Camp Sled Island is a three-day event taking place at Beltline’s High Park (340 10 Ave SW), running August 19 – 21! Throughout the year, we’ve been collecting video content from local and international artists, and now we are very excited to finally share them on the big screen. With three unique nights of programming, you can expect pre-recorded performances, film screenings, special guest video appearances, food from Via Convenience, beer service courtesy of Eighty-Eight Brewing, and even live music (if restrictions allow). See the schedule for each night below.
Still considering the safety of our patrons amongst the recent public health changes in Alberta, seating will be arranged by tables of four and can be purchased for $60 each. One person will be asked to purchase a ticket on behalf of their group, and will need to provide general information for contact tracing purposes. The purchaser will receive four individual tickets that can be dispersed amongst their group. See below for current COVID protocols.
Please note there will no tickets available at the door. All tickets must be purchased in advance.
DOORS: 6:00pm LIVE MUSIC PRE-SHOW: 7:30pm PROJECTION TO FOLLOW
If you experience a technical difficulty while trying to purchase advance tickets, please contact our ticket provider, Showpass, at 1-844-307-SHOW.
Check their page for info on each date and to buy tickets. Each day they’ll be screening highlights from Quickdraw Animation Society’s 2021 Animation Lockdown. My film, áaka’paisiiwa, “Time Will Pass” is one of them 😀
Hope you’re all staying safe and taking care of yourselves. There’s a lot going on in the world right now. I’ve been trying to scale things back, myself. After one too many arguments on Facebook I decided I was done there for the month. Honestly so much of social media is doomscrolling, trying to find something to feel positive about, then seeing somebody else’s bad take on a situation. People seem so confrontational these days. It’s not enough to disagree, they want to destroy the other person and immediately celebrate their superiority. There’s so much toxicity online. It’s like there’s different realities depending on your world view. Misinformation perpetuates long after it has been debunked because the true believers don’t really care about facts, they only want to control the narrative. Or they’re simply contrarian trolls who don’t believe anything, they just want to stir the pot and wear you down. It’s an unhealthy environment and makes me think we need to turn back a few steps in communication. Remember when the web was fun to be on?
I’ve gone back to focusing on my daily routine. Dialing back my goals to one thing at a time, seeing if I can make headway with that. Intentionally drawing back from the world a bit and focusing my energy on projects. It’s been hard to get lost in my work for a while. I’m hoping to change that.
I don’t really feel the need to recap much. Most people reading this were there and can share their own harrowing tales. It’s only January. Every new year still has some traces of the last lingering on until it comes into its own. I feel 2021 is going to be full of surprises. Here’s hoping they’re pleasant ones and not, you know, the kind we got last year.
Let’s Talk Goals
I want to draw and animate more, sharing it online for you kind folks to enjoy. What I make and where exactly I share it, however, is still being determined. I’ve spent the last few years dealing with analysis paralysis. When I made webcomics I struggled with building an audience. I’d focus all my energy on making the comics and spend almost nothing on promoting them. Not saying this was intentional, as I fell down the rabbit hole of researching everything I was bad at, feeling like I could come out swinging if only I knew how to properly go about putting my work out there.
Obviously I’ve considered posting on my YouTube channel. The problem is the all-mighty algorithm. Animators used to do well on there until the Reply Girl saga of 2012. Monetization went from favoring views to watch time. This effectively killed short format content on the site as animators moved on to producing Let’s Plays and vlogs. Storytime videos eventually brought animation back with creators like TheOdd1sOut, Jaiden Animations, and sWooZie. Arguably these types of films are more animatic than full animations, though to me that’s akin to complaining about the limited animation in Hanna-Barbera cartoons. It’s a cost-saving choice that facilitates the limitations of the medium while still allowing for new original material.
As far as individual creators go, there are a few like Felix Colgrave or Jae55555, drawing the toons they want, making it work with a blend of Patreon and/or commissions. Basically for anything I post to be successful would require either a large existing audience or big frequent updates with enough time to grow a following.
