Colby Bluth – Flash Based Spider-Man Short

We talk briefly with animator Colby Bluth about his Spider-Man short and his other projects.

FAN FILM PODCAST (through Christopher Moshier): Can you give us some background on your Spiderman short and your website?

COLBY BLUTH: I created Spider-Man in the late summer of 2000. Although I’m a fan of the comic book character I was mainly doing it as a portfolio piece. It was to demonstrate my abilities of creating a Flash web cartoon on my own. This was my second cartoon, the first being The Rubber Tree which I created a few months earlier while learning Flash and how to use a computer. The Rubber Tree is in the style of a traditional silly cartoon short, and with Spider-Man I wanted to show a more cinematic and faster paced action style. Unfortunately, the week that I began showing my two Flash shorts around looking for work, the dot com business began to crumble. I think it was late September. A lot of studios liked my work and wanted to hire me, but most of them went out of business by the end of the year, but I’m sure this is a familiar story.

As far as the look of Spider-Man, I wanted to do something different with the colors. I made his costume more muted than you normally see it. I also made an effort to show Spider-Man in a more dynamic way then he had been depicted before, keep in mind the piece was completed before I’d even heard about a Spider-Man movie being made.

FFF: Your site mentions you did everything but the music. Would you like to comment or give a hat tip to the one who did do the music?

CB: The music was done by two friends of mine, Ben Wendel and Daedalus (an L.A. DJ). I gave them a Quicktime version of the piece and then they worked out the music to fit it. Then we got together and polished it up in a couple hours. It was a fun working experience and they did a great job. With an animated piece I’ve discovered that sound is equally important as the visuals, but is only about 10% of the total work load.

FFF: You have a vast portfolio on your site. Can I ask what you are involved in these days professionally or fan related in relationship to maybe a future installment of another Spidey Flash Film?

CB: Currently, I’m paying the bills with freelance Flash animation and ink illustration. I don’t currently have any plans for a new fan film mainly because I can’t make any income from a fan film.

FFF: Has the Spidey flash film gained you any exposure?

CB: I guess Spider-Man has gained me some exposure. Most people have liked it, especially those that understand the limitations of a Flash web cartoon.

FFF: Have you seen films such as BATMAN: DEAD END pop up on the internet? What are your feelings about the most recent spotlight of comic licensed characters being made into fan films?

CB: I saw the Batman piece and thought it was good. It wasn’t perfect, but it had some standout visual moments that people have wanted to see. I think it’s great that people are creating their own fan films. Especially with inexpensive computers, DV, and DVD burning, it’s a great time to be an aspiring filmmaker.

FFF: How about talking up your other creations on the site. Lots of fun stuff! Can you elaborate on Monkeyfish at all and what is happening with this creation?

bluth_00CB: Monkeyfish (working title), is an experiment to see if I can create TV quality animation on my home computer. Now that I’m half finished I can say that it’s very possible. The thing you need the most is just time for all the drawings. This is the first time I’ve ever done traditional animation or painted backgrounds – trial by fire.

It’s a simple comedic short about a monkey that finds a fish washed up on the beach. It will be about 4 minutes long. I’m drawing everything by hand and then scanning it into the computer. I’m then using Flash 4 to ink and paint everything.

I’m planning to submit it to festivals when it’s done as well as adding it to the portfolio. I’m hoping it will open more avenues for more interesting and better paying freelance work. I have some short clips available for viewing on my website.

FFF: What is in the future for Colby Bluth?

CB: I’m trying to finish Monkeyfish by the end of this year. Then I will either be doing one final animated sci-fi fantasy short or move into creating my own comic book. Depends how burned out I am on animation. It’s soooo much drawing.

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