Interview No. 70
Interview By: @The-Great-One
Today's guest is certainly a hidden Newgrounds member despite his stuff being shown through different collection pages. He has his own collection page by the name of Jimtopia which has featured Jim and Pals Shorts. However he has branched out on a past Robot Day with the submission Turing Test. He is none other than @Jimtopia
Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?
A: Near the end of 2005 I really started to get into flash animation, and a good friend of mine (who I still hang out with to this day) took notice and suggested that I begin posting my works where people could see them, namely Newgrounds. When he told me about it I didn't think I was good enough to post my cartoons online, however, several months later, after just finishing Stuck in the Desert I decided to take a chance and see what people thought of my stuff. I guess I joined because, living in the middle of nowhere, there's not a lot of people I can show my work too, so I realized that posting them online was the only way I would ever get any kind of realistic feedback.
Q: Your first flash would in turn start the Jimtopia series. This flash would be entitled Stuck in the Desert. Where did the idea come from for this flash and looking back on it are you still proud of it?
A: I distinctly remember a Cartoon Network promo using "The Sun is a Mass of Incandescent Gas," for one of their little "between-commercial" spots (I think it was something to do with going outside in the summer, I can't really remember), and I thought it was pretty catchy so I did a little research online and managed to find out what the song was and who it was by. Upon listening to it, I can't remember how exactly, but I came up with the idea of it being the worst song to have to listen to when you're stuck in the desert, and thus the idea for "Stuck in the Desert" was born. I wouldn't say I'm really proud of that cartoon any more, however I do think it's a good first submission. It's a silly idea and all the concepts and jokes come across fairly clearly in the (very basic) animation.
Q: Jim: His Hidden Life would bring forth some new characters to the world of Jimtopia. Are these characters based off of any real life friends?
A: Nah, Jim's friends all just kind of spawned out of me needing people for Jim to bounce jokes and ideas off of. "Hmm, I need someone to beat up Jim for this joke. I know, I'll create a bully!" "Oh, Jim needs to be chatting with a friend for this joke, how about a goth kid?" And so on and so forth. Once I got to 6 characters I decided that was enough and that became the official group, so to speak.
Q: What is the Spongebob Best Day Ever Music Collab?
A: Wow, I had totally forgotten about this. Spongebob's "Best Day Ever," is a song from the Spongebob Squarepants soundtrack that is actually quite catchy. I grew up watching Spongebob, so when I saw this collab in the forums I decided to join up. If I remember correctly nothing ever came of it though, it just kind of died due to lack of interest.
Q: Jimtopia Changes would have you break the fourth wall on many different levels. I see this flash for the most part as a parody of what over-protective parent activists think about television violence and what they would do. Is that what you were going for or were you going with a different route?
A: Upon re-watching it just now I suppose that was sort of the idea I was trying to get across, though at the time I don't think I was consciously trying to convey any sort of greater message. The humor in Jimtopia, at least in my mind, has always been that his world is sort of this blank slate, there's no canon or continuity (or there very rarely is anyway), and so I could pretty much do whatever ideas came to mind, and the idea of his actions becoming more and more censored and "child-friendly" as they happened struck me as entertaining.
Q: Before we continue I want to talk about the Tetris Unleashed trilogy. It started with Tetris Unleashed, then Tetris Unleashed 2 and ending off with Tetris Unleashed 3. Where did the ideas come from for all three of these, and what made you want to make two sequels?
A: The Tetris Unleashed series is a very odd specimen in my collection, as much as I hate doing anything remotely serious with Jim, all three of these seemed to turn out well. It's weird, back when I made these I had no particular interest in Tetris, I wasn't very good at it, and honestly I think the only reason I made them is because I enjoyed the Tetris theme song so much that I wanted to make cartoons using it. Ironically now that I'm not doing that series anymore I actually have gotten very good at Tetris, my current record stands at 40 lines in 41 seconds!
Q: We now come to the "Jim and Pals Shorts" starting with Jim and Pals Shorts: Ep 1. Certainly a creative idea, are the idea of the flash and the spawning of the idea similar? In other words did a song just pop into your head while you were thinking? If so which song, if not then where did this idea come from?
A: I think this idea actually just spawned out of laziness. I was trying to think of a funny, easy to animate concept that would be a good character introduction for Jim and his friends, and this is what I came up with. It required very little actual character animation, and it was pretty easy to put together. I really don't remember where exactly the idea came from for thoughts to be translated into music though. My best guess would be that it started with me trying to think of songs that best fit the characters personalities, and then that somehow morphed into thoughts being turned into music.
Q: Episodes 2 and 3 of Jim and Pals Shorts would give comedic laughs and play around with a quote literally. Jim and Pals Shorts: Ep 4 is a bit different. It involves the game Pong no doubt, and although it is short there is a fair bit of writing here. How did this concept come to you and what was the process in creating it?
A: The idea for this one came from when me and a friend were working on a flash pong game (which I believe you can find in my 2007 submissions still), and there was a weird glitch where the ball would get stuck in the paddle and just shoot back at lightning speed. We thought it was hilarious at the time, and I translated that into the idea of how dangerous it would be to be on the pong field when that happened. So that's where Jim and Pals 4 came from.
Q: From one video game parody we jump into another with Jim and Pals Shorts: Ep 5. This time with the game Portal. Where did the idea come from for this one and with the release of Portal 2 will we see another one of these?
A: This episode just came from funny little ideas I got while playing the original Portal. I don't think I'll be doing another one for Portal 2, for two reasons. Number one being that I haven't had a chance to play Portal 2 yet (despite really wanting to), and number two being that I'm sure by the time I do play it every parody and joke will have been done to death.
