Cap_scaleman: You have made quite a lot of art, movies and music through the years. When did it all start? Is it connected with your education?
Jim Ether: i've been interested in art as long as i can remember. i've sketched since i was a wee tot. i remember around age 8 i was cutting out pieces of cardstock and making transformers because i didn't get many toys, i just made my own. i think alot of things i may have branched from that sort of thing. now i just make them for fun and for other people. i did take art classes in high school but the higher i got in school the less seriously the teachers thought i was taking things. i found out how colorblind i was after high school. my teachers thought i just "wasn't listening" to them when in fact blending colors just didn't make sense to me because i couldn't SEE what i was doing. this negative feedback from my teachers turned me off from furthering a formal art education. i find it more exciting to discover new things and techniques myself rather than having someone spoon feeding me shit that i SHOULD care about. if i were learning how to do electrical work or plumbing or something in that vein then yeah, i would listen to every word of my teacher with the most openest of ears but someone telling me how to make my art? i don't think so.
CS: Could you tell us a bit more on your first "full lenght movie" (that is more or less a collection of smaller movies) "Alert!"; For example, when did you get the idea for it? Have you recieved any criticism in the way of praisal, or have people been "stomping" on it?
JE: i had the idea to make ALERT in 2002 i believe. it came to me at work one day as i was making copies, just strongly disliking where i was. other than my job i put everything other than my job in my life on hold for a while (friends, lovers, activities) and just concentrated on "it", "it" being the thing i hadn't done yet. i didn't know what i wanted it to be and i hadn't done anything that large before nor did i know if i would have the focus i needed to complete it.. so the end product was everything i knew how to do at the time....together.
the feedback from ALERT really surprised me. i knew it was far out. i knew it wasn't a piece of work for everyone. if i went into it with such a high expectation that it was something everyone on earth would love i would have been smashed to bits. i knew only a few people would dig it. i guess it was made for myself AND those few people. the feedback i've received is overwhelmingly positive. of course it wasn't some peoples cups of tea but they are usually kind enough to say it in a kind respectful way which i appreciate.
CS: You exist over at Newgrounds.com. There you have made a couple of movies making fun of people who can't give constructive criticism, when did you get the idea for that and what do you think of people giving fairly unfair comments and criticism? What do you think of these kinds of "creative communities" on the net like Newgrounds.com?
when i first began working with flash Newgrounds.com
was the only place like itself. a place where anyone could upload their material to show the world. of course when you do this you open yourself to a world of abuse. people like to tease, it's easy to do. it's very very easy to tear down something, alot easier than it is to create something. I thought Newgrounds was great in the beginning because, well, i considered Tom Fulp to be a man who was doing the same kind of thing i was. i used to get very discouraged when i read negative words directed at myself. during particularly discouraging times Tom gave me some reassurance that i shouldn't let these things get me down. then the switch in me clicked and i got it. i stopped letting the abuse get to me.
feedback in general isn't something i particularly care about. if there was a way to disable comments on newgrounds i would do it but to my knowledge that isn't a feature there. you have no choice but to take every little shred of bullshit people want to throw at you. i think the thing that set me off was someone calling ALERT (before i completed it) a pointless pipe dream. who talks like that in real life? who would go up to someone and tell them the thing they are dedicating their life to is pointless? really? especially a total stranger. the internet gives people liberties that's for sure. before the internet talking to someone like that would get you in a fight. i'm old enough to remember life before the internet. ramble ramble.
so answering that question..i think creative communities like Newgrounds.com
are a pretty swell place for people to feature their works. you can spend hours there clicking and seeing new things, new talents from all over the world. they are melting pots of everything. that is an aspect i enjoy. as for the negative feedback monsters i guess it's inevitable. the yin to the yang. life goes on.
CS: With your new movie Onward To Calgary you are taking the steps a bit further in moviemaking. Your plans are to use as many techniques as possible, as you have told us at your webpage. When did you come up with the idea for Onward To Calgary? Could you tell us a wee bit about the plot and the concept (if there is any)?
JE: the idea sprung up when i was making these things called "poem time" which were small video projects i made for learning how to use and edit video footage. when i began to use video more and more i began thinking about making a movie with what i've learned. i have a friend who runs a website called "the friend society" named dave teatro and i wanted to go up to calgary to hang out with him. so i thought "if i'm going all the way there, i may as well make a film about it..okay theres got to be more than that.....thinkthinkthink" until it became what it was. the plot is my friend timmy tomato gets some letters from a fan in calgary named tammy tomato and i bring him to calgary so that they can be together. as we take the trip zany things happen, all the things in a normal road trip movie...OR ARE THEY?
CS: At Perisarc.com we can follow the process of your new movie. What makes you use your own webpage instead of a blog? What makes you put up the entire process of the movie for everyone to see? Are you interest in the process of artwork in general?
JE: i really like my own webspace i guess. i have total control over it. that's why i use my own space. posting the entire process serves a few purposes.
1) it allows the financiers to see my progress day by day with actual
photographs of the progress so they know their money isn't going to big coke
2) it shows people who may have an interest in the film neat aspects of it.
3) it serves as a promotional tool in a way....for free!
personally when there is something i'm interested in i enjoy seeing step-by-step things having to do with it. perhaps if there are a few people like me interested in what i'm doing i'm giving them something fun to look at.
CS: Are details important to you?
JE: it depends on the project. with "onward to calgary" details are EXTREMELY important to me even moreso than any project prior to it. this film is an opportunity for me and i need to show people what i can do so hopefully i may make more in the future.
CS: What is it that you want to achieve with the music you upload for free download at you webpage? Has it recieved any attention and is it your interest to keep it free for download in the future?
JE: when i began making electronic music it was about a year before napster came to be. before napster, people could actually SELL their cds and people would BUY them. after napster happened it was quite obvious to me that pressing actual cds and trying to move them wouldn't be worth my while so i just made them available for free. chances are my music will be available for free forever unless i'm making music for someone else who's putting it out themselves. i think spending money on cds is a waste of time when you rip them once and they collect dust after that. when napster came, my dreams of becoming a big rockstar vanished. it was cool though.
i guess for someone who doesn't tell anyone about his music it's gotten attention. some indy people have used it in their films. i get e-mails every once in a while from people who really enjoy it. that makes me happy. as long as a few people are enjoying it i'll keep making it for free for them.
CS: Have you done any kind of comissions as of late? Will you appear somewhere else other than your own webpage and your next movie where we should keep a lookout for you?
JE: nope. i've only been working on this picture for the past year that's about it. honestly when it's done i don't know where i'll be next. i appreciate you reading though :)