YouTube Shorts is essentially their answer to TikTok with vertical clips up to 60 seconds. This is problematic to me because it corrals videos into a beta feature nobody’s looking for, it’s a copycat move when they have a legit history with short content to build on, and I expect most content creators are going to repost from other similar platforms until they know how long Shorts will be sticking around.
Not a lot of people talk about Vimeo these days. That’s because in 2017 they changed their business model from being a high-end alternative to YouTube to being a software provider for video makers. It’s a good example of knowing what you want to be and working towards that goal as opposed to people’s expectations. I’ve seen a number of folks recommend hosting demo reels on there saying it looks more professional, you don’t have to worry about ads, and if you need to replace/update a popular video it can keep the same URL. I recommend checking out the Plymptoons account from Bill Plympton. He has a wealth of behind the scenes and production blogs.
I’ve used my Instagram account for work in progress material and Inktober drawings. I’m going to be honest, I find the dimension options confusing and regularly check to see what they currently are. Lots of great artists there, though I’ve heard it can be difficult to stand out these days. Best advice I’ve seen is to find specific tags that are less crowded. (i.e. instead of #art maybe try #socalpainters) I remember back when Twitter decided to start using photos and quit showing previews from links in their feeds. :V
First hyped as an alternative to YouTube, IGTV is for videos from one to sixty minutes long. Originally they needed to be vertical but now they accept horizontal as well. It has a dedicated app though on the web you need to go to the Instagram profile of a specific creator to find their videos. A lot of artists I follow post speed paints. (an easy thing to do with the record feature in Procreate or Clip Studio Paint) Mythical use it to share bonus content with their followers. I considered doing shorts for it, though the vertical requirement at launch was a bit of a creative hurdle. It didn’t seem worth designing content I couldn’t fit anywhere else, in an usual aspect ratio. Also a lip sync test I posted got removed due to copyright a year after I shared it.
Another response to TikTok, Reels is for 15-30 second videos. Like IGTV you have to hunt to find them. Considering regular videos are up to a minute long it makes technical sense to highlight shorter ones, I suppose. Now they have options for 15-30, ≤60, and 60-3600 seconds. It just feels inorganic to me. Instagram is one app that rolled out these features as afterthoughts, much like their website. They’re intended to keep existing users onboard, not bring new ones in.
TikTok is an app for videos up to a minute in length that came to the US after merging with Musical.ly, a similar Chinese app popular for dance and lip sync acts. I’ve posted a few. A big part of the appeal is using popular songs, either clips they provide or ones you’ve made yourself. The audience skews young but older folks go where the young people are. There was fear it’d get banned after a prank during the election of reserving tickets for a Trump rally and not going, though that’s probably not happening.
I mainly have two issues with the platform:
The vertical aspect ratio. It impacts design choices and makes using elsewhere look cheap.
It’s really geared toward vlogging and sharing quick vids from your phone. Animators can make content but laboring over a project gets frustrating when others can bang out 10 clips at a time.
Remember Vine? The 6-second loop service? One of the original developers announced V2 after Twitter shut it down. Following a few years in beta it finally launched as Byte. Originally sticking to the 6-second formula they’ve expanded to 15 and now offer sounds to work with. I’ve posted once so far.
It’s a different community and different vibe from TikTok. They’re smaller, more interested in being experimental and creative, and I respect that. My question is whether my stuff could gain traction on there or not.
One of the original Flash portals, (who, like Homestar Runner, are now looking to Ruffle to keep their archives going) Newgrounds is a dedicated place for artists. If they like or hate your stuff, they’ll let you know. They’ve supported non-Flash videos for some time now. I’ve shared some of my QAS shorts but haven’t made anything specifically for the site yet. I’ve had some more mature ideas that might not fly on YouTube I may host there. My concern is would original content work better there as opposed to elsewhere.
Fiyah TV is a streaming site for online animators. Creators can sign up and publish their own shows in a variety of genres. I first heard of it when the developers posted on Newgrounds. It’s an admirable goal, though I wonder how many new eyes the site actually brings.
