Interview with Matt Sutter, Animator for Camp Chaos' VH1 ILLustrated
by Mr. Stinkhead
Sutter and I have been friends since the seventh grade. We started hanging out with each other because we were both psychologically compelled to draw Ninja Turtles every waking minute of the day. I swear, if I wasn't eating or sleeping, I had to be sketching out a turtle grimmace, or else the darkness would come creeping back. Anyway after we both majored in Graphic Design in college, and we looked for jobs, Sutter went the cartooning route, and I went the web design route. Flash forward to present day, Sutter got hooked up with Camp Chaos ("Napster BAD"), and their first cartoon premieres on VH1, tonight (Friday, Oct 17th, 2003). I, on the other hand, am a government worker bee.
MillionairePlayboy.com: How long have you been drawing?
Sutter: Ever since I can remember I have been scribbling cartoons in the margins of my schoolwork. Sometimes they grew in to a strip or something more but thats where it usually began.
MPb: What did you do with your drawing after college?
Sutter: Not much. I landed a few illustration jobs here and there but, nothing exceptional or important.
MPb: How did you get hooked up with Camp Chaos?
Sutter: Well, like most jobs, I got this through a friend who worked there. I was producing Jesus junk mail in
Jersey at the time and he saved me from it's not-so-holy clutches.
MPb: What was the process for working on VH1's Illustrated?
Sutter: The writers at VH1 would pump out the scripts for the sketches and send them to us. We would then produce an animatic (a moving storyboard) to flesh out the action and blocking of the characters. Then the characters would be designed, drawn and flash painted and handed off to the animators who would then drop them in the timeline over the backgrounds and make the little people move and do crazy shit according to the animatic and audio. We really had no say in the writing or dialog of the sketches although we did spruce up the plot whever we could through the visuals.
MPb: What tools do you work with?
Sutter: The whole show was produced entirely in Macromedia Flash. Except the backgrounds which were painted in
Photoshop. We ran into a few problems due to the fact that we were using a web based program to make things for broadcast, but we muddled through the stubborn
punches that Flash threw at us and managed to get a pretty good system.
MPb: What do you draw/animate on your free time?
Sutter: I fill my sketchbook with oddities and broken storyboards until i have something i feel deserves to be moving. Then i animate it. There are a bunch of these hanging around at Bredstik.com. wink. wink.
MPb: Do you feel Pixar style computer animation will replace hand drawn?
Sutter: 3D computer animation can be beautiful and it does seem to be becoming the animated movie standard. However, traditional cell painting will always have a place in the animation world even if the Disneys and Pixars of the world don't use it on a daily basis.
MPb: What are you working on next?
Sutter: We're working on an animated movie for kids right now involving chickens and puppies. We have a bunch of celebrity voices lined up too. I can't really say much more, but it should be interesting.
MPb: What influenced your cartooning style, humor, and execution?
Sutter: Well, I grew up with the comedic timing and genius antics of Tex Avery and Chuck Jones cartoons. I also admire John K. for the expression he gets out of his characters. And of course I'd be a filthy liar if I didn't give a huge chunk of credit to Matt Groening.
MPb: Cool, we're looking forward to seeing the show.
Sutter: As is the world I would imagine.
Check out Sutter's award winning animations at Bredstik.com, particularly Misconstruction. There's a link from the homepage.
Remember that VH1 ILLustrated Premiere's Friday October 17th at 10:00pm. Here is the show info.
CampChaos.com is known for their funny Flash cartoons. Check them out too.
All characters, likenesses, and images are copyright their respective owners. ILLustrated images courtesy Camp Chaos and VH1. This article is copyright 2003 MillionairePlayboy.com and may not be reprinted without permission.