Interviews

I am a cat, I play the bongo — content creator DitzyFlama on creative process, tools of the internet trade

Lead-in photo credit: @Ziyad17_ on Twitter

You might not have heard of DitzyFlama, but you’ve probably seen ubiquitous memes such as Bongo Cat (a cat, uh, playing the bongo) and Kirb (a super deformed plush version of your favorite pink warrior). We got an exclusive chance to talk to the Canadian content creator responsible for some of the more interesting internet references of 2018, alongside his tools of the trade and some surprising facts you might not know.

Photo Credit: Christian Giovanna… just kidding, it’s a self-portrait.

Elisha Deogracias, Gaming Trend: Anyways, so yeah, you’re DitzyFlama! Really big fan, pleasure to meet you!  For those unfamiliar with what you do… what do you do?

[Both laugh]

Or how did you get your name maybe? You know, like your online persona?

Ditzyflama: So, first of all, hi. My name is DitzyFlama, like he introduced.

Basically I was typing up some random names like any normal kid would for making up their username, so at first I was actually called Flame53151, because it was a part of my brother’s username, and you know, as a little kid I was like, “Imma take that, thank you very much. Yoink! Mine now.”

And basically, I was like, “This is not a good username anymore.” As I developed as a person, I was like, “I don’t like this name, I don’t like the numbers and all that kinda stuff,” so I was like, “You know what? Imma just smash my keyboard and think of something just on the spot,” and I thought of Ditzy because I just make dumb videos and all that kind of stuff so I’m like “Wha- it makes sense for my name, I guess.”

For Flama, I was like ‘You know, I’m just gonna replace the E with flama,’ so that’s why my name is DitzyFlama, and—you asked about content too, right?

Yeah.

Like what I do and all that kind of stuff?

I typically just do video. I would do memes here and there, some content creation, you know, VFX work, motion graphics, 3D modeling and all that kind of stuff, but I’m pretty sure everyone that’s listening or reading this knows that I do mostly memes. Yeah, so basically, I mostly just do memes on the internet, and it’s something that I love to do because it’s something that I get a kick out of every time I make a stupid video online, so, yeah. [laughter]

That’s good! What kind of tools do you use when it comes to meme creation and stuff?

I use primarily After Effects, and I know a lot of meme creators will be like “Oh, that should be the most utilized tool for any sort of video” which is kind of saying how meme creators are using things professionally. But really, you can just use Sony Vegas to make a meme and just go from there.

I mainly use After Effects as well as Maya and ZBrush to use 3D models if I need to, for any reason, make a 3D model for my meme. And I would use Reaper to make the remixes for the video as well, so those are primarily the programs I use.

So, for someone who’s not in that field, it kinda flies past me, but I feel like someone who’s reading this or trying to get into this will be like “yeah, that’s really cool,” so it’s good inspiration, right?

Exactly.

Speaking of that, what is some of your inspiration? Does it just come to you when you just want to do an idea, because I feel like that happens all of a sudden, you know?

Usually my inspirations just come from watching videos back in… I guess the Newgrounds era, on top of some trailers I’ve seen on YouTube. For some reason, the reason I started my YouTube channel is because of this Sonic Colors trailer; it looked so vibrant and colorful.

A lot of people have these inspirations of, “This certain YouTuber has inspired me,” or “The reason I’m making videos is because my parents tell me to never give up,” but mainly for me, the reason why I started this whole journey for me is because I was so intrigued by how the Sonic Colors trailer looked. It looked so visually on point for me as a little kid, because I’m pretty sure every kid would just be like “oh, something bright. This looks very nice.” It’s like a f***ing moth.

[chuckles]

Other than that, I was just looking through stuff online from Newgrounds era when those Super Mario bloopers were in there, as well as some Club Penguin music videos, and some trailers I’ve seen inspired me to become the person who I am today, as well as some other people along the way that also inspired me like MowtenDoo.

His visuals are pretty much the main reason why I want to go more in depth with making videos in the first place, because his visual works are so, so beautiful, so magnificent. It mainly just composes of me watching videos from Newgrounds to YouTube trailers to a YouTuber like MowtenDoo that inspired me to make this stuff today.

