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A brief update for anyone who cares to read it!
Since March of this year I've been chipping away at a new Starbarians episode which I think will be out by August*. The whole thing feels like a big obligation to follow up on what can laughably be called the "story", which started back in episode 2. The amount of time that has passed between releasing Starbarians 1, 2 and 3 is just absurd, and it was obviously a big mistake to think that a webseries with 4 minute long episodes, produced at the speed of one-whole-second-per-day could ever gain something that felt like momentum. That said, I am resolved to finish what I started and get 3, 4 and 5 done, even if it takes me nine lifetimes.
I am staying just barely afloat at the moment doing one-off art commissions (see an example below). The original price of these climbed from $15 to $45 as I realised that some of these illustrations were taking me two whole days to complete. Now I realise that even charging $100 per fully coloured illustration is probably too little for that amount of work but I don't want to scare people off with high prices, so the next batch will probably be priced around $60 and be announced on my twitter soon.
My plan after accepting another fat batch of commissions and finishing Starbarians 3 is to change gears in a big way. I'm resigned to the fact that I will have to eat my own words and launch a Patreon campaign in the hopes of turning my cartoons in to much better earners that can sustain me and my humble lifestyle. If that happens, I'd like to mix it up by producing animation at the level I've established in Starbarians (gotta get to ep 5 at least!) sprinkled with some more stylish but simple stuff akin to Dr. Bees and Bo-Starr.
The holy grail of monthly cartoons and a bank account that isn't perma-overdrawn remains my mission. I think the next few months will be good.
*Subject to change by months/years/Mayan cycles.
Last saturday I set to work on a pretty standard 2 second shot to be included in a 70 second animated project. Now, this post is already one giant thinly veiled whinge so I'll try not to get too specific about the details and milk every opportunity for a micro-whinge as I go, but I'll say that I ended up spending 12 straight hours on the bastard and then another 10 straight hours on it the next day (though they may have been gay or bi hours, I honestly can't remember).
The point is 22 hours! 22 hours to draw and colour 24 frames and add shading and lighting effects as well as create a background plate.
If that sounds shocking to you then the kicker should come when I tell you that's it's only shocking in its positively un-shockingness. The shot is no more or less ambitious than the 30 or so like it in the short and is just as uninteresting in its concept as it is in its completed form. The shot lacks the deft grace, flawless draftsmanship, clever colour palette, inspired design choices and underlying racism you'd get in a classic Disney film. It's the typical Harry Partridge fare of just-about-TV-worthy-for-1993 but it's sadly the best I can do in that time.
Time. Bloody time. If I had more of it I could have made something so much better but then it just wouldn't have fit in among the other factory produced shots it calls brothers, and taking longer to make stuff is something I need to avoid like the space-plague.
I like the production line/factory analogy for two reasons. Firstly I'm on the job every day, this is full time work. Secondly, things still get rushed along the conveyor belt and I never feel I spend long on anything...
But my problem is, objectively, I do spend a long time on it. A second of animation a day nets me about 6 minutes a year and I can't stay afloat as an internet content creator with output that small.
I guess I'll wrap this self-loathe-a-thon up by preemptively rebutting the suggestion that I make simpler (uglier) animation which can be pumped out much faster, and quit bawling.
I guess that's what I'll have to do.
NOW CLOSED. THANKS TO ALL WHO ENTERED IDEAS.
As some of you may know, I have a strong interest in saturday morning animation from the 1980s, which has remained a wellspring of inspiration for my work here on Newgrounds and Youtube.
For a long time I've toyed with the idea of creating a television length (20 minute) fan-made crossover animation that brings together some of my favourite characters in an original story, namely: The Real Ghostbusters, The 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, He-Man and The Masters of the Universe, and Thundercats. With expert attention paid to recreating the look, feel and sounds of those classic shows, in a never-before-seen blend.
There is zero gaurantee that I'll start, let alone finish such a huge task, but for all the jokes you can make about me only putting out one Starbarians cartoon a year, I often finish the animations I start and it is that fear of becoming wrapped up in something as demanding as a 20 minute film that has me very aware that I can't waste my time on something less than great.
It is for that reason I'm open to working with a co-writer.
If you would like to be involved and credited as a co-writer, please take your time to write a 200-500 word synopsis complete with beginning, middle and end for a 20 minute story that involves The Real Ghostbusters, The 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, He-Man and The Masters of the Universe, and the Thundercats. The story must be pretty much family friendly and in the spirit of the source material it is drawing from. If this project goes ahead and your synopsis is chosen, you may be asked to write a treatment of your story in more detail and be on hand to help develop the script over which I will have final say. This is a non-profit, fan production and you will not be compensated financially for your work.
