Q&A with Resident Mack Mayo

 
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To whatever extent you’re comfortable, can you share about your project?
My project is a concept for a TV show I’d like to pitch to Adultswim. During my time at 212 I will be developing the story, the characters, and the world, to a point I have a cohesive and polished pitch for it.

What do you find alluring about your medium? What capacities does it offer that complements your project?
I use a lot of mediums, I think limiting yourself to any one medium also limits your possibilities to explore. For example you might be an illustrator, you draw everything you need, but if you create a small 3D sculpture of your character that you can hold and look at, you can get a better understanding of what your character looks like. You might discover something about their design that doesn’t work, maybe from one angle a strand of hair looks great, but from another angle it looks awful. By using multiple mediums you give yourself more tools that can take your work to the next level.

In what ways do you hope/expect 212 will help to develop your work?
Having a mentor with experience in our field I think is the most important thing 212 has offered. There’s a lot of resources out there that can tell you all sorts of “how to”s but those aren’t personalized and can be hard to digest on your own. This is a very simplified metaphor but let’s say a “how to make a hot dog” tutorial had instructions on what to buy, you buy everything you need to make your hot dog, and start following instructions. You get to an instruction that says “put ketchup on the hot dog,” do you put it in a straight line? A squiggle? To the side of the hotdog? Straight down the middle? Which is the best way? What if I don’t like ketchup? Do people want to see ketchup on my hot dogs? You check other sources, some say ketchup is mandatory and people will hate you if you don’t have it, others say ketchup is optional, and some say you should never put ketchup on a hot dog. How do you know what you should do? Having someone with experience to guide you and help you understand where you need to put your ketchup and how you should use it makes all the difference than just getting the ketchup. The mentors provide this, and I expect my project and myself to benefit from the guidance and advice of my mentors who have experience writing TV shows.

Part of the 212 program is that you are assigned a mentor who will help guide you as you develop your project. What excites you about working with a mentor? Do you have any anxieties about it? How do you imagine it will affect your process?
As previously mentioned, I believe my mentors will provide me with guidance and advice that will help me understand what my project needs to grow into a fully realized pitch. I’m excited to get a glance into the process of building TV shows in the professional world. The only anxiety I have is standard surface-level self-doubt. I imagine my mentors will affect my process by enriching it with options I never considered, and knowledge I don’t have.

In what ways do you think working in a shared space with the other residents/artists will affect your process?
Very positively. Working in a shared space with other artists can be intimidating, but it also is inspiring. You’re surrounded by creativity, by others who are going through the same struggles you are. I remember going to an animators get-together, there was a point in the event when everyone got up and showed animation projects they were working on, just because they wanted to. Being in that environment and seeing everything everyone was accomplishing and just enjoying the art of it was inspiring, it made me want to go home and create my own art to share. I think it’s crucial for artists to be in the presence of other artists, and enjoy the art of creating together.

In Fruits & Veggies, plants and humans are switched - personified fruits and vegetables inhabit a fleshy world - which is excitingly bizarre, and definitely a pertinent reversal at a moment when the relationship between ourselves and our planet is frustrated. Can you speak some about your thought-process behind this inversion?
You bring a layer of eloquent depth to it that did not cross my mind until much later in the development. The birth of this idea was much simpler and half-witted. There I was, 5 or so years ago, sitting at work on my break. I was thinking about what I should doodle. I’d recently seen a pineapple somewhere. For a long time I had been in denial about my love for pineapples, due to the fact I’m not crazy about how they taste, but I absolutely adore how they look. I decided it was time to put my foot down. Who cares if I say I love pineapples for how they look not how they taste? In that moment of rebellion I drew a character with a pineapple for a head, who would become the main character of this series. As I sat there on break I thought of other possibilities for characters with fruit-heads. Eventually I came to the thought “what kind of world would they live in?” Sure they could just live on Earth, but then it hit me, what if they lived in a world where plants and humans are switched, a grotesque fleshy planet inhabited by personified fruits and vegetables. Then I thought, THAT’S HILARIOUS, laughed my ass off about it, and logged the concept in my story-idea bank. 5 or so years later here we are.