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This week's interview features the user Otto.
When did you find Newgrounds and why did you join? Why did you choose the username Otto?
"This place was actually one of the first websites I ever visited. Someone I met, only a few times, found it with me by typing in 'teletubbies die' to Ask Jeeves I imagine. We were about 10 years old, so this must be back in 2005. We were infinitely amused by Tubby Funland and I made an account called 3v1lH0bo or something, which I imagine I will never find because of the stupid name. I think about 2 years passed before I discovered it again, looking for Runescape parodies (that's right I did all the cool online stuff). I wanted to make flash cartoons about stick-men fighting because of people like Terkoiz so signed up with the alias StickyWicky. I had this changed to Otto in 2009 or thereabout because it took me a long time to realise what a terrible username it was - I don't think there's anybody left at all who remembers that used to be my username, and that was definitely for the best, because..."
Do you think that you changed over the time you were here, as user, or also in real life?
"I used to be a huge idiot. I certainly changed in a number of ways and frankly I'd be horrified if I didn't. Now I think there were two sides to my change, these polar opposites, some parts which gradually flipped around. For instance when I first came to the forum side of things I was desperate to make an impact; I totally flooded the place, trying to get a post on every thread on the page. I quickly racked up thousands of posts. I treated the place like a diary - it was dangerous, and I paid the price (hence the great post-purge of 2012). These days I do try to make reasoned posts, but they are usually fuelled with an anger at the sheer stupidity someone can post. I won't name names because these people love to show their heads themselves. In real life I fluxuate from day to day, so strangely Newgrounds is my only gradual, or constant, if you wish."
Are there any other users that you like, and how do they affect you?
"I like all the reasonable users, ones like Gagsy, or that guy with the shark icon. These are people who have actual life experiences, and you can really tell by the posts. These are people who okay to have their opinion changed by new information, and that's what I really respect. I mention Gagsy specifically because I used to be, frankly, a real cock-omelette to her. In real life when I was like that to people, it was in a school, and I got school-level responses, but I remember she told me pretty straight and it dawned on me what a cock-ring I was. School did mature me aswell, but it was good to have these parallels I think."
Are there any users that you would consider enemies or that you just don't like?
"Some users I can tell are just sheltered and have these weird opinions given to them by their parents - you can just see it. Usually this is on issues like gun control, religion, abortion, whatever. Usually the stuff that's topical for politicians to spin around. The ones I dislike are the ones who are so jaded they won't even properly discuss what they're so angry about. Instead of debating the subject at hand, they throw a fit and pick up on very silly, long winded things. They repeat themselves, they contradict themselves. It's frustrating. What's annoying furthermore is a lot of these users are rather liked, but I forget this is the home of white, privileged 13 year old boys (to generalise horribly)."
What is your opinion about the forums? Is there one forum that you prefer? And is there another forum user that you want to see getting interviewed by me?
"Ooooh I just don't know any more. I think I come here mainly by habit, it really has been years and years. I think 6 years of constant use now, 15k posts. I don't want to do the maths there and find out what that averages out as. I know at one point I had like 15 posts per day, and this was all in general, to answer the question. I bimble in the animation and art forums, but they're a bit depressing sometimes, especially since flash and animation got put in separate forums, thus thinning the users out to almost wasteland. The art forum is interesting though - they're very hostile to new artists sometimes, and even though I totally understand why, it bothers me. Saying that, pick any regular from there and give them an interview, because they're all very talented."
I guess that you have an opinion about the moderators of Newgrounds. Do you think that they do a great job or not?
"I do think all the interesting mods have gone. Mods used to have a great sense of humour, if I remember. You enjoyed their fun with them - times where they'd have discussions in long threads, mocking the idiot who made such a useless post that got it locked. These days I don't know if they're doing a good job or not. They get the job done; people don't really spam and there's nothing wholly offensive, but it's definitely not the same. Part of it could be I barely know who's a mod any more, the old golden auras were such a great give away! One example of funny modship still happening these days is here though. This was classic."
Would you like to become a moderator on Newgrounds? If so, what kind of moderator?
