Thank you, Voodoo, for conducting that interview. Now that I'm no longer blinded by that spotlight, we can introduce our next guest, who has been giving me anxiety for the last few months because he claims he has direct contact with Mark Rolston after I said I wouldn't pay a certain price for an autograph. Give a warm welcome to Xenomrph.
First up, with the releases of Alien: Covenant and The Predator, has your favorite film in the franchise changed at all?
My favorite across both franchises is definitely 'The Predator' now, without a doubt.
No, neither movie really shook up my favorites; in fact it's hard for me to really pick a favorite because the Alien movies are so different from each other and they each bring something to the table. Gun to my head, if I had to pick a favorite, I'd say 'Aliens', but 'Alien' is an extremely close second after that, with 'Alien3' (Assembly Cut) being extremely close after that.Who are you, and what do you do outside of AvPGalaxy (that has changed since your last interview in 2013)?
I'm a long-time AvP fan/nerd/shill/apologist, although I participate in other fandoms to varying degrees. Outside of the internet I'm a hotel accountant by trade, although I went to college for criminal justice and philosophy. Yeah, it doesn't make sense to me, either.
When I'm not working, I'm usually watching movies, painting miniatures, or playing video games new and old - I have 13 game consoles hooked up to my television through an elaborate maze of expensive cables, upscalers, and switchboxes.What are your thoughts on how the franchise has evolved since becoming a fan?
That's a good question. The breadth and depth of non-movie material to dive into has changed, and it's cool to see new movies come out. I got into Alien when I was 9 and it totally consumed my world pretty much until I was in college, but my worldview was a lot narrower and with copious free time, it was easy to laser focus my time and attention towards it. As an adult with responsibilities and new interests, it's a lot harder to do that, and it's harder to find people in "real life" with similar passions for AvP. But I guess that's what the Internet is for.Has your favorite member/best friend on the forums changed since your last interview?
I don't remember my answers from the last interview, but the forum member I interact the most with outside of the forums is SiL and that's sort of how I gauge "friends" from forums I post on. If we can interact outside of the forums about non-specialty topics, I think that means more than just sharing an interest on a forum because our personalities extend beyond the forums. I've interacted with people in real life who were big Alien fans, but their personalities just didn't mesh with mine and we didn't end up being friends.
I'm all for interacting with people from this forum outside of this forum, though - I'm on a bunch of social media platforms, and I have a lot of interests outside of AvP.It is solidly not a secret that you have interesting views on Alien/Predator canon. Why is that, and why do you think so many arguments over canon spiral out of control?
Canon is a fascinating topic and my views on it have changed greatly over the years. Canon as a concept wasn't even something I thought about until the late 90s and early 2000s when I first started posting on AvP forums and talking with serious fans, and by and large my views were in line with everyone else's. I'd get in out-of-control canon debates and in a never-ending quest to be Right On The Internet, I'd piss people off or get really angry myself, and it bled into my offline life as well. I finally realized that that was really unhealthy and I took a "sabbatical" from AvP online fandom for a good 5 years or so, and it let me get my priorities in order, gain new hobbies and interests, and in doing so I saw a lot of different approaches to "canon" across different fandoms, and in doing so it got me thinking that there shouldn't be one way of looking at things like that.
I think canon arguments (for any fandom, not just AvP) spiral out of control partly because people want to be "right", and by doing so it makes them feel a stronger connection to what they're a fan of. "Canon" also makes things seem more "real", as if there's a knowable structure to the fiction, with "facts". Facts inherently imply truth or reality, even for something that isn't real. If everyone agrees on what is "canon", it makes it easier to agree on what the "facts" are, and things seem more real. When someone disagrees on what's canon, it starts to break the illusion and people get really defensive as a reaction.
After seeing a lot (reads: like 97%) of canon debates spiral wildly out of control, I think it's a lot healthier for people to believe what they want, enjoy what they want, and let everyone else do the same. Trying to get everyone to agree on what's "real" in an effort to unite the fanbase or something actually ends up dividing people and pissing everyone off, instead of just, like, collectively enjoying what we're allegedly all fans of.In the thread for the movie Overlord, you made a massive list of books that fall under the "Weird War II" genre. What got you into that?
Probably Wolfenstein3D (I will never, ever get tired of killing virtual Nazis), and a love of WWII history. Seeing how pervasive the Weird War II genre really is, I've gotten more and more involved with it and trying to look at how it's portrayed, how it relates to actual history, etc. I have a running joke that on a long enough timeline, everything will reference Weird War II in some capacity. The Marvel movies got it out of the way early on with Captain America. The video game Outlast does it out of left field near the ending when you learn what's going on. The 5th Transformers movie did it out of nowhere in a flashback. It's a much more pervasive genre than a lot of people realize.In your opinion, what is the most important part of making a film? Is it the script, the characters, effects, etc.?
For making a film, or making a GOOD film? :p
For making a good film, I think it's a combination of all of those things, and a healthy dose of serendipity - some of the best movies ever made ended up the way they are because of things outside the filmmakers' control, or changes during the filmmaking process for any number of reasons.I see you around the merchandise thread quite a bit. How big and impressive is your collection?
I have a lot of random Alien and Predator stuff dating back to the 90s Kenner toys, but Alien/Predator stuff isn't the only thing I collect, nor is it the largest of my collections. I've got somewhere around 500 Transformers, for example.Any advice on getting started with collecting?
Don't look at it as "starting a collection", instead just... buy things you like. If you buy things you like and they happen to all be similar, then all of a sudden one day you'll look at what you've bought and say "oh hey, this is a collection".
Don't just buy stuff to buy stuff, the point isn't to spend money and acquire things but to actually enjoy what you've acquired. Don't spend outside your means - you'd think this would be common sense, but I'm speaking as someone who got themselves in crippling debt because I bought lots of stuff (and they were genuinely things I liked). I'm not in debt anymore, but it was a huge wake-up call and it got me to pay attention to my finances and stay within my budgets. In all seriousness . . . do you have Mark Rolston on speed-dial? Is my first convention going to be severely awkward because I said I didn't want to pay too much for an autograph?
Hang on, lemme call him and ask him if I have him on speed-dial.Most importantly--more important than anything else I've asked (well, except for the previous question)--what's your stance on the skull?
Honestly? Ambivalent. I think it's a neat design element and I get a giggle when it shows up in creative contexts (the PredAlien in AvPR having a Predator skull, or NECA's Kenner Gorilla Alien remake having a gorilla skull) but I'm also a real big fan of how the Alien head looks without a visible skull. Its presence doesn't bother me, but I don't see it as a necessary component of the Alien design, either.