INTERVIEW: Marji Fortin

Marji Fortin is a 2D (Flash) animator and creator of the webcomic Proud Lands. Marji has primarily worked in television (Word Girl, Squidbilles), but she has recently started to specialize in animation for mobile games. She currently works on Minomonsters, a monster battling game for iOS.

In this interview with Paper Tape editor Kristy Harding, Marji talks about working as a traditional animator, webcomics, and storytelling.

PT: It first occurred to me to interview you for Paper Tape when you told me about a Women in Animation panel you served on where something you said took everyone by surprise. 

MF: I was invited to be on a panel by the San Francisco chapter of Women in Animation.  I feel like I was the least accomplished of the panelists as I shared the stage with a Pixar artist as well as a stop-motion artist who had worked on The Nightmare Before Christmas!  I guess I was the only traditional animator in the group, though, and the audience of (primarily) animation students were pretty interested to hear that I had found work in my field–and that I firmly believed others could too!

Once Disney Feature Animation went under everyone pretty much believed it was a dead art form.  3D was the wave of the future (and is still going strong), and I knew several friends who had switched to it not from a love of it but from a worry that they wouldn’t have work if they didn’t.

Animation is not an easy field for anyone and can be especially challenging for those who are focused on traditional (hand-drawn) animation, but there’s a surprising amount of options out there.  Flash, ToonBoom, and other programs that facilitate the process mean that there are still 2D animators here in the states.

The panel itself was held at the Walt Disney Family Museum here in San Francisco and was really fun!  I loved hearing from such a varied group of artists and animators.  You forget about other areas of even your own field sometimes and it was nice to see how varied it can be.  There was a girl whose expertise was in prop-making, who had worked in stop motion but also on Mythbusters and now other shows, helping to build whatever needed building on set!  I never even knew that job existed!  It was pretty great.

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Jennifer Powers

VLUU L200  / Samsung L200

Jennifer Powers has been accepted into an MFA program and has stories published or forthcoming in The MacGuffin, Folio, Linden Avenue, Prairie Wolf Press Review, Wild Violet, Hawai’i Pacific Review, Diverse Voices Quarterly, and Foliate Oak. She has photography published or forthcoming in Foliate Oak and Josephine Quarterly. Find out more about Jennifer at www.JennPowers.com.

Musical Girl

By Wendy Vardaman 

As soon as the lights go down and the conductor lowers the baton, her tear ducts open. Boyfriend offers one Kleenex, then another. She soaks them with salt water like a soldier shot in the heart soaks torn shirtsleeves. After the first box, Boyfriend gives up. She leans on his shoulder, drenches his only suit coat, his tie. People nearby have to lift their feet into their seats by the sixth song, and toward the end of Act I, there’s a steady drip to the balcony underneath. The people below don’t notice the rain at first, because of the pain swelling in their own empty hearts, filling their own sad, sad eyes.

Her row wades out at break, and the ushers come through with wet vacs and rubber boots. Phone the house manager when it’s ok to start. Break out the emergency drainage system for Act II to prevent the whole hall’s collapse.

But Musical Girl’s no ordinary sobber, and when she returns, eyes swimming in tears, telltale ripples boiling near their beaches, any island child could tell you that the tsunami has already started, the walls of water pushed up from her bottomless depths unstoppable.

Wendy Vardaman is the author of Obstructed View (Fireweed Press), co-editor/webmaster of Verse Wisconsin, and co-founder/co-editor of Cowfeather Press. She is one of Madison, Wisconsin’s two Poets Laureate (2012-2015) and co-editor of the 2013 Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar and a forthcoming anthology, Echolocations, Poets Map Madison. In addition to poetry, she writes essays and interviews, which have appeared in Poetry Daily, Women’s Review of Books, Poets.org, and other venues. She has a Ph.D. in English from the University of Pennsylvania. With husband, Thomas DuBois, she has three children and does not own a car.

 

The Case of the Bleeding Tree

By Kenetha J. Stanton

The four of us were sitting at a booth along the back edge of room having a few beers to celebrate the end of Jake’s last shift as a police detective. He was retiring after 40-some years, and he had more stories to tell than most of us could even dream of at this point in our careers, but we always had to pry them out of him.

“What’s the weirdest case you ever saw?” asked Kurt, the newest of us on the force, and therefore the one most willing to ask the questions we all wanted to know.

Jake stared at him for a moment, then took a deep drink from his mug of beer stared off through the smoky pub, clearly thinking it through. The muscles on his jaw worked steadily as he ground his teeth.

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The Ultimate Leak

by Mi West

My pulse skyrockets. Unnoticed yet nervous, I’m waiting at an isolated table in the darkest corner of a noisy café. Wearing a business suit to hide in the crowd on mainstreet on my way, I’m bathed in a sweat, and near suffocation in the absence of oxygen here.

I’ve borrowed a digital camera from my little son. My mobile phone with a camera and a GPS is at home, switched on; an electronic footprint to give the impression of me being there too, just in case… I came in undetected, to meet my #1 source of blockbusters and scoops, Penpusher, who’s a goldmine of top-secret leaks.

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Night Run

By Sarah Marie Kosch

Hem stares at the wall and wants to feel something more than pacing feet caught in her ribcage. It is as if everything inside her is in motion—urgent and jerky—restless—yearning. She needs to do something, move to run the fire out that is knotting into hard sparks in her intestines, smoking and scorching their way up her throat. But her body sits still. She is confined by skin and sitting alone on the couch in her living room. She stares at the wall in front of her, the smooth, flawless, unbroken blankness. There is nowhere to go. If the sun were out, she would open the door and leave—walk somewhere, see someone—but it is deep night now, and their shadows glide past the closed blinds of her patio door. 

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