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Planet Minecraft Interviews Giancarlovan

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This interview was featured in The PMC Weekly Volume 93! In this volume, we interviewed Giancarlovan!

As some of you may already know (and for those that don't), Giancarlovan is a wizard with their words. He's recently won first place in the
Love Poem Contest, with his poem Wood of Green and have made several other impressive blog submissions you can see here. He's been a member of Planet Minecraft for almost 3 years and has participated in several community contests and events! He's e even hosted one of their own contests, Meticulum Meticulum, a poetry interpretation build contest. We've always been intrigued by his writing, and wanted to learn more about his creative process and how he's developed such advanced writing skills! We hope you enjoy this interview!

Minecraft/Personalized Questions
How did your Minecraft experience begin?

I was first drawn to Minecraft when my friend shared to me CaptainSparklez’s Fallen Kingdom Video, which was 9 years ago! Time really flew! Back then, I didn’t quite understand what Minecraft was like. I first tried Minecraft on my cousin’s iPad, back when it was still called Pocket Edition. I remember how I didn’t know how to walk around, and thought that you could only place (but not break blocks).

Then one day, in about 2015, I decided to get Minecraft on my PC, and that unlocked a whole realm of possibilities. The flexibility offered by the keyboard-and-mouse setup let me build a castle and a ship; sadly that old PC got wiped and I lost all my old saves :( Nevertheless, it allowed me to get on a server with my friends. We started out with some simple survival gameplay, though we ended up setting landmines around each other’s bases and PVPing. In 2017 or so I began playing on Hypixel with my friends, Audible_Druid, PixelPew, Starnityu01, and ProNoob008. I mainly played Build Battle, though had a period of really liking Skyblock. BedWars is also a game we frequently play (though I usually play for fun rather than competitively). We also played some adventure maps here and there.

Buildcon 2018 marked my transition from just a casual Minecraft player who dabbles in builds to an actual “professional” builder (using “professional” in a very loose sense haha). Leutopia, which I built with Audible Druid, was my first major build, and first time using tools like WorldEdit and VoxelSniper, which have now become indispensable tools I almost cannot build effectively without.

Do you still play Minecraft?

Yes! Although work has been quite busy lately, and I haven’t had much time to dedicate to making a large-scale build, I have been doing some smaller projects and just having fun! Audible Druid and I often play some random adventure maps together, and PVP in our old worlds. Our PVP is unlike any other, as it involves using the WorldEdit compass to teleport around, /summoning some OP mobs and bosses from our mob arena (WIP!), using a 0 cooldown crossbow (which we affectionately dubbed The Doombolt Crossbow), and many more silly stuff! It’s really fun! We play some Build Battle as well, alongside other minigames like Murder Mystery (I love hiding in some little nook and surviving till the end, Bedwars (I love sniping people with fireballs), and Skywars (I love hiding in lava, and settling for second place XD).

A couple of months ago I’ve also been playing on the PMC Survival Server, and was working on projects like Oudidivanost and Ice G, though I realized that I’m not too keen on survival building, and feel quite challenged when it comes to building. Like for many of my friends, inventory management and being unable to fly are real toughies.

Your last build submission was a couple of years ago. Are you currently working on any Minecraft builds?

Major ones, not really. Though there are some works in progress like a mob arena and an adventure island, everyone’s been a bit busy lately, and I myself haven’t had the time to go for another huge build. In the coming weeks, hopefully, some progress would be made in these areas.

Most of your submissions are poetry/short story based and are very sophisticated. Is this something you went/are going to school for? If yes, what are you hoping to do with your degree?

I actually didn’t go to any school that particularly specializes in literature. My college degree is in business, and I’m planning to start a business someday. In the meantime, I’ll just accrue experience and business knowhow. Aside from high school English literature classes, I don’t have much formal education when it comes to poetry and prose. What I do have, though, would be a lot of experience trying out various styles of writing and cultivating my own literary voice. And someday, I hope to publish novels and compendia of my poetic works as well.

