Wednesday, April 30, 2008

So tired...

...need... sleep...

Monday, April 28, 2008

The New Adventures of Astro Andy

So here's a little thing I did a while back for, well, no particular reason. It's an Astro Andy story, sort of laid out in comic book form. Mostly because it was quick.

Hopefully, you'll be able to click the images for ones that are easy to read.

If clicking on those doesn't work, they're here too -

Page 1

Page 2

Friday, April 25, 2008

Hitting my limit

I was always a B student who was prone to getting Cs. Not As. No, I was never that good. Never best at anything. But decent, and that meant high expectations. Why wasn't I getting As? Where did this C come from?

Of course the dumbass students who failed consistently got a bloody party any time they scraped a D.

But, now, my Bs, which slipped to Cs, have slipped all the way down to fail. I'm in a bigger pool. Of people with actual talent. I can't compete any more. I'm done.

And yet there is something oddly familiar about that feeling of inadequacy. It's almost comfortable. Like I'd rather be that fail student who gets the cake for just getting his name right on a paper.

The rejection I got yesterday didn't even come with a letter. It came with a card. A little rejection card.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

But what am I going home to?

These rejection letters are full of apologies. Apologies for the stock letter. Sorry for the bad news. We regret to inform you... and so on. It's like if you're beating someone over the head with a mallet and you're apologising while doing it - if you really meant it, you'd stop before their head was just a bloody mess at your feet. Then you'd buy them, I don't know, flowers or something. It might have to be something better depending on when you stopped beating them.

Every single one of them has been a stock letter. Actually, I think the number of letters I got so far has already exceeded the number of submissions I made. I think I'm being rejected in advance.

And, yes, some of them didn't even have the decency to write my name on the letter. Re: Your Submission my hole.

I'm such a loser.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Home time

Early on in my career, I realised that working late is an accepted norm. It took a small stint at a games company to see the flaw in it though. There, I saw a workplace where it was normal to stay until about 10pm just about every night. Anyone who left on time was seen as not really putting in the effort.

And yet, for a large part of the day, I saw people sitting around doing very little. Chatting about that club (Ministy of Sound I think it was - that may tell you the location of the company), about other games, about DJing and (yes, it's those lazy 3D animators again) waiting for their previews to 'render'.

But everyone considered themselves to be working hard because they were going to be there until 10. It was completely flawed. If they had accepted that they were to go home at 5pm, they would probably have got more actual work done and had the evening all to themselves.

Long after that, in television productions, I saw people working late mostly due to poor planning by producers. If your animators need to stay late on a regular basis, you need to hire more animators. Simple as that.

But don't judge me because I have Saw IV on dvd and I plan on actually going home at some point to watch it.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The graveyard

Since learning Flash, I have been enthusiastic about the ability to make a little short all by myself. Even if it's crap. Just an expression of an idea.

But, in reality, what I have ended up with is a big folder full of unfinished Flash files. Barely started actually. Usually I draw a face. And then I'm bored.


Must... finish... something.

See this is why I like single drawings. That one above? Yeah okay, it might be rubbish but it's finished. That counts for something. Doesn't it?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Why so fast?

This is pretty much how things have been going lately. I've got a project I think could be great.

Others don't seem to share that opinion.

I have never seen the post come so fast in my life.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Kings of the Children's Channels

Oh but aren't parents ultimately responsible for what their children watch? Sure, but the shit they have to pick from is chosen by these people. The people who resisted the change that would outlaw junk food ads specifically targetting children.

I'm just reading the same ban might be brought into Ireland following it happening in the UK last year. I wonder if the reaction within the industry will be the same? Here's my take on it -

If you do not have the best interests of children at heart at all times, you have no business being in children's television.

Thing is, most do and that's great but sometimes money just gets in the way.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The real video nasties

Films that should be banned: Chick Flicks.

Not because they are bad movies. Okay, they aren't my thing but some of them are very well made. No, chick flicks should be banned because they are really, really bad for people. Especially women. They are damaging to women everywhere.

Most, if not all, chick flicks send the message that women need a man. More than that, a needy woman will take any man that shows the slightest bit of interest. The only two requirements a woman needs to fall for a man according to these movies - a) they're needy, b) the man shows some interest.

That's it.

Bridget Jones's Diary: Colin Firth's character is an asshole. All the way through the movie. He's a complete dick. But Bridget Jones feels she's getting old and is needy as she's cheated on by that guy who got a blowjob in a car and Firth then shows a bit of interest and that's all she needs. They live happily ever after. The end.

