Thursday, February 12, 2015

February Project Housekeeping

A new year, a new month, time to reflect on several creative works on my hand and where I'm planning to go with them.

It has been a good 8 months since I last updated Valleydog for variety of reasons, largely involving an attempt at readapting the comic for animation under Project CanisVulpes (and naively a whole series in the course of two months in the name of ambition). Said two months has, for a variety of real life reasons, morphed into over six months since, reasons thereof will be henceforth mentioned.The alternative would be to resume working on the comic in the usual routine schedule (or post as I finish like I did with Elevations Experimentations), or just bury the comic altogether in the past. Heck, Valleydog was designed to end this year had I stayed on schedule.

The main issue I have with Valleydog is that while I do have a connection to the characters, while there is strong potential for humor, while I do have storylines planned out, with a major reveal onto Francis' past, it's just the setting - a charter high school - and moreso when rebooting to 10th grade, that I simply drains any believable writing and emotional connection.

Granted, I could bump the ages to college and have the main cast go through the trials of such. However, specific storylines, jokes, and overall plots/backstories rely so heavily on the setting that I can't simply do such without a complete and utter redo of the premise until it's name and species only.

I have set forth a plan of action for Project CanisVulpes. Whether or not I'm able to follow through with this is of my own personal responsibility, if I choose to go forth wish such:
  1. Finish six scripts of the first six episodes already planned
  2. Recruit potential voices for a group read
  3. Pick and choose funniest/plot relevant scenes/lines
  4. Animate only those scenes/lines
  5. Use aforementioned animated clips as a crowdfunding teaser. 
  6. Post such and prepare for crowdfunding (ie Kickstarter)
  7. Next steps follow as appropriate

So far, I'm in the midst of step 1, and have been since August. Two scripts were written, and both I'm in the process of rewriting due to lukewarm response and weak storytelling. Over the course of the month, variousl emotional and personal life events happened which caused me to really question despite my determination the true worth of continuing, or if I should just give up (which, in all honesty, the main reason I'm still holding onto Valleydog is simply because I've never seen a project the whole way through; always jumping  and/or leaving unfinished for something else). This brought a bit of paralysis, as well as continuously rewriting the pilot to be workable (only managing to get an actual plot beyond "here's the characters, welcome Francis" late December). Script 1 is 1/4 done, with the remaining 5 in various states of incompletion. When working with dialogue, and making it work, it is surprising how time consuming this really is, which, coming from one who wants to just get the story moving, is rather irritating - if you rush, it shows.

It's also February, and I need to pick up the pace. I'd love to have someone help me in writing, but I haven't finished a pitch/story bible to aid in such yet... I guess guidelines to volunteers?

Moving on to Elevations, an idea that has been brewing in my head since I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area three years ago, things have been moving along at a much quicker scale. I'd like to owe this to the fact that the storyline is, overall, a lot more personally relevant based on the experience I've had so far, allowing for more character development and plotlines that otherwise would not be feasible in a sheltered high school setting.

Plus, actually dividing the planned story up into segments (four volumes of four/five chapters... 16-20 in total for the story) helps a lot. I feel more free in writing this as I'm not confined to a high school based on real (though now cloudy) memories, and instead taking elements around me (like making a major local landmark a serious plot point and having names like Nathan Judah and Juliet Church)... as well as practice into streamlining for wider audience (partly the point of the recent practice comic was to test how people engage to what elements, despite the mood not appropriately matching the final comic).

Main issue is that, as the storyline sits (which I don't want to give away much of), is that it'll turn into a very depressing and emotionally tolling one. Things will change over time, but the themes explored are... well, open to interpretation, and the main character will go through a lot.

I am looking forward to working on Elevations. I have characters more/less ironed out, as well as the overall plot point. I will be going up to San Francisco later in the month to do some field research into locations and gathering detail (thus avoiding GIS syndrome) as well as inspiration for later/potential elements to be integrated; getting a good feel of the city and its livelyhood outside of Cable cars and giant museum malls. I will be posting my own personal notes on my research on this blog, as well as concept art in the appropriate places.

Anywho, I hope you enjoy this early morning ramble. Thanks for reading, and if you have any more questions to ask, feel free to do so wherever personally convenient.

Hasta Marfle!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Further Conventions - Part II

So I mentioned in a previous journal my thoughts on a recent furry convention, and all the fun therein.