Alright, that’s cool history right there. Also, random question, what do you think is your favorite Sonic game?

My favorite Sonic game? Ooh, um…

[chuckling] Or a good one, how about that? Or one that you liked?

A good one? Sonic Generations. I liked Sonic Generations mainly because of how much history throughout Sonic’s years you could see progress, like they were trying to make a definitive 3D Sonic.

Sonic Generations was not only a good way to celebrate Sonic’s [20th anniversary], but basically it was a good way for the Sonic Team to show that they could make a 3D game, and if they can do it right, they can obviously. They can do it!

Sonic Generations is one of my favorite Sonic games that I cherish today.

I know that you had a lot of memes before, but I know the one that really put you on the map was Bongo Cat back in 2018. I was looking at other meme history pages and I know that Kirb was also there, too, but that was like what, 2016? [Author’s Note: The version of the meme mentioned dated back 2018.]

Oh yeah, you did your research. [starts laughing]

I did! The thing is, I love those memes; Bongo Cat, Somebody Touch My Spaghet, and also Steamed Hams are probably like my three for 2018. [laughs] I can still remember those.

I actually somewhat started the Somebody Touch My Spaghet. I remember when I saw the clip on my Twitter, I was like, “you know, I’mma f***ing meme this s***.”

[both start laughing]

And I was gonna just do the Smash Mouth somebody, All Star, when Shrek just comes out of his bathroom, it’s gonna be “Somebody touch my spaghet” or something like that. That was one of the instances where it just grew out. I’m not saying that I’m the main reason why it started, but I was one of the contributors that spread it out today.

Okay, that’s interesting!

Yeah.

So how did you feel, probably two years ago when the Bongo Cat meme blew up? How do you feel personally when it’s like “Oh wow, my memes are getting shared!” or “Everyone loves Bongo Cat now?”

I personally feel the same when I’m making videos. I would just treat it as normally. I wasn’t really overwhelmed with the amount of support or an amount of people just coming to see my memes, because I was just treating it how I usually do it, because I love making this stuff and seeing people support the videos that I make really makes my day. It makes me keep on going every single day to make a meme.

I guess 2018 was one of my biggest years that I ever done. It definitely gave me more insight on how to be a better person. I guess in a way, seeing the amount of support I’ve been getting and throughout that year, it taught me a lot as a person, and it made me more happier and more outgoing as I was before I initially started even making videos in the first place.

Even though the amount of support was nice, I guess at the end of the day I was still having fun with the content I make so I wasn’t really too overwhelmed, I was just happy and more motivated to keep going with videos that I love to make.

You’re 18 now, and I know that your memes got you popular at a young age, so were there any obstacles or struggles you had trying to deal with the attention you were getting? Not just the fame, but also the controversy?

Yeah. For me personally, I guess the only thing that was hard to deal with was just going through school and having to just meet people’s expectations, because I’m not 100 percent perfect. I’m a regular human being like any other content creator is, and for me to go through school while balancing this platform for me was very frustrating because I was so caught up with how the internet worked, I just lost focus and lost who I was as a person.

It was hard for me to deal with a lot of stress in the background, knowing that I had to do school, I had to go through a part-time job, and having to make videos for my fun, I was very compromised to that point where I was like, “I don’t think I can make videos anymore,” because I was dealing with school and a part-time job.

Obviously I’m out of school now, so at least it relieves some stress from me, but it was mainly that I was dealing with school and  me being so busy that I lost some touch with who I was as a person and the friends that I have, which I still have, but I certainly became more busier than I was before. Luckily for me, I am done with school, but it was hard to deal with.

I love criticism. I check out criticism every single day, so it’s not something that I hate. It’s more so the fact that it was just school that was stressing me out the most, because having to balance that out with friendships and something that I love to do. It made me feel very compromised to do school those two years. It was basically hell for me going through it, but luckily, I’m graduated.

I know a lot of people know who you are in real life, like your real-life friends and family. How do you balance that reaction, “oh hey, my friend is a meme creator, my friend is online and stuff?” Do you react differently with your relationships like that or in your personal life, business life?

