There are many ways to go about getting your big break. Luck usually plays a huge role. Sometimes it comes down to who you know or striking when the proverbial iron is hot. For Fort Wayne native Lyndy Bazile, it was a matter of e-mailing exactly the right person at exactly the right time.
Two years ago, the now 24-year-old graphic artist and animator was trying to figure out her next step. A graduate of South Side High School, she’d just finished up a year of classes at IPFW and was dissatisfied with what she saw as the directionless state of her life. So, at 3 a.m. one morning she e-mailed Jonathan Katz, a comedian and voice actor whose animated show Dr. Katz Professional Therapist ran from 1995-1999 on Comedy Central. Bazile was a fan of the show and of Katz’s work and told him so. She even wrote that she’d be interested in doing a project with him.
So far so typical, right? Young fan sends an adoring email to her idol. Most are lucky to get a form letter or at the most an autographed picture in the mail, signed by the assistant. But Bazile got much more than that. She got a personal reply to her message and a correspondence that grew into a close friendship, not only with Katz but with Katz’s friend Tom Snyder, the animator and brains behind Squigglevision, the computer-based animation technique in which characters wiggle and undulate once in awhile over still backgrounds. (Dr. Katz Professional Therapist was one of the first mainstream shows to use Squigglevision.)
“I think I was very lucky,” Bazile told me in a recent phone interview. “Jonathan must have been in the right mood to receive an e-mail like mine, and maybe the fact that I sent it at 3 a.m. caught his eye. He hadn’t done much since Dr. Katz, and I guess the fact that I referenced something from so long ago, that it’d been a while since he got fan mail about that particular show, made him pay attention.”
Bazile’s e-mail relationship with Katz and Snyder progressed from the personal to the professional, partially because she mentioned, in that first 3 a.m. message, that she liked to draw. Katz and Snyder misunderstood and took her for an animator. Instead of correcting them, she let them persist in their belief while she taught herself how to turn her two dimensional drawings into moving pictures.
“Tom sent me a drawing tablet in the mail and I started from there,” she said. “I knew Tom and Jonathan were very open-minded about different ways to do simple animation and that they weren’t necessarily looking for studio production level kind of work but for something good and simple. I was pretty confident I could figure something out.”
Bazile is proof that necessity is indeed the mother of invention. Roughly a year after that first e-mail to Katz, she’d mastered the techniques of simple animation and was even working with Katz on Hey, We’re Back, a podcast animated comedy series about a man who works in a radio station and his adventures both on and off the air.
While working on Hey, We’re Back, Bazile became good friends with Katz’s assistant, Katie Covett, who at the time was acting as producer for another Katz/Snyder web series, Explosion Bus. Explosion Bus is a weekly web comedy series in which two men, Jon and Leo (voiced by Katz and Tom Leopold, respectively), travel around the United States trying to discover new talent. The catch and the comedy result from the fact that Jon and Leo are often as clueless as their auditioners, and each show ends with real fake auditions from fans of the show. “Real fake” because they know they’re auditioning for a fake talent search.
Here’s how luck was on Bazile’s side this time. Covett needed another producer to help her with the Explosion Bus workload, and Bazile, still living in Fort Wayne, was a natural choice. After all, she was already good friends with Katz and Snyder, and she was totally willing to make the move to Cambridge, Massachusetts, i.e. Explosion Bus headquarters.
“I remember driving in my car with my mom thinking, ‘I don’t know why Katie can’t just e-mail me and ask me to come to Boston to work on Explosion Bus,” Bazile said. “Then, a few months later, that’s exactly what happened.”
And, a few months after that, when it was clear the show’s original animator wasn’t working out, Snyder and Katz asked Bazile to step in and do the job.
“It was like, ‘Why don’t we just have Lyndy do it?’” said Bazile. “I really couldn’t believe it.”
Since stepping into the animator shoes, Bazile has put her own unique stamp on the show, and that stamp has included completely revamping the look of the main characters and making specific landmarks from the cities Jon and Leo visit a key part of each episode. She’s even managed to get a little hometown love into the mix. In episode 27, for instance, Jon and Leo drop in on Power’s Hamburgers and the Broadway Zesto stand. The joke is that the guys are in town scouting for talent for a Coke commercial, but Power’s only serves Pepsi. Hence the trip to Zesto’s.
