Contact Info / Websites
Feels good to be back.
Thanks to all the well wishers who left me messages and notes.
Me and my man R1 got plenty more going down in months to come.
Thanks for all the support, people! And stay frosty ----> FAILtility 2 is just the start!
This is not CE-Rap typing this journal. My name is Lucas, and Carlito is my 2nd cousin.
Carlito was hospitalized last Friday and is currently still in the hospital. He suffers from a health condition that can sometimes cause him to need medical attention. I know that seems vague, but I just want to be sure I'm respecting his privacy. Carlito's not a secretive person, but he tends to not reveal the details pertaining to his health as he doesn't want people worrying about him in that fashion. I'm sure, however, he will be forthcoming with what's happened to him when he returns to Deviant Art. Fortunately, he's on the mend and looks like he will be okay in time. He gave me access to his account on Deviant Art and on New Grounds so that I could inform his followers of his status.
It's also important that you check out his fan group pan-jump, which is on Deviant Art. His partner on Exiles has written a new journal entry that is important for everyone to check out.
Here is the link: http://pan-jump.deviantart.com/
You guys should also know that Carlito's a fighter. He may be down, but the man is never out. Hopefully, I will have more news for you all when the time comes.
Thanks for your time, everyone,
There's a nice chunk of info to get to, so in the interest of keepin' this bad boy as concise as possible, I'll skip the preamble.
First order of business, production for the VG EXILES fan club on Deviantart is well under construction. The group name and page was set up since last month's update, BUT, as of right now, it's just a placeholder so there's nothing to see yet...at all. That won't happen until launch day, which now has an official release date set forMonday, MAY 14. As stated before, this is gonna be the ONLY SOURCE for all VG Exiles news once it's up and running. What we CAN do, is open up membership NOW, so that when it DOES launch, you guys will be notified through DA. Membership is automatic. Just click the Join button on the top of the page.
For the YouTube channel, we want to make sure the videos we have for launch will be ready ON launch. So it'll most likely be 2 weeks after the group launches on DA that the YouTube channel will be live. An official release date for that is coming soon.
Now, onto the meat and potatoes of this blog-some quick clarifications, 'cause I know a bunch of people have been wondering.
R1 and I spent all winter getting production squared away for the rest of the year. This started with pre-production for Episode 4 and Episode 3.5 in December, the first of what would be referred to as "point 5's". These were set to be ALL-ART SCENE episodes, shorter in length to main episodes, and would center on further character development, as well as serve as a segue into the following main episode. As the story took shape, and became deeper than an off-the-cuff sprite fight series, the future of the series was well in view. What was problematic was that everything released prior was creating holes. For what we have coming, we need to clean up what came before.
NO-this does not mean a reboot. We're not starting from scratch because we don't NEED to...and also....that would take too goddamn long. However, we ARE retooling. We explained that we were gonna touch up the past episodes so they all had a unified, up-to-date look across the board. Still true. But we're giving this more attention than we were initially because-again-we need to make sure those episodes tie in smoothly to what we have mapped out for the duration of the series. Instead of us just starting with the next episode in the series-then having to explain away GAPING plot holes through extraneous bios and extras menus-it just makes more sense to show the building blocks of these elements from the start. From the VERY beginning, you'll be able to better understand the story as it develops through characterization and subtle foreshadowing to reveal a larger overarching plot. More importantly, certain elements that have only been touched upon through mass amounts of text in the extras will now have visual representation.
Simply put, it's a very, VERY necessary step, but it's also something that we're excited to bring, both in terms of retooled art scenes from the prior episodes and in terms of greater characterization. While sprite fight scenes will not be completely overhauled, you CAN expect to see some new elements in the choreography that wasn't there originally. It'll be like watching the special edition versions of the Lord of the Rings trilogies-minus the extra hour and half.