Q: My favorite flash by you has to be Jim and Pals Shorts: Ep 6. This was not only very creative and funny, it would also be the first time we hear voices for the characters. What all can you tell us about this short and how did you get these two as voice actors?
A: I don't ever remember doing a casting call or anything, I think I just heard there voices in other flashes that I had seen and decided to contact them about voicing Jim and Gary. I actually still keep in contact with the guy who voiced Jim, turns out he's a pretty cool dude. As far as the short itself goes, I don't think there's too much I can talk about, a friend of mine made almost the exact joke that you see in the episode and I thought it would translate well to a cartoon so I made it the joke for Jim and Pals Episode 6.
Q: There comes a time in every artist or animator's time when they realize that they truly are enjoying what they're doing, they then see that they may be limited as to what they have and thus expand. You would take this venture with Jim and Pals Shorts: Ep 8. When it comes to working with flash could you please tell our readers is it difficult or can it come to them overtime?
A: Growing up, I was not a very artistic person. I very rarely drew as a child, I didn't really make music or write, but for some reason near the end of middle school I decided to start fiddling around with animation, and although I'm nowhere near being a decent animator yet, I am progressing. My point being, if I, someone who had zero artistic training or experience, could figure it out then I'm sure anyone reading this could as well. You've just got to keep practicing.
A: Fizz is one of those characters that I thought of when I was a kid and he just always stuck with me. Early on in my Newgrounds career, when I was trying to do new things and practice animation, I remembered Fizz, and I thought it'd be fun to do a cartoon of him battling a robot, however since I was still very new to animation at the time, I had to work under my own artistic limitations, so Fizz was reduced to a "Jimtopia style" caricature. Later on down the road I, once again, remembered Fizz and decided that I was finally at a point (artistically) where I could do the character justice, so I created the Fizz you see in Fizz Episode 1. Sadly I don't think there's going to be an Episode 2 for that series, though maybe someday I'll release the audio for what would've been Episode 2, all the VA's I got on-board did an amazing job.
Q: The one flash that would take a year before being released would be Jim and Pals Shorts Ep 10. You have told people why this was through a news post, but for our readers could you give us a small rundown?
A: To put it simply, I wanted to make Jim and Pals 10 a special episode, but that plan very quickly fell apart, and after that experience I decided to focus my efforts more towards Fizz Episode 1. So by the time that was done, school and work had already started back up for me, and as a result Jim and Pals 10 ended up taking way longer than any of the previous installments and thus it released nearly a year after Jim and Pals 9. Interestingly enough though, Jim and Pals 10 is my favorite one out of all of them.
Q: Your best flash movie on Newgrounds is your latest one entitled Turing Test. I am very curious about the inspiration for this one. What all can you tell us about this flash?
A: This flash was inspired by a story I read, which was written by a man named Sam Hughes. I was attempting to think of something to do for Robot Day 2010, and the idea of translating one of Sam's works into an animated feature had always been in the back of my mind, so I decided to use his story "The Difference" (which you can find here: http://qntm.org/difference), as a template, and write a script based on the idea of a supposed chat bot trying to convince people that it was, in fact, human. Despite the time constraints of getting it ready and submitted for Robot Day, I'm fairly happy with how Turing Test came out. I actually almost abandoned the project halfway through because I thought the Newgrounds community would hate it, boy was I shocked when it ended up being my most popular flash.
Q: What is Retro 280?
A: My first foray into the world of music production. I had a brief phase in my early teen years where I wanted to make electronic music, so one year for christmas I got an electric keyboard and I started making my own music under the monicker "Retro 280." Not sure why I chose that name to be honest. I guess it sounded cool to me back then. That phase did end up dying off, but recently (in the last couple years) it has resurfaced.
Q: Your first step into the Audio Portal would be with a song entitled Borgs. What was the process you and your band took into creating this song and looking back on it are you still proud of it?
A: I actually only posted those first few songs to test out the Audio Portal. Really though I'm not proud of any of of my stuff currently in the Audio Portal. I'd love to post some of my newer stuff, but since Newgrounds uses a Creative Commons license, then I can't post nearly any of my new tracks due to my use of sampling.
Q: The Interviewer has spoken to many different singers in the past and I assume we can add your name to this list. About Boredom is certainly quite the song. Are you the one singing in this song and where did the inspiration come from?
A: I am singing in that one, though that's a very rare thing. Frankly I don't like singing very much and I don't really do it anymore. That song is a special exception because the way it was structured required some sort of lyrics, so I decided to just sing them myself that time. I honestly don't know where the inspiration came from for that one, sometimes I just think of a few chords that sound good together and it ends up turning into something more.
Q: What can we expect from Jimtopia in the future?
A: Well, despite my dilapidated and out-of-date Newgrounds page, I am still regularly producing content. I had a brief contract to produce a series for The Escapist, sadly though that didn't end up working out for several reasons, so I decided to shut down production after three episodes. But I've always got ideas for new content and series floating around in my head, so hopefully one of these becomes something more in the very near future. The two things I do tend to update pretty regularly are my Youtube music page (where I post new music under the name "daks"), and my Twitter.
I first got into contact with Jimtopia when he asked me to review his flash movies. Afterwards I was surprised that not only did he have his own collection page, but he also seems to be underrated and not as known throughout Newgrounds. I'm still not entirely sure why this is, but I for one think it is wrong. Jimtopia is certainly a wonderful addition to Newgrounds and one I'm sure will surprise us more in more in the coming years.