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The History of IZFAS
Topic Started: Nov 28 2010, 10:33 PM (4,124 Views)
dr.deciduous
An Oldie
The Invader Zim Fan Animated Series is one of the most fascinating projects i've ever witnessed and had the pleasure to be apart of.

Invader Zim, along with other cancelled shows such as; Firefly, Star Trek, Futurama, Family Guy and many others, garnered such a strong fan base that it's ending in production could not be easily accepted. When a show has such an impact in pop culture, fans can't simply let it die without at least a fight. So letters are written, petitions are formed, conventions are held and even at times protests are demonstrated. The love of the series also inspires creativity in all fashions whether it be in the form of a piece of fiction, a drawing, or even a cosplay. And when a show that was cancelled nearly a decade ago is still inspiring creativity in people you can be sure that this show was special.

The Invader Zim fan community has become almost infamous in the fan communities of the internet. Due to the scale of the fan-base stereotypes and negative connotations are associated with the community. But these perceptions are often formed from an aspect of truth and the source of these stereotypes lie within the message board of www.roomwithamoose.com
Room With A Moose, or RWAM, became the essential fan site for the Invader Zim community. Forming in 2001 during the Shows original run, the site help bring the early fans together and gave access to all media required to satisfy them. The site even went to lengths to offer all episodes for download after the show was cancelled but took them down due to the support the release of the DVDs. After the show was cancelled the site continued updating with any new information regarding the shows possible revival or any new releases of merchandise. RWAM even managed to offer production work of the shows unaired episodes including voice over work for the unanimated episodes. These were the first sparks of what we know now as the Invader Zim Fan Animated Series.
Whilst the site was appeasing the ever growing fan base by salvaging anything from the short lived series it's message board community started to grow into something larger than expected. In only a few years the Board had gathered thousands upon thousands of members and had become the largest community of Zim fans on the internet. RWAM had simply become the home base of the fanatic community. And like any large gathering of people on the internet things turn messy. This is where the adolescent behavior of fans started to form and devide the fan base. The "Newbs" would enter the message board screaming out Gir quotes typing in caps and yelling their love for Jhonen Vasquez like we all did when we first discovered the show, come on you know you did too. Simply because the message board had become so old these newer members became an ongoing irritating occurrence for the older school Zim fans who would respond very hostile to their presence. However this was simply the natural progression of the message board and the same story of many others that grow at such a large rate. But i digress, in 2003 when the board still had a fairly positive atmosphere, a member started a thread with an ingenious idea. Honestly i can't remember this users name, gender or even inspiration behind the idea but they simply started a thread posing the question
"What if we made our own Zim episodes?"
The thread exploded in positive replies and before long the IZFAS had been born.

Members of the forum started conversing in ideas of how to lift this idea off the ground. What would be the outcome of this project? who was going to do it? how do they do it? Scripts and drawings were posted to help start bringing visual structure to the newly founded project.
And out of this thread the first fan animated piece was produced, Way Up In The Sky. A very crudely animated and voiced short depicted Zim and Gir conversing. Zim asks gir to do something but Gir replies that he'd rather eat tuna, or something along those lines unfortunately my memory of the short is quite fuzzy. Gir then proceeds to fly upwards and shoot zim with tuna. I had many requests before for me to find the short to show but even if i still had it i would never show anyone because it reflects really poorly of what this community can produce.
But hey, it was start.
The short was actually VERY well received and really motivated enthusiasm in the group so much so that the thread became too large for the board and the members started migrating to a newly founded IZFAS buzzyworld domain. And thus the IZFAS forum was founded.

Work on the project immediately started progressing. The small team started to grow and before long roles and jobs started to be assigned. New animation tests and shorts went into production and the work on the Projects pilot episode started. The original assumption of many people coming to IZFAS over the years is that the team will be producing animation to the audio of the unfinished episodes however when the project started going into full steam in 2004 the original idea was to produce completely original episodes.
After many premises were]e thrown around the team settled on one episode "Pork of Doom" revolving around Zim and Dib conflicting over mutated cafeteria meat. Again due to my hazy memory and lack of archived materials the majority of the plot escape me. But on a personal opinion i can honestly say the script was of poor quality and reflected the naivety and lack of experience that had gone into the project. However production went into the pilot and voices were recorded as well as some story boarding.
Now it must be noted the community at this time had been mostly migrated members of the RWAM moose board and other zim fans who had stumbled upon the site in their google searches. Although another Fan community started to slowly migrate to the IZFAS board and inadvertently create the most unique aspect of the IZFAS project, new waves of teams. I'll get into this more later but for now let me continue with the story.