Dribbble is a popular site for designers that was invite-only for a long time. I personally know very little about it as I don’t really travel in design circles but it seems a useful place to display and promote projects.
Bēhance is a similar yet different site to Dribbble. I’ve seen a number of articles comparing which one’s better for which purpose. I figure I’ll spend some time checking out both until I get a better feel for how they work.
I’ve actually been working on this last option a bit, off and on. For a while now I’ve felt like the current web has gone stale. The article Why the ‘Weird Internet’ of the GeoCities Era Had to Die explains how things got standardized and uniform. Experimental sites break on different devices. If you’re a big serious corporation you want your site to work every time somebody visits and you expect it to look the same on every screen. It all makes logical sense. Of course, artists aren’t necessarily known for their logic.
Currently I’m playing around with Grav as a CMS and Wick Editor for animating the HTML5 canvas. It has the ease and the energy of making things in early Flash with modern web standards. The problem now is what do I build with it? An homage to Homestar Runner? Something akin to the Space Jam website? I’m not looking to reinvent the wheel as I’ll spend all my time trying to make it perfect and never actually launch.
So I guess I’m relaunching this blog as a chronicle of my steps forward in the animation business. Building up my portfolio, demo reel, and seeing where I land finding work and/or building an audience.
My home studio has been a real asset to me over the years. Having designated space for projects has helped keep home and work life somewhat separated. When marathoning sessions and crunching to get things finished it’s nice to be able to stay in pajamas. Next month, however, I’m moving most of my equipment to a new location where I’ll be sharing office space. I’ll keep a bare bones setup here but I’m looking forward to the new opportunities that will open up. There’s an energy you get from having others around. After college the closest I’ve come to capturing that sort of environment was my yearly trip to Calgary for the QuickDraw Animation Lockdown. “Networking” and “making connections” are buzzwords I’d like to abstain from but I am hoping to get to know new people, maybe make a few friends. That might result in future collaborations, finding somebody who can make use of what I bring to the table, or perhaps I’ll find someone who can help me out somehow.
In my previous post I said I wanted to blog on Monday, Wednesday, Friday leaving Tuesday and Thursday for posting videos on my YouTube channel. I was hoping announcing plans would kick my butt into gear. Like all New Years mistakes it was overly hopeful, presupposing I was actually ready to start sharing content regularly. Since we’re nearing the end of January it’s time for a check in to see where I’m at and where things are headed based on what’s actually in front of me and not, like, holiday season fairy dust and magic, or whatever causes us all to expect ourselves to be somebody different after midnight.
YouTube Ad-Pocalypse: Partner Program Edition
For those not keeping score, YouTube have recently changed requirements for membership of their Partner Program. In order to be a monetized partner channels must now have 4,000 hours of watch time within the past 12 months and 1,000 subscribers by February 20th. This means a lot of smaller channels, such as mine, are going to lose the ability to monetize through YouTube’s AdSense system. I’m not exactly heart broken over this news as even the most successful channels cite AdSense as their lowest source of revenue. Ads only really make serious revenue with large audiences, being on the Internet causes ads to be worth significantly less than they are on traditional media, and honestly I’m conflicted about advertising in general.
I agree with Hank Green that no real competition for YouTube currently exists. If it did it would be dealing with the same issues any site of that size would. Services like Patreon and the recently relaunched Drip are going to be crucial if creators are ever going to move away from relying on ads for revenue.
Circling the conversation back, the partner changes impact me personally again in relation to Multichannel Networks, specifically my MCN the Channel Frederator Network. CFN found out about the changes at the same time the rest of us did. This left them scrambling to get things sorted for all of their members. If I’m unable to monetize my channel by the 20th, what’s my status with CFN and the tools/community it provides?
We are extremely proud to announce that although YouTube is disabling their partnership with some of you, we here at Channel Frederator consider you members in good standing. You will not be disabled from your partnership with us, you will still have access to our tools/platforms, and opportunities for growth to reach that threshold for monetization. This was decided on day one of this big change, a unanimous decision from all levels of management here at Frederator. We just needed to do some tweaking under the hood, and make sure that our dreams of still having you all with us can come true.