“When I heard that in that episode the guys would be in the Midwest, I had to set some of it in Fort Wayne,” said Bazile. “I love Fort Wayne, and everyone I know who’s from Fort Wayne loves it, too. I thought it was a cool chance to pay tribute to my city.”
Bazile is now focusing all of her energy on Explosion Bus,”which she hopes will soon receive the recognition she believes it deserves for being a “small, home-grown web series that is both consistently original and consistently funny.” And home-grown is literal. She and Covett live in a duplex adjoining Snyder and his wife. All of the work, with the exception of the recording, is done in that duplex, and even the recording studio is just down the street.
The result, Bazile said, is a show that continues to improve each week it hits the web. Snyder, Bazile and Covett work together to write a script and then give the script to the actors to record. After that, the audio goes to Snyder who edits it and gives the final version to Bazile to begin the animation process. When a show airs, the cast members watch how Bazile draws them and their surroundings, and, in doing so, they in turn get a better feel for whom their characters are.
“It’s a very organic, circular process. With every recording session, the show gets exponentially better,” she said.
Want to see for yourself? Go to www.explosionbus.com and hop on.
by Deborah Kennedy
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Art on Broadway — Tours of 5 downtown venues featuring art from Alexandra Hall, Julie Wall, Peter Lupkin, Daniel Dienelt, Knotodday, Kay Gregg, Terry Ratliff and St. Monci, 5 p.m. Saturday, March 25, Broadway Street, Fort Wayne, free, 417-5925
Beer, Bourbon, Bacon Festival — Unlimited beer sampling from national and regional craft breweries, fine bourbon sampling and bacon inspired treats, 6-9 p.m. Saturday, March 25 (5-9 p.m. VIP), Marquis and Three Rivers Ballrooms, Hotel Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne, $35-$75, 484-0411
An Evening with Author Tom Frank — Author of What’s the Matter with Kansas talks about his new book; hors d’oeuvres, lecture and book signing included in admission, 6 p.m. Saturday, March 25, CS3 Hideaway, Fort Wayne, $15 plus donation, 602-1008
Puttin’ on the Ritz —Active 20-30 club fundraiser with live music from Chris Worth and Company, gourmet edibles, wine and beer, live and silent auctions; black tie optional, 7 p.m. Saturday, March 25, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne, $50-$90, 450-2844
Shipshewana on the Road — Food, craft and primitives show and sale, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, March 25 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, March 26, Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, Fort Wayne, $4, 483-1111
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Big Dick and the Penetrators — Classic rock at Navy Club, Ship 245, New Haven, 7-11 p.m., no cover, 493-4044
Brat Pack — Rat Pack/variety at Nick's Martini & Wine Bar, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., no cover, 482-6425
Cougar Hunter — 80s glam rock at Vinnie's Bar, Decatur, 10 p.m.-2 a.m., $5, 729-2225
Ellsworth Sharp — Neofolk at Friendly Fox, Fort Wayne, 6:30-8:30 p.m., no cover, 745-3369
FBC Band w/Sheba — Variety/Music and Memories benefit at C2G Music Hall, Fort Wayne , 8 p.m., $7-$15, 426-6434
Fireball Matinee — Rock at Hideaway Lounge, Bluffton, 9 p.m.-12 a.m., no cover, 824-0455
Fleshwounds — Rock at Hamilton House, Hamilton, 9 p.m.-1 a.m., no cover, 488-3344
Fort Wayne Funk Orchestra — Funk at Dupont Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 9:30 p.m., cover, 483-1311
Fu5ion — Variety at Mitchell's Sports Bar & Neighborhood Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m.-2 a.m., $3, (260) 387-5063
The Illegals — Rock at O'Sullivan's Italian Irish Pub, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m.-1 a.m., no cover, 422-5896
Joe Stabelli — Jazz at Don Hall's Gas House, Fort Wayne, 5:45-9 p.m., no cover, 426-3411
John Curran & Renegade — Country at Alley Sports Bar, Pro Bowl West, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m.-1 a.m., no cover, 483-4421