So the year is still 2004 and for those of you active flash fans will know this period as the boom of Keenspot. Keenspot was a hugely popular site hosting many of the biggest flash series and webcomics at the time. One of the most successful flash series to come out of this would be MAtt Wilson's Bonus Stage. The crudely animated show lasted 88 episodes and formed a large fan base. And like any fan base, the fans gathered on a forum to discuss their love of the show and slowly create their own community. Due to many inspirations Bonus Stage had taken from the show it was natural that the fan base's would crossover with each other. And at some point the forum got wiff of the IZFAS project and a new boom of members came in. This is where previous project managers such as UnionOfDarkness came from and even Bonus Stage's creator Matt Wilson had for a short period came over as the shows musical composer. Other lesser known flash animators at the time such as Andrew Kuarevane, who went on to create the popular "My God Robots" flash series at this time had joined the community.
By this time the original founding members of IZFAS (many of which are credited in the MHSE short as Original IZFAS Legends), from the now legendary thread on RWAM, had started leaving the project due to lack of production from the crew. Like any fans, you eventually lose that passion you have in something and stop paying so much attention to what you love. This caused many crew members to lose interest in producing material for the project eventually causing the show to come to a standstill.
But in anything in life what happens when the old lose interest and become stale, you find some new blood. And with the migration of Bonus stage fanatics that's exactly what happened. A whole new wave of team members started. Old jobs were handed to new employees, positions were promoted and slowly the IZFAS started to gain steam once more.
it was around 2005 where the board moved to it's new home at the bingbangboom.us domain and with virtually a whole new team the previous pork pilot was scrapped for a much more practical and condensed pilot "the most horrible short ever".
Originally written by, then admin and leader of the project, Cyberen and a few other members, who again (sadly) names escape me, and storyboarded by cyberen. Production started moving on quite fast and once cyberen had assembled an animatic, voicing all the roles himself, he posted it to the original buzzyworld page. This page became the original entrance to the forum and gathered a lot of attention. The animatic started bringing in a whole new wave of members, including myself. It was in this wave of members that the animators, artists and voice actors were found for the short.
And so in 2005 IZFAS entered into the most productive phase of it's history. It was also around this time the project started looking into producing the unfinished episodes, of which Mopiness of doom was the first scheduled and much produced for.
It's also in september of 2005 that i joined the IZFAS community, So this next section is going to be a fairly personal account of my experience entering and establishing myself in the team so skip this if you're not interested in my bullshit life.
in 2005 i was 14 and my then girlfriend had recently become a ZIM fanatic. She started pushing the show on my quite aggressively and for some reason i was pretty hesitant to watch it due to my vague memories of watching it in it's original run and not liking it. And like everyone here i gave in watched the show, fell in love, sleeked out everything i could about the show and stumbled upon the IZFAS community. After stalking the forum for a few days i became determined to become part of the team. The whole experience in attempting to become hired into the project was very daunting to me at the time since i had little experience in forum conversing and had few skills to offer. However this didn't stop me from posting up terrible sample scripts and horrible voice auditions. I originally tried becoming the voice of Tallest Red with really pathetic attempts to imitate the voice. No one was really impressed however after i revealed i was british i gained a lot of praise for my skills of disguising my accent. This pushed me onto to audition for various characters on the show and after a good month i was hired as the voice of minimoose and presidentman. Such useful skills right? But it didn't matter i had done it. I had somehow pushed and shoved my way into this community and become a part of the team. I spent the next few months simply conversing with other members and offering my opinion on any topic of the project. For a long time i simply sat on the side lines and watched the Shorts production slowly progress. But by early 2006 i had grown pretty frustrated with the lack of attention the project directors had in the project. Of course they were probably just out living their lives but i was on this forum for at least 4 hours a day and had a huge faith in the project. So without permission i simply started organizing things myself. I simply read through all the archived threads and learnt where the project was, who was doing what and what needed to be done. I then spent a lot of time simply organizing information so that everyone can get a clear view on the project. I wrote staff lists, i wrote to do lists and started archiving and presenting all production material in an organized thread to simply give everyone a clear view on the status of the project. This had garnered attention from one of the admins and promoted me to co. director of the entire project. So in the matter of 6 months i had gone from someone resisting to even watch the show to a co. director
of a project aspiring to revive the show and the most active member in the IZFAS history at the time with a record rating post count.
So from then on i went to work assigning jobs, figuring out schedules and simply running the show at times. Essentially i became the Producer of the Most Horrible Short Ever but was never credited for it. But please don't read any arrogance into this. I'm not saying i saved the project or assigning the success at the time to my presence at all. All i want to assure you is that i spent a lot of time on that board and i did a lot managing. I just had real faith in the project. Also it was fun.
So now we were knee deep into 2006 and after 3 years the project was finally moving ahead to a foreseeable successful future. The Short was slowly being animated together section by section, Unfinished episodes were being story boarded, All the roles had a strong voice actor attached to them and thanks to a very talented 3D animator we actually reproduced half of the opening sequence of the show. In my opinion this was the high point of what the project produced. The whole opening sequence was probably half finished, fully animated and was originally going to be attached to the Short, however it sadly was never completed and scrapped.
By the Summer of 2006 the production started slowing down again. In my frustration of this i left for a family vacation for 2 weeks without telling anyone. In my absence my role was assumed abandoned but the then admin Cyberen took up the mantle and crudely animated the remaining sequences. And when i came back to the boards after my holiday i noticed that in my leave the short had been completed and uploaded. This was probably the highest point IZFAS ever got too. It was agreed that the show would premiere on Newgrounds to gain attention. In a very short amount of time the Short gained great ratings, a front page link and even made it into the top 50 greatest all time flashes for a period of time. The Forum of course gained a boom of new members and production into mopiness of doom started. Lots of short sequences were actually animated and it was looking like the project was actually going to become bigger than ever.
However this is where the IZFAS bubble burst.
No one really can associate what happened but the forum simply became less active. Crew members had stopped producing material at such a rate and thus other members stopped becoming more active to the point that the forum became baron. Threads stated sitting in the forum for months without being touched and members log in rates were decreasing dramatically
My theory to what happened was simply due to the high productivity during the summer when the members of the forum returned to school/college they had less time to produce work for IZFAS and in turn people stopped responding to them.
By early 2007 the project was seriously discussed about it's future and the practicality of whether or not it had a future. After a while we had discussed to reform the project into a more of a production of fan made media. The plan was to have a frequently updated webcomic and offer radio-plays, fan fictions and animated shorts to support it. However none of these ever went further than conception, due to the little activity in the crew members.
I for one was entering my final year in High School and over the last year had decided that i wanted to become a professional Animator/Comic artist and had been spending a great deal of my free time working on my drawing skills. And the rest of my time was spent trying to get out of school with good enough grades. So slowly my activeness to the board became less frequent and by march 2007 i officially resigned my position. By this time i had basically lost faith in the project. I had seen IZFAS swing in and out of productiveness to many times and i realized that the project would never work. Simply because people, especially me. were relying on others that they didn't even know to produce a lot of work for them in their own time for no money or reward. And after i saw the admins hand over their accounts to other members i knew the IZFAS i knew was over.
In the summer of 2007 the forum started losing its stability with the servers and was frequently down. After managing to track down the original domain host, who was a founding member of IZFAS way back in 2003 managed to restore the forum for a short time but by the end of the year the server had expired and it looked like the project was long dead.
It's here where my story ends. I believe it was Swilbet who ended up creating a new forum and a myspace page to try and regain the crew. This was brought to my attention to one of the former crew members who i was till IM'ing at the time. I remember laughing as i watched the community try and claw it's life back together since i knew the inevitability of the project. I feel very different to my view on IZFAS now however for different reasons but i'll get into that in a bit.
So if Swiblet would like to add his two cents to this then gladly be my guest since as far as i can tell you're the oldest member around here. I feel it's important to try and get the story updated to this point.

