Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fourth-and-Thirty-One - My New Life as a Fledging Animator

by Aaron Mystery

As the lame football-oriented (won't happen again) headline implies, I am turning 31 today, which doesn't feel as bad as turning 30, to be sure. But still, a birthday always begs for some introspection to assess where I am and where I'm going. To accomplish this, I've broken it down to the 5 Ws and the H.

WHERE (My Present): Although I work a day job in an office, my life is that of an animator. I run a good-natured but nasty little animation site, and it makes me okay money, but not enough to keep me from having a regular job (with insurance). When I first got into 3D design at the end of 2004, it was actually just to do album artwork - I never thought I would virtually replace the musician in me with the animator. Today, my computer and I spend almost all our time on animations, 24/7. I hardly ever pick up the guitar anymore, but realize I've got to listen to the musician in me, too (I'm starting to have nightmares from neglecting the band). However, with a growing business in Suckermouth, it gets harder every day.

WHY (My Philosophy): What motivates me to animate? Why is most of my stuff Breast Expansion (B.E. for short)? Don't I ever want to branch out? I animate because I LOVE it - I love turning my ideas into this beautiful hybrid of film and cartoon, then sitting back on watching it on the big screen (once). Most my stuff is B.E. because that's what sells subscriptions at Suckermouth - look at my really early YouTube stuff, none of it is B.E. Truth is, I've always been a fan of this silly genre, going back to my junior high days. When you like something that gets you millions of hits on YouTube and cash from a subscription site, you've got little choice but to give in. Branching out is fine as long as it isn't destructive to Suckermouth as a business, meaning I can't leave my subscribers hanging while I experiment for weeks on end.

WHAT (My Humor): I'm sure many people look at my usual (B.E.) clips and think that I don't even have a sense of humor, that I'm just some troll looking to make women feel inferior about their bodies or some other crap, but truth is, I'm laughing at all of it, and so should you. My sense of humor may be dry, dark, self-referential, ironic, or even hard to see, but it's there, lurking in the corner waiting to make you laugh. Watch a "Dick in Art Class" if you want to see my perverse sense of humor distilled into a fine banana smoothie.

HOW (My Money): I spend a fair amount of cash picking up new software - and need to get a new computer or two - and with my other bills it can be hard to come up with the scratch. But because I make money from Suckermouth, it does provide me with the means to go more places, benefiting everyone who sees my animations, not just B.E. fans. Plus, it keeps me focused on animation, ensuring that I am always a happy servant to myself.

WHO (My Crew): Rarely do I give my dad and brother credit. Both provide the occasional voice over work (Jon did the voices of both Mr. Romance-Oh and Wheeler Red in last night's Big Brethren sketch - and improved his lines as well). My dad also does some of the Big Brethren voices. The most important contribution from the sidelines is Jon's eternal dedication to the music, providing me with a great soundtrack for anything I do.

WHEN (My Future): For the moment, I'm focused on Suckermouth, just trying to keep up with what I started, needing to do the obligatory B.E. Quickies, in addition to series Wand Day After Another, Bastard Piece Theater, Big Brethren, and Nightmare Hour, and interactive videos (I also do the web design and management, so it's a handful). I can say that the not-so-distant future involves a bigger project, maybe not feature-length, but something Suckermouth fans and a larger audience can enjoy.

And I guess that's all I want for my 31st birthday - is for you to enjoy what I do.

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