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Fan Interview: Adam Wolf

This document is done

Could you tell us something about yourself, where you live and how old are you?

I am Adam Wolf, I’m 18 years old and live in the city of Adelaide in South Australia. It’s a quiet place and is the butt of everyone’s jokes in other cities (a bit like the USA and Canada), but I like it and am in no rush to leave. I just finished school and am currently looking at employment opportunities. Whatever my job, I’d like to be able to come home and do web design as a secondary occupation. I listen to music 70% of my awake time, and will pretty much listen to anything that isn’t top 40, rap, r&b, or classical.

Any disgusting habbits?

Habits eh. I am a nail-biter. Only my fingers though. My toes have the opposite problem, they grow to a length where they are sharp enough to kill somebody. I like to stay up late and sleep in until the afternoon. I am addicted to vanilla coke, and I am violent when drunk (so said the girl i hit once). They aren’t so disgusting, but it’s as bad as they get if this is a G-rated website.

What is your favorite episode on The Simpsons and why?

I couldn’t choose one, but most of my favorites come from season seven. To name a few, Lisa The Vegetarian, 22 Short Films About Springfield, Summer Of 4 Ft 2, and Two Bad Neighbors. I can watch these over and over again and they’ll still make me laugh. In recent seasons, Trilogy Of Error is as good as they come. It was written and pieced together very well.

How do you see future of The Simpsons?

If it’s anything like Season 11, I’d probably get sick of it and turn it off. It can never be as good as it once was; if it does I’ll eat my hat. Back in the day, such as seasons six seven, you’d have many outstanding episodes but these days they often manage one per season. I’ll tell you what — I’d give anything to have not watched The Lastest Gun In The West. That episode for me was the pinnacle of crap episodes and I found myself unable to enjoy the rest of season thirteen because of it. This can be seen on Last Exit To Springfield at the moment, where both reviews and quotes have stopped at this episode. I will watch it again, once for quotes, but after that never again. Season 14 has been semi-decent so far, but there haven’t been any standout episodes and unfortunately there have been scenes best left on the editing room floor.

The Simpsons Extravaganza, The Aussie Simpsons Extravaganza, The Simpsons Down Under, Last Exit To Springfield are the titles from your general simp-site. How did all started?

I got the internet in January 1997 and at that time, Geocities was being talked about everywhere. Everybody wanted their 2mb of free webspace, and in about February I built my first webpage with a Geocities page builder. It was never complete and it had no real focus. In March I created The Simpsons Extravaganza. It had stolen images, cloud backgrounds, etc. Terrible. My design skills got better when I discovered Netscape Composer, a basic page builder, and when I discovered Paint Shop Pro 3, I got started making my own graphics. TSE and The Aussie Simpsons Extravaganza were never really popular. The site changed its name to The Simpsons Down Under and it gained more attention. Last Exit To Springfield was launched on the last day of 1998 and since then it’s been classified as an elite site.

You we’re 12 years old when you’re opened your first simp-site. Today when a newbie comes with a site and he/she is 12 years old, people doesn’t pay attention to it. Do you see yourself as a lucky person where you’re standing with your site today?

It wasn’t all smooth sailing. My site didn’t attract visitors until about a year after its opening. Back then there was no community though, so anything sent to a webmaster was pretty much in anonymity, and there was no “i am 12 years old” notes in my emails or on my website. The fact is, I was ignored by the big sites. And rightly so. My site sucked and I was an arrogant little shit, requesting that people link me and suggesting my site was more than it was. Originality was not in my vocabulary. My maturing must have happened in late 1997 or something, because I learnt how to design and actually made my own content. It’s all hard to remember now, but my site must have been respected enough a year later, since Brian Chen gave me ownership of The Simpsons Channel in June 1998 without reluctance. I guess the moral is, age is irrelevant. Maturity is another thing. If I were a 12 year old entering the community right now I’d have found and I’d be ignored by all. My tip to any young newbie webmasters would be to avoid message boards and build your site in anonymity. If you come across as annoying before your site is released, they are not likely to give your site a fair go.

You happen to update your site very frequently. How do you find all the time to do it?

I used to set aside a couple of hours every Sunday to update. It was fun, and it kept the visitors coming back every week. That’d usually be it though. Often what you saw on the Sunday updates were made on the day. These days I’ll do stuff offline and when I’ve got enough to fill an update I’ll put it online.

Last Exit to Springfield is going strongly ahead. How do you see it’s future?

