Big Steel Wheels teaser, Interview and other stuff

Look at that, I have a reason to update this blog.

Sometime in July or August I was contacted by C-Jeff, the owner of one of my favorite sites for game inspired music Ubiktune, about creating a teaser video for his upcoming album called Big Steel Wheels. If you remember, I used music from Ubiktune in Read Only Memory Vol. 2, so I thought it was pretty cool to be able to give back to them by doing this teaser.

The bulk of this has essentially been finished since the summer. I did make some tweaks here and there as the weeks rolled on, so it’s still a different product than it was during that time.

The project is essentially 4 looped scenes and I just swapped out backgrounds for some of the repeated shots. Since C-Jeff’s album takes a lot of inspiration from the work of Vince DiCole (Transfromers: The Movie and Rock IV) I tried to make the trucks and scenery look like something out of Transformers: The Movie. I really like that shiny anime look, so it was fun to play with that. The album released next week and I got to listen to it during production, and I gotta say, it’s pretty rad. Be sure to check it out when it drops.

Aside from that, I was Geekadelphia’s “Geek of the Week” this week. It’s slightly strange, because I was actually interviewed back in February or March (I honestly forget) of this year. I actually didn’t think it would ever be published and had honestly forgotten about it. You can read the whole interview here.

Also, work has really picked up since Steel Wheels. I actually finished up a cartoon for a yet to be released YouTube channel. It was a pretty hefty project for the time I was allotted but I think I made the most of it. I’m actually really excited to share that one with everyone. I’ll be curious to see how the internet likes it. The team I made it for liked it enough where I’m already about to start working on a follow up cartoon for the same channel. I also have yet another project I just started working on for another well known YouTube channel which should be cool. I have no idea when you guys will see any of this, but I want to let you know there is stuff out there that exists that I finished with more on the way.

As you can see, none of these projects are for Shamoozal proper. I’m not going to lie here, but after Link’s Triumph failed to keep momentum and Read Only Memory Vol 2 was quickly forgotten on YouTube, I felt extremely distraught. I just haven’t been growing my channel the way other animators are able to. Maybe that’s a sign or something, and I did take it as one. I spent most of the year away from doing animation work until I was contacted for Steel Wheels. These other opportunities presented themselves soon after and I took them all up on it.

I’m not sure when I’m going to make something for just Shamoozal, but we’ll see what happens.

Oh my god this place still exists?

Guys. I’m not even going to apologize for the lack of Shamoozal.com updates.

So what’s been going on? Why haven’t I updated? If you still frequent our YouTube channel, you’ll know the answer. I have just been in a bit of a funk. So that is kind of the problem with Shamoozal.com, right? What is its purpose now? I feel like Shamoozal stuff has become so splintered thanks to all these different social outlets. Hell I’ve just begun to try and get into this whole tumblr thing. I’m super late to the part on that one.

What will probably happen over the next few months if that I’m going to slowly migrate away from the current blog structure of this site. Shamoozal.com will essentially become a showcase for the work we’ve done over the years. I have also considered opening the doors to clients for potential work, something I’ve never done before with Shamoozal. I’ll still have the Nerdlog archived for people to go through stuff from the past, and the five of us that still use the Smorg will continue to be able to do so, but the Nerdlog and Smorg are not priorities like they were in the past.

I know there hasn’t been any real new video content in a while either. I’m in the middle of building a new PC (the parts have literally just started to show up) and I’m buying this for the sake of Shamoozal. I do plan on getting into the swing of things soon. Hopefully I’ll have some okay things to share with people in the future.

Until then, if you haven’t already PLEASE subscribe to the YouTube channel. That is where the majority of anything is going to take place. Follow me on Tumblr, because that’s where I’ll be trying to post some odds and ends. Take care dudes.

We Played Nintendo: Read Only Memory Vol. 2

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 St√•lenhag 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.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! It’s been a pretty solid year for Shamoozal, especially in the final days of 2012. Before I continue, I whipped up the video above today to showcase the version of the Fairy’s Theme from Link’s Triumph that Joe had wrote. There were a fair amount of requests to hear the whole thing, so I decided to put this together. I’ve included some conceptual art and early animation to go along with the music.

Anyway, these last few days have been pretty crazy. I can’t really put into words how it feels to see Link’s Triumph featured on so many large media outlets. Seeing the short grace sites like Kotaku, ScrewAttack, Destructoid, MTV, and GameInformer is pretty surreal. I’ve had a touch of that when ‘How to Hook Up the NES’ first launched, but never at this scale.

What I really like about this short is the trickle down effect that is happening with some of my earlier shorts. I’ve explained before how I was extremely let down by the performance of ‘Take a Key for Coming In’ but it’s experiencing a slight come back thanks to ‘Link’s Triumph.’ It is still by far the lowest viewed episode of Read Only Memory, but at least it’s starting to catch up to the others. The Shamoozal YouTube channel has also seen it’s subscribers almost double since last Thursday. It’s been a heck of a week to say the least. Of course there is still plenty of room to grow, but this feels like a step in the right direction.

Speaking of YouTube, I spent this year really trying to grow that channel. Starting with ‘Contra with 2 Players’ back in April I’ve actually managed to create 14 videos for the channel. Considering I had no new videos for an entire year, I’d say that’s pretty good. I think I’ve done a fairly good job coming up with supplemental videos in between the shorts like ‘This is the Part Where I Draw’ and the Postmortem videos to where I hope I’m engaging at least a few people.

