Interview No. 136
Interview By: @The-Great-One
Today's guest has been an avid fan of those we have interviewed on here before from the small brewstew, to the big named TmsT. He has delighted us all with works such as Wool E, Zelda: Flying Fairy, Mine Mine MInecraft!!, and Sex Hair. We are most proud to welcome one of our own fans, @WooleyWorld.
Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?
A: Well, I used to make "animations" using MS Paint and Windows Movie Maker on YouTube. That was way back in '07. Right around '08 or '09 I start playing with Flash. I made an official transition to Flash in late '09 and I needed a place to put up the animations in their SWF format. I had stumbled on NewGrounds a couple of times and knew it existed so I sort migrated over and made an account. We used to watch the old classic flashes on NG and ABS way back in the day so I became familiar with the site. Been there ever since.
Q: What age did you become interested in animation?
A: Like most animators, I used to play around with old flipbooks and such. That used to spark my interest. Though I didn't really become hooked until the early 2000s when my cousin showed me the old Miyazaki film "Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro". Talk about a classic. I recommend it to any animators out there. Such a lovely film. It is my favourite animated film and among my top 5 films ever. That film made me want to animate. I know my animations are not even in the same ballpark, but that is what I strive for these days... a animation like that.... oh but to actually answer that question. I must have been about 10 maybe? Majora's Mask was still popular so that gives you a timeframe...
Q: Who is Tristan Weihmann?
A: Tristan is an old friend I used to go to elementary school with. It is funny because I didn't talk to Tristan when he first transferred to my school. I remember he started talking about some animation he watched (Which I came to find out as TMSTs "Bad Idea"). I did not know what he was talking about and thought he was weird. After I stumbled upon the animation myself on ABS, I called him on the spot and we had a laugh that that was what he was talking about. We became good friends and all that, you know how it goes. We used to watch old TMST animations and talk about stuff like that. We would fuel a lot of creative thought between the two of us. I usually write something and bring it to Tristan, and we can tear through it and see what works and what does not. Nowadays he usually does the little 3D elements that can be found in my animations. He keeps me grounded when my ideas get too wild. Haha.
Q: One of my favorite guests here on The Interviewer was a user by the name of TmsT, which is short for Too Much Spare Time. You and many others know him better as Andrew Kepple. When and how did you meet Andrew; was it on Albino Blacksheep?
A: TMST? Andrew Kepple? Never heard of it. Is it a piece of furniture? ... I'm lying. We did end up meeting on ABS during one of the TOFA tournaments. I think it was either 2011 or 2012. I do not remember. But yes, he was a judge and I was an animator still fresh to the animating scene. I shot him a message and he shot one back. Bip bap, all that. Andrew is among my favourite animators and is part of the reason I animate like I do. We used to watch his stuff _all_the_time_. The way he added buttons on his flashes so you can see his actual frame by frame work was glorious. I learned a lot of animating from his work and when we started talking I fangirled on him. He's still immensely helpful if I'm having Flash issues or have a question on something.That and the guy loves Flash with an almost sexual passion. So. He's got that going for him
Q: Your first movie submitted to Newgrounds was submitted twice. Once as Our Fore Fathers and again as Our Fore Fathers. They were subsequently blammed. Could you tell us what they were about and why you think they were blammed?
A: Ohh my. That one.
First off, they were the same thing. I did not know much about the submitting system and I submitted it twice. Both got so badly blammed that my Macromedia 8 still cannot walk correctly. Looking back now I, of course, think the animation is trash. All it consisted of was my character standing there and he spewed some unfunny line with a bad sex joke accompanied by some truly horrendous art. ... So it's basically like what I've been doing for the past six years. No really though. That animation was such garbage. It did it's job though. It gave me a taste of what I could do with animation, got me a little more familiar with the program (Macromedia Flash 8 at the time) and it also gave me a sample of the NG community.. The decently fair community with good, supporting people laced with ball-busting, zero-bombers around ever corner. But yes, that's my thinking around that entire slideshow-reject animation. Haha. Live and learn, I reckon.
Q: I tend to ask each person I invite on here about their first work, post, or thing they have done on Newgrounds, you are no exception. Your second submission which is now on your page as your first would be Space Bear!. What can you tell us about this movie and looking back on it how do you feel you've grown in terms of skill?
