Contact Info / Websites
I feel honoured, blown away, light-headed, nauseous and proud to have taken the first NG tank for Waterlollies. If it weren't for Newgrounds I've no doubt I'd still be working in a studio churning out crap.
Everyone who has congratulated, commented and shown their support for the win, I truly appreciate it and this has inspired me to make more Brackenwood shorts in Flash (I had previously said that Waterlollies was the last Flash Brackenwood).
Ever since I submitted hitchHiker there has been a feeling in certain people that, having professional experience in animation, I should somehow be disqualified from the site. This seems to intensify whenever I win a daily, monthly and now annual.
In the beginning of my time here on NG, I was mortified that a handful of people felt this way so I spoke with Tom about retiring some of my movies. He convinced me that the community benefits from having high quality submissions (whether from professional or maverick) as it helps everyone lift their game a notch or two.
I don't think I've ever responded to the people who think I shouldn't be here, but here's what I have to say:
Short Version: I developed my skills in my own time. Disney hired me because of this.
Long version: My skills weren't handed to me on a plate at some elite studio. I only have a high school education which meant I worked in kitchens, factories and farms. In my free time though (every day after work and entire weekends), I worked my arse off to improve my drawing skill. I had big dreams of becoming a famous comic book artist, just like many people here have their own big dreams of becoming highly skilled animators.
I was employed by Disney only because I had worked hard to improve. If I had never worked on my skills on my own time, I never would have been employed by Disney, it's that simple.
When I was at the studio, I was an inbetweener (the starting point for a career in animation). I desperately wanted to become a character animator.. I did loads of tests to prove myself but they were rejected and I wasn't accepted. Meaning? I had to improve first.
I had also done some tests for effects animation and the FX supervisor was impressed with my test. So once accepted, I worked hard in order to graduate from the 3 month probationary training period.
Much of this work was in my own time. Whenever I was on holiday or just a day trip to the mountains or something, everyone else would be enjoying the sights while I'd be taking photos and video of water, wind, fire or smoke. My hard work paid off and I graduated from training. Once out of training though, every drawing, every scene and every day was a battle to prove that I was improving. Stagnation means you're out.
Finally, I WANT to be here and the numbers (and awards) tell me that most people want me here. Numbers aside, it's the best thing in the world for me to see someone else's work who has been inspired by my own and any of my characters making cameos in other people's films. I love helping people improve and offering advice (which admittedly is almost impossible to do 1-on-1 nowadays) and I will always be completely willing to help people get up to and beyond their goal standard.
You cannot fail if you can commit your life to your craft. I haven't stopped drawing or thinking about drawing for most of my life and as a result I landed a dream job where I was paid, not to sit back and go 'aaaah', but paid to improve.
You can do that too.
As a final thought, I was never a professional background artist, storyboard artist, layout artist or character animator. These are also skills I taught myself and am still working on improving.
The recent submissions (including one Turd of the Week) listing me as a co-author have nothing to do with me. If there's a way to remove yourself from a co-author list, I would like to know. In the meantime, I've emailed Tom to help me put it right.
update: It's been fixed now, thanks to the admin guys. I'm not sure if this means the exploit has been fixed or if my name has simply been removed from the co-authors list. Either way, thanks fellas.
If you've been having trouble viewing Waterlollies at 25fps, you can now see it on YouTube:
Unfortunately the quality isn't anywhere near what I'd like it to be but hey, that's YouTube I guess. My SWF to Video capture software also drops the occasional frame but all things considered, it's not bad at all. Feel free to embed and share it :)
OK sure it's been a month since my last post but Waterlollies is ready to submit pending one tiny addition. If that one little thing holds me up I'll submit it to NG, regardless.
To everyone who offered their support no matter how long the wait, thanks for your patience. I hated having to set estimated dates, only to see them go by as Waterlollies experienced further delays. It was (still is) pretty painful getting abusive emails, as if people thought I was sitting on my arse doing fuck all.
The fact is that having other contributors to the project meant that I could only set realistic dates for my own part of the work. So I worked hard getting all of the backgrounds, animation and effects done, putting the movie together and fine-tuning the flow of the story. For the other parts (scripting and audio) I could only encourage those artists to finish quickly, then step back and hope they would.
The important thing is that it's finished now and I hope you find that it's been worth the wait. Nathan McCree (the music guy) worked very hard on this. He's done amazing work as I knew he would. The music and the sound of Brackenwood is incredible and it adds so much to the animation. I'm very happy with the movie visually, audiblibabally and I'm also pretty happy with the story.
Speaking of story, I recently slapped my forehead as I came to the realisation that there's a difference between story telling and story writing. I do know how to tell a story well, but my story writing still needs work. I think this is why hitchHiker leaves a lasting impression. At its heart is a fantastic, gripping true story and I told it well.
My average Brackenwood movie however, the story is generally not as refined as it could be. So no matter how great the visuals, until I get my shit together the story will always seem a little lacking. There's been some positive and some negative response to Waterlollies story, but all in all I think it's better than previous Brackenwoods.
So I've invented a new motto: At the heart of a good story there's a good story.
See you in a couple of days!
when I say "finished"... I mean that my part of it is done :)
The animation is complete so I actually saw the sky a few times over the past week or so. I even had time to make an instructable. (How to make a Piano-wire slingshot) Go vote :)
So Waterlollies.. when?
Well, now I'm just waiting on the music/sound to be completed and in the meantime I can fine-tune stuff to my heart's content. It's 8 minutes long and looking like it'll be close to (perhaps a bit over) 10MB.
The actionscript guy is pretty much done too.. it's been difficult and a little frustrating to try getting intense scripted effects performing reasonably over the top of complex graphics but the best person for the job just happens to be the guy who's doing it :)
Can't wait for everyone to see it but believe me, hearing it will be something else.. the music guy has brought something to this project that I never could.
I didn't want to release any more backgrounds, but I posted a screen-capture video on YouTube of me doing a Waterlollies background, so you can see the finished piece below (click here to see the video on YouTube).
If I can't release Waterlollies before the 20th Sept, I'll wait until after Madness Day to release it.
I guess my first post here should be an apology to Brackenwood fans for the delay on Waterlollies. If you've been to the Alphas page and seen that Waterlollies is now due for release, July 22 was a hugely optimistic deadline, especially since I recently went and added about 1-2 minutes to the movie to improve the story (a punishment I ALWAYS inflict on myself when I'm halfway through a project or near the end).
Rather than set another date, I'm posting regular updates on my blog and including a graph so you can watch my progress. Right now (2am Aug 21) I'm about 82% done. For those reading this who don't know already, Waterlollies will be one movie, but I'm working on it in three parts: A, B and C. Parts A and B are complete and I'm now about halfway through part C.
When the animation is complete, I'll post a rough version for my forum members, before I package it up neatly and upload to NG. The schedule I'm keeping tells me I should be done in mid-September, but the exact date will depend on when the music guy (Nathan McCree, the composer who scored the Tomb Raider games) is finished.
I'll post here if there are any more delays, but I'm pretty sure Waterlollies will be a September release (yes to the smartarse who asked, that'll be 2007).