Usually when I work on a new animated short I tend to keep very quiet about it. I generally like to keep those kinds of things close to the chest. After all, how can I surprise anyone with cool content if they know everything that’s going to be in it? With my next project, I’d like to be a little more open.
What I’m creating is something wholly original and in my mind, like nothing I’ve made before. As of this writing it is being referred to as Wrestlemasters, a name which may or may not be final. Anyway, I’m done with parody videos. I had a good run with Read Only Memory all those years ago now and the 1980s Anime videos literally sucked the life from me, even if I do think some of them had some good ideas thrown in there. It has been a full year since I’ve animated a video, and I suspect it might be another full year until anyone sees an animated video from me again.
Mother of god. I actually wrapped up Read Only Memory Vol. 2. Seriously, there were times over the last two years where I wondered if it was even going to happen or not. After two years of work, here it is in its entirety.
Unlike Vol 1, I had planned this video sequence from the get go. I kind of cobbled together the compilation video of Vol 1 and tried to make it work as well as I could. While I managed to do a decent job at making the shorts interlock, I wanted to step my game up a bit for Vol 2. I knew from the start of this project that I was going to use live action video to link all the shorts together. The idea was to do a “day in the life” kind of thing from what it was like to grow up playing NES games.
I actually almost ran into a problem with the footage. I actually recorded all of the snow stuff two years ago. My nephew, who is the boy in the video, has obviously now aged two years since then. I recorded the second half of the footage, the drawing part and the going to bed part, only two weeks ago. I was able to make it work because I show as little of him as possible. The idea there being that I wanted him to represent the kid who grew up playing these games. The moment you give him a face is the moment he has an identity, so I stayed away from that. It worked in my benefit because he does look a lot different than he did two years ago.
You may notice many of the shorts in Vol 2 have gone through some changes. I did this to try and keep everything as consistent with the tone of the setting as possible. I rewrote and rerecorded Howard & Nester & Metroid to make it feel more like a legit Howard & Nester comic. The entire dog idea from Contra with Two Players was thrown completely out the window, turning Contra into more of an action cartoon than it was before. While I didn’t change anything thematically for Take a Key for Coming in, I went through nearly every single shot and made some sort of tweak to it. Link’s Triumph is the only short that was left virtually untouched.
I mentioned the music earlier. I was fortunate enough to be given permission from Simon Stålenhag to use his track Fluvial Beat Deposits from Ubiktune’s SOUNDSHOCK 2: FM FUNK TERRROR!! album. When I first heard this track I knew it had to be used in this video. While it doesn’t quite give off a NES chiptune vibe, I think it fits the setting so well. I don’t know how Simon feels about his track being accompanied by what I’ve created, but I’m in his thanks. The music for this video was extremely important to me because it acts as the bridge between everything. It tells the story, it holds the feeling of the setting and creates the mood. I just love it.
So when I first set out to make Vol 2, I told everyone that it was going to be much better than Vol 1. Personally, I think I’ve completely outclassed Vol 1 by a long shot, and I hope that you agree. With ROM all wrapped up, it’s time to move onto my next big thing. Wish me luck.
So check it, I made a “new” video series. Well, I sort of did anyway. See the post about the Ghosts N Goblins art below? I decided to take that idea a step further and add a bit more to it so I could make a video series out of doing drawings. I decided to (ridiculously) call it “This is the Part Where I Draw.” The title is so stupid I call it the wrong thing every single time during my own video. At least the title logo is correct!
Anyway, the idea here, as explained in the video, is that I’m still doing a “live” drawing and still throwing it up onto eBay afterward. However I sped up the footage, recorded some audio over top of it, and added a little intro footage so that I could make it a legit “series.” The idea is to hopefully do one of these every other week. I’m going to try and aim for the Thursday nights in between episodes of Elder-Geek Game Club. I’ll be drawing whatever I damn well feel like it, though I may even take requests! I decided to choose “Nintendo Power” this time as I’ve been kinda sad to see it go.
Also, I don’t think I ever posted this on the Nerdlog, but I did another Postmortem video too, this time on Pizza Links. I’m thinking the Postmortem videos might get a bit of an intro added to them for the next time too. Now that I realized I can make custom video title cards I also want to make one for these so I can remove my big dumb face from the thumbnails.
