Exclusive interview with Bryan Waterman? Shirley, you can’t be serious?!
Bryan Waterman first came to my attention in 2010 when he began a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for ‘The Waterman Movie’ a vector animated film starring Leslie Nielsen. Unfortunately, though popular, the campaign didn’t reach it’s required goal and as such, the project has since been simmering behind the ether, firmly ensconced upon the well-worn butt cheeks left by Duke Nukem Forever within the proverbial couch of ‘what if’.
Sadly, on the 28th November 2010, Leslie Nielsen passed away leaving the world with one less comedy hero. Now, in 2013 I catch up with Bryan to see where he was with what could very well be the last ever Leslie Nielson movie and to find out a little more about the man with the funny beard.
Watch the video below or click here to watch a NEW world exclusive sneak peek at The Waterman Movie including never before seen footage.
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am originally from a small town in New Hampshire where I grew from a young boy into a young man. I then moved to Boston for college where I was more of a man-boy than anything else. Last year, I moved to South Florida to pursue being just a man. I am also a comedy writer, graphic designer, animator and a part-time woodworker known as The Woodlander.
The 2nd 366 Award goes to Bryan Waterman for his outstanding creative work.
How did the Waterman series come about?
A dream of mine was to one day be a cartoon character. Knowing that the science behind this would surely destroy me as a human being, I began to think that just providing the voice for one would be better. So, when Adobe Flash began gaining popularity as a sort of an every man’s animation tool, I knew that this was my chance to make that dream a reality. In 2003, I wrote and animated a very short cartoon called “Waterman” loosely based on my life and friends and uploaded it to NewGrounds.com. The episode very quickly gained immense popularity, and the “Waterman” series was born.
Given your background, how do you feel about the gradual industry changes in regards to the shift away from Flash animation towards JQuery and HTML5?
To be honest, I don’t know all that much about JQuery and HTML5. Are they good bands? I’m more of a Mumford and Sons guy.
This is an interesting question. Personally, I think that JQuery and HTML5 were born into their popularity because Flash doesn’t know what the hell it is or who it should be tailoring itself to. Flash became too confusing, not knowing whether it was supposed to be for cartoon animation or the more technical aspects of web development and you can see that with every new update to the program. This is why so many Flash animators refuse to move beyond CS3 and CS4.
Acquiring the services of the late Leslie Nielson was quite a boon, how did that come about?
Another dream of mine was to one day work with my comedic idol, Leslie Nielsen. When I decided that it was time to end the “Waterman” series, I began writing what I had intended to be a completely reasonable twenty-minute final episode. Sixty-five pages later “The Waterman Movie” was born. In the script, I introduce a new character named Ready Espanosa who’s personality mirrors that of LOST’s John Locke and The Naked Gun’s Frank Drebin. Every time I read the part of Ready Espanosa I would hear Leslie’s voice.
Even though I knew that getting him to voice the part was beyond a long shot, I decided to give it a shot anyway. Boy was I in for a treat. A very long story very short, I found myself on the phone with Leslie Nielsen himself. In our first conversation, he expressed his love for animation and that he wished he had done more with it in his career. Then, just like that, he agreed to do it, free of charge.
How much (in %) of the movie Waterman Movie is complete and how confident are you that the film will see the light of day?
This is the big question, isn’t it? The production of this movie has been one of the hardest things that I have ever dealt with in my life. Going into it’s eighth year in production, it has hit every conceivable speed bump, roadblock, and total derailment that it could possibly endure. We would literally be here all week if I went into greater detail. That being said, it’s still in production.
We have some unbelievably passionate members of this team that no matter how big of a hit that this movie takes, they always seem to find a way to pick it back up again. It’s very hard for me to put a completed percentage on the film because it’s in so many pieces right now. Our biggest issue right now is a lack of financial support as well as manpower. If things continue the way they are right now, we’ve got a very long road ahead of us. How confident am I that the film will see the light of day? We are doing everything in our power, exhausting every effort to finish this film. We’ll see.
When trying to raise funds for the movie via Kickstarter, the campaign fell short. Have you considered trying Kickstarter again?
We have. Kickstarter was very new to everyone our first time around. We know what works and what doesn’t work now, so it’s definitely an option on the table.
Do you have any other exciting projects in the pipeline?
Of course! I recently pitched a show to Cartoon Network called Thunder Quest, I’m in the process of developing a new web series called American Squires, I recently started Woodlander’s Woodshop (find us on Facebook), and we’re always teaming up with other animators and working for clients on amazing projects.
And finally, if you died and were reincarnated as a song, what would that song be?
That’s a tough one. I would say either “Tossed Salad and Scrambled Eggs” by Kelsey Grammer featuring JQuery and HTML5.