What inspired you to start writing? How long have you been writing?

I began writing quite early on. Back in high school, we had some assignments that involved composing poems and even writing a sequel for our books. I really enjoyed them, pushing my creativity to its limits and crafting worlds in my mind and putting them down to paper for others to enjoy. This creative and expressive process is personally very inspiring.

Do you write in your free time? Are there other websites you submit your work to? Are there any other contests/competitions outside of PMC where you've submitted your work?

Yes, I typically write in my free time, but usually, I don’t plan to write and then go write. I’m quite a spontaneous guy. Usually I’d get inspired at really random times (like while eating or even showering), and I’d quickly jot down my notes on my phone, entitled “Strokes of Inspiration”. Then I’d turn it into real writing typically at 2-3 AM, when I feel most calm and focused.

I have a blog and an authorship Facebook page, where I also upload many of my writings. Interestingly, I do not submit my writing to other sites, and PMC is in fact one of my main platforms for sharing my works. Perhaps I haven’t explored my other options yet, but I quite like PMC’s colorful website and friendly community. I haven’t submitted my literary work to contests outside PMC either.

Your Love Poetry submission included an in-depth analysis of your poem which really puts into perspective just how much thought goes into your work. What is your process when you write? For example: do you first come up with hidden messages you want to include, and center your poem around those messages?

The process varies a lot from poem to poem. Some shorter and simpler poems like Busy Bee, Buzzy Bee, Happy Little Bee were drafted spontaneously (sometimes within the span of one long shower!), and then edited for better word flow and rhythm. As for longer poems, the process is more complex. Longer poems generally begin with inspiration for a line or two, combined with my mood and present emotion. For instance, Autumn’s Fall into Winter’s Frost began with two of the latter lines:

The ichor of lightning courses through my veins

And my golden tree was struck in twain

I then expanded it out from there, maintaining a similar style and carrying the tree imagery throughout the poem, setting it up as a sapling that grows and flourishes until its demise. I quite like using vivid imagery and symbolisms, as it helps the reader imagine what is going on, and unifies the various parts of the poem. This poem was more of an expressive, emotional poem, capturing my ennui following a big argument with one of my closest friends, so the message was more emotional than thought-based.

As for Wood of Green, I first thought about the message I wanted to convey about love, which was that we must first understand and love ourselves if we want to truly love others. Then, bearing this in mind, I wrote the acrostic, “evolve from untranscended rumen”, and used that as a framework for the actual content of the lines.

Then, while writing, I tend to imagine a vivid scene that I want to convey, which helps with word choice, such as “leaves”, “path”, and “thorns”, as I compose the meat of the poem. The metaphors and figures of speech come quite naturally to me, whereas rhymes take a tad longer to think of. After that I’d proofread it while listening to some nice music, making sure that the rhythm is good by speaking it aloud, and checking whether there were any synonyms that better capture the meaning I want to convey.

Do you find yourself analyzing situations and using them as inspiration for your writing?

For me, situations inspire me not so much through their analytical value, but more of their emotional impact. I notice that when I write, there’s usually a recent emotional experience, which serves as the emotional inspiration for writing. Sometimes though, I do analyze situations, such as when I analyze my own indecision and procrastination and was inspired to write Meticulum, Meticulum.

Being such an advanced writer, do you find yourself wanting to correct other peoples’ grammar?

Oh this is too relatable! Though I don’t really like pointing it out, I notice grammatical flaws almost everywhere. It once got a bit on my nerves but I think I’ve accepted it as a fact of life. At work, I’m actually my friends’ go-to guy for proofreading their proposals and presentations, because of my meticulousness and English proficiency. Proofreading is a pretty nice way of keeping linguistic skills sharp too.

Do you plan on hosting any more poem interpretation contests, or any contests in general? If yes, can you give us a hint on what you’re planning for a theme?

