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!

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