This is our direction for the rest of the year. All four episodes will premiere THIS YEAR in their new, retooled versions. They should be considered canon that overwrites anything that premiered before it.This goes for the numbering, as well. What you guys knew as Episode 0, will be released as EPISODE 1 in the coming months (it's already well into production). It WILL NOT premiere on launch of the DA group, but WILL premiere on the launch of the YouTube page-which again, should be about 2 weeks after the DA group is live. Also, as previously stated, these retools WILL NOT be put to Newgrounds on their release dates. The Deviantart group and the YouTube Channel will be the only place to see these retooled episodes when they finally premiere. The "point 5s" (two of them) will premiere after that 4th retooled episode-they WILL premiere on Newgrounds- and are planned for release next winter.
One last point of clarification--we have been working EXTENSIVELY all winter on this and other production aspects. No need for anyone to be concerned that nothing is happening behind the scenes. I can promise, you we have entered CRUNCH TIME for several weeks now.
And that should do it.
As always, stay frosty, folks. Expect another blog update in 3 weeks.
*sidenote* GAME OF THRONES IN 2 WEEKS $@%@!!!%$@#%#$!%$#$%#$^%$#
Like the title says.
IT was planned for today but something important came up on my end.
See ya tomorrow.
Well, well....look at little Miss Newgrounds. She goes and gets new body work, a paint job, and a spit polish and now she thinks she's hot shit!-HA!
So, I trust most of you guys got the memo on VG EXILES in regards to what me and RIGGASAURUS got in the pipeline for ya.
The two of us went over what we should and shouldn't reveal in this update, but he took my notes and straight up made a dope update in his own words. I tip my hoodie to a job well done.
I'm not gonna rehash or expand on any of it...'cause......it's all in there, bitches. We got our group coming, our YouTube Channel coming, and you'll get updates accordingly on the release dates for both. Exact details on what episodes are slated for this year and when to expect them will be addressed when the group premieres. REMEMBER---get a DevianArt account NOW if you don't have one yet. We're gonna allow membership about a week before we officially launch, so once you become a member, you'll be notified the moment the group goes live. ALSO REMEMBER---yes, we are still uploading new episodes to Newgrounds, but the group will be the ONLY PLACE to get VG EXILES news and exclusive content. It's gonna be our official central hub, so don't get left behind.
We've got a few things we're working on this month that will premiere at launch to keep everyone interested, as well, so there'll be things to check out right when we kick this thing up.
Stay Frosty, in the meantime.
My co-captain, Riggie, lays it ALL out beautifully
We had talked about everything he pointed out and were BOTH of the opinion that we needed to set the record straight. It was definitely a nice surprise coming home and seeing that updated journal. Now-I'm just gonna add a bit more meat to what he wrote, because aside from a few things, he NAILED every point I wanted to make.
Firstly, YES, you have waited 2 years---NO, this did not take 2 years to actually make. I've stated a few times that from my POV, it's been a 5 month grind to get this done. That needs to be understood. I wasn't concerned with everything prior because it was finished and done. Script was done(mostly). Voice acting samples were done (except one), so I had to focus on the art. And for me, the art scenes NEEDED to have the quality that I believed they deserved. That ante continued getting upped when my musical scoring was a factor. Then backgrounds-then Charlie's ambush scene. Then things for production-adding a small bit to the script and getting the last voice actor situated. By then, the stride was hit with R1 and I, and we started picking up speed. And as he stated, the most time consuming scene was Charlie's ambush.
That and the first scene took close to 65% of those 5 months-seriously. We spent that chunk of time finding our feet. When all the delays on both our ends were finally squared away, we went into overdrive. The Panoptichron scene (Cage and Talbain), took us exactly 6 days. Yes, that's right-6 days! To this day, R1 and I laugh ourselves silly at how the LONGEST scene, the scene with the MOST point-to-point stillmatic transitioning, took the quickest amount of time. The shower scene was second fastest (took us 8 and a half days), and by THEN, we had discovered new methods, tricks and techniques that will make FUTURE episodes FAR more intricate while still preserving file size. You can actually see this, because each scene gradually grows in complexity from start to finish, with file size limitations preventing us from adding some of the stillmatic transitions in the earlier scenes that started becoming more frequent in the later scenes.