I’ve really been trying to beef up the Shamoozal YouTube channel, but in a way where the time I’m able to spend on the shorts isn’t compromised. There was certainly some setup time in getting this first episode of Where I Draw put together, but now that most of the kinks are worked out they shouldn’t be too rough to put together. Hope you like them.
During the development of ‘Take a Key for Coming In’ I had the idea of doing a bit of artwork to tie in with the short. I’d record myself drawing the artwork and then put it up for auction on eBay. So last night, that’s what I did!
This is a bit of a test, just to see if it’s a worth while avenue to look into. Off the bat, I can tell you that unless the bidding on this item magically takes off (it won’t) that I’m not setting out to do this for money. If I sell the artwork at 10 dollars, most of that goes to eBay, PayPal and shipping fees. Considering it took me a night to put together the entire feature (between drawing the art, recording, editing the video and listing the item), well, it’s not exactly worth the remaining money that’s left. So this is more of a cross promotional thing. Despite how it goes this round, I will still likely do one of these for the next episode of ROM. Also, the few views the video itself has gotten, nearly all of those views have translated to a look at the actual eBay listing, so that’s encouraging to see.
If I may so be a grump for a moment, boy, ‘Take a Key for Coming In’ sure has limped along this weekend. It is easily the lowest debuting episode of Read Only Memory ever. Considering the amount of time and effort that went into the short, I consider this to be a flop. I knew I was taking a chance with this one, but I didn’t expect to be taking THAT much of a chance. It has completely failed to find an audience at this point. I was hoping that an upload to Newgrounds would help even things out, but it even seems to be having trouble over there. This is the internet, things could turn around, hell ‘Pizza Links’ got more popular than ever a year after its release, but as of now it’s just what it is. I’ll go more into why I think things have turned out this way in the Postmortem video for the short that I’ll put together in a few weeks. That said, I think I did nice work for this short, and technically it is the slickest piece of ROM that’s out there.
Can’t believe I haven’t updated the Nerdlog since the Contra Post Mortem video. Yikes! I had kept meaning to update it with lots of art and progress about the latest episode of Read Only Memory, but I just never ended up doing so. Well I waited so long that I can just update with the final video itself. Hooray for me.
So this short is obviously based off Ghosts ‘N Goblins. Shit, I love me some GnG, and working on this short really got me back into the series. During the time I was working on this I bought Ghouls ‘N Ghosts on Genesis, and have played the Arcade versions a few times too. I’ve also listened to tons of GnG series music, both in keeping with the spirit while working on it and to figure out what music I wanted to use.
I apologize if your knowledge of GnG is very minimal, watch this video, and have no idea what you just saw. With most episodes of ROM, I usually try and open them up a bit so that maybe someone not familiar with the games they are based on can enjoy them. With this episode, I just wanted to make a nice tribute to GnG and to tell the story I wanted to tell meant that I needed to exclude people unfamiliar with the series. It was a tough choice to make, especially with the amount of work that needed to go into it, but I’m glad I did so.
I was really worried at first if this short would be hard to follow. Switching back and forth between a past and present and telling a story in 45 seconds is a lot for a brain to process I think. When I decided that the short would be more of silent film (I was originally going to do narration) things became much more clear to follow.
Also, as you can see there is zero humor in this short as well. I believe this is the first Shamoozal short I’ve done without any jokes. I pretty much did so for the simple fact that I wanted to make something different for a change. GnG is not a humorless series of course, I mean Arthur gets thrown into his boxer shorts every five seconds, and turned into a duck or baby throughout his quest. I wanted to show armor less Arthur here, but I tried very hard not to make it funny. I hope that came through.
This is also the first short I worked on where I dealt with violence. I did everything I could to not show red blood. It would be easy to go into something like this and make it a blood bath, but I still wanted to stay in the PG-13 territory.
So there it is, another episode of ROM down and another one to go. Zelda is up next. It’s going to be brutal!
Been a while since I updated! Of course I fell behind on the next short, which I address in the above video.
Since we don’t really do the podcast anymore, I decided to do a bit of a video postmortem about the last short. I thought this was going to be a 10 minute video and I ended up rambling for nearly 20! If you enjoyed this and would like to see more videos like this after I wrap up shorts, let me know.