A: Oh God. Tristan and I watched that little number the other day... That animation was conceived between a highschool classmate and myself back in early 2010. It was just a silly little thing that I'm sure we were all killing ourselves laughing at the time. Looking back on the thing, it is clear I've come a long way. The entire piece is just cringe worthy. We are talking baby picture cringe worthy. I've advanced away from that style of animating. It is a style of people just standing around and delivering lines without much animation at all. It is something I try to get away from these days with the use of hand movement and body language matched with facial expressions and dynamic movement. That and I clearly did not understand layering and working with symbols back in those days because some of the things like the mouth on Ash at the end and the bullets going behind the character.. Simply horrific. Having said that, I find I have made great strides since then. Clearly. I try to keep my animations more lively and keep characters interesting. When I cannot keep characters moving, I want to make sure the background is also alive so that nothing stagnates. The last thing I want to do it have a break in the animation and the viewer is just sitting there and nothing is happening. It really breaks them away and it makes me look like trash. I have learned that since then and I try to impliment it when I can. I like to keep this little thought in mind when I am animating: "If I am not telling a joke or setting up to tell a joke, I had better be moving the story or letting the characters and environment breathe."
Also I have learned to take your time on your projects. Space Bear! is this silly little thing I blew out in probably a few hours. This current project I am working on is about three months in the making. I want to make sure this animation is following my own little rules so I can keep it as appealing as possible. If I cannot put the love and care into the animation, how can I expect people to care about it? Hence, I keep things moving, lively, and breathing so I can make people want to watch and see the world I am putting in front of them. I know I am making silly little game parodies sometimes and Sex Hair other times, but i always want to present the animation in a world the viewer wants to engage in. This I do by keeping it interesting and taking my time. Simple little things like making the clouds move or adding good background sound effects can really help an animation jump to the next level.
Wow that was long-winded.
Q: Your first video game parody comes to us with Fable III Basically. At what age did you become interested in video games? What made you want to parody Fable III?
A: I became a fan way back in the day with the Nintendo64 in the late 90s.We used to play that game system all the time. Fast forward a few years, I was fresh off of video game parody animations and I figured I could make one. I chose a popular game that I enjoyed. It just so happened that I was a very bad animator at that time and an even worse writer... If I was given the chance to animate a Fable parody these days, I would pass.
Q: Venezuela I feel is in my top 3 of your best written movies. Seems there was a lot of love and hate put into this. You gave a brief description about the issues you had in making this, care to expand?
A: Let me start this answer with my opinion on the animation. It is a nice little animation that I did when I was new to animating. Having said that, the animation itself is clearly me seeing I can do with Flash and also trying to make a complete story. The animation itself certainly is not anything to phone home about, and the writing is just a string of joke after joke. I like that I was ambitious enough to try and tackle a larger project (it being about six or seven minutes I recall?), and that I was trying to take on better animating techniques with tweening and frame by framing.
However, after a few months, the audio was giving me a load of trouble and kept lagging. This is what held the animation from release for about six months if I recall correctly. Of course I went on to find out, thanks to Andrew Kepple and a helpful google search, that the audio begins to lag with longer projects and that the frames need to be tweaked to make up for this lag. I wish I could have told 2010-Grant that and saved him all that time... Well. Lesson learned, knowledge earned. All that jive.
Q: One of my favorite Disney songs is the villain song in Pocahontas entitled "Mine Mine Mine". You would combine this in the wonderful world of Minecraft with your movie Mine Mine Minecraft!!. This movie is simply hilarious! Where did the idea come from for this? The backgrounds you used came from Minecraft, what was the process you took in integrating them into your animation?
A: So this one time in computer class Senior year in highschool I was really bored, because I was far ahead in my animating course and was sitting with nothing to do. It was at this point that we were in full gear and playing Minecraft. I had just heard the song from Pocahontas, and it just seemed like it went together perfectly. This song is about greedy mining... Which is like my existence in Minecraft (Ask Tristan).
So from that I started playing with a new lineless style which made the animating a little easier. The animation was pretty poorly received (story of my life), but I still enjoyed it. With regards to the backgrounds, They were all done the same way except for the moving backgrounds. We set up the shot we wanted based from a storyboard. We then got a shot of it and we could just drag the things into Flash. By that point I was using Adobe CS3. They were not the finest quality, but we did not have the space to have fine quality shots. The moving backgrounds were just video files that we captured using FRAPS at the time. From there I just animated on top of the shots based off the animatics. It was a different process, and I would like to do something else like that nowadays now that I have improved. However, I simply do not have a good enough idea for that kind of approach at this time.
