Animation Test and Character Design

Every few weeks I say that I will get back on the blogging horse, but I keep failing you. I have good reasons though – I am in post-production on two films.  One of them, Suburban Cowboy, is my first as a director.  Three graphic novels are in production… And I’m still trying to get the word out about R.E.M. and Harbor Moon.  So, things have been a bit hectic lately – which is a good thing.

Today I wanted to share an animation test/character progression and design for a music video that is in production.  It is being done by Zsombor Huszka…

NY to LA… one more time.

Recently, as in a week ago, I made the move back to Los Angeles from New York.  Unlike last time (in 2002), I drove cross country.  It was cost prohibitive to ship a car and all of my stuff… and I actually wanted to drive across the country and visit some states/cities that I have yet to lay eyes on.

I wound up going through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Arkansas, New Mexico, Arizona and eventually California.  It took me about 5 days and I didn’t push myself too hard because I was doing this by myself. I may have the most boring set of photos from this trip ever, but here they are… (and yes, that is my life fitting into one car)

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These Drums Are Better Than Your Drums

We are hard at work on an animatic for the opening scene from my next animated film, Orient City: The Dark Ronin Chronicles.  Zsombor is killing it and the animatic itself is actually done. He even took a few frames and finished them so they are the ‘final’ cells from the film (you’ll see them in due time). He did a pass of sound, then I did a pass of sound… now Dragan has to do a pass of sound and mix it.

storyboard_OC_opening 1

Then, we need to add the music.  Dragan has some ideas he’s working with – but the general concept is Ennio Morricone with an oriental twist.  Like Once Upon a Time in the West meets Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. It will be epic – like the movie itself.

In laying down sounds, Zsombor put some drums to the video. When I cringed and Dragan almost threw up, he was a bit poopy. He really loved his weak-ass drums. Then Dragan broke these out and cheered him up…

Can’t Wait for Spring

This day was a tease.  60 degrees in February.  50-something yesterday.  It is just God’s way of letting us know who is in charge…. because at some point it will crash back down to temperatures in the teens.

I spent today meeting with Serge Devant, one of the world’s biggest DJ’s.  He just shot a really cool music video and caught the production bug.  We hatched a few pretty cool ideas and are hoping to get into production right away on one of them.  Stay tuned cause it’ll be an awesome video that will really get your attention.  And the song is dope too.

In fact, I heard a few of his new songs… all really good.  He’s got one called ‘You and Me’ that is banging.


Rev Theory

Chances are you’ve heard Rev Theory and not even realized it.  They have the theme song to Blue Mountain State, Broken Bones is all over AMC’s The Cleaner and their music appears in Madden Football.  If you’re lucky, you own their albums.  Even luckier if you’ve seen them live.  This band rocks.  Hard.

Start with Light It Up and make your way over to their new album Justice.  Then backtrack and pick up their indie release Truth is Currency (under the name Revelation Theory).
I haven’t been this into a band since the gang from Saved by the Bell formed ‘Zack Attack’.

Go For Broke

If you want to achieve greatness, you have to be willing to sacrifice everything. You need to be wiling to go broke, literally, figuratively and mentally.  You need sharpened focus and a heightened ability to compartmentalize your life.

I believe I have that in me.  And I think the only thing that holds me back is my desire to be great at too many things.

Sometimes at odds with this is my desire to be a good human being. Or even be a happy human being.  It is a daily battle for me as I struggle with bi-polar disorder, but I think I am winning and I actually believe it allows me to forge the path I walk through this world. I bend, I do not brake. I am a rock others break themselves against. Everything I do is focused around where I’m heading and unfortunately anyone unwilling to take that journey gets left behind. Some really great travelers… But it is not for me to decide.  Everyone has to make their own choices in life and it is up to them to decide which path they take.

Future of Entertainment Commerce

There is an interesting post made the other day on Chutry about the future of entertainment commerce.

I’ve actually touched upon this briefly before, but this article raises some interesting questions.  The one I want to focus on is about television being ‘freed’ from cable providers… but in essence our choices would become more limited because individuals would be less likely to watch an episode of a new show if they had to pay for it.

I don’t see why this is where television is going.  I find this to be a rather simple solution still.  I think the problem lies in the fact that the cable providers, Comcast/Time Warner/etc…, can’t get out of their own way.  They need to see the forest through the trees.

Pretty soon every home will have broadband, and eventually that will be connected to our televisions.  It is already happening. I have a Roku box at my house that enables me to watch certain channels, Amazon On-Demand and Netflix whenever I want.

Here is my solution.  Cable providers currently charge subscribers a monthly fee.  This fee will vanish and become a straight broadband fee.  They need to accept that and shift their model.  Currently, in that fee, you are paying for all the channels that you receive.  The cable providers negotiate with each network on a licensing fee that it will pay out to them each month.

You are actually paying a lot of money each month for channels you do not watch, nor will ever watch. It would make more sense for individual users, rather than pay for each show they download, to ‘subscribe’ to that network. This ‘subscription’ or ‘licensing’ fee would be set by the networks and, in a free market, would ideally wind up at the correct price point.

I don’t see why this is such a hard concept to wrap their heads around.  They are hesitant to adjust the current system because companies with more than one channel (such as Disney with all of the Disney channels, ABC, all of the ESPNs, etc…) can use that leverage to eek out more for their underperformers.  If Comcast doesn’t pay more for Disney Family, then they will hold out on ESPN. In this model, the big losers are the actual subscribers.

It’ll force these studios to trim the fat, put out better product, have a more focused offering (which is the case with a lot of these new cable networks anyway) and price their networks at a reasonable rate – offering subscribers the ability to order the ESPN’s without the Disney Family, and vice versa. Will it be hard for a new network to emerge? Yes. Very hard. But that is why capitalism is great – because they will find a way to get their name out there. Free subscriptions for a month. The ability to back-order months, if say, one of their shows is a hit and the appetite for it begins to pick up. Networks joining forces, if their products have the same audience, to promote each other – and possible bundle themselves together for a better deal.

I think the one-off business model is the beginning of the end.  Unless the price point for each episode is so low that it makes sense. TV is a comfort item. It shouldn’t be hard work. Every time you want to watch something you shouldn’t have to work at it.  We don’t sit at our computer and download songs on iTunes at random. The typical user is searching for something specific, downloading it and then moving on to another task as they listen.  TV is different… sometimes you just want to turn it on and tune out… and setting up ‘subscriptions’ for relatively low sums for your favorite networks seems like a pain free way to move forward.