Below are some important notes we want to mention:
All members affected by Youtube’s new policy will still have access to the forums, all our tools, and opportunities while you’re still in contract with us.
After your contract ends, we will limit some of the services we offer until you’re able to monetize again.
For those who are interested, we’re dedicated to continue to help you reach the required 1K subs and 4K threshold. Then you’re more than welcome to be fully linked with us, and have access to everything!
I might not be the most active member of the community but I full-heartedly appreciate when they prove that “Frederator Loves You!” is more than a marketing slogan. I’ll be going into more details about plans and projects in future posts but I really want to take a moment and commend Channel Frederator on this. I planned on using their resources as I relaunch my channel with more regular content in 2018 and CFN have made me very proud to be partnered with them.
Lockdown is a fun event, even though you’re always under the pressure of a deadline. You learn a lot about yourself over a four day crunch to finish a film. I started attending last year as a getaway from my regular environment. A chance to join like-minded people as we toiled away in our respective studio spaces. As somebody with ADHD I have a love/hate relationship with structure. Left to my own devices I can get overly ambitious and fail to finish anything due to perfectionism. There’s no time for perfection with Lockdown. Even if you spend time beforehand prepping you still only have so long to finesse before the screening.
He also made a video entitled The DEATH of Independent YOUTUBE ANIMATION? joining in the discussion of the future of indie animation on the platform. Can You Make A Career Out of Internet Animation? The Pegbarians Are Definitely Trying also brought about some passionate responses from those in the community. YouTube competitor vidme has been courting frustrated animators with their Original Animation category. I encourage all creators today to put their content everywhere. This increases your chances of being seen, of growing an audience, and hopefully makes it harder for freebooters to gain traction. That said, having your own domain to point back to is very important. At the end of the day you don’t own any of the other platforms you post on. It’s risky running a business on a system that’s out of your control. One change in an algorithm can dramatically impact people’s livelihoods over night. This need for stability and control, coupled with a desire to experiment, is why my next big project is going to be building my own site for my animations.
Laying the Groundwork
After using WordPress for ~10 years I’m eager for a little more flexibility. It’s tempting to just start making pages but I remember early in my webcomics career, after I’d built up something of an archive, “How am I going to change the footer on all these… Oh.” I spent some time researching and comparing various flat file CMS systems and at the moment have settled on Grav. I still need to experiment in my local environment but right now that’s what I’m going with. I’m also going to be testing Animatron to make HTML5 animations with interactivity that should work on mobile devices.
Hi 🙂 If you’ve been following me for any length of time, I want to thank you for your patience. If you’re new, Welcome! I’m Ben. I’m a cartoonist and this is my blog. It’s been awhile since I’ve properly blogged here and I’d like to take a moment to apologize for the way I’ve handled things thus far.
Where Have You Been?
The short answer to this is dealing with mental disorder. I’ve never really felt comfortable blogging on my own sites as it tends to feel rather news post-y. This sets up an expectation in my head that whatever I write about needs to be newsworthy. It sounds silly and irrational explaining it but that’s anxiety for you. I’ve dealt with anxiety and other issues most of my life, certainly from the time I started my first site. It took me a long time to be ok with the idea of seeking outside help for my problems. I’ve shared some of my journey on my tumblr blog as it felt more casual. Eventually I realized this is something I should be addressing in my own official blog. Not that I haven’t been authentic when I post things but rather there’s parts of myself I never shared due to fear, humiliation, or some other rationalization that my own site wasn’t the place for sharing my experiences.
