When I was assembling the cast for the animated Manic Expression movie, I knew I was in dangerous waters. After all, our whole policy here is “no stars,” and I was putting together a group of people to be the stars of our biggest project to date. I had hundreds of people to chose from and I had to whittle the cast down to a still jam packed nine. Some people just jumped out at me as obvious: BigBlackHatMan was a given. Not only is he a staple here at Manic Expression, but having a cowboy character was just too much fun to pass up. Decker was an obvious choice, as I needed someone to be a more scientific character. Lady Dandy has a goofy charm that was just right for a female lead.

Choosing these nine performers was very difficult, and yet, in the end, I came up with an undeniably strong line-up. I knew what “types” of characters I needed, and I cast accordingly. Yet there was one person I didn’t have a part for, one person I desperately wanted in the movie but struggled to find a role for him to fill. That someone was Gurning Chimp.

I’ve been a fan of Gurning Chimp since he joined the site early on. He gave one of the strongest interviews, in my opinion, in Creative Chaos, and I always enjoyed being on a podcast where he was also featured. Gurning just makes me laugh. He’s got that dry British wit, yet with a sense of playfulness, that I simply had to have in the movie.

Overtime we’ve seen less of Gurning Chimp around here at Manic Expression. Life gets in the way, I suppose. He pops up on the occasional podcast but we don’t see much of Britpop Corner. He did play a significant role in A Site in Scarlet, and remains committed to the animated film, but as far as regular content from the man himself…not so much.

And you know what? That’s okay. Many people here at Manic Expression feel a sense of duty to post something once a week. If they miss a deadline they beat themselves up. If they think they can’t post as regularly as they once did they take to the blog section to make a big declaration about how they are leaving us (I often times see these and panic, thinking they are suicide notes – MAKE YOUR HEADLINES CLEAR, PEOPLE!). But you don’t owe Manic Expression anything. This place is your home, where you can have fun and express your thoughts in a safe place. You come and go as you please, and if you need a break we’ll always be here when you return.

I eagerly await the chance to work with Gurning Chimp on the animated movie. The part he’s being written, courtesy of SomeJerkFromBoston, is quintessentially British and a terrific addition to an already strong script. And yet I know, even as I read SomeJerk’s very funny words, that Gurning Chimp will take those lines and make them so much stronger. He’s funny and talented, but just as importantly he’s got a good heart, and I know that in the end that’s what we’ll all love about his character.

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