Monday Blog of Accountability Part 2 – Sharing Concepts

  • On May 13, 2024 ·
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Title Screen of God Mode: Quest for the Cool Pilot Pitch

So today I’d like to discuss some of the projects I’ve been working on specifically. I tend to avoid specifics because I’m a bit afraid I’ll lose interest if I share too much while things are in the conceptual stages. I’ve decided to do the opposite of that hoping to narrow my focus.

Librivox Audiobook Adaptations

I’ve mentioned this before but Librivox is a community of volunteers reading public domain works and releasing the recordings for anybody to use. (I particularly appreciate their collection on the Internet Archive for searching) They even have dramatic readings that are basically audio plays to work from.

The Divine Comedy by Dante Aligheri

This is an epic poem following the author through Hell, Purgatory, and eventually Heaven. It’s full of commentary on religion and the church of Aligheri’s day. Obviously because it’s so large I would need to break it down into manageable chunks. Librivox has both the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow translation and a dramatic reading translated by Courtney Langdon. I really love the idea of adapting it but know it’d be a long-term and drawn out project.

A House-Boat on the Styx by John Kendrick Bangs

Bangs wrote a number of stories where famous figures from history get together in the afterlife (hence named Bangsian fantasy) and this one was actually turned into a Broadway play in 1928. Charon, the ferryman of souls, gets hired on as janitor to run a houseboat. It’s a cute idea if you like the notion of supernatural characters being regular folks simply doing a job. It’s a short and fun read but I’d have to change things to make it appealing to animate, which kind of defeats the purpose of not using an original story.

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

I’ve been a fan of this story since reading it in high school. The last entry in Short Story Collection Vol. 050, it tells of a woman going mad while her physician husband imposes bed rest as treatment for postpartum depression. My main issue with adapting it is I don’t feel it’s my story to tell, as a man. I relate to it on a human level, obviously, but don’t think I would be doing it complete justice. That’s a reason I’m linking the Librivox version read by ashleighjane.

Original Ideas – Books

    Futureproofers

    I’ve had this thought for a while about agents tasked with protecting the timeline. (Think Men in Black with time travel instead of aliens) Ultimately I think it would make a good series of Amazon KDP books. It’s pulpy with lots of twists and turns so I wish I could try it publishing it episodically with Kindle Vella but that’s still US-only.

    Paranormal Investigators

    As a kid I of course loved the Ghostbusters, especially the Real Ghostbusters animated series which expanded on the world. I also enjoyed Disney’s Lonesome Ghosts short where Mickey, Donald, and Goofy run Ajax Ghost Exterminators. Most ghost breaker media tends to be setup for slapstick shenanigans, which can be fine if that’s what you’re wanting out of it. I lean more towards the supernatural fantasy genre and I like old-timey settings so I started creating my own ghost hunting team. They work under cover as a reputable private detective agency in the early 20th century, our entry point being a medium alerting them to a rise in otherworldly activity. The visuals make me really want to draw it but currently I’m unsure what format it will take.

    Original Ideas – Animated Series

    God Mode

    Originally intended as a series pitch to Snapchat, a group of friends realize they’re in a video game. The vertical format is a unique beast that presents issues with repurposing footage for elsewhere. IGTV required it until 2019. The majority of Reels, TikTok, and Shorts use it today. I’m still using an iPhone 8 so, while I use mobile content, I wouldn’t say it’s my preferred way to consume it. (Even on desktop I tend to roll a different resolution than most folks. Properly sizing my webcomics was always an issue) I really should spend some time studying the mobile experience if I want to better design material for it. Hank Green made a video comparing the various platforms in terms of revenue and what their goals seem to be. I’d like to revisit this project, though my home office setup right now isn’t the best for recording dialogue. I want to work on the designs a bit more and see if I can refine the voices a bit.

    Title Screen for God Mode Pilot Pitch

    Blues Man

    Back in 2016 I made my first short for Quickdraw Animation Society’s Animation Lockdown, Bottled Spirits. This was meant as a standalone entry in a series I wanted to do around a roaming blues guitar player. I had to cut a lot of it due to production time and some time ago decided to remake it as Bottled Spirits (Uncorked Edition). I intended it as a pitch to a studio I saw looking for new projects, throwing in a pitch bible with details about the other episodes I had planned, and at one point I tried rolling them into the reel which caused things to go off the rails. This idea became like the Divine Comedy: an oversized epic where I didn’t realize I’d bitten off more than I could chew.

    Original Ideas – Animated Shorts

    Sun Up Gunned Down

    I take a lot of inspiration from music. This time I even yoinked the title from a piece by Bryan Teoh. A small Mexican town in the wild west is being terrorized by a murderous bandit. The ghost of a gunslinger returns seeking revenge. Currently I think this is the project I’m going to spend my attention on since it’s self-contained, I can play with all the spooky elements, and hopefully get myself into a solid production routine.