Mainly, how my friend groups work is that we tend to joke, they would be like “Oh my god, is that the famous DitzyFlama?” I would just be joking with my friends. Obviously, my friends know my online presence, and they know what I’ve been through, like the tough as bones life, through thick and thin, they know what I’ve been through online. Honestly, with my friends, they usually tend to joke around with me being online, and that’s something that I recognize and would joke around as well.

At the end of the day, I love my friends. They do know my online presence, as well as my parents. They’ll keep supporting what I do because they’ve always done that ever since I was—before I even made the big hit in 2018. They have been there ever since then, back in what, grade 4 or so, so they know what I’ve been through and the progress that I’ve done throughout this whole decade or so. My friends are pretty great, and they’ve been supporting me through it all. We would tend to make jokes a lot about me being online, but I still treat them as normal and they still treat me as normal, so it’s all good.

Okay, that’s cool. I was thinking more an iCarly thing for some reason.

[both start laughing]

 So yeah, that’s always—I think it’s something that people miss about people that are super big.

Yeah, it’s…

Kinda like, “oh, they’re people too,” right?

Personally, for me, how I’ve been doing stuff, with all the videos I make, it’s one of those things where I really do try my best to just show everyone that I have this big heart, personality, that I love making content. It is overwhelming to see creators have that image of—they show their online personality while they have—when the cameras, all the cameras turn off, obviously people are going to see, “Oh, this is not the online persona that you had,” or something like that. Everyone looks at the creators as they have this personality of—online persona, but we’re just normal human beings.

Whenever I talk to one of the public servers that I’m friends with a big creator, any person that you talk to in that server, they know that I’ve been talking normally as any other person would. I love having to be online and dozens of—I don’t wanna have that kind of online personality of being expected as when the camera’s on, I’m that person.

It’s cool, because I actually joined your, I guess I’d call it a fan server? I know it’s called Ditzcord but… [laughs] I joined that server a few weeks ago and it was kind of refreshing and surprising to see you there.

Yeah. I’m pretty just—I wanna chill with someone or talk to someone down to earth, because it’s—with how I’ve been making content, a lot of people look at me as this meme creator that makes silly stuff on the internet. With that kind of impression, you don’t expect me being serious, but outside of that, I’m just a normal guy.

Obviously I don’t blame people who see the type of content and be like, “that’s not the type of person who would be normal,” with the online personality. Typically for me I’m very down to earth. Whether or not in the chat I’ll act serious or act childish, that’s how I normally function.

Speaking of people like content creators, is there someone that you would love to do a dream collaboration with? Working with someone?

I would work with… that’s a hard one. Before, I wasn’t really much of a person that was able to collaborate with someone because I would be busy, but to answer your question, someone who I would collaborate with is… ahh, that’s hard. MowtenDoo. Even though he and I were technically in a collab before, we didn’t have a really much face-to-face collaboration, it was more so just I was invited to this collaboration and for some reason he was in that collaboration as well. I feel like MowtenDoo would be one of the people I would love to collaborate, and then what else… I feel like that’s pretty much it.

[both laugh]

You’ll probably get more ideas. It’s so interesting to see people responding to your stuff. I know your Twitter header is of LilNasX, because I know you did that thing with his song, I think…

[laughter]

 …Yeah, like “what is this?’ And then Anthony Padilla [on a recent meme] was like, “Dang insta follow,” and I was like, “What the heck?” That was funny.

So I’ve noticed you played a lot of Fall Guys recently, especially with the memes you’ve made in the past few weeks. What kind of stuff do you like playing, or what do you play normally?

This is probably gonna sound like a bummer, but I had played a lot of Fall Guys before. Games I used to play before were CS:GO, Overwatch, PUBG, somewhat Valorant, though there was other games that I used to play. I think those were the main games I used to play before, but as time went on it got busier for me, so I had to stop playing games less—I actually had to stop— but I was more or less frequently playing games. It was mostly some Switch games like Smash Bros. Ultimate and Animal Crossing.

It’s weird, I know. I had a really big Animal Crossing phase for the first few weeks just because of pandemic and all of a sudden I just kinda lopped off.

