Interview No. 84
Interview By: @The-Great-One
Today's guest is one that I have been quite eager to talk to for quite sometime now. He, like Dave Bruno, has participated in different Tournament of Flash Artists competitions and is known for animations such as Backwards Day and Bear Bear which was nominated for a Newgrounds Tank Trophy for Best Movie of 2010. He is @Zeurel.
Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?
A: I found newgrounds ages ago, back when a release of Salad fingers was on a more reasonable basis. It was during my engineering studies that my class mates and myself would goof off in the most pointless subject taught to go and mess about on newgrounds and her various flash games and animations. It was back in 2008 I think I finally decided to join when I took the dive into the realm of digital animation.
Q: Your first flash movie on Newgrounds would be IF Round3: Spoiler Vs Jeff. You've stated that it was a part of the Infractus Fatality tournament on DeviantArt. What can you tell us about this tournament?
A: The basic premise of any OCT is to create a somewhat original character and have them fight other original characters until there is one left standing. I started this tourney with comics, but then decided to try my hand at animation.
Q: "Escape from Nevara" is an underrated series here on Newgrounds and one of the best. We begin at EFN Episode 1: Lies. Where does this story begin and where did the inspiration for it come from?
A: As with most of my early stuff on newgroumds, this was apart of another OCT. I wanted to start Spoiler and Black aces story from scratch and have it fleshed out and finished. However, due to the time constraints of tourneys (those only being 3-4 weeks deadline) I fell short on the story side and so lost the 3rd round to Kalkie (my opponents) Stellar comic. Out of respect for the winners and such I told myself that I would not be continuing the story.
Q: Backwards Day. You have stated that it was an entry in the 2010 Tournament of Flash Artists. So the theme matches the title. When it came down to it, this appears to be the most basic representation of such a theme, but your presentation of it is just mindfuckable. What was the process you took into bringing it to life? Where did the idea of the talking fish and the ending come from?
A: I loved working on this animation, even though I did slack off a fair bit. Since we only have about 18 days to make an animation I had to come up with a short and simple story. Not knowing how long this would actually take me, I went with something less original, but still workable in the frame given. I've always wanted to animate my friend, Zack, in something stupid so this was a perfect opportunity to do so. The whole fish idea sprang into my head from watching The Simpsons the previous week. I then got to work making this thing as retarded and stupid as possible. I think it worked out well.
Q: We now come to my favorite flash by you and that is Bear Bear. It was an entry in the 2010 Tournament of Flash Artists as well as being nominated for The 2010 Tank Awards for Best Movie. How did it feel being nominated for a Tank Award and where did this genius story come from?
A: AH yes, Bear bear. I know a guy at work who's obsessed with that one. Anyway, The theme of that round Bear Bear was made was about 'One wish'. Seeing I'd already used Amah the wishing fish in round 1, I had to come up with something else. All of my entries so far had been either funny, disgusting or both, so I wanted to go for something dark and disturbing. Having re-watched the Toy Stories recently I wanted to try something with a Toy that was unloved. This feeling drove it to be a bit obsessive and thus became its downfall in the end. I did want to add in more stuff to this flash, have Bear be taken back to the store with various owners until Ashleys mother arrived to give Bears 'freakout' after Ashley went to go pee more power, but time didn't allow it so it had to be cut. I was amazed such a simple flash got nominated for a Tank award. I was quite chuffed to say the least.
Q: Your latest work is entitled I Like Trains. It is a music video nonetheless. So that means you would have to have come across the song. How did you come across the song and how did it inspire these images into your mind?
A: Well, Tomska contacted me and asked if I wanted to animate a short Music video for his asdf movie series. I've worked with him in the past with 'War' and it was all in all a fun experience, and with payment it's the icing on the cake, so I thought why not. He gave me the script, his visions and I did what i could to bring them to life.
Q: When Dave Bruno we talked about the Tournament of Flash Artists and the flash movies that were his entries into tournaments. Did you ever cross paths with Dave Bruno? If so then what can you tell us about him? Also what was your role in the 2011 TOFA here on Newgrounds?
A: Me and Dave felt like rivals in the previous TOFA tourney, back in 2010. In the end we managed to face off in the finals, me besting him by a few points. It was a close one, but a good battle none the less. I have to say he's one of the few animators I've seen that frame by frames a lot AND puts character in the characters. Too many times to you see people using rigs, tweens and such it makes the characters seem flat and doll like. It's refreshing seeing something put that little extra effort into their work to really make it shine.
As for my role in TOFA 2011, since I became the previous years champion I wasn't allowed to join this year, but was offered the opportunity to act as a judge. I obviously took that up.
Q: When it comes to the Tournament of Flash Artists. Why should animators, musicians, artists, and the such be interested in it?
A: It's great for many things, testing your animation skills, ability to work to tight deadlines etc. The main plus of this is that it IS sponsored by big companies, that being Adobe, you get cash rewards, full programs AND It is viewed by several high people as well, as last year after completing TOFA I was asked to help work on a new show by the guys over at Adult swim. So yeah, you can get a lot out of it.
Q: Great animators and writers always draw inspirations from somewhere from their childhood to their teachers, mentors, or those they look up to. When it comes to animation and writing who and/or what inspires you?
A: Cartoons from the golden age of animation, Early disney works, Milt Khal (that man is a god) as well as some other things. For writing, I love doing a mix between humour (because everyone loves a good laugh) and horror. Horror is going to be my main focus for 2012, so keep an eye out.
Q: What advice do you have for those wanting to get into animation?
A: Keep at it and never give up. Look at my early works and you can see they clearly suck donkey balls compared to my newer stuff. You just gotta keep doing it.
Q: What can we expect from Zeurel in the future?
A: I'm currently working on a new series for Mr Tomska, so expect something on that early feb/march, as well as some Horror related flash animations, and maybe something revolving around Pokémon. Who knows~
What can I honestly say about this guy? My favorite animation by him is indeed Bear Bear, it is part of my Masterful Reviews meaning I see it as sheer perfection. When it comes to his works he knows how to take his time and have the dedication to create something beautiful, while at the same time scary, comical, creepy, or downright weird. Overall Zeurel is a force that should be recognized here and due to some of your requests, he truly is.