Definitely! I enjoyed hosting the poem interpretation contest, though I think it was a bit less successful (in terms of the number of participants) because of how the poem itself was a bit complex and abstract. Everyone can look forward to a more vivid poem to interpret and bring to life in building soon! I haven’t come up with the theme or the poem yet, so here’s to awaiting inspiration :)

PMC Questions
How did you choose your PMC name? What does it mean?

My real first name is Giancarlo, and one of my game names before was Therovan (I am quite prolific at coming up with personally appealing names out of thin air). I then combined the two to make Giancarlovan, which I find rolls off the tongue quite nicely and conveys a bit of both whimsy and gravitas, which reflects my personality!

What do you enjoy most about Planet Minecraft?

I love how everyone’s so supportive to each other, and how we can just share our thoughts and creations openly. Part of what inspires me in building and writing is knowing that it will be seen and appreciated by people here, and I’m glad PMC was able to create such a nice platform and community.

Which PMC Pet is your favorite?

Hmm this is a tough one. I find Peepers the cutest, especially when they spin around. But I’d say I would have Speck on my profile the most, because of his Among Us transformation, Pacman-esque dash, and also the spinning movement.

Out of all of the contests and events you’ve participated in, which one has been your favorite?

For writing and blog contests, I liked the Love Poem Contest the most, because it got me thinking about and reflecting on a salient aspect of life, which is love, because there were so many other participants whose poems I enjoyed going through, and partly because I got to do well :)

As for project contests, To this day, I think I most like either the Journey Through Time build contest or the Procedural Metropolis Contemporary Edition Project Contest. I realize that these are also pretty much the only building contests I joined; it’s hard to pick a favorite, I like them all! The themes are quite good and I wish I had more time to do them justice (I wanted to join the skyscraper, Halloween, interior, nether, and maze maker contests too!)!

What PMC submission are you most proud of? Why?

To date, I still consider Nitras Carlovanathan's Dream : A Journey Through Time my magnum opus. It has 12 islands, each built with love and in our style (me, together with Audible_Druid and Starnityu01). We had many unforgettable memories there, ranging from PVPing at the Oriental Isle, to joking about the interior of the Renaissance Isle, to rushing the Medieval Isle last minute. I’m quite proud of how we managed to capture so many architectural styles, and personally resonate with the concept of the many islands as well, as I love history and architectural diversity. Also, it’s still ongoing to this day, as I slowly make the timelapses of each island, one at a time. The Duskened Domain is a close second, considering its holisticness, easter eggs, and story!

Which literary submission on PMC do you feel is your best work?

This is quite a tough one. When it comes to the depth of explanation I provided, coupled with the complexity of the poem’s various interplaying elements, Wood of Green undoubtedly takes the cake. So from a literary standpoint, Wood of Green could be considered the best. However, when it comes to motivating myself, I find that Still the King of Will and Wing best compels me to persevere and push through difficult times. And when it comes to emotionality, I personally feel the most emotions in Autumn’s Fall into Winter’s Frost, maybe because it reminds me of a particularly painful time in life.

Is there a specific member that inspires you or you look up to? Who/Why?

There are actually quite a lot of people I look up to in various areas.
When it comes to building, I look up to Aderlyon (with their UFO Abducting Cow build and epic render), NewHeaven (with their Xin Tiantang and Lothaven cinematic), Wet (with his Graveyard and Hermes C319 build), EpicWork (with their The Old Summer Palace build and cinematic), Darastlix (with his Phain map), Gabersid (with this The Creator and The Continent Whale builds), ElysiumFire (with their Cyberpunk and Waves builds and timelapses), and Divici (with his Newborn Star, Gondolin, and The Beauty Under The Trees builds). I’m sure there are many more wonderful builders I’ve encountered, but these were the ones that first came to mind.

When it comes to poetry and writing, I look up to Chiaroscuro, who has a nice writing style and works hard to promote writing here on PMC.

When it comes to hosting contests, I look up to Stubbs1 (with his awesome Fantasy June Building Contest) and our very own PMC.

When it comes to survival, I look up to McMeddon, Boscawinks, and xalixilax, who impressed me with their automation and innovative techniques in the PMC Survival server

When it comes to being a contest participant, I look up to eagoy, who is friendly and is a great sport!