I have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. I didn’t fit the stereotype growing up as I was a fairly well behaved kid and a good student. Some of that I attribute to family pressure to act “normal” in public and some to how poorly ADHD was diagnosed at the time. I have sensory issues I’m still sorting out. I know I’m light-sensitive and background noise distracts me, especially voices since I can’t tune those out. I probably have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, though I haven’t officially been diagnosed with it yet, as I’ve compared my anxiety to the constant buzzing of fluorescent lights. I’ve been in therapy about a year now learning what all this means for me and coming to terms with it. I’m still on this journey. It’s sometimes scary and confusing. Actually getting medicated and seeking help, however, has been nothing short of life changing for me. Before I would be positively terrified of anybody even suspecting there was something wrong with me, much less the idea of sharing and discussing it with people. Mental health has a stigma surrounding it and as soon as I realized my worries were due to a chemical imbalance I decided I wasn’t going to let them control me ever again. I will never feel shame for getting treatment. I hope my efforts to normalize and open a dialogue about mental health help other people realize they have the right to feel ok with themselves. Every person, no matter who you are or where you are on your journey through life, deserves to feel accepted and loved. I want you to know I appreciate you and I’m very glad you’re here with us.
What Happened to the Podcast?
You may have noticed Season 5 of the NoRights Podcast ended abruptly and transitioned into TNT (Talk, News, and Trivia) with Ian and Frank. I apologize if it seemed jarring. Let me be clear I’m still really good friends with everybody involved. This wasn’t some sort of falling out or anything like that. The fact of the matter is it didn’t feel like the NoRights Podcast to me anymore. It became something I liked attending and participating in but no longer wanted to host. I handed the reigns of that show over because I want the NoRights Podcast, like this blog, to have a more personal direction. I like hanging out with my friends but my own voice was getting lost in the mix.
What’s the Plan Moving Forward?
I’ve taken down the static front page and have pushed the blog to be the main focus. For a time I considered starting a multimedia magazine. It’s a good idea but completing full regular issues alongside growing a readership is too ambitious. Instead I intend to post at least two substantial blog posts a week from here on out, hopefully more. I’d like to document my projects as I work on them, share my thoughts and opinions with you, and try to be more engaging than I have been in the past. It’s not going to be perfect because I’m not perfect. But I will be honest and I will respect you. Once I have enough significant content on a subject or project I’ll put together an ebook for it. I’ll be working this into a Patreon campaign so people who like my work will have a chance to support it while getting some nice extras for themselves. More on that to come.
I’d planned to record and roll out the first episode of Season 6 of the podcast on Tuesday but that didn’t happen obviously. I’d spent two weeks vacationing with my mom in California and returning to a productive schedule has been rough. Refilling my prescriptions became an ordeal with travel, my sleep cycle was all screwed up after staying awake 27 hours and then sleeping through New Year’s Eve, and I got slowed down with some depression. I’m not making excuses, just being realistic as some day’s goals are going to be harder to reach than others. That said, I will do my best to be open with you all and keep you updated from here on out. My twitter is the easiest way to reach me if you’re wondering what’s up or have a question about anything.
I’d like to thank you once again for joining me and I hope you enjoy watching me work. I have projects lined up running the gamut from making music to drawing pin up girls, monsters, and animating shorts. It’s my wish that neither of us grow bored and there’ll always be something interesting ahead of us. May my successes and failures inspire you, friend!
It’s the first of the month so I figure this is a good time to post updates and plans.
I’ve started blogging on my tumblr more and to keep it regular I’m going to try and do it every Friday to recap the week and announce plans for the next one. I might post more than that but Friday’s what I’m shooting for. (I meant to start last night but was on a hangout with Ian and Frank until about 2 this morning.) Following what I’m doing right now I’ll try to write up about the month’s progress here.
Animation and New YouTube Channel
The main goal is to launch a new channel in 2017. I want to make it specifically for my cartoons, program a content strategy for it, and see if I can intelligently play the YouTube game. I’m still deciding on a proper name for it. I’ve used NoRights Productions for a long time but it’s ambiguous and having a dedicated name for my animation business is a good move. I’ll probably crosspost to my newgrounds account, too, though I’d like to experiment there. Tom Fulp has posted about YT on NG and he makes excellent points. NG’s audience is smaller but more passionate about animation. As I start producing more content we’ll see how that shakes out. I’d also like to do some freelance work though I’m still building my demo reel.
