I've been with computers since I was born so it's almost a freaky extension of myself when I work.
Please give us a brief bio of yourself.
I've been working with the internet for about 4 years now. Started doing freelance from home at 16, hiding my age behind the face of the internet. I've been with computers since I was born so it's almost a freaky extension of myself when I work.
Our team originally proposed the series to my previous employer - the online design firm Switch Interactive - as a portfolio piece for everyone involved. I continued my duties as their Creative Director while developing the first 6 chapters of Broken Saints with their financial support and guidance.
By May 2001, I found it too challenging to give energy to both aspects of my career, and decided to focus full-time efforts on Broken Saints.
What do you do for inspiration?
A lot of my inspiration comes from mediums other than the internet. Movies definitely play a big part - Brazil, Amelie, Fight Club, Magnolia...the list goes on. Also, what I see everyday - Andrew's artwork and Brooke's writing. Music, such as radiohead, third eye blind. Everything has a story and a place.
What software couldn't you live without?
Photoshop, Painter, Flash, Winamp
Please list 3 of your favourite sites.
This is a bit of a tricky one. I don't ever really surf the net. This is good and bad. I don't really know what is out there which is pretty ignorant of me but it allows me to have a unique style. Just finding the time. Also, I get frustrated seeing the same style of site all over the internet. www.sgi.com for toys I can't afford. www.moock.org - awesome flash guru.
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
Putting together 18 Chapters, 20-30 minutes a piece of Broken Saints all in Flash! (without it crashing)
Who is your target audience?
We didn't originally intend to have a specific demographic, since graphic literature has historically appealed to a broad spectrum of readers. That said, the fusing of flash effects, anime-inspired art, and contemporary storylines has really sparked a following with the core of our readership/viewership in the 15-25 range.
Geographically speaking, we were successful in one of our early targeting goals - striking a chord with European surfers - since we felt that the philosophy, style, and pacing of the series would be readily embraced in that part of the world.
What area of web design lacks the most?
Probably the limitations. When you're working with video/print you know how it's going to turn out for the viewers. Working with flash which will play various frame-rates depending on the computer speed mixed in with all of the other variables make it hard to give everyone the same experience.
We really work hard to make sure Broken Saints gives the same feeling to someone on a 400mhz or someone on a 2gig.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
Broken Saints....the complete 24 chapter series.
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
esales.com....no longer there. It looked all right for Microsoft Frontpage :)
Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?
As you can probably tell from this interview I'm not much of writer. Brooke's the man for that! On the other hand I would really enjoy speaking at Flash conferences and trying to spread the word in the ways of pace setting and subtle effects to enhance a story.
Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?
I blame my ignorance for not knowing this.... I'm sorry.
What effect on traffic do your new designs have?
As far as chapter sizes go we're limited to 4 megs as any more tends to make flash unstable. Releasing a 3 act chapter (4 megs a piece) sucks about 10 gigs on launch day.
What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did you spend on it? Is it still online?
My 'flash career' has consisted of Broken Saints. It was one of the first flash projects I worked on. We've now been working on Broken Saints for nearly 2 years and worth every minute.
How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?
Don't mix event and stream sounds on the same timeline if your movie is over about 2000 frames or it will restart randomly, crash, or cut audio out. Watch the file size and make sure you can keep within 4 megs. Movies become less stable if they're above this.
16000 frames is your limit so you can movieclip sections if it's going to be larger. Remember who is going to be watching your flash. Are they majority mac/pc, what speed are their computers? Macs will play flash slower than PC's. No fun, but it's true.
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
Yes...it has managed to get so far ahead of everything else it will be hard for any competition to catch up. I hope it does, as Macromedia has been lazy about some bugs just because they can.
What type of overcoat do you wear when Flashing, basically are you a labels man?
Labels are the bomb. If you use them properly they can make everything a lot more flexible. You'll find yourself wasting a lot of time if you link to frame numbers.
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
To all of the flash designers out there creating toilet humour - please take the time to create something more....most of you can so don't waste your time creating yet another shoot-em up.
Tell a story. Move people. It's a lot more fulfilling for you and the viewers.
It's been a privilege, Ian, thank you very much.
No worries! BROKENSAINTS.COM! :)