Last of the Round 8s - Niccea and Ochitsukanai interview amanda and BetaJess of But not Really!
skoolmunkee at 3:10AM, Sept. 9, 2009
posts: 7,058
joined: 1-2-2006
This interview is of amanda who has pretty much run the Drunk Duck Awards 2 years running…. and also an interview of BetaJess, who collaborates with Amanda on the comics Salt the Holly and But Not Really!
(interview conducted by Niccea and Ochitsukanai!)

How about we start off easy? Is there anything you want to say about yourself, the woman behind the computer?
Amanda: Let's see… I'm the cane-wielding age of 26, and I have a firm belief that silly hats and sno-cones can solve the world's problems.
BetaJess: Lame. I enjoy an hour of yoga and then sipping tea after a long day at work. I like to throw parties, dance and I also like my art when I'm not mad at it. My hair is naturally dark blond. Oh, and I'm awesome, too.

Anything new happen in the past year between interviews? I’m pretty sure we will end up covering it all eventually.
Amanda: BetaJess and I now have TWO comics! We're also back to being roommates which makes working on our projects (and throwing awesome parties) much easier.
BetaJess: Amanda pretty much covered it, but I also quit my full time job to go back to school. Now, double as both student and barista. I work downtown and you just wouldn't BELIEVE some of the stories I could tell you…
Amanda: Most of those stories involve hobos.

Amanda, your avatar is a crab. Is there a reason for it or is it just a good picture?
It's a part of my super-mega-cheery welcome mat ^.^ It's also been suggested that I have a sea creature fetish - this may or may not be true. In any case, the crab kind of sums up my cheesy grin + flailing arms personality.

“But Not Really” is your photograph comic staring you and your friends. How do you come up for ideas for strips? Do you write down and plan them out or do you sometimes just happen to be holding a camera at the right moment?
BetaJess: Amanda and I usually have at least a loosely formed plan of what we want to do. I can't recall anything where we actually knew what the script would be before taking the photos. However, there are quite a few instances where we just come up with a BNR on the spot because something funny happened. We almost ALWAYS have a camera around, because we can find crazy things to do ANYWHERE we go. I don't think we have any shame or sense of embarrassment, really.
Amanda: Sometimes, we'll throw a bunch of costume pieces into a bag and spend an entire day just driving around town looking for inspiration. Also, from these guys:

“But Not Really” looks like it must be insanely fun to make (it is also super-fun to read!). Do you have any stories about your epic photo comic-making travails?
Amanda: Oh my goodness, BNR is entirely too much fun, and there are almost always behind the scenes stories to tell. One of my favorites involves the Doom Pineapple arc. My company sent me on a mission to find out more about a particular company (we'll call them Q Corp). Jess happened to be hanging out with me at work that day, so we decided to turn this mission into a BNR strip. That also was part of the cover story for why we were just walking into this random office in the middle of the day. The only props I had available at work were my glow-in-the-dark scimitar (a leftover from Talk Like a Pirate Day 2008) and a plastic pineapple. We figured Q Corp would tell us to go away when we showed up asking to take pictures in their office, but they thought it was funny. Their CEO even offered to take the pictures for us! We had to make up that story on the spot, too. Awkward, yet completely hilarious! Then, on our way back to the car, we shared the elevator with the vending machine filler man, and he gave us a whole bunch of chips and crackers because he thought we were funny. Back at my office, Jess dumped all the snacks on my boss's desk, and he looked horrified and said, “Oh my God, you STOLE from them?!”
BetaJess: Okay, Amanda pretty much told the most crazy of our stories (and left out some of the details, I might add!), but every single one of our BNR updates has a story behind it almost as crazy as the comic itself! If any one's ever curious about one story in specific, just ask us and I we'd love to tell it!

You use a variety of settings in “But Not Really,” what is your favorite?
Amanda: I think the Cathedral of Junk is my favorite spot. The pictures don't do it justice, really. This guy just built a three-story structure out of junk in his backyard, and he lets people come visit it for free. When we were there taking pictures, he regaled us with stories of other people and their adventures - it was really interesting and fun. The only downside would be the bugs. We were eaten alive by mosquitoes! This was the day I discovered I was allergic to Benadryl, heh. I refused to go to work the next day because I was the color and texture of a basketball. =p
BetaJess: To choose just one!? I love so many. I think my favorite place to take pictures is the state capitol building, because the lighting there is SO good, but I also loved the Eiffel tower as a backdrop, and then there's the creepy angel.. the oh so creepy angel. *shudders*

Like Ochisukanai and I, you girls collaborate. What is your experience like in this? What do you enjoy about it?
Amanda: I think Jess and I make an awesome team. We've known one another for so long (since 1991!) that we're practically sisters in addition to being best friends and now roommates (again). I have to say that it's MUCH easier to collaborate when we live in the same apartment since we can bounce ideas off one another (and share chores, oh man, I hate washing the dishes). We're able to bounce ideas around for Salt, and the art has improved, too, since we're better able to communicate how we see the story playing out in our heads. Another bonus to being roommates - we get to combine our costume trunks! To clarify, Jess has a costume trunk - I have costume Tupperware.
BetaJess: Amanda and I are a GREAT team. Where my skills lack, hers are awesome, and vice-versa. I swear, that girl loses EVERYTHING! It's great being roommates and also having these comics to create together. It's fun to come home from work/school and just sit down and draw or take silly pictures and have dinner together. The comics seem less a chore, and more of a game in our little way of life (well, as long as I'm not getting in trouble for critiquing too much, heh….).

