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Interview with Sykohyko

Posted by TheInterviewer - September 30th, 2012


Interview No. 106

Interview By: @The-Great-One

Today's guest has been long overdue. As a professional animator he has done works for The Ricky Gervais Show, The Incredible Hulk, and Alvin and the Chipmunks. As a Newgrounds member he has brought classics such as The Liar, Liar 2, and Liar 3, Karo and Abo, and Neenja: Way Of The Harut, which was nominated for a Newgrounds Tank Award for Best Movies. He has received multiple awards here on Newgrounds with his works and he continues to make many people here laugh to this day, he is @Sykohyko.

Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?

A: I had just finished my first short called "Sweet Mother Of Vartan" and was emailing it to friends. One of my friends replied to my email telling me I should upload it to newgrounds. I uploaded it and went to sleep expecting to see a few views and comments in the morning. I woke up to over 50,000 views and hundreds of comments. I instantly fell in love with the idea of reaching such a wide audience from my computer.

Q: When did you get into art and animation?

A: I started drawing when I was 2 and my parents could tell from my drawings that I was going to be an artist. They enrolled me in my first art class at age 8 and I've been learning and improving ever since.

Q: You're first movie on Newgrounds would be entitled Sweet Mother of Vartan. A boxing story with some comedy and drama tied to it. What inspired you to make this and how did you go about making it?

A: After working professionally for a few years I started wanting to do my own thing. After all as an artist you want to express your creativity in your own way. So I started trying to come up with ideas. I had been drawing these characters for a while in my sketchbook, but I needed a setting. Since I love boxing I decided to go with that as the setting. Every night after work I would meet up with 2 friends of mine George Kaprelian and Angelo Vilar, and we would board and design the characters. After we finished all that, I began animating in flash and took it to completion.

Q: Vyron would be a trailer for an upcoming project. However we haven't any of Vyron on Newgrounds except for that trailer. Why is that? Will we see Vyron in the future?

A: Vyron was just a "test trailer" I did just to test myself and see if I could pull off an epic looking feature quality animation in flash. Even that short teaser took me months to do so doing anything more wouldn't be realistic for one person to pull off. It could be something to attempt in the future if I can get to a level where I have a crew or something.

Q: The Liar, Liar 2, and Liar 3, I believe to be your best works in terms of animation and storytelling. Where did this story come from and what was the process in bringing it to life?

A: The Liar is based on an old Armenian story. I've always loved epics, fables and fantasy worlds and Armenia is full of them. I know I mostly do comedy, but I'm more into that stuff. It's just harder to achieve the kind of quality those stories deserve. Even the Liar is disappointing to me as far as quality goes. Again something I plan to attempt in the future.

Q: You introduce us to Karo and Abo in the movie Smugheads. Are these characters inspired by anything from your own life? If not then what inspired you to make these two?

A: Yes definitely. Abo is a mix of a lot of people I know both personally and through social websites. If some one has an opinion that I find funny I will use it through Abo, and I'll use Karo to voice my own opinion. Visually they are both based on family and friends.

Q: Neenja: Way Of The Harut, Neenja 2, Neenja 3, and Neenja 4. Would all be nominated together for The Newgrounds Tank Award for Best Movie of 2010. For those who don't know, who is Harut? Why make him a ninja? How did you write this series?

A: Neenja started with a funny drawing I did of Harut wearing a Ninja mask with his nose sticking out. Since I wanted to do something Epic, Neenja was perfect for it. My writing process for Neenja was more of an outline of where I wanted the story to go, and then the details would be worked out in the story boarding. I still have Neenja 5 and 6 I would like to complete, but again its hard to squeeze that kind of quality into a schedule that includes full time work.

Q: Abo's Facebook Adventure is a fun little parody on Facebook using Karo and Abo. Where did the inspiration for this come from and what was the process in animating it?

A: I just found it funny to see how much info people were putting on facebook from everything they eat, drink, think. So I thought it would be funny to have Abo did the same and kept going even after passing out. Karo again would be my voice on the topic.

Q: Thought I'd Seen It All is quite possibly one of the funniest Karo and Abo shorts I've seen of your works. The pacing, timing, and dialogue are all done wonderfully. How did this family end up on vacation and what made you want to show a witness instead of what all was happening to the family throughout it?

A: I wanted to introduce the parrot into the series, so I had the family take a trip to Hawaii where Harut was able to find one. The scene at the end was more about Abo breaking through the wall and running for freedom. I thought it would be funny if the guy settling into the room next door had just witness the family downstairs. Originally he was just suppose to be settling in talking business on his phone.

Q: MOOLT-The Facebook Effect would be another step in parodying Facebook, although it seemed to shoot for more just straight up comedy than really Facebook. What was the process in creating this?

A: Well every short I do is always based on an idea I get from my surroundings. A few times the lights went out in our neigborhood and my sister would have a mental breakdown without access to facebook. So I let the idea cook in my head for a few days until I had a rough idea of where I wanted to go with it. Then I boarded it, recorded dialogue, and animated.

Q: The Abo Theory has been your latest upload to Newgrounds, being almost a year old. Where did the idea for The Abo Theory come from and why the sudden drop from Newgrounds?

A: The Abo theory is based on a joke my dad keeps telling over and over and over again. I thought it was perfect for Abo. I actually started attending Animation Mentor about a year and a half ago, so all of my personal work was put on hold. I finished school this week so I'll be getting back into it soon.

Q: At one point you had a video entitled Genocide. It was a memorial video for the 1.5 million Armenians who were murdered in 1915 when the Ottoman Empire tried to exterminate the Armenians. It was also dedicated to your grandfathers. What all can you tell us about this movie? Your Armenian background and why you decided to take it down?

A: I actually didn't take it down. The music I had used was a Peter Gabriel song, and youtube took down the video because of copyright issues. The genocide affected both of my grandfathers. Both of them lost there entire families and grew up orphans. My last name is actually Manukyan because my Grandfather from my dads side was later adopted by a man name Michael Manukyan. That video was a special one I spent a lot of time on so I'm pretty upset that it was taken down.

Q: You have also done animation for big movies and TV shows such as Alvin and the Chipmunks, The Incredible Hulk, and The Ricky Gervais Show. Am I correct on this? If so then could you please tell us how you got to do work on these and what the experience was like?

A: I've worked professionally since 2000 after graduating from high school. Most of my work has been on 2d tv shows, but I've always strived to get into full feature animation and in 2007 I found out Rhythm and Hues was starting a training program. I sent them my reel of my 2d work and some 3d work I had done at home and got accepted into the program. After the program I was hired as a Jr. Animator on Alvin and The Chipmunks and then again as a Animator on The Hulk.

Q: For those getting into animation. What advice would you have to give them?

A: Whether your just getting into it or have been at it for a while, keep finding ways to improve. Never get comfortable no matter how good get. I had been animating for over ten years when I decided to go back to school and relearn from the bottom up. It was probably one of the best decisions I made.

Q: What can we expect from Sykohyko in the future?

A: I'm planning on developing the Abo and Karo family and pushing the characters. I have a few ideas of where I'd like to take them but you'll have to wait and see.

Sykohyko is one of those rare animators, who comes along and puts their heart and soul into their creations. Not to say others don't put in effort, all do, but Sykohyko is one of the few who I have seen to truly branch his characters and storylines to unprecedented levels. Each animation flows smoothly and has wonderful timing and pacing. It truly was a treat to interview him and maybe one day we'll see a full-length feature from him.



Thanks for the interview.

That copyright-censorship story is pretty bad...