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Rochester native is animated about his passion

It takes Gary Rysavy up to 10 hours and 20 layers of video to recreate live versions of 20-second cartoon scenes.

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A frame from a video by Gary Rysavy recreating a scene from "The Simpsons."
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After his wife took a job opportunity in Switzerland, Gary Rysavy hoped to find employment there too.

He didn’t.

And it was one of the best things to happen to him there.

Rysavy turned his hobby of making fun videos for family back in Rochester into a full-time endeavor and more than a million social media followers.

Rysavy, a Rochester native and 2009 John Marshall High School graduate, has cultivated an internet following with comedy videos. His latest series recreates short scenes from popular animated shows — usually "The Simpsons," "Family Guy" or "Bob’s Burgers."

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Rysavy started with a series of videos about adapting to life in Switzerland. Then he followed a TikTok prompt to make a video of a burglar stealing something that only inconveniences his victim.

One viewer comment led to a series of 35 videos.

“Part 2?” someone posted to TikTok in response to his first burglar video.

“It was a complete snowball,” he said.

Within two weeks, Rysavy’s following grew to about 300,000.

“It was during that ride I realized how cool it would be if I could turn this into my life — what I do for a living.”

Now “Stay at Home Gary” has more than a million followers across multiple platforms. Video game companies and production approached him to create promotional works.

His current content is recreating scenes from cartoon shows.

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It was another viewer comment that propelled Rysavy into recreating animated scenes. His burglar character had a nosey neighbor named Ned.

Someone noted the mustached Rysavy resembles Ned Flanders, the Simpsons’ nextdoor neighbor.

Rysavy decided to recreate in live action some scenes as Ned Flanders.

“Ned, he’s bobbing his shoulders, throwing up his hands and I thought, it would be great if I could nail this,” Rysavy said.

His following exploded.

Part of the humor is how the posture and movement of cartoons translates to real life.

“You don’t realize how stiff these animations are until you see a human being doing them,” he said.

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Gary Rysavy
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Rysavy began to expand beyond Flanders-only scenes and began incorporating other characters.

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He scoured his closets for costume pieces. Marge Simpson’s blue hair is a rolled up yoga mat.

After moving furniture around in his home to try to recreate scenes, Rysavy found an old green sheet and began to create the animated backgrounds.

In the last year, he has updated his video editing software, added lighting and better chroma key equipment.

The costumes still come from items found around the house.

He plays every character in each scene — mustache and all. It's a funny aesthetic for characters like Lisa Simpson.

“The more outrageous it is, the more people seem to like it,” Rysavy said.

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A collage of videos by Gary Rysavy recreating scenes from "The Simpsons," "Family Guy" and "Bob's Burgers."
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Each piece he creates has a dozen or more layers of video as Rysavy plays all the characters. Some characters, like "Family Guy’s" infant Stewie, require multiple layers to build his small body with a normal-sized head. Recreating unnatural movement also requires building multiple layers and taking each movement one section at a time.

“I’m a big perfectionist so it bothers me when things don't look quite right,” Rysavy said. “Almost every shot has to be speed adjusted.”

Shooting them takes around three hours. Editing takes about twice that.

“It really does add up to a full-time job,” he said.

Building the following he has created some of his sponsorship and paying opportunities. However, he prefers to keep an eye on what people enjoy and not just watch numbers.

“If you’re always looking at views, if you’re always looking at views, there’s a roller coaster with that,” he said. “My focus is, did I do the video right, did I do the scene right and let the numbers fall where they may.”

Rysavy notes it was follower feedback and doing what he enjoyed that led him to where he is now.

“If you’re only doing something like this for the followers or the fame, people are going to snuff that out,” he said.

If you enjoy something or are passionate about a project, that comes through, he added.

“That’s what people are going to see and remember.”

Related Topics: ARTPEOPLEROCHESTER
John Molseed joined the Post Bulletin in 2018. He covers arts, culture, entertainment, nature and other fun stories he's surprised he gets paid to cover. When he's not writing articles about Southeast Minnesota artists and musicians, he's either picking banjo, brewing beer, biking or looking for other hobbies that begin with the letter "b." Readers can reach John at 507-285-7713 or jmolseed@postbulletin.com.
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