In “Salt the Holly," Brio finally got punched, and the readers had been waiting for that forever. So was it satisfying to draw?
Amanda: Yesssssssss! Well, on my end, it was satisfying to write and color. Once Jess had finished the picture, we cackled about it for a good, long while.

Amanda, you were in charge of making sure that the Drunk Duck Awards ran smoothly. Anyone can tell the process starts earlier in the year than the voting. Would you mind going in to greater detail on all that you have to do?
Oooh, good question with no way of avoiding the dreaded wall-of-text response. It starts with deciding categories. I think we discussed these in the forums for a couple months before the final decision was made. What to add? What to take away? How to define a category? Is this too many? Why am I on fire? Criteria and ground rules as to what and who is eligible are decided. Then we have to figure out the ballot. This year, JustNoPoint had a friend code the ballot and the vote counter - it was awesome. We kept going back and making little tweaks and adding functionality. Definitely a more stream-lined system than last year, but we also had more time to pull it together. Once the voting starts, the ballot is added to the site, and we start begging for panelists and presenters. I randomly assigned presentations and panels unless specific ones were requested - JustNoPoint has been so helpful with playing clean-up on the panelist side. He set up a forum and has pretty much corralled everyone and kept them on track. Then comes the nervous, nail-biting waiting stage. JNP and I were both on several panels, so we read a lot of comics in addition to moderating the forums, answering questions, etc. About two weeks until the awards ceremony, I started nagging people who hadn't turned in their presentations. The Awards just ended (that's what took me so long to answer your questions, Niccea), and I think they were a success. =D Incidentally, I'm really REALLY hoping to pass the torch for 2010. *hint hint anyone*

Why did you decide to take on the large task of the Drunk Duck Awards?
Because I'm bat-shit crazy? The simple answer is that no one else was going to do it! The 2007 Awards were admirably done by Subcultured, and there was definitely interest in having a repeat in 2008. The interest wasn't turning into action, though, so I snapped it up and got the ball rolling. Gotta say, the 2008 edition was a huge task that I was wholly unprepared for, haha. This year, I was ready for it, though. JustNoPoint jumped on as an excellent co-coordinator and co-host though, and that helped immensely =D

Here is one of those questions that everyone must answer. What are your favorite comics here on Drunk Duck?
Amanda: Ooh! There are so many! Rival Angels, Used Books, and Temple of a Thousand Tears have been on my list for a good, long while. I also have to nod at Mystery Bread which I picked up a couple months ago. ^.^ Some other faves are Opey the Warhead, Ruby, Times Like This, and Cricket's Creature. I wish I could list ‘em all, but the sheer number might make people’s eyes bleed.
BetaJess: Okay,Amanda's already named a few I like, but I'm more partial to Trevor's other comic Asshole, and after judging for the DD awards, I also fell for The Dreamer, Charby the Vampirate, and Last Place Comics.

Do you have any more comics waiting in the wings before you post them?
Amanda: I have three mostly-developed ideas for comics that I'd love to see happen - but due to time restraints and my tendency to overbook myself, I don't know if those will ever actually get drawn. We'll see =D In a related note, last year I remember saying that Salt was probably going to be my only comicky contribution - turns out that I'm a filthy liar XD
BetaJess: Well, Amanda and I have stocked up quite a few updates for BNR, if that's what you mean, but as far as posting a THIRD comic? I know we're awesome with balancing full time school/work, two comics, AND having lives, but I think a third might put us over the edge… or Amanda might force me to learn PHOTOSHOP!!! Oh, no, I can't let that happen… I don't know if my brain could handle photoshop.

Are there any questions that you hoped that we would ask but didn’t? If so, please answer now.
Amanda: 17; absolutely not; because I've always wanted to see a building that is older than the furthest I can trace my family tree; and George R. R. Martin.
BetaJess: 4; WHAT KIND OF A GIRL DO YOU THINK I AM!?; I've never really given it much thought, but I've always been curious about Spain; oh, and definitely George R. R. Martin.

Do you have any famous last words or parting thoughts?
BetaJess: I've been saving this for a special occasion, and I think this is just the time to pull it out (that's what she said). Amanda to me during dinner one night while discussing super powers:“You're more about soul destroying, where I'm more about physically maiming. Together, we're a great team! …Though, that could be the reason people think you're meaner than me.”
Amanda: Yup - that about sums it up!

last edited on July 14, 2011 3:43PM
Gillespie at 1:55PM, Sept. 9, 2009
posts: 194
joined: 2-23-2009
That was a big read, but an awesome interview nonetheless. The awards must be a lot of work, but it seems that it went nicely!
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:36PM
Niccea at 3:40PM, Sept. 9, 2009
posts: 5,525
joined: 8-10-2007
I think I might help out with the awards next year. I'm usually free during that time.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:14PM
ParkerFarker at 12:50AM, Sept. 10, 2009
posts: 1,451
joined: 4-29-2009
good interview. Très enjoyable.

“We are in the stickiest situation since Sticky the stick insect got stuck on a sticky bun.” - Blackadder
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:39PM
trevoramueller at 9:30AM, Sept. 10, 2009
posts: 1,462
joined: 9-17-2007
Suddenly I'm a little fearful for October…. :P

Great interview, ladies!
My Drunk Duck Comics:

Nominated for numerous web awards, see more news at My Website
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:34PM
amanda at 12:06PM, Sept. 10, 2009
posts: 2,075
joined: 9-19-2007
Suddenly I'm a little fearful for October…. :P
Hey now, you knew what you were getting into. Mwahahaha! XD

And thanks for the interview, Niccea and Ochi ^.^ It was good times!
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:52AM

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