As usual, I recently had a chance to sit down with Randy from Elder-Geek and Shamoozal alum Steve to talk about this years E3. Clocking in at nearly 2 hours long, the three of us go about as in depth as we can with the latest news out of the game industry. It’s been probably over a year since I last podcasted and I have to say it felt nice getting back into the swing of things. If anything, it makes me want to podcast more in the future.
Outside of that, I have a panel at the upcoming Too Many Games convention that takes place in Oaks, PA. This is the first panel I’ve ever done in my life so I’m quite nervous about it! It takes place Sunday, June 28th at 11 AM in the morning at “Panel 3″ (wherever that is). The panel is called “The Art of the Animated Parody” and I plan on going in deep in regards to how my 1980s Anime trilogy for Maker Studios was crafted in order to have mass appeal. I’ll mainly be using Star Wars as a talking point, but I’ll dive into Harry Potter and Ghostbusters when applicable. Assuming there is time, I’ll open it up to a Q&A as well. In a best case scenario, it’s something that I’d like to be insightful and have some meaning to those who attend it, at worst it’ll be me rambling to five people and nothing of value will be gained. That said, I’ll take five people, it would probably be easier on me to speak with a smaller crowd. I do intend to try and record it however. I’m not sure exactly how that will turn out, but if it turns out well, you can be sure to see it pop up here. Hope to see some of you there!
I recently put together the cover art for a Chrono Trigger tribute album that was created for Elder-Geek.com‘s video series 25 Games for My Son. This was a fun project to be a part of as so much talent was involved in the creation of the album and the video itself. Chrono Trigger is one of those games that was extremely important and inspiring to me back when it was released in 1995. I filled whole sketch books copying Akira Toriyama’s art, not to mention my grade school notebooks that year were filled with Chrono Trigger scribbles. As a result, being able to work on this was also pretty special to me as well. For the piece I decided to go with arguably the most important scene of the entire game, when the actual Chrono Trigger itself comes into play. I have to admit, I listened to the entirety of the original Chrono Trigger OST when I was working on this and it really made me want to play through the game again.
In the video series itself, my good friend Randy writes about the 25 games that had the most meaning to him growing up, and offers anecdotes about what was going on in his life at the time he was playing through the featured game. You can watch the Chrono Trigger video below.
As for the album, a bunch of talented musicians got together and created cover tracks from their favorite Chrono Trigger tracks. I also listened to this album in its entirety while putting the artwork together and I thought it was great. You can grab the entire thing for 5 dollars over on Loudr, and can even bundle it with the Ocarina of Time album that was created for the previous 25 Games for My Son episode for 8 dollars (I did the art for that too).
I hope you like the art, the video, and the album!
Oh my god I haven’t updated this blog since Cyberpunk Harry Potter came out back in April! Wow. I’m really hoping to change that (and the look of the actual website itself) in the near future.
So unless you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you probably would have no idea that I’ve been working on this short. So, a bit of history shall we? I’m not sure how much I can talk about contracts and the work I’m supposed to do, but I was supposed to have six(!!!) 1980s Anime shorts done this year. As you can see, I have only provided Cyberpunk Potter and Tokyo Ghostbusters. Production on the 1980s Anime came to a halt at the start of the summer and when talks began to bring it back, we were already late into the year. Honestly, I’m not quite sure I could have even produced six shorts this year even if there was no halt on production. I’ve spent the last two months (especially Thanksgiving onward) putting serious time into making sure this short was finished before Christmas. The last few weeks have been a complete blur, and between working full time during the day and staying up to the wee hours at night doing this, I probably would have just burnt out. I’m not sure it would have been good for me mentally and physically. So while I’m sad I wasn’t able to meet that demand, it is probably for the best.
Anyway, production on this short began after Harry Potter wrapped up. I got approval on Ghostbusters and in an effort to not let this series go completely stale, I wanted to take a different route with it. The previous two shorts in the series have been a mash up of sorts. The Star Wars short was Voltron in Star Wars clothing and Harry Potter was Akira in Harry Potter clothing. They each had other minor nods to different anime shows and tropes of course. For Ghosbusters I didn’t want to base it on any particular anime show. I tried to approach this short thinking of it like “Well what would a Ghostbusters anime really be like?” So I mainly decided to stick with a straight up parody of the original Ghostbusters cartoon opening and turn elements of that intro on their ear. One of the most important things was figuring out what sort of ghosts the Ghostbusters would actually bust. I looked up info on a ton of Yokai (Japanese ghosts and monsters) and picked some of my favorites and the ones I think people outside of Japan would possibly recognize from some other form of media. One of my favorite shots from this short is the sequence that shows the camera panning up a large group of Yokai. That was one of the first concepts I drew up for this short and the rest of it kind of came from there. In an effort to get the Ghostbusters out of the city, I decided to have them bust the Yokai at a temple ground instead of in the streets like they do in the real introduction.
