Local writer and cartoonist fuses Fargo, dystopia
Animation series ‘2125ish’ depicts Fargo’s future
Published: Monday, September 24, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 24, 2012 13:09
Many people doodle while in class; the same can be said about Moorhead’s Erik Meyer, a substitute teacher, Red Raven coffee shop co-owner, writer and cartoonist.
While filling in for teachers around the Fargo-Moorhead area, as well as during any downtime he manages to find, Erik sketches out new drawings and brainstorms new plotlines for upcoming cartoons for his latest animation project, “2125ish.”
This project is a humorous animation series that will eventually comprise of at least 12 episodes depicting Fargo about 120 years into the future. Each episode will be about 11 to 12 minutes long and follows the same animation style as Brad Neely, a popular animation cartoonist known for his work with “The Professor Brothers” as well as contributing to “South Park.”
“Back when I was a kid there was a lot of really profound dystopian and sci-fi literature … they’re inspiring,” Erik mentioned.
The pilot episode entitled “Office Wrangler” introduces the main characters Jerry, Ruben, Nygard and Susan who all work in a “volatile” office environment amidst a futuristic Fargo (“Fargone”) that is very unlike what it is now.
“I’ve taken Fargo and stretched it … I’m taking what’s already here and amplifying it, making the poor poorer and rich richer,” Erik said.
Robots are rampant, the country goes bankrupt, the population of Fargone is well over one million, no one trusts each other and people hunt caribou with “particle beam rifles.”
“I am very concerned about what [Fargo] is going to look like in 50 or so years … we have some serious environmental problems and we are all very comfortable where we’re at, and it wouldn’t take a lot for all of that to go horribly wrong,” Erik said. “I want to have a safe space to talk about that.”
One of the only things that remain the same about Fargo in the “2125ish” cartoon is the harsh winters; however, we haven’t quite encountered enough frozen bodies to term them “meat popsicles” due to the cold weather.
Although Erik grew up in Eau Claire, Wis., he chose to write this animation series based in Fargo because of the misconceptions outsiders have of the area.
“A lot of people have this weird view of Fargo, that it’s Narnia or something,” Erik said. “But if you’re going to talk about a dystopia, Fargo is hilarious. What if there were robots and homeless people looking for egg bake? I’m just pulling on these very comfortable, Mid-western values.”
Erik’s Wordpress goes into great detail explaining the background to this animation series: “Homeless children scavenge alongside robots and dogs for treasure in cities of dust-bowl middens slumping into wilting tenements flanked by concrete walls, barbed wire and police checkpoints. The domes of the wealthy sink beneath tent cities… Fargone follows a history of gradual decay, failed initiatives and increasing corporate rights at the cost of human rights.”
Erik does all of the writing for “2125ish,” which enables him to put his master of fine arts degree in creative writing to good use. He earned this degree back in 2005 at MSUM.
If the writing and incredibly detailed background information for “2125ish” isn’t impressive enough, it’s hard to believe that Erik only began drawing cartoons roughly three years ago.
“When I started subbing, I basically taught myself how to draw because I had all these hours where I would just sit and watch kids take tests,” Erik explained.
However, Erik is not creating “2125ish” on his own. With the help of his friends Alissa Allery and Julio Villamil, this team works tirelessly to create a cohesive storyline that viewers can hopefully identify with. All of the voice recordings are performed by Erik, Alissa, Julio, as well as other friends Erik manages to rustle up to provide the series with additional audible variety.
In order to create a single episode of 2125ish, Erik, Alissa and Julio dedicate roughly 24 hours of writing, scanning, voice and music recording and editing. Even though that amount of time is considered to be fairly quick to produce an entire episode, it gets to be a lot to juggle when Erik is also raising a 6-year-old daughter, running a coffee shop and substitute teaching.
As part of their efforts toward creating more episodes of “2125ish” with better equipment, they chose to promote their newest animation series “2125ish” on the website Indiegogo. This website allows people to contribute money to different campaigns during a set amount of time. In this case, the “2125ish” team hopes to raise $5,000 by Oct. 21 at 11:59 p.m.
The Fargo we live in today may not be the same one hundred years from now, and perhaps by watching “2125ish” we will be able to catch a glimpse of what is to come.
To check out the pilot episode of season one’s “2125ish,” check out their Vimeo page: http://vimeo.com/45045099
To contribute money for the 2125ish Indiegogo campaign to help them reach their goal of $5,000, check out their page: http://www.indiegogo.com/2125ish#team