Of course I thought this would be a quick video to put together. I actually put it together a few nights ago, but I had a bunch of encoding issues on the off screen footage I recorded. It turned out to be a big hassle, but at least I know what to do now.
Been meaning to update the blog on several different occasions over the last few weeks and never got around to it. The result is an entry that is a bit of a hodgepodge of info, so here we go. First up, I added some old Shamoozal episodes to YouTube that have been missing from the site for a while.
Above is a video for Guitar Zero, Shelved, and Stroopid Test. There is about a three minute intro before the episodes where I fill everyone in on a brief history of them. From the YouTube comments, it seems like maybe I shouldn’t have done this, but I thought it would be a fun test to offer some insight into these old shorts. I’m thinking of doing some other videos similar to this one, for example, I want to do post-mortem on my shorts. I was actually thinking of putting a Contra one together this weekend, just discussing what went into the short, and how I felt about the end product. I want to try and update the YT channel more often, so I’m trying to come up with some other supplemental material while I make progress on the cartoons.
Also, this weekend I got to head over to the Newgrounds offices in PA and meet the Newgrounds staff as well as a bunch of their top artists. I have briefly met Tom Fulp before in the past, but it was nice to get the chance to meet him again. I have met Egoraptor a handful of times as well, but Saturday was the first time we were actually able to spend a good deal of time together. It was also nice to meet guys like Happy Harry, OneyNG, Rubberninja, Jazza, AfroNinja, and The Swain. There is something so weird about meeting people whose work you’re familiar with. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it’s a surreal experience every time. The NG offices were awesome, it seriously looks like one of the coolest places to work at. At one point the lot of us invaded a retro gaming store that was in walking distance from the office which was great. I ended up buying a copy of The Legend of Zelda for the Famicom Disk system. Getting to meet all those dudes, hanging with some old friends, stuffing my face with food and drink, and buying Zelda easily made for one of the better weekends I’ve had recently!
Back to reality though, the shorts! So I’ve been working on my latest one which is about Ghosts N’ Goblins. I have most of the extremely rough animation done. I should be wrapping that up in the next few days. After that, it’s onto clean up (which will probably be a bit sloppy in order to get this thing actually done), coloring, and of course backgrounds. So, lots of work to be done yet. What I can say about this short is that it’s going to be pretty much joke free. I want to do something a bit different with this one. I don’t want to say this short is “serious” and “dark”, just more that I want to tell a story. I mean, I guess it’s serious, but well, as serious as I’m willing to let it get, if that makes sense. I just always make cartoons with humor behind them and I’m always trying to think of funny endings. This time I just wanted to make something that just tells a simple story, and honestly, just see if I’m capable of pulling off something different. So we’ll see how that goes. I think GnG fans will appreciate it, and I hope to make some really nice looking scenes. So, we’ll see! I’ll start sharing some of that stuff as it gets to a more finished state.
God damn. I finally finished a new short. I have been working on and off on this Contra short for a year. When I say on and off, I mean there were month spans where sometimes I didn’t even look at this thing. In fact, I had all but given up on it during the summer and started working on another short. I decided to get back into it though because of the amount of effort I had already put into it.
I know it’s not much of a narrative or anything, but I’ve had this Contra idea floating around in my head for ages. I mentioned it before in other blog posts, but originally in ‘How to Hook Up the NES’ Jacquo was going to play that copy of Contra that came with his NES (which is why it came with Contra and not Super Mario). He was going to play with, you guessed it, another Jacquo! Eventually the two would end up fighting during the grueling game. It didn’t play out like this short, but the basic idea is the same, and it started brewing from that point.
My what a different a few, GASP, years makes. Even last year when I was working on this short, it was almost completely different. For one, it was MUCH longer. I chopped the absolute shit out of it, and I think it’s better for it. The idea of putting my dog in there as Player 2 actually spawned last week if you can believe that! It seems like such an important part of the short, and it is, it’s basically the pay off, but I was still foggy on the whole joke up until the very last minute. I basically just worked on all of the action and was just hoping things would fall into place. I think they did!
Anyway, I hope you liked it. I worked hard on those 20 seconds of animation!