Post #17 - Get to Know the Team - Ben Schiffler!

Heyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy guys it’s Erin! This week we’re getting to know the founder/creator/overlord of Broom Cupboard Studios, Beeeeeenjaminathan Schiffler! He’s a real cool guy. The team loves having him lead the studio, and he’s created an amazing space for all of us to be creative and work together. There’s nothin’ better! In this exclusive tell-all interview, he reveals the secret to happiness, and how to get him to do literally anything for you. Pretty intense stuff. Check it out!


Out of all the Broom Kids, you’re the most story-focused. What made you decide to specialize in that? Are there any other areas of the pipeline that especially interest you? Why?

Story is the bomb! To me, stories are the best way that people can teach and learn about stuff that really matters. I’ve always loved stories in any medium, and I think it’s a truly noble goal to make real, honest stories that are delightful and important.

Also… it’s one of those rare things that anyone in the world, of any age, can recognize as good. People may have different tastes, but a good story?

Anyone in the world can spot a bad story from a good one.

What inspired you to create Broom Cupboard Studios?

A lot of things! Part of it was a desire to work with all my friends on projects again, before they all flew off to different parts of the country/continent to get full time jobs elsewhere.

Part of it was to build a lot of learnings about how to run a creative studio, and part of it was to have some projects I could publicly talk about working on since my job at Amazon is under crazy-strict NDAs.

Pretzel 2 Meet U - Webcomic series. Illustrations by Emma Schulte.

Pretzel 2 Meet U - Webcomic series. Illustrations by Emma Schulte.


What do you hope to accomplish with Broom Cupboard?

To me, Broom Cupboard has always been a learning experience. Even if we didn’t complete any of our projects (which, surprisingly, we’ve completed them all so far!) we still would learn about what it takes to run a creative, independent digital art production studio. And learn how to make new projects which we’d never seen before.

Someday in the future, I for sure plan to start a business doing this for real. So anything I can learn about in the meantime is just sweet preparation!

Also, I just want to hang out with rad inspiring artists, make cool projects, and eat good food with them. That’s been my secret goal all along (・ω・´)

What has been one of the most important things you’ve learned so far from Broom Cupboard?

Too many to count! But here’s a simple one: Food Is Important. It’s crazy how much bonding and work can come from having everyone in a room, eating together around a table. I’d advise anyone on any project to always buy food for your team meetings! It’s an incredibly smart investment. And you get to eat good food! Win/win!

Asphodel - Webcomic series. Illustrations by Zixing Guo.

Asphodel - Webcomic series. Illustrations by Zixing Guo.

What’s been your favorite project so far and why?

Honestly, impossible to answer. Each one has been really fun, really interesting, and really difficult in their own way.

If I had to pick one though, I’d probably say Detective Corgi! I think it played well to our whole team having different strengths and trying new things, was really charming, and did a good job of pushing our production pipeline.


Where do you think your passion for animation and storytelling comes from?

Deffo my dad. He always read books to me as a kid - The Hobbit was a super formative work for me - and as I grew up, he pushed me to follow creative endeavors and go the extra mile to make projects I worked on great. I for sure wouldn’t be doing Broom Cupboard if it weren’t for the many nights of of Redwall and Harry Potter and other fantastical tales <3 <3 <3

KaijuKart VR is a solo-built asymmetrical multiplayer VR game project built for the University of Washington's 2016 Design Show. Built in Unity for the HTC Vive, it pits four players racing hoverkarts against a single player in VR who acts as a giant trying to squash them with giant boulders.

Are there any people (artists or otherwise) that particularly inspire you in your work?

Aaaabsolutely. Rebecca Sugar is a huge inspiration to everything I do forever and always. I’ve always looked up to Alan Turing (I did get a degree in Computer Science) and Tolkien, except for those real problematic bits of Middle Earth...

Neil Gaiman, Yuko Ota, Hiromi Arakawa, Gurihiru, Ryan North… I have a lot of inspiration from comics and graphic novels too, since I do love how universal visual storytelling is. I think every storyteller in the world can learn a whole lot by looking at some pictures!


What’s your favorite vegetable?

Mmm… Butter lettuce! Give me a salad with butter lettuce, avocado, tomato, a little red onion, any vinaigrette dressing, fresh ground pepper and some chopped walnuts…

That is the surefire way to make me do literally anything.

Downskilling is a fast, skill-based multiplayer game, made by Ben Schiffler and Theo Chin. You play as one of a pair of battling acorns on a stage speeding down an avalanche, trying to knock the other acorns off the screen using time-slowing grenades shot from your trusty grenade launcher. Check out the current demo at laserswords.net/downskilling or follow us at @laserswordz and @Mraznbuddy on twitter for more updates!

What animated show should literally everyone in the universe watch? If you had to pick only one.

Yipe! Well, I’d usually say Steven Universe, or whatever I’ve most recently watched (Avatar: The Last Airbender reruns are the new hotness at the Broom Cupboard, and She-Ra, Yuru Camp and Hilda aren’t far behind). But if you only get one? Hmm…

I’d say throw on the full series of Over the Garden Wall on halloween night, with a hot cup of jasmine tea and a bag of reese's peanut butter cups. You will literally never be happier.

Ghost Girl and Kitten - An interactive platforming web browser game.

Ghost Girl and Kitten - An interactive platforming web browser game.

Where can readers find your socials and see more of your awesome work?

Follow me on twitter @benschiffler, or go see all the latest projects I’m a-working on at www.benschiffler.com. Thanks for the Q’s, Erin! :) <3