When it comes to being a friendly and supportive member of the community, I look up to Uknownymous with whom I have had good chats.

When it comes to making youtube videos, I look up to Trydar, who has been consistent and creative in his various videos.

When it comes to innovative commands, I look up to Gheppio, who changed the way I saw structure blocks forever.

And of course, when it comes to running a website, PMC and Cyprezz, take the cake!

Fun Questions
What other video games do you enjoy playing?

Quite a lot, actually! Recently, I have been playing: Cabal Online, Bloons Tower Defense 6, and Rise of Nations on PC, and on mobile, I am really digging the map editor of Brawlstars, and am quite ‘pro’ at Soul Knight and Muffin Knight. A bit earlier, I enjoyed playing League of Legends, Civilization 5, and Anno 1701, The Sims 4, BTD Battles, Bit Heroes, and Honorbound. Back in the day, I was also an avid Plants vs Zombies (1 and 2) player, enjoyed Angry Birds and Infinity Blade, and was quite good at Punch Quest and Temple Run. I played a lot of Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, and Royal Revolt 2 too.

I was also deeply upset by the death of Flash, as many of my favorite games were Flash games like Mighty Knight, Kingdom Rush, Onslaught, Warlords: Call to Arms, Age of War, Age of Defense, Supermechs, Adventure Quest, Grow Cannon, Grow Planet, and so many more! Even earlier, looking at my Facebook days, I enjoyed and miss Ninja Wars, Ninja Saga, Miscrits, Backyard Monsters, Monster Galaxy, Social Empires, and Dragon City. Writing this answer really brought me down memory lane :’)

If you could visit any place in the world, where would it be?

The Palace of Versailles. It’s been my lifelong dream to visit one my greatest architectural inspirations of all time.

Describe yourself in 3 words!

In business and formal circles I’d say: eclectic, driven, imaginative!

But in friendlier circles I’d say: open, genuine, and imaginative!

What’s your favorite food?

Nothing beats a steak, golden-brown and sprinkled with flecks of salt and pepper, sizzling on a crackling plate coated thick gravy, letting off steam that’s an aromatic festival of spice.

Who is your favorite author/poet?

My favorite author would probably be J. R. R. Tolkien, mainly because of how he is able to conceptualize and build a fictional world from scratch, filled with creation lore, mythical creatures, and lots and lots of history, which all fit together like pieces of a puzzle. I’ve always looked up to exemplary worldbuilders, and hope to putting my fantastical worlds into writing (or building) as well.

What is your favorite book?

It’s actually been a while since I have read a fictional book, and I have no clear favorites when it comes to them, since I’ve read a lot and enjoyed almost all of them. Here are some books and series I particularly enjoyed: The Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell, The Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling, The Indigo King by James Owen, The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini, The Warriors Series by Erin Hunter, The Redwall Series by Brian Jacques, and many many more!

As for nonfiction, I would recommend Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, which is about the way we think and perceive the world and contains many relatable examples of how we take shortcuts in thinking (consider how we think someone who is a perfectionist, organized, quiet bookworm is more likely to be a librarian than a taxi driver, even when there are way more taxi drivers in the world).

Do you have any pets? (include pictures!)

Yes! We have a corgi named Cogi, who’s about one and a half years old. He’s cute and sweet, but also a tad mischievous. Here’s Cogi after a frolicking walk around our yard:
Planet Minecraft Interviews Giancarlovan

And here’s Cogi doing the sploot:
Planet Minecraft Interviews Giancarlovan

If you could have one superpower which one would it be?

Anything I say and intend becomes true!

Now I can give myself all the superpowers, mwahahahaha!

If I had to prioritize though, I’d go for flight first (because 1 - I love creative mode, 2 - I love seeing things from various angles and vantage points, 3 - there’s great potential for showmanship and stunts, 4 - so much time is just wasted on daily commutes!)

Are there any hobbies outside of Minecraft that you have?

