Legion Studios Interviews

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The Brothers Chaps were interviewed by Derrek Carriveau for online publication Legion Studios in 2002 and 2003.

The brothers were interviewed separately: Mike was interviewed first, in 2002; Matt was interviewed later in August 2003.


[edit] Mike Chapman interview

Offensive content Warning: Language that may be considered offensive by some readers follows.
To view a censored version of this page, see Legion Studios Interviews (censored).

LEGION: Tell us who you are and what you do.

MIKE CHAPMAN: I am Mike Chapman, the co-creator of a little website called homestarrunner.com.

LEGION: How long have you been doing this now?

MIKE CHAPMAN: We started working on the site in late 1999 and it went live in January of 2000. But Homestar was created in book form in 1996. It was just a little book we made and gave copies to our friends for fun. No publishing or anything like that. Then Homestar didn't really do anything for 3 years until I discovered Flash.

LEGION: When (and why) did you decide to make the switch the Flash?

MIKE CHAPMAN: We've been using Flash for the site since the beginning. Once I found out what Flash was (late 1999) and the tremendous potential for creating cool shit, that's all we ever needed.

LEGION: What was the original concept behind Homestar Runner and how close have you stuck to that?

MIKE CHAPMAN: Originally the stories were all going to surround competitions of some kind, like the "Jumping Jack Contest" episode. As we made more cartoons, we began to discover that the characters could be funny doing just about anything, so now episodes can be about whatever.

LEGION: You have a fairly large cast of characters. Was this intentional or did it just sort of happen that way?

MIKE CHAPMAN: It just sort of happened, I guess. I never sat down and said "Hmmmm, I think we need 11 characters." Actually there are 12 if you count Homsar. If we add any more, it will probably be another female character.

LEGION: At what point did you feel you knew what you were doing with the characters?

MIKE CHAPMAN: After the first year. Early/mid 2001 I suppose. I think the "Jorb Well Done" episode was the one that made us realize the potential for the characters. "Marzipan's Answering Machine" really helped develop the characters and some of the relationships.

LEGION: Is this a full time gig?

MIKE CHAPMAN: No, we just do this in our spare time. We work on it a lot, but we have to pay the bills. Matt works for Earthlink and I do freelance graphic/web/flash design.

LEGION: What is a typical day like at HR?

MIKE CHAPMAN: On Sundays, we usually start working on the weekly Strong Bad email at about 7 pm. By 2 am, we are usually pretty close to finishing, so we wake up at 8 or 9 on Monday and finish it up. The rest of the week we work on it for a couple hours a day, working on new toons and games and such.

LEGION: It seems that Strong Bad is the most popular character. How did he come about and what is it that people seem to respond to?

MIKE CHAPMAN: Marzipan's Answering Machine and Strong Bad E-mails have definitely helped Strong Bad become the most popular character. I guess people like how he rags on everyone, but isn't very threatening.

LEGION: Are all of the emails that Strong Bad answers real?

MIKE CHAPMAN: Every single one of them. A lot of people don't seem to believe it, though. Strong Bad gets a few hundred emails a day, so there's plenty to choose from. About 90% just ask why he hates Homestar so much.

LEGION: Are there any inside jokes you can give away here?

MIKE CHAPMAN: Let's see. The concept for Bronco Trolleys came to me in a dream. I've made them before and they're really good. Everyone should go out and make some. Orange and peanut butter is a good combination. The other day I ate at a restaurant that served an egg, bacon, peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It was pretty good. But they ran out of bacon, so it was just a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a fried egg. That doesn't really have anything to do with Homestar.

LEGION: Any long-term plans for Homestar Runner?

MIKE CHAPMAN: We're gonna keep on doing what we're doing. It would be great if we somehow struck it rich and could make money doing the site, and work on it fulltime. Right now we're just trying to make the site better and better. We're working on some other features (like Strong Bad E-mail) that will be updated every week. Perhaps on a different day…Wednesday or Friday, so that there's new stuff two or three times a week.

LEGION: Do you have any additions to the site in the works? Anything we should be looking forward to?

