Hey, it’s Cohen. Ash, our Associate Producer who usually runs these, is at E3 this week, so I’m doing the introduction. There was also a weird Affable Karkat vibe when he was answering this own questions, so I rewrote them a little. Here goes:
Obviously people sorta know you if they’ve been reading these interviews, but for the sake of the thing: What’s your name, and what do you do on the Hiveswap team?
Hello there! My name is Ash Paulsen, and I’m the Associate Producer on Hiveswap. As a producer, my basic role on the project is to help organize and sync up each department’s workflow while also facilitating effective interdepartmental communication. In layman’s terms: it’s my job to make everyone else’s jobs easier and do all the “in-between” stuff to help bring the game to the finish line, and that means I do whatever needs doing – which can vary from day to day!
How’d you get your start on Hiveswap?
This is actually a surprisingly straightforward story. Basically, What Pumpkin was looking to fill a producer position on Hiveswap, and luckily they were pointed in my direction by a mutual friend and colleague. So What Pumpkin then reached out to me via email, and I happened to be looking to take the next step in my career at the time. I then began a brief trial period as a part-time producer on Hiveswap to ascertain if the position would be an ideal fit for me. After a while, I was very graciously welcomed into the What Pumpkin family as a full-time producer – I must have impressed them somewhere along the way, and I’m happy I did!
Yeah, absolutely. Having a dedicated person for the work you’ve been doing has made my life easier. You’ve got some experience in 2D animation and video game production specifically, right?
My first production-related job came by way of Nickelodeon Animation several years ago, where I worked for about a year and a half as a Production Assistant on the Butch Hartman cartoons The Fairly OddParents! and T.U.F.F. Puppy. (Prior to that, I’d been working as a Game Master at Nexon – the developer of MapleStory – so this was a huge jump!) I later left Nickelodeon for a full-time position as the Senior Editor at UDON Entertainment, a publisher and art collective specializing in video game and anime art books. Somewhere along the way, I ended up taking on a second gig as an Associate Producer at ShiftyLook, where I got to help make super cool webcomics and web cartoons out of old-school, dormant Bandai Namco Games IPs, such as Bravoman and Wonder Momo.
It was that ShiftyLook job that reminded me just how much I loved producing and wanted to get back into it, so I put some feelers out there and when I was lucky enough to have What Pumpkin come knocking, I was ready to seize the opportunity!
Do you have any advice for someone looking to get into production? I don’t mean me, of course–it wasn’t until we brought you on that I realized how much production work I’d been doing as a matter of necessity, and I don’t want to go back to that life–but just, y’know. Tips and tricks for any aspiring producers.
In terms of advice for launching into a production career, I would say that a self-starter mentality and an honest willingness to take on pretty much any task – no matter how boring or menial – are key. I find that’s the best way to let people know you’re a team player and, in turn, get noticed! If something needs doing, just step up and do it! If you don’t know how to do it, ask questions, but do it nonetheless.
Yeah, including, when you’re not at E3, running these interviews. Speaking of, do you have any favorite games?
For someone who plays as many video games as I do – I’ve been an avid gamer since the original Super Mario Bros. captured my heart when I was just five years old – this is a surprisingly easy answer! My favorite game of all time is Chrono Trigger, a Super Nintendo JRPG you’ve probably heard of once or twice. That game is the total package: a gripping story, memorable characters, killer battle system, legendary soundtrack, and some of the Super Nintendo’s very best graphics. I think my favorite thing about Chrono Trigger is that the narrative can be as complex or as light as you want it to be; if you want to enjoy it as a simple time-traveling romp, you can do that and it’s great. But if you want to read between the lines and really dive into the lore where things get pretty dark and sophisticated, you can play it that way too and it’s even better in my opinion. It’s a game you can enjoy on your own terms, and for that reason and so many more, I just adore CT. My second and third favorites behind that are Okami and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.
I just recently finished the Switch versions of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Blaster Master Zero, and Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap, and right now I’m playing Horizon: Zero Dawn and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Looking ahead, I am unbelievably, ridiculously hyped for Sonic Mania and Kingdom Hearts III!
Do you pull any inspiration from those for your production work on Hiveswap?
Not in particular… I can’t think of much crossover between gaming and production work, either in terms of the skills required or really at all. I suppose there’s some tenuous connection between, like, turn-based strategy RPGs and project management, but even that’s reaching a bit.
Besides, working on Hiveswap is its own form of inspiration: I have the privilege of working with a team of wildly talented, creative folks on a daily basis, and when you’re surrounded by that much awesome every day, it’s hard not to be inspired to work harder and smarter!
Since this is a remote team, we’ve had people describe their workstations, which has been fun. What’s yours like?
