Believe it or not, but October 12th 2005 marked the day that our very first Shamoozal short, Candy Corns, was unleashed upon the universe. Candy Corns, while not the pride and joy of our tiny catalog of shorts, was without a doubt a milestone for us.
The fact is, Shamoozal.com went live sometime in June or July of that year. Upon typing in shamoozal.com, you would be greeted with a “Zoink Teaser” (which was later renamed Carboard Box) and not much else. The most you’d see of Grey and Jacquo was on the message board header.
Believe it or not, I spent a good year preparing for the website. I spent that time learning Flash, designing Grey, Jacquo and Plum, saved some money to buy a Wacom tablet. The problem was, during all this preparation, I never actually wrote any episodes for these characters. Well, at least not full episodes, I had plenty of gags and punch lines written down in a small journal, but nothing on the scale of something like ‘Crapfest Force‘. Jacquo oddly enough, was supposed to have his own “series” like the Zoinks and Manbot. It was supposed to focus on his life as a bum, in which I was sort of able to go back and visit that idea with Jacquos Carol. That one bum with the big head and beard was named Loose Leaves. He was supposed to be Jacquo’s bum friend in that old series. I knew it would be impossible to juggle between 4 different series (as we have come to find out, it‘s almost impossible to juggle between 3 series), I decided at the last minute to merge him into Grey’s world.
During the month of September, I was trying to figure out the right way to properly launch this site. I needed to have some sort of short, and with October just around the corner I figured maybe it would be a good idea to have something Halloween themed. The issue is that I couldn’t put these characters into costumes or anything like that for their “debut” episode, so it needed to be less about the holiday and more about the two characters playing off each other.
I set out to write the episode, but I’m actually not much of a writer. I came out with a very loose outline of what I wanted to happen. Actually, all I knew is that I wanted Jacquo to eat something sweet, have his teeth fall out, and then have him replace his teeth with the candy. That was my big visual gag. Great isn’t it? In all honesty though, I wanted to keep it really short because I had not actually done any real animation since school, so I was relearning a lot about the animation process.
We set up everything at Joe’s place and started to record the episode. Like I said, there wasn’t much in the way of dialogue, just a direction I wanted to take. I thought maybe it would be a good idea to try and wing it, and come up with all the dialogue off the top of my head. Turns out, it was a pretty bad idea, but at the same time it was good for the episode.
I sat there for a while recording lines, making up all sorts of garbage, and stuttering every five seconds. This was also the first time I ever had to act out lines in front of people, so it was actually really embarrassing for me personally. It’s interesting how things started to fall into place during the recording though. There was no “Don’t touch the candy corns” gag until a good way through our recording. Grey was to start out by saying such expertly written material like “WHOA! Hey dude, don’t touch the candy corns! That stuff is off limits!” and then leave the room. If I remember correct, it was Joe who suggested the gag, saying “Why not have Grey get more and more angry while Jacquo continues to reach for the candy?” Earlier in the recording I did the line in the low and angry tone just goofing around (that tone of voice is actually a little in joke with us) and it ended up making its way in there. Funny thing is, that’s the part that people actually find funny about the short.
That’s about as much as Jacquo moves during ‘Candy Corns’
After a while, we finally had some dialogue that we wanted to go with. That was the day where I realized how important it is to actually write this stuff down (duh). It’s a hard thing to do, especially when you’re not much of a writer to begin with, but it’s the only way to get the job done.
After recording, I animated Candy Corns over the weekend and it was ready. Yeah, I cranked that short out in a weekend, but it shows. It’s really short, not much animation going on, and short on substance. Still, it was an important step in getting this site together, and a great exercise for me to begin learning my way around Flash.
Do you realize that we originally intended to have a new cartoon every month? I’d still love for that to happen, and who knows, maybe one day it will. I can promise that we’ll have a little something for everyone soon. No way in hell I’m going through the whole year with one whole cartoon.
To celebrate our two years here on the intranets, here are a handful of goodies for your downloading pleasure. Have fun!
Here is a classic for you…
Remember that one? In case you never clicked them all, there are four hot spots on there. Click the moon to turn out the lights. Click the wolf to make Grey piss his pants. Click the front head stone to make it blast off. When you click that, a Zoink ghost appears for a fraction of a second. Click the Zoink ghost to have it get captured by the Ghostbusters. Hooray for limited interactivity!