I love playing video games, composing poetry and prose, writing Python programs, reading fiction, playing the piano, listening to music, and drawing.

Favorite quote or words of wisdom for the community? OR Do you have any advice for new members of PMC?

Feel free to disagree, but here are four life lessons I’ve picked up over my many years of existence:

1) Take the initiative. Persevere, but wisely.

Many things in life are just beyond our reach, but all it takes to get them is a shift in position or a stretch, be it talking to a key intermediary, meeting someone through an informal event, or being willing to spend extra time and resources to hone a skill. Know that many others probably have the same ideas as you do; it’s just a matter of taking the initiative to put them into motion, despite the hills and bumps along the road. Don’t let a faulty command block derail your adventure map progress. But when the marginal cost of an activity and thing eclipses its foreseeable marginal benefits, do not be unwilling to let go of it. Times change and so should you.

2) Make friends, not enemies. Connections are invaluable.

It’s very easy to become cynical in this day and age, but most people do have good intentions, and can indeed become a friend. And friends are the bridges to the people you never knew you needed. After all, life is better lived with others, rather than alone. PMC is filled with friendly and kind souls that are a few messages away from friendship. But of course, do be wary of becoming trustful immediately, because there are always somme rotten apples out there!

3) Life is relative. Pursue your dreams.

This sounds extremely cliche, but so many people lead lives that feel lacking in meaning because they see what they do as means and not ends. Choose a job you’re passionate about, even when it is not the most profitable. Go find time to do your hobbies, go make that floating castle project or that superhero skin you’ve been itching to make, even when people might criticize them as being a waste of time. Because while for them it lacks meaning, for you it bears much meaning, and that’s what matters. Do what you want if you find meaning in it, because life is too short to spend on things that do not matter to us. If necessary and possible, try outsourcing tasks that you consider a total waste of time (like asking a friend or hiring someone to mow the lawn).

4) Embrace yourself. Accept yourself. Be yourself.

They say fake it till you make it, but if faking isn’t a part of you, don’t do it. Don’t feel as though you have to be someone else just to fit in or to be liked, because in the long run, it will gnaw away at your mettle. The first step is to like yourself, to love yourself, and to reconcile with the notion of who you are. You are unique.

Anything you'd like to add?

Thank you so much, everyone, for all the many years of memories at PMC! Browsing the wonderful community content has certainly become a cornerstone of my pastime, and without PMC, I definitely would not have been such an avid Minecraft player and writer too! Feel free to send a message if you want to talk sometime!

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05/23/2022 11:37 pm
Level 1 : New Miner
User4171549G avatar
02/16/2022 10:05 am
Level 35 : Artisan Electrician
RoyalQuackOG avatar
Giancarlovan How did U get selected?
02/16/2022 12:50 pm
Level 39 : Artisan Loremaster
Giancarlovan avatar
Not sure; I just got a PM one day and I said yes.
10/15/2021 8:29 am
Level 1 : New Miner
User3858078G avatar
10/08/2021 4:22 pm
Level 78 : Legendary Wizard
McMeddon avatar
😎 n1
10/08/2021 11:44 am
Level 18 : Journeyman Network
YSG the Fox
YSG the Fox avatar
Congrats! (*cough cough* pls me? No, no, no! I'm kidding! But it would be pretty cool if I could have a chat!)
10/09/2021 12:08 amhistory
Level 39 : Artisan Loremaster
Giancarlovan avatar
Sure thing! Just send a PM :D
10/09/2021 9:37 am
Level 18 : Journeyman Network
YSG the Fox
YSG the Fox avatar
Not who I expected, but alright! (To be honest, I was expecting PMC to offer me an interview. I don’t mind though!)
10/10/2021 12:32 am
Level 39 : Artisan Loremaster
Giancarlovan avatar
Ah, must've misinterpreted what you meant haha1
10/10/2021 7:17 am
Level 18 : Journeyman Network
YSG the Fox
YSG the Fox avatar
That's fine! We can still do it!
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