I don’t really have a particular workstation, if that makes sense. Mine is mostly the kind of work that can be done anywhere as long as I have my laptop (I run with a MacBook Pro) and an Internet connection, so my workstation is generally wherever I want or need to be that day. Oftentimes that means a local coffee shop because I don’t fancy staying cooped up in my apartment alone every day, but if I have a full day of meetings I’ll usually stay home. The same ambient noise I go to coffee shops to enjoy tends to become a major liability when people are trying to hear you in a Google Hangout or Skype meeting!
Yeah, I can confirm that, having been in those meetings before you started staying home for them. What about music? Do you like to listen to anything while you’re working?
I constantly listen to music while I work – lots and lots of video game music! Game music has been my jam since I started burning line-out recordings of sound test menus to CDRs as a kid. (Not even kidding. The ‘90s, baby!) Usually it’s upbeat, driving chiptune anthems like the sort you hear in Mega Man games and other retro platformers like Shovel Knight, but I also love orchestral VGM like Final Fantasy soundtracks. In fact, Yoko Shimomura – composer of the Kingdom Hearts games, among so many others – is my favorite musician of all time! I also listen to original chip music and a ton of EDM (electronic dance music, which encompasses so many other sub-genres) as well. I’ll give anything a chance, really!
Anything else you want to say to fans?
I’m genuinely appreciative of and humbled by the opportunity to leave my stamp on a universe as singularly compelling and bizarre as Homestuck. Despite my being a relative newcomer to the project and the wider Homestuck community, bringing Hiveswap to the finish line in a form that delivers on your expectations means the world to me and I take my role in that process very seriously. I’m really, really happy to be here!
Is there anywhere people can see more of your work?
As I touched on briefly earlier, I’m one of the GameXplain crew! If you’ve not heard of us, we’re a Nintendo-focused YouTube channel closing in on 800,000 (!) subscribers, though we also cover PlayStation and Xbox titles when time allows. You can find a link to our channel right here, where you’ll hear me yapping away in all sorts of discussions, previews, reviews, news updates, and more!
We’ll have Ash and the regular format back next week.
A 25-year old Jaÿ-Z, photographed in his first official press-shoot by Jamil GS in Battery Park City, Downtown Manhattan, in the Summer of 1995.
“This is when it all began for the chief, and for me also. I think this was my second record industry gig. I remember it was low budget. I didn’t know who Jaÿ-Z was at the time, nor did anyone really in the world outside of Brooklyn, but my friend Patrick Moxy at PayDay Records/Empire Management had a good ear for amazing talent and contacted me to shoot what would become the first professional press shots for Jay. This was gearing up to the release ofReasonable Doubt.
A few of Jay’s friends from when he used to dribble down in VA came to pick me up from my Avenue A apartment in his Lexus. This was the same Lexus from the ‘Dead Presidents’ video. I remember him saying, damn there’s a lot of freaks around here, and there was. That was back when Alphabet City was still funky. We drove to swoop Jay from his new condo off Atlantic Ave in Brooklyn and then headed to downtown Brooklyn next to the Riverside Cafe. It was a mixture of sexy logistics and wanting to catch some iconic New York shit.
Being that Jay lived in downtown BK, I decided to go to the waterfront by the river cafe on Water Street where we could also get a hint of the NY downtown skyline. Later we crossed the bridge to Wall Street and Battery Park City. The idea was to shoot him surrounded by all symbols of material wealth like the Twin Towers and luxury yachts. This was pretty clear symbolism and Jay knew exactly what kind of image he wanted, even back then.
I was inspired by the album cover of Donald Byrd’s A New Perspective, and shot this with a Hasselblad 553, using a 40mm lens. I shot using Kodak Tri-x 400 film.”
Summary: James Buchanan Barnes. King of L.A. Feared by all, loathed by many, loved by few. He can get just about everything, and everyone, he wants. Except you. [70s mobster bucky au]
Pairings: Bucky x Reader / Pietro x Reader / Bucky x Natasha / Steve x Sharon [there is a lot going on in this fic ok]
Warnings: Cursing, mentions of alcohol and drugs
Part One: L.A. Woman
Los Angeles, Nineteen Seventy Something
Many people had told you that moving to California would be a mistake. But you had big dreams of being on the silver screen, and you weren’t one for giving up easily.
Finding a stingy apartment in West Hollywood was a peach. It was keeping enough steady funds to afford to live in said apartment that was hard. You had done many auditions and none of them had turned out successful.
So it was time to start looking for work in other places until you could bear to take another audition.
Doing your makeup in your smudgy bathroom mirror and styling you luscious wavy hair, you scooped up what was left of your dignity and made your way down the Sunset Strip. There was bound to be a job opening there somewhere.
The sun was hot and unforgiving, just like each store and bar you ventured into. Every single one turned you down and sent you packin’ to the next one. That was until you saw a silver haired man posting a help wanted sign in the front door of The Roxy.
The Roxy was the hottest club in the city, maybe even the world. You had heard the stories of the famed celebrities that entered its doors when the neon sign flickered on. The music, the drugs, the scandal. It was fascinating to you.
