I've been starting to tweak Doctor Chaotic's design, as well as revisiting a character called White Owl, who was created back in 2013 for a minor university assignment. I've had an idea for a short, largely focusing on Doctor Chaotic, that would help set the stage for the further stories involving the two of them that I think have quite significant potential in terms of story and humour.
I decided to rebrand the Facebook page I had set up for "This is Normal" so that it was for my animation and cartoon work as a whole rather than just that one property. To this effect, the new cover image - shown above - features original characters to help get across more of the styles I normally work in, including the girl from Grave Mistake, Sprakle, and Doctor Chaotic - who I am still planning on making something with sometime this year.
Another reason for this is that I am likely to be starting a Patreon campaign soon to help bridge gaps between work. It simply makes sense to have a single base on each social media platform, and having the TiN page already there just made sense to use for Facebook.
So the results came in on the Royal Television Society student awards, and the winner was the environmentally conscious "A Messy State of Affairs" by Arty Hunt. A very topical film, given the Paris climate accords last December, the news that 2015 was the hottest year on record, AND the fact that Bristol was the European Green Capital for 2015.
And on top of that, all three of us nominees were interviewed by a writer from Skwigly, and our films all featured in the article! So if you fancy seeing what everyone had to say and watch the nominated films for yourself, then check that out over here!
I recently took a side commission alongside my work at Sun and Moon, for this training company called Tribal, who do software to help businesses and educators track classes and training, etc. Similar to the Wessex ad, it's in a much more motion-graphics-like style.
Video's embedded below the Read More break.
So, the story of "Grave Mistake" is not quite over yet! Alongside hitting 10k views on YouTube, and getting noted recognition for being featured on the front page of Newgrounds (where it has another 8k views) when they introduced that new trophy, it has been nominated for the RTS Student Awards West of England in the Animation category! It faces stiff competition in the form of Frank Harper's beautifully crafted "Between the Trees", and Arty Hunt's politically charged "A Messy State of Affairs", but I still can't wait to see it up on the screen at the Watershed on February 11.
So the "Bring Your Own Animation" meetup group here in Bristol asked a few months back if anyone in the group was interested in creating some stings for them, and recently I finally got round to making my contribution. It'd been too long since I'd done anything properly with my character Sprakle, so I thought it'd be good to use him for it.
The work I did for Sun and Moon Studios during my latest stint of freelancing there is now available to watch on their Vimeo site, and I've collated them onto a Vimeo album here!
Below the read more break, I've also embedded the short that I personally did the highest proportion of the animation of. On all of them, I did the overwhelming majority of the animation on the main character, Al Gebra, as well as significant portions of the lip syncing on various characters, and animating several of the one-shot characters. I've been told that apparently, of all the animators they had in to work on it, I was the one who did the most animation! So that's a nice little achievement to be proud of!
I wasn't sure I'd get the chance to use the above loop again, but luck came my way, and I'll be spending 6 weeks working full time at Sun and Moon Studios again! I was last there for a week of work experience in January this year, and I'm so glad that I'll get to join everyone there again.
So I'm in contact with a studio at the moment over potential work, but their work is often done in ToonBoom rather than Flash, so I've been spending time recently practising that little by little.
I've used it on my entry for this month's Do It In Ten as well, as part of my practising. I'm still a little behind where I am on Flash, but that will likely change as I get to know and get comfortable with the software.
So two and a half weeks after I posted "Grave Mistake" to Newgrounds, I finally uploaded my film for the BBC Listening Project, and it got a warm reception - winning Daily 5th, and being one of two of that day's Top 5 to be featured on the Newgrounds home page. I'm glad it's done as well as it has - humour and parody definitely play better with the audience of Newgrounds than the kind of thought-provoking documentary style thing like my film, so I'm definitely happy to see it get this far.
It'll be up on YouTube tomorrow.
Wessex Student Bus Pass
So recently, I was recently contacted by one of the people from CrowdReach.co.uk to animate an advert for the Wessex Star bus service for university students. All of the visual aspects were left to me, including the visual design (beyond a basic "motion graphic" style mentioned in the original e-mail) and the storyboarding, as well as the animation.
The deadline was super-tight - I only had the final audio in the last two days of working on it, and only had the script for two days before that, so this was completed in it's entirety in 4 days.
"Grave Mistake" achieved a few honours after it was posted to Newgrounds at the start of September. It won the Daily Feature, and was placed 3rd for the week - meaning that it is in the running for the Best of the Month competition at the end of September. Even if it doesn't place in the top 10, it will likely earn a slot among the runners up. It also got a score of 4.39 at it's highest point, making it the most highly rated submission to Newgrounds that I've ever done.
Newgrounds was the site that first introduced me to Flash animation back in 2005, so to receive such acknowledgement after all this time feels like vindication for everything I did up to where I am now, and encouragement to keep going on with it.
So, not only has Grave Mistake been featured on "Show Me the Animation"'s Student Showcase, but my entry to the Do It In Ten competition won this month's round! It's now in the running for the Best of the Year prize as well! So yeh, thank you to Show Me the Animation for helping my work reach more people, and thank you for selecting my entry as the winning one!
So with the free time I've had after finishing at A Productions, I've cooked up a quick entry into Show Me The Animation's "Do it in Ten" competition. The last theme they had was "Sweat", so I decided to play around a little bit with mine. You can see it on the SMTA website here, or on the YouTube embed below.
The Arnolfini show went ahead today, and barring some significant audio issues with the film reel, it went pretty well! Decent turnout considering any advertising we did was incredibly last minute, and plenty of people from the course sticking around to help set it up and take it down.
The next time the show will be on is in London, 17-18 July. However, I've opted to not take part in that one given that I'm looking to stay in Bristol, making showing off to London studios rather redundant. It'd probably take an offer from Cartoon Network Europe to get me to move there at the moment.
The Degree Show is now on at Bower Ashton from now until next Friday, 10-6 every day! Our films will be playing on loop the whole time, so you should be able to catch everyone's films about once an hour with the length of the reel as is.
You can also see all of our promotional posters as well as a selection of our preproduction work in the display rooms, and watch the films on-demand in the darkened computer room.
I've successfully applied for an internship at A Productions here in Bristol! I'll be there 8 weeks until the 21st August. It'll be great to finally have my foot fully in the door of the industry and to be working full time in a studio.
Let's do this!
On Wednesday, the Degree Show Crowdfunder hit it's target of £2000, meaning that we're set to go ahead with our shows, both in uni, and at the Arnolfini.
You can come to Bower Ashton Campus, 10am-6pm, 6-11 June and check it all out, or come along to our exhibition on one of the upper floors of the Arnolfini on the 18 June 4-8pm. This'll be the first big outing of 'Grave Mistake', so if you want to check that out, then come along to one of those days!
One offer I am going to throw out there to anyone in the animation industry, if you're interested in seeing 'Grave Mistake', just shoot me an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I'll be able to provide a private link. It's time for me to throw myself open for hire for any studio to take me on wherever my skills might fit, so anyone with active links to industry, feel free to hit me up!
I'm moving house last week of June, so I'd prefer for any internship to start after that, just so I have all my shit together and am not freaking out about balancing moving and starting a new job in the same week. Just a head's up.
With my final hand-in today, I'm now no longer bound to any work that contributes to my overall grade for my Animation degree. The die is cast. Very weird feeling, but with internships opening for applications, I'm hoping I should be able to hop on board an exciting project and get myself going in the world of professional animation.
It's really quite surreal, knowing that from my graduation onwards, I'll be done with formal education. Quite scary, really.
Still, the future awaits. I should probably get on and make it count.