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.

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