I'm going to conclude this essay with what i started out with saying and my opinion of this project.
If IZFAS is going to be remembered for it's biggest accomplishment it wont be for the short. It won't be for any episodes that might be produced in its future.
No.
The Invader Zim Fan Animated Series will be remembered for surviving and adapting.
Invader Zim is a show that refused to die after it in all accounts should of. So how befitting is it that the Fan produced show also will just not die, even after it completely is wiped off the internet. The project adapted and kept on living for 7 years. Think about it what other project in 7 years would still be going after nearly nothing was produced? It's an incredible feat. Wave upon wave of new crews came along, threw in their bit of work and left it to the next crew. The project evolved against it's circumstances and many near deaths.
Honestly i feel that this project will never work out. Please don't see that as a criticism to yourself because it isn't. I want IZFAS to continue forever because it has something so many shows lose after 7 years.
Faith.
And that's all it needs to keep gathering new members, forming new friendships and teaching people new skills.
Take myself as an example. I came to IZFAS when i was 14 years old. I had no practical abilities at all. I left the project with new friends and the simulation of working in an animation production. I gained leadership skills and life lessons that i would of never of gathered sitting in school day dreaming about whether or not one day i'll end up working on a tv cartoon.
I'm now 20 years old. The last 5 years i've dedicated to achieving my dream to become a professional animator and one day work for my dream job, Cartoon network studios. So far my work is paying off. I'm currently enrolled in the Arts University of Bournemouth studying Animation production. The course had a 5 to 1 ratio of acceptance and is the most highly credited animation course in the UK. Just google the University name and check out some of the work on youtube to understand the quality of work that this place produces. I wouldn't of gotten here today if it wasn't for IZFAS, no doubt. I wouldn't be sitting at a light box surrounded by animation paper and blue pencils scribbling out cartoons if it wasn't for IZFAS. I wouldn't have the opportunity to be studying under Disney and Jim Henson animators if not for IZFAS.