Lemme continue this vanity for the future year, in ramble fashion. 

When it comes to planning future cons for the year, at least when they're not a day trip away, I go take into account the following factors:
  • Must be relatively easily to access without a car.
  • Good consistent reputation across the fandom, hype notwithstanding.
  • Sizable attendance and as cliquish as this sounds know several furs going beyond just an invite from one.
  • Must not be within less than 2 months before/after a convention I'm already locked onto.
  • (Important): It must be in a city that one would otherwise travel to on its own merits and not just for a weekend at a hotel.
 While most conventions easily pass the first one, the rest kinda slowly eliminate all but a few personally (ironically my two closest, FC and BLFC, individually fail two of the above). That said, sanity and personal also limits me to three (maaaaybe hypothetically four but that's stretching it) of these in one year. I can thank Rainfurrest for kinda proving the ability of traveling long distances for these, and kinda reopening the door, albeit with reservations, but I digress.

Anywho, my upcoming convention list goes as follows.

  • Biggest Little FurCon This is a given. I already have a room settled and tentative transport plans. All I need to do now is register like a good citizen. I may have something done in time by then; whatever may suit me. Also looking forward to the free attractions (swinging folf anyone?) for once, so yay only reason to go to Reno.
  • Midwest Furfest (or Rainfurrest II, Medieval Boogaloo) I really wanna do MWFF, and have started some rainy day saving and casual preliminary planning. If anything, it's well timed to be a great potential Birthday con. Ideally wishful thinking (and based on previous discussion), this would involve a railtrip to Chicago (and granted a return flight a la RF), and maybe check out a bit of the city if can (perhaps see Wait Wait live). This is, of course, personally ambitious and would quite honestly (given how volatile it is as of late) depend on how my state of living midway thru this year.

    I kinda wanna do Rainfurrest again, albeit abbreviated (Fri-Sun), but I'm also getting a been there, done that feeling. I'd return more for visiting Seattle than seeing furries, to be quite honest given how my experience there was essentially mainly running into local furs from the Bay (that I'd otherwise see in a regular meet and/or visit personally), how I enjoyed the train trip to the con more than then con itself, and didn't quite feel as unique save for a few moments (granted, this was also of my own wrongdoing, but enough rambling). This, of course, would also depend on things post-BLFC.
  • Further Confusion 2016 Duh
What I would like to check out sometime having heard plenty of good, gotten plenty of invites to, but in no responsible position to do so (but may do for 2016... wishful thinking):
  • Texas Furry Fiesta I blame hyenas. I actually wasn't even planning on going to this for above reasons (it fails two; why travel to a Dallas suburb?). Let's just say I was fairly convinced after a while, plus it seems to be fairly good. Plus, maybe wishful thinking to release Elevations I there? One can dream (or set as goal) :)
  • Furry Weekend Atlanta Like Texas... I guess I don't really see myself traveling to the South? I have gotten a fair amount of asks in regards to this to some extent, plus I know of a fair amount of furs going here that I otherwise won't see. It isn't that high on my list, but it's there as a consideration. 
  • Oklacon or Campfire Tails Because camping.
  • Anthrocon I see this as the "tourist trap of the fandom"; you go to it just for sake of going there because it's size and notability. It's like a kid going to Disney World. That said, there's no way I'd travel to Pittsburgh just for a crowded weekend of animals (and the city itself isn't worth visiting on its own), so any plan of doing AC would involve having it be the end of a trip along the east coast (Ideally Start at DC for a few days, go to Philadelphia for a few more, then finish off with AC). Until I can reasonably and responsibly do such, any chance of visiting Anthrocon will be on hold (unless I somehow become GoH, pretty please?).
All plans are tentative, and while it is fun to discuss and talk about these - and believe me, I have a wanderlust high; I love to talk about traveling and actually doing the journeys. Planning vacations is fun and all (I'd totally be a travel agent if that occupation was still relevant), but my life doesn't revolve around visiting furries (in fact, I find the life of one who talks exclusively about how many cons they plan to visit, have visited, and ranked them by how many fursuits they saw, how many parties they attended, how much beer, and how much sex they had to be quite sad; there's more than just communing with animal people at a hotel). Hell, there's much more important matters I need to discuss (which will also be for another upcoming post).

Nonetheless, hope this sates any  potential leisure and social questions, and I appreciate you reading this piece of vanity.

Until next time,

Hasta Marfle!