I had a chance to put the beloved Tom 'the beard' Fulp on my monthly hot seat where I basically just interview people in the ng community who are gracious enough to want to be interviewed..
anywho I've been doing this for more than a year now so if you want to take a look at past artists/ng celebutons, and read tom's interview with pretty pictures and all dat. Go Read it here Otherwise read below!
It's March, the bees are chirping and the birds are buzzing (is that right?) and all is well... actually no its still cold as shit outside! But one thing is certain, its time for another AOTM interview!
Today's guest is none other than Tom Fulp, I know I talk about his site like every time I make any sort of post on this site but if you dont know who he is, he's the creator of Newgrounds.
So without furth ado, on with the questions!
This is the typical opener question, I've obviously stolen your thunder but indulge us anyway.... who are you? how'd you get introduced to Flash? what were your pre-flash days like?
Tom Fulp says:
I'm sure many of us feel that way. While we're on the subject of humble beginnings, what did your parents think about all this Newgrounds craziness when you were still doing it out of your basement? We're they like like the classic mildly supportive kind (yeah thats a really great idea tom, but lets find a real job just incase k?) or were they like full out behind your efforts? how has that changed (or not) throughout the 10+ years you've been at this?
Tom Fulp says:
I started NG in 1995 as a hobby towards the end of high school. My parents got a kick out of Club a Seal because they know how traumatized I was as a kid when I saw a seal get clubbed on TV (I love animals, especially cats). Even as NG began to find success, I was still very cautious and stuck with my day job. By the time I quit, it was pretty clear that exciting things were on the horizon, so my parents never really had to worry about me. They know that I work hard at whatever I do, and I'll always be able to find work. They are still very supportive to this day, although I don't think my mom has seen a lot of the stuff on the site. :)
Well what sort of job would you have persued if you hadnt done the whole Newgrounds thing anyway?
Tom Fulp says:
Well you can't have your cake and eat it too I suppose. Anyway being that this is an ARTIST of the month feature I should sprinkle in an art based question or I'll lose the 2 people who visit my site. You're mostly known for your programming / AS personality but you used to art your own stuff back then as well... one of the most beloved products of those years being Pico... how did Pico and friends come about to begin with? Are those kids actually based on real life counterparts?
Tom Fulp says:
Not really.. I just wanted to make something really offensive. :) I started with Darnell and Nene, but I wanted Pico to be the coup de grâce. I had been tinkering with a concept where Pico could fly around by crapping, but it just wasn't working out (THANK GOD)... It needed to be something MORE. Then Columbine happened, and I got my inspiration.
Darnell and Nene aren't based on anyone, but Pico is sort of modeled after myself. He's that kid who basically just gets along with people at school but is never popular. He doesn't look or act like a punk or a goth, but he's still his own individual, despite "fitting in" to the public image. It's part of what draws me to stuff like American Psycho and that show Dexter, the concept of "pretending to be a normal person", which I think a lot of people feel. I'm in no way saying I'm a sociopath killer; that's more like a metaphor for people who just don't quite "fit" the idea of what they think a normal social person is supposed to be. I now realize that I AM a very normal person, probably more well-adjusted and normal than most... But that's not how I felt growing up, and that sorta sums up Pico.
Actually Pico and friends is one of the few things thats survived from back in the 'old days' of the site where the mood of the site was about about being the internet's guilty pleasure than the hub of flash activity... now that its been a good chunk of time since NG has adoped the 'everything by everyone' motto and you can play armchair quarterback, do you feel it was for the better? I admit, I was one of the ones that was hardcore against it, i felt it was taking away the site's edge.
Tom Fulp says:
I still have those days where I miss the old slogan, but overall I like the more inclusive vibe of "Everything by Everyone." The site was evolving, it was changing. I was always disappointed in myself because the site wasn't living up to its potential, and I came to realize that pigeonholing NG as a cesspool of hate and bitterness was really holding back all the amazing stuff that NG REALLY was. The thing I love about NG is how everything sort of co-exists, like a big melting pot.
I also didn't like how some folks would use NG's vibe against it, basically looking down on us as a bunch of kids playing in the dirt and not something "real." I want NG to be like a big bright angel with its wings spread, shining holy light and magic and rainbow farts on everyone and making their lives wonderful. But not housewives, they can go to hell.
