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Friday, March 31, 2017

ZNN Anniversary Interview! The Staff Shows it's Stuff!


It's been one year since ZNN started. And in that time period a team has been built. That team has come together to think of new ideas, build friendships and trust, start new projects and finish the old, and just all around grow into what it is today! This is Fonzi here, and I'm bringing you an inside look at the first 6 members to join ZNN, as well as a few from each of our separate departments.

Check out the interviews after the break!


Dominic Faux a.k.a. Shadow9692 is one of the managers that runs ZNN with Moonwolf. Plenty of the decisions made in ZNN involve him, and I always come to him whenever I'm doing something for help, permission etc. Personally I believe that Shadow and the other manager Moonwolf deserve to have their own articles to be interviewed in. But maybe that will come another day.

1: How were you recruited into ZNN and what was your specialty?

A: Funny thing about that. I actually got hired into ZNN as a translator for the Japanese language comics and such. Julius had posted back in the old ZNN text channel on a discord server, asking for some help with like… two lines of japanese text. I ended up translating them for him, and then he contacted me and asked if i wanted to be a part of ZNN and help out with translating. Man… When I heard how our previous translator did it… looking up each individual symbol online, one at a time… I’m glad I was able to help with that.

2: What were your original thoughts on ZNN and how have they changed over the year?

A: You know, being in the position I’m in now, it’s kinda funny thinking about this. I was there back when Julius was forming this whole thing. I remember thinking: “This thing is going to fail and die so fast.” And then just under a month later, I was recruited. Since then, I’ve jumped around in position so much, it’s almost funny. But now I’m here at the top, working with Julius and Moonwolf, and I realize just how much this place means to me. I love this place, and the people in it. So, you ask how my opinions have changed? Well, I went from thinking of this place as a mad scheme doomed to fail, to thinking of this place as a home and a family that I care about more than I ever thought I could.

3: Is it difficult being in such a high spot of ZNN? And how are the “employees”?

A: You know, it can be a bit difficult, there’s a lot of things to do, and it can be pretty hard to manage my time well. I hold power in this place, I can choose whether or not a post should go up, is ready to go up, or just post things whenever. And that’s not all of it. With management power comes more responsibilities, and I won’t lie, combining that with school, I really run short on time here and there. But, I’m really glad to be here, in this position, helping out however I can. As for the employees, well, I love them. This place is a family to me, and I’m rather fond of the group that we get to work with. I really can’t say I’ve got a ton of complaints about them at all, I mean sure, I could talk about the times we play games and such together, but those aren’t professional comments, so I’ll leave those out. 

Anyways, I’m glad to have been interviewed. It’s been one hell of a ride here at ZNN, and I’m just glad I’m a part of it, let alone in the “big three” at the top. This is only our first year, and I hope there’ll be many more to come!



Next up is Moonwolf. He's the man that's behind the scenes, making sure everything is functioning properly. He helps with coding, communicating with the team, setting up posts and scheduling them, and basically anything else that ZNN needs to do. I asked him three questions to see what he had to say about his job at ZNN.

1: How were you recruited into ZNN and what was your specialty?

A: Well, I wasn't really recruited. It was more like me telling Andy that he had a little CSS error in his site and to just let me fix it and then suddenly I was staff and responsible for all things coding related. 

2: What were your thoughts on the site as a whole from then to now?

A: Back then I though "Hey cool someone is making EQD for Zootopia. Eh, I doubt it will hold for long.", now its still a pretty cool thing but I'm really amazed by how long we have been doing this and how many views we get.

3: Is it challenging working with others in very different time zones? What is probably the hardest part with that issue?

A: Yes it is a challenge. The hardest part is getting everyone together to discuss things. That is already a challenge if it's just a small group of people that have to discuss stuff, since ZNN members are pretty much all around the world. (Also I hate missing all the fun things that happen when I sleep ^^)

As you can see, MoonWolf is a crucial part of the team and has been making sure everything has been running smoothly since the early days of ZNN!



Fourth on our list is Pascal! He's our Lynx translator, and his willingness to help find new art, and even help translate it, has been such an important part to the growth of this site. He was happy to answer some of the questions I had to ask.