    Dispirited Spirit

    This was another vertical animation experiment. The premise is a depressed ghost becomes frustrated he can’t kill himself. I was influenced by Chuck Jones, specifically a trio of comedy horror shorts he made starring Porky and Sylvester; Scaredy Cat (1948), Claws for Alarm (1954), and Jumpin’ Jupiter (1955). I know suicide is a serious topic, though there’s an entire argument to be had about the place for cartoon violence and horror in general. I have no desire to be an edgelord. I think relegating cartoons to children’s fare and expecting them to avoid any potentially questionable content is reductive. I’ve asked the question on Twitter a few times, why is it ok to consider kid stuff mindless? When a movie review praises the fact that parents won’t be bored out of their skulls sitting in the theater, that’s an incredibly low bar to set.

    Making Progress

    • On March 12, 2018 ·
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    This is my second month of being in the new office. Things have been settling into place as I’ve been developing my daily routine. Currently I’ve been working on a pitch reel for my Bottled Spirits series, adapting the idea from my original short and adding elements from other episodes. I’ve been documenting it on my Instagram.

    I’m aiming to finish it by the 21st. After that I’d like to work on pieces for my freelancing reel and other less time-sensitive pitches. I want to divide my time between animating and building up diverse revenue streams. Designing various prints, shirts, and fonts will be a nice mental break from the monotony of bigger projects.

    What I Did Today 12/30/15

    • On December 30, 2015 ·
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    Remember Adventures of the American Rabbit in this week’s Billy Badass!

    Minecraft and Chill 8.

    Got up this morning about 4 and drew in the studio for awhile. Haven’t animated in some time so I started spending too much time shading a background that would obscure what I was actually trying to do. Think I’m getting the look I’m going for, though.

    BG

    Went for breakfast and some other things, came home and napped because I got up too early. Started another idea focusing on the motion first, saving hatching for later. Having a little trouble finding my groove as I’m still experimenting with the style. Also trying to settle on creepy mood music that has enough energy to keep me focused.

    What I Did Today 08/05/15

    • On August 5, 2015 ·
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    Remember the short-lived 90s cartoon Yo Yogi! in this week’s installment of Billy Badass.

    Check out the first episode of Crafting Mines: A Minecraft Adventure.

    Today I got up early to work in the studio. Unfortunately after breakfast my stomach decided to hate me and I had to wait for the ache to subside. Still not sure if it was from being sick, eating too fast, or what. I’ll be watching for it tomorrow.

    I inked, colored, and shaded a comic page today. Tried to record it, too, but the program froze.

    You might remember this Daily Doodle from awhile backDaily Doodle - 10-20-14 - Luxuria (lust)

    Well today I spent a bit of time working on it again.

    Lust

    It’s tiny hatching and tone buildup that’s going to take entirely too long to finish but it’s been fun letting it fall out of my hand. I’ll be working on it more. It’s fascinating what little details emerge when you take a good brush and just render to your heart’s content.

     

    WIP Wednesday – 01/28/15

    • On January 28, 2015 ·
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    Hope you’re all having a good day. No video or screencaps this week as the things I’ve been working on have either been web stuff or writing. I would, however, like to take some time to give you a rundown on what I’ve been up to.

    Site Cleanup

    I bought the premium version of the theme I’ve been running the site on for awhile. You’ll notice the podcast page properly links to the archive now with a player button for the audio. If you mouse over “blog” in the menu you’ll see I’ve added links for WIP Wednesday and Daily Doodle posts. When there’s a video I’ve used the thumbnail as the featured image on the archive page. I’d like to add a few more categories and featured images but it’s a start. The featured items on the homepage are going to get changed up soon, too, to reflect current projects and ones on hiatus. There’ll also be a signup button for the newsletter.

    NoRights Newsletter

    I’m putting together an email newsletter that I’ll make available soon. I’ll be offering a free gift for those who join and I’m writing things now so there’ll be plenty of quality content when it launches. Expect behind the scenes looks into my studio, tips and tools I use, as well as exclusive peeks at projects before they’re mentioned anywhere else. I’m also going to encourage subscribers to tell me what they’d like to see more of so the articles are tailor-made.

    Thanks for dropping in today. I plan talk about the newsletter on Monday’s show so remember to tune in for that. I’ll see you all on the other side.

    WIP Wednesday – 12/17/14 – Passion

    • On December 17, 2014 ·
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    The thing I’ve been working on most lately is myself (my art, my business, my sanity) so I’m sharing some of that today.