I'm sure April Fulp will be pleased as punch with that last statement. It's okay though, I'll edit that out if she ever visits here. Ok on to a different and a rather unusual scenario. Do you have a Newgrounds will? Like what would happen if one day you were just done with the site for whatever reason, maybe you have kids or you died or something? What's the chain in command or who do you think could take the NG tank keys and keep the motor going or whatever.... or would NG just get sucked into a black hole of mass hysteria... well it probably would anyway but AMUSE ME.
Tom Fulp says:
I don't have an NG will, so if I died right now it would go to April and be in good hands. I would hope the team would stick around and make it their goal to see NG through to the end. Or April could just sell it to Google and fire everyone. I don't care because I'd be dead.
No but really, I do care because I have a big goal that NG will be around in 100 years... I see NG as the "librarian" of the Flash scene. We've documented so much! When you look back at the late 90s, there is Flash that just fell off the face of the earth, because it wasn't on NG. I'm not saying that every Flash HAS to be on NG, but it's pretty neat that we've maintained an accurate archive going back to the start, with dates and authors and public feedback. I think the archive will be really impressive in another 100 years, when people can just soak it all in and go WOW. It's a whole new type of human history.
I've never thought of it like that actually... In some respect, I kinda wish I never had. I just had a mental of image of a 90yr old Krinkels sitting in a tub reminiscing about his violent animating days.
Let me lighten the mood a bit after that last depressing question, do you have any unusual skills or hidden talents that most people probably wouldnt know of? Like can you apply your mascara with your toes or something of that nature?
Tom Fulp says:
I can do a thing with my arms that looks like ET... I'll have to show you at Comic-Con or something. I can also grab a quarter off my elbow with the same hand, but anyone can do that if they learn "the trick."
I'll be sure to try and capture that on tape. Anyway I'm on a roll, lets continue the light and cheery questions. Ok so its June, Castle Crashers, a console game that you've been working on is done and outta here, you just shaved your beard... What now? whats your plans post Castle Crashers or have you not even gotten to thinking about that yet to avoid losing focus?
Tom Fulp says:
I really want to just sit on a couch and play video games and forget all responsibilities for a week. But after that I am gonna finish Pixel Puncher. From there, I have to decide between Pico 2 and two other ideas that wouldn't be as daunting. And I need to write up a ton of design documents for Newgrounds features and get focused on what it will take to accomplish each one in a reasonable amount of time. There are some ideas brewing that I consider as big as the original Flash Portal was, but we'll see how that goes.
What do you like to do in your downtime anyway, assuming you have some once in a blue moon?
Tom Fulp says:
I like eating at nice restaurants and trying different beers. It kills two birds with one stone because I have to eat anyway.
My life is a balance of different interests and moods, carried out in a way that advances the goals of NG (or the Behemoth, which itself is ultimately meant to advance the goals of NG). If I'm in the mood to program, I program games. If I'm in the mood to write, I write docs about features and ideas. If I need a break, I handle administrative BS and answer stupid interviews people send me. If I want to sing, I sing about you, Luis!
You are such a card Tom, a card!
So I was in the airport a few weeks ago and the security guard frisking me (lol) asked me about my Newgrounds shirt, 'he was like hey i know that place' and I asked him what his favorite movie was and he said Charlie the Unicorn, the problem was that he actually saw it on YouTube and had no clue that the better version and original home of the movie was indeed Newgrounds.. (he thought NG was some production company that uploaded that animation to YouTube).
The point I'm trying to make is... that's actually becoming rather common and rather annoying to many NG artists, like the ease of syndication that sites like YouTube offer. What's your view on sites like YouTube? Do you ever worry about sites like those eating away at NG's bread and butter? Do you have any plans of offering an easier way for people to syndicate content via widgets or some sort of way of quenching that hunger people have nowadays to be syndicators?
Tom Fulp says:
YouTube already HAS been eating our bread and butter. NG's traffic stopped its astronomical climb to the stars the day everyone started watching videos instead of Flash movies. But we've maintained, we've held our ground for the past few years and we've been sharpening our edge, to become something YouTube could never dream of.