What I’d like to do with it cannot be done due to a certain lawyer and his constant badgering of me. Yes, he still does it, I’ve just given up announcing it to the people though. I see the site continuing for as long as I have the time for it. If it weren’t for the doubling in hits received due to the many closures over the past six months I don’t know if I’d be motivated enough to update it. I’m always playing with new designs, but I’m too fussy and everything I do sucks. The Simpsons Channel is much easier to make designs for.

What about other simp-sites. What do you think about today’s sites on the net?

I think they’re all trying to top each other from the word go. You cannot build an excellent website from scratch. It takes time. Frankly I’d rather see a site begin small and grow as it goes along. I’m not a fan of these sites updating with batches of framegrabs or singular images. I’d rather see the content saved up for bigger updates. Their designs are all similar too. It wouldn’t hurt to try something other than the standard 3-column look.

Are there any Simpsons websites with an attractive design and layout in your opinion?

Anything original gets points from me. Eye On Springfield’s current and previous designs were nice. Little Miss Springfield is always refreshing and original. And The Simpsons Folder. Yep. It’s awesome. Writing this interview now, before the site has been released, I can say with confidence that this design is awesome. Don’t make me a liar, Jukka.

What is the worst Simpsons site you have visited?

Heh. Harsh. Anything that steals from my site gets a frown from me. There was this one site that used an image of mine as a tiled background image. They linked to my server and all. I replaced it with a nude picture of Drew Barrymore. Probably did the child a favour.

Are there any design styles you love and hate?

I can’t say i’ve fell in love with any design. Not in recent memory anyway. As for hate, I wouldn’t hate a design unless it had all the elements of a bad site. Eg. cloud background, large text, ugly graphics, etc. But no, I can’t really think of specific examples.

The Simpsons community. Describe it? Does it exist?

I’ve probably referred to it a couple of times in this interview. I use the term community losely, but it’s just easy to say when describing the group of sites as a whole. I do know there is more of a community atmosphere in Simpsons sites than say, South Park sites. So there certainly is something going on. I’d not say there is a single community. You’ll find many webmasters congregate in their own little age/friendship/experience groups. Certain people stick up for others on message boards and you can tell which group they are in straight away. The community does exist.. we wouldn’t be doing this interview otherwise.

If you could change something on the community. What would it be?

I’d like to see more people starting and continuing their sites for the love of the show, not to impress their friends by having some Canadian guy list you among the best sites.

What kind of computer system do you use?

It’s about two years old now; a Pentium 3, 866 mhz. 30gb. I take what I can get. I’m running on Windows XP Professional, and I use a Logitech optical mouse.

What programs do you use when you’re designing a website and why those?

For graphics, it’s mainly Paint Shop Pro but sometimes Photoshop. I know PSP has less features than Photoshop but I’ve been using it for years and I’m just so used to it. I create the design as one big image first, then split it into various images and then compile it in Dreamweaver MX. As far as the “what you see is what you get” html editors go, Dreamweaver shits all over the rest for it’s advanced features and ease of use. Notepad is also used for advanced html and usually for updating once the design is completed.

Describe your desktop. What do you see around your computer?

My desktop at the moment contains one of my own Simpsons creations which will be on my site soon. My desktop is always fairly messy, I have all the programs / folders I use most often on the left and I usually save files straight to my desktop so it piles up a bit. I created a folder to dump stuff into and my desktop is usually clean once a week. I’m running on the default Windows XP color scheme, I use Windows Media Player for mp3s (due to the monstrosity that is winamp3). I see a folder named ‘New LETS Designs’ which has about 20 rejected designs. Somewhere around here is a folder named ‘Videos’. It is hidden. I wonder why.

When you start re-designing your sites, where do you get inspiration for it?

I might see styles on television commercials, or in magazines and catalogues and think ‘hey that looks cool’. Usually when I’m in a designing mood I’ll just open up a graphics program and just make it up as I go along. I also often think about possible designs when I’m in bed suffering from insomnia. If I come up with something good in my head, rest assured I cannot remember in the morning.

Give newcomer a 5 tips to create a good Simpsons site?

– ask yourself why are you starting the site. for your enjoyment, for others enjoyment, or for trying to impress a select amount of people. If it is the latter, you should rethink making the site.
– design isn’t everything. do not try to pass stolen content off as your own by presenting it in a fancy way.
– do not aim for instant success. It takes time to build up a reputation and for your content to grow. Don’t give up if your hits are low or if you aren’t linked on the best sites. Instead ask yourself WHY you aren’t linked on the best sites and improve on what you’ve got.
– update regularly. older sites can get away with few updates but a site which is trying to establish itself should make visitors want to come back.
– keep your content original. Exciting features which cannot be seen on other sites may just be what keeps your visitors returning.

Any final comments?

I want what the dog’s eating.