Interview No. 39
Interview By: The-Great-One
Today's guest is a very bizarre individual. His animations are twisted in humor, but overall shows creativity. He has been known for his character Fernando within the Pleasure Island series and Dance of the Manwhore. He has also given us Ask Raptor Jesus and the Angry Dog series. He is certainly known for more than this, but to list it all would deny me the pleasure of introducing Sexual-Lobster.
Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?
A: A friend referred me to it. I joined so I could upload my flash films and get feedback on them. Six years later I'm still lurking around.
Q: Your first flash submission is entitled Horseman: Newsreader. A comical flash indeed, where did this idea come from and looking back on it today are you still proud of it?
A: I think the writing in that one was good, but everything else sucks so no I'm not proud of it, but I still like it. It's almost six years ago and I don't remember where the idea for it came from, but Horseman was already a character in some comics I'd drawn so it was just another adventure for him.
Q: Fernandohyde would introduce us to two of your iconic characters Fernando and Gooseman. Are these characters inspired by anything in particular or are they your multiple personalities?
A: Not in Fernando's case, but Gooseman looks kind of like me and shares some traits. In the past I've thought of him as a kind of alter ego, a sociopath with few hang-ups and no scruples that can just do as he pleases, but he's morphed into a kind of happy-go-lucky super-hero character over the years so I don't think the same is true anymore.
Q: Great Weed Drought of '03 would win you your first "Daily Feature" award as well as a "Weekly 4th Place." Certainly an interesting little trip you've given us, what was the inspiration for this and what was the process in creating it? Also any plans on remaking this and possibly expanding on the story?
A: I worked at a bank for a year or so, and Robin, the protagonist, particularly when he's at work, reflects a lot of attitudes I had at the time. I knew I wanted to make Lovefist with those two characters, but I didn't feel confident I could pull off some of the scenes, so I tried to write GWD03 so it would be fun to draw to give myself some practise. My first tablet arrived when I was almost finished, so this is the last film I made with a mouse. I have actually written a Great Weed Drought of '05 script, and I think it would have held up had I made it, but I made a conscious decision at one point not to do drug humour anymore so I doubt I'll ever make it now.
A: Angry Dog started off as a simple writing exercise. I wanted to make a dry sitcom where the main characters were animals which had human problems. The reason I went with animals was mostly because I'd never done anthropogenic animals up to that point so I wanted to try it out. It was probably more influenced by Seinfeld than by anything else. The 7 Angry Dog films that I made 2 years later was a commercial venture with Aniboom.com. It was part of their Creator's Studio program where they advertised for pitches and awarded grants to the people chosen. In exchange however, they would own the characters and try to sell the idea for profit. I was happy to agree to this as I'd come up with the characters so quickly and easily and was not overly attached to them. They apparently had interest from networks, but never closed any deals.
Q: Angry Dog - Be My Bitch was a fascinating flash movie that was funny and your song Be My Bitch gained a bit of fame in the Audio Portal. Where was the inspiration for this flash movie and what was the process in writing this song?
A: Be My Bitch is exactly how I feel about the club scene. There's one line in the film that sums it up I think: "It's all just mating rituals perverted by consumerism." These days I refuse to even enter clubs. I don't dance, so that's probably what it boils down to. When I recorded the lyrics for the song at my friend Peter's house, there was an asian homestay student living with Peter's parents there, who Peter neglected to inform about what we were doing. Apparently he was totally freaked out by all the wailing and groaning. Music wise, I chose the simplest, cheesiest pop melody I could think of and tried to emulate the sound of a cheapass karaoke machine.
Q: The Perfect Latin Lover is quite the interesting flash movie with quite the interesting song being Fernando's Theme. Where did the inspiration for both this flash and this song come from and would it itself become an inspiration for your future work "Dance of the Manwhore"?
A: No, it's not connected to Dance of the Manwhore (other than both featuring the same character). It was an experiment to see if I could make a film in one day. It spilled over to a day and a half so I guess the experiment failed. Also, I thought maybe I'd do more Fernando video blog entries in the future, but I never got around to it.
Q: Oh my God what is wrong with you? Pleasure Island. You've stated that it's based off a comics. Do tell of the experience and the thought that went into this as well as the rest of the Pleasure Island episodes.