Email synopsis to: XXXXXXXX (address deleted)
Deadline: Midnight GMT March 1st
P.S. Have fun!!
So this is a big greasy serving of update stew from my animation kitchen, part fresh, part way past its sell by date, and all stuff I want to talk about.
Firstly, Starbarians Episode II is 100% finished! It is 4 minutes long and is the first part of a script I wrote well over a year ago and have been animating since. I foolishly anticipated the script would generate a 4 minute cartoon but it looks to be closer to triple that which dragged the process out horribly. Instead, I will stick to the 3-4 minute standard set by the first episode and release as many episodes as is necessary to tell this story which I aim to conclude by the years end.
Episode II was partly funded by youtube animation channel Huha who will be hosting it on their youtube channel some time soon (and not my definition of soon, but an actual human beings) and will be here on Newgrounds a week after.
Finally, back in January I put out a trailer for the year to come, saying I would make a video a month for the whole of 2013 and in doing so made a really dumb decision. I put totally unwarranted belief in my ability to become some sort of animation dervish if I just had enough pressure. In truth, I worked SUPER hard on a lot of new projects but just couldn't finish them on time.
The nice news is I now have several things that are mostly done which I can pick back up with and hopefully end the year very strong on. Here's to a good fall/winter!
Here is a neat Frankenstein* action figure that I had as a kid (note: this is not an actual picture of the one I had, mine was obviously out of package for most of the time we spent together).
One prominent memory I have about the figure was receiving it from my mother when I was aged about 4 or 5, as a surprise gift. As a kid that regularly asked for (and received) action figures outside of the normal occasions like birthdays and Christmas, it was extra surprising to get something like this when I had not asked for it, as you'd think that my mother would have exploited every occasion that I did not ask to be bought toys...by not buying me toys.
This was (to my apparent lasting delight) not the case this time round and Frankenstein was mine without even the modicum of effort required to pester anyone for him (I scored the 4 original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in a similarly unexpected fashion) and this unanticipated introduction to "Frankie" led me to ask questions.
Not being well versed in 19th century gothic literature or Universal horror movies as a 4-5 year old, I had immediate questions as to the origin of this pallid, hulking icon I held in my paws.
"Where did it come from?" I asked, referring to the figure.
I hadn't posed my question particularly well, and suspect I may not have even known what I meant when asking it, and that was the problem. I had grown up in the age of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Ghostbusters, Beetlejuice etc, and all of my favourite toys had associated media explaining the characters and their worlds.
These characters had cool origins.
I saw the toys of said characters, not just as toys, but as plastic representations of beings with real personalities and goals. Having not yet been exposed to any Frankenstein related media I couldn't see the thing in my hands as anything but a toy, and this literal mindset had led me to posit an equally literal question.
I was not asking who had made Frankenstein, I was asking who made the toy. This, my mother missed...
"Oh...a doctor, an evil man in a laboratory made him" .
This stuck with me for years. I can't remember why I didn't choose to continue the line of questioning after this bombshell (perhaps I did and have forgotten where it went) but what is to be sure, is that I now totally believed that the toy I owned (not the character) was the product of some demented toy making lunatic. I pictured a lank haired, shabby man in some sort of action figure laboratory/jail cell putting together toy after toy to be shipped off to Woolworths as some sort of punishment for unspeakable, still possibly toy related crimes. Was the evil genius biding his time with playthings until the world itself would become his plaything in some sort of devilish bid for universal power? Were the toys dormant minions that would awaken and turn on their owners in force when their master called for it? Was I now a minion of evil myself for owning such a thing?
The answer is probably no to all of those questions. For those who care to know, the toy was in fact manufactured by a company called Imperial who almost certainly did not make a habit of employing supervillains planning world conquest. One thing, however, was now for certain...
My toy had a pretty cool origin.
*I've never gone in for the whole "Frankenstein's Monster" thing. I know the monster itself is not called "Frankenstein" but it's a convenient shorthand that keeps me from going in to too much detail...much like this.
As people are now becoming sadly aware, my friend and fellow animator/filmmaker Edd Gould, creator of the wildly popular Eddsworld series has lost his battle with cancer and passed away aged 23 on the 25th of March 2012.
