The blog of a person....yeah that sounds good.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

30 til 30.

30 days until I'm 30 years old. My life has gone mostly nowhere in the last few years. I have a rather comically long list of studios I've tried to get into. Several hundred at least. Might be approaching the 1k mark. But no can do, I suppose. I am fully aware it's not their faults obviously. I don't blame them. The industry is jam packed with new artists and laid-off veterans all looking for the same jobs all looking for the same work. And nearly all of them are far more capable than I am.

I've spent about 2 years trying to learn Blender now. I spend more time going back and re-reading guides and references than actually getting anything made because I honestly can't remember how to do things in the software. It's marvelously obtuse and I feel like a fucking idiot every time I fumble around in it.

I bought a surface pro 2 a couple months ago with what little extra money I still have. Sadly it can't do the 1 thing I really hoped it'd be good for which is run Flash CS3 decently. Flash runs like garbage on it and I'm still having to animate mostly on my ancient Toshiba M400 that I bought with Newgrounds prize money back in 2008. I don't mind animating on it but that tablet was already refurbished. I live in constant fear that it's going to just stop working one day and then I'll be truly fucked. Not that I'm not pretty fucked as it is. College loans from my shitty run at IADT still bleed me dry every month. Can't save up enough for a Cintiq, can't save up enough for a car. Much less an apartment.

I've even started asking around at video editing and theatrical places. Local ones in the ghetto. Seeing if they need someone who can just operate a camera or work with software packages. Compositing, green screen, anything. Nothing. And the one animation studio here that is close by is run entirely by two people and their site hasn't been updated since 2011. When I was a young teen I always thought eventually I'd be good enough to work at a real animation studio. Pixar, Disney, Blue Sky those sorts of places. I'd be happy just being a janitor at these sort of places. Sweeping up trash while watching the sorcerers make their magic. It was a rather laughable dream back then and I knew it. I knew I'd never have the skill to ever really get into a highbrow establishment. I'm a very slow learner. Only recently have my paintings gotten to a point where I can look at them and go "this doesn't look entirely shit. in fact its pretty ok.".

That's fine and all. I'm not the best. I'm not even good really. I'm astoundingly mediocre and that's better than quite a lot of people online. But that doesn't make the disappointment of how my career has turned out any less rancid. I can't even seem to find work at CRAPPY studios. You know the types. The ones whose reels look like a Tim and Eric sketch but it's not actually meant to be bad in an ironic funny kind of way.

Back in 2007 I was about ready to pretty much just quit. I was turning 22 and I hadn't managed to accomplish anything. The closest thing to an art job I had ever gotten was nearly getting into the now VERY dead Fatkat studios who closed due to legal issues and fraud. I figured if I hit 22 and didn't manage to get noticed I was just going to call it quits on the whole art thing. I would just stop. By some sort of miracle I got hired by Weebl mere days before I hit my 22nd birthday. And I was very happy to work for him because he was the only person who gave me a chance. A chance I would fuck up a multitude of times over the years. For the life of me, I do wonder how I've managed to keep that job. The amount of times I've screwed up a project and he's had to fix it are pretty numerous. The man has generosity in spades.

It's pretty much only due to him I really have anything at all. Freelance work comes few and far between when one is as mediocre as I. One can't live on occasional web work alone. Not without popularity to make those clicks and ads pay dividends. I knew I'd never be a Egoraptor or Happy Harry. I can't write funny things. I'm not really creative enough to be entertaining without being filled with hate. It's why my best Dustbunnies comics are mostly just me finding ways of viciously mocking something terrible. But without anger I don't amount to much.

Eight years later and I look at the little clock on my computer. It's August 30th. I've spent the last month working on a new Flash cartoon. It's been a long time since I made a Flash cartoon comprised entirely of my own ideas for the sole purpose of being creative. It's not a failed ad for mayonnaise, or a film produced for someone else. It's something "indie" for lack of a better word. Something based on a concept come up with entirely by me. And hopefully it's good. It's the first real burst of passion I've gotten for an idea in quite some time. I've put what's left of my heart and soul and joy into this little film. It's barely a minute long and it's not particularly original. I know there's films that have done similar concepts at much higher quality. But I don't really care. I love this film. And for all I know it may be my last film.

It's rare that I feel a need to produce things on my own that aren't paintings. Animation is a lot of work. Every frame is basically a painting. And many times I'd rather just open my surface pro 2, open Art Rage, and paint then animate something. It's why I've changed the sort of places I generally apply at from animation work to more design and painting jobs. Particularly since, and perhaps I'm wrong in this opinion, my paintings look much nicer than my cartoons. It's why for this new cartoon I've tried very hard to make it look at least somewhat as nice as a painting. Which is hard since Flash doesn't animate with bitmaps very well.

