Smithson v. Oeffinger Layer Tennis Recap Q&A:

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Did you enjoy the match or was it stressful?
Daniel Oeffinger: I enjoyed getting to work on something in a completely different way than I get to in my normal work day. The limiting time was a really good motivator, you don’t have to worry about anything being perfect. In one night I got to come up with characters, silly storylines, and execute everything without worrying about client approval, or it being some polished seamless spot. Matt would tell me his idea for the next round, and I’d just laugh and have to come up with a new way to keep the craziness going. It’s kind of hard to top the stuff that comes out of his head.

Matt Smithson: It was really fun, even though I’d would work all day, I would look forward to switching gears and starting the next match. Was fun to change pace, just kind of go and start working on the next one, without a lot of time to plan. So it was interesting to see where things would go, and always fun to see what kind of madness I would have to respond to from Oeffinger.

How much time did you spend on these rounds of layer tennis? What did you pre-plan?
DO: Most of the rounds took about 8-9 hours to finish.. some more, some less. We didn’t really pre-plan anything beyond the current round. With time constraints, neither of us could really wait for a final product from the other person before beginning, so we had to give each other summaries of what was happening before we did it.
MS: There wasn’t much time to pre-plan at all. We both had to work during the day so we would chat back and forth a little about what we were kind of planning, and then I’d have to just dive into the concept I had loosely planned, and hope for the best. I’d focus first on how I would end it so that Daniel could get started, and then talk shit to him throughout the night trying to get him super angry, hoping that he’d kick his monitor in.

How did you fit in doing these rounds of LYT while also working?
DO: All night work… one week of very little sleep, which probably explains why the match’s story turned out like it did.
MS: Long long nights fueled by loud music and caffeine.

What was your animation and design process like for each round? Did you change anything about how you normally work?
DO:We had one day/night to turn out a full animation, with sound design as necessary, so we definitely had to work fast. Started with quick concepting, storyboarding, then designed all the elements out. Animation and sound came last. There wasn’t much time to change a concept once we started, so I just had to run with whatever idea I started with and hope it worked out. I spent a lot of time trying to sabotage Matt, too.
MS: Because it was such a rush with time, I’d loosely storyboard it out after deciding on the concept I was gonna run with, and then just start designing. There wasn’t much room for tweaking the concept once started, just kind of animate full force and to try to not look at the clock. Sound was last. We got a great library of sound samples from the talented Shervin Shaeri.

The narrative of your match is pretty epic: robots, dead cats, Aztecs and Death the Destroyer of Worlds. Any plans for a more fleshed-out version or a possible future collaboration?
DO: Jerry Bruckheimer already contacted us for a sequel….
MS: Yeah Jerry Bruckheimer is in talks with Oeffinger and I about the sequel – Morgan Freeman has offered to narrate the story. Should be epic.
But, yes, we have something in the works for a future collaboration – should be fun.

What’s next?
DO: We are thinking of turning our battle into a musical version for broadway. Trying to sign Hugh Jackman as the rabbit.

Cool, thanks guys. The match was awesome, looked like a lot of fun!