Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Beck's Last Brew - An Interview with Jerry Beck

Yesterday, Jerry Beck announced his departure from Cartoon Brew, the animation blog he founded with Amid Amidi in 2004, which became a monster hit among not just animation fans, but industry professionals as well.  His announcement sent shockwaves through the animation blogosphere as fanboys pounded their keyboards and screamed to the heavens, "WHY? WHYYYYY????!!!!"

FLIP asked Jerry that very question. And while he didn't want to get into 'the deal', he was kind enough to answer some other questions......

FLIP: How is it for you, a person who reports industry news, to BE the news?

It's strange! I really appreciate all the good vibes I'm getting. I feel bad that some people think I'm no longer writing on the internet. That's not true. I'm simply posting my usual stuff on my personal blog, Cartoon Research, now.

FLIP: Are you hearing a lot of fictitious accounts of what went down? 

I'd love to hear what you've heard. Is there any gossip?

FLIP:  On average, how much time did you spend each day on Cartoon Brew? Did you ever feel trapped by it, in terms of your committment?

I never felt trapped... but I was committed to posting something at least once a day, twice or more if possible. I usually wrote posts late at night or early in the morning, then spent the rest of the day doing the other things I do - teaching, writing books, consulting to Warner Home Video, putting together animation programs for various venues around L.A., and Asifa-Hollywood commitments. I'm still doing all that stuff!

FLIP: Was there a point where CB really took off or was it a steady gradual thing? How was it dealing with the growth?

It was a slow, steady gradual thing - at least from my point of view. It was over eight years! When I attended animation festivals or Comic Con, people I didn't know began to recognize me more and more... that's how I gauged the site's popularity.

FLIP: Did you find it possible to gauge what would be popular with readers?

Well usually I assumed that if it got a lot of comments, it was popular. Stories about Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks were always popular. New trailers were always good. I loved when our readers would "talkback" with their opinions to the new animated features. I also loved exposing great new animated shorts to our readers. We had a lot of animators tell us that because we showcased their film, they were able to get a job at Pixar or Dreamworks. I'm very proud of everything we did with Cartoon Brew.

FLIP: Did you ever get any industry bigwigs contact you with complaints?

Yes. Oh yes. No further comment.

FLIP: What was your all time favorite Cartoon Brew post?

When I posted about finding a Spongebob Squarepants Musical Rectal Thermometer - which played the Spongebob theme when your temperature was ready. I found that in a supermarket one day and laughed out loud - and knew it would make a great post.

FLIP: You have said you're going back to your old site. Given your legion of new fans, can you really just pick up where you left off? Should fans expect Cartoon Research to be Cartoon Brew minus Amid?

It might go in that direction. But it will start off where I left off, posting about the odd-ball nooks and crannies of classic American animation. But it's only natural for me to post about anything I think would interesting to my friends. I hope my "legions of new fans" will stick with me for a few months to see what happens.

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