While there are not real nods to it outside of the art, I based the look of the Ghostbusters off characters from the anime/manga Dominion Tank Police. I loved that show when I was younger and I wanted to give a slight tribute to Masamune Shirow. I already worked in the look of the Puma Sisters in Harry Potter with Hermione, but I took it much further in this short. Stuff like their costumes are the real giveaway, but I even mirrored little details like the shapes of their noses, mouths, and the inside of their ears on Shirow’s work. I had an old copy of a Dominion managa next to me that I kept on hand for nearly the entire project. I wish I could draw as good as Shirow by the way. His work is just incredible.
I of course felt like I needed to include some more identifiable pop culture stuff in there too and that is where Slimer and “Stay Puft” come in. I did have an original concept for Slimer in place, but I decided to switch him to basically a rip off of a Yokai Watch character, which is currently really hot in Japan. There are some 3DS games that sell truck loads, but it’s very unfamiliar in the US (and globally) at this point. As far as I’m aware, the anime is being set to be localized in the states, but I don’t know about the games. Either way, I wanted to be a bit ahead of the curve, and I’m hoping it’s something more hardcore fans will pick up on and appreciate. For Stay Puft, I wanted to think of something that would actually work and fit. I needed something cute, and I needed something that Ray could really pull from his childhood. I thought Doraemon was perfect. He is well known enough, and as luck would have it, a Doraemon show had just started to air this year in the states, making it the first time a Doraemon show has been shown on US television. So I feel like he was the perfect Stay Puft replacement. When I initially turned the script in for this I got some serious push back about the Yokai and characters I had chosen to be part of it. I was asked to include a bunch of Pokemon as the ghosts. If this short was never delayed, I probably would have been forced to add those things in. When it came time to bring this short back, it was rushed right into production so I was extremely fortunate to be able to use my original script. I’m very grateful to have been able to preserve my original vision of the short. It is entirely my work.
The original pieces of conceptual art I made for Tokyo Ghostbusters. I ended up using these almost exactly in the finished product.
Part of the fun with Star Wars Anime was the fact that it mirrored not only the look of Voltron, but also the poor localization. It had intentionally hammy voice over and dialogue, and on top of that I did a bunch of VHS style effects in post production. With Harry Potter, I still had this element but I tried to sell it more as a movie trailer. Instead of VHS issues, I had added film grain to it and gave it a Laser Disc start up. Maybe it’s just me, but I noticed after Star Wars I had started to see several 80s style cartoons pop up on the net that had the VHS effect. Either I started something or I was just completely unoriginal. Regardless, I wanted to think of a way to do it different this time. So I did go back to the VHS look of Star Wars but I asked myself how I could mix it up this time. I have really fond memories of watching poorly copied anime fansubs from back in the day. Going with the theme of presenting this as an actual anime that could have happened, I also treated it like something that wouldn’t have been released in the US, so I decided to go for actual spoken Japanese dialogue with subtitles for this round. The problem was, I can’t write Japanese nor could I speak it. As a result, I needed help. I threw my English text into Google translate, but I was fortunate enough to have a friend who was able to help localize the text (a big thanks to Kevin Muhlbach and Zachary Inouye). There lied another problem, I couldn’t actually speak it. I’m friendly with EgoRaptor and I have been wanting to work with him for a long time now and I know that he had some experience with Japanese so I asked if he could lend a hand. He was more than happy and he did an incredible job. I of course don’t speak Japanese, but it sounds authentic enough to me! There isn’t much dialogue because I didn’t want to get overwhelmed with the whole translation thing, but I’m really happy with how that aspect of the short turned out.
Of course there is also the music and sound. Joe has been my go to sound guy for a decade now with Shamoozal stuff. His audio work is always awesome and one of the big highlights of the work we do together. Once again, I think his work really shines here. At this point I usually don’t even need to tell him what I need, I’d like to think we’re pretty in sync with each other when it comes to audio. It was a hard choice to make, but I decided to ask C-Jeff of Ubiktune to do the music for this short. Having worked with him on the Big Steel Wheels teaser video, I thought his sound would be a perfect match for Ghostbusters. I requested an FM synth heavy version of Ghostbusters-like music and he delivered. Between the audio, music and voice acting I’m super happy with how this short turned out. It think it just sounds awesome. If you love C-Jeff’s track for the short, be sure to check out a free download of the music!
