Entry #168

Some Life Thoughts

2015-04-30 16:22:40 by TomFulp

So today is my birthday and I've never had my Twitter and Facebook feeds blow up this much before! This past week has been so full of emotion, I keep intending to write something meaningful but I'm also still recovering and gathering my thoughts.

Pico Day ended up being one huge party that raged from Friday through Monday... The Friday Pre-co day was bigger than a lot of the original Pico Days and there were still like 30 people at the office when I left late Sunday night.

The weeks leading up to Pico Day were really stressful because beyond the usual stress of hoping everyone has fun, I also had a PA Unemployment Compensation Audit scheduled for Tuesday. I wasn't expecting anything BAD to result from the audit but I've also learned to be very afraid of what I don't know, so having had both State and Federal audits in the past, I kinda suffer from PTSD. Until this month I didn't even know there was a separate audit for the state unemployment department.

So basically our conference room went from this:


To this:


It's kinda cool though because it really demonstrates the two extremes of my life with Newgrounds.

These past few years have been rough ones, with so many tectonic shifts in technology and business. We've been working hard to navigate the waters and keep improving the site despite having to slim down every aspect of the business. While we don't always get there as fast as we like, I've been feeling very optimistic about the future of NG and this past week was definitely a sign that something is rumbling under the surface around here.

At one point this weekend, @Ricepirate pulled me in, surveyed the crowd and said, "So what are you going to do with all this?" On one hand, maybe it has already been done - just bringing all these amazing people together has been the great achievement. I don't want to regret squandering the momentum, though... It DOES feel like there is something big to come out of all this. One part of NG is the tech we develop but the MUCH BIGGER part is the PEOPLE. Without the people, all the best tech in the world is worthless. Lots of websites have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to find that out. I'm hoping I've lived through enough to have internalized that lesson forever! 

The greatest gift of coming back from a big loss is the sense of gratitute for what you have. Right now I'm brimming with gratitude for all the people who have stuck with NG over the years, all the people who have come back after being away and all the new people who are discovering it for the first time. I'm grateful for everyone who made it out to Pico Day and all the people who wanted to be there. I'm grateful for all the well-wishes I've been getting today throughout all these sites.

It's been a really special week and I'm gonna remember it forever and keep reminding myself that I don't have to be sad and anxious so much. There is so much to be grateful for and so much that can still be achieved! Failure shouldn't be a reason to push people away or exile yourself. It's not a reason to punish yourself. Failing is a lesson and it is temporary. You can live in it for a while, you can repeat it over and over, but you shouldn't allow it to define who you are. Never stop fighting for a better, brighter world!

Thanks again everyone, for everything!


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2015-04-30 16:33:52

You continue to bring inspiration and creativity to this world Tom! We cannot thank you enough for bringing such a strong community together! Newgrounds will always be my home for everything creative! Wish you the best on your big day and the future of Newgrounds!


2015-04-30 16:35:43

Good post tom, and happy birthday! I know I'm one of the new guys who hasn't really proven himself yet, but it feels really good to be a part of this awesome community and Im gonna work hard to make as much content as I can (until that day comes where I have to pay bills).
also - Pico day was a blast! Thanks so much for having me


2015-04-30 16:44:34

You summed it up on point. I usually have always had a blast at these things, but in the past there was always that looming curiousity or gloomyness from the people i talk to at pico day, the usual whats the health of newgrounds, or the office, or why the store shut, etc. I think this was the first year nothing like that came up. I think everyone just rallied around a website that gave them so much over the 20 years its been around, and still giving so much. When taken in that context, the shitty 'doomsday' mentality of flash, html5, and all that nonsense doesnt even matter. Like family, shit happens along the way, you lose loved ones, your family grows new branches, plants new seeds, etc. I think that's what makes newgrounds special. Places like youtube are like that daycare that you never made any friends with and your parents dumped you into all day, nobody is family and its every man for himself.

I think i had a moment with mindchamber at pico day as we looked at the younger generation kids, the nata guys/girls etc and kinda felt like old men watching from a porch but it was like a 'these fucking kids man, we are gonna be alright' moment and then i went back to drinking bourbon.