So yes, i do love this project.
You may look at the project and think what's coming out of it is crap. But what the project did for me is so much more than it'll ever do what it was intended for. Hopefully if you're reading this you're a part of this team and are in the same position i was in 5 years ago. I don't hope that you become the savior of this project and take it further than ever before but i hope this project helps you the way it helped me.

Invader Zim Fan Animated Series is a curious subject And i hope it lasts forever.

I want to end this essay with a picture that was drawn up in late 2005 by an old member Ryune-Kitsune or Rei as she was better well known for. The picture shows the crew of IZFAS at the time of 2005. In the picture are former members Cyberen (director) Union of darkness (director) Kenji (animator) Infusions (background artist) Captain Jim (Voice of Zim) Flobee (Voice of Dib) Chicago-lollie (composer) Killer Kitten (Head Writer) Dijiyd (Web designer) Rei (simply a supporter of the project) and Myself in the bottom left corner. The picture really captures a moment in time. Even though none of us on the board ever met in person we formed a connection together and the drawing symbolizes that bond we had. I actually still have a print out of the drawing sitting over my desk just to remind myself of how important IZFAS was.
Posted Image




If anyone has any further questions i'll gladly answer. Hell i'll even do an interview if anyone wants. Just respond here or shoot me an email at doctor.deciduous@googlemail.com.
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Tallest Sarah
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Headless clown!
Wow, this is great stuff. I'll be probing your brains.
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Swiblet
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Sadistic Stranger
What a very interesting story. And yes, I was aware that you used to laugh at our attempts :P But I'm glad you finally feel the same way I do (minus the part about how you don't think we'll succeed). To me, though, even completing one episode is a success. Completing more would just be a bonus.

Anyway...you're wrong about me creating the forum. Schwartzenberg had created the forum and the myspace. He was a voice actor that never got the part he auditioned for. He had invited every good and well-known artist in the fandom on Deviantart that he could find. I happened to be friends with most of those artists, even though I was completely unknown myself at the time. InvaderRaf was the one that asked me to join with him. I had taught him a lot about how to draw "dark" and "gory" art, and a lot of art basics like perspective and angles, so he wanted me in with him. He got the job of concept artist and I got storyboarder and Gir. Schwartz needed a bit of help in managing the forum and seemed confused in a lot of the processes that a director has to go through to start production of a cartoon, so I offered my advice and he took it. After a while, he wouldn't do anything without consulting me, so when I asked him for admin powers to just be an extra helping hand, he made me co-director. Soon, he decided to pursue a life on 4Chan and left me his head account to do with the forum whatever I wanted.

