Interview No. 80
Interview By: @The-Great-One
The following trailer above is of a flash animation Madness Heist and it is made by today's guest. He has also done works such as Tactical Diplomacy, Tactical Directive Pt1 v1, and Gotham Heat. He is none other than the Master of Carnage, @MOC-Productions.
Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?
A: I remember my friends and I used to check out the site and play some of those random games that would come out and watch the cartoons as well. I want to say this was in 2001 right after 9-11 went down and there were a bunch of anti-terrorism games that I'd get a kick out of. I also remember loving Retarded Animal Babies and Perfect Kirby.
I decided to join mainly because I was always fascinated by art/film. I saw all these great cartoons and knew that NG was a user-based site. So these weren't professionals working in some office. They were (for the most part) regular people like everyone else. I thought if people are able to create these kinds of things on their own, why not give it a try? I always liked to draw comic books and such. So I got a hold of Macromedia Flash (before Adobe came and ruined it) and decided to try animating.
Q: You have been here since 2003 according to your sign-up date which means you've seen Newgrounds in one of its earliest incarnations. For those who didn't know what it looked like back then could you tell them what effect that design had on you and the 2007 redesign had on you as well? Also what are you excited for in the upcoming redesign?
A: I remember the very first original design of NG was very simple. There was a front page with some new cartoons and games (which were mixed together, I think), but for the most part, that was it. Most of the movies I ended up watching, I found through the few category sections that were available (parodies, violence, etc.). While it was always a user-based site, most of what you'd see would be controlled by Tom and the higher-ups.
When the big redesign came (I think this was the 2007 one), it became much more user friendly/oriented. I noticed alot of new artists were coming out of the woodworks. There was the ability to post news on the front page, the daily awards had a nice big spot on there, and it was MUCH easier to navigate. I think that was the point when users started to get alot more recognition and control.
Q: As part of this year you come from the early years of flash animation when not a lot had yet been set in stone and many people were new at the time. What was the feeling like entering this new world that not many people knew about? Who did you meet along this journey?
A: It was actually quite intimidating. Like I said, a few of my friends knew about it, but at the time I joined, it was still kind of an underground thing. However, when I joined, I sort of rushed into it thinking I could get as much attention as some of the other flashes I'd seen. I held those on a high pedestal. I'd submit my stuff and think it was a huge accomplishment just to stay in the green. But there were SO many higher quality animations coming out at the time, it was hard to keep up.
I remember meeting one user who went by X13LAZE at the time when I was doing one of my Tactical Diplomacy movies. It wasn't until I met that guy that I realized that Newgrounds is ALL about collaborating and helping eachother out for the sake of art. It was pretty cool considering there aren't many sites that offer that kind of thing. Now I know plenty of awesome people on this site that I wish I could meet in person.
Q: Your first flash on Newgrounds would be a trailer for your upcoming series called Damage Factor, it would start with Damage Factor Part 1. What is this series about and will we ever see the light of day of Damage Factor 2, the sequel to the four part series?
A: Oh, God lol. That trailer/series is something I loath at this point. The trailer was my very first flash animation. Literally, the VERY first thing I ever did with it. I had no idea what I was doing. I hadn't even grasped the concept of "layering" by then so I was just erasing little parts of the frame and drawing the movements over them. It looks awful. I'm actually shocked I ended up finishing that series. The goal was mainly to have one of those cliché "framed cop" stories and make it feel like a movie.
As far as Damage Factor 2 goes, I wouldn't hold my breath. The DF2 trailer I put out was just a bunch of clips from the same action sequence I created just to see how my human art skills were doing. I didn't even have a story lined up. After I released the trailer, I decided I still wasn't quite ready and just kind of abandoned the whole thing.
Q: Your Tactical Diplomacy series resembles in story to your past works while different in its style. Why the change from humans to something more adorable?
A: After Damage Factor, I got a lot of criticism about the art, which was well deserved. Nothing looked consistent. A lot of people (including myself at the time) don't realize how difficult it is to draw the human body. I figured if I wanted to have lengthy flash movies with my still novice skils, I had to tone it down and use a more simplistic character design.
The story behind Tactical Diplomacy is actually kind of strange. A buddy of mine and I created this little character (the guy with the big eyes) and would send eachother MS paint pictures of the character blowing stuff up back and forth. When I learned a few techniques with flash, we decided to actually ANIMATE one of those sequences. It was originally supposed to be like a 30 second thing, and I just ended up building a story around it.
Q: Tactical Directive Pt1 v1 would bring forth a new sleek style from you as well as a wonderful story. Where did the inspiration come from for this? Were you given flak for being a Madness clone?
A: I've always been influenced primarily by the film medium. With this one, I wanted to really let that show.