Aw, yeah. Same. I was going through Animal Crossing, taking care of my island, taking care of the villagers, and I was like, “I am set. I don’t care about the pandemic. They can lock the doors whenever they want. No one’s stopping me from caring for my villagers.” Then afterwards, three months later, as soon as I launched the game and entered my island, I just turned it off, because I was like, “I’m not sure if I wanna play this anymore.” It was too much work, man. Tom Nook kept stealing my money, all my bells! Is this what loans do to you?

Is this real life?

Is this what real life is? Is this what loans do to you? [groans] Taxes!

[Elisha laughs, Ditzy cries]

Oh my gosh, I remember. I think the only reason I play it now is because my friends do, and they…

Yeah, yeah.

…They use it as a social tool. They also—That’s why I played it at like 2 AM for a few hours last month and I was like, “ok.” Haven’t touched it much since.

Maybe Animal Crossing can be the next social media. Literally, if you visit someone’s island, that’s considered as a follow.

It basically is, or if you accept their friend request, that’s basically a follow. Or get their Dodo Code.

[both laugh]

So, I know that you’re Canadian, I’m also Canadian myself. I know we talked about this earlier, but I always ask this. Poutine or all-dressed chips?

[gasps, then claps] Poutine! [starts repeating the word “poutine”]

Now, the reason why, it’s not because poutine is my favorite food, the reason why I choose poutine over all dressed chips it’s because, bro, imagine having all those flavors into your mouth, my tongue is gonna be confused, bro! I’m gonna run out the door, because I don’t know what flavor I’m tasting. Next flavor I’m tasting, it’s ranch. Next flavor I’m tasting, it’s cheese. Next thing you know, the next flavor I’m tasting right now is milk. I don’t know what kind of flavors I’m tasting on my tongue!

The reason I choose poutine is not only because poutine is good—it’s very good—but also because I know what I’m eating. This is cheese, this is gravy, not a blend of all of it! It’s like—seeing all-dressed chips is like seeing a Spore creature, just mixed all together. You don’t know what it looks like. You don’t even know what you’re tasting!

So yeah, poutine.

Follow up question. What’s the location that you love getting poutine from?

It used to be New York Fries, no, it is New York Fries. Usually I like getting the poutine from New York Fries. They know how to make their poutine.

Now THIS is a poutine.

Though after classes in high school I’d get poutine at McDonald’s.

People will always knock fast food poutine, but I’ve noticed that actually, they do have some decent stuff.

They do have some decent stuff, like with McDonald’s. Normally what I get from McDonald’s is poutine with a Mighty Angus burger. That’s good. I felt like that was—going through high school, for lunch, that was a rich meal for me. That was like going on some sort of party, and you just see this big, white table covered in silverware. The richest thing that you can think of right now. That’s how I felt for poutine and Mighty Angus. I was eating it with—how do those rich people do it? They usually just hold the wine, they have their wrist out, all that kind of stuff, that’s how I felt eating Mighty Angus with poutine as a high schooler.

Get a Coke or something.

So whenever I would eat this meal, I would just walk by the high schoolers getting those tacos forever, or those high school pizza lunch meals, I’d just be walking over to them eating my poutine with a smug face. I’d be like, [smacking sounds] “You feel that? This is what actual taste is like.” I would just walk by them.

[both laugh]

No shame to anyone. [keeps laughing]

If you got it, just flaunt it.

No shame to anyone that’s eating lunch, like the high school lunch, like the pizza, but I was walking through, I was eating that with grace. I was eating that with pride. I was like, “You see this? I’m eating a lunch. This is a meal. This is a meal meal.”

 Oh my gosh, that’s great.

[both continue laughing]

 I think the only poutine I won’t eat anymore, and they don’t have anymore, thank goodness, is Tim Horton’s. What the heck?

Oh, yeah. That was—what the heck? That’s not poutine. That’s one of those off-brand chips or something. Nope, no name, and it’s just chips. What was Tim Horton’s doing? That was not poutine.

It was this potato wedge. See, potato wedges are fine, but you’re putting gravy and cheese curds and they’re not even melted. I was just very upset for the whole thing.

