Interview: Stephane Metayer, Creator of Tephlon Funk

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By Young Jeohn (YJ)

Stephane: I'm Stephane Metayer, I'm the creator of Tephlon Funk. The story is about a young girl living in Queensbridge - her name is Joselyn, she's 14 years old and she meets someone who turns her life upside down. Tephlon Funk means to be strong and to stand out. We have four main characters, each character is from a different borough but as the story progresses, we find out how they're all connected. They may be from different boroughs with different ages and different life experiences, but we find out how they're all connected as they're brought together. That's pretty much the basis of it.

YJ: When did you have the idea for drawing this comic?

Stephane: A long time ago, back in 2004 when I was in high school. I actually started putting it out there five years ago. I used to write and draw the whole thing, but then I realized it was too much and I was working on top of that. So I said, you know what? I don't have the time. There's so many things I need to do on top of work and Tephlon so I ended up working with my friend David, who's an artist that I know from Paris. I told him what I was doing - I showed him all my stuff, I showed him my artwork, I showed him what I was working on. He was like "Yo, I love this. I got you, I'll help you out." So we worked together, we started putting stuff out there more and more. [Later on], his friend wanted to join us; he said he wanted to do something. And then my friend wanted to join me, and he wanted to do some stories. So we ended up being four.

Stephane: He's my best friend right here, he's been there since day one - that's my friend Jason (pointing to Jason). He's the marketing [guy] and all the stuff with the merchandise. So yeah, that's how I got started. Pretty much like five of us right now, not that many of us.

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YJ: I'm seeing an animation. What's the story behind that?

Stephane: The teaser was done through a few friends of ours. I'm friends with this guy named Henry Thurlow who lives out in Tokyo. He's working in the anime industry for like 10 years and he has a friend named Arthell Isom. And Arthell Isom opened up his own anime studio in Japan almost a year ago. He said hey, we can help you with a teaser - cause I wanted to get a teaser for the longest. He offered to help me so I said cool, we worked together.

Stephane: I started doing the early work in my basement with my friend. He thought of how the teaser would go. I'd go back and forth with Henry - we'd skype and stuff like that, we'd do emails, chat and whatever. Eventually, I'd fly out to Japan in February and I came back in May, talked some more. Finished it by July, and that's how it happened.

YJ: So how long did it take you to finish this animation?

Stephane: *laughing* Almost a year. I mean, it's short, it's like 50 seconds. It was just a lot of - we ran into a lot of issues, the scheduling and stuff like that. Having to put it down and waiting, you know. Cause there were certain animators that they were waiting on to put the teaser together. And that's what took the longest, just the waiting part. Sometimes you have to put it down and just sit on it for a bit because the right people weren't there at the right time. And we all had conflicting schedules on top of that. 

Stephane: It's tough being independent trying to get your stuff out there. It's easier said than done.

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YJ: Definitely. Do you have physical things that you want to sell or show?

Stephane: yeah, we have comic books, we have artbooks, we have stickers, cards, posters, prints, tshirts, hoodies, hats... well not hats yet, we have prototypes. Yeah, we got the whole she-bang.

Stephane: We got a vinyl right here too. We have our own soundtrack, it's by Fat Jon - I don't know if you're familiar with Samurai Champloo... it's an anime that came out years ago. He did the soundtrack for us and you can download it for free online at our website. The first issue's for free and the soundtrack is free too.

Stephane: I think that's what helped to get it popular, put those two things out for free. Use it to get people started. A lot of people spread news about it.

YJ: Where can people find out more about your project?

Stephane: TephlonFunk.com