I started off with the mindset of being a "good forum master". You know, the universal idea of an admin who is always there, always watching, always present, always helpful, and always posting more than everyone else. I managed the forum and initially, the myspace brought in a few people, but it stopped getting any attention quickly. Luckily, the few people that had joined because of it, told everybody and their mothers about the forum (which was on proboards at the time). That brought people. Then I posted TMHSE on youtube, as well as announced it on dA (I was semi-well-known by then), so those two things were enough to jumpstart the quickly-spreading word of our group. After just a couple of weeks, getting people to join was basically an automatic process because they were all so enthralled with the short that they wanted to help. We made some good progress on storyboards there, mostly thanks to a few of my friends on dA who agreed to help, and some other members that came from other means.

After a while, we all got tired of Proboards because Proboards had very limited options for customization and editing. The entire forum was a shade of neon purple, for god's sake. So, we all voted to move to InvisionFree, where I quickly made an awesome theme and restarted the forum with a million times better organization and appearance than it used to have. I'm not sure, but I believe that I met SkooisCoo on the InvisionFree forum. Skoo was one of the most dedicated members I knew and soon rose to be like a moderator (but without the powers), where I consulted almost everything with her, just to get a second opinion. When we installed an arcade on the forum, things got bad, though.

The arcade attracted a large amount of immature kids and distracted everyone to the point that they would come to play games and not to work. At least that's what I thought. On Invisionfree, the forum never looked better, but we got NOTHING done there. At all. It was rather depressing, actually. Suddenly, Zetaboards took over half of InvisionFree's forums and apparently decided to scrap EVERY thread, EVERY customization, and EVERY theme and layout that I had made. At the same time, my father had started to get brain cancer and was deteriorating quickly, and I had to spend a huge amount of my time with him. I didn't have time to bring this place to life, and I semi-ranted on the forum about how everyone was being a lazy bum and how this place was putting too much stress on me, and control of the forum to SkooisCoo. I left for about 8 months, during which time Skoo built the forum, hired moderators and admins, and got the forum to be a much better place, almost completely devoid of the annoyances that were popping up before. She spent all of her time remaking the forum that was lost and making a forum hierarchy, but the actual project was pretty much abandoned still (minus a couple of role-assignings).

About 7 months later, I came back. I no longer had to take care of my father (don't ask how he is, I won't answer). I came back as a member, but the place was so different now. I couldn't get used to it. I was used to only having one admin and a different forum structure and I didn't agree with some of the staff choices, etc, so I left again and mulled the place over. I was gone for about a month more, during which time I thought and rethought how I would have to be in order to create the perfect self-running forum where I wouldn't have to worry about junk like that.

When I came back (no longer on friendly terms with Skoo), I got an admin title back, and Skoo left on a vacation which she said she may or may not come back from. I put my new admin plan into action. For those of you that know what it is, that's cool. I hope you agree that it's working.

So now, I am the head admin of the group and have been the only one for a few months now. Not counting SkooisCoo's time as admin, I have been head admin and project director for...hell, I don't know how long...a really long time at least 2 and a half years. But things are different now, just as I had planned. I am the head and director...but at the same time, I am not. The members and staff pretty much run the forum now. The members keep other members in line. The admins come up with amazing ideas and keep up with member validations very well. At the same time, everybody here is happier than I have ever seen them. It's a carefree place where people can just be themselves and not be judged, trolled, annoyed, or worried by anything. They are no longer afraid of the "big bad forum nazis", but have enough courtesy as to respect an admin's decisions. At the same time, the admins never let power go to their heads, and always make informed decisions with each other. It's no longer a forum, it's a community - the best one it has ever been, and as long as the administration tactics never change (especially to traditional...blech), I believe that it will continue to be that way. And with the members loving their community enough to act as moderators, that frees the admins and I up to do the actual project.

Right now, we have a couple of storyboarders that are waiting to do edits on the almost-final animatic of Nubs of Doom. They are waiting on me and my assignments, pretty much, and I am taken up by the fact that I work at Best Buy and it is holiday season...but once things calm down in real life, we will produce the episodes at double-time, and I believe that we may have a large amount of the animation done by InvaderCon....if our animators are willing to make that happen ^^ We have gotten some amazing animators that are patiently waiting for us. We can't wait to see what they can do.