Though an often shared sentiment when speaking of the deceased, it has to be said that Edd really, truly was one of the gentlest, sweetest people I have ever met who never had anything bad to say about anyone. Though it is an incredible shame that someone so talented, and relentlessly hard working has had their life cut short please remember that in his brief 23 years Edd reached millions of people with his art and brightened up their lives with his work. He did more in his all-too-brief life than many are ever capable of and we should celebrate him for it. Well done Edd.
We love you.
Fellow Eddsworld stars Tom and Matt put together this touching video tribute, please watch it.
I always want to start these off by writing "WOW WHAT A CRAZY FEW WEEKS IT'S BEEN!" but all I've done for the last month is vegetate in front of a screen animating, drinking mountain dew and listening to toy reviews like a huge nerd. It's been a positively un-crazy month in fact.
If you read my last post you'll know that I was working on a short live action film in December. Well the whole thing got shot and was an immensely eye opening experience. I don't even want to go in to how much of a giant pain in the ass it was trying to get a dog to act at 3am on location in a freezing alleyway surrounded by crew who hadn't been payed/fed/properly briefed. I have never needed a break as badly as I did after I shot that film so I made an animation.
It was either Starbarians Episode 1 or something totally different and due to the fact that Starbarians was in legal limbo for a while with people that wanted to make a show out of it I made Skyrim instead.
A lot of folks have asked why it isn't on Newgrounds and it's a combination of my lack of patience with having exporting problems (couldn't get it to export as one whole film as a swf, video wasn't a problem) as well as a few other things. By the time I got those issues fixed it had taken off on Youtube and I'd feel bad giving Newgrounds something that wasn't fresh. Next time it will be different. Hope you like it. Also, mad props to Sucho who has been doing some woefully underpayed colouring work for me. The girl is awesome.
Current project: Editing this film for Youtube and drinking LESS FUCKING DEW!
Well...a short one.
It's been quite a while since I've put anything new on NG and I can only assume that the entire user base has been replaced with androids in the time I've been away but HAI GUYZ nonetheless.
So I've always vowed that I'd make at least one cheesy low-budget horror film before the end of my cheesy low-budget life and though I can't finance a whole film by myself (no matter how many children I sell) I've just enough to produce a small proof of concept. Which, if all goes to plan will show to people that I at least know which end of the camera to blow in to.
It's basically a gore-filled horror-comedy-monster-mash in the spirit of The Evil Dead, Fright Night, The Monster Squad and Roadhouse...wait not Roadhouse.
We have masks, puppets (see below), exploding heads and jokes at the expense of homosexual people. Script, locations, actors and crew are at the ready...hope I don't fuck up.
P.S. Here's a nice picture of Heidi Montag in 2018
I animated a sketch for the BBC starring British comedians Mitchell and Webb and written by some guy who isn't me. You can view it here. As you can see, it's out of sync and over compressed, just the way I like video captures of animations which take me weeks to make. Mmmhmmm.
The overall reaction to this hasn't been good at all and I can see why. I'm not animating someone else's script and performance again because I totally don't enjoy it and my heart wasn't in this at all...I'll return to writing and voice my own comedy from now on.
Philly/Baltimore meetup was amazingly fun, thanks to everyone for being so fucking classy as usual. I'm back in UK now working on more stuff for work but I really hope to have something up here on Newgrounds soon. Don't you forget about me...don't, don't, don't, don't.
Love you all
PS Azns lol
Here is my newest of 3 BBC shorts I've signed on to do over the coming months.
What a week this has been. I consider this page the closest thing I have to a blog where I can discuss things fairly candidly and I'm going to take this opportunity to expel a big fat sigh of relief that this project is over because it was an absolute fucking nightmare from beginning to end. I animated this in 6 GODDAMN DAYS without a script to work from. It was an idea I had high hopes for but the self inflicted time limit I had (caused by gross procrastination) made this impossible to finish to the standard I had wanted. I hate the last 10 seconds of this more than all of my 2004 spam combined and they really let down an otherwise okay spoof. I had planned another minute or so of great gags and animation...but I just couldn't do it. What a fuck up.
Huge thanks to my savior Sucho for colouring* the backgrounds for the short. Hope you spend that $9 well Such. This was the first time I've employed another artist and as deadlines are starting to become priority I may well do it again...forward me details if you want to earn some green doing that sort of monkeywork...I MEAN
On the bright side, I stayed up 48 hours straight to finish this for today and at least proved to myself that I'm not the huge puss I thought I may be. Better still, I am literally having the busiest time of my life and still have another 2 projects coming out THIS MONTH which I'm excited about.
Then Starbarians in April....I SWEAR
Happy Harry Happy
* Fuck off, I'm British