A: It's a different story for each episode. My friend's and I used to do comic jams occasionally, where we draw one panel and pass the page along, making up the story as we go. It's a great drawing and writing exercise and I recommend it to anyone, in fact it's the kind of collaboration that would work well with the network Newgrounds already has in place. Anyway, Pleasure Island was a particularly twisted two page comic that I thought would be fun to animate. There aren't really amusing stories for Pleasure Island 2 & 3, they both just came out of me staring at the computer screen and trying to come up with ideas, with the general theme of combining my older characters, Fernando, Gooseman and Manny, with the new setting of Pleasure Island.
Q: One of my favorite flash movies by you has to be Captain Planet Strip Club. Were you trying to convey something with this flash or were you just being funny? Either way what was the process and inspiration in creating this?
A: You skipped Parliament Deathmatch, both that and Captain Planet goes to Copenhagen (that's it's proper title, but it was too long for Newgrounds' title character limit), as well as Ask Raptor Jesus were made to air on a panel discussion show on television here in Australia. Basically I was trying to have fun with national politics while still making a point, but I admit that the fun came before making the point so extrapolating the point would probably be difficult for most, and impossible for almost anyone outside of Australia who isn't familiar with local politics. Interestingly, the lack of context doesn't seem to detract from the experience, and may actually create a mood of batshit insanity, which I find quite amusing.
Q: Despite the bizarre story of "Pleasure Island" the short flash Ask Raptor Jesus is even stranger. Why was this flash entitled "Ask Raptor Jesus" when it has little to nothing to do with Raptor Jesus? Also where was the inspiration for Raptor Jesus and will we see more of him?
A: I guess I provided some context for Ask Raptor Jesus in my answer to your last question. All of the random stuff has a deeper meaning, but I doubt most people here would care about Australian politics so I won't go into it, plus it would take a lot of exposition. To answer your question, basically I really liked and wanted to animate Raptor Jesus. Your question implies that you're not familiar with him; in a nutshell he's a meme from 4chan. You probably noticed I like drawing lizards, and I love the irreverent attitude towards Christianity. The point of this film was to highlight the fact that no one was talking about climate change anymore (and also that both the prime minister and the alternative prime minister at the time were church loonies), at least in the media spotlight in Australia. Since then our prime minister, the silver haired guy wearing the dress and the moustache in the audience was overthrown, partly (or mostly, depending on who you talk to) over this issue.
Q: Your first time hitting the triple crown of Newgrounds by winning the "Daily Feature", "Weekly 1st Place", and the "Review Crew Pick" awards would be with a little music video entitled Dance of the Manwhore. This is more or less a song. I have already reviewed this flash movie stating that it was like a stalker making a music video which is flattering, but creepy. How would you describe this flash movie and what was the inspiration behind it?
A: It started as a writing exercise. I came up with the first verse, I don't remember how or why, and posted the lyrics on my forum and a Newgrounds news post, asking for collaboration. I ended up getting a lot of awesome material, and when I edited and hammered it all together into a song, I thought it was too funny not to do. Also, the appeal with making music videos is that you can pretty much draw whatever you like, people accept completely irrelevant visuals. Interestingly, most music videos are as boring as cardboard.
Q: When it comes to writing comedy different people have ways of doing so. What are the steps you normally take when writing?
A: I've taken a lot of different approaches. Sometimes I'll come up with two lines of dialogue and write a situation around them. My most recent film, Captain Planet Rampage, was written entirely in my head when I was out jogging one day. Sometimes I collaborate online, sending a few paragraphs to Peter, one of the guys I draw comics with. Short films are such an elastic medium that pretty much any writing style can work for them.
Q: Looking back at your past work, it's easy to see that your animation has gotten better over time and is only getting better. What advice can you give to new flash artists and animators in the future?
A: Don't stagnate, try different styles and characters. Don't start massive projects unless you're really confident you can finish them. Try and look at a wide range of art and deconstruct how it's made, what the underlying principles are.
Q: What can we expect from Sexual-Lobster in the near future?
A: I'm pretty keen to finish Pleasure Island 4, which I'm halfway through, but keep putting aside to do other stuff (I didn't follow my own advice about starting massive projects), and I'd like to do a sort of sequel, or a continuation, of Dance of the Manwhore. I'm going back to uni this year so I like to think I'll get more animation done than last year when I spent most of the time working.
Sexual-Lobster reminds me of MasterAardvark. They both have a twisted sense of humor and a strange sense of creativity that is brilliant while at the same time disturbingly entertaining. It would be amazing if they collaborated together, however that seems like a cruel wish on the mind. Until then we must enjoy the works of this strange lobster creature.