FARToons Interview

How did you get into cartooning?

I was in kindergarten and everyone was encouraging me to draw all the time. I think that is when I created my first character Carmel Cat. I remember drawing a picture of him tearing up some curtains and his owner was pissed off. I don’t know how I remember that. It must have been when something clicked for me and I decided I wanted to be a cartoonist. I wrote little books and illustrated them. I made over 100 books. I still have them stored away. My family, friends and teachers all kept me going with their support. I wish I was a better artist but I kind of gave up in junior high when I saw other kids were better than me. It was fine though. I just latched on to South Park which got me into writing scripts. It was a huge influence on my humor, for better or worse.

How did FARToons begin?

In 2000 when I was a freshman in high school I wrote a bunch of short stories called “The Totally Fucked Up Adventures of Herman the Cheese Man”. Somehow I ended up using the name in a story. I began screwing around in the animation program Macromedia Flash (later bought by Adobe). I didn’t complete my first cartoon until 2001 or 2002. It was a short film of Alf the alien chasing after my cat and trying to eat her.

How did you come up with The Wish Fish Family?

It was 2006 and I was doing really cheap cartoons all the time. I wanted to make the most offensive cartoon ever made to make my friends laugh. I never planned on making it into an actual series. Now there are nineteen episodes and counting. I love making it for the most part. I will probably keep making it until I die because it has such a quick turnaround. It is a way to tell funny stories which is what I like doing the most.

What is your favorite creation?

Senioritis and Merely Meerkats are my favorite concepts. The only problem is I love them so much I am afraid to attempt animating them. It is a fear I still haven’t overcome. I feel like if it isn’t perfect it just won’t work.

My favorite completed animated cartoon is The Wish Fish Family. I can relate to all the characters because some of them are based on people I know. It happened on accident but I later realized these fish were real people. Almost every character I’ve ever done is based on someone, usually parts of me.

What is your least favorite creation?

I pretty much hate anything where I am trying to be a good artist or animator. They never look how I envision them. With cartoons like The Wish Fish Family I can say, hey, this is crap and exactly how I want it to look. Every other time I am trying to be Chuck Jones and I never can be. I am just Ryan and I do what I know.

What is your writing process?

I am not good at writing in groups. I usually have to be alone or I can’t concentrate. That is why so many of my projects are just me working on them. I am nervous about people watching me work in general. It is rough. I would like to get past it but it would be tough. I have trouble getting out of my patterns.

Why do you have such a negative point of view in your cartoons?

The world is a negative place for me. I deal with depression and anxiety. I have just always used negative humor to deal with life. I like to think I can be positive about some aspects of life but definitely not all of them. Unfortunately it is just who I am. People either love me or hate me for it. It is a good way to pick friends. Some of them love my pessimism and view of the world. Those are my favorite people to be around and it’s the only time I can relax in social situations.

Why are your cartoons usually offensive?

I could say that I’m irreverent but honestly it is just the only way I know how to be funny. I would love to write Looney Tunes or Tom and Jerry but it just isn’t going to happen. I can’t really be funny like South Park or The Simpsons because I’m not smart enough and not a great writer. I just write what I know and that is cursing and poop jokes.

Why do you often write for bigoted characters?

I sometimes write for bigoted characters because it is the most taboo subject in the world. I find anything taboo incredibly funny. It has nothing to do with me believing in the racist comments. People need to lighten up over everything. Sometimes I just try to pick a fight in what I’m writing. I admit I am trying to get away from racist characters because everyone is so simple-minded they think I am racist. There is nothing that pisses me off more but I chose to rebel against everything. You can laugh at something without believing in it. That is what humor is all about.

What are your most popular cartoons?

Barney the DinosaurNone of my cartoons are very popular. I have a very small fan base. I don’t even know why I am writing this. I basically have to make things for me and a small group of friends. I only have just over 1,100 YouTube subscribers. It annoys me a lot because I work hard at every cartoon I create. I understand that it is hard to discover anything online because there is just so much crap. My work is included in that crap.

My most watched cartoons are my Barney the Dinosaur parodies because everyone knows Barney. That is exactly why I hate doing them. Even though I gave him his own unique and insane personality I enjoy writing for my characters much more. I am trying to live with Barney though because he is the only way I am going to get anywhere.

How often do you watch your cartoons?

I don’t watch my cartoons very often, especially the ones that I hate. I have to watch them so many times while I’m working on them it gets old. When I first finish a cartoon I will watch it quite a few times looking for errors. But with other cartoons I sometimes go years without watching them unless I am in the mood. The good part is if I don’t watch one of my cartoons for a while it usually makes me laugh when I do. It is good that at least one person is laughing.

What do you want to be remembered for?

I would love for my cartoons to be more well-known but it is just not going to happen. I am hoping it finally does after I die but I doubt it. I am definitely not going in the history books. I want to be remembered for my cartoons making people laugh. Even if it is just one person laughing I guess it is enough.