And yes, we ARE tinkering with widgets and syndication. We actually had widgets back in 2000, but there weren't any Myspace and Facebook losers out there to use them. We had a widget that played the movie of the day, and a widget that showed the daily top submissions. They weren't even called widgets back then, they were just some crap we made that you could embed on your site.
Our big hurdle now has been the little things that don't work when you embed Flash in a universal player, the way YouTube does with video. Things like the actionscript camera, which breaks the rules of how it's SUPPOSED to work when played inside a container movie. YouTube can afford to give away bandwidth because every player is an ad for YouTube, and even then, they were burning millions in venture capital until they got that sweet sweet Google money. If we can't have the same for Flash (a player, not Google money), we need something to cover the bandwidth expense; something such as in-Flash ads, which we've been tinkering with for a while now. The original "widget" back in 2000 had an embedded ad, but it didn't matter because no one embedded it. Everything comes around eventually, though.
AAAACTUALLY while I'm on the subject of annoyed artists... I'm annoyed that you guys dont have any sort of high score table or some sort of NG native api that could be leveraged for peoples games... is that in the works at all? Or do I have to use ArmyBot or whatever the fuck that score table api is called...
Tom Fulp says:
All the NG API stuff is actually being developed by PsychoGoldfish and will come to support all that good stuff. On that note, we DID have a universal high score system back around the same time we were making "widgets", only people hacked the hell out of it and we stopped supporting it. You can still find remnants of the score submission screen in some of my old games, although a lot of those vanished with the redesign launch. I really do sound like a bitter old man, don't I? All the ideas that failed the first time will hopefully succeed the second time, because apparently their time has come. Then I can stop being sad.
Remember that party you once had at the Trocadero? Wouldnt it be so cool to have an NG based mini awards show at some sort of venue like that for the NG trophies youre always talking about? We could could have like Swain or Egoraptor host it and provide comic relief a la Jon Stewart... But yeah whats the status on those set of awards anyway?
Tom Fulp says:
I would love to have an awards show but I want absolutely nothing to do with planning it. I'm just not that sort of showman... I can make a decent front page post but I don't feel any urge to get up on a stage and work a crowd. I would go up and do some formalities as a figurehead and whatnot, but the whole event would need to be driven by someone who is really passionate about putting on a show. Not just the hosting, but the whole setup process.
As for the trophies, I am really tempted to just make a post right now and announce some winners, but I know that won't make them exciting. I need to post a list of nominees and get everyone worked up and crazy for a few weeks, before the anticipation finally ends and the winners are announced to much fan-fair and whining. I have a list of nominees, but I'm being really indecisive about it. I'm not sure how to break apart categories. I need to just do it and then fix it next year. Some day we'll have our awards show, everything happens organically, aka slowly.
Ok laaast question. Lets make it something forward thinking and optimistic yet realistic. Where do you see Newgrounds and yourself even.... say 5 years from now?
Tom Fulp says:
I will still be here in the office and NG will still be hosted in downtown Philly. On-line, however, NG will be a utopia of creative energy and opportunities. People will create like never before. They'll be making money if they're interested. Some might even be able to make a living. A lot of it depends on how much the people embrace NG, but for that to happen, we need to earn it. That's been my big thing lately, if we EARN IT, then it will happen. If we don't earn it, then we didn't deserve it. OKAY BAYE!
This is probably the most positive note that any of my interviews have ever had. You've reached a new low Mr. Fulp.
If you think you'd make a good intervieweee or you think i should definately interview ____ ... drop me a PM or just comment belowzzzz!
Heres a picture of the back of Tom's head.. alot of people want to know what he looks like from behind.
So as you may or may not know, i was in London in January to celebrate my birthday.. fun was had by all and all that. However that wasnt really the true UK meet which takes place every september/augustish.
This year is no different.. especially considering I have enough frequent flyer miles for a free flight. So the date for the London meet is August 30th 2008. I'll chime in later in the year about it but I thought since I didnt have anything new to report that I'd plug that in there.
I'm still debating wether I'll actually make this meet public in the General Forum. I've debated this many times but I think it might be due to introduce new personalities to the mix and show people the proper way to host an NG meet.
