Animation for Adaptation

November? Is it really November? Yes, it is. That means it’s almost Christmas, and that means that the Software Development Cycle is preparing for end of year, and THAT means a bit of a scramble to get the bleeders tied off before we hibernate for the New Year’s break.

So… what does that all mean?

What it all means

Like exercise, if you only ever train your biceps, you’ll wind up with sore biceps and flabby everything else. A change of pace is a prime opportunity to have a change of creative outlet, so I am, once again, putting the writing on hold (well, a slow down. A couple of a pages a day, max) to work on some other pursuits.

Since The Bullet got some love with its own animation, I’ve been meaning to take the lessons learnt and apply to them to another animation. Atlas, Broken would be too hard, and while Grosvenor Lane would do well with dark silhouettes and spooky music (I’m counter-convincing myself now… damn), Adaptation needs to get some attention.

Why an animation? Books don’t get read unless you can attract a pair of eyes to look at them. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, as an indie author, you are responsible for getting your book seen. How you do that is up to you (just maintain your integrity. And your dignity while you’re at it.), and an online animation is just one way.

The Kit

So I’ve gotten myself kitted out with my tools once more:

  1. A pencil and paper for sketches and planning
  2. Gimp to handle importing and cleaning my sketches up
  3. Inkscape for converting things to Vector graphics
  4. Synfig to animate the whole show
  5. Anvil Studio to create a Midi Track
  6. Virtual MidiSynth and Soundfonts to give richer sound
  7. Audacity for any vocals, sound effects, etc.
  8. Window Movie Maker to plop the bits together and convert the final product to be presented on YouTube

With more of a physical, as opposed to a metaphysical story, to work with, the animation called for more ‘scenes’. My first thought was to make everything from the point of view of Ottavio or Ryan, but then I thought, no, the book isn’t about them, it’s about the world that they are in.

So I scrapped that idea and took a different approach: The promotional video is there not to tell the story, rather it tells the viewer about the story. It’s a front cover on steroids. Its a blurb that gets shown. It’s a chance to see the bits of the book that lets the reader know that the book is right for them.

The Plan

And so I looked at my options: I could play out a pivotal scene from the book. That sounded good, until I realised that no particular scene defines the intention of the book. Sure, it’d be easier given that I’d only have to make one set of drawings or scenes, but I’m not after easy, here, I’m after something I can look at and think, “Yeah. Happy with that.”

I then thought, “Why not a voice-over reading out the blurb”. No. No. No. I mean, that’s fine, soundwise, but a video wants some video. And it would be akin to a powerpoint presentation where the presenter reads out the dot points that the viewer can read for themselves. No.

So then I thought about movies, video games and television shows, and how they tended to present their entertainment: Snippets. Stills. Short clips of stuff. It gives a general feel of what it’s about, a couple of poignant comments or quotes, but it doesn’t hit the user over the head with information.

And that’s where I’m headed. Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting about the creative process, and I’ll share some of the drawings and music as I’m going along. The last post on animation was done retrospectively, whereas this will be a ‘work in progress’ one.Mini Jeztyr Logo

Radio Ain’t Dead

I’ll have to interrupt the whole egg blowing business for a quick revert to writing and, more specifically, promotional advertising. Yes, if you’re an independent writer, heck, independent artist, you’re going it alone in everything, and that includes telling the world what you’ve got.

Everyone says, “Facebook is the key” and that’s fine and fair enough if you want to tell your friends (and if you have an account), but what about those you don’t know. You know, your actual audience?

In short, in order to spread the word, you need to be able to catch the eye or the ear of your future readers. Short of standing in the middle of the city handing out free copies or shouting from a megaphone, there are other established avenues you can choose.

That got me thinking: It’s one thing to have a book review, it’s another to have someone read it out for others to hear.

Internet Radio

So, poking around, I found Radio Rock, 92.6 The Blitz, that supports indie musicians, writers and artists in general:

001_Fisheye

I listened and realised that the reason I turned off the radio at home was because it’s all mainstream, heard-it-before stuff. Nothing inspired, all glitz and glam and boring. Not with the Blitz. Bam! First song I heard, I thought, “Hey, this is kind of cool…”

Turns out it’s really good to code to, as well.

So where better to test out a promotion than with a station that actively promotes indies?

Hence, a big thank you to Tom Slick and the crew at The Blitz for the opportunity. Needless to say, I’m well chuffed with the result! Head on over and support independent artists from around the world.

If you want, have a listen to the Tuesday, 28th October show. The spiel for Atlas, Broken is at around about an hour into the show, or you can listen at YouTube:

Here you go!

All you indie authors out there, get on your megaphone.