Here is why you have to build momentum well in advance of the release of your project. Louis CK apparently surprised fans with the release of his new web series Horace and Pete. With no build up, getting a hungry audience waiting for the release, he found himself in serous debt as a result.
According to the A.V. Club, "CK says he became so enamored with the idea of surprising fans, he kind of forgot he had to sell the thing as well:"
"I didn’t tell anybody about it cause here’s the thing: I got so excited by the idea of having a show appear from nothing. So I made the first four and I didn’t tell nobody, and it made a nice little amount of money, but when I got to episode four I was like “Hey gang, I don’t have any money!” So I had to take out a line of credit… I’m millions of dollars in debt right now."
Rather than use established services like Vimeo on Demand or Amazon, Louis CK chose to sell the show for approximately $3 per episode from his own website. You may remember he made big news years ago, and I certainly wrote a lot about it, when he released his own comedy special for $5 from his website and made over $1 million is a couple of weeks selling it. We can only hope as press continues about his latest endeavour, that fans will jump in and buy the show, allowing him to profit enough to pay actors like Steve Buscemi and Alan Alda their cut.
The animation production software Toonz, developed in conjunction and used by Studio Ghibli, will be released Open Source on March 26th. A Japanese developer, Dwango, has apparently acquired the software from the Italian developer, Digital Video, and will release the "Ghibli Edition" of the tool under the name Opentoonz.
Atsushi Okui, the Executive Imaging Director at Studio Ghibli, said, “During the production of Princess Mononoke in 1995, we needed a software which enables us to create a certain section of the animation digitally. We checked for what was available at that time and chose Toonz. Our requirement was that in order to continue producing theater-quality animation without additional stress, the software must have the ability to combine the hand-drawn animation with the digitally painted ones seamlessly. From then onwards we continued to use the software while going through major updates to make it easier for us to use. We are happy to hear that this open-source version contains the Ghibli Edition. We hope that many people inside and outside of the animation industry will utilize this software for their work. We would like to extend our gratitude to the staff of Digital Video.”
Read more at AWN.
With so much content out there on the Internet today, it is extremely rare to come across something that actually impresses. Recently, I came across something that did just that. Featuring a very creative mix of 2D hand-drawn animation, 3D cel shaded work, and 3D VFX, this work is one of the most amazing independent projects I have seen coming up in a very long time.
The creator, who goes by the name of Daetrix, posted to the Black Science Fiction Society Facebook group saying:
"I almost never let my sci fi anime out for public viewing due to a few people telling me "Black people don't like science fiction" This labor of love is based on my life and bouts with Sleep paralysis and lucid dreams. I joined a few groups in hopes to find like-minded folks to share it with. "
So why am I so impressed with this? Well, one of the things that stood out immediately for me, was the sheer creativity behind this. Most independent projects out there, including some of mine I must say, are just rips of things that already exist. They just want to copy anime, or Marvel comics, or other properties that we have seen before. That is not the case here. This project is showing some amazing imagery which is really new for our industry.
This creator is also following a true independent path. Rather than jumping on the bandwagon of major publishers, he is looking to forge his own road. Hoping to find like-minded people in order to share his talent with, he has set up a page on Patreon. You may remember that I spoke about this service in the Chaos Retro video. This lets creators connect directly with their fans and receive support for their creative endeavors. This means that artists can create what they want to create without editors and publishers telling them how to do it. You can see his Patreon page here.
Seeing this has definitely motivated me to do more, push harder, and be more productive in my own efforts. How about you?
Aspiring Filmmakers, Ava DuVernay Thinks You Should Lose the Desperation and Just Make Something!
"I rarely meet people who tell me what they're doing. I often meet people who ask, "Can you help me?" or "How do I do this?" or "Do you want to have coffee?" "Can I take you to coffee?" "Can we grab a coffee?" "I'd love to take you to coffee and pick your brain a little bit." "Can I send you a script?" "Can you read my script?" "I have a script that I'd love for you to just check out if you can." "Can you be my mentor?" "I need a mentor." "I would love if you could mentor me." "Is it possible for us to talk?" All of that energy, all of that focus to extract from other people is distracting you from what you're doing. All of that is desperation.
When I figured that out, things started to change for me. When I'm meeting people and they're in that moment, I want to say something to them. "Knock it off, because it's never going to work for you." That feeling of "I need help. I need all of these things to proceed." And when I got that, a revolution happened for me."
This is definitely worth a watch.
While I have seemingly abandoned Lightwave completely, today, this doesn’t mean I am against it in any way. I still follow it in the industry news and have been getting interested in the most recent versions. One of the primary reasons I don’t use it is simply because I lost my dongle some years ago. I realise the dongle is no longer necessary today, but I also began using Poser. MODO is another tool, created by the original developers of Lightwave, that also kept me from going back to it.
I never had any illusions that Poser cel shading looked as good as what Lightwave could provide. Lightwave’s cel shader was written by a diehard Japanese animation fan. This is a guy I would run into at Anime Expo and other conventions having nothing to do with Lightwave and 3D, and we would chat just about the art. With the possible exception of MODO, whose cel shader is likely written by the same guy, I have never seen any cartoon rendering system that has a look so perfect for anime as was in Lightwave.
My choice of Poser was all about speed. You may remember I used to sell a Lightwave character model bundle. I spent years building up that bundle and only by reusing parts and pieces of it, as bases, did creating new characters for show ideas I had become feasible. With Poser, I didn’t have to worry about that. Everything you could ever want was just there. It was just a matter of moving dials and creating morph targets to change the many existing characters into whatever one might need. All the clothing and costuming options were available on these huge content sites and they were cheap. You could mix and match things, rearrange existing content into anything you wanted, and because it was cel shaded, you didn’t have the limitations common to 3D. You could just smash one item into another and it would work in cartoon rendering.
Poser also had some other speed tools. The walk designer which made walking and running easy; The talk designer for automatic lip sync; Good cloth simulation, and those huge content sites also included many great sets and environments which could be easily retextured, kit bashed and repurposed for any use. There are also huge mocap libraries out there, both paid and free, which easily work with Poser. There are certain types of shows where I could still see an advantage to using the Poser method, especially if you wanted to do a series and release an episode every month or so.
As you know, Gwenn’s Celles et Ceux, which I wrote about in the past, is true 2D animation with very little 3D in it. As you likely also know, I currently do most of my work in 2D, using TVPaint on a Samsung 10.1 Galaxy Note. Fully 3D cel shaded work will never look like Celles et Ceux. The advantage of it is you may be able to get close, and get there much faster. The thing is, back when I started, 2D tech was nowhere near where it is today. You may remember a software I used called Aura back in the days of Chaos and Shadowskin. That was TVPaint version 6 I believe. The latest versions of TVPaint have things which make 2D a real competitor with my cel shading methods now. Also I have been drawing and improving almost everyday for 3 years on this tablet. I have gotten better and faster, which makes 2D even more viable.
When you consider these things, one must really weigh all the pros and cons when choosing whether or not to do show in 3D cel shading or real 2D hand drawing. One must also weigh which one will be more ENJOYABLE for the artist, as any method is still going to be a lot of work and a huge time investment.