Category - Flash

Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Professor Layton on Polaris

This was a little something I worked on for the Polaris channel a few months back. In fact I wrapped up a majority of it before Christmas, but further tweaks were made after that. Then it kind of sat around for a while, but thems the breaks!

So this was a little different for me as I didn’t write this. I did assist with some script rewrites and ideas (I really toned down the violence as much as I could and came up with how the puzzles should move the story forward), but this was mainly a hired gig to just animate on. It had a really quick turn around time in the beginning too. This is also the first short I did where I did not handle the voice over, but it was done by the talented RicePirate. He did all three speaking parts and nailed it. I was able to have Joe do the music, but since time was so short I actually handled all of the sound effects.

Read Only Memory: Volume 1

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Welp, finally made it to the moment where Volume 1 of Read Only Memory is complete. It’s hard to believe I’ve been working on ROM for half a year now!

So, Volume 1 is pretty self explanatory, but I’ll get into it one more time. Each month we’ve produced a Nintendo related short for GoNintendo.com, and this month we’re bundling them all together to create “Volume 1″ of the series. Included in this set is Turnips In Love, Simon’s Supper, The Return of Captain N, and Pizza Links.

Oh, you’ve watched the four ROM episodes already? It’s okay, watch them again, and see how I “seamlessly” blended them together! But really, if you’re a long time fan of our work, please let me know if you like this format!

With this release I hope to spread ROM to a larger audience. I’m curious to see how this package works out in the end. Thanks dudes.

Do you miss The Zoinks?

It’s hard to believe I haven’t come up with a new short for The Zoinks since 2007. The final episode I produced was Fruit Smoothies, and the entire creation process was streamed over UStream and made in about 12 hours total.

The Zoinks shorts were originally intended to be produced on average of once a month (along with everything else, can you believe it?) but that obviously didn’t happen. Seriously though, none of these shorts actually took much time, I just never really bothered to come up with a bunch of worthwhile ideas for the characters. Each of them probably took a solid day worth of work, sometimes spread over the course of a weekend. They’re very simple, and that was always the intention. Thinking back, I think I banged out Finger Paints in about four hours one night.

Carboard Box was actually the first Shamoozal short ever produced. When I originally bought this domain I had nothing but a logo up. Not much later I had a link for the forums, and then about a month later I had put up Carboard Box as a teaser cartoon. It stayed there until I finally assembled a basic site layout and our first “real” short, Candy Corns.

I have actually had some ideas recently to take the creatures in a slightly different direction. If I do another short, it likely won’t “look” like these original four, so I felt the best way to present them on this upload was to bundle all four of them together. Knock them out all in one shot, you know?

As a bonus, I’ve also uploaded the original theme music Joe came up with for The Zoinks. I don’t think it’s ever been heard in its entirety before, though different clips of it have been used throughout the four episodes.

Will we see The Zoinks again? Time will tell.

‘Frankensteiner: Biceps & Triceps’ LIVE 10/24/09!

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All you Frankensteiner fans will be pleased to know that on October 24th of 2009, yours truly will be hosting a 12 hour living stream event for the next episode in the series, titled “Frankensteiner: Biceps & Triceps.” Taking place on a Saturday around noon, I’ll guide watchers through the entire process of the making of this short. Unlike last year, I most likely will not be using Mario Paint for the creation process, but instead will be using Flash. However, I do plan on taking a bit of a different route this time and most likely presenting Frankensteiner in a bit of a different way. So mark your calendars because this episode of Frankensteiner will be the most insane, over the top, ridiculous and vicious episode seen yet.

You won’t want to miss it.

Oh, in case you need a refreshing on Frankensteiner, the version I cooked up last year is after the jump. BA-BAM!

How to fill the 24 void in your life

Bauer Banner

We Jack Bauer fans have a lot of waiting to do over the next few months. Okay, so this past season of 24 certainly wasn’t the finest in the series, but that doesn’t mean I don’t miss spending Monday nights with my favorite CTU agents.

That said there is a whole world of 24 out there, including plenty of ways to spend time with Jack while we wait for Day 7 to arrive in January. You might be surprised by the amount of options, ranging from books to video games. Take a look.

