and enjoyed making entries for the thread, I started to update the gallery whenever I could and suggested to turn it into a collab. I still can't believe that this little fun thread became the first of many Art Forum Collabs :)
Looking back I can't decide whose entries I enjoyed the most. There were too many people that contributed a lot to the thread and collab.
Q: Looking at all your flash movies, I sadly can't question you on all of them. However your latest work entitled Once More (With Feeling) is a beautiful music video. The inspiration I would say is the song, the animation to match it came from where is my only question to you good sir. In other words from this song, how was this image painted?
A: Although most of the inspriation was drawn from the song itself, Once More (With Feeling) was initially comissioned by the band Traffic Experiment. I exchanged a lot of emails with their singer and songwriter to get a feel of what his story and intention behind the song was. We had fairly common ideas on how the video should be, so based on this, I created the basic setting and story and went from there.
Q: Many of your flash submissions have such wonderful stories. As a writer what are the steps you normally take into writing a comedy, a noir, or just a simple drama?
A: It usually starts with a simple concept, idea, setting or character. Then I try to make a good story out of it. See if it can be told in an interesting way. Find out if the ending works.
If the pieces fit together, great, let's go. If they don't, I leave them lingering around in the back of my head. It might still grow into a fully fledged flash movie after all.
Q: As an artist and an animator is there any advice you can give to beginners out there who are just getting into flash and/or animation in general?
A: Watch cartoons and flash movies :) See what other people created, try to figure out how and why it works and draw inspiration from it.
From a technical viewpoint I can only recommend reading the Animator's Survival Kit by Richard E Williams. It's mostly concerned about traditional animation, but the basic concepts are useful for any kind of 2D and 3D animation.
Q: What can we expect from HeRetiK in the near future?
A: Hard to say. I've been mostly wrapped up in comissioned projects lately, so I haven't been able to crank out as many flash movies and games like I used to (at least not for myself, that is).
There are a bunch of ideas for both games and movies on my mind, but most of them are still only half-baked. For the moment being though, I think my next project will more likely be a game than a movie.
A simple man who works for the sake of art. I could not truly question him about the many different flash movies he has created so you should check out his works sometime. He really has a creative mind and it certainly shows, this interviewer can only ask what game he shall grace us with?