And let me tell you-file size was raping us at the end there. Importing my artwork and musical tracks for the art scenes towards the end was making R1's machine shit bricks. He ended up tossing 16 gigs of RAM into his new machine by the end of this project and STILL, we were running into virtual lags and hiccups. Each time we exported our movie, to test how it played, we had to get off Skype and he had to beef up his RAM, just so that he had the memory to get it exported.
A propos-our Skype sessions deserve an hourly rate. From about May to early July, we met up about 3-4 times a week for about 4 hours each session. From mid July until release, we were meeting EVERY-SINGLE-DAY for 5-6 hours. The only exception was a couple weeks in the summer when R1 needed brand new hardware, and then later, more RAM. THIS is keeping in mind that we BOTH have fulltime jobs, and with me being an illustrator, that's already 10-14 hours of my day. Now add in 5-6 hours of Exiles work. You guys catching on yet?
Secondly-yes- the fight was a dated fight. I've said ANY times that the fight posters I did for the first 3 episodes were DATED as hell to me, yet they were complete and done, so it's time to move on. I'm the type who considers my work outdated once it hits 6 or so months. So I can relate to R1's POV with the Stryker fight, which was a 1 year and change old. It seems fresh because he added a spit shine to it with the X-Ray move/Fatality-but no, it's an old fight. And it's a DAMN GOOD FIGHT, nonetheless. But honestly, it's not a true testament of his current skills. You guys have no idea how good the next one looks so far, and we've talked about how it will end, so I am going to go ahead and tell you that Episode 4's fight-which , again, will be indicative of R1's current prowess-will be the best fight of the series thus far. Hands down, no question, no doubt. I will second that by saying that the VERY FIRST art scene of episode 4 will be the most memorable scene of the series thus far. Although, that might be presumptuous, 'cause that Shower Scene is OBVIOUSLY a fan favorite thus far, heh.
...I ** WONDER ** WHY...
Thirdly, I'm just as pleased with this episode as R1-possibly more so-because this was the first small step into this storming juggernaut of a series. The response from fans was just about what I expected and I'm pleased as punch. Shaking things up is always unnerving for viewers at first, but that's what I'm known for in my world-"shaking things up"- and that was my goal from the word go. Considering just how much we've learned, I am honestly tingling with how much forward progress we can bring to this series. I had caught someone's comment on the episode page that called me out for saying this was "The genesis of what we believe will be one of the best Flash series on Newgrounds." Reading that response, it was clear he/she believed I meant that episode 3 would be one of the best flash movies on the site.
What I said is EXACTLY what I meant. The BEGINNING-the FIRST-the START-the GENESIS. I meant every word, I stand by it, and so does R1.
Last little tidbit-to quote someone's note to me on Deviantart-"What the hell is Episode 3.5 and when the hell is it coming out?!" Well, Episode 3.5 is the first of what can be dubbed "Point 5 Episodes." They are shorter episodic flash movies that will be placed in between every new episode, starting with this first one. These will be uploaded under my page, but still be brought to you by R1 and me. The reason for this is that these are transitional episodes that'll run about half the length of an episode. They are fully story-driven, comprised of only one to two art scenes, and will often set up the plot for the next episode in some way. No spriting will be done in these movies, hence the shorter length.
They will not, however, be overdrawn or longwinded. Again, they are transitions to the next episode that will also give character insight, add more character development, and sometimes give a peek into Exiles history-from showing earlier missions, to showing the incarnations of earlier teams. They will ALSO have an EXTRAS menu that will include original artwork and some detailed expository to some of the technology and weapons of the series.
Episode 3.5 is slated for a winter release. At what point in winter? I'll just say WINTER for now.
Stay frosty, people, the genesis is complete. Now we begin our exodus into the promised land of epic flashdom!
Okay so, R1 let you guys know that communication had ceased between the 2 of us because of the hurricane that so gloriously touched down on the East Coast. No lives were lost around me, thankfully, but my condolences to those who have family members taken in this storm. The REAL problem was NOT the actual storm, however. It was all the shit that it caused in the aftermath.