I think what few people who visit this blog will read this and suppose this whole speech is to feel sorry for myself. But it's not. Everything that's gone wrong with my life, and continues to go wrong, is a direct result of my own limitations and poor talents and poor decisions. I have nobody to blame but myself. And as I turn 30 years old this year and look at my comically bad resume and demo reel, I know that this is pretty much the best of it. This is the best my life will probably ever be. I haven't made a lot of money off a big project in a long time, and now that I can't find even crappy freelance work, I never will. Everything from here is mostly a downhill slide. And as I sit here looking at this almost finished cartoon I can't help but wonder if maybe I was wrong 8 years ago to change my mind. Maybe I was wrong to keep chugging along with this art thing and work for Weebl. He deserves better than me. Far better.

There's an alternate universe somewhere out there, beyond the void past the stars. In this universe I dropped the whole art thing at 22. I went to a normal community college, not an art college, and I got an actual degree for minimal cost, a normal white collar job, probably putting together .pdf files for some office here in florida. In this alternate universe I have a car, and an apartment. I have a social life, and maybe even a girlfriend. I get up every morning, feeling content. I don't make a lot of money in this alternate universe, but what I do make is consistent and reliable and I'm not competing with thousands of others online for it. In this alternate universe, Gerkinman and Weebl and Studio Yotta and College Humor and everyone else I've worked for continue to exist. But instead of me being there, taking up space and time and fucking up constantly, theres people there of real talent. Maybe Yotam Perel or Felix Cosgrave work for these kind people now, and now they have far better success and far more clients.

 It's a nice alternate universe where everyone feels useful. It's an alternate universe where I can look in my father's eyes and not feel like the massive disappointment I've become. Where he can retire because his rich son isn't locked in a spare room, trying desperately to salvage some sort of mangled art-related career.

What I'd give to trade places with that Nathan, even for a day.

Anyway, enough moaning about my shortcomings, the important thing you should take from all this is that I've been busy. I know it's been quite a few months since I last posted in this blog, and for that I apologize. And I also apologize that the first post in months is this incredibly negative sounding diatribe about how much I hate myself. I'm sure what few readers I have were hoping for something a bit more positive or uplifting, and in that sense I do have some things to deliver.

For starters one of the reasons my postings have been minimal is that I started up a Tumblr.

This is where you can find me uploading garbage pretty frequently. Be it random bits of fanart, paintings, animated gifs I've made and other such things. I've been using it for maybe 2-3 months now and I quite like it. It's simple and isn't a bloated mess like blogspot has become. THANKS GOOGLE.

That doesn't mean I will be abandoning this blog however. This blog is pretty handy as a place for me to whine like a big fat god damn baby about my shitty life. Can't really do that on tumblr without looking like one of the weird sjw's there. No thanks to that!

I also totally REDID MY WEBSITE!!!
I completely retooled it from the ground up. This year when I made my new demo reel and resume (which have both been colossal failures!) I decided it was time to redo my site as well. I don't understand actionscript very well so sadly the website doesn't really work on tablets or smartphones. And frankly I don't have the money to pay a programmer to fix all that so if the site doesn't work well NUTS TO YOU BUDDY.

 I also have been PAINTING. ALOT. Like a shit-ton. Now that I have my surface pro 2 (the first really good thing I've bought in a very very VERY long time), I've fallen in love with it. It's shitty as hell for animation but oh my god is it good for digital painting.
My work has had a noticable boost in quality now that I'm not struggling with every single stroke!
Look at that! I made that! Can you believe it? I can't!
Paintings are finally starting to look like how I envisioned them in my head instead of looking like steaming walrus turds!
Getting this tablet was pretty much the best thing to happen to me in a long long time. I can make LARGE paintings with lots of detail. I can finally use custom photoshop brushes! I was not able to do that before!
I could not have produced things like this previously on the old Toshiba M400.
Not that the old Toshiba was a bad pc. I still use it even today. Hell I spent 6 hours animating in it yesterday. I still need that thing for doing traditional animation. I wish I didn't but I'm stuck with it until I can get a Cintiq.
They make an 800 dollar Cintiq now. That's the one I want. It's why I've been on the warpath the last few months. Applying to dozens of studios a day. If I could get just one decent real paycheck I could finally get one of these. As a quick note: CINTIQ's used to cost 3000 fucking dollars. Let that sink in. You can see why I'm excited theres cheap ones now.
See right now I'm writing this from my very powerful desktop computer. You may wonder why not just get a cheap Wacom. I had a wacom. I won it like a decade ago. I couldn't get used to it no matter how hard I tried. The whole hand-eye-not-looking-at-the-screen thing hurts my head. My brain is not good at mastering it. So eventually I gave up and gave the tablet to my friend Bug.
That's why i was so excited initially to get the Toshiba. I knew it was the answer to my woes. And still is. But that thing runs hot when I animate with it. Pretty sure I could fry an egg on it. I need something to hook up to this desktop that performs the same function.

Anyway there's the first real blog post in ages.
The cartoon I'm producing is called DECOUPLING and I've posted quite a few pics from it on my tumblr. It should be done very soon.
 And now if you'll excuse me I have to get back to work on it.