Tag Archive for 'your face is a saxophone'

Why We’ve Been Silent About YFIAS For Months

Around the beginning of last year, in anticipation of the Your Face is a Saxophone Kickstarter, I started acting differently online. I became less candid, less talkative, and more worried about how the things I said would be interpreted. I was trying to seem professional. That was a mistake. It didn’t actually make me look like a more trustworthy person to throw your money at, and it only made me, personally, more anxious.

No more. Total transparency time.

Production of Your Face is a Saxophone has stalled. We haven’t made any progress on it since April. The reason for this is that, at this stage of production, all the onus is on me. I’m the only one with the hardware, software, and resources to animate this thing. There’s also a little bit of dialogue to record, and many of Dave Lanz’s lines need to be re-recorded, but I haven’t scheduled the time for that. I’ve been out of commission, and I haven’t had the motivation and drive to do any of this.

Now, for people who’ve given me money with the expectation that it would translate into hard work, “I don’t have the motivation” isn’t an acceptable excuse. I know that. So if you don’t want to hear any more of it, you can stop reading after this: I still plan to deliver more episodes of YFIAS, but if anyone who has donated to Episode 3 would like a refund, I will offer it. A lot of the money has been spent, so I won’t be able to fulfill that refund immediately, but if you want it, you can have it.

If you’re still with me, I’ll explain what’s behind all this.

First of all, the reason the money’s spent is because the fundraising is meant to pay my bills, so that I’d be able to work full-time on YFIAS instead of finding a “real job.” At this stage, there aren’t any costs associated with the project other than my ability to eat and stuff, because starvation is a severe impediment to animation. Fortunately, I’ve been able to eat and find a place to live without needing donation income, but there are still expenses beyond that. It’s a fact of life that everyone needs to spend money. I haven’t been spending it on Ferraris, I promise. I’ve been living as frugally as I possibly can, simply because it’s necessary.

Anyway. The motivation bullshit. The end of April was when I had planned to start getting into the swing of animating Episode 3. Then the end of April began some family troubles, which culminated in me having an uncertain living situation. Most people would be able to compartmentalize these things. Unfortunately, I’m a nutcase.

I’ve been clinically depressed for the past few months, and I’m currently on medication that’s sorta-kinda helping not really. Behind all this is something going on with my brain which causes me to have dissociative episodes which my doctor initially thought were panic attacks, but on further study it turns out they’re atypical. It’s never a good sign when your doctor looks at you with utter fascination twinkling in his eyes, like he’s an astrophysicist and you’re a newly-discovered planet that appears to be orbiting 16 different stars at once.

So, TL;DR, health problems. That’s why I haven’t been animating. That’s why I haven’t updated anything. That’s why I’m still dawdling with opening the source files for Episodes 1 and 2.

As you can probably tell, though I like to refer to “we” when talking about Plankhead and the YFIAS team, a lot of it rides on me. I don’t like that. I work much better when I’m collaborating with someone, because it makes me feel accountable. I’d venture to say the only reason Episode 2 actually got finished is because I had Erica Frohnhoefer sitting in the room with me, day in and day out, also animating.

To rectify this, I’ve decided I’m going to use Blender entirely for Episode 3. I figure if I’ve taken this long to actually start animating, I might as well take a little longer to get used to Blender. Since many more people have access to (and expertise in) Blender than do Apple mother-skull-fucking Motion, that potentially enables a bunch of people to work with me, if not physically then at least remotely. It also eliminates proprietary formats from my workflow, and frees the project from the shackles of OS X.

I’m also going to start local meetups for artists and creative people who want to collaborate on each others’ projects, as a way to start turning Plankhead into a movement. I’m not going to trademark the name or logo of Plankhead. Anyone who wants to start a local Plankhead chapter, do it. Anyone who wants to release work under Plankhead branding, do it. All I ask is that this work be CC0 Public Domain or equivalent. Obviously there’s no way I can enforce that, other than the hope that Plankhead becomes ubiquitous enough that people automatically assume if it says Plankhead, then it’s public.

