How does this compare with other media?
We’re borrowing the idea of written dialog (lip-sync would be hit-or-miss currently), but varying graphic styles, as your high-end graphic novel might. Avoiding the superheroes, zombies, vampires, and anime.
As any website, this will be free to download and watch; we don’t need to be Apple developers. Also, the plots will be for adults of all ages.
Unlike in its heyday in the ‘90s, we now have the bandwidth for rich painting methods. Our animations will fill the entire screen. It plays on anything that plays websites.
The experience will alternate between the action advancing automatically, and advancing when you scroll down. The timing and alteration will be part of our new viewing vocabulary.
Why should I keep all the fun to myself?
This is the first project I’ve ever contemplated that can’t, by nature and by scope, be a solo act. I’m consciously reaching out beyond my self-imposed shell, to find people who are better than me at the things it needs, as Walt Disney did when he finally put down his drawing pen and concentrated on leadership.
As is proven on such comic strips as XKCD, even with stick figures, a good story will take you far. It’s easy to heap too much of the burden on visuals. This project begins and ends with good writing, and won’t go anywhere without it.
Since this site establishes a new medium, the equivalent of having invented motion pictures, I’m faced with the question, what kind of story shall we tell, especially when we can tell any story there is? If I had to concentrate, I’d like to impart the kind of lessons through story that an adept life coach gives more directly: a positive, uplifting moral. Picture the Hallmark Channel for millennials. Fiction for readers of Brenė Brown or Elizabeth Gilbert, or subscribers to SoulPancake. The Web needs more and more sanity, to counteract the stupid and cruel things that bored people do to strangers online. I feel like I want to balance things out. Don’t you?
If you have a good story idea that points in another direction, let us know; its best to strike while the metal is still soft. A good story is a good story.
DeviantArt. Dribbble. Pinterest. Instagram. Tumblr. Google Plus. Even Periscope and Blab. I’ve seen the work of illustrators and artists of all styles and genres in these and other places. (And I’d love your advice as to where else to look.) Many have specialized in animated characters. If they are capable of drawing either in Adobe Photoshop or a layers-capable app on a tablet, their work is readily animatable. And when the story calls for it, the not-ready-for-Disney experimental work is totally welcome.
One of the more cinematic aspects of our work will be a soundtrack, preformed in short snippets, for technical reasons that were first discovered in the days of Flash, and haven’t been resolved since. The styles will need to vary as widely as the scope and locality of the stories and the drawing styles of the artists.
That’s where all of you come in! If what the marketers tell me is true, you will soon be a raving fan (though we’d much rather you were a thinking fan) and tell friends who you think would love to see this realized. We’d be so grateful!
How will this site make, or find, money?
It is my biggest fear about this project: that I come off as that guy who says to creatives, “Hey, come work for me, for the exposure!” And yet, as any bootstrap operation, there are some ways of promising pieces of the action in the future. Suffice it to say, once there’s money, everyone who deserves it will get it in a fair proportion. I like the model Joseph Gordon Levitt has with HitRECORD: his company splits the profits 50-50 with contributors. I can picture ours being even more generous.
This idea is custom-made for Patreon, the site that lets you patronize artists, as was done in the Renaissance. People can sponsor a dollar amount per time frame, or, more equitably (and more of an incentive to us to keep up a production pace), per finished episode / post / whatever we call these things.
While I’ve set out to make the stories an anthology, there’s a lot to be said about serial stories, with characters that grow and progress — and win fans, who would recognize some repeatable design element of that character that could be put on merchandise. I’ll not leave that money on the table for my collaborators! I won’t be all George Lucas about it, though I will be all Gary Kurtz about it. If you know what I mean.
Far be it from us to refuse the inquiry that our flex of creative strength might attract. If our storytelling shows talents that can be put to use on your website, we’d be happy to help. And should that aspect of this business do well, we might afford bigger percentages for the artists who tell the stories here.
And Yeah, Exposure
We’ll turn WordPress’s author feature an extensive Collaborator Biography section, with portfolio slides, lots of links to other work, and much love and support in ways as yet undiscovered. It’s the least we can do!
[Pilot] Regrets, I’ll Have a Few
A middle-aged man barges into a hospital, having traveled forward in time to the moment of his own death. He barges in on his elder-self, and begins to give him a piece of his mind, for constantly making him have to base all his life decisions on whether he’s going to have a death-bed regret about it. The response he gets is the last one he’d ever expect.
I’m Rick Wolff. Hiya.
I’m an almost-lifelong graphic designer. I found my calling early on, and have ridden it, sometimes like a bucking bronco, for 33 years now.
But early on, I had a different direction in mind. I don’t often tell this chapter.
My first job of substance, at age 21, was as a production assistant to a guy who did stop-motion special effects for TV commercials. This was two years after Star Wars, and I wanted to be in that industry. I knew enough about pre-computer graphic design to know that I could pick it up easily, but I’d considered it a last resort. For losers, who couldn’t hack it.
The job lasted less than a year, but taught me a lot. Like how volatile the industry is, and how susceptible to recession. So I sucked it up, and did what I knew would be a career-killer. I took a graphic design job.
All the while throughout the years, the medium of animation — a combination of graphic design and film, a fusion of my two strengths — would stalk me at metaphorical cocktail parties, catching my gaze, then disappearing back into the crowd.
The Mac came along in 1988, for me, and I found myself knowledgeable — and unquenchably curious — about this first professional creative craft that could be done on a machine not hard-wired for the task: a personal computer.
Adobe Illustrator led to Macromedia Flash, the first way to connect to the Internet and see a story unfold with sound and motion on your computer monitor, predating video by several years.
Now that we’re on the other side of the Era of Flash, there are still stories to tell using that unique medium.
And that face in the crowded cocktail party had better stay put, because I’m going over to start a conversation.