Quelling your childlike wonderment, you pushed through the door of the club. It was even more wondrous inside than you had imagined.
“Hey, we’re not open!” The voice brought you out of your daydream. The silver haired man appeared from behind the bar and walked over to you. His hair was messier close-up and you noticed how built his arms were. You silently thanked God for that black tank muscle tee he was wearing.
“Hi, I saw your sign. I’m here for the job.” You said with a smile clearing those thoughts from your head.
“Wow, that was fast. Uh,” He scratched the back of his head. “We’re looking for a second bartender, you got any experience with that stuff?” He asked, letting his arm fall back to his side.
“Um, just basic knowledge. I mean, I was a bartender in a commercial once.” You spoke honestly. It was the second acting gig you booked before moving to Los Angeles, the director said you were a natural at it. But you weren’t sure if he meant acting or bartending.
The man looked at you for a moment longer before speaking, “That’s good enough for me. You start tonight at 8 pm, don’t be late.” He said starting to turn away from you.
“Wait, I got the job?” You were very confused. He stopped short,
“Yeah, if you want it it’s yours.” He answered.
“No interview or anything?” He walked over to you again, this time with his hand extended to shake yours.
“Hi, I’m Pietro. Would you like the job?” He asked, sarcasm lacing his voice.
“Hell yeah, uh, I mean yeah, yes. Um. I’m [Y/N], sorry.” You sputtered, still shaking his hand.
“Cool. You’re hired. Welcome to The Roxy, [Y/N]. There, interview done.” He started walking away again. You were still in shock when he paused one more time before disappearing into the back room.
“Oh, wear something sexy!”
“Why?” You called back. Pietro peeked his head out,
“Just do it!” He disappeared again. Well, now you could cross hunting for a job off your list.
“Thanks, I’ll see you tonight!” You shouted to him, even though you weren’t sure if he would hear you. As you pushed open the door to walk out to the street you heard him faintly yell,
Your lips turned up into a smile as you practically skipped back to your apartment.
/ / /
After tearing your closet apart to find something “sexy” for your shift tonight. You settled on a maroon long sleeve jumpsuit that just so happened to have a long v-neck as well. Fluffing up your hair, you double checked your appearance one more time before slipping on your heels and heading out the door.
The Roxy was bustling. Music was blasting and drinks were pouring a mile a minute. You walked in and set your purse down behind the bar, Pietro noticed you out of the corner of his eye while he handed a man his drink.
“What are you wearing?” He asked, with his hands on his hips. He was still wearing that muscle tee that had you mesmerized earlier, the only difference was the tight leather pants he exchanged for his denim jeans.
You looked down at your outfit,
“Is that a rhetorical question?” You cocked your head.
“I said to wear something sexy, what the hell is that?” He gestured to your jumpsuit.
“This is sexy to me, I mean look at this.” You pointed to the v-neck that went almost to your mid stomach. Revealing just enough cleavage without being too ridiculous.
“You’re telling me that’s not sexy?” You asked mimicking him as you sassily rested your hands on your hips. Pietro let out a huff of air,
“Fine. Get to work will ya, start over at the other end.” He instructed. You smiled in victory as you strolled to the other end of the bar to start taking orders.
You were like a well-oiled machine once you got into the groove. Going as far as to let men stick 20 dollar tips into your v-neck. While in the middle of pouring someone yet another martini, Pietro stepped over.
“You’re doing a good job out there, I guess that jumpsuit is sexy.” He smirked.
“Told you.” You grinned, shaking the liquid mixture together.
“Yeah, yeah.” Pietro brushed you off. You watched him as he went back to his end where a tall man was standing. Handing the martini to the customer you continued watching Pietro talk to the man, occasionally glancing over at you.
Finally, Pietro walked away from the man and back over to you. You felt your nerves twist and turn in your stomach.
“Well, hotshot, the boss wants to see ya.”
TAG LIST OPEN
[Again using the same tag list from Pas De Deux, if you would like to be removed just let me know]
Number five. Inspired by “Motel Pool” by Travis Garland. Take a listen while you read. As always, find more of Teyana and Niall here.
It’s been a hell of a week.
Teyana’s been working a string of
long shifts at the bookstore for the past several days, and those shifts have
seemed to bring in a rainbow of clientele—terribly sweet but indecisive old
ladies who she essentially ended up giving a tour of the whole bookstore, irate
college students in summer school who wanted to place the blame on her for the
texts they’d procrastinated on purchasing and were now out of stock, dudes
tapping on the front display window while she was restocking shelves who found
it charming to point at her ass and give her a thumbs-up.
She’s been soldiering through, a
half hour left in her final shift before a blessed couple of days off (as a
thank you from her boss), and then a small child belonging to a parent too engrossed in their cell phone screen to pay attention manages to take down
an entire display of Mo Willems books in ten seconds flat.