1: How were you recruited into ZNN and what was your specialty?

A: I got recuited into ZNN in the early days of Zootopia. I was very fascinated of the movie and spent much time searching for Zootopia Art and sending it to Julius. When I entered ZNN, I also translated a Japanese Comic. So my speciality was mostly Art/Content Searching.

2: What were your thoughts on the site as a whole from then to now?

A: I always enjoyed reading the Site, it's a good site. Back then and now.

3: Was there anything particularly difficult when you started? Was everyone very busy with many jobs, or was it easy until you started growing?

A: Well, my first and only translated comic was a hard job. I had no idea about japanese so I used wikipedia to search for the japanese symbols to slowly translate it into English. It took so much time...
 Another thing was at the beginning of being an "Treasure Hunter". I continued sending Julius all the Art I have but where should we store it? Gladly, we solved it as Julius created a ZNN Flickr Account ^^

You can all thank Pascal for helping to find some of the amazing art we have!



Next is Tomlocke. He was our first prereader, but is now too busy to do much else.

1: How were you recruited into ZNN, and what was your specialty?

A: I was recruited into ZNN mostly because I’ve known Julius for six years. Since he knew I read fanfics often enough he decided to make me a prereader. That and he didn’t have time to read them himself.

2: What were your thoughts on the site has a whole from then to now?

A: Seriously when Julius first told me about this I went: Oh so you want to be EQD for Zootopia? And for the longest time in the beginning that’s what we were. Now? Well now we’re bigger than I thought we’d ever get under Julius’ management(no offense) so major props to him. We went from a ripoff news site to being pretty much the main hub for the fandom outside of Discord chats.

3: What's your favorite part about working for ZNN?

A: Well it’s certainly not the fanfics I read, well some of them are good. My favorite part of working here is the people. I think I’ve made quite a few friends just by chilling in the ZNN general chat. So the “workplace environment” is always a plus.



Andy was the first rabbit on our team, as well as our spanish translator. He's been around from the very beginning, and I made sure to ask him some questions about his role here.

1: How were you recruited into ZNN and what was your specialty?

A: So Andy Lagopus was just starting. I said "Hey! This project of yours looks cool, need any spanish speakers?" He basically responded with "Uhh, sure, you're on the team! Maybe we'll need you later." I cry everytime.

2: What were your thoughts on the site as a whole from then to now?

A: I knew Andy Lagopus since before he founded ZNN, or right before he did, I should say. Back when everything was just a concept I had high hopes for ZNN. I'm glad to see that I wasn't wrong in thinking so. Looking back, I don't think I've changed my mind about the network. It's still a great hub for what we love.

3: What is it like being surrounded by so many predators at ZNN?

A: It's nothing to worry about. And it really shouldn't matter. Sure, lately they've had fun messing around but that just shows how friendly we all are with each other... Right? I swear I'm not a snack.

3.5: How does it feel to be the first prey to join the team?

A: It came as a bit of a shock to be the first. Now it's an honor. I'm more concerned about sharing a name with the leader. Staying on topic however, even to this day, we pray are few in ZNN. I don't mind though, it's not about being prey or predator.




Julius aka Andy Lagopus, is the leader of ZNN and the one who started it all. He's helped build this team, and this team has helped to build him and ZNN as a whole. Sitting down to talk to him about ZNN and his experiences, I got an inside look at how he really feels.

Q: Other than Zootopia itself, what inspired you to start up ZNN? What was it that made you want to provide the fandom with all of this? Or was this all on a whim?

A:  The idea for ZNN was a culmination of something I'd taken from my days as a brony.  One thing I saw throughout the growth and development of that fandom was how there was always a sort of "anchor".   A place anyone could go for pony news and content, and could get as much MLP as they wanted.  Equestria Daily.  I've been following that site since its early days, when fans weren't sure if there was even going to BE a second season of the show, and EQD celebrated every million pageviews they got.  As the fandom grew, so did EQD, and as EQD grew, so did the fandom.  They supported each other, created a link tying the show itself to its fans.
As I got invested in the Zootopia fandom, watching it start to take shape over on reddit, tumblr, and other sites, I wanted to see this fandom grow and thrive like the brony fandom has.  I knew the success wasn't likely going to be quite a rapid or long-running, since we only had one piece of canon source material (the movie) and have no idea how long it might be before we get any more.  But I still wanted the fandom to get that support.  I wanted it to survive beyond the intial hype.  I wanted to give it its own site where fan content could be celebrated and shared in a similar manner to how EQD did it.
And so, as I watched the movie again, the logo for ZNN got stuck in my head, and I decided to try out this little experiment to see if I could actually do it.  And... well, the rest is history.