My neighborhood wasn't hit too bad. Several toppled trees, but damage-wise, not TOO bad. My greatest fear---the thing that kept me running around all Friday of last week in a panic, was preparing for the possible flood of my lower-level workspace. THAT, more than anything terrified me---'cause I'll tell you right now, if it HAD flooded, y'all wouldn't see this episode released for another 2 months. I'd be too busy with repairs to do any flash movie. If the rain had persisted for the full 24 hour rotation that was predicted---it would've guaranteed a flood. But it ended about 13 hours in. So count your blessings---praise God, Allah, Buddha, etc. It worked out in my favor greatly.
2 major downsides happened on my end, even still. ONE--I was in the dark from Saturday until Thursday around 2 or so. I was straight up, livin' in the 1800s, doing everything i could by candle light when th sun went down. Entire towns in total blackness, with no moonlight. It's a darkness that is kinda freaky---'specially for city folk. We had subway platforms still full of water, so transpo' was nuts to.
'Twas a bitch, to say the least, BUT like i said, I was prepping for a flood that, at the end of the day, I wouldn't be able to avert. I will HAPPILY take week-long blackout over my workspace being flooded ANY DAY.
2nd major issue---my laptop screen is busted so i gotta get a new one. I got one of those giant blacks streaks that look like someone spilled ink on it. Not pretty, and is SOOOOO depressing to look at. SHouldn't effect my other work too badly because i have my laptop hooked up to 2 separate 1080p HD monitors. Still, it means i can't work on the go until it's replaced---and THAT is quite a downside, as i often do side work during lunch and when i get a free moment here and there.
Nevertheless, the lights are back and my workspace is dry and neat. The sitch with the laptop SUCKS, but is a small annoyance compared to what other people have lost.
In regards to the VG EXILES, EPISODE 3premiere----well, I LOST a week, so I'm gonna ADD a week. R1 and I were WELL on our way to making that original deadline. We spoke Thursday night into Friday morning of last week, leaving our meeting with spirits soaring high at being able to hammer this out---and 12 hours later, it all goes to hell. Still, it really could be worse, and I am appreciative of that fact.
The due date is set for one week after the original date, SEPT. 20th---(which is just 2 days from my birthday, *winkitty-wink-wink*) Sept. 20th is the new final date and as long as that goddamn rabbit doesn't try to steal my TRIX, we'll be good to go!
Stay Frosty---it's only one more extra week.
What's up, guys and gals. I'm opening a new sand box here at Newgrounds. Anyone who knows of me here probably knows me from R1665's mention of me a few months ago.
I know you guys have been super-SUPER eager to get news on when the hell this next episode is coming out. Well, let me take this opportunity to explain things from my end, starting with my personal origin from 2 years back. Now be warned---this blog is about as thick as a Tom Clancy novel. So if you're not the reading type, then you can go ahead and mosey on, no problems---nice ta meet'cha and see you soon.
IF however, you are interested in getting a history lesson about how I was introduced into the world of sprite animation, how I met R1665, and how we became partners on this new episode---then read on, folks, you'll be glad you did.
The year is 2009, it is March, and I am laid up in a hospital bed for about 3 months do to a health condition i've had since birth. It was one of my more devastating attacks, and it took me out of commission for pretty much that whole year. Once out of the hospital (end of May), I was pretty much restricted to bed rest, for several months thereafter. I literally had to get my motor functions back---had to RE-TEACH myself how to draw the way i used to. While being relegated to my bed, I kept my laptop close at all times.
Being an illustrator is a 24/7 career with no guarantees. So it leaves VERY LITTLE free time for your self if you're the ambitious type (which i am in spades). I hadn't really been particularly captivated by you tube just yet, because i never had the time to really sit and see what was so popular about it. That and the you tube community seemed to be infested with SHITES who loved starting trouble! Now that i was stuck in bed, trying to regain my good health, I had TONS of free time.
It was late Spring, early summer of 2009 that i happened across a video on you tube. It featured Wonder Woman and Superman, in a fighting game setting. They were FULLY sprited, as if created by CAPCOM. First i thought this was something in the works----AN ACTUAL CAPCOM FIGHTING GAME WITH DC CHARACTERS!--NICE! But further searching revealed the world of MUGEN--a gaming engine that lets you create the fighting match-ups you always dreamed of seeing. I had seen a very tiny sliver of the MUGEN world sometime around 2007 or so, but never was really drawn to it until now.
