As we get older, it’s sometimes easy to forget the big impact our favorite childhood cartoons have had on us. For me, a show like Muppet Babies taught me that all things were possible if I used my imagination. When Miss Piggy had chicken pox, so did I and that made me feel much better about being quarantined from my friends. While some of us simply look back at these fond memories as a time that has since passed, Johnny Mchone, an Independent Animator, was able to build upon his passion for his favorite animation. He was able to turn what could’ve remained as just nostalgia into a successful career.
When Johnny was about 6 yrs old, he was introduced to the wonderful world of drawing cartoons. One day, his mother, a teacher in Southern California invited a special guest speaker, Don Hahn, to discuss animation. Hahn is most known for being the producer of the Lion King and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. As if meeting someone who created all of our favorite childhood films wasn’t enough, his wife drew Johnny a cartoon of Mickey Mouse. That one generous gesture sparked the idea in his head that he too, could create characters he loved. From that day on, he never stopped drawing and even keeps that picture of Mickey Mouse close as a reminder of what started it all.
Using the increasingly popular app, Vine, Johnny discovers a creative way to combine his love of stop motion animation to tell a story of adventure, reawaken the child in all of us and inspire a whole new generation of animation lovers…all in 6 seconds.
By Mika Kenyah
Name: Johnny McHone
Location: Studio City, Los Angeles, California
Occupation: Independent Animator
MK: After discovering you loved to draw at 6 yrs old, when did you discover you wanted to be an animator one day?
JM: I knew when I wanted to be an animator after watching “Kablam” on Nickelodeon. It was a show that combined all my favorite things about animation, cartoons, claymation, and action figures. Once I saw the behind the scenes of the studio, with the creators shooting nerf guns, I knew I had to have that job one day.
MK: What drew you to stop motion animation?
JM: For a long while I never really had an outlet for animation. I didn’t have a camera or a computer to edit anything on, and my YouTube presence was next to nothing. I eventually got an ipad, downloaded Vine and started testing its possibilities. Vine was the first place someone gave me positive feedback about my work. I’d been making art all these years and finally I found a place where it was appreciated. And on a technical side, Vine was the easiest way to animate without having to edit hundreds of photos. You would tap and post. I love the challenge of being limited in my creations.
MK: What are some of your favorite cartoons and/or video games?
JM: Favorite cartoon is Calvin and Hobbes. My favorite cartoon shows would be, Spongebob, the Simpsons, Dragonball Z, and Southpark. Favorite video games are Ocarina of Time, Mario 64, Golden Eye, newly added Bioshock Infinite, and Destiny.
MK: I see with your vines, you are a Zelda fan! What about Zelda is so fascinating to you?
JM: Zelda has always had the best gameplay and story. I especially love playing it on the early Gameboy. Being Link anytime, anywhere was the best. It’s a classic hero saves girl story, but with so much heart and all the cool gadgets.
MK: What about Link in particular, makes you drawn to creating adventures for him?
JM: Every kid is Link on the inside wanting to kill monsters and have adventures. This is as close as I can get to doing that. The games have a fixed story so being able to create my own scenario is a lot of fun. Plus he is so badass!
MK: How long does it take to create one Zelda Vine?
JM: Each Vine is about 6 seconds. 24 frames (pictures) equals 1 second. So I take a total of 144 frames, which takes about an hour or two depending on the poses and the set. Then it’s another hour adding sound effects and 2D animation.
MK: What are some of the challenges you run into?
JM: It’s difficult sometimes trying to keep my characters suspended or in an awkward position for a long period of time. Stop motion is all about keeping control of your environment. (lighting, background items not moving out of place) A lot of times I will bump into the camera and have to get it back in place to the exact spot it was focused on. I stick a lot of clay on things to keep them still…haha.
MK: What are some of the most interesting commentary you received from fans on Vine?
JM: I love it when people play along with whatever the joke is, but many times idiots babble nonsense. When I did my first ad campaign I got the most ridiculous comments. People would say they were terrified of how a clay character looked and then tell me their favorite color. Makes sense. But with the Link vines it was great to see fans discuss the possible outcomes for each episode. They were talking as if it was the actual game and I loved everyone coming together for it.
MK: Please answer the age old question…Who would win in a fight, Link or Mario?
JM: I think I’ve already answered that question with this vine here: https://vine.co/v/OwB6gI7TvPK
You can find more of Johnny’s awesome work by visiting:
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