I’m beyond ecstatic to announce “Doctor with the Red Houseware” is live and available for viewing on Tubi. Tubi is a free streaming platform available on all devices. If you’d like to support my work, please click the link above and give it a “thumbs up” when prompted.
I’ve made significant progress this week and have settled on a 23 minute run time for episode 1. I have 20+ minutes fully animated and am now working on the climax.
It’s time for me to get more serious about the marketing and building a sense of anticipation for episode 1. I have been releasing weekly web comics that are generally scrolled over but have nonetheless received 1-7 likes on social media, which in some circles is called “going viral.”
I am convinced youtube algorithm can be successfully maneuvered through purposeful planning. Releasing videos in batches, posting Youtube shorts, and live videos are known methods to attract viewers to your channel. Finding your way into the “suggested” pile is a surefire way to get a long form video viewed.
Starting this week, I plan to begin releasing short 1 minute scenes of Paramedic Robot that have nothing to do with the episode I’m currently working on. They will likely feature 1 perspective, a basic background, and sketch so funny viewers will have no choice but to keep scrolling and forget it ever existed. The key here will be the amount of time required to complete the scene and the amount of viewership this can gain.
I would like to employ the use of a stopwatch during editing at some point in time. I find I can be relatively quick when it comes to backgrounds and the physical actions of animated characters. When it comes to designing watches or more minute (My-nute?) details of a character I am prone to wasting large sums of time until it looks just right. After this first episode debuts, I must make a set of ground rules for myself in order to keep production efficient. Have you ever seen those videos about Middle Eastern bakeries? The workers never stop! They move like clockwork until they are soaked in sweat. That is what it takes to turn a profit in the private sector, and creating a successful film production company should be no different.
*Below is an internal discussion I’ve been having with myself regarding the audio mix. It doesn’t really belong here but I already wrote so I see no sense in deleting it now. Hope you have a wonderful day.
I ordered some new gear recently – a 2 terabyte nvme card, 64 gb of ram, and my first set of studio monitors and a subwoofer. The first two items were necessary so that I could edit on my desktop computer. Since the completion of the last episode of Mountain Cult, I have not had enough room on my C drive to operate any programs. I literally had to juggle programs like After Effects, Adobe Audition, and Ableton Live in order to work with files on a separate drive.
I am determined to complete my set of speakers so that I can edit in surround sound. Unfortunately, that will also require me to order more cables, 2 standing monitor stands, another desktop stand, and a TV stand. It’s not cheap and I do not have enough room for all that equipment. I am willing to work extra shifts for the gear, in fact last week I worked a 36 hour shift to pay for the aforementioned items.
Surround sound – multiple independent streams of audio coming from various speakers. This provides a more immersive environment that allows the listener to hear background noises independent from the dialogue coming through the center front speaker.
Stereo – Sounds are limited to 2 speakers (left and right). A subwoofer may be included to promote frequencies generally at or below 80 hz.
One simple solution that I have all but decided on is to improve my abilities at stereo mixing before ordering the additional speakers. Paramedic Robot will debut on Youtube – which does not support surround sound anyway. Many modern day streaming services do, however, and that is why I’ve been wrestling with doing it in surround (it’s easier to downmix from surround to stereo than vice versa).
Another advantage of working in stereo is that the music we listen to comes from stereo files. This means any songs I create in Ableton may be uploaded as downloadable tracks on a site such as spotify. If I decide to mix the film in surround, I will have to export what is known as “stems” so that I can send different instruments/tracks to the Left Side and Right Side speakers than the Left Front and Right Front.
Ultimately at this point in the game I feel I would be much wiser to mix in stereo. Episode 1 of Paramedic Robot will be lucky to break 1000 views on Youtube. Preparing for the future is generally a smart decision, but in this case I feel the effort will not be worth the reward. One additional component of my consideration is that mixing in surround now will help me mix with more efficiency in the future. I may even able to find work in sound design for a legitimate film with that experience.
I didn’t have time to make a comic yesterday, which means I failed my weekly social media commitment. Truth be told I ran out of time. I work graveyard shift Wednesday through Saturday and fell asleep straight when I arrived home.
The above still is the east parking lot to the hospital. I thought it would be interesting to breakdown why this animated episode has taken me so long.
Each and every creation takes time – obviously. But I believe in this undertaking because the process will become more efficient in the future.
Lets start with the background. It was designed together and exported as 6 separate layers. The layers are placed together in order of dominant perspective. The layers are as follows:
2.) Brick Wall
3.) Rear Wall
4.) Rear street lights
6.) Street, shops, and skyline
Most photography programs interpret layer order as dominance. For instance, if you have two boxes of the same size, one green and one blue, the layer on top will be the only one that is seen. Place the blue layer on top and you will see a blue box.