2015-04-30 16:46:42

also, first post.


2015-04-30 16:51:11

I'm sure you hear this all the time, so I'll keep it short: Newgrounds truly had a huge impact on me growing up and I'm eternally thankful for what you've done. Picking up Flash when I was 11 and making a shitty sprite animation for the portal was my first foray into the creative field. Now I'm studying to go into the creative field full time. I will always be thankful for what you and the Newgrounds community has done for me.
Saying that Pico Day was inspiring would be the biggest undersell of all time. It was just amazing to see so many creative people under one roof. You've definitely built one of the most talented network of creatives on the internet, and inspired kids like me to hopefully join those ranks. If that's not something to be proud of then idk what is. Keep on keeping on Tom, and happy birthday!


2015-04-30 17:17:23

Well you have an amazing community always there to show how much they respect your world and work, so many genres are available on NG and that's thanks to you and your vision, everytimes the website change you can't really see how much work was poured into it but you can feel the changes.

And happy pico day even if i'm late :-)


2015-04-30 17:28:58

"If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;"
-Rudyard Kipling

P.S. Happy birthday, dude!


2015-04-30 17:40:45

Pico Day was truly something, never have I felt so at peace in such a large crowd. And not only that, but seeing the people that make Newgrounds what it is... it was something else! It's something I'll carry with me forever. Thanks Tom, and everyone else too!

PS. Happy Birthday


2015-04-30 17:41:12

im glad i ever came to this site, i mean just look at my drawing and animation quality from 2009 to now. if it wasnt for newgrounds, i would proably still be very bad in drawing
and dont get me started with me befriending soo many awesome artists and voice actors thanks to NG ^^


2015-04-30 17:55:14

It was a pleasure meeting many of you guys for the first time and if I hadn't been so gosh-darned starstruck I would have spoken to many more of you. If Pico Day continues with the spirit that this year's did, even if the place isn't the same, there is no reason we won't keep wishing to come again and again... and again, baby.


2015-04-30 17:57:09

You have to remember through all of this: 20 years is a HELL of a long time to keep an independent website running, especially through the dotcom crash in its infancy and all of the recent troubles with the economy forcing people to make hard decisions over what little money they now have.

This place isn't really the same as it was back when it started, but that's exactly why I've such hope for its future: It embraces change. It doesn't stubbornly try to 'be' the status quo of anything, nor does it bury its head in cookie-cutter formulas for what makes the most money and hope for the best. There hasn't been a single trend in people's use of the site, that I know of, that you personally (as well as your staff - can't forget the rest of them here) haven't actively done something in response to. That kind of dedication is really all you need, not tons of money or blue-chip ad sponsors (I know they help, but bad decisions and / or shit attitudes can easily outweigh both). It's got you this far, through times that have sunk bigger sites, so stay with it and it'll keep going to better and better places.

Another thing: This place has a real community, as you know. That community is not just going to up sticks and leave should anything insurmountable happen to the site - no, the PEOPLE - who made it all possible. A lot of us will be here should such a time of need ever arise, for a good portion of us are more than just end-users. We have become genuine friends with each other, and with the staff - even though most of us have never even met. To have made more friends than you'll ever likely know is an extremely rare achievement in this day and age, and it can only serve you well in times to come.


2015-04-30 17:59:31

The last paragraph greatly represents why I and so many people respect you so much. By learning from your failures and moving forward, you're inspiring me and people all around the world to keep on trying and not letting our failures weigh us down.

Happy Birthday as well! I had a great time at Pico Day and I hope I can make it to the next one. Met so much amazing talent and made a lot of new friends too. Newgrounds really has something that most websites lack: a community that treats everyone else contributing content to this site as family, and I'm extremely grateful to be a part of it.


2015-04-30 18:02:49

Touching. Take care, boss! This place will always be my home of delightful filth and I owe it all to you!

-Buddy Mike


2015-04-30 18:06:21

We love you Tom <3


2015-04-30 18:07:43

We love you Tom! Happy Birthday!!!