Surprisingly, there wasn't too much criticism about the Madness design similarity, which I wasn't trying to hide. I thought about actually making as a Madness movie in the beginning. The reason I didn't is because it's a very dialogue-oriented story, which means people have to be able to distinguish who's who. Keeping with the style of Tactical Diplomacy (which is still Madness-inspired) allowed that.
Q: We come to my favorite by you and that is Gotham Heat. I am a huge Batman man and I loved seeing this. The last time I spoke about a Batman flash with someone here it was with HappyHarry. So let's look at yours. It takes up after the movie "The Dark Knight", the question is why did you feel the need to continue the story and how much inspiration did you draw from other Batman materials when making this flash?
A: My friend Chris (the co-writer of the story) and I, like many others, were fascinated by "The Dark Knight". We kept talking about how awesome the ending was and how we liked the idea of Batman being a fugitive. We also loved how ruthless Batman is when it comes to taking down cops. He has no shame in just beating the shit out of them for the greater good. So I kept wondering how Batman would go about fighting crime with the whole police department coming down on him.
In the midst of animating it, I ended up watching a TON of Batman: The Animated Series. I learned a lot about Batman through watching that incredible show, and think the movie turned out that much better because of it. Plus the characters of Bullock and Gordon are directly inspired by their design in the show. I just liked the idea of blending The Dark Knight world with the Animated Series world because in the end, they both have pretty much the same approach to Batman.
Q: Madness Heist would be your entry for Madness Day 2011 and would win 3rd Place. This is an amazing action movie, well written and smart. Where did the story of this begin? How did you find the voice actors, music, and how was the story written? Also will we be seeing a sequel for next Madness Day?
A: I came up with the idea for Madness Heist in the middle of making Gotham Heat. I had always wanted to do something for Madness Day, but always thought it would get shit on. But after developing the idea, I felt the only way to go for it would be in the Madness style.
Finding the voice actors was probably the most fun I've had collaborating. I got really lucky with the people I found. I got to work with Motley-Fool and ShockDingo for a second time, and RicePirate and Apatheria for the first. All of them took the characters I created and took them a step further. None of them sounded like I had imagined the characters in my head. Instead, they ended up sounding even better and creating something really unique. Same goes for my brother (MrRedstone), who did the musical score. He's been into music since he was a kid and basically begged me to do the score for this one. I honestly couldn't believe the kinds of things he was able to pull off with just a computer and a program.
As far as a sequel goes, for the most part, I'm against it. I did have a pretty solid idea for a prequel/sequel, but I feel like a sequel, good or bad, could cheapen the experience of the first one. Pretty much all loose ends are tied up by the end, so it wouldn't really be necessary to keep going. But who knows.
Q: When it comes to animation and art where do you draw your inspirations from? Who inspires you to create?
A: I'm a HUGE fan of film. Almost all my inspiration for animating comes from things I see in the movies. Madness Heist is essentially a giant homage to my all-time favorite film, "Heat" by Michael Mann.
However, one flash on NG that really inspired me to give it a try was David Savage's "Hostage Situation 2". It came out in 2001 and it was WAY ahead of its time. None of us had ever seen anything quite like it. This flash alone proved to me that a cinematic approach could be taken with flash animation, rather effectively. I can honestly say that movie was what motivated me to get into cinematic animation.
Q: Since you grew on the Internet with the growth of its technologies, you have evolved over time. What advice would you like to give others getting into art and animation with many of the tools that you had to wait for already supplied to them?
A: It's absolutely amazing the types of things a computer and a draw pad can do. We're living in the digital age, which is something that shouldn't be taken for granted. People used to use tracing paper to draw frame-by-frame animation, now everything is done through tablets, laptops, and computers. It makes things so much faster and easier.
It sounds cliché, but practice really does make perfect. With the tools that are available now, it's easy to practice. So anyone who is just starting out, just animate whatever the hell you want. No matter what it is, you'll be proud of it because it's YOUR creation and no one can take that away from you. Down the road, things start to make more sense and you learn new things as you go along, which is actually the fun part.
Q: What can we expect from MOC-Productions in the future?
A: Currently, I'm working on developing a potentially huge sci-fi project. I want it to be the most epic thing I've ever done, which means it will take FOREVER to complete, but hopefully be worth it. I'm trying to save up to get a Cintiq for this one so I can improve my FBF skills. If and when it does take off, I'll most likely be collaborating with Shadman (for a portion of the art/backgrounds) and almost all of the voice-actors I've worked with in the past. The excitement of that notion alone is what is motivating me to get this project going. I can't stress enough how awesome it is to share the experience of creation with the many awesome people on this site. It really is the best part, so I do look forward to this project.
When it comes to MOC-Productions, he has a dark vision and a wonderful style that has grown and adapted over time. He truly is underrated here on Newgrounds and I hope that has been changing since his release of Madness Heist, for he is a gem that should be taken notice of and polished.