"Well I stand by that quote: "I used to want to be a mod really badly, but now I can't think of anything worse." Much as I am habitually addicted to Newgrounds, I would not enjoy having any proper responsibilities that seemed like a chore. It would put me right off the place - I hope to add content, not filter and strip the content of others. I suppose."
The redesign happened last year. Tell me what you think about it. What do you like and what is not so good?
"What I like is that when I look at the old redesign, I recoil with both disgust and nostalgia. I think that means it's done a good job. To be honest I couldn't judge the general getting around interface because I have a shortcut straight to the BBS and I only travel out from there - that network being basically unchanged. I do miss the old O: emoticon though. I really, really do. Nothing has successfully replaced it, and I fear it never will."
With the declining popularity of flash, Newgrounds also arguably dwindled in the last years. What do you think could be done to make a wider audience more interested in Newgrounds again?
"I think it's made a good step with Swivel, the new .swf to .mov software that one of the admins made. That really is top quality freeware, and slowly the conversion of making Newgrounds phone-ready is the key. Soon as content is available on the platforms people want, then it's game again. Newgrounds won't die (I hope). Tom does a good job of keeping relevant, but he is just a man with a small team."
You are an artist. Tell our readers how you started making art. What makes in your opinion an artist a good one?
"I've always made art. My godmother is an art teacher in Bristol and she always sent me art supplies which definitely helped. But it's just one of those things - I guess like a lot of kids on Newgrounds who draw, I was on my own a lot as a child. What I've learned so far is that a good artist is someone who can take something true (the fundamentals, physics, things that are human) and bring it somewhere new. So by all means make some crazy demon thing, but make sure the lighting makes sense, the colours are pleasing, and there's an element of reality to make it all make sense."
How much did Newgrounds help you in improving your art? Can you name one user whol helped you greatly with tips/feedback?
"I can say with certainty that if it weren't for Newgrounds I certainly wouldn't be about to spend 3 years of my life studying an animation degree at university (college for Americans). Back in the day I collaborated with a guy called Bertn on a collab about pirates - we got on the front page, and seeing as I was like 15 this blew my mind. Everyone is very willing to help, I only wish I had more energy to collaborate more. I gotta say, if you ask for help on the art forums here, you certainly get it, whether you want it anymore or not!"
Judging from one your posts, you once visited Berlin. Tell me how you experienced your visit there. Would you still like to live there?
"Berlin feels like a total wonderland to me, it's no wonder it's so obvious from my userpage I went. It was just over a year ago now, but it's still the best thing I've ever done (even though I recently got back from Italy). I went on a trip around the Berlin Film Festival and it fucking blew my mind. You can bring booze into the cinemas there, and I know it was coincidence, but it snowed the whole time. Valking in a Vinter Vonderland. I'd definitely love to live there for a bit - though people might think I am German because of my name, and I'd have to explain I speak only English, sorry."
Every person has secrets. Can you tell one of yours or something else that we didn't know about you yet?
"This is tricky. I deleted 13k posts to get rid of the vast amounts of secrets I spilled to this website. I guess the main one is that I actually really care what people think of me here. I get warm and fuzzy when people think I'm a 'proper reg', and I get really pissed when some newer user with more posts snarks all over me. I'm very aware it's petty, but sometimes I have to slap my wrist and remind myself to be better than the 2008 days where postcount meant everything. Bad Otto!"
What can we expect from you in the future, Otto?
"Well, this is a mighty fine question to answer! In about 10 weeks you can expect an animation from me, and many many more in the years to come as I continue my animation course. I hope for Newgrounds to be my centre of all this. I'll be filling the place up with content, hopefully, as project upon project piles up and I'm finally into the swing of things. Expect good music aswell from my very talented friend Fruitbread. On the BBS side of things, hopefully I'll continue to be chill and reasoned for the rest of my posts. I put my real name to this now, so I can't forget that. Newgrounds isn't as secret and diary-like as when I was 12. The future is coming oooooOoOOOoooOoOOOOoo..."
Now you are filled with more knowledge about Otto, dear reader.Feel free to leave a comment here, saying what you think about the interview, requesting users to get interviews is also appreciated. Tune in next week :3