In other news I secured my hotel accomidations for Comic Con in San Diego so I'll be there in July.
I'm still iffy on wether there will be some sort of NY meet in April. We'lll SEE.
Oh and I'm in Montreal in March.. thats about it for NG public appearances.
March 22 - Montreal NG Meet
July 25, 26 - San Diego Comic Con NG Meet
August 30 - London NG Meet
January 2009 - Birthday / Australia NG Meet (?)
everyones doing it. Join tha sausage partayyyyyyyyyy
Took a small break from the site... a pie-ate-us as Zekey would say...
and so did Tom.
April married Sherbert.. and Bob hurt his toe.
and i just placed a bunch of links and a britney photo so this can rise on google search.. leave me alone
Ok so I finally finished the mini-site regarding the DIY Munny Competition, you can go through it all in photos and other commentary.
Special thanks to Tom and his staff for letting me crash the NG office this past weekend.
Congrats to the winners. I'll be sending you a PM to get your details for your prize.
Thank you to everyone for participating! It was alot of fun.
*PS Tom has a Beard. Apparently its important to you people.
I was feeling very Marc M-ish... so i changed my userpage to match my mood.
In other news, I finally finished the mini-site for the London meet that took place two weekends ago.
You can browse through it here
I should have the minisite for the Munny Competition done this week as well... its about 90% finished.
Thanks to Tom and the staff for the warm reception this past weekend. It's good to catch up and get a better perspective of where Tom is going with the newgrounds thing.
Lastly, I'm heading out to the bahamas this weekend. Wasnt really planning on it but my sister won some radio contest and she needed someone who can go on short notice and im not one to pass on any excuse to go out of town lmao.
I WILL finally start on my pico thing when i return.
Oh that reminds me, check out Mindchamber's post regarding his pico day entry... it doesnt quite do it justice because its INSANE but its a good read and its cool that a fellow veteran is coming back to his roots.
k thats all for nowww
heres a pic from philly this past weekend.
So after a looooooong process it will finally come to an end this weekend.
Meeting up with Tom and his goons and we'll pick the 5 best of the letter and display all the rest at the NG office. I'll be sure to snag some photos of the event.
Thanks to everyone who participated and gave it a whirl. It really blew my mind how great these all turned out.
*PS The header is courtesy of AlmightyHans, while in London, everyone drew me pretty pictures for my birthday, I'll be cycling them in and out of my header/profile pic. This particular drawing actually got me in trouble in the customs area when i was trying to get back into the states.. NO JOKE.
'He was like... just what exactly is this supposed to mean.........'
ALSO... the-Super-Flash-Bros and Luka were kind enough to give me a how-to book on drawing yaoi for my birthday.... also got some wierd looks from the customs officer. I did promise them that I'd make some use out of that book in one of my future works... and i will.... what exactly i'll do i dont know.
Maybe yaoi Pico and Darnell??? lmao FUCKING PERVERTS.
Well im extremely jet lagged right now, but I felt it was necessary to write a few lines now that I'm back. A HUGE Thank you to everyone that showed up. This was an extremely memorable experience and I totally consider everyone that made it out a part of my family.
Special thanks to Tom of the SuperFlashBros for once again taking the helm.
I hope everyone had a good time and made it back home safe. It was one of the most bizarre, surreal, and special events I've ever been part of.
Thanks also to everyone who made a long trip in for it. AlmightyHans, Luksy, VonDark, NegativeOne, and pretty much everyone who made that humongous effort.
See ya at the next one.
ALSO thanks to everyone who showed some love on my birthday, I had no internet access but I plan to do some major catching up to do. Thanks Nogfish and everyone else
Well dunno how much of a secret this is.. but theres a uk meet going on in london on saturday.. which coincidentally is on my birthday. We're expecting about 20 people to come out. about 6 more than the meet last september. Should be interresstin...
Ok im off to pack my bags.
If anyone wants to borrow my account and do some banningz let me know
IM JUST KIDDING TOM. or am i.
I havent made a post in awhile.... i was due.
My Mershaq shirt finally arrived so i figured id plug it.
if you've never seen the movie here you go
It's weird that he spells mershaq differently on the shirt than on his movies... i wonder if thats a typo.