Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"Shake Your Betty"

Well, that's classy...

This trifle quickly became my most viewed clip on YouTube. I frequently got notices about new comments during it's run, the most popular one being "WTF?". I wasn't surprised.

It was just making the most out of unused scraps. My clip "Flintstones Forgery " has a moment where Wilma leaves the room by flipping her butt at Fred, and the first take on it seemed too much, so I changed it to a subdued version for that, but had this Wilma body left as a series of symbols in the project file. It was easy enough to flip the image, change the dress color to blue and swap in Betty's head, a few more frames and they were doing the bump.

I took that cycle, as well as ones of each alone, and just repeated them over different backgrounds for a minute or two. It didn't take long enough for me to stop myself and ask "what's the point of this?", so I then had this clip that amounted to nothing more than Betty & Wilma shaking their asses and doing the bump. I named it "Shake Your Betty", added the disco-era song you'd expect with a title like that and threw it up to see if I attracted a different audience than my other clips by being able to add "booty" to the tags.

It zipped past the others in views, easily 10 times whatever they were getting just being tagged "Cartoon", "Animation", and "Flash". More folks are searchin' for those booty clips out there! It held on for a while until early this year I received an email telling me there were music rights issues with using the song.

And that was enough of a sign that it was time to retire it. My claim to fame and bane of shame was deleted by user. It ain't going in any portfolio, either. I'm not looking to be known as the "Wilma's ass guy" any more than I am to be sued by a music publisher. I guess it would be hard to know if someone copied it and posted their own version of it somewhere, since that's what happened with Flintstones Forgery. I stumbled across someone's reedited version of it, and they never let me know they did it, so who knows? They're welcome to take credit for it. Let's just say every now and then Alan Smithee does a cartoon, too.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Escape From Obscurity?

Hello out there in cartoon-land! I've been frequenting the interconnected network of cartoon blogs branching out from "John K Stuff", and finding plenty of great artists out there with very similar influences. It's always seemed like there's a fine line between self-promotion and pest, and I've always been uncertain which side I'll fall on if I try to get the attention of people who seem to be doing the same things I am. Every one of them was a stranger to each other at one point, but by the time I know who they are I'll imagine it's practically an exclusive club that's not really looking for the intrusion of an"outsider". Not a useful thing to expect rejection, but if you're an artist, I'm guessing you're familiar with the term.

Well, I couldn't feel much more like an outsider in my day to day life, surrounded by people at work that share no interests other than earning paychecks. Half the time I'm surrounded by people all speaking a different language, which really makes you feel like you belong. Going through these blogs helps assure me that more people like me are out there, They just have no idea that I'm here.

I've tried the whole assuming I'll be looked at like a wanna-be pest for a while, so I thought I might give actually trying to become known a shot. I've been adding my 2 cents on John K's posts for a while, annoyingly peppering my comments with mentions of myself and what I'm doing. I've resisted doing the "Hey, check out my blog!" thing because I find it a little obnoxious to ignore the topic of a post and just comment with a cry for attention. I'll also start commenting on other people's posts to help gain a little familiarity within the "community", but then only when I actually have something to add.

Next I'll start popping up as a follower of the blogs that catch my attention, and I'll start to fill out a links list for my blog, so in the event that someone's on it they can jump to some of the other fun filled blogs from mine. The internet is certainly a blessing in allowing people to make their work easily available to be seen by whoever they'd like, but you still have to figure out how to intice them to go there first. I think it's often more likely someone will take a liking to your work if you're not actively trying to ram it down their throats. There's a tendency to resist something somebody has to campaign for your attention over, as if it must be worthless if they have to try so hard.

I'm not a natuarl born networker, so if you're an artist who's blog I liked and I send you something, fear not. I'm not likely to become a pest and keep sending things, I'm just fishing for gaining familiarity. So far I've probably creeped out Kali Fontecchio by sending her my take on her character. I hope she didn't think I was just looking to pass messages through her to John K, or that I had any other motives. I'm just attempting to become known by some folks. It may just result in not being taken seriously by those more professionally positioned, like it's cute that I'm playing "the home version of the game" and I was just looking for a pat on the head from a "Pro", or it may finally get me connected a little more meaningfully with some people for a change. They often say it's not what you know, it's who you know. Well, I don't know anybody, so what sort of chance does that give me? Anyway, it's really neither of those options, it's who knows you.

Putting your stuff online is a bit like a giant "Where's Waldo?" page, and even then, the difference is that people at least know what Waldo looks like. I think it gives me a slight advantage over waiting to see if other cartoonists and cartoon fans will show up at my apartment to see if anyone in there is drawing something they might like. 'Cause I've tried it. It turns out they don't so much do that.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Opie & Anthony Animation Festival

Last April, I got a new Honda with XM radio, I was trying out some of the Opie & Anthony show, and heard they were having an Animation Festival in early June. The idea was to take audio from the show and animate visuals to go along with it. I'd seen some similar things posted online, some of them not that impressive from an animation standpoint, so I started to consider it. I found a 2 minute bit that gave me a few ideas, and started to work on it. by the time I got going, I only had a couple weeks to pull the whole thing together (nights & weekends only, of course), so I had to skimp on things like backgrounds, using mostly color gradients as a cheat. It wasn't brilliant, had several flaws, but it seemed fine for it's purpose. I sent it in, and got back an email saying it made the cut and would show at the festival.

I believe they chose about twenty, but I don't recall if they said out of how many total entries. The festival was held in NYC, which I'm close enough to drive to, but it's a haul. I also had to work that day, and since I long ago learned not to get all excited about contests, I opted not to try to get there.

I kind of wish I had, because it would've probably been the only way I'd have heard any reaction to it. I figured they'd discuss the festival on their show the next day, and although they certainly did, they deftly avoided ever mentioning my entry. They spent a good long while fighting with another finalist over some complaint he had, and plenty of time of several of the others, but not a word about mine. Oh well, the winner of the whole thing was a crowd pleaser I'm sure, but was little more than a "motion comic". Mainly stills with a few animated touches. I would have chosen a different entry, but not mine, as the winner in the end. A year later, did anything big happen for any of the other contestants? I haven't looked into it, but I know I'm still here, same as ever. I didn't have much expectations for it, after all.

I never posted it anywhere myself, although I spent a little time revising it with the idea of posting a "special edition" with added in-jokes and updated looks for the the guys (they both changed their hairstyles for the show, making my designs out of date), I didn't finish it because I started to question the purpose of it. Someone else posted it the next day, so I'll link that version here. It's also available on iTunes as part of a compilation of festival entries. The funny thing being that several of the clips, including the big winner, couldn't be included because the creators used copyrighted music in them. Way to limit yourselves, guys!

Here's the clip:

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Trick Sandwich

I might as well put up a few of these pages. These are a collection of random panels, mostly done in the mid-eighties (and colored in the early 2000s). I put together a B&W mini comic a few years back of these that I hauled out to a couple comic cons (not the San Diego one, though). I called the collection "Trick Sandwich". There's over a dozen of them, so I'll post one every now and then. Let's start with this one, can't we?:
click to view