2015-04-30 18:09:01

enjoy your birthday man!!!! thanks 4 create this for us


2015-04-30 18:14:18

I think I mentioned before that Newgrounds is my home on the internet. Pico day made me realize it is so much more than that! Newgrounds is my family at heart. You're never alone Tom. We share this beautiful home. Every single one of us would fight for it with passion. Don't ever forget that.

Have an incredible birthday! I do hope to meet you again next year!


2015-04-30 18:27:40

Why can't I like this post yet Tom?

Two big ol' thumbs up.


2015-04-30 18:31:05

I can't name another website that I've admired more or that's been more fundamentally important to me. A world without NG is a world in darkness. You're the bomb, Tom! Happy Birthday.


2015-04-30 19:00:52

Tom, even when Myspace was still a thing I always thought you were the better Tom. I'm happy NG is still here. Happy birthday.


2015-04-30 19:08:58

Pico Day was an amazing experience. It's not often I actually get to BE around so many other animators and creative people. I feel charged up/inspired to make stuff.


2015-04-30 19:16:10

Happy birthday Tom! You threw one hell of a party! Newgrounds means a lot to me. I'm not artistically talented and I never learned how to code. I'm simply a fan. Despite all that, everyone I meet through newgrounds is accepting, friendly and approachable.

I loved the energy from Pico Day this year. There were so many talented young people meeting eachother for the first time. I can't count how many times I overheard conversation about the process for a game, movie or art. Just hosting Pico Day probably stepped up the content on Newgrounds and all you did was provide a couple kegs and burgers!

Thanks again for hosting us. You must have a big heart to open your office to us to rampage through for a whole weekend. Hell, I saw you giving people rides all over at the drop of a hat because they wanted to know where they could get a certain beer or grocery item not available at wawa. On Sunday you grabbed your keys when somebody wanted to know if any liquor stores were still open and you were willing to go on a likely futile trip just to see. You're a good guy and it shows in the work that you do!

Lastly, I don't think you should think there is any 'failure' in Newgrounds. Being less active or having to downsize a little bit is not a failure. Your daily visitors may have reduced but the QUALITY of the users you have is so much better. There was no negativity at Pico Day this year that I saw. Everyone was positive, accepting, generous and above all excited about being there! Keep doing what you're doing. We support you and want you to succeed because when Newgrounds succeeds so do all of those young new artists we got the chance to meet this past weekend. I can't wait to see what the future holds!


2015-04-30 19:20:57

Audits suck shit bro but since it's your birthday, here's some advice: Never stop partying.


2015-04-30 19:23:07

Happy birthday Tom!


2015-04-30 19:24:50

Thanks for bringing us together.


2015-04-30 19:40:54

I've said it before, but you're the first person who really saw any potential in my work and reached out to support it. I'm gonna be grateful for that forever.

You've also inspired me to up my game over and over again, beginning with DOMO KUN'S ANGRY SMASHFEST, Dad n' me, then That K-Fed game, then Castle Crashers, then your Madness games.

NG has put me in touch with amazing collab partners and provided a place to catalogue my professional efforts and gather much-needed support.

Much <3 for you and what you've accomplished so far.

Tell @Luis to stop pretending that he's some kind of old man on a porch, his best most-productive and world-changing stuff is IN FRONT of him, not in the past :-D


2015-04-30 19:45:28

I hold you and newgrounds responsible for the way I am today. Whether you influenced me for better or worse is irrelevant. I'll always remember my time here and as much as I miss the old days I know things will never be that way ever again. I'm trying to still see newgrounds the way I did 7 years ago but there are some things that have just gone to shit and I can't look past them. I'd like to still create content for newgrounds because this is still my home. I'd like to help it and see it flourish but realistically, I'm an old man now. I've got a career and an education I have to put first. Hopefully the new kids of NG will step up and work hard (although the new generation NGers I've seen so far just make me sick). Anyway happy birthday Tom. You've had a tremendous impact on my life and I appreciate it. Hopefully I'll be seeing you and maybe some other NG-old timers at PAX Prime this year.


2015-04-30 20:33:06

No thank you Tom! You're the reason why all these awesome people come together and create amazing things. :)

I'm glad to hear you're being optimistic about the future! I am too. I hope only the best for you my friend! I'm glad I got the chance to meet you!