    Artist Hat vs. Manager Hat

    The thing about pursuing a career as a professional artist is making art and sharing it with the world are both their own distinct job. As an artist, I think most of us are compelled to create. For some people that compulsion manifests itself as a hobby. Others strive to make it their life’s work. During our interview with Kevin MacLeod and Ryan Camarda, Kevin brought up the idea that art serves no purpose if nobody sees it. It’s an excellent point that art is made to be seen and not doing everything to get it in front of as many eyes as possible is a disservice to that purpose. My problem is that view eschews art therapy and people who make art for themselves like Outsider art. (Henry Darger is a fascinating example and the subject of the documentary In the Realms of the Unreal)

    Putting all that aside, as a professional part of the job is getting your art seen. For a number of us this is where intentions clash. I saw it in college when professors would give students a project and they’d ignore all guidelines and direction. It’s baffling to pay thousands of dollars to attend a school, take a class, and then disregard instructions. Yet it happened regularly and at times I had to keep myself from doing it. Why? Well, artists make art to express themselves. When somebody tells you what to make you can feel like a circus animal, trained to do your trick the way they want you to. If there’s not enough room to be creative and make your project your own you can lose motivation. (As illustrated in Technical Dave 5 – Chocolate Rebellion)

    Trying to manage yourself at times can feel like you’re of two minds. You make plans, you set goals, then you sit down to work and find you don’t feel passionate about it. If you chase down what you are passionate about it can be something fun but with little to no financial rewards. Professionals can’t afford the luxury of only fulfilling creative desires. We need to find that little part of the venn diagram where our interests intersect with what people will pay for. Sometimes this means reassessing and learning to appreciate other things, sometimes it means reassessing who you approach with your work and how.

    Hangups

    Creative Paralysis and Guilt

    I started doing the Daily Doodle exercise for two reasons:

    1. To get myself to draw every day
    2. To allow myself to have fun drawing

    I love drawing. I want to draw all day every day. But the reality of life is, when you’re in charge of your own schedule, things can get in the way. Building a site, promoting your work, having some form of a social life, it’s a lot to have on your plate. There’s just so much to do and there’s so many options now. It can become overwhelming and lead to analysis paralysis. You spend so much time trying to make your mind up on which action to take you fail to take action. Also, as much as artists struggle with guidelines, we usually need some semblance of them to make a project work. When somebody tells me to do, “whatever,” on a project I freak out. I have to figure out what it is, how I’m going to come at it, and then there’s trying to deliver my best while second guessing myself the entire time.

    The second reason might sound odd considering I just said I love drawing. Why do I have to allow myself to have fun doing it then? It’s because of guilt. To get into the routine of producing things regularly you can’t often afford the time to enjoy and experiment. You have to get it done and move on to the next one. I remember hearing on Webcomics Weekly how occasionally they’re asked to show layout sketches and then they realize layouts don’t really factor into their workflow. I started realizing I don’t really draw for fun anymore because I’ve trained myself to see having fun with a drawing as I’m not getting things done. Like a person who can’t savor a meal because they’re afraid they’ll eat too much if they enjoy it.

    Self Doubt

    The main thing I want to focus on in 2015 is animation. I have lots of ideas and ambitions for things I want to make. When I’m in the thick of it I’m elated. My problem is I have limited experience. So when I come to something I haven’t done yet I have to work at it. I know I’ll lose days to learning the ropes. It’s just difficult to keep focus that you’re going the right way with something when you fall on your face. Some days I’ll be on fire and knocking things off my to do list. Other days I have to redo something because one link in the chain caused it to not come out right. Ask any artist how disheartening it is when a program crashes and you failed to save or your entire file got corrupted. These things creep up along with the insecurity most artists (heck, most people) feel in general.

    Going Forward

    You Oughta Be in Pictures

    I’m planning to roll out my animations through several sites. Each has their own communities I need to get more involved in if I want to take better advantage of the opportunities they present.

    Newgrounds

    Newgrounds

    Newgrounds is a site that’s been around a long time. It’s known for hosting flash animations and games as well as other arts. There’s plenty of animators on the forums and I hope I can make some friends there. As I experiment with making games I’m sure it’ll prove useful.

    YouTube

    YouTube-logo-full_color

    YouTube has been my go-to for video, for posting on these WIP Wednesday blogs, live podcasts, and just sharing internet videos in general. There’s the potential to share my work with the most viewers possible. But by the same token there’s also a lot of noise. And, as we’ve discussed on the podcast, their viewing algorithm is weighted against animators by rewarding longer, more frequently-uploaded content. Considering I have plans in the works for both a Lets Play and video review series we’ll see how things fair.