Yeah, I was like, “but…bruh.” It’s some old man being like, “ok guys, so I heard the cana—can—canad—canada,” that’s what the old man’s saying, “I heard that Canada’s having some… poutine?” And the person in the room that knows poutine, but only somewhat knows it, they’re like, “I know what you’re talking about,” and just pitches in the idea to Tim Horton’s and be like, “This is what we should put on our poutine. The cheese? Not even melted,” and they’re like, “That’s poutine.”

What even is this?
Credit: MTL Blog

[laughing] Perfect.

I’m pretty sure the guy that made that idea is getting a raise … [starts laughing]

Basically. And then he probably got fired a year after, because it’s no longer on the menu, but then again, I haven’t been to Canada for a year because of… everything. I wanna keep asking more Canadian questions, but I really can’t think of any, to be honest. Filipino questions, I don’t know. You’re Filipino, right?

Yeah, I am Filipino.

Okay, same here! That wasn’t really a question, I was just… it’s weird. I always relate more to people that are either Canadian or Filipino, it’s a really cool thing.

Well, luckily, I’m both. I’m Canadian and Filipino.

Exactly. See? Perfect, that’s awesome! After I followed you on Twitter for a couple of years, maybe a couple of years, maybe a year or so, I’m just like, “Oh, this dude looks Filipino,” then you said that and I’m like, “Dude, that’s awesome!” It makes me feel pretty happy!

Yeah, it’s like the brethren. It’s like seeing a brother from another mother.

Dude, seriously though. If I saw your parents, your parents and my parents would probably be like, “Hey, we know each other. I don’t know how, but we went to school together for no reason,” or something like that. Something will happen, and I’m just like, “What?” It makes sense, but not really.

It makes sense, yeah.

I like it though, it’s fine. I’ve never been to the western part of Canada. I have relatives that live in Vancouver. We have friends that live in Calgary. I don’t really know how close or far that is from Edmonton. I’m assuming it’s not that far; I’m assuming it is, I don’t know.

Yeah, it’s not that far..

Okay. If I ever go there and I ever bump into one of your friends, be like, “ayy, I know that guy.” [chuckles] Just kidding.

“Hey, I know that guy. I interviewed him on a gaming website.”

It’s gonna be so weird. That’s gonna happen. We’ll see each other for no reason, but what? There you go.

For next year, hopefully, I’m gonna—Obviously I’m gonna be in one of the conventions for Edmonton. It’s gonna be Animethon. I don’t know if you’re gonna travel out, but that’s gonna be the time where I’m gonna be outside, Imma be chilling… Yeah. I’ll be like—I’ll announce a public meetup. I’ll be like, “Everyone, just come to Hall 7,” and you just see two people. [starts laughing]

You’d be surprised.

I’ll be surprised, I’ll be like [gasps] “It’s my two followers!’

 It’s two people that are in the Ditzcord server every single time, just spamming.

It’s like that meme, or it’s like that video where you just see this guy on top of the balcony, and you see those three people down there just cheering him on and he’s like [cheers].

Yeah, and the clapping and [soft cheers] Oh my gosh, that’s great. So that was actually part of another question. You recently started posting videos, and I know you said September’s your month. Going forward, what do you hope, or what do you want to do towards your content creation in the future? You said you might make it to a con, if we have conventions next year. Hopefully.

[both chuckle]

I really wanna go places, man.

Oh my gosh, you have to understand. Toronto for me would be so good. But yeah, so what kind of stuff are you planning?

Mainly, for me, how moving forward, I’m gonna just keep on practicing with what I’ve been doing and practicing with my motion graphics, my VFX, my 3D modeling, as I’ve always been doing for the past years. I also just want to grow bigger as a person and just keep on planning bigger projects than what I used to do. I used to make videos that were like, “oh, this is one of my greatest videos that I made,” and then I would have this mindset of, “ok, time to make something bigger than that.”

I do have a lot of videos planned for next month, because for this month I have some more videos, but October’s gonna be where I’m gonna be posting a lot more, and hopefully return from what I’ve been doing since, what, Octo—September of 2018, because I feel like that throughout the whole two years, I stopped making videos realistically. I’ve been posting on Twitter, but I feel like around September 2018, that’s when I stopped, paused for a moment because of school.