I would spend hours, searching you tube for all KINDS of interesting match-ups. The best part was seeing characters from games like Marvel vs. Capcom, and seeing them perform abilities that were BRAND NEW---sprites like MASTER GAMBIT and HOLY STRIDERbeing indicative of this. There were also sprite creators like Reubenkee , creator of the epically badass DRAGON CLAW, whose 2-d colors over his 3-D body, made him one of the slickest animated fighting game characters i'd ever seen.
Eventually, I just had to see what this MUGEN thing was all about. So I downloaded it, messed around, built some stages, acquired a whopping 600+ characters, created musical tracks (some original, some from actual songs) for each level, and so-on. This is pretty much how i spent my summer of 2009. Puke bucket on one side of the bed, my computer gear on the other and my drawing spread all across my bed.
It was towards the end of the summer, early September to be precise, that i happened across something that would REALLY blow my mind. I came across a MUGEN video that featured Ryu and Scorpion, in sprite form, having a full on fight.
"But....wait....this is different. What is this? It has a story....it has character development......it....IT'S NOT MUGEN! WTF?! It's a FLASH MOVIE?!?!"
Yup, I had made my first contact with the mighty Proxicide and his featured series MK vs. SF. My brain imploded before I vomited a neutron star. I thought only people who worked in actual mainstream video games could do this---and then, ONLY for the video game they are working on. I hadn't even realized everyday people could take sprites and create something of THIS CALIBER.
Suffice it to say, I had a new obsession in toe. And in between my constant drawing and my mugen madness, I would search rabidly for new Sprite animated features. I came across all kinds of works, saw all kinds of match-ups and read all kinds of in-feature dialogs. But of the masses---there were a couple that stood from the pack----essentially in their own tier of greatness.
--PROXICIDE was obviously the grand Poo-buh! I learned that he was considered the Godfather, and set the precedent. His MK vs. SF series spawned a generation of copycats that still exist today. He was the Frank Frazetta of the spriting world---the man that would Inspire a bold new generation in spriting.
--SUROY was the next one that really intrigued me. He focused on a story centered around Chun-Li, who i was always a big fan of. The level of complexity from his first episode to his second made my jaw drop. "Chun-Li against all the Barakas. OH SHIT--is that Reptile!?!? OH SHIT--IS THAT STRIDER?!?!?!" He had created a very interested storytelling mechanism, and i was VERY captivated by the tale that was unfolding. He then posted the sprites he planned on using in the upcoming episode. I waited eagerly for it's premiere.
--ALVIN EARTHWORM was a chance encounter that i'm grateful for. He was doing something different. He was using sprites that weren't even FROM fighting games. The idea of seeing portly little Mario, the overstretched Luigi, and the Spiky-furred Sonic, in a Dragonball Z setting was unique and original at the time. And.....they were actually BADASS. But what really sold me was how he went with the mode of a FULL-BLOWN ANIME. That's usually something i shy away from, but he made it work. All the quirks, humor, camera angles, and dialog were there---and it worked FLAWLESSLY. Each episode just raised the stakes, and I was deeply invested for the long haul. I couldn't help wondering if this would go the way of the actual Dragonball---a seemingly open-ended---NEVERENDING odyssey.
--R1665 was actually one of the last stand out people i came across. I had seen his Ken vs. Johnny Cage fight shortly after I saw Proxicide, but i hadn't known he had a series of his own. When i saw that the next episode was his first official foray into telling a tale, I was hooked. The fight between Cammy and Sonya showed a VERY impressive evolution in his skill. But I also noticed something else. He was the MOST story-centric of all the other sprite animators i had seen. The fight was the most engaging part of each episode, but it was highlighted more than any other Sprite movie because he made his FIGHT REVOLVE AROUND THE STORY--NOT VICE VERSA. That meant that you actually gained MUCH more enjoyment from because it was part of the LARGER narrative. The sheer fact that the most JAW-DROPPING MOMENT of the entire episode DOES NOT EVEN TAKE PLACE IN THE FIGHT SCENE blew my mind! There was dialog that was in depth---there was a complex back history---their were in depth character bios. This was a very serious undertaking, it seemed. And episode 1 was a definitely indicative of that.
