If you’re ever up late on a Saturday night live-tweeting all the animu during the Toonami block of Adult Swim, then you might know the super saiyan sexy comedic power-duo, Timothy Morris and Michael Moore of @FullMahoTweets and @RawBlinkProductions. I have the honor of calling both of these nerd muffins my dear friends, and therefore, they be on mah Hit-It List at this here internet moment.
Timothy Morris (who goes by Tim, but I don’t like shortening things – take that as you will) is a talented writer, director, and producer, and has been anime industry. i.e.: voice over/acting/something something industry since spearheading a multi-media start up called Raw Blink Productions (RBP), in 2013 (more on RBP later) Timothy is also the Creative Director and lead writer of the new graphic novel series, Column, which is the first project to come out of RBP. More on Column later…
Personally speaking on Timothy’s voice direction, not only did he direct me as the voice of the stuffy, yet adorably arrogant Meixue in Column, but he’s also directed me in a number of other voice auditions/projects *AND* on my first ever anime demo reel which I’m super proud of found on the front page of my website omg just click the play button already.
Michael Moore (who goes by “Mike” but that can go to hell; he shall be called Mikhail) is a talented composer, musician, editor and specifically for RBP, he composes all of their music and serves as chief editor of both of the audio and writing components of the company’s main projects. From my perspective, he knows a hella lot about shit that breaks, i.e., my equipment regularly. If Mikhail *isn’t* live-tweeting from @RawBlinkProductions or @FullMahoTweets or just living his life (BACK OFF AND LET HIM LIVE HIS LIFE) then he’s probably helping me work out some technical issue in my own booth. But let it be known it is NEVER because I’ve got the microphone facing the wrong way. Ever. That has NEVER happened EVER. E.V.E.R. Mikhail says that his proudest contribution to Column is as contributing writer, wherein he “primarily shoehorns food jokes.” K.
Jessica: So what is this Column thing I keep hearing about?
Timothy: Column is a multimedia action-comedy series set in the near future during World War 3. It follows the crew of the Helcat, an M1A2 Abrams main battle tank, and chronicles their adventure across the globe.
Our approach from the beginning was to make a unique, multi-media experience that elevates the immersion level of reading a graphic novel. My background was in acting (which I was meh at), screenplay and somewhat, light novel and short story writing in college. Column had originally started out as a light novel with a soundtrack and limited art for chapter breaks and whatnot. But after meeting Ben Harvey, our artist, he convinced us that a graphic novel was the best way I could (afford) to tell a visually compelling and colorful story. After a couple years [interjection by Mikhail: “…funding expensive projects when you’re not already rich is difficult – protip for all you beginners out there ;)”], here we are.
Jessica: Where did you come up with the idea of Column?
Timothy: A number of years ago I was working on a video game for someone and it involved tanks from various countries, and then it fell through when the person I was working on it for abandoned the project. During that time I thought about how the tanks might personify the countries they’re from. Colorful, action-packed, fun and explosive. After working with that idea for a while, I eventually came up with the concept of each crew member having a distinct personality, and if you blended them together, you’d get sort of the “spirit” of the tank or nation they were from. I’m not saying I stuck 100% to this concept, but that very much is where the main girls, Hunter, Milly, Cara and Lexi came from.
When I started writing Column’s story, I thought it would be better for the viewer to discover these characters through another character (or characters), so Jack and Hatch were invented. This also allowed the story to start in a place where they’d go on a journey across the world while forming relationships with the other characters; where a pre-existing relationship could exist between the members of the crew and it wouldn’t feel like an origins story had been skipped over. If that doesn’t make any sense, think of Han and Chewie from Star Wars as the tank crew. They work together as characters because they have a pre-existing relationship, and unless you’re a foolish Disney exec., your first thought isn’t “hey, where’s the 2 ½ hour origin story?”