2: Did you ever think the site was going to blow up like it did? To have a staff of over 30 members helping you, did you ever think it would get to this stage? How does it make you feel to run such a successful site?

A: HA!  No.  Never.  I've never really done much "leading" in the past, so it's a completely new experience for me.  But I am loving it!  Every member of the ZNN team brings something great, and I know for a fact we would not have gotten this far without their support.  If I'm the head of ZNN, then the team is the rest of the body.  Without them, ZNN would basically be like one of those heads in a jar from futurama.  Interesting, but unable to really do anything.  Or worse, it'd be like an actual severed head.  Dead.  The team is what keeps ZNN alive!

3: What was the hardest thing to manage when you started out? What were your favorite moments, and what were the hardest moments in ZNN’s first year on the internet, with many more to follow.

A: Probably the hardest part of starting was, well, starting.  Deciding that even if nobody listened or read what I wrote, It'd still be worth making.  Even if it was just for me.  It's getting over the initial hurdle that's the trick.
As for hard times managing, there are always going to be issues.  Everyone's imperfect, and as far as I can tell, managing is learning to deal with that fact.
For a specific story, I remember being forced to leave the chat when we had just started going into what looked like a VERY volitile religious discussion.  I was worried sick that things were going to go poorly, and that I would come back and see the team tearing itself apart over ideological concerns.  I've been in projects and teams where that has happened before, and I was terrified that it would happen to ZNN.
But, when I got back, everyone was fine.  I was so proud.  And despite our occasional disagreements and arguments, we're a still a team, through and through.



Switching over to the roles of ZNN, we will be first starting off with the "Abyss Grazers". These are the guys and gals who read the fanfics you submit, and make sure they are okay to be featured. I reached out to nota999 for his comment on it.

1: What is probably the hardest and funnest part about reading fanfics for ZNN?

A: The funnest part is definitely just seeing the vast amount of creativity in this fandom. It's amazing seeing how people can take what we were given in just 108 minutes and spin it and mix it, reframe it and refocus it into brand new works. Half the time when I'm reading fanfiction, I have at least one moment of "Huh, I never looked at [Judy's character/the way this species would interact with the city/etc.] like that before."

The hardest part, for me at least, is that there are some fics where it is painfully evident that the author doesn't have much experience as a writer. Now, don't get me wrong: there's nothing wrong with new authors and there's nothing wrong with your first writing being rough. No one starts an activity knocking it out of the park. I, myself, have thrown out more notebooks of old writing than I can remember because it's just not up to my standards anymore. A rough first fic is not the easiest thing to read, but fanfiction is a great place to cut your teeth as a writer and seeing the creativity inspires in people who have never created anything before in the past is extremely heartening to me.

What an incredible look at a tiring job. The Abyss Grazers really have their work cut out for them!



Next up are the "Social Butterflies"! These are the members who run the social media accounts, and make sure that posts are being made and featured. Nathan is the Carpathian Lynx who runs our ZNN tumblr page, and he gave an amazing summary of  what it's like to run the ZNN social media pages.

1: Is it mentally demanding to help ZNN get publicity through media?

A: I'd just like to add that it's really because of the fans that my job is so easy. The community is so receptive and goodspirited. If I goof, they correct me, but I've never recieved a hateful message. If we post something cool, I don't have to advocate it, they spread it themselves. Heck, on day's I've missed posting for one reason or another, there are followers who've posted for me and linked it back to us so I can connect it all. It's really the fans that make the job so enjoyable.

It's amazing how kind and helpful this community can be! Thank you Nathan for helping to run the tumblr page, and thank you all for helping and supporting Nathan!