    Vimeo

    vimeo logo

    Vimeo is a video hosting site that also offers On Demand sales and rentals. They offer free, Plus, and Pro accounts. Their focus seems to be more on short films and telling stories. I know fairly little about their community but they do tend to have a more professional look.

    Reopening Shop

    When I start doing the Daily Doodle again I want it to be about being the most productive I can be. That means I need to be doing the drawings in bulk when I’m brainstorming and then sharing them here. Those doodles will then get refined and polished into finished pieces I’ll be putting on the Lil’ Reaper Books store. I’ve been studying which places to do the printing through, how to promote and market them, and thinking more critically about who I market them to.

    WIP Wednesday – 11/26/14

    • On November 26, 2014 ·
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    Hello, everybody. To all my fellow Americans I hope you have a nice Thanksgiving tomorrow and a safe Black Friday if you’re getting in on that.

    It’s been awhile since I’ve written a proper blog post so I thought I’d put one together before things get too hectic this holiday season. The end of the year is always kind of a smear as stuff starts happening. Here’s a quick rundown of things going on.

    The NoRights Podcast

    Ian and I are planning to do episodes until about the 15th of December. Season 4 will pick back up in January. Also, Ian and friend of the show Nate are going to be starting up their own geeky tech show in the near future. I’ll be sure to share the info on that once I know the details.

    The Daily Doodle

    I really liked this practice because it kept me drawing every day and posting content on the site regularly. My problem is I started focusing on having one finished drawing every day rather than doing a lot of drawings and posting the highlights on the site, as I should have done. Travel also disrupted things and I’m currently taking a break from it until after New Year’s. I want to strike a balance where I’m doodling daily while also working on a main project. Previously the doodles started taking priority when they really shouldn’t be.

    WIP Wednesday

    This helps keeps me accountable for making progress on things. I like making videos and posting pics as I work. Right now my main project I want to work on is a short film. I want to do something that’s at least a minute long. Probably not much longer than that so I don’t overcomplicate it or make it too ambitious. Once I’m done with that I’ll move on to the ~7 minute shorts and whatnot I’ve been planning. I’m just trying to nail down the concept so I can write it, storyboard it, make an animatic, and flesh it out. I’m looking into folklore to see if I can find something to adapt. Or I might just take some things I want to draw and build them into a story. I haven’t exactly figured it out yet. Once I do I’ll share drawings and other things on the blog.

    Daily Doodle – 11/23/14 – Archer

    • On November 23, 2014 ·
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    Daily Doodle - 11-23-14 - Archer

    Archer is a show about spies. Except when it became about cocaine dealing. Aisha Tyler, voice of Lana Kane, describes it’s humor as “smilthy,” a mix of smutty and filthy. It’s a pretty apt description. It’s one of those shows where extreme personalities bounce off each other and get put in crazy situations. I knew when I put this drawing on my list it was going to be very reference-heavy. The characters have very specific looks and are more realistically drawn than most. That, coupled with how crazy yesterday’s doodle was and how tired I’ve been this weekend means this one is staying in doodle form until I can come back to it.

    I’d like to take this time to announce I’m taking a break from the Daily Doodle. It’s been a fun exercise in putting stuff up regularly but I’m also starting to burn out. I think I’ve been approaching it wrong. I’ve been trying to make each day’s entry a finished piece rather than a chance to practice and experiment. I’ll come back to it when I figure out what I want to do with it and after the crazy holiday season.

    Daily Doodle – 11/18/14 – Gravity Falls

    • On November 18, 2014 ·
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    Daily Doodle - 11-18-14

    Gravity Falls has quickly become one of my favorite TV shows. It’s cute while at the same time being genuinely entertaining and intriguing. Again unfinished as my hand cramped up enough from doing the outlines so I’m saving the rest of it for a later date. Might try going over this again with a different brush as the variable width I was using doesn’t match with the lines on the show. Perhaps I’ll even try it in Harmony and see if I’m more satisfied there.

    Daily Doodle – 11/17/14 – Wreck-It Ralph

    • On November 17, 2014 ·
    • By ·

    Daily Doodle - 11-17-14

    This week’s doodle theme is fan art. I don’t really do much fan art. Probably because it reminds me of when I was a younger artist either tracing or copying and I got worried it’d be a crutch. Making fan art can be fun and I’ve seen some people who are great at taking existing characters and providing their own spin on them. Though I’m a little obsessive about staying on model, I’d like to try my hand at making little tributes to stuff I enjoy.

    First on the list is Wreck-It Ralph which is a really cute little film. I think people tend to be harder on it because they were hoping for the video game equivalent of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? instead of taking the movie on it’s own. This one isn’t finished yet as most of the lines are done but shading/rendering (color?) hasn’t happened yet. My hand hurts too much so I’m sharing what I have right now.

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