Friday, May 28, 2010

Grants or no grants? How does one afford this stuff?

I want to make my art. It might further my career, it might not. But my goal is to make the art I want to make. To tell a story I need to tell. To apply everything I've learned and everything I love. To have full ownership and authorship of my work, for better or worse.

So, I make more money than I need. So that I can work 9 months of the year, and take 3 months, unpaid, and continue to pay the rent and the bills and just work on whatever I want.

I work in a creative industry. But, the clients have the money, and ultimately the say. This can be very frustrating, as even they stand in the way of their best interest at times. They are tied to a system of meetings, and notes, and blindly distributed accountability.

Grants are their own issue...I've looked into them in the past. It seemed to me that the leg work involved (making a trailer for a short film that's not already made?) did not equate with the pay off ($2500???). This is money I could save simply by working, and not living beyond my means.

In the end it's about how you spend your money. I don't spend my money on fancy suits, or cars. Sure, I invest in technology, but most of that is related to my creations. I use my money to buy time. Time to make some stuff I like.

Monday, May 24, 2010

How to deal with distractions?

How do I deal with distractions?

Not well. hah, I have ADHD, and I am sooo easily distracted. For this reason I can NEVER work at a coffee shop. I mostly will just end up people watching, because people are interesting, and there is so much distraction. I don't know how people focus better in those environments. Maybe it's just the stimulants?

I think it ends up being that when I get to crunch time, and I need to get stuff done, I quit Firefox and iChat. These are my main distractions during the day.

I've seen apps that will disable the internet on your computer for a preset period of time, but this seems like overkill to me. It's just about not running those apps. That internet is damn addicting, especially for procrastination.

The only legitimate excuse I have for internet while I'm working on Fathoms is for tutorials or forums for when I can't find the right nob to turn in Cinema4D.

There's also real world stuff to distract, but, in my home office, with some good music cranked up, nothing phases me.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Preparing the 2.8D rig, or what should I call this thing?!

I have settled on my character animation technique. It will be built mostly in Cinema 4D. I still want to create something that feels like a comic book, but have fairly fluid motion. I am calling my technique 2.75D, or 2.8D, or even 2.9D? ...or something close to that. It's not 2.5D (2d planes in 3d space), and its not 3d (fully volumetric), it's a Frankenstein hybrid.

It's meant to look pretty flat, but retain the dynamics of 3d, as well as the humanity/illustration qualities of 2D hand drawn works. I think everything will have a slightly sketchy look as well. I'll post my animation test soon, or some kind of crude diagram of how it works...once I've proven that it totally works, hah.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My philosophy

I have many thick-headed beliefs, but the way I generally operate is:

Aim for the stars, land on the moon.

I always bite off something bigger than I can chew. But if I learn from it, and make some small accomplishment, even if the greater mission is a failure, then, success (to me, anyway)!

How do you roll?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Spirit, Broken

This xkcd comic summarizes the spirit (pun?) of Fathoms. It's about hope, and it's about sadness. It's about isolation, and it's about the human condition. I think it's one of the best single-panel comics I've ever read.

Speaking of broken things, my laptop is on the verge of breaking, and it's time to replace it. I'm thinking about getting a faster processor so it can help with renders down the line. But, for now I'm going to save my money and ponder character animation techniques.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Families are tough

I have been called away from my attempt to post daily by a family medical emergency. I will come up with something interesting, and relative to post soon. Healing happens too....

Monday, May 10, 2010

3 little questions

These are three very important questions:

What was the artist trying to achieve?

Did they succeed?

Was it worth doing?

Roughly quoted from Henry James/Art & Fear.

If you watch Fathoms, and you don't know what I am trying to achieve, then I will have failed. If I succeed, it will have been worth doing (rather, completing) for me. And that's all I can really hope for with this project.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The weight of water

A simple test render of what the surface water could look like in Fathoms. It's even nicer in motion, trust me!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Art & Fear

"The artists are different. They took a leap.
They weren't pushed. They jumped."

~Seth Godin

Friday, May 7, 2010

Story & Plot - Star-crossed lovers in a delicate balancing act

It took reading some very blunt advice to realize that I'm good at creating plot (what happens), but not at story (what it means).

Plot is the action, the thing that happens to the characters.
Story is characters, and their reactions to the plot.

Both are critical, and interwoven. They inform and drive each other. They are inseperable, and if either has too much weight, the film falls apart. The plot drives things forward, but the story gives the plot meaning, purpose, value.

So, I continue pushing, pulling, revising, and rethinking Fathoms until the river flows freely with emotional gold. I'm not quite there, YET!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Things that are old, but not dead

These are some thumbnail sketches for deep sea dive suits for one of the characters in Fathoms. Courtesy of master mechanical designer Mike Doscher. I can not say enough wonderful things about him and his work. These are old, but the new story still includes scenes with the dive suit. So this is still relevant stuff.

I will be posting more artwork, including things that will never be used in the final film in the coming days, weeks, and months.

Keep on swimming...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

On Storytelling

I have been drawing since I was a wee child. I have been working on my visual language for all of my (short) life. Finding the right imagery and stylistic choices for the art and animation of Fathoms is not an easy choice, but, it is a choice I am much more comfortable with than the story. But, the story is the critical thing, it's the backbone, and the heart and soul of Fathoms.

It's the reason I stopped production half-way through completion of the original Fathoms, and it's the reason I am still revising my script. It may take me 5 or 6 years to complete this, but this is my baby, and I will finish it, but I also want to be happy with it. I'm not going to pump something out just to say I finished it. That works when I'm making things for paying clients, but not when it's for me. If I'm the client, and I'm not satisfied, what's the point?

The art style (for me), is just the skin, the hair, the nails. Sure, we will all judge these things first, because they take the least work to address, but, these things do not make a success (unless I'm making a demo reel).


I admit, I am not a good storyteller, not in the midst of conversation anyway.
I find that I stumble in live performance situations, including telling stories.

But, I am good at planning. If I have time to sit with my thoughts, and write something out, and let it sit, and stir, for a week or two, then I have a chance at addressing my lack of innate storytelling abilities.

I believe I have stories in me, unique, universal stories...maybe even interesting stories. And no, these stories don't include the main character finding out that they had a split personality and they were really the villain (as well as the hero) the whole time.

I have lived a little, through good and through bad. I don't always know how to connect with others, but, I think that adds to my unique perspective as a story teller/writer/auteur/director/artist/whatever.

Basically, I'm saying this: I'm very comfortable with my visual vocabulary, but I'm very uncomfortable (and unpracticed) with storytelling (and writing).

The focus of Fathoms is, at its core, a story about people and their internal struggles. So, I am still focusing on refining my story until I am absolutely satisfied that it has an air of emotional authenticity...before I start doing the 'easy' part, the visuals...again.

Also, when this is all over, I will be making an art book that includes all the original art work and storyboards for the version that sits dead on my work table. And, hopefully I will be making tiny real life models of the Scavenger Arken to give away to a few kind souls.