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Vol. 2, Issue 5
December 6, 1999

Taking Aim at Paul Steed '99

An interview by Russell "RadPipe" Lauzon

 

 

 

aul Steed: the Man, the Myth, the Legend. We couldn’t let issue 2.5 pass without taking another shot at our beloved modeler/animator/writer from that little black cube down in Mesquite, home of id Software. Stephanie “Bobbi” Bergman was lucky enough to interview him last year (at QuakeCon ´98, no less), but this year was my turn. I caught him on the phone (after 8 tries on 3 different nights), and here’s how it went:

So. How’re you doing?

Good.

Tell me, what’s the strangest thing that happened to you in the last week?

Strangest thing that’s happened to me in the last week? Um.

Put you on the spot, eh?

The strangest thing, uh, would be...Oh, okay, well it’s not really a strange thing, it’s something I just had the urge to do. I was driving to work the other day, I missed my exit, so, I kept going south. I decided that I didn’t feel like hitting the next exit, or the next one. So I just kept driving for 300 miles, until I hit the golf coast. I eventually drove to the end of Texas.

300 miles!

I drove 300 miles to the end of Texas, got out of my truck, walked around on the beach, checked out the ocean. I kicked around some surf, talked to some really cute girl in a really small bikini.

Is this burnout at work?

No, no, no. It’s one of those minute crisis situations that I solved. You know when you get in that kind of mode, ‘well I don’t really feel like doing something’, like playing hooky, basically. So I drove to the coast, had a bite to eat, turned around and came to work.

300 miles that must have been –

I put 650 miles on my truck in a matter of 10 or 11 hours.

Okay, yeah, that’s pretty strange.

I guess you could qualify that as strange.

Yeah, I would. From past conversations with you, I know that you had somewhat of a troubled youth in your family, in that you jumped around about a half dozen states, and in and out of about 20 high schools.

I went to like, 22 public schools before I graduated high school.

How do you think that has affected the way you are today with people?

It’s easier for me to meet people.

So you think it’s made you more open to—

It’s made me more extraverted I guess, because, I really don’t care. I’m probably going to be gone tomorrow, so what does it matter what you think? <chuckles>

Ok. Heh. I read in a Kenneth Scott interview a little while back that he was really into plastecine modeling when he was young. He’d sit there and model, like comic book figures. What was your creative outlet when you were a kid?

I was big into comics. And I drew. I got into art and I wanted to be a comic book artist for a long time.

You wanted to go to Kubert’s School, was that it?

I was accepted to the Kubert School and I bailed on that. I wanted to be a dietician for a while, but that’s a whole other story. So, I basically did the model thing, not plastecine models because those were too expensive, but I built car models and I would build them then blow them up with firecrackers so they’d look like car wrecks.

That sounds like fun. How old were you when you applied to Kubert?

That was about 11 years ago.

So how come you didn’t go in if you were accepted?

Well I was in Germany at the time –

Oh you were in the Air Force at the time?

Yeah I was still in the Air Force right. I was going to go to Kubert School, but then I wanted to be a dietician, because I didn’t want to do art for a living. Art was one of those things that, no matter how crappy I felt about life, I figured if I did for a living and I started hating it, then I wouldn’t have that outlet. You know what I mean? So I decided I didn’t want to be an artist for a living. I wanted to be something in the medical field. I worked out, I was into bodybuilding, and I knew a lot about nutrition because I’m interested in it. So I started studying to be a dietician and I volunteered at a hospital back in Germany. And after about 3 months of volunteer work, I decided I didn’t want to be a dietician anymore, because, it sucks. There’s a reason why 90 percent of all dieticians are women. It’s because you have to have that level of patience, perseverance, understanding, compassion. And I would tell people, “Hey you’re fat. Stop eating.” And that wasn’t a very good approach as a dietician. It wasn’t very, I guess, nurturing.

I can understand that. And I’ve heard a few people say that you don’t want to make your life’s work something you really, really enjoy because you’ll end up hating it.

Right. Yeah. And the thing is, professionals; dieticians and psychologists, they become that because it’s something they’re trying to overcome with themselves, so they help understand it by studying it. So anyway, I took some classes after that. Somehow I ended up doing computer games for a living, I don’t understand how that quite worked out.


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Credits: Illustration © 1999 Kenneth Scott. This interview is © 1999 Russell Lauzon & Paul Steed. All other content is © 1999 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited. So don't do it, or we'll make you cry, sissy.