High Fidelity: Yeah it focuses on the guy but it's totally a chick flick. Girlfriend dumps that 80s guy for being a complete dick (see a pattern?). He doesn't change. What does change is that her father dies. She needs someone and comes back to him. They live happily ever after. The end.

Sliding Doors: Something bad happens to Paltrow (I can't quite remember but wasn't she being cheated on?). Meets an annoying Scottish dick (always a dick). She's needy. They probably live happily ever after, I don't really know as I couldn't stomach that Scottish gobshite.

You've Got Mail: This one's a doozy. She's needy because the guy is putting her out of business. He shows some interest. They live happily ever after. Man, that guy has it worked out. He has learned from chick flicks and actually creates that need himself.

I could go on. They're all the same. Girl is needy. Guy is a dick but shows a bit of interest. They live happily ever after. Is that the lesson we want women to learn? Show some self-respect, girls. Seriously, come on. Most of you are better than that. You shouldn't be watching this crap. They are bad for you. You can do so much better than the stupid-ass girls in these movies. It's not romantic, it's emotional extortion. Or something.

The other effect of these movies is that they show two people who are clearly incompatible getting together and then the movie ends before they show the rows and the inevitible break-up. So it gives totally unrealistic expectations of how relationships work. Women are looking for this movie magic and think something is wrong when they don't get that. Nothing is wrong. That's just life. Life is not those movies.

Chick flicks should be banned. That was the general gist of all this.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Why we need film censors

Censorship can be quite ridiculous. The recent Ren & Stimpy DVDs were cut over here even though they were now being pitched to adults. What was worse, they weren't even offered an adult certificate. The assumption was animation = children. Okay so R&S was on shakey ground as it was initially aimed at children. Still, censorship of it now seems odd.

There was also the video nasty scare of the 80s in the UK. Anyone old enough to remember that? A friend and I were in a video shop for about an hour and forty minutes trying to get the courage up to try to rent a video called 'House of Whipcord' even though we were too young. We chickened out. Just a couple of weeks later we saw it among a bunch of video nasties being pulled.

Man, we wished we had tried to rent it. I must try to track it down now to see if it was any good.

More recently, video games seem to be the new video nasties. But, so far, I haven't seen much that warrants attention. But all through these changes and scares, I see films that should be censored or banned that remain untouched.

Home Alone is one of those films.

Cartoon violence is usually quite funny. Cartoon characters can drop anvils on each other and there's no damage - they're cartoons. They are beings that do not exist in real life. They do not obey real world physics. They do not have the same pain neuron thingies we do and their families won't mourn if they get shot in the face.

But Home Alone did this with real people (okay maybe not shooting them in the face). Bowling balls on the head. You could kill someone doing that. If they survive, they would likely have permanent brain damage. If they're really lucky, they might just have to spend several years learning to walk or speak again while their partners feed them, wipe their asses and so on. Is that funny? Is that something you want in a kid's movie? It's rather hideous.

Films need to show consequences. Especially for children.

Something like Rambo would be better for kids because at least it shows that, if you commit an act of violence, the victim will die in a bloody hell. It's a lesson. Home Alone just revelled in lying to children about the effects their future violence would have. Home Alone is far more dangerous than any horror film, is horribly misleading and should have been banned. That I just don't like the movie is entirely coincidental, honest.

But there is a whole genre of movie that I think should be censored and I'll go into that another time.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Politically Correct

I can't imagine under what circumstances some guy would come up to me with a clipboard and ask if I'm the depressed guy but what the hell, eh? It's just a doodle.

Monday, April 7, 2008

We've been observing your Earth

"People are fundamentally greedy."

This was one of the comments on my last post. I disagree. I believe, yeah, there's greed in us but there's also much more. But, right now, the few with the higher capacity for greed are manipulating us, bringing that greed to the fore for their own gain. Pushing the view that we should be greedy.

Almost all advertising is telling us that we should have everything we want. Not we as people. We as the one individual watching and just that individual. Because you're worth it. Don't worry about everyone else - it's you that matters and why the hell shouldn't you have everything you want? This message drives consumerism and also lands people in money traps. To use an old cliche, it creates wage slaves.

Some people even apply the bullshit 'trickle down' theory to happiness, saying if you are happy, that will rub off on other people or it's all about getting the individual happy and, eventually, you'll get to everyone. Like economics, the flaw is that the people at the top are doing their damndest to make sure not a shred trickles down. That's the greed.