I’ve been enamored with the idea of doing a digital magazine that’s a mashup of creative writing, essays, comics, animation, video, audio, basically a bundle of stuff I want to put together in a unique regular package. I’d considered starting with a Halloween issue but don’t want to feel rushed by an arbitrary deadline. I’m actively working on it, collecting my thoughts and outlining them. The animation channel is Project A and the magazine is Project B. Project A is going to have many sub-projects during the week and Project B will be evenings, weekends, and other down time.
Hey everybody! Here’s a site update and plans moving forward.
I’ve been retooling things, moving content to it’s own custom post types. Still working on it and I’ll probably change how the portfolio displays, too. It’s been a little tricky figuring out what stuff I need to hard code and what I can edit through posts. I want to prioritize things so it’s not overwhelming for new visitors.
I enjoy doing the weekly hangout shows with Frank and Ian but it hasn’t felt like the NoRights Podcast for some time now. I’ve handed the reigns of that show over to them to host. They’ve started calling it TNT – Talk News and Trivia. I’ll have it on the site once I move some other stuff around.
I’ll be rebooting my own podcast once I get some episodes recorded. Expect them to be shorter and more topic-focused.
The YouTube Channel/Newgrounds Page
Animation is going to be my main focus. Most of my projects I plan on posting on my YouTube Channel – Animated shorts, Let’s Plays, game parodies, reviews, tutorials, time lapses, etc.
I also want to experiment with some more adult subjects and techniques so you’ll find these things on my Newgrounds Page as they’ll probably be more NSFW.
I like having a regular blog space as it helps me track progress. I just have to keep it from becoming an expectation to fail at. To that end, I think the main blog here will be for releasing things, site announcements, news like that.
My Tumblr will be my de facto WIP, yakety smackety, daily thoughts, stream of conscious, rambling blog. Really that’s what I feel tumblr’s good for, anyway. If you have anything bigger than 140 characters, post it on there and link it on twitter.
Speaking of my Twitter, the plan for now is to post screenshots there as I work. That’s a good way to mark a break and I’ll work on something else after progress shots go up to keep from burning out. I’ll amalgamate them on tumblr and maybe post collections of them here.
At this point I’m lining things up. I don’t want to make promises or set deadlines. I just want to get in my studio and work.
Hey everybody, hope you had a nice Memorial Day weekend. I’ve been busy lately and I think it’s about time I catch everybody up to speed.
How’s Your Health?
I’m doing better than I have been in a long time. The anxiety’s been manageable and the ADHD meds have helped keep me focused. I took a bit of a work vacation that put some things into perspective.
Where Have You Been?
I spent a week in Calgary, Alberta, Canada hanging out at Quickdraw Animation Society participating in the Animation Lockdown event. If you’ve never heard of QAS, they’re a nonprofit artist co-op for animators. During the annual lockdown teams gather over the long weekend to make films in 48 hours. This was a great opportunity to travel, make some friends, and see if I could actually get an animated project done in time.
I had to cut a lot of it to finish on schedule so I’ll be doing a longer, fuller version in the future.
What’s Up with the Site?
Before I left I decided to roll the site back to an earlier theme to make it easier to navigate. Then I realized some of the shortcodes I’d been using were from a plugin for the newer theme so I had to reinstall that. Since I got back home I’ve been trying to deal with errors and considered moving to a different system/host. That’s probably not going to happen given difficulties I’ve had importing the archives. I could really use a webmaster as the site’s held together with little more than duct tape and a prayer.
The front page should be getting cleaned up soon. I want it to be the hub for all my projects without getting confusing on where to go.
I’ve been seeing a therapist about my anxiety/frustration and they believe I might have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. This could explain why I have trouble focusing in the studio, even when it’s on my own work I care passionately about. I didn’t originally consider it an option since I don’t fit the stereotype of being hyper and I was a good student in school. Looking back on it a number of my problems could have built up as a response and a way to cope. I’m going to be starting medication that could help.
Also in an effort to improve my art and career I’ve signed up for online courses and a 1 on 1 mentorship program with Stephen Silver. I’m excited to have somebody I admire and respect guiding me along. May is shaping up to be a busy month as I’ve got a project I’m going to work on and an event I’m going to attend.