I will start doing all this as soon as I’m ready. To all our fans and producers, I thank you for your patience and your continued support. Life is hard, and challenging the way that art is made is hard, but I plan to keep on doing it. I hope you’ll all stay with me.

    Update on Your Face is a Saxophone Delays

    So here’s what still needs to get done for Episode 3:

    • Rerecord some of Dave Lanz’s dialogue for Blake
    • Record a few lines with Mike Luiso for Shaun the Intern
    • Start animating

    It’s that last one which is really bothering me. Continue reading ‘Update on Your Face is a Saxophone Delays’

      Whatever Happened to Surrealism?

      The Conqueror by René Magritte
      I’m a Magritte fan. In fact, the name and mascot of Plankhead was inspired by his 1926 painting The Conqueror. This, in turn, inspired my fascination with people with inanimate objects instead of heads, which I first explored in this clip about Nintendo and continued at length with Your Face is a Saxophone. (Incidentally, Magritte worked in advertising)

      The surrealist movement focused predominantly on letting out all of the absurd, crazy thoughts in your mind. The result was a slew of bizarre, dream-like art, fascinating and highly entertaining. But after than the 1960s, other than a few David Lynch films here and there, surrealism seemed to disappear from the public consciousness.

      But now it’s back.

      When I was in high school obsessing over surrealism, I wondered why it wasn’t a speculative fiction genre right alongside sci-fi and fantasy. Unbeknownst to me, a lot of people were wondering the same thing at the same time, and started writing bizarro fiction. Weird books that are weird for the sake of being weird. It’s wonderful stuff.

      While I’m not sure if it was influenced by bizarro fiction, Ugly Americans is probably one of the first truly bizarro shows on television.It depicts a world where humans, zombies, demons, wizards, koala-people, robots, floating-brain-things, and pretty much anything else the writers decide to come up with coexist (semi-)peacefully in modern-day New York City.

      Lightbulb people in Ugly Americans

      Also, it seems to be on some of the same wavelengths as Your Face is a Saxophone. (From Season 2 Episode 13)

      I’d say seeing the weird juxtaposed with the familiar — with all of the characters regarding as completely normal — is as close to a trope that the bizarro genre can ever get.

      Meanwhile, Dadaism — the inbred father/sister of the Surrealist movement — is seeing a resurgence as well. See, Dadaism was about doing stuff like turning a urinal upside down, signing it, and declaring it to be a sculpture. Now have a look at this:

      That’s kind of Dada, isn’t it?

        Writing Egotistical Asshat Characters From Life Experience

        They say you should write what you know. Well, I do.

        Last year, I posted a script excerpt from the upcoming second episode of Your Face is a Saxophone. This bit of the script shows off the evolution of Andrew’s character since I wrote the first episode; an evolution which is, for the most part, a careen in the exact same direction.

        There’s a very specific reason that I didn’t merely stick to Andrew’s character, but rather turned it up to 11. Shortly after the first episode of Your Face is a Saxophone debuted, my life imitated my art.

        In Episode 3, Andrew will make this rant, which is I swear to god almost verbatim something that the person I’m about to tell you about said to me. I can’t make this shit up:

        I met a guy — let’s call him Deuce Shmagner, because I’m not looking to call him out by his real name, tempting as it may be — who was running a small, in-person Bitcoin exchange. Continue reading ‘Writing Egotistical Asshat Characters From Life Experience’

          Press Release: Plankhead Experiences 0% Piracy Rate Thanks To CC0 Anti-Piracy Technology

          Syosset, New York — April 1, 2012 — Plankhead announced today that their animated series, Your Face is a Saxophone, has sustained a 0% rate of illegal downloads since its debut last year. The group attributes this astronomical success to their use of CC0, an anti-piracy technology produced by the San Francisco, California-based organization Creative Commons (CC).
          Continue reading ‘Press Release: Plankhead Experiences 0% Piracy Rate Thanks To CC0 Anti-Piracy Technology’

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