Profile Feature: Nina Paley

Unline you, I can't affort to be free!I found Mimi and Eunice (two round guys on the left) few month ago while looking for nice flattrable things. That’s when I heard about Nina Paley first. Nina is the creator of the Mimi and Eunice comic strips and she has many other project that I will tell you about in this post. I also asked Nina about her opinion and experience with Flattr.

If I need to define Nina in a few words, I would use words like animator, cartoonist, and freedom fighter. She is promoting free culture, and her main tools for this are animation and comics. She started with Nina’s Adventures in 1988 followed by other strips, and after turning to animation she created numerous award-winning short films.

I have stuff to pay for!

Her newest feature-length film, Sita Sings the Blues (the first Youtube video I watched on a TV screen), is based on her personal crises after their unexpected break-up with her husband. She draws a parallel between Ramayana and her own life (her husbands rejection) and shows the Indian epic from a different (and humorous) point of view. The film is completed with an american jazz singer, Annette Hanshaws’s songs, and this is where Nina’s free culture ‘carrier’ has started.

The difficulties she had arranging the rights to use Hanshaws’s recordings made her think that copyrights ‘helped’ this music being obscure. Her works are now under Creative Commons and she also contributes to QuestionCopyright to support freedom-based distribution.

After this very brief intro, here is a quick interview with Nina:

Freedom is your nature. It's the stuff you can't afford.

Where did you hear about Flattr/why did you start to use it?
Fans started bugging me to get an account. They’d leave comments saying, “I wish I could Flattr this. Why can’t I Flattr this?!”

How much money have you earned with Flattr?
A whopping €350 total. What I’d really like is a Flattr donate button, where people can enter real amounts instead of tiny slices of their “pies.” But so far I haven’t been able to figure out how to do that. Sorry if that makes me seem like an idiot. Anyone want to help?

Do you Flattr others?
On the rare occasion I come across something I absolutely love, that also has a Flattr button, I use it. But only if there’s a Flattr button sitting right there for immediate gratification. Which isn’t very often.

Who would you flattr? (Either if they are on Flattr on not.)
Here’s a webcomic I love and read every week, Wonderella by Justin Pierce:
and Bob the Angry Flower by Stephen Notley:
and Mark Martin:

None of them have Flattr buttons. Yet. Come to think of it, Margo Burns’ and my Comic-O-Matic should have a Flattr button: I’ll get on that!

Is there anything you don’t like about Flattr? What would you do differently?
I initially had a lot of problems getting the site buttons to work – and my comic posts wouldn’t show up on the Flattr site unless they had text in them. Without text, they were considered “incomplete.” But they’re comics, graphics, and don’t need extra text! I don’t know if that bug’s been fixed yet. I’d also like it to be easier to make a “donate” Flattr button, because like I said, I still don’t have one.

When did you become ‘known’ from ‘unknown’? Did it change your life?
Depends on how “known” we’re talking about. It started when my very first comic ever, “History of the North Pole” by Chris Butler (illustrated by me when I was 15 or 16) was self-published and sold at the White Hen Pantry near Uni High in Urbana, IL, and the local Public Radio station, WILL, mentioned it on the air. That did change my life….But the biggest jump happened a few years ago, with my feature film Sita Sings the Blues. All my years of comic strips – and I’d worked for 2 major syndicates and been in about 100 newspapers – paled in comparison to the attention that got. My blog’s tagline used to be “America’s Best-Loved Unknown Cartoonist.” After Sita Sings the Blues got famous, I crossed out the “Un.”

Few sites I’d recommend if you want to learn more about Nina:
Nina Paley dot com
Mimi and Eunice comic strip and why it’s under Creative Commons
Sita Sings the Blues (do watch it)
Nina Paley on Flattr

♡ 2011 by Zsofi Nemeth. Please copy. 

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