For quite some time I have enjoyed the Starcrafts series of animation shorts. I was able to reach out to CarbotAnimations, the creators of Starcrafts and they agreed to do an interview. Right now CarbotAnimations consists of Jon Burton with contributions from his brother. Its pretty amazing to consider how awesome it is to go from zero to a few million views in such a short amount of time. I imagine the fact that the videos are awesome has much to do with it.

This was a really fun interview to do and I want to thank Jon Burton for taking the time to talk to me.

jdodson: The characters of Starcrafts have very distinct personalities. The Zerglings, Zealots & Colossus specifically come to mind. I wonder what process you went through to give each character a specific personality?

Jon Burton: I try my best to portray thought and personality into each character as well as make them not the same but different from each other. Most character personalities are mostly my mockup interpretation of the starcraft units. For example the Zealot, is very much a zealous warrior in starcrafts. The comical part about his personality is that it contrasts the cartoon world, he is serious and over zealous where as the rest of the world is taken lightly and is playful and relaxed. For something like the colossus a bit more creative freedom is required.

jdodson: I heard about Starcrafts from the official Blizzard Starcraft blog. Do you have a relationship with Blizzard or are in contact with them in some fashion? Will there be some kind of Starcrafts episode in conjunction with Blizzard for Heart of the Swarm? If nothing with Blizzard specifically are you planning something special for the release of Heart of the Swarm?

Jon Burton: I actually had no connections with blizzard prior to making StarCrafts, but Blizzard has warmed up to me very much since the day I released episode 2. When I first got the email stating they wanted to feature my cartoons I couldn't even reply until hours later because I didn't know how to say "yes!" it was a pretty crazy day, I couldnt believe it. As for HOTS, there will definately be Vipers, Swarmhosts, Oracles, Widowmines and all the other units that come with it in StarCrafts. How exactly Im not entirely sure at the moment, but itll happen.

jdodson: Have any other companies reached out to you in response to Starcrafts?

Jon Burton: Nothing too crazy, but smaller networks and work opportunity doors have opened.

jdodson: How would it impact Carbot Animations if, while you were in your bathroom hanging a picture you slipped and hit your head on the toilet seat. When you came to you had a revelation, a picture, a vision in your head... You had in your mind a vision of how to build a flux capacitor.

Jon Burton: I would probably start animating at 88 miles per hour

jdodson: Right now the total views on your YouTube Channel sits at 9.3 million. Its a really impressive number considering you released your first video only 3 months ago. When did you realize that Starcrafts found an audience and you had created something that people could relate to?

Jon Burton: My orignal goal for my first month was to have 1000 subscribers. I never dreamed I would actually get 25,000 subscribers. My end year goal of 2012 (4 months into YT) was 5000 subscribers originally but in reality it came to i think above 80,000 subscribers. I say this not to brag, but humbly. I had no idea it would have taken off so well and I have every single fan to thank for their support. I realized StarCrafts potential the first month, but try to not think about it and just do the work. Even now I cant believe it, it is still a dream to me.

jdodson: What are you looking forward to most with the release of Heart of the Swarm?

Jon Burton: Im a protoss player, and I like to play creatively and unorthodox The new protoss units give so much more flexibility to the race it is exciting. Im also looking forward to the campaign units and Blizzard All Star whenever that will come out.

jdodson: What tools do you use to create the episodes of Starcrafts from story board to finished video?

Jon Burton: I use Adobe Flash 5.5 then export it as a png sequence to Adobe premier. I dont storyboard every episode, I should but I dont. Ive been trying to do that more regularly. But when I do storyboard its on paper.

jdodson: Do you have plans to bring in any of the specific Starcraft characters like Kerrigan, Raynor or Zeratul?

Jon Burton: No plans to bring them in the StarCrafts episode series, however there was an idea of doing a separate series on specifically the campaign, but that has kind of been thrown on the back burner for now.

jdodson: What is your immediate and visceral response to this very important thing I just found on the Internet:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3fO4zEO10A

Jon Burton: I have to say I love this interview, lol. Thats goat to be the best video i have seen in a while ;)

Okok, thats not the most clever joke, I hope you let it slide.

jdodson: How long does it take to complete an episode of Starcrafts?

Jon Burton: Very much depends on how many characters are in each scene at once and how long it is. Generally though its about 15-20 hours, everything included.

jdodson: If you could change one aspect of game culture what would it be?

Jon Burton: Starcraft can be a frustrating game, sometimes we forget about the good courtesy. But I think for the most part the Starcraft community is pretty good compared to other game communities.

jdodson: How did you come up with the concept for Starcrafts and when during this process did you figure out the races distinct feel?

Jon Burton: I cant remember if it was me or my brother or my wife who thought of the name, but the design took me a couple months to decide on. I would work on it casually now and again, but I wanted to get the right feel. frame by frame parody animation can become very strong if done right. After looking at some great examples and redrawing of character concepts I had finally settled. But even now some characters have changed, for example the Zealot from episode 2, look at him again in episode 10. The designs have evolved a bit. Its subtle but its there.

jdodson: On your website there is a section that says "Coming Soon" in the style of the original Nintendo Enterainment System logo. I wonder if there are some hints you can drop for us about this new project? I promise to only share it with the entire interwebs.

Jon Burton: That was in reference to some work my brother is doing on the side. They are featured on my channel now actually. Depending on how things go, this may turn into a series.

jdodson: Does Carbot Animations have plans to expand out to be more than a one person studio?

Jon Burton: As i mentioned in the previous question, my brother is an animator as well. But he doesnt have as much time as I do (hes married with kids) At the moment we arent sure whether to combine our channels or keep them separate. Either way we work together and give feedback on eachothers work. He actually animated episode 15.

jdodson: Blizzard fans can be very vocal about things they like and moreso about dislikes. I wonder how you have viewed the Starcraft Communities response to your animations?

Jon Burton: The community has been very good to me. I dont even know how to thank them. I guess I will thank them with more starcrafts episodes :)

jdodson: What games have you been playing recently?

Jon Burton: I commute to school and am married, so games are pretty low on the priority list. When I do get time, I play StarCraft. Sometimes I have my needs for CounterStrike or other games.

jdodson: !!THIS QUESTION CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE FILM THE DARK KNIGHT RISES!! In the film The Dark Knight Rises at the end Batman nabs the bomb with the Batwing and sails out over the ocean away from Gotham. The bomb explodes and the implication is Batman dies YET it is later shown as a trick as in the final few shots he is seen as alive and well. Are we to believe that somehow he bailed out of the Batwing, swam to shore with a gnarly stab wound during a nuclear blast? HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?

Jon Burton: Hey batman can do what he wants when he wants.

jdodson: Thanks you very much for taking the time to answer my questions! Before we wrap up, is there anything else you want to let us know about?

Jon Burton: Sure thing. One thing that I am very mindful of is dulling a series by becoming repetitious. I love animating StarCrafts so keeping it fresh is something I strive to do. We also are waiting on plushie prototypes! Itll be a little bit though before they are available, but just wanted to give an update. And again I would like to thank everyone for their constant support to Carbot Animations.

http://www.carbotanimations.com/


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