Now we move on to the other images. We have background characters and vehicles. These were also designed and exported as PNGs. These PNGs are placed among the background layers before the scene is rendered. For instance, I can see from the image above that the background characters were likely placed on top of every scenery layer. The vehicles vary. If I wanted to have a car moving behind the rear wall, I would simply place it between the rear wall and the street and shop layer. As long as it appears above the street & shop layer, but below the wall layer, I can make it appear to move behind the wall and on the street.
By keeping images separate I am able to reuse the same assets in different scenes. If I need a sidewalk and street in a new background I can simply drag and drop the isolated layer into a new scene. The same goes for the background characters.
Because of my strong belief that efficiency will improve with my asset library I have devoted more time to this episode than I am otherwise comfortable with. When I know an asset is being designed with the intent of reproduction, I spend extra time to design it in order to meet all future requirements. That means each 2d image includes a front, side, and rear profile. For each vehicle I also have a bright, illuminated layer specific for activated brakelights. Each character has a minimum of a front and rear profile. The main characters also have a left and right profile.
Hope this was informative in some way and you find joy in your day.
I saw an intriguing video this week by youtuber “Why Files.” His channel is excellent and I watched it grow from 100,000 subscribers to 1,000,000 in one year. He credited much of his growth to the popularity of his YouTube shorts, which eventually influenced the Youtube algorithm to recommend his long form videos.
I am still animating the 30 minute episode I’ve been working on. Considering the success of the Why Files, I am contemplating putting out Youtube shorts on a weekly basis. This would add more work but if I can keep the animated scene simple it may be to great benefit.
Anyways, hope you enjoyed this little comic. Don’t worry about Ricky too much – he’s that over analyzes everything.
I’ve got 20 minutes to write this before I attend a work required class. Not enough time to do anything of significance but maybe I can get something out there.
I hate watching days pass as I continue to work on my current project. As I’ve noted throughout, the belief in what I’m doing for the current episode is based in what it may provide for me in the future. I came to a realization that frequency and quantity of content is a better predictor of success than quality alone. If you make a perfect song as a no name artist, you may not have anyone to give it a listen. Pop stars, on the other hand, will have their bullshit replayed over radio waves until even the non-complicit listeners know the words. Film and novels are no different – there are tremendous stories out there that nobody has ever heard of, and maybe never will.
I think about Van Gogh a lot. We all know he was an insanely talented and tormented artist. But what amazes me most about Van Gogh is his inability to sell a painting. He lived in his mind, constantly improving his craft with a non-stop output of material. But his personality was abrasive which I believe led to a lot of personal rejection. I believe Van Gogh thought that strangers would see the magnificence of his work without having a personal relationship with him. Today’s “influencers” are the polar opposite – they don’t produce a product, they’re personality is the product. For me it is proof that the majority of people value social status over the invisible truths – beauty, love, faith. Today Van Gogh is universally praised as an artistic juggernaut because it is the accepted social norm of a view. In his day, I’m certain the common man would respond to his name with a “Who?”.
All this is to say I believe in my current project because it should enable me to produce more content faster in the future. I can return to making music and include a new track in each episode. I can reuse the characters I have already designed, programmed, and replicated in multiple perspectives. The show itself is about ambulance workers – so I don’t see why each episode shouldn’t include an ambulance and a hospital for 75% of the runtime. That means I can reuse backgrounds, which again promotes efficiency.
The lag I have experienced is related to this repeatedly. Reusable background are created in multiple perspectives, as are the dynamic assets within them (passing vehicles, phones, chairs, desks, etc.). But why design one vehicle in 3 perspectives, when you can simply change the color and create 10 vehicles in 3 perspectives? This same thinking applies to everything. Why create a picket fence for the scene at hand and not save it as a PNG with alpha to be reused later? It’s millions of small tasks like this that drain the day. I do not enjoy any of it but stand by my philosophy.
A few days ago I ordered some studio monitors (aka speakers). Last week I purchased a new focusrite interface that will allow me to mix in surround sound. I am extremely excited about this possibilities this provides. Even if I should start mixing other filmmakers work, that might produce better long term results than spending more hours at the job I currently have, which is unrelated to any of this.
Any way, it’s time for me to head out now. Hope all is well and you find joy with your day.
I’ve got 18 minutes animated for episode 1 and am nearing the finish line. I’m apprehensive about what the future holds as I still have to do the audio, sound effects, and music. My major new year’s resolution will be delegating jobs to others and disciplining myself to tight deadlines. In the meantime I’m going to accept that creating anything from scratch will always require more time than dragging and dropping the same asset in the future. I’ve enjoyed making these comics and have established a customized template. I intend to create one of these a week and devote no more than 30 minutes to the task. Hope all is well.