Mikhail: As for the audio, I had already begun working on the in-game music for that initial project. When Tim had the idea to make a story out of it, we thought it would be neat to include the music as an accompaniment of some sort. Then, maybe a few months into it, he presented the idea of producing audio logs ala games like Bioshock and Borderlands. We were both nerds for voice actors anyway, and it presented the opportunity to flesh-out the characters and add variety to an already present audio component. Plus, we got to work with some of the finest voice talent on Earth! (YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT ME RIGHT)
Jessica: What specifically interests the both of you about anime?
Timothy: Besides the “genre” being more of a medium, there is a unique reason I found anime compelling. I used to be a heavy gamer and I was always fascinated by the voice acting. It was fun to pick out people like Jennifer Hale and Steve Blum across games and animation. When I started with anime, this became even more interesting because of the relatively small pool of actors at places like ADV and early Funimation. Mike and I used to pick our next anime based on which actor/actress we liked. For example, Excel Saga (ME, THAT’S ME) was very early. We went from Excel Saga (AGAIN – ME ME ME) to Pani Poni Dash based on Monica Rial and Hilary Haag (and Chris Patton to a degree). Starting with Full Metal Panic we went to School Rumble, based on Luci Christian. We loved Brandon Potter in School Rumble so much we eventually tracked down Black Cat. Obviously, it wasn’t all linear, more of a web, but that’s what drove our early endeavors for sure.
There is one other thing I should touch on about anime. Unlike movies, TV and even theater, actors in anime have a much greater range of characters they can perform. To me, this keeps things very interesting even though there’s a much smaller pool of actors than there is in other mediums. Just take a look at someone like Monica Rial’s ANN listing. Yeah, there’s plenty of “cute high school girl” type characters, but there’s also an ABSURD range of character types, personalities and shapes, let alone the multidimensional voice styles and characterizations. You simply do not get that outside of animation, particularly anime. In my opinion, anime VAs, particularly the Texas community, are the best voice over artists in the business. I’ll take a performance from them any day of the week over token overpaid Hollywood or TV actors.
Mikhail: Those biiig anime titties, man, have you seen ‘em? Wow!
Also, I suppose, largely what Tim already said; enormous variety in genre and style, plus a love of storytelling (and voice acting) through animated media that I developed when younger, particularly through video games. And the level of genre mixture is refreshing, or at least different than what is more typical in western entertainment. A lot of times the same show will variously feature high levels of comedy, drama, action, etc.
Jessica: Timothy, what is your favorite color? Don’t make fun of me for asking this.
Timothy: “Color on what” is really the question. For a car, generally white. On a plane, USN Grey. On a girl, probably pink but whatever compliments her eyes the best. On gear, I’m still a fan of Flat Dark Earth but I’ve been wavering on that recently. On me, probably blue. My phone case is black but that’s because my iPhone is white and they didn’t have a white case.
Jessica: Mikhail, same question. Favorite color?
Jessica: Mikhail, So I hear you have a degree in math and Skittles. Could you please clarify what I am talking about? (BTW, Mikhail has a BS in Physics and studied music recording technology, composition and something called written and aural theory what even in the fuck is that)
Mikhail: Ah, well I was once matriculated in Confectionery Arts College, but never got my degree; only countless life lessons, delectably sweet times, and a significantly increased risk of heart disease. Fond memories indeed!
Jessica: Ok. Not sure what that means.
Timothy: I understood. Get on our level, Jessica.
Jessica: I could not possibly sink lower, but I’ll try.
And finally… where to find all of this sexy:
Official Full Maho Committee Linkies
Facebook for Full Maho Committee: Facebook.com/FullMahoCommittee
YouTube: Full Maho Committee YouTube Channel
Official Raw Blink Productions Linkies
RPB Website: RawBlink.com
RPB Twitter: @RawBlinkProd
Official Column Linkies
Column Facebook: Facebook.com/ColumnSeries
Column Twitter: @FullMahoTweets