• BABSCon Interview: Lauren Faust (MLP FiM Show Creator)

    Her name is present for every single episode of the show. Every single Brony in the fandom has knows her name.

    Which is kind of scary when you think about it.

    Anyways, Lauren Faust was a guest of honor for BABSCon this year and many people had a chance to hear from her. I know a lot of them were present for her panel on the Saturday of the con—I can only imagine how empty the vendor hall was for that hour—and I'm sure a ton of questions were asked by moderators and fans alike.

    Lauren was kind enough to agree to take time from her schedule and sit down for an interview with Equestria Daily while she was at BABSCon. To say it was an honor to interview her would be an understatement, and my nerves were through the roof when I was getting ready for this one.

    You can check out the whole interview after the break!

    Lauren, first I'd like to thank you for agreeing to this interview with Equestria Daily here at BABSCon.

    Lauren Faust: My pleasure. Happy to.

    Which brony convention has been the most memorable for you to attend so far?

    LF: They were all memorable for different reasons, but that very first one, BronyCon 2012, was insane. I think it was just so huge and I don't think I really understood what I was in for. There's not many times in your life you get standing ovations from thousands of people, so that one still sticks out as just the most- I think I was the most astounded at that one.

    I remember a little video that went out a little while ago from that convention here, where you were presented with a huge poster of your OC that said, "Create."

    LF: There were many tears shed at that one.

    Well, now that you've been to a couple of different types of pop culture events, not just the Pony Cons, but also various comic book related shows like San Diego Comic-Con. What are some of the differences you find between a regular pop culture event and a brony convention?

    LF: Well, before I even made My Little Pony, I went to San Diego Comic-Con many, many, many times for my work on The Powerpuff Girls and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends. What's fascinating about the Pony conventions is just the insane passion behind it. San Diego is full of fans—there's definitely passionate people there—but at the Pony conventions, I see people who tell me that the show changed their life. I've never seen that, at least not so concentrated, at the other comic conventions. I'm sure it happens—because we all have things that we love that changed our lives—but it's so much more apparent and huge at the Pony conventions than I've ever seen it at the comic conventions.

    Speaking of your comic convention experience, do you have a particular memory that sticks out from when you've been going out and meeting the public?

    LF: I have some specific memories, but they're either funny or surprising. The thing that's had the most impact on me isn't so specifically one instance. I'm still in constant shock at how many people tell me that the show has changed their lives. It's not just one person here or there. It's like half of the people I talk to say it changed their life for the better, not just a little, but significantly. Almost that it saved their lives. Those are my favorite things to hear. That's my biggest takeaway from the conventions. To know what it feels like to have something you created, and something you dreamed up, have such a profound effect on so many people. I can't even explain it. It's not one specific memory but, collectively, that's the thing that has the biggest impact on me, means the most, and that I take away with me from every single convention.

    Thank you, Lauren.

    LF: Oh, you're very welcome. My pleasure.

    As a Star Trek fan, how much of a thrill was it to cast John de Lancie as Discord?

    LF: Oh my God, casting John de Lancie was insane! It was amazing and I don't- it had been a long time since I'd been as nervous as I was when I went to record him for the first time. I hope my voice didn't shake. I don't know if he even noticed, but I had a huge knot in my stomach. I was so terrified that this guy, who's this brilliant actor, who's had so much experience, that I had so much admiration for, just thought it was some dumb little kids' cartoon or something. It was amazing and then to be able to become friends with him afterwards and to regularly speak with him has been surreal in how incredible it is. I don't know if I can emphasize enough how insanely amazing it was.

    I grew up watching The Next Generation and specifically Q in particular. As soon as I heard him I was like, "That's it. I'm in for the long haul."

    LF: Yeah, yeah, he's an inspiration.

    Speaking of being an inspiration, how did you get involved with the Wildlife Learning Center that you worked on a couple of their Indiegogo campaigns with?

    LF: I have a very good friend, Tammy List, who I've worked with at Cartoon Network for a very long time and she and I are animal dorks. She's my one friend that I can sit around and talk about my dogs for three hours, and she's actually interested. She just called me up one day and said, "Hey, I heard about this little zoo and their having a fundraiser and we can go pet fennec foxes." I went, "Oh my God. Let's do it." We went and it was just a little fundraiser. We'd never heard of it before, and she just stumbled across it in a magazine ad as a local advertising sort of thing.