We’ve been doing this Shamoozal thing for a very long time now. It has always been an extremely slow burn for us. 2012 saw a very big restructuring in the way I’m trying to get things done around here and I feel like I’m finally, FINALLY starting to see some of the benefits.

So what does 2013 hold for Shamoozal? I can’t really say for sure. Do know that ROM Vol. 2 will be coming in the next month or so. If not by the end of this month than by February for certain. As for what project I’m working on after that? I don’t know. I want to do something new. People will want me to make more video game cartoons and you know, maybe I will, I can’t say no for sure, but I do know it’s time to branch out again. I miss doing our own original work. I want to create something new. Whether or not it’s just some one off cartoon and I come up with some entire series is up in the air. I have one idea I’ve been kicking around for years now and it’s starting to look like the right time to jump into it. I can’t promise the output of videos/cartoons for 2013. I might end up with 1 cartoon for the entire year, I just don’t know. I just know I’m over 30 now. I can’t be sitting around making video game parodies all day. Right?

Regardless of what happens at least 2013 is starting off on the right foot. The trick is to just keep busy and to not give up. Working really is the key and it always will be. There have been times where I’ve wanted to veg out and play a video game all night and I didn’t. I shrugged it off and worked. There were nights where I was invited to go out and be social and I didn’t leave the house. I just kept on working. Of course sometimes I need those breaks and take them so I don’t burn out, but I always need to press on with this stuff. Hopefully I keep that mentality and 2013 proves to be even bigger than 2012.

‘Link’s Triumph’ has arrived!

Does anyone even read this anymore? I can’t believe I haven’t updated it since Candy Corns 2. I’ve actually had a couple of Where I Draw and Postmortem videos in between Candy Corns 2 and now. Sorry. I guess I’ve kind of let the Dot Com part of Shamoozal dry up a bit. I suppose people can’t even answer my question of whether or not they read this anymore since comments have been closed. Too many stinking spam bots just junking everything up and I don’t have time to moderate that sort of stuff like I used to.

So yeah, Link’s Triumph. Working my ass off to get this thing complete before the end of the year and I succeeded. I am glad it’s over because this short has done a number on my mentally and physically. Totally taking a few weeks break away from doing any animation and it’s time to get back into a regular exercise routine. I’m not kidding when I say I feel completely exhausted. Between this and the Holidays it has been insane to say the least.

Oh, so I guess I should talk about the cartoon huh? So this short is about the moment in The Legend of Zelda where Link fights the first boss in the first dungeon of the game. The goal was to show how an inexperienced and ill equipped Link would go about fumbling through this situation, and perhaps gaining a bit of confidence along the way. I got Joe on board for the first time in a ROM episode and I think it really shows through. The audio on this cartoon is great, and it doesn’t look too shabby either. I really tried to up my game a bit here and pull out all the stops. I even used After Effects on certain scenes.

I have high hopes for this short and I’ll admittedly be kind of upset if it tanks like the previous two shorts have (not that I expected much from Candy Corns 2). Now it’s time to start putting together the compilation short, ROM Vol 2. After that, who knows what the future holds. I have a few ideas I’m kicking around.

Also, I’ll be at MAGFest next week. I’ll be hanging out at the Elder-Geek table for a good portion of Saturday the 5th. I’ll be there on Friday as well, but I’ll be in full “business” mode on Saturday. I’ll be doing some sketches and what not, so if you happen to be going to MAGFest, please stop by and say hello. I’ll post more about MAGFest next week.

Anyway, hope you guys like the short. I really tried my best here.

Grey and Jacquo return with Candy Corns 2! Other stuff as well

Could it be?

So this was kind of a weird thing that happened. I was working on the Zelda cartoon and took a minute to stop and do some doodles. I ended up drawing a few pictures of Grey. At some point I thought “What if I made a Candy Corns 2?” just for the sake of making a stupid sequel and bringing the characters out of retirement. That night I had actually wrote the episode and recorded the dialogue. I thought if I didn’t commit it just wouldn’t happen. The next thing you know I’m in full blown Candy Corns 2 mode. I was going to use the original theme song, but I talked to Joe about doing sound and he wanted to redo the theme. Next thing you know I’m over his place rerecording the audio, and we have a new theme song. As for the look, my first instinct was to use the models of Grey and Jacquo from GFG, though I even considered going back to the original designs. Instead, I wanted to do the entire short by hand, and so I did, hence the reason the characters look different. I wanted to get the short done by the start of this month, and I succeeded. I’ll tell you what, it’s ALWAYS more work than I anticipate. I worked my ass off this month to get this thing done.

This short isn’t going to light the world on fire. I made it because, one I wanted to, and two for the few fans that wanted to see that these two characters have been up to, which apparently isn’t much. This is the first time in four years that Grey has been in a short and the first time they’ve been in a short together. Fucking crazy.

I missed updating the Nerdlog last month, so here is an episode of This is the Part Where I Draw. I did the TMNT this time as I was getting pumped for the new show, and rightfully so, it’s quite good!

I plan on doing a Grey & Jacquo episode of Where I Draw this week to celebrate Candy Corns 2. Now back to working on Zelda. I’m aiming for December, but we’ll see!

“This is the Part Where I Draw” Video Series

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.

Take A Drawing for Coming eBay

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!

You can bid on it here if you wish!

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.