Interview - Daniela "TheLesbianLeela" Schad, Dec 2004

Kenneth: I'm here with Daniela "TheLesbianLeela" Schad, long-time Futurama artist, writer and generally nice person. Daniela, welcome.

Daniela: Thanks, Kenneth.

Kenneth: How long have you been into Futurama, Daniela?

Daniela: Well, I saw the first Futurama episode at a LAN party in May 2000. I'm a fan since then.

Kenneth: Cool. And how long have you been an artist?

Daniela: I guess since I am able to hold pencils in my hands. Drawing and writing was always and still is important for me to express my emotions. Also I like to make people happy with artwork.

Kenneth: That's a very good reason. Speaking of which, you've been doing that at PEEL lately by making Futurama characters out of the members. How easy is it to turn a real human being into a cartoon like that?

Daniela: Well, I've been often asked that question. For me it is different from person to person. It's more difficult with people who have a 08/15 look ("normal") than with people who have - let's say - a big nose, a small nose, funny hair or something else that makes them different to other people.

Daniela: Really important is to have an eye for details.

Kenneth: I can imagine.

Kenneth: Besides the Groening style, are there any other major ones that have inspired your work?

Daniela: Yes, for example the drawing styles of Josh Lesnik ("Girly") and Erin Lindsey ("Venus Envy"). There were also other inspirations like The Simpsons, Queen Millenia, ...

Kenneth: Speaking of other artists, are what other fan artists out there you're a fan of?

Daniela: Well, among picture-art: I'm impressed by everyone who creates an own style. There are too much names to mention them all here. Some fan-artists who are an inspiration to me are artists like FemJesse, TheVoices, Shaucker and EvilLunch.

Daniela: My favourite fan fiction artists are for example Matthew Lenahan, Kryten and JBERGES.

Kenneth: I meant picture artists, but was going to come to fan fiction too, since you're currently writing something yourself. What can you tell us about that?

Daniela: My actual project is a crossover of Futurama and the Science Fiction series Perry Rhodan. PR is written SF, with almost 2270 episodes (small books) in 43 years now. I hope I can create a interesting universe with the characters of Futurama and the gigantic PR-universe background. We will learn more about the Nibblonians and Fry. I have some very good ideas there.

Kenneth: Sounds interesting. What inspired you to get into writing?

Daniela: Reading books has been always one of my favourite hobbies. So, I guess it was a matter of time when I tried the first time to write an own story.

Daniela: I was like 12 years old when I was working at writing stories the first time.

Kenneth: How easy is it to write when English isn't your primary language?

Daniela: Well, I had 9 years English in school, but I see that I still have to work to "feel" the "groove" of that language. - I think every language has its own rythm and "soul". - I watch English TV, read English books and speak English with friends sometimes to find into the rhythm of the English language. Also I need a better vocabulary sometimes.

Daniela: So my English is good, but it still can't be compared with the language of artists like a certain Kenneth White *giggles*

Kenneth blushes. In a manly sort of way.

Kenneth: Any art pieces in the works you can tell us about?

Daniela: I'm very busy these days, but I'm working at some pictures with new drawing styles. I'll scan them the next days. Also I've made hand-drawn Christmas cards for some friends.

Kenneth: Cool. Do you think the fanbase can still continue without a show?

Daniela: Yes, I'm sure it will. There was a Science Fiction series in Germany in the early 60s. "Raumpatroille Orion" was black/white, a cheap version of the first Enterprise with an iron as manual controll and a washing machine as window. There were 7 episodes, but there are is still a gigantic number of fans - not alone in Germany. I'm sure the fan community of Futurama can continue without new episodes, too.

Kenneth: Now, Leela is obviously your favourite character. Want to say why?

Daniela: Yes. When I saw her the first time it was my fascination for everything new, strange, different. She is a kind of role model to me, too: She is very selfconfident and knows how to go her own way. Also her childhood was a lot like mine. I guess, it's like if someone shares memories with you, you feel sympathy with that person - even if it is a TV character.

Kenneth: How do you find her single eye?

Daniela: Beautiful. I was always fascinated by cyclopses. Even more by Leela, because she has as well purple hair. Purple is my favourite colour. Together, the mythological cyclops eye and the colour purple ... That is just beautiful ... and mysterious.

Kenneth: Do you like the Leela and Fry romantic dynamic on the show, or would you prefer to see Leela with somebody else?

Daniela: Usually I say that I'm not a Fry-Leela-relationship-fan - it's somehow over-used with fan fictions and art - but I was always fascinated and curious how this realtionship will develop. I wonder if the creators of Futurama would have tried a real Fry-Leela-relationship, with the risk of creating a new Marge-and-Homer-Simpson couple.

Daniela: Fascinated by Leelas butch-Lesbian acting sometimes, I was of course interested in the idea of Leela in a relationship with a woman. Probably that would have been shown in a future episode, but ... *resignated sigh*

Kenneth: You think she could pair up with Amy? Many fanboys out there seem to like that idea.

Daniela: I know, but I guess that has another background (certain anime with too often clichée-Lesbians) than my ideas for Leela in a Lesbian relationship. Amy is "the other" female main character, but that's not a reason why she has to be nessescarely Leela's girlfriend. Leela and Amy could be a couple and Amy with her klutziness could even be kind of a "female Fry", but I think a completely new character would be a good idea, too.

