hello humble ff website readers… we have a show in less than a week (wed, 12/6) and i decided to dm some of our friends on the show to get a read of what's going on with them. spoke for the first time with kelly schiesswohl, john lee and shaumbé plus caught up with a.t. pratt after our last chat.
please enjoy these little chats!
hi kelly. we are very excited to have you show your short "TRICHOTILLOMANIA" on frog farm this coming wednesday. it recently got chosen for "short of the week," right after the whitmer thomas/mac demarco short film about a musical worm. fun pairing! how has the release process for your short film been for you?
The process has been deceptively long - about 2.5 years long to be honest. The moment it was finished, I determined that I wouldn’t give up until I had sent it out into the world as far as I possibly could. That goal sent me on a wild journey through film festivals across the globe, line after line of website code, and dozens of applications to online aggregators of contemporary shorts.
It was an honor to release with SoTW, a platform that I’ve been following for years anxiously awaiting film drops from my biggest inspirations and heroes in the field. The online reception has been an absolute joy. I’m no Mr. Beast or anything but each comment, email, and message from people all over the world sharing their experiences and appreciation for the film is like rocket fuel launching me into my upcoming projects. I still haven’t even fully processed this as real… It makes every all-nighter, deleted scene, and After Effects crash worth it. So worth it… that I’m starting my next film in January ;) it’s a thriller about a pie eating contest. Yum.
Anyways… much like a frog, I have no eyebrows so, in a sense, Trich + Frog Farm are a perfect match.
hi shaumbé…as someone who's making comics AND animations, what do you find best about both worlds? what's the worst part of each?
comics and animations are kissing cousins. a comic is an animation that takes place in space and animation is a comic that takes place in time.
when i wanna make a sequential semiotic story i have to decide which form is best. if an idea needs to incorporate sound, or if i really need to manipulate a viewer's perception of time, i might choose animation. but if i have a longer story with lots going on or just a quick idea to bang out, it's better to make a comic.
-animation pros: you get to just do CINEMA. light, sound, action, motion, music! You get to be a filmmaker.
-animation cons: it takes so long and is truly a pain in the ass.
-comics pros: you can get so many ideas out much faster. You still get to be a filmmaker (kinda) but you can do things cinema is incapable of.
-comics cons: i haven't figured out how to get normies (the important people) as excited about reading comics. i've been able to stoke more mass enthusiasm for animated stuff.
hi john. you've started up your own comics reading/comedy show that's pretty sick. how has the process been for that? what parts have you enjoyed more than you expected? (or something you've enjoyed less?)
Hi Alex. Thank you! It is pretty sick - I was heavily inspired by you and everyone involved with Big Milk last year. I was an energetic open-mic comedian at the time and was thinking of running a show to get my name out there a bit. I had been familiar with comic reading shows and always wanted to try that format myself, so I figured why not include that into my new show.
That’s why I’m so pumped to be doing Frog Farm. It’s one thing to organize your own show to read your own comics, but it’s a whole notha thing to be asked to read for THE Frog Farm. I peep all your moves and your work always inspires me. Definitely honored.
The process is me securing an two hour slot at Pine Box, booking comedians and comic readers last minute, rushing to make collateral, harassing people online to buy tickets, and then merrily running the show as if I wasn’t shitting myself the night before about the ticket count. It’s a very efficient and meticulous process.
I always enjoy running the show the most. I expected hosting to be stressful and chaotic, but it wasn’t. I think we’ve done 4 shows so far and every time it feels like I’ve just invited a buncha friends over to hang and watch a movie or something. I find myself actually being able to enjoy the show myself, moreso because I had a hand in all the laughter I get to hear. It’s really fulfilling.
hi a.t. last time we chatted in july you were at a count of 16 fests, what's that number? are you done for the year now? any big updates or takeaways?
I have now set up table at total of 29 tables this year, concluding with 30 after Permanent Damage this Sunday in LA. People are referring to this as my “Guinness Year”: the year Guinness named me world record holder of most events selling my independent self published comic books in 1 calendar year. It feels tremendously important and impressive.
i saw that that one shop in seattle was eating up dots comic #1? it’s a hit! how does it feel to finally have it out?
The release of Dot Comics 1 is a devastating failure. Missing the self imposed deadlines of SPX, CXC, and finally firing off prints for a limited artists edition special edition straight from the original art for the final piece, the visually stunning pop-up folder-out sequence of the final story (SPIDER) , the morning of Short Run, I have only a soft debut to show for the release of my most towering achievement in years. I was quoted as saying if it doesn’t make it out by Short Run, “my career is over”. And since technically it was out at short run, all I can say is my career continues. That being said, the debuts are getting harder and harder with each show following the limited edition artists edition release, and Dot Comics #1 is a guaranteed hit comic book for many years to come! And in that sense the release has been and will continue to be an outstanding triumph!!
ok this question is to everyone: do you think the frogs/scientists are mad at me for not helping them battle the spider horde that invaded frog farm last month? (famously depicted in the brand new collaborative zine HELL FARM)
a.t.: the frog scientist should be pleased with their defeat at the hands of the spiders. Spiders are superior and I am overjoyed that Spider has defeated frog once and for all.
you are aware that the spiders lost the war against the frogs/humanity hmmmmmmm???
a.t.: I don’t care; answer remains
shaumbé: while i can't speak on behalf of the frogs/scientists, i can say that i'm not entirely sure how helpful your skillset would be in combat. us cartoonists are better suited for 'comforting' the frogs'/scientists' husbands/wives while their spouses are off at war...
kelly: The frogs aren’t totally icing you out over the spider horde mishap, but sending them a gift basket or edible arrangement or something couldn’t hurt.
As for the scientists, they are mad all of the time. I mean, I totally get it - part of being a scientist is either having people not understanding what you’re saying or choosing to believe in lizard people controlling the universe instead. That’s gotta be pretty frustrating. They have already forgotten the spiders and have returned to greater crises such as “if frogs prefer flies or gnats as a mid afternoon snack” and “how much time do we have left before we destroy the planet and wipe out the human race?”
john: It looked pretty fucking intense bro, I definitely wouldn’t have participated. I’d probably share some anti-spider, pro-frog social media propaganda post about it on my instagram though. I hope you did at least that.
I think it’s important that somebody told the story. That was your role in all this. Be proud of yourself Alex. Get over that survivor’s guilt.
ok thanks everyone. hopefully they won’t be too mad…i feel a bit better now i guess. thanks for chatting with me. see you all on wednesday for the show.