24: Declassified Books

There is an entire series of paperback books based on the 24 world. They all happen before the events of Day 1, so you can expect a handful of familiar faces like Tony Almeida and Nina Meyers. I actually haven’t read any of them myself, but I usually hear positive things about them, and I know for a fact they take place in other locations, like New York. There are five books in all, meaning there is plenty to keep you busy. You can of course find these books in any book store or online.

24 Book

24: The Game for PS2

Let me get this out of the way right now, 24: The Game is absolutely terrible when it actually comes to the game itself, and somehow they managed to make Michelle Dessler look ugly. However, it actually has a decent narrative compared to most video games. It bridges the gaps between Day 2 and 3, answering such questions like “What happened to David after the attack?” and the most important question of all “How did Kate Warner have Jack’s leather coat in the first episode of day 3?” If you can stomach and survive the boring gun fights, poor driving scenes and maddening interrogation sequences, there’s a bit to love for the 24 fan. Being that it is over a year old, you can probably find it really cheap. Oh, and Callery’s soundtrack is top.

24 The Game

24 Day Zero

Day Zero is an animated web series that started at the end of this past season. Each episode is only a few minutes long and offers a look into Jack’s past showing exactly how he became wrapped up in his affair with Nina Meyers. It would appear that this series has all the makings to be great, with original voice talents from the cast, and writers from the show, but it suffers from some really poor animation. It’s more like a comic book than an animated show, but it should help tide fans over. Check it out here.

24 Day Zero

Pretend to be Jack with 24 Music

Sean Callery’s intense score to the television show can also be purchased on CD. The first disc is a best of from the first three seasons of the show, while the recently released second disc covers tunes from season’s 4 and 5. Relive some of the shows finest moments like the fan favorite “Jack’s Humanity.” Worth a listen if you’re into this sort of stuff.

24 Tunes

Worship Jack with his action figure

Due out sometime during August is this awesome Jack Bauer action figure from McFarlane Toys. So even if you can’t watch the show, at least you’ll always have a little reminder of him at your desk. I’m personally stoked.

Jack Figure

Enjoy 100 of the show’s greatest moments

The gang over at Progressive Boink put together an amazing list of moments of the first five seasons of 24. They seriously have everything covered, and I found it hilarious that they picked up on and love the same sort of quirks that I do. I thought I was the only one who laughed at stuff like Mike Novak peeking around corners. They also refer to certain scenes by the same names as my friends and I do, like “American Hero.” All of the scenes are accompanied by YouTube clips, so leave open a day or two to go through it all. It’s awesome, go check it out.

Hopefully these few items will help tide you over while you wait for Day 7 to begin. If you haven’t watched 24 before, than use this time to brush up or watch all of the previous seasons. You’ll thank me later.


Starving Flash Artist: How much whoring is too much?

Starving Flash Artist

There is a hard truth I must face every day with Shamoozal.com and in particular, the Flash animated series that the site is built upon. It isn’t that I’m doing the work for “free.” The “starving artist” does this stuff because they enjoy the work, right? Exactly. The problem is that it pains me to see that people are making money off of our work. That is the problem for us Flash animators, many times we’re handing our work away for free, and in return we hope for a handful of hits back to our site. Does it really pay off? It depends on what you want to get out of it. The following is an account of the experience I have had with getting exposure and the price it cost.

In the year and a half Shamoozal has been around I have done some serious whoring of the material. The fact of the matter is that there aren’t any “guides” to making a successful cartoon series without selling your soul. By this point, I kind of know what works and what doesn’t work. Flash portal sites like Newgrounds.com, and the cleverly titled FlashPortal.com do exactly what they say. They allow you to upload your work and have it viewed by potential hundreds, thousands, even millions within days. What you’re doing however, is handing them the SWF file, and with that they’re able to do whatever they like with it. When you click that little agreement box, you’re basically allowing these sites to own your material. Because of this, I picked and chose the websites I uploaded to very carefully. Newgrounds is an obvious choice, and the most popular Flash portal in town. You upload to them and you will have a couple hundred views to your short within hours. I won’t lie, but I get a little giddy whenever I upload something to that site. It’s fun to read the “reviews” even though they refer to animation with terms like “smooth” (it’s called timing) and site owner Tom Fulp has been genuinely nice to me. Though it must be said it is a little maddening when something you worked on for weeks, sometimes months, gets brushed to the side by something that was clearly done in a night.