Johnny Freakin' Xcitor — Country rock at Beamer's Sports Grill, Fort Wayne, 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m., no cover, 625-1002
Kat Bowser — Variety at Don Hall's Guesthouse, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m.-12 a.m., no cover, 489-2524
The Orange Opera w/Mickyle James — Rock at Brass Rail, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., $5, 267-5303
Prime Suspects — Variety at American Legion Post 499, Fort Wayne, 8-11 p.m., no cover, 483-1368
Quincy and the Q-Tet feat. Phil Potts — Rock/variety at Downtown Eatery & Spirits, Warsaw, 10 p.m.-1 a.m., no cover, (574) 267-6000
Second Nature — Pop at Crazy Pinz, Fort Wayne, 8-11 p.m., no cover, 490-2695
Shannon Persinger Quartet — Jazz/variety at Club Soda, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m.-12 a.m., no cover, 426-3442
Todd Harrold & Nick Bobay Duo — R&B/blues/variety at American Legion Post 148, Fort Wayne, 7 p.m., no cover, 423-4751
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Ambitious Blondes Karaoke — Variety at Office Tavern, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 478-5827
Beat Karaoke & DJ — Variety at American Legion Post 296, Fort Wayne, 8 p.m. , no cover, 456-2988
Bucca Karaoke w/Bucca — Variety at Tower Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 436-6310
Classic City Karaoke w/Bryan Lee — Karaoke at Corner Pocket Tavern, Fremont, 10 p.m., no cover, 495-9255
Classic City Karaoke w/Tobin — Karaoke at Toad's Tavern, Monroeville, 10 p.m., no cover, 623-6226
DJ Shawn — Karaoke/variety at Club Paradise, Angola, 10 p.m., no cover, 833-7082
Fort Wayne Karaoke — Karaoke at Latch String Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10:30 p.m., no cover, 483-5526
Fort Wayne Karaoke w/Brian — Variety at AJ's Bar and Grill, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., , 434-1980
Fort Wayne Karaoke w/Josh — Variety at Arena Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 557-1563
Fort Wayne Karaoke w/TJ — Variety at Chevvy's, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 436-4748
House DJ — Variety at Early Bird's Ultra Lounge, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., cover, 483-1979
House DJ — Variety at Flashback on the Landing, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., cover, 422-5292
Karaoke — Variety at Crooner's Karaoke Bar, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m.-3 a.m., no cover, 486-1979
Live DJ — Variety at Wrigley Field Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 485-1038
Shooting Star Prod. w/Barbie — Variety at Uncle Lou's Steel Mill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 436-5787
Shooting Star Prod. w/Stu — Variety at Pike's Pub, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 478-6200
Sidecar Gary's Karaoke & DJ — Karaoke at Kville Pub, Kendallville, 9 p.m.-1 a.m., no cover, 348-1677
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The Children’s Hour — Lillian Hellman’s seminal drama about bigotry perpetuated against the LGBT community and how easily a lie can spread, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 25, First Presbyterian Theater, Fort Wayne, $12-$20, 426-7421 ext. 121
Getting Sara Married — Comedy about an unmarried lawyer in need of a husband (according to her aunt), 7 p.m. dinner, 8 p.m. curtain, Saturday, March 25, Arena Dinner Theatre, Fort Wayne, $40 (includes dinner & show), 424-5622
One Foot in the Gravy — Howard Kingkade’s comedy and winner of Fort Wayne Civic Theatre’s Northeast Indiana Playwright Festival, 8 p.m. Saturday, March 25; 2 p.m. Sunday, March 26, Arts United Center, Fort Wayne, $10-$20, 422-4226
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22nd Annual Valentine’s Invitational — Works from local and national artists, Tuesday-Saturday and by appointment thru March 31, Castle Gallery Fine Art, Fort Wayne, 426-6568
2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards — Award-winning works from northern Indiana and northwest Ohio middle and high school students, Tuesday-Sunday thru April 9, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467
