The Lighter Side of Life (and Death) – Interview with Animator Jeff Campbell

Nachotoonz Interview

“When you start taking yourself too seriously its time to find a new perspective.” I don’t know if this is really a famous quote, but it should be. It’s actually how today’s guest has managed to create a superhero named Captain Delicious, find humor in the zombie apocalypse… all before dinner!

Okay, so perhaps it took him a bit longer than that to build so a wacky-filled world, but you can bet that those types of ideas are always swimming around in his noggin. Luckily, we were able to distract cartoonist and animator Jeff Campbell from his work at Seismic Games long enough to strap him down and siphon some of his brain-drippings. The following interview is a collection of those drippings.

Thanks for coming by the clubhouse, Jeff. How did you get started in illustration and animation?

Well, I’ve always drawn ever since I was a kid. I’ve always been fascinated by the process of creating, so that’s what draws me to it. [Eventually] I took the route of school and started applying for jobs.

What were some of your all-time favorite cartoons growing up?

Ren and Stimpy, Batman The animated series, Freakazoid

This past year you made the transition to creator of your own series, Zombie Murder Explosion Die (ZMED)! How did this series come to life?

Well, I met up with two very talented people, Scout Raskin and Andrew Racho of Sonic Bunny Productions, and we all collaborated to develop the show.

What was your initial pitch for the series when shopping it around to distributors?

ZMED follows a group of tech-addicted teens as they try to regain a sense of normalcy in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. Zombies, murder, explosions, and death GUARANTEED! Lots of 1990s nostalgia! Random WTF? and raunchy adult comedy too!

Have you always been a horror fan or do the undead just make for perfect “comedy chum?”

I’ve always loved movies like Evil Dead and Dawn of the Dead, but really it was all about how our generation would function without access to Facebook and iPhones.

ZMED Character Sheet

You mentioned your ZMED cohorts, Andrew Racho and Scout Raskin, earlier. How did you get hooked up with ?

I met them at a party and we all had a passion to create something bigger than us, so we starting meeting every couple weeks to develop and write the show.

Between the three of you, how many different ways to kill a zombie would you say you came up with? Any favorites?

Andrew is the best at coming up with stuff like that, he probably came up with close to 20 or more ways; he’s very creative like that.

In addition to laying the groundwork for the visual side of the show, you also did the voice work for Chance Howard? What drew you to that character?

I think there is something really lovable about an egoist. He’s the type of character that never stops being funny. Sometimes its just fun to play the guy who everyone loves to hate.

The series was initially announced as being distributed through Machinima back in February, but only the pilot has premiered. Are there any more episodes planned?

Unfortunately, as of right now, some things fell through but we’re continuing to pitch it elsewhere and move forward, We just recently released a bonus video of one of robbie’s vlogs on the sonic bunny channel animated by yours truly!

What would you say has been the most difficult challenge of producing your own show?

Funds. We have several scripts written and tons more planned out, but the funds are hard to come by to complete these episodes.

ZMED isn’t the first series you’ve worked on, though, is it? Can you tell us more about Captain Delicious?

Captain Delicious is about a super hero surrounded by idiots, he just wants to be taken seriously as a superhero but things don’t always go his way. I’m releasing a new episode by the end of August. That project is all me so I’ve got lots more content coming out within the next year so stay tooned!

Your style has definitely evolved over the years. What/who would you say have been some of your biggest influences?

Definitely Doug TenNapel and John K.

What’s the strangest thing you can remember doing as a kid?

In class I would make my hands talk to each other as puppets and walk around on the table like dogs and ice skaters.

Want to see even more of Campbell’s work? Be sure to visit his site www.nachotoonz.com.

Written by Rondal

Rondal is the Editor-in-Chief of Strange Kids Club and a creative instigator who tackles each day with Red Bull-induced enthusiasm and a mind for adventure. Rondal has written for other sites including Rue Morgue, Fuel Your Illustration and Bloodsprayer. His obsession with horror movies, 80s animation and action figures is considered unhealthy by medical professionals.

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