The "Artful Dodgers" are our amazing group of artists! They create the incredible artwork that we use and feature for posts such as the milestone ones! Steampoweredfox is a good friend of mine, and decided to take the time out of drawing the 3 million milestone art to answer this question.

1: Is it difficult getting art done for ZNN when given a specific deadline?

A: I really enjoyed creating a banner with all the ZNN staff. I wanted to capture the family aspect of "The Crossing of the Delaware" to show how we are on a mission, but having fun while doing it.
The help that was offered to me when it came to coloring the photo is a great example of how everyone comes together when a member needs help. A huge thanks to Quirky for handling the background coloring, as well as thanks to Pascal, Nota, and Ron for helping to color the members.

The teamwork that was shown while Steam was working on the art was incredible. It shows how each member wants to look out and help each other, no matter what the problem or situation may be.


Here we have Toastee! He's one of our comic translators, and I just had to know what it's like to have his job.

1: When translating comics into English, what are the highs and lows of doing such a task?

A: The high includes being able to communicate with the artist, it gives me a reason to communicate with the artist about various things, the artist that works on the Emily Carter comic that i translate, we talk a bit through email. I guess the lows include having to translate either very obscure words or phrases into english, or translate phrases that would lose its original meaning or connotation when translated into english. I try to minimize this loss, but there is a loss that comes with it. Another i guess is that with korean and other asian languages, they have alot of onomatopeias to describe certain sounds, alot more than english, and translating these is also pretty hard too.



And now, a bit about myself as a reviewer. It was the job I was originally hired for, but now I've branched out to help post on the ZNN Facebook, the Zootopians Facebook, and make this interview. So let us start the self interview.

1: How were you recruited into ZNN, and what was your specialty.

A: I was kinda different in the fact that I approached Julius first and was like "Hey I have this interview, do you want it?" Which... didn't really work for the first month. But I stuck with it, and kept bugging Julius till he ended up posting the first review that I wrote. Then I wrote a second review and bugged him for another month to get that one post. Few weeks later I got picked up. Overall took me 3 months to get in haha.

2: What were your thoughts on the site as a whole from then to now?

A: I remember when it first started and seeing post on the r/Zootopia subreddit. To be honest I never really checked many of the articles out, as they were usually a day old from when they were posted on the subreddit. I did always check out the translated comics and such, as they are great comics, and LMAbacus and MillerWong both did a great job when it came to translating them. Back then I also didn't really realize how many sections there were in ZNN, and how every member is working on something. 

Now I learned how ZNN thrives off of its many employees, and how those employees working together is what keep this site alive. One day I want to be able to interview any employee that wishes to be interviewed, just so they can all get the article and recognition they deserve.

3: What is it like as a reviewer, and what are any other jobs you may have?

A: Being a reviewer is great, as it allows me to give my opinion on items, as well as write my own articles. The downside is that merch is pretty hard to find, and the other reviewer Surrika has plenty more than I do. So that is why I've been picking up other jobs as well. I help Steampoweredfox run his Zootopians page by making posts with art, comics, and several links. It's been a blast going through my old art submissions on Reddit, and posting those amazing pieces to Zootopians. I also helped run the ZNN Facebook for awhile, making sure it was updated while Shadow9692 was away. 

This was a comprehensive look at the original six members of ZNN, as well as a few of the roles in ZNN. Special thanks to every member for letting me interview them and ask them questions. I had a great time writing this article, and I hope you all have a good time reading it. Let me know in the comments if you would like me to interview any other members, as well as give special thanks to every member of ZNN! This has been Fonzi with my first interview, and I hope you all have a good day!

5 comments:

  1. I want to send a personal thank you to Andy Lagopus, had you not made this site I probably would have thought this fan base was much smaller then it is, and would have lost interest due to thinking I was "alone" in my love of Zootopia.

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  2. PSST....THANK YOU ALL! I check this site almost daily (at best once a week if busy) cause I love Zootopia so much and I am glad there is a team that loves it as much as I do. Thank you to all! And why...is Andy the rabbit tied to the flag pole?

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  3. I try and check this site at least twice a week!! I appreciate all your hard and diligent work here!! Gotta check daily, from now on! Thank you all!

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