I could probably go on and on about my whole 1 minute short, but it goes to show how much thought and effort goes into something as “small” as this project. I have to say this time around I just wanted to make something kind of cool as opposed to funny. It has jokes of course, but those kind of took a back seat. I hope people like it. That’s all I can ask at this point. Thank you!
Hard to believe it’s been almost four months since Star Wars Anime released, and now it’s Harry Potter’s turn for the 1980’s anime treatment. With this one I went in, what I think, a completely different direction than Star Wars. I think it’s still plenty ridiculous, but at the same time, I kind of wanted to make it cool, like something someone would really want to watch. It is based heavily off Akira, and I try to cram in a lot of the big Harry Potter moments into a minute and a half that I possibly can.
The animation is still super limited, but I tried to up the art as compared to Star Wars. Some of the backgrounds took several nights to complete and overall I just wanted to have nicer than average drawings since I knew they wouldn’t be moving too much.
Joe’s audio is really cool I think. He never saw Akira before, so when we recorded the lines for it, I had him listen to a few tracks from the Akira soundtrack. I think he did a great job mixing the sort of sounds you’d hear from that OST into familiar Harry Potter melodies. It complimented the mood of the short exactly how I had hoped it would.
I’m not sure if Star Wars started a trend or I was just unoriginal, but ever since it came out I’ve seen a lot of different shorts that have purposely bad animation along with a VHS style motif. So I decided to go Laser Disc on this one, and gave the footage film grain instead. My goal is to try and come up with different ways of presenting the shorts. I’m sure I’ll run out of ideas quickly. Hah.
Also, I’m a little sad that the thumbnail spoils the ending, but what can ya do?
Anyway, hope you enjoyed it. Now onto the next one!
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.
Oh boy, I can’t believe this is my first official post for 2014! I really intended to start doing regular blog updates again, but ehhh, whatever. So here is the latest.
I literally just turned in a new video to Nacho Punch. I don’t know when it’ll go live. Could be tomorrow, could be weeks from now. I have no idea. It’s a Harry Potter thing. Star Wars: The 1980s Anime did so well for Nacho Punch (it is still currently their most watched video as of this writing) that they decided to make the “1980s Anime” thing into a series. The first (well second) up is Harry Potter: The 1980s Anime. I’ve spent the last two months working on it as much as I possibly can. I don’t know if it’ll look it or not, but I really kicked my ass putting this thing together.
It was actually a pretty big decision to go ahead with this Nacho Punch deal. Star Wars was fun to create, but the idea of doing 6 more episodes just like Star Wars was kind of scary. Trying to hit deadlines and trying not to beat the joke into the ground were/are things I’m worried about. So my goal here is that even though they’re being branded as “The 1980s Anime” to really try and hit all sorts of types of anime during that decade. Where as Star Wars was secretly a Voltron episode, Harry Potter is (maybe not so) secretly a tribute to Akira. I think it has a very different tone than Star Wars, and I’m hoping that as I roll along with these shorts that I’ll be able to do something unique with each of them. After all, they can’t all end with things turning into robots.
So I’m glad to have it wrapped up. I’m going to give myself a few days off and then roll right into the next one. You should expect these every other month or so. It’s gonna be a busy year.
I finally have a new cartoon to share! I was contracted to do a short cartoon for the “new” YouTube channel Nacho Punch (formerly The Station) and came up with this Voltron-ish take on Star Wars.
This has actually been pretty much finished since early October. The channel launch was delayed slightly and it looks like they’ve just gotten around to putting it up. It actually had a few tiny revisions along the way, with the latest version being handed over this past Friday. We originally had some genuine sounding Star Wars tunes in there but were asked to change it. Also had to do some title changing and new logos. It was a long journey but here we are with the finished product.
When working on this my daughters were on a huge Voltron kick. I was asked to make a Star Wars cartoon, but I secretly wanted to make a Voltron cartoon, so this is what I came up with. I had a good time blending and bending elements from both shows. I also enjoyed intentionally having mistakes, limited animation in certain (most) areas, and that old found on a VHS tape look. We originally had compressed audio for it, but ultimately we changed the audio to make it sound better than it maybe should have on a VHS tape.
Hopefully this short does well. I’m already scheduled to do another short (not Star Wars but a similar mash up idea) for Nacho Punch, but I imagine the response to this short would be very important to my future working with the channel. If you like it, don’t forget to share it with friends and like the video on YouTube. Thanks!