I keep on plugging away on Don’t Fear the Sitter. It’s slow work. On average, since I last reset my accounting in April, I’ve gotten through about one character-second of animation per three days. That is, if there’s one second of footage in which two characters are moving the whole time, that represents two character seconds. Keep in mind, though, that I probably only average between half an hour and an hour of work per day.
According to the spreadsheet I keep for tracking my progress I’m set to finish all the animation in DFtS at the end of January. It’s a little weird to have that goal actually approaching after all this time. I first started working on this thing in the Summer of 2005, so I’ve been at it for more than five years. It’ll be almost six by the time I actually finish (assuming I finish when I’m planning to). It brings up the question in my mind: What Next?
I suppose first I’d like to take a little break from having a project that I’m always working on. It’s a little wearying to always have to come back to the same tasks every night, working with the same assets. It helps, in a way, that I have several characters in my film. Switching between them keeps things fresh. That would suck if I was only animating a single character the whole time.
I really like Falling Lizard, though — the yearly party at UCLA where everyone makes a complete (though admittedly minimal) film in a single weekend. It’s a weekend when I know I’m going to be able to work on something a little different for a change, despite whatever other big project I might be working on in the rest of my free time.
As an example of something I might do at Falling Lizard, I present to you the film I made at Falling Lizard ‘09. It’s a little snippet of an idea I’ve been kicking around for a while for a TV series, movie, or graphic novel:
But back to that question: What Next? It’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that I’m going to start a new personal project after I’m done with DFtS. The question is, what? Here are some of the possibilities:
- Start a new animated short. Nice and simple, going down a path I’ve been down several times before. This option doesn’t require much risk on my part. Right now this option doesn’t seem that appealing to me, either. I mean, yes, it’s satisfying to create stuff, and it’s awesome seeing/hearing the audience reaction to a freshly finished film, but it takes so freakin’ long! It’s a little distressing to have to wait five years to see the fruit of my creative effort come to completion and finally be shown to the outside world.
- Create a graphic novel or web comic. This one is a little more appealing. There’s potential for getting an actual audience going if I were able to either get a publisher or draw a web audience. That said, I’ve never done this sort of thing. I’m sure it’s fraught with its own perils that I would find out about along the way. It also has potential, though, assuming I could draw an audience and craft a good story with strong characters, of leading to TV development or maybe even a movie (witness: Scott Pilgrim, perhaps my favorite movie so far this year).
- Write a screenplay. This would probably be in the NaNoWriMo vein, sitting down and hammering out 120 pages of something – doesn’t really matter what. It’s that whole thing about getting through it being the important first step – worry about whether it’s any good later. It’s hard to imagine that writing a screenplay would take me where I want to go, though, which is really toward more of a creative leadership role in narrative animation. It’s also a path that I’d be breaking new ground in for myself, so I would be putting myself at a high risk of no one ever seeing the result of my efforts.
- Try to develop a TV series. This one is probably the one I’m leaning toward most right now. I really like the idea of creating a whole new setting and being able to follow my own vision of how a show should be developed. I have a couple ideas I’ve been toying with for several years, never taking the time to really develop them. Whenever I think about working on them some more I say to myself “No, David, if you’re going to work on something then you should work on Don’t Fear the Sitter.” Yeah. Tell it, self. But anyway, TV is also what I’d like to get back to eventually, so this would be a definite trying-to-move-forward-in-my-chosen-career maneuver.