Kenneth: Hehehe. Named Daniela? ;)

Daniela: We are talking about my private phantasies or ideas for new Futurama episodes? ;)

Kenneth: LOL

Daniela: *amused grin*

Kenneth: Perhaps both, but I'll move on...

Daniela: Okay.

Kenneth: You mentioned The Simpsons earlier. How do you feel about Futurama's yellow-skinned forefathers?

Daniela: I don't know if forefathers sounds that right. It's a bit like that "Futurama is Simpsons in the Future" idea some people have. Beside of that: I like the Simpsons, not alone because it is a parody of the US-American sub-urb "white trash". My favourite character is Lisa. She is intelligent, a vegetarian and loves good Jazz. Me too. *giggles*

Kenneth: Would you like to be a head in a jar, since that would mean a life without drawing or writing?

Daniela: Am I wrong remembering some heads-in-jars have tiny robotic arms? Anyway, I would prefer to be in a cryogenic machine for one thousand years instead of in a jar. Then again, if that would be the only way to reach the 31st century for me ... Please ask me again, as soon they have discovered that technology.

Kenneth: Hehehe. If you *were* a jar head in the future, and you could sit on a shelf with two other jars heads, one on either side of you, who would those heads belong to?

Daniela: I'm not really sure ... There are so many people. ... About VIP-heads - I think I'd like to have John Lennon and the German feminist Alice Schwarzer as neighbours.

Kenneth: Cool.

Kenneth: There were also always a bunch of useless robots built for stupid purposes. Do you have a favourite one?

Daniela: I'm not sure if they are useless. I think they are finally that intelligent, that they have understood how to stay away from any kind of work humans would like them to do. Anyway, Bender is by far my favourite robotic character. Also Tinny Tim.

Kenneth: Is there a robot kind you never saw on the show but would have liked to?

Daniela: Maybe an icecream-bot? I don't know why, maybe because I would like to have some ice cream right now. Still, an icecream-bot wuld be a great idea, even if I don't have any idea how such a bot could take place in a storyline.

Kenneth: What do you feel the most important thing is when drawing fan art?

Daniela: There a a few things I'd like to mention. Be sure the "atmosphere" around you is right, ecspecially when doing a "great" artwork. Good pencils, a cup/glass with a drink, good music. Everything that makes you feel good. - Unless you'd like to do some Gothic fanart of course. ;) - Also you should have already a picture in your head how the art should look like. Drawings are not "doodles". Plan how and when to do what. Be patient if nessecarely.

Kenneth: Sounds like good advice. What about writing?

Daniela: First the same advices like above. Just that it is even more serious now. A fan fiction can take far more time than a picture. Patience is important. Also the right balance of details. Not to much and not too less. It is Important to know that you may have the fan fiction universe in your head, but the readers have just what you write.

Kenneth: Again, good advice there.

Kenneth: What people and websites would you say have helped keep the online community so alive even over a year since the final episode?

Daniela: Hehe, yes ... FM:TLZ is one of those sites. Also PEEL/CGEF. Both are cores in the fan community. I'm sure Paul's FSAC was as well one of the important websites. Very important people in the community ... ? There are too much to mention them all here. The webmasters/administrators of the several websites for example. Also famous people - loved or hated - who are cores of fan groups, like the "LeelaLover" Matthew L. or Slimmy of PEEL/CGEF.

Kenneth: How do you think Futurama Madhouse: The Leela Zone can continue to keep the show alive for years to come?

Daniela: FM:TLZ is already kind of legendary. The various ideas from puzzles to eCards, from fan art to fan fictions, interviews, episode reviews, song parodies and so much more makes it an interesting place and so there is something for everyone interested in Futurama. I think that is a good way to keep the community alive.

Kenneth: Let's do some word association: What's the first thing you think of when the following 12 words are mentioned (one at a time):

Kenneth: Fry

Daniela: Pizza.

Kenneth: Leela

Daniela: Beautiful / Purple. (Means almost the same to me.)

Kenneth: Cheese grater

Daniela: Yummy pasta!

Kenneth: Genius

Daniela: Me. *giggles*

Kenneth: Chocolate

Daniela: Yummy-tasty-delicious-addictness. (One word!)

Kenneth: Team Hilarious

Daniela: We! Are! So! Hilarious!

Kenneth: Umbrella

Daniela: Ice Cream.

Kenneth: Puppy Dog

Daniela: So cute eyes!

Kenneth: Fox

Daniela: Network.

Kenneth: Chocolate-coated

Daniela: ... cake.

Kenneth: Bulldozer

Daniela: "Yellow."- Douglas Adams

Kenneth: Xmas

Daniela: White Christmas.

Kenneth: Cool. That about wraps it up. Any last comments you'd like to make?

Daniela: Well, I feel kind of honoured that I was asked to be interviewed. All the time I did care so much about other people, I almost did not realize that I've won some popularity. First it was confusing, but now it feels good somehow.

Kenneth: I think you've earnt it.

Daniela: Thanks. Thanks a lot.

Kenneth: That's all. Thanks again for doing this, Daniela

Daniela: You're welcome. Thanks for asking me to be interviewed. It was interesting and fun.