Q: When brewstew was here we talked about his movies where he sheds light on his past or things that happen to him in society. He used animation to share these stories with us with some exaggeration. With that in mind what is the full story behind Sex Hair and what made you want to share it wish us in such glorious fashion?
A: Ah. BrewStew is a nice fellow. Right proper storyteller as well. He and I have some of the same kind of humour. But yes. Sex Hair. I was wondering when that one was going to come up. Much like BrewStews works, Sex Hair was based off of an actual situation from my first day in my Freshman drawing class. The drawing professor had asked the students what we enjoyed drawing so we could get to know each other. People were going off about what they like. Some girl said she liked mushrooms (what?) And another said she liked to draw trees (alright.) but this one girl right next to me goes "I like to draw things with fur, you know.. hairy things" And my mind just started ticking. In my mind I ripped open my shirt, dropped down on the drawing table, and went "I've got something hairy for you to draw". My mind works when I am not. I thought it would make a funny little animation short.A few months later, I told Tristan I wanted to start putting more 3D in animations and he said he could do that now so I started looking through ideas I had written down and there was Sex Hair. We thought it would be funny to stick a 3D statue in the background of one of the shots. It's funny because nobody probably ever noticed that little gag over the fact that the main animation was pretty funny and stuck in peoples minds. I am pretty known for that animation over all my others, and I get messages all the time asking where the third one is... It is funny because the animation almost did not make it through the wheel house and died in the back pages of a sketchbook. It only made it to the realm of the living because we wanted to mess around with 3D... 3D nobody even noticed. Haha. Funny how that works sometimes, hm?
Fun Fact: I'm looking at the original sheet right now that I dug up from the grave. Sex Hair was almost named "HappyTrails" .. because hair.. happy trails.. ha. I'm funny I swear. Please don't go.
Q: Going through your history you struggled quite a bit in your skills as an animator, but you have grown exponentially over time. What advice do you have to give to those who are just starting out themselves?
A: Oh man. I will just pretend I am speaking to 2010-Grant.
I just want to start off saying that you should get drawing. Practice drawing. Get good at it, because you are going to need it. I sucked so bad when I started and I have still got such a ways to go. The thing about that though is that I am still reading up and drawing and trying harder every time. You always want to push it to do the best work you can produce. You don't need to worry about what other animators are doing. You can keep up and learn from them, sure.. but you don't need to compare yourself to other animators. You just keep your skill sharp and your writing sharper. Keep your chin up and your head down. All that jive. Life Drawing classes are a _life saver_.
I want to tell the younger guys and gals to give their stories a try and push their own characters. They may not take off initially, but people become interested if you are interested. Your favourite characters and stories that you parody now used to be just like you and getting out there. So go for it and don't care about what people think. The right people will dig your groove.
A good piece of advice I got once was to keep drawing. Every day. And make sure you do it every day, because there are a million and four other Joes out there gunning for your job. And if you are not drawing, they sure are and they're getting better than you. It is your job to keep yourself trucking and improving. You can sit there and mope about how so and so is better than you and how such and such is a better animation, but it is not going to get you any better. If you want to be better, you need to _want_ to be better...
Oh God I sucked for so, so long... Just keep going. Don't stop. Ever.
Q: What can we expect from WooleyWorld in the future?
A: Well well. You can expect fewer animations, I am not going to lie. I am taking my time with them these days and putting more love into them. Like I said, this current one is three months in the making. I want to focus more on story and characters and good, solid jokes. To make animations that are worthwhile and you won't forget before tomorrows breakfast.
Push my animation like I've not done prior. Make people wonder "How did he do that?" Make them try it for themselves. Push new angles and new framework. I am just begginning to get good with my animating and I am at the point where I can do whatever I like. In the past, I would have to cut corners based on artistic handicaps. Now I am a solid animator, and I can achieve the shots and angles and frames I have in my head without being hindered. I have so many projects on my mind, hope I can live long enough to get them out. Haha. I just like to imagine I'm sitting there rubbing my hands together going to myself, "You fellows just sit tight wait what's coming up next...".
This interview like my past two have been on the back burner for a while. I found out about WooleyWorld due to his comment on the interview I had done with brewstew. He was interested in being interviewed. I looked over his works and thought, 'why not?'. So here we are today and I most certainly don't regret this encounter... especially when Sex Hair is involved.