Afros: A Celebration of African Hair by Michael July — Contemporary photography exhibit by Brooklyn author/photographer, daily thru April 14, D’Agostino Art Gallery, Indiana Tech, Fort Wayne, 399-8626
An Artful Spring — Works by Gwen Gutwein, Patricia Weiss, Austin Cartwright and more, Tuesday-Saturday thru March 31, Crestwoods Frame Shop & Gallery, Roanoke, 672-2080
Decatur Sculpture Tour — 31 original sculptures and 15 permanent exhibits on display, walking tour maps available, thru April 1, Decatur, free, 724-2605
Echolilia — Works from Timothy Archibald and his autistic son, Eli, Tuesday-Sunday thru June 11, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467
Entropy — Daniel Swartz solo exhibition explores relationship between death and mourning through combinations of mythology, mathematics, multi-dimensional physics and pop culture, Monday-Saturday thru April 1, Jennifer Ford Art, Fort Wayne, 740-1309
Diane Allen Groenert — Exhibition of local artist’s Downtown Series and new works, Monday-Saturday thru June 24, West Central Microcreamery & Cafe, Fort Wayne, 415-9293
Expressions of Existence — An exhibition of works by artists through history, including Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Francisco Goya and others whose works have been influenced by disabilities, Tuesday-Sunday thru June 11, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467
Fort Wayne Artist Guild Exhibitions — Works by Alice Siefert at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Jennifer Caudel at Allen County Retinal Surgeons, Anita Trick, Citizens Square (2nd and 3rd floors), Darlene Selzer Miller at The Einhaus Group for Women’s Health, Patricia Weiss at Heritage of Fort Wayne, Emily Jane Butler at Ophthalmology Consultants (Southwest), Linda Binek at Ophthalmology Consultants (North), Carolyn Stachera at Rehabilitation Hospital of Fort Wayne, John Kelty at ResCare Inc. Adult Day Service, Wiletta Blevins at Town House Retirement, Karen Bixler at Visiting Nurse Hospice and Barb Yoder and Karen Harvey at Will Jewelers, thru April 30, fortwayneartistguild.org.
Fort Wayne Photographers Club — Exhibition featuring local photographers, Tuesday-Sunday thru April 30, Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, Fort Wayne, $3-$5 (2 and under, free), 427-6440
Garden Party — Garden-themed works in a variety of mediums from over 30 local artists, Monday-Saturday thru March 31, Orchard Gallery of Fine Art, Fort Wayne, 436-0927
Generations: A View of Who Was Who — Works by Romare Bearden, Kara Walker, Alma Thomas, Jacob Lawrence and other African-American artists, Tuesday-Sunday thru April 9, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467
Glass: A Medium in Art and Automobiles — Dale Chihuly blown glass and fiberglass auto, daily thru Sept. 8, Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum, Auburn, $7.50-$12.50, 925-1444
A Mary Poppins Garden Party — Child-oriented garden exhibit, Tuesday-Sunday thru April 1, Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, Fort Wayne, $3-$5 (2 and under, free), 427-6440
Moments in Time: Reflecting on the Human Spirit — Elizabeth Opalenik photographs from her recent Amish series A Journey Home and her Reflecting on the Edge exhibition, daily thru March 26, Visual Arts Gallery, IPFW, Fort Wayne, 481-6709
Outdoor Sculpture Invitational — Fifteen outdoor sculptures from regional artists, daily thru April 30, School of Creative Arts campus, University of Saint Francis North Campus, Fort Wayne, 399-7999
RAW. Untamed. Unashamed. Visions of Freedom. — Abstract romanticist works in acrylics and epoxy from Kristy Jahn, Fridays and Saturday-Thursday by appointment thru March 25, The Gallery at Pranayoga, Fort Wayne, 423-9642
Sharon — An exhibition of Leon Borensztein photographs chronicling the struggles he faced raising his severely disabled daughter, Tuesday-Sunday thru June 11, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467
Wabash County Schools Exhibition — Works by high school art students, daily thru April 16, Clark Gallery, Honeywell Center, Wabash, 563-1102