Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Interview with Sally Cruikshank

First, a brief interview with myself:
Linda, tell us about a defining moment in your life.
Seeing Quasi at the Quackadero.
It brought me to my creative senses. It also sparked my interest in philosophy, religion, physics, history, and psychology. (If you haven't seen Quasi at the Quackadero, step over here.)
Hi Sally. When and how did Anita's magnificent profile (the profile of her face) come into being? And is Anita based on anyone you know?

Okey dokey. I was drawing a lot of ducks, childhood obsession, so they all come out of that. From Uncle Scrooge comics, partly. Anita is not based on anyone I know, though there's a lot of my childhood best friend in Quasi, and a lot of New Jersey in Anita. My grandmother sent me a 50s shirt for my birthday that had diagonal pink and gray stripes, and I found it so disturbing, and felt badly that I hated it. The 50s aesthetic... One of those things that locks in your brain. Another childhood friend's middle name was Anita, and I always thought it was peculiar.
Did you do the voice for Anita or any of your other characters?

I did the voice of Anita. It's kind of a riff on Mae West. I wish I could get the computer voices I use now to have more personality, to be able to tweak them. For awhile there was a wonderful free demo voice of a valley girl which I used in some online thing or other, at helloagain.com in the section about us, I believe. You typed in phrases and it came out with really decent character voice. But then a big corporation bought the little corporation in Scotland that had constructed this cool computer voice, and took it off the market.

Are you working on an animation now? If you aren't, do you have an idea for one?

Right now I'm not working on anything. I'm trying to learn various technical things which can be consuming, since I'm teaching myself. e.g. I found an old and decent interview I'd done, on 3/4" tape, had it transferred to dvd, then found it's really hard to edit from dvd format. Downloaded a program that took the tape to divx format, then bought a program just now that's going to convert the divx to avi. Then I'll edit it in After Effects. Just figured out how to use software to convert old audio tapes to cds. It's not that any of this is so hard, but just tracking down the info and watching out for viruses takes time.

I was thinking of rebuilding the Sado Air part of my old Charbucks web site in After Effects but haven't gotten very far with that. It's very funny.

Jingle: "If we crash, we don't care, we don't say we'll get you there, we just say, if you dare, you'll fly Sado-Air." (written before September 11.)

Did you make things when you were little? What kinds of things? If so, were your parents excited about what you made?

I always thought I would be a writer. I used to write a lot. My sister was an incredibly talented and eccentric artist, who died of a brain tumor at age 49. She had an unhappy life.

My mother has a great sense of humor and is creative. She's 92 tomorrow, things are getting hard for her now.

Do you have a family? (Jon and Dinah from your blog?)

Jon is my nice husband and Dinah is my nice 18 year old daughter. I have a very smart German Shepherd, Molly, and I spend a lot of time with her. We even take sheep herding lessons.

What does your family think of your work?

I love reading the comments on youtube by the grown up kids who watched my Sesame Street pieces. Dinah never enjoyed tv at all, and would leave the room when I turned Sesame Street on.

Does your family put you up on a pedestal or do they think you're just a normal human being?

I am the person who takes care of the animals!

What did you have for breakfast this morning?

Trader Joe's Greek yogurt with strawberries. Nasty lunch, TJ enchiladas that were still partially frozen.

What would you like for dinner tonight? (Don't say "howz about oatmeal.")

Salmon tonight with asparagus and potatoes. How bout you?

Pancakes. What kind of computer do you use?

I have a Sony Vaio hardtop media edition computer and use a Wacom tablet to draw. I have 1500 gb ram. I use Flash, After Effects and Photoshop plus Note Tab Pro for coding JavaScript and PHP. I bought Dreamweaver but haven't gotten very far with it.

When do your best ideas come to you?

When somebody hires me to do something, and they're not restricting me, and there's music that I like. I can really groove on creating animation that responds/bounces off of music/lyrics. The reason I got started trying to resurrect this old interview with me is because I remember some interview where they shot me in the old Woolworth's in downtown San Francisco, because I said I got my ideas at Woolworth's. But I couldn't find that interview.

When you first experienced Flash, what was your reaction?

I hated it, and this was Flash 4. It didn't make sense to me at all. I created an elaborate web site with JavaScript and gifs for the animation. Then when Flash 5 came out it was easy for me because I knew so much JavaScript.

Do you like drawing in Flash?

yes and no. The line is strong, but not always the line intended. But the fill is incredible, remembering the hours, days, weeks, months, years of ink and paint. I think it's odd that people have so much trouble breaking away from the Flash look, because the software can do so much.

What's one of your worst habits?

I'm shy and not good at keeping up with friends or people from the past.

Do you have a favorite piece of jewelry?

I don't wear jewelry. I even had my wedding ring cut off because it interfered with riding.

What is your favorite cosmetic?

Clinique lotion is nice.

What are one or two of your favorite movies?

I Know Where I'm Going, Michael Powell, and my favorite period is the sound movies of early 30's.

Do you subscribe to any magazines?

Magazines fill me with dread, because they keep coming and there's never enough time in the day.

What music have you been listening to lately?

I go in and out of interest in music, but transferring these old audio tapes has me more in than before. I'm not into contemporary music at all.

What is your favorite pair of shoes?

I wear ugly Ariat boots, but I did have a pair of shoes I designed constructed once, in England. I think there's a picture of them somewhere on my site.

What are some of your favorite books?

One of my favorite authors is Barbara Comyns, Our Spoons Came from Woolworth's and many other books, but her last one was awful. I also like to read Western History. Can you imagine anyone reading James Joyce's Ulysses any more? (I never read it.) I keep up on T.C. Boyle, but he could be better. Lately I've enjoyed mysteries when well written, not that I ever know who did it or even like the crime aspect, but enjoy the less affected writing styles and real milieu created. You'd think I'd like science fiction but I can't get into it. I'm a horribly critical reader.

My husband has a few more questions:

Why do you pick on Quasi?

probably mixed feelings about my old boyfriend.

How did Quasi escape from the time hole?

artistic liberty

Why did you tease the goats? (as witnessed in I get slammed by a fat goat)

I didn't tease them! They tease me. They torment us. We love them.

Do you have any other pets? (I know you have a German shepherd.)

Two horses, two goats, 12 doves, koi, an OLD frog, five chickens, two parakeets. Used to have more.

If you could live anywhere you wanted, where would you live?

I'm always happy where I am and don't like moving.
whew. enough of me. gonna send this before computer crashes. Sally

ps no idea why but my email program flashes a notice that this email is full of things that will make the recipient angry. huh? no idea what that's about!
Don't forget to watch Make Me Psychic.
Order the DVD so you can really
see the movies.
Afterwards if you feel the need to talk to someone, you can go here.