It took me much longer than I anticipated, but Phungus & Mold’s second episode is finally done and published. If you want to watch it you can do so immediately either via Vimeo On Demand (worldwide), or purchase downloadable mp4 files with embedded subtitles for English, German and Japanese from the Pixelblast site, or if you prefer on Gumroad. Availability on Amazon depends on region, so you might have to check back in a few days to watch it there (it will be available in the US, UK, Germany and Japan). Also, whether or not you can watch the episode for free with your Amazon Prime Subscription is at the sole discretion of the regional Amazon sites and might differ by region. As of this writing it’s included with Prime for Germany and Japan only.
Here’s Trailer 1 (groovy) of Episode 2
Here’s Trailer 2 (dramatic) of Episode 2
What I’ve Learned
I’ve learned to build better animation rigs for characters about which I am planning to create a vlog episode.
I’ve also learned that if you suck at drawing background art (which I do), there are ways to overcome some of your weaknesses with technology (which I didn’t apply this time and regret it deeply).
- Weakness 1: I never get the viewer angle right
- Solution: Moho and Motion allow you to put 2D graphics in 3D space, it’s usually called 2.5D and next time, rather than drawing the whole background in perspective as one sheet, I will probably start drawing all the walls of a room in flat view and place them in 3D space which will allow me to put the camera wherever I want (kinda), and adjust angles (within reason).
- Weakness 2: sucking at drawing light / moody lighting
- Solution: don’t. Well, I didn’t and I think all the scenes now look horribly too well lit and flat, boring. But next time I will go back to do most of my compositing in Apple Motion again (which I neglected for episode 2) and then I can use “flat” colored backgrounds, but I can put actual lights in the scene and make it moody again.
- Line Widths Are a Bitch
- Solution: at least for the characters I found an easy way now to scale line widths in a few clicks (yes, that’ll be another vlog episode) and I can make them look more consistent with each other and the background art line widths. Well that’s for episode 3, then.
- Don’t Over-Animate
- Solution: KISS (keep it simple, stupid!). I think movements of my characters are much smoother now, but in a few cases I went a bit overboard with too much motion for the kind of story I want to tell (It’s not Disney – it’s OK if characters move like Family Guy or Rick and Morty) and I went too far considering the size of team I have (i.e. 1 – yeah that’s one in words – only moi). So going back to a little more minimalistic movements, only accentuating specific words, feelings or syllables, with short “squash and stretch” moves, will make the whole thing quicker to produce, and will probably be more consistent with the genre.
I’m kinda done with film festivals for the time being (two more pending though, which were submitted over half a year ago). The reason is twofold:
For one I just wanted to test the waters showing my stuff to people who watch a lot of indie movies, to see whether what I’m creating here is acceptable or not. Whether others find it worthwhile. After winning 7 awards with my pilot I’d consider that test as: passed.
For two (or whatever follows the phrase “for one”), my theory was confirmed that almost all festivals with focus on animation, only consider artsy animation with fancy or expressive visuals “worthy”, and everything that just tries to entertain and is more commercial, to be whoring out your art and not worth considering for a prize. Just think of the commercially successful animated series you know: how many of them won a prize at an artsy film festival? Almost none. Those get other prizes, mostly connected to commercial success – and that’s fine. I personally have no problem with creating something that (hopefully) sells, and isn’t high art, even by the widest definition. I want to have fun making it, and I want people to have fun watching it. Oh my, I’m such mundane sellout commoner, aren’t I?
And Now For Something Completely Different
Step by step I’m now trying to get serious with this series. I will be attending the American Film Market for the first time, and I’m heavily preparing for it, in the hope it’s not going to be a horrible waste of time and money. Luckily they went all digital this year, so I can afford to attend this way.
I’m also proactively looking for distributors, financing partners, sales agents whoever can help me assemble a proper team, get funding and produce several seasons of the series full-time. Keep fingers crossed this will bear some fruit. If not, I just keep on churning out an episode every 6 months or so until one fine day season 1 is complete and then I can again try to find distributors and sellers to put the damn thing on TV channels and VOD platforms worldwide. These things can take years and I’m prepared for the long haul.
Now go and get the damn episode, or else. Over and out.