2015-04-30 20:46:47

No, thank YOU Tom. You and the rest of the NG crew were the reason these awesome 2 days could happen. Keep on being in the internet entrepreneur you are!


2015-04-30 20:49:36

Tom I just want to say that what you've done, this site and everything that spawned from it. It created the underground animation community that until newgrounds, only existed in Spike and Mike film festivals.

Also you have a nice ass. Like a GLORIOUS well toned ass and a little bounce you do when you walk.

I WILL animate your ass Tom.

TomFulp responds:

A lot of people have commented on my ass but I don't know if anyone has ever tried animating it. Should be a good animation exercise I would think!


2015-04-30 20:55:47



2015-04-30 20:57:35

I really can't say anything more than what everyone else said. Thank you for having a site for me to go to that I enjoy every day. And most of all, God bless you.


2015-04-30 21:11:35

Happy birthday Tom! Thanks for everything.


2015-04-30 21:34:37

happy birthday Tom, you've inspired so many people to pursue creative dreams, many who of which are successful and many who still dream to be! It feels like yesterday, that feeling of submitting a movie to the portal for the very first time, I still feel that when I upload here, you can't get that anywhere else. THANKS


2015-04-30 21:46:18

I haven't missed a yearly NG meetup since I can remember and like I mentioned on twitter, I think this might have been the best. Not just for me personally, as I still have a lot of nostalgia tied to the older meetups. But like you said, for NG in general.

It's always nice to see new faces, but this year blew me away. I came in for pre-co day on friday night. I talked with a few people downstairs, made some introductions. I figured the upstairs was in a similar state. But I was not prepared for how jam-packed it was. I felt like I had snuck into a top-secret underground artists convention. It felt very special. And it made me a bit wistful for the days when I actually submitted more content. But these have been transformative years for me, and as always I would never be where I am without coming to Newgrounds in 2002. Friends, connections, life experiences, all from Newgrounds. I hope I have more to show for myself soon, but as long as there are Pico Days I will be showing up!


2015-04-30 22:11:35

You're still an old fart, though. Just putting that out there.


2015-04-30 22:37:39

Happy birthday.


2015-04-30 22:41:10

OKAY FINE. I'll be nice.

Did you remember the first time I met you, Tom? Of course you didn't. The fuck is this shit, that was 5 years ago at PAX East, closing time on Friday. You were standing there. Alone. And I came up to you and was like "OMG it's Tom Fulp!" This was the first time I saw ANYTHING Newgrounds IRL, Castle Crashers figures, Tankmen, etc.

I find it funny that I got to know your brother before I got to know you, Tom. He's been FB friends with me for a full 4 years longer than you.

Anyways, so, all excitement aside, I come to your booth the next day during autograph time and... nobody is there. I still remember that sad Tom Fulp drawing a little alien hominid on the table. So the NEXT year I'm coming in, and Behemoth has this huge ass sign like they're some crazy big shit or something. Show offs. You're still walking around, nobody notices you outside some press guys, but come Autograph Time and you've got a huge ass line.

You know what was one of the most bitter-sweet moments of my life, Tom? I was crushing on a girl, got 100% rejected, and was feeling like legit garbage. That was also the day the NG Treasure hunt unearthed Super Adventure Game Land. That game getting that 100k views kickstarted my, uh, 'career.' I got a mention at 1Up. That was pretty cool.

For the next few years I got more and more aggressive with you, as Newgrounds deteriorated. That's... unrelated. Tough love.

Anyways, every damn year your Behemoth booth got LARGER and Newgrounds got SMALLER. Man, do you know how many damn times I told you to stick a Newgrounds sticker on that thing? Fucking pansy. Anyways, then you released this god awful redesign that tanked the portal. Luckily Second Wind wasn't touched, and bitch you got me 300k views. That was pretty chill. (500k plays because everyone stole it, but hey, with that snazzy NG API that was a GOOD thing - more money for me :D)

Anyways, by 2014 you were sinking so low that I could legit facebook message you and get a reply within the day. You know how low that is? Man I used to send you a PM and it would take a fucking week for a reply, if ANY.

I also had 0 faith in NG at that point. Like, this place was a shitter.