The key here is that you’re giving your SWF to these sites. You’re handing them the keys to your car and trusting them to bring it home safely. Well, we’ve all watched Ferris Bueler’s Day Off, and we know these people like to drive off hills in slow motion with the Star Wars theme playing. The problem with a cartoon that does well on these sites is that they seem to “appear” onto other sites, and before you know it the thing has spread like wild fire. What do I mean? Well, let’s type “Shamoozal Ninja” into Google and see what pops up.

Google Search for Ninja

Somehow Ninja has ended up on all of these sites. I know for a fact that I have never submitted Ninja to arcadeonline, boredtodeath.co.uk, Pro-Arcade, Really Fun Arcade (that place must be great), Flash Ring, Dropalink, and countless others. First off, Ninja isn’t even a game, so I don’t know how it ended up all these “arcade” sites. On one of the sites someone left a comment “this game is broken.” I guess he never figured out that it was a cartoon, must be a big fan of Dragon’s Lair. The fact of the matter is that one of (or more) of the sites I submitted Ninja to has sold the SWF to another site. How else would these places get a hold of the material? The reason I say “sold” is simply because I doubt these sites are buddies with each other and just handing off important things like user SWFs of popular Flash videos. The only explanation is that there is a possibility that one company owns these other sites.

So what do you do and who do you trust? It’s a tough call really. If you want exposure, Newgrounds has it in spades. Our work gets more views off there than any of the other sites I submit content to combined. Another popular site is UGO Flash Player, whom I will not submit anymore work to ever again. If you want to know why, read the above paragraph again. Personally, I plan on easing off on the submitting process on the upcoming Shamoozal episode, and I will only be uploading it to one site. It’s a bit of a test and at the same time, I want to try and have as much control over our work as possible. This means the episode will have the least amount of initial exposure than our other cartoons, and I’m fine with that. If it’s good, it will catch on.

Another point worth bringing up is that people will contact you when you have made a successful Flash cartoon. I have had plenty of offers from “professional” sites to use my work and they have even offered the prospect of making money as a way to tempt me. I spoke to one company for months to work out a deal about mobile distribution of the cartoons and in the end it was nothing but a headache. All I know is that I signed a contract with these people, sent them a DVD with a few episodes on it and haven’t heard a thing since. Who knows what they did with the package I sent them. I just know they’re never getting anything from me again. That was my first offer though, so of course I was willing to jump at anything. Since then I have gotten contractual offers ranging from Internet distribution deals, companies claiming to “air” the cartoons on TV among others. I suggest ignoring these offers like the plague. It’s flattering to get them, but unless it comes from an established company, don’t follow through with it.

More recently I’ve been acquisitioned by AtomFilms for them to host Ninja. I asked to read the terms before I went ahead with anything and in the guidelines they required that I hand them the actual FLA file or a DVD copy of the short. AtomFilms is a rather established site, but by no means do I want them to have access to my FLA file. Not the SWF, the FLA. Word to Flash artists, NEVER hand your FLA out to anyone. Think of the FLA as the secret recipe for the family’s special sauce; guard it, and don’t let anyone have it. I know I could easily send them a DVD copy of the short, but the fact that they even asked for the FLA file was enough for me to be turned off by them. I have had people ask for all sorts of different items from Shamoozal cartoons, ranging from an actual model of Jacquo to the DS Grey holds in Stroopid Test. I don’t know how much I can stress it, but never give it away to anyone. It is worth noting I have even turned down people that I actually do trust.

Submitting links to particular sites instead of uploading your SWF is a safe bet for a little exposure and keeping an eye on your work. Places like Milkandcookies, and Jengajam are highly recommended. Your link goes up, and the traffic comes right to you. You remain in complete control of your work, and if it does well on those sites, the link will spread to others. Nothing disappoints me more then to see my work submitted to a link portal and the link leading back to a flash portal site.

Drop a Link image

In the end, you need to use your own judgment when it comes to submitting your work if you’re a Flash artist with a budding idea for a series. If you’re just working on a cartoon for the heck of it and don’t have a website for the series, then by all means submit it to whoever. However, if you’re serious about your work, pick and choose wisely. Always remember that these sites benefit from user work, and if they didn’t, they wouldn’t exist. Users are the ones who help them pay their bills and go on vacations, and you can’t forget that.

Good luck, it’s a tough world out there on the Internet for us animators.