John Blabber: Hi Daran how are you? How about you tell us a little bit about who you are and where you are from?
Daran: Sure. My name is Daran Carlin-Weber; I’m 20 years old. I’m currently attending Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, majoring in animation. They got a really nice animation program here; it’s a public school whatnot. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, live in Sayre, Pennsylvania — live here right now in Edinboro.
John Blabber: And how long have you been drawing and animating for?
Daran: I’ve been animating since about 8th grade. I’ve always animated in Flash and I hope to continue doing it as a career.
John Blabber: Are you fans of some of the animated television shows that are on TV? Or are you more of a web series kind of guy?
Daran: I’ve always, like since I was a little kid been really, like I’ve loved animation. I’ve seen – and have an encyclopedic knowledge of every episode of The Simpsons pretty much. Yeah, it’s pretty weird. I don’t know. It’s just had a lot of influence on me, on my life. And I was hoping to follow in the footsteps — but I want to hopefully become an animator. Hopefully, that works out.
John Blabber: What is it about The Simpsons that you love so much.
Daran: Like I used to be — like when I was younger, and they were — they hit a rough patch for a while and I think they’re actually getting pretty far out of it. I used to taunt a little bit, “Oh, the old episodes are better.” I think the show is great. I still watch it every week. Of course, with as many episodes as you have, there are going to be a few that don’t work very well because there’s only so many stories you can tell but week after week, like especially like the last couple years, I love a lot of the episodes, so. Sometimes they get a little too guest star heavy and get a little too, I guess, esoteric with who they use.
John Blabber: Do you prefer drawing in a more traditional style of animation similar to The Simpsons or do you prefer the Flash route?
Daran: I don’t think I’d be a very good traditional animator ‘cause animating Flash gives you a lot of ways to fix things if you screw up, I guess. Flash animation is great when it’s done well. There’s a lot of bad Flash animation but there’s also a lot of really good Flash animation, especially on television right now.
John Blabber: What are some of your favorite Flash shows?
Daran: My new favorite is Bob’s Burgers right now. That show is hilarious. It’s really well written, the characters are really fleshed out and the animation’s really good. I wasn’t entirely sure…I wasn’t too sure about the character designs when it first came out but just seeing the first episode but later it made me decide, okay, this is a great show.
John Blabber: Jumping back to what you’re doing, talk to me a little bit about Summer Rec; it’s a new Flash show that you’re kind of working on. It’s been hitting the interwebs in the last couple weeks. You just premiered a trailer. Talk to me about a pilot episode in the summer. What was your original inspiration for the show and putting it together?
Daran: Sure. The inspiration for it is I worked as a summer rec counselor at my high school. We had a summer recreation program where it’s just like a day camp, where from like nine until noon you drop off your kids and we like have them do activities like art and stuff and whatever. And I realized, “Hey, that’s a pretty good idea for a show.” Like its a stupid thing I was kickin’ around when I was younger that I had abandoned this and then I was like, “I should probably think of a new series idea,” ‘cause like I’ve always wanted to have like — when I’m older I hope to get to have an animated series; that’d be cool. I don’t know. But it’s inspired by that, like well loosely, like a lot of the people aren’t really inspired by anyone specific.
John Blabber: That’s actually a good segue; how did you come up with — the characters look really interesting. Like how did you come up with them? Were they from any parts of your life or are they just come right out of the blue?
Daran: Well, it started I was just having discussion with my friend Mark and he was telling me he used to be a lifeguard — we were talking about our experiences doing that stuff and the character Derek who is the lifeguard, he — I don’t know, some of the characters are still I can’t say — I’ve always been out of it to explain exactly what characters are, I guess. I have an idea of who they are in my head and it’s kind of hard to put into words; I’ll try it for you. They’re loosely based on people I’ve known throughout my life and I like to — I believe in the philosophy which of try to write each characters as a different side of myself, I guess. So Derek’s all my anxieties and Jim is my laziness and Walt — no one knows what the name of the characters are actually, which really doesn’t really — well I guess it does. Sorry. Birch is I don’t know — he’s inspired a little by a friend I had in high school named Zach who this — I don’t know. The character’s based a lot off of him. He’s really — he does a lot of really funny militaristic accents and stuff. And he helps…
John Blabber: And who’s doing all the voices? Is that you? Or do you have a couple friends who come in and do the voices?
Daran: I have some friends online who are all voice actors. I go to a forum called The Back Alleys that is just a bunch of former new ground Flash artists and voice actors and just other people like that. I just — I’m just friends with them. And the girl with the voice of Lolita I know from the forum and the girl with the voice is Rebecca actually helped cast everybody. She has a lot of clout on some voice acting forums, I guess. The girl who voices Lolita is actually part of that Skull Girls game now. She voices one of the characters, which is really cool. I’m really excited for her.
John Blabber: And did you script — did you write the script as well?
Daran: Yeah, I wrote the script. It’s been through a bunch of drafts; I’m still revising it actually, which isn’t that good to do when you’re animating it but I had a friend named Zach Moore who’s in my animation class. Like this whole thing is actually a project. It’s my — not my senior thesis, I’m not a senior — but the last animation course I can take, so I’m doing this movie as my final project. I’ve been working on it since like October. But Zach Moore helped me — he’s really good at story editing and he injected a lot of really good humor in to it. I guess I’m not the strongest writer; I’m still working on it. I got the time, but I feel like I’m good at building a plot but I’m not entirely sure how good I am at it up yet and making sure that it’s still funny, but…
John Blabber: Is this a series that you could see yourself like one day seeing on T.V.? Like do you see this as something maybe, you know, you could see on like an Adult Swim or something like that? Or would you rather have this be in school and work on something different?
Daran: I’m hoping to be able to pitch it to Adult Swim when I’m done with it. The plan is a lot of my professors want me to go to the Ottawa International Animation Festival this fall. I’ve submitted stuff there before and it’s really hard for stuff to get in there but they’re like, “Well, at least take it with you and go to the conferences and give it out to people.” And now I guess I’ll submit it to some festivals.
John Blabber: Well alright Daran, thanks so much for the chat, any last words?
Daran: All right, yeah. If you were working at Titmouse Incorporated and you’re reading this, please drop me a line. I’m making this for you!
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