Remember There She Is? Metal Gear Awesome? Jerry? All that shit is GONE now. Heck, Tom, I actually feel NOSTALGIC. All these people went and did something awesome (except that girl from There She Is, dunno what she's doing.)

I mean, do we even have candidates for this year's awards? Are we even DOING them?


I still love this place. Some of my better/worse memories have been here. I learned to 'code' here. I learned to, uh, 'draw' here. I even tried to "get rid of the spammers" and had myself banned several times over by Wade/BigBadRon for making so many damn alts. You look up 'squidly' and you'll still get Socom Squad cartoons mocking me. I watched all the movies and wanted to be JUST LIKE THOSE GUYS and saw your handsome, custom profile pic (as opposed to us weapon-pic plebians.) I reviewed the cool shit people were making, I got up with the culture of the site, the memes, the dicks, those super-obscure cartoons. Every day the Front Page was there, like the ultimate prize, that thing you really, really, want but will work your ass off every day to get. The pros came here, the pros STAYED here. This place was the shit, hell, this place IS the shit. We're still here, we're still doing this.

It's why I have a Newgrounds sticker on my laptop. I always will.

TomFulp responds:

Awe shucks.


2015-04-30 22:42:22

Just out of curiosity, have there ever been people you didn't like or people who caused a scene at one of these meetups? Given that NG has a history of destructive people rearing their head into the public [Jeff Weise, sirtom93, ect]. Has anything bad ever happened at a meetup?

TomFulp responds:

Nothing too bad. People occasionally get a little sloppy but there has never been a fight so that's cool!


2015-04-30 22:46:46

Happy Birthday Tom! I personally like to thank you for the invite once again for me to pay a visit to Newgrounds office. And thank you for this website as well, if it wasn't for this site I would have not met some cool peoples here and I would not be making movies here. Thank you Tom Fulp!


2015-04-30 22:51:46

If it wasn't for this site, I would have been playing games on steam 24/7 not being creative. Thank you tom fulp.


2015-04-30 23:48:50

Community has been and always will be number one when I choose what sites I frequent and contribute to. No other site is like NG. You've created a wonderful place that has affected thousands of lives. I wouldn't be in VO if it wasn't for NG nor would I be running my own site! Think of how many game devs, VO's & animators have gotten a start here! You should be proud.


2015-04-30 23:50:11

Also, thanks SO much for inviting me. being there was fun and more improtantly for me, very inspiring. Thank you.


2015-05-01 00:06:49

I can't imagine a better community and look at my time here as the best years of my life as an artist. Lots of lessons, growth, and a variety of opportunities for everyone who choose to take them. That's the best part of life, and I can't get that from a corporate website. Happy Birthday, Tom!

I'm still riding high on the excitement of being "portal/view/4" It's all been a dream.


2015-05-01 00:16:23

I usually stay in my corner and keep quiet, but despite all things this was one of the most fun events I've had with the NG community. For better or worse this place helped me out with meeting clients, best friends, and a doozy of a history with people. No regrets and I want to say thanks a whole bunch for inviting me and some of my friends. It meant the world to see them again in one party. Though to those I met at the party I'd love to be BFF's and sorry for getting in touch so late I'm still terribly shy! <3


2015-05-01 00:21:57

I don't like to read, but I read this. NG has been a home to me for many years, and it's the only site besides Facebook I check daily.


2015-05-01 00:43:50

I hope you had an awesome birthday and I want to see Newgrounds be even more awesome than it already is. Blaze the trail, kick some ass, and tell Youtube to look over its shoulder because this is what content creation really is!


2015-05-01 00:43:59

Great post Tom, happy to hear your birthday was a success. Newgrounds was my inspiration to become a programmer, and although I haven't made anything for NG in a while the influence of seeing people breath life into code to make games has stuck with me to this day. I don't know what I would be doing with my life if it weren't for NG.

Keep on keeping on Tommy boy, the world needs Newgrounds now more than ever!


2015-05-01 00:50:06

One day I'll come to Pico Day and say hi to you and the rest of the people there personally, Tom


2015-05-01 01:36:03

I also had birthday a couple of days ago. Thank you, Fulp, you rule!