MIKE CHAPMAN: We are also working on another DVD version of one of the old cartoons. Also, I think The Cheat will be making some more music videos in the future.

[edit] Matt Chapman interview

LEGION: Thanks for taking the time to sit down with us again. Actually, we talked to Mike last time. Just who are you and what do you do?

MATT CHAPMAN: I am called Matt Chapman. I work on one half of HomestarRunner.com and do the voices for most of the characters.

LEGION: Since we last talked, word on the street is that one of you was able to ditch the day job. Who was it and how did this come about?

MATT CHAPMAN: It was me. Mike also quit his day job, but that was freelancing so it wasn't as big a deal. We started pulling in enough from merch sales to support ourselves and the site.

LEGION: Tell me about that first day when Homestarrunner.com was your full-time job.

MATT CHAPMAN: I actually had jury duty. It sucked. My first day of self-employment and I got put on a jury. But after that, it slowly started to dawn on me how much more my life rules now.

LEGION: It seems that more and more people visit H*R every week, even culminating in your system going down due to the traffic. What do you attribute to your increasing popularity?

MATT CHAPMAN: Same kinda stuff I guess. Word of mouth, being linked on sites like Fark. I have noticed more and more mainstream sites linking to us. Beck.com and GreenDay.com, for example. And the big deal right now is that Trogdor was mentioned in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer finale.

LEGION: How much longer do you foresee being able to keep H*R both free and free of advertisements?

MATT CHAPMAN: That's never going to be a problem. Even if we stopped making enough from merch sales, we'd figure something else out. Ads are what's wrong with everything. And as far as keeping the content free of charge, hopefully offering things like CDs and DVDs to the fans will work in lieu of going to some kinda crappy subscription service.

LEGION: After the success of Undercover Brother (which was based on a web series), do you have visions of Hollywood calling?

MATT CHAPMAN: They actually have a couple times. I was on the shitter. No, we have representation out there but we're not gonna actively use it until we need/want to. We have our own business that's supporting us and we're doing what we love and answer to no one. Why rock the boat?

LEGION: As I am sure you are aware, there is a website dedicated to your website. How does it feel to have a fan site devoted to what you do?

MATT CHAPMAN: That's extremely cool. A couple of the fan sites are really well done too. It's also a nice service for when folks ask us questions about Easter eggs and stuff, we can just refer them to the fan sites.

LEGION: You guys are famous for hiding stuff throughout your site. How much extra time do you guys spend coming up with the Easter Eggs? What's been your favorite so far?

MATT CHAPMAN: Sometimes an Easter egg can be the inspiration for the rest of a cartoon, and sometimes we come up with them at the last minute. So it varies from one cartoon to the next. I think my favorite might be the one from the original Teen Girl Squad email where Mike and I recreated an indie record store in our apartment at around 4am and recorded a pretentious "I'm cooler than you" conversation. That was definitely the most fun to do.

LEGION: When we last spoke, there was talk of adding a second weekly installment to compliment the Strong Bad emails. Is that still in the planning stage or have you decided to go in another direction? Do you have anything new in the works?

MATT CHAPMAN: We definitely still want to have other weekly features. We didn't realize that when we started doing this full time, there'd be so much other business-type stuff that'd take up our time. I think we'll work ourselves into a nice groove though, and be able to do more than just the Strong Bad emails each week.

LEGION: Are there any inside jokes that you can let us in on? Mike was not very forthcoming.

MATT CHAPMAN: Yeah, Mike's a real jerk.

LEGION: Why does 1936 Homestar seem so much smarter than 2003 Homestar?

MATT CHAPMAN: Well, he's been through hard times. Depression, floods, drought, flood-droughts, the occasional World War. I think all that's wizened him up. Homestar aught 3's got a much more carefree, and therefore dumber, existence.

LEGION: And finally, why doesn't Strong Bad ever answer my emails?

MATT CHAPMAN: I dunno. You musta pissed him off somewhere down the line. I would not like to be in your shoes, mister.

[edit] Fun Facts

[edit] External Links

Interviews on Legion Studios (archive links) swears in interviews, potentially objectionable material elsewhere on site content warning

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