Moron Life Interview - 5 Sep 2005

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On September 5, 2005, the The Brothers Chaps were interviewed for Moron Life. It took place at Dragon Con 2005, which is the basis of the toon TrogdorCon '97.

Contents

[edit] Transcript

CLAY ROBESON: I am here with Mike and Matt Chapman of homestarrunner.com and they have graciously agreed to do a quick interview for us, here at Dragon Con 2005 in Atlanta. Gentlemen, go ahead and introduce yourselves to everybody.

MIKE CHAPMAN: I'm Mike.

MATT CHAPMAN: I am Matt.

MIKE: Hi.

CLAY: Alright. Question number one, quick and dirty: how did you guys start this? What was... what inspired you to start this whole thing?

MIKE: We started the website in late 1999, uh, primarily to learn Flash, we were trying to... learning graphic design programs, and so we needed to learn Flash, and just used these characters and did a few toons and games and then put them up on the site.

CLAY: Awesome.

MATT: I concur.

CLAY: Alright. Um... how long did it take before it really started to pick up, popularity-wise?

MATT: Seemed like, definitely, about a... I mean, within the first year, we got things like Shockwave's Site of the Day, which, back then, we're like... we thought that was the biggest, y'know... we were like "OK, this is as big as it's ever gonna get, this is awesome." And, uh, it wasn't really until we started updating every week, when we started doing Strong Bad Emails every week... Um, so what was that, two, three years ago?

MIKE: 2002?

MATT: 2002. And, uh, that's when... that... that September it seemed like the college kids came back and started to get into it, and then we were updating every week, so the... the combination of those two things, like, it's sort of reaching the college audience, and then us having something new every week definitely seemed like it... from then on, it was kind of like... it definitely started to gain... y'know, that was when we... that was when we were able to quit our jobs and stuff too, shortly after that.

CLAY: Excellent. Excellent, excellent. Alright, do you, um, did you do anything special other than that, just to spread the word about it, and to get notice out there, or has it just been all word-of-mouth?

MIKE: Yeah, we've just concentrated on making the cartoons as funny and as good as possible, and let the, uh, kind of, the fans spread it themselves, which is... has worked out well for us.

MATT: Yeah, and definitely, I think, people... for whatever reason, it just gives you more... sort of... I dunno, it endears you more to people when they know you're not, like, selling yourself all the time. So aside, really, from advertising for our own products on our own site, that's really all the advertising we've ever really done. I think, like... maybe the first week we put it up, we, y'know, tried to submit it to some search engine, we were like "Oh, we should get it out into, y'know... Altavista", or Infoseek or something that's not around anymore...

CLAY: Alright. Um... How long does it typically take you to produce a Strong Bad Email, like, time-input-wise?

MIKE: We used to do 'em, they used to be, like, 40 seconds or a minute long, and we could crank those out in, like, 7 or 8 hours, back in the day, but now they're more in the 3 to 4, sometimes 5 minute range, and that usually takes... after writing, once we just start animating, it's probably 20 hours or so?

MATT: Yeah. And then, definitely... and then... so, usually, a lot... we used to really not even think about them at all, until Sunday, but that was also when they were shorter and weren't quite as involved, and now they've just become... kind of mini-cartoons, and so... uh... now it's like there's several days of just lying on the floor, in silence for a while... we'll both just be lying on the floor of the office throwing, like, a football or something up in the air...

MIKE: That's work.

MATT: Yeah.

CLAY: {laughing} Excellent.

MATT: And then after a few days of that, then we finally have it written.

CLAY: Which leads perfectly in to my next question: What is the creative process like, for you guys, what inspires you? Is it all from fan email, or does a lot of it come out of yourselves, or what you've got going on? Drugs? Alcohol? Beer? Pretzels?

MIKE: A combination of both. Sometimes the emails, the Strong Bad Emails, actually do spur an idea, but sometimes we'll just be watching Saved By the Bell, y'know, at the office...

MATT: {laughs} We watch a lot of bad, old...

MIKE: We've got a little Pop-A-Shot in the office, so we do that a lot...

MATT: Basketball thing.

MIKE: Yeah, play... throw the football, out in the parking lot... we just do that.

MATT: We've got an assortment of old, bad video games too, that seems to be an endless supply of, uh... and not just for the games we do, on the site, somehow these other things seem to filter into...

MIKE: Yeah, just getting our minds in that mode, sort of makes us think of cartoons for some reason.

MATT: Yeah.

CLAY: Excellent. Any advice you have for a web site that is trying to become a cult phenomenon as powerful as you two?

MIKE: Don't try.

MATT: Yeah, don't try to do that.

MIKE: {laughing} Don't try to do that, and it might... just might happen.

MATT: Just try and make something cool, and then... yeah. There you go. The harder you try... this has all been completely by accident for us, so that's... the best advice we can give you is "never try."

CLAY: Alright, thank you both very much. Uh, any last words you want to send out to the... the video world, as yourselves, or as characters?

MIKE: I'm not... I'm no character.

CLAY: {laughter}

STRONG BAD: I'm a character. And leave me alone.

CLAY: Thank you guys.

MIKE: Thank you.

MATT: Sure.

[edit] Fun Facts

  • After the interview, Matt recorded a bump for the show which Moron Life uses "so that we seem cooler."

[edit] External Links

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