Most self-help books are about blinding yourself to the shit in the world and convincing yourself you're happy in your own little blind bubble.

That's bullshit.

I don't believe any person on this planet should be happy as long as one person suffers. But, as it happens, people do walk around in their blind bubbles. I guess they have to. If we were always consciously aware of the hideous things going on with other people, we'd drive ourselves crazy. But that's being taken too far and people are cashing in on that. Diversion tactics, nurturing and feeding that greed, and a bombardment of information to create confusion. And we're falling for it.

So, yeah, aliens observing our planet would have a hard time finding something good.

But I believe this is just one part of us that is currently being exploited. I believe we're so much better than that. I believe we also have generosity, compassion, love and other cheesy emotional stuff inside us and I think that's just as strong as the greed. But those in power, as power itself draws the greedier people, are manipulating the negative.

What's worse is the apathy that this is creating. People are fundamentally greedy. Andy I'm going to call you out and say shame on you. By accepting the negative and just getting on with things, it allows them to happen. People hear of atrocities and think, well, that's people for you, eh? Rather than, we should be better than that. If it's taken as a given that we're all a bunch of assholes, how could we possibly be any better? It's a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Well, I say fuck that.

I want those hippies back. I want to unite the world in love. I don't want anyone to rest until every single person on this planet is happy. I want us to be better. I want us to be some kitsch vision of the future where we wear white sheets and flowers in our hair. I want us to take baths of course and I want us to be beautiful. Because that's what we can be.

Let's be beautiful. Then we can really call those occupants of interstellar craft.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Calling occupants of interstellar craft

I missed the hippy era. I was too young. Looking back at that time, many people certainly looked ridiculous. But then I listen to the messages of peace and love and I wonder what happened to it all. There was this huge belief in our own potential, that we could live together in happiness. And then, later, while some countries were trying to get to space to piss other countries off and find new ways of blowing the shit out of each other, huge numbers of people in those countries were dreaming of what we would find - that someone would hear a message of friendship and love and make contact to help make our world, our selves, better.

It was about hope.

I was listening to Leonard Nimoy's (yes, Spock) album 'Highly Illogical' the other day and some of the hopes in it are wonderful. By the way, if anyone can recommend some albums from that time filled with positivity and hope, I'd love to hear about them.

I wonder what went wrong. Few people, few children, seem to look to the stars any more. They're too busy worrying about their careers, about making rich people even more rich. As ridiculous as some hippies looked, and it did look like some of them didn't wash, I can't help feeling they were on to something.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Where are the animation writers?

This is something I wondered when going through the blogs I read. I can find loads of blogs on animation from the drawing end, animators, cartoonists and so on but just one on animation writing.

And yet every show has a team of animation writers. Where are they? Why aren't they talking about their craft? Where are the animation writers' message boards?

I love writing. I have nothing but admiration for writers generally, especially comedy writers. I think that writing well takes skill, talent and a knowledge of the craft that most people will just never get. And there are some fantastic writer's websites and blogs out there. Just not from animation writers.

So, if writers in other forms have a web presence, it can't be due to my first thought which was - maybe they're just solitary creatures, as many writers are?

Is it that they haven't a real interest in cartoons? They're just hoping to get the paychecks in while they hawk that movie script around? Are they ashamed of what they do? Or maybe it's that a huge amount of cartoons are dictated by producers, broadcasters and the interests of global co-productions so the writers are hired as little more than typists. In that scenario, there's damn all to talk about. But, really, I just don't know.

I know a couple of animation writers. I'll ask them. If you know any or can track some down, ask them - why are they invisible?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April Fools Day

I guess clowns put on the suit by choice. And think they're funny. So that doesn't really apply.

They're not. Funny, I mean. Clowns.

I was thinking of making something up and posting it as an April Fool thingy. Like I was really Glen Keane or something. But then I thought, wouldn't it be great if this day was used for good news?

Like - "Ha! April Fool! There never was an Iraq War! Totally had you going there didn't I? Yeah, like you totally thought people had died. Man, should have seen your face."

Or - "April Fool! There's no such thing as cancer! We've been hiding those relatives you thought were dead in a nice ski resort! There's no big bad disease to be afraid of, but you thought there was, right? Right?"

That sort of thing. Unfortunately, I can't offer that. I'd love to and I would if I could. But I'm sure there will be some funny stories floating around the internet today. But it has me reminiscing about the days of the mythical Street Fighter 2 Shen Long code that always surfaced on this day many years ago. Those were the days.