    We went and we had a lot of fun. We both did, but she had so much fun that she went back there regularly and started volunteering. Then, probably a good year and a half after she started volunteering there, I started volunteering there. So I was volunteering there on the weekends while I was working on My Little Pony. I was nothing special at that time, so I was just cleaning chinchilla cages. There wasn't much more to it than that.

    I volunteered there on the weekends for several months. Around the time when I started sharing on social media about bronies and their amazing generosity with helping out fundraisers and stuff like that, the Wildlife Learning Center asked me to be on the board of directors, specifically to help with fundraising. I'm so proud to say that Bronies have raised over forty thousand dollars!


    LF: For the Wildlife Learning Center. It's just kind of a, "Hey, let's go do something fun," that over the years just blew up into this second job for me.

    CC: Well you gave the community a chance to name animals after characters in the show.

    LF: Yeah, I was so surprised that worked.

    What's the one memory that really sticks out from your volunteer work there?

    LF: What memory? For me it's, God, getting to meet the animals. Once you're there for a while—because they're protecting the animals and their health and safety is the most important thing for them—and they trust you and know you're not going to make any stupid mistakes, you start to get to do really cool stuff. The first time I went to see Lola the sloth—and they let me in her enclosure—and I fed her an ear of corn, I just melted into a puddle. Sloths are the magical creatures. If they have a sloth at the zoo, they hide. You never see them.


    LF: Getting to see one two feet in front of me, and give her food that she eats with her mouth right there was the biggest thing for me. It was just unbelievable.

    Sounds like you had a lot of fun.

    LF: Yeah, definitely.

    Well hopefully the sloth, Lola, was a little bit of a faster eater than the sloths that were presented in Zootopia.

    LF: I don't know. She can go as slow as she wants. I'll watch her all day.

    Speaking of adorable little animals, Mane6 has been fairly quiet on Them's Fightin' Herds since the very successful Kickstarter campaign. Has your involvement with the game come to an end for the time being or is there something you've been working on behind the scenes that we can look forward to?

    LF: I just did sketches for the splash cards like two days ago. They're still working on it. If they're quiet, it's because they're busy. They're working like crazy and we're always talking a little bit about trying to get out there a little bit more. I know the forums went up and they either just had or are very soon due to do another live stream. I think we're just waiting until we have something super cool to show and everything is still not quite finished enough to share. I bet a million dollars that there's going to be a point where the floodgates open and we'll have plenty to share.

    Well, we're definitely going to be looking forward to it, Lauren.

    LF: Oh, I'm glad to hear it.

    Continuing on with Them's Fightin' Herds, what are your thoughts on creating for other story mediums, like comics or small prose pieces, for you to further explore the world of Fœnum.

    LF: That's very much something that we'd like to do, and that we've talked about quite a bit. The funding from the Kickstarter is going to funnel entirely into the game, and if the game does well enough—and generates enough interest that we can bring in more funding to do those sorts of things—we absolutely will. A dream of the group, collectively, is to let it build out even further.

    Well here's hoping that Them's Fightin' Herds is a runaway, smash hit.

    LF: Well we all hope so.

    Is there anything else you'd like to talk about?

    LF: No, not necessarily. Just whatever- if there's anything more that you'd like to either elaborate on or any new questions.
    Couch Crusader: I had a couple other questions.

    LF: Yeah, sure. If we have time.

    CC: You said, during the panel, that you set up each of the main six with a stereotype that you wanted to break.

    LF: Yeah.

    Couch Crusader: Did any of them not do that? Did any of them not follow that pattern?

    LF: I think some of them might fall a little bit into the stereotype. What's funny to me is that sometimes I see fans apply the stereotype that wasn't necessarily intended and elaborate on that. But I'm really proud to say that they all kind of buck the system a little bit. Twilight is smart, reads a lot, is a little antisocial, and is kind of OCD, but she's not a nerd. She doesn't have glasses and the nasally voice. She's still sweet, and smart, and pretty which is the opposite of what we think is a nerd.

    Rarity is always my example. She's beautiful, and she loves clothes, and she loves being beautiful, but she's not mean. She's not snobbish. She's not a shopaholic. She's an artist! I think everybody kind of falls in that category. Some definitely more strongly than others. Characters like Applejack and Fluttershy might be a little bit more towards their stereotype, but other characters, I think, really ...

    It ended up being a good mix.

    LF: Yeah. Yeah, I think so. Thank you.