I feel like starting from October to the years going by, that’s when I’m gonna start posting bigger and better videos, and be more active as a content creator. Throughout these months, it’s been very busy for me. Moving forward, I’m going to be more active, and that’s more so a promise, because I’m out of school. October throughout the upcoming months, that’s when I’m gonna be more active and making videos I love to enjoy, and hopefully sharing what I’ve been working on for months as well.

I have that kind of moment where I paused and I was very depressed, but it was more so that kind of sign of asking for help and seeing if something that I’ve been doing for these past years is something worth it, and it shows that it does, it is worth it. Excluding when I had that depressive episode, I’ve been working day and night for something that is going to be happening in October.

Moving forward, I plan to be bigger than I was in 2018 and have that initial spark that I had, which is making content that I enjoy.

Alright, that’s awesome. I was talking with Captain (who runs the Ditzcord server). I was wondering if you guys are planning on doing anything in the future with that? It’s a chill place to hang out!

[laughing] Mainly, yeah. Me and Andrew, that’s how he’s preferred to be called. Andrew and I do have big plans for the server. Not only for the server, but when I’m done everything in October, or throughout that whole process, that’s when DitzyFlama is gonna be back. Andrew and I have been planning about how we’re gonna revise the server and how we’re gonna make it more engaging, because I really love engaging with my audience. I love the people in there. They’re like old time members that I’ve known since 2018.

I feel like that’s when the server is going to be more active. There’s gonna be more voice chats, and we’re planning bigger things for Ditzcord.

Alright, that’s awesome. Finally, what kind of advice would you give to your fans, or any words you’d give to your younger self? Sounds like a very existential question.

To anyone wanting to do content, or is stuck on having this plan of, “Oh, I want to make videos but I’m not sure if I can make videos because people are bigger than me, so I’m not gonna be noticed.” The advice I can give to anybody is to not care about what the algorithm says, what other people say, don’t pay attention to trends, because if you become so focused on how the algorithm works, how much retention your videos get, or trying to start off with this motivation of, “I’m gonna go big,” you’re not gonna go as far as someone who puts in the hard work and each and every day loves the content they’re doing, and does this just for a hobby initially.

What I’ve been doing for content is because I love doing it. I love doing the stuff that I produce and I love seeing the reactions from others, seeing them be like, “Oh, this really made my day,” or “This looks awesome.” I put my blood, sweat, and tears into making every single video, and even though some of them are memes, obviously there’s gonna be those videos where I’m bored and I make it out of a gecko.

For my audience, or to anyone that’s reading to this, you shouldn’t have your only motivation wanting to grow big. Don’t be like, “I wanna be one of the big creators.” Obviously, you can dream big, but have a motivation of working hard and making yourself to be a bigger and better person. The people watching you are going to have impressions of you being like, “Is this person a good person or is he even worth watching?”

Once you make videos that are based off having fun and ignoring the algorithm, ignoring these kinds of popular trends, you can create your own wave. Whether or not people are going to hop onto it or not, it doesn’t matter. What matters is if you have fun making the stuff that you enjoy, then at the end of the day, you shouldn’t really be invested in the algorithm, and don’t be so drawn to how much retention rate you’re getting with the videos. Just look after yourself, essentially. Have fun with the videos that you make. If you create your own wave, then you’re gonna make a name for yourself. People are going to look at you as that guy, rather than someone who just hopped onto a trend.

Make content that you’re truly passionate about. Whether or not it grows big or not, just keep on trying. Just keep working hard. Eventually, you’re gonna be bigger than me. Bigger than someone on the internet! At the end of the day, what matters is if you’re having fun.

Do you have any last words for our readers?

Nah, I’m good. I feel like that’s all I needed to say. I’m not gonna plug anything.

Well, I’m gonna plug stuff! You can catch him at @DitzyFlama on Twitter, that’s D-I-T-Z-Y-F-L-A-M-A, I spelled it right, or on the Ditzcord

Butchered it. You butchered it.

…I killed it. You know what? I murdered it, it’s done, it’s gone, it’s dead.

[both laugh]

Stay tuned for more news and interviews here on Gaming Trend.

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