Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Snow

As vague as that is, it's not even something that applies to everyone. Not everyone lives in a place where it snows during their holiday of choice. But that's as close to generalizing everything into one phrase as I'm gonna go. And I'm just gonna say it anyway:

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Geoweasel Pilot, five years later

At this time exactly five years ago, my family was getting everything ready for our two-day drive down to Florida the next day to visit family for Christmas. Meanwhile, I was in the basement with Flash 5 (which was an early Christmas present) on a Windows ME and nothing but a mouse to draw with, frantically finishing up the Geoweasel pilot episode. I had started it earlier in the month and began slacking off, but I didn't realize until there were only two days left to do so that I had to wrap this thing up. It seemed like hard work at the time, for several reasons. For one, it was only my third animation ever. Also, the sucker ended up being ten minutes long (which I didn't realize until I had completed it), which is still the longest cartoon I've made to date.
I was proud of the work I was doing and confident in myself. I kept thinking that this was going to be a great way to start the series and show people what I could do and that a lot of people would want to see more. All the while, I was just slapping symbols around the canvas and doing some horrible version of the "squash & stretch" method to some bad voice acting and terrible timing.
I published the finished cartoon later in the day and submitted it to the only place I knew of: Newgrounds. And I sat there, literally a nervous wreck, while uploading both parts. Soon, the views, ratings and comments started coming in and I had broken into a cold sweat, as if this was an actual pilot I was pitching to a network. But I got thrown off at first; many of the early comments and ratings were positive and those who commented said it was hilarious. So I calmed down and thought, I guess this is going to be good. I checked on it a couple more times and went to bed.
The next morning, I woke up really early (which I had to anyway since we were going to get on the road by six), turned on my computer and tried to check on the comments and everything quickly before my parents freaked out and said "What the heck are you doing on the computer!? Get ready!" I went to my submission and what I saw was completely different from the night before. There were a few people who left some constructive criticism and were nice enough to say to keep going at it, but aside from that, just about every comment was very hateful, whether they were saying it was a ripoff or it was just downright terrible. The rating ended up being in Newgrounds' mediocre range, somewhere between 3 and 3.5. And I had a whole day ahead of me sitting in the back seat of a car to think about that while I just stared out the window and listened to the 4-ish CDs I owned. I was already planning the next episode, Nar Vs. The Janitizer, and what I was going to do different about it and how I was going to try and improve my skills (or lack thereof). Actually, that was the only thing on my mind for that entire vacation. I couldn't wait to get back home and start the next cartoon. Because even though it was bad, I was determined to get better and create a series that people would enjoy. And now, here I am, still playing around with the same characters.

You can watch the pilot with some editing on the site or on Youtube in really low quality, or if you want to see the episode in its original form, check out part 1 and part 2 on Newgrounds.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Let's try it one more time, but with feeling

I've been fucking around with my laptop, and when I finally got it to stay on long enough, I reset everything again. So I went through the process of uninstalling the many unnecessary programs and bullcrap that comes standard with my computer and then reinstalling all my programs as needed. And since every virus program I've used in the past has proved to be a dud and I don't actually know any sensible people who've ever used them, so I asked quickly on Twitter and Facebook (and even my brother) for suggestions and the general consensus was MalwareBytes. So hopefully that program will keep me afloat for a little while, because I do not, by any means, considered this piece of junk to be "fixed." I'm still going to send it in to HP, which is really the only option I have, but for now, let's just say all systems are temporarily online.
And now that my time to make a Christmas cartoon has essentially expired, I'm going to have to make something minor, if anything at all. I've got four days. The countdown begins.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Remember how I said my laptop was working?

Apparently completely starting over with my laptop was not enough to save it. Out of nowhere a couple days ago, it just turned off on me. I tried to turn it back on and it would stay on for a few seconds starting up and then reset. That could go on forever, but I kept trying to start in safe mode or last known good settings and the same thing happened. So I guess we're sending it to HP...headquarters or something to fix the motherboard? I don't know, I'm really not as good at computers as everyone thinks I am, especially with hardware. But either way, my brother's is broken too (physical damage though, the hinges between the keyboard and screen are literally falling off), so we thought we'd just give in and send them on a journey across the world to get fixed. But then, a tad too late, we thought to call the local that we usually go to and ask his opinion and he said fixing the motherboard would not be worth it; it'd be better to buy a new computer. Well, neither option is exactly great financially, but getting a whole new computer, while I would love to switch over to a Macbook with the Adobe Suite and just have everything in one and finally stop stressing, it's just too much money in these times. We're not even really having a Christmas this year.
I don't know. I wish I could just make cartoons and not have to worry about anything. So much of my stress is caused from worrying about whether or not my computer is going to eat everything I ever made or any works in progress. Not to mention, for the first time I remembered to do something for Animation Block Party in advance. I've never submitted to an animation festival, either because I have nothing good or I find out too late, and I was determined to at least send something in, whether it got accepted or not. But I can't do that now. I mean, submissions open the 17th, but I don't know how long of a window I have to submit something. Will I have a computer where I'm able to animate within that time period? Will I even have time to do it? I'm not keen on anything I already have made. I've thought about enhancing the animation and some other things with An Apple A Day, but the script is still kind of dumb. I don't know, I just can't stop worrying and wonder what is so wrong about me wanting to make cartoons?

Hey you! Ask me something!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

What if Weas was voiced by Brian Doyle Murray?

I decided to find out. Not to mention a good little exercise to do now that my laptop is working again.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My laptop works again. We can rebuild him.

I was digging through a lot of stuff the other day, looking for my Flash 5 disc because I was about ready to install it on the family computer and just use that on and off, and I found a little package of stuff that came with my laptop, still unwrapped. I opened it up and right in the front was "Instructions for disc-less system recovery." Apparently, the only thing standing between me and having access to my own computer was...F11. Sure enough, I started it up, held in the key, and it started re-setting itself up. At a cost, of course. I lost pretty much everything I ever had, except for two things: all my fonts were still installed, and by some miracle of the gods, Flash remained intact in its entirety, while every other program had to be reinstalled. It boggles my mind, but hey, I'm not gonna question it. The only major things I have yet to reinstall are Goldwave for recording and the like, and FL Studio and PXTone for making music. Oh, and an antivirus software. For some reason, even though I get it free with Comcast, McAfee won't install correctly for me. Not that it was helping much beforehand, but at least it'd be something until we bought something better.
As for all my animations though, long before this I had backed up all the FLAs (editable files) across two thumb drives. One had all the ones from my Windows ME (which was everything through An Apple A Day), and the other had the ones from my laptop (except for the most recent three, unfortunately). When I plugged in the first thumb drive, the zip file of FLAs was there, I copied it to my laptop and extracted everything, but for some reason, all that was there were about 15 random episodes (not even in any order or anything). I plug in the second drive, and there was no zip on there for the FlAs at all. So I no longer have access to more than half of my work now. Aside from the fact that I would just like to have them for backup or records or whatever, the main problem is without the FLAs, I can't change what needs to be changed within the cartoon to make it DVD compatible. I can't just download all the SWFs of the episodes off my site and convert them because syncing methods for web viewing aren't the same as when I convert them to video for Youtube or DVD. Not that there was really a sure fire thing about the DVDs, but I had finally figured out the right method for converting the cartoons and--before all this happened--was hoping to have a volume 1 out for the holidays. But it seems like now there wouldn't be able to be regular volumes, with all the episodes in their original order. They'd just be random selections of episodes and stuff.
Whatever though. There's nothing I can do about it, so there's no use doing anything now except to continue looking forward.