zobel_big.jpgThe Basics
Age and occupation. How long have you lived here, where did you come from, and where do you live now?
I'm 27. I am a production manager and/or a first assistant director on low budget features. I also do some illustration and graphic design. I came to NYC two and a half years ago from Hotlanta, GA. I reside by the Hudson in sunny Washington Heights.

Three for You
1. You grew up with the Homestar Runner guys and were one of the original illustrators. What can you take credit for? (Please say Strong Bad.)
I am responsible for inventing Strong Sad and Pom Pom. I named Marzipan, but Mike drew her. I am also totally the main reason it’s so funny. But anyway, wanna hear the story? Here:

Mike Chapman and I were working for the Atlanta Olympics and had a day off. We went to the bookstore and somehow found ourselves looking at children’s books. We decided that they were all total crap and that we should make one. So we did. We named it Homestar Runner after something our friend Jamey would always say (he liked to pretend he was a sports announcer and would always say, “Next up is Mark Lemke, homestar runner for the Braaaves!!!”) So, we named it that and we drew a bunch of weird little dudes and made them do things. We gave it to our little cousins. A year later on my 21st birthday, Mike and his girlfriend made me a cake with Homestar on it. As a Christmas present for Mike the next year, me and his brother Matt made him a theme song for the fictional Homestar TV cartoon, and then even made the cartoon in the Chapman’s parent’s basement using the hyper-advanced animation technology of Super Nintendo’s MarioPaint. After that, Matt started doing the voices and we made cartoons and the next thing you know people were tattooing our little drawings on their bodies. Crazy.

2. You also went to film school with up-and-coming director David Gordon Green and worked on his films George Washington and All the Real Girls. You seem to walk in the shadow of others' fame, when are you going to break out on your own?
Yeah, I know. What’s up with that? I am also totally the main reason people like David’s movies so much...

I have been biding my time and waiting, but now I can finally say that I am about to go direct my own movie. I’m leaving the city to work on it starting next week. It’s gonna be huge. And hilarious. David Green and the Brothers Chaps are gonna help me make it, so we’ll see who’s walking in who’s shadow now. I mean, at least my literal shadow - I’m like 3 feet taller than all those guys.

3. As someone who has lived in the South, Los Angeles, and New York, do you think it's a burden for filmmakers -- with the exception of John Hughes -- to represent the views of Midwesterners?
I think that the Midwest just gets translated as “the suburbs” in most films, and that’s not fair, ‘cuz the Midwest is just as bizarre and weird as everywhere else. I think Alexander Payne is pulling for the Midwesterners. He’s rocking it. Then there’s always FARGO, but even though it’s funny, it’s kinda exploitational... I wanna make a movie someday that takes place in Wisconsin - that state is crazy.

Proust-Krucoff Questionnaire
Time travel question: What era, day or event in New York's history would you like to re-live?
I was working on a movie down in Savannnah, GA during the blackout and I'm kinda bummed I missed it. It sounded like a blast.

What's your New York motto?
How about a few:
Where's the closest ATM around here?
Life's hard. Sometimes you have to take a cab.
Where's the closest San Loco around here?
Thank God the L train is broken again this weekend.
What's that guy doing over there?

Best celebrity sighting in New York, or personal experience with one if you're that type.
About a month before the movie TITANIC came out, I was up here visiting and going to the Whitney museum. My female friend and I were walking in and she gets really excited, whispering "Leonardo Dicaprio is here!" Now, this is when he's still just that retarded kid in GILBERT GRAPE, mind you.

So, as we walk in she's still freaking out about it and annoying me and I say real loud, "Who gives a sh*t about Leonardo f*ckin' Dicaprio?!" I guess I was trying to be tough or something. I dunno. But I turn around as I open the door and realize that he's literally directly behind me about a foot and a half away. I felt pretty cool.

My only (pyrrhic) victory was laughing a few minutes later when I watched him ask a security guard if the gift store sold disposable cameras while he stood next to a four foot tall sign exclaiming "No Photography In The Museum."

Just after midnight on a Saturday - what are you doing?
I'm drunk. And laughing at something a friend is saying.

What's the most expensive thing in your wardrobe?
This is an interesting question, 'cuz recently I realized that I hadn't bought new clothes in, like, over a year. So... I can't remember. Lame huh? Worrying about fashion isn't really my bag. I like t-shirts and jeans a lot. I keep thinking it'd be pretty hilarious to become EXTREMELY fashion conscious for a week, just to freak all my friends out, though.

What was your best dining experience in NYC?
Peter Lugers at lunch was pretty great. In one of those Once A Year type ways. I was so drunk on meat that I fell asleep on the subway after the restaurant.

Just how much do you really love New York?
It's the best one.

What happened the last time you went to L.A.?
I moved there for 8 months. Then I looked around and realized it was totally and completely lame in every way I could imagine.

Of all the movies made about (or highly associated with) New York, what role would you have liked to be cast in?
Dr. Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters. I mean, not cast in the role of him - I just want to BE him.

If you could change one thing about New York, what would it be?
I kinda wish rent in lower Manhattan wasn't as insane as it is. I mean, I kinda wish rent in all of New York wasn't as insane as it is.

The End of The World is finally happening. What are you going to do with your last 24 hours in NYC?
Refer to question about Dr. Peter Venkman... I'm gonna be fighting the GHOSTS man!!