I agree with Dr. Deciduous. For some, the IZFAS is a place to hang out and have fun, and for others, it is a place of work and toil (which is exactly the idea that I am trying to get rid of >>). But for everyone here...it is a learning experience. We all get to witness and be a part of a large-scale community project that we know will produce something amazing. An animation group made up mostly of minors. It's a beautiful thing, really. And when we are all learned and taught how to professionally do a job that requires a team, animation or otherwise, we will be that much more prepared to take it on. If we can do this much without getting paid and without formal experience...imagine what we could do if we all had formal training like Dr Deciduous!

That's the story thus far, and 5 years from now, I hope to see another long story of our history. We had better survive to make a mark, if nothing else. And 5 years from now, I hope to still be here with you. I've already long-since grown out of the Zim obsession. I'm here because I owe you, the fandom, for making me who I am today.
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Josheh
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Caustic Fiend
Wow, brillaint stuff. Strangeley enough I'm sorta like your successor! I too am British and hold the part of the moose! It's incredibly interesting to see how such an old member can remember and go into such detail about what happened at which period of time and when.
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Invader Deek
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Smeet
*claps*
Amen.
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Toto the Obsessor
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IZFAS Veteran
Wow, it's great to meet someone from the beginning. I like to think of myself as something of a veteran as well, because I was around toward the end of the Proboards. But wow, Deciduous, you watched the project evolve for so long. Thanks for sharing this with us, I've always wanted to know more about our past.
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Zextillion
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Horahorahora~
That must have taken forever to write :XD:
Glad to see that you like the new forums now. I, along with 96% of the other members on this forum, can now learn about the IZFAS history :P
In fact, I was redirected here by the Proboards (Invisionfree?) version of IZFAS. Personally, I liked the Zetaboards all black and grey theme more.

Anyways, that was interesting to say the least. Bravo, deciduous, bravo. Cheers to the whole IZFAS project never dieing! Hope the new generation will be just as awesome as this generation when everybody on this board leaves due to boredom or real-life problems.
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dr.deciduous
An Oldie
Invader Toto
Nov 29 2010, 07:14 PM
Wow, it's great to meet someone from the beginning.
I actually wasn't around from the beginning. Luckily when i joined there were still vast archived threads from the old board and RWAM still had the threads buried way back. Actually thinking back i was a little obsessive over how much research i did into IZFAS.

I wrote this essay simply because i think i might be the last person who knows what went down and cares enough to write it all up. So at least you guys all know now.
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CeliaScinteris
I DO NOT LIEK. B(
WHOA. :ohnoes: That was AWESOME! :XD: Well done! Bravo! I read through the entirety of this post, and was just moved. I just joined, but I really do have hope that this site will be up and running for a long time. It's really quite stimulating to know about the history of this place. I was excited to know that you had posted this. :D
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Toto the Obsessor
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dr.deciduous
Nov 30 2010, 03:13 AM
I actually wasn't around from the beginning. Luckily when i joined there were still vast archived threads from the old board and RWAM still had the threads buried way back. Actually thinking back i was a little obsessive over how much research i did into IZFAS.

I wrote this essay simply because i think i might be the last person who knows what went down and cares enough to write it all up. So at least you guys all know now.
Yeah, I know you're not from the VERY beginning, but still, you were around for a long time. Great to meet you either way.
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Tiana828
Irken Invader
im so glad you post this up
we should post this to wiki lolz
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CeliaScinteris
I DO NOT LIEK. B(
Tiana828
Dec 4 2010, 04:30 PM
im so glad you post this up
we should post this to wiki lolz
I second that vote! XD
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Senna
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Busy Doodler
Well this was a good read. I didn't even know IZFAS was that old. Well welcome back man and thanks for the essay. Have a great to time here.
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Lark
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peppermint
wow, that was amazing! (and moving >: )
it's good to know that IZFAS's history isn't lost
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Haloflooder
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Wizard of Computers
Whoa.. I'm actually learning something from the history...
The history of IZFAS is pretty neat! I never knew that IZFAS was created in RWaM... That forum is horrible now.
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