Now R1 was of particular interest more than the others---because i got my timing with him PERFECTLY! It was only a month after episode 1 that he premiered Episode 2. Had I come across his work much earlier, it might not have been such an impact, since i would have had to have waited for MONTHS for the premiere. But again, it was only 3 and a half weeks, give or take, of waiting for the next episode! Luck was on my side.
We all know episode 2 by now--we all have that Sybreed song SEERED into our consciousness---and we all are reminded of JUST--HOW--FUCKING--BADASS Gambit is in ANY REALITY! I immediately considered that this, being a story about alternate worlds, would lend to the idea of a Gambit who was a complete sociopath. Hearing him have the name of REMY BOUDREUX made the puzzle pieces fall into place. Now R1 was showing off how well he knows his Marvel Mythos!
I was already sold on his skill before, but THIS episode showed just how far he can EVOLVE! And THAT'S what i admire in people with talent. It's one thing if you do something exceptionally well---it's a vastly different thing when you can 1-UP yourself with each undertaking!
And once again, he let story drive his movie. The fight is at the beginning, so if your a dumbass, you could just leave after seeing it. But wait----no, you can't, because you are DYING to know the story and how it ends! This sparked something in me. I had to contact this cat somehow and propose an idea to him.
I hit him up on you-tube and told him how vested i was in his series, and how i admired his ambition. I said that if he was interested, I could take over as his art scene guy and REALLY help push his series further. I also suggested that each episode have a Movie Poster that could be used to help promote the episode's main fight--with the Poster premiering before the episode is released.
And to this, R1 said....."fuck you, not interested."
LOL I'm joking, i'm joking. In actuality he gave me VERY HIGH-PRAISE for my art skills and was honored that i was willing to do this. But at the time, he already had his good friend Lee Drake doing the art, and for him, it was more important to do the work with his buddy then to toss Lee aside just to get better art. Also, at the time, he was apprehensive about the movie poster idea because he thought it would center too much around spoilers. He didn't want people knowing the details of a fight before seeing a movie and was afraid it would defeat the purpose of writing the story with plot twists.
All valid arguments that i respected. Still---I'm a stubborn sonuva bitch and I didn't want to give up on this just yet. So towards the end of the year--December--I started doing the posters anyway. With my strength renewed, my JOB work and my own personal work hitting a new level of skill, I knew i could pull this off. And so i used the posters as a means to experiment with a new style of artwork that came about through my physical therapy. From Christmas to New Years, I did all 3 posters. At the time they were done, I felt they were my strongest work.
But as it turns out, I never sent R1 the images. You see, not long after the New Year started, (2010), an Earthquake ripped across the nation of my lineage. I'm of Haitian descent---first generation of kids in my family born in America. The quake in Haiti resulted in the death of every family i had still living there. 11 member died, and many of them were under the age of 20. One in particular was 7, My cousin Chelsea. Her and I were so close, that if i had a daughter, I'd want her to be like Chelsea.
I was broken. It was the darkest point of my life. I had just conquered my health condition, I had my strength back, I had evolved my art skill, and then THIS happens. I spent 2010 globe hopping, helping with relief in Haiti, tended to the needs of my family here, etc. I lost touch with my art once again, and this time, was disheartened to the point of not doing it anymore. So after all my months of traveling back and forth from Haiti to Miami to New York to Canada was done--- I let myself veg out in a very mild depression of just playing MASS EFFECT 2 all year. Interestingly enough, ME2 was sparking inspiration in me to draw new things, but i still wasn't motivated enough.
But the thing is, Chelsea was a budding artist herself. She seemed like she would grow up with the same ideas, ambitions and imagination that i had. Remembering that fact made me realize that to give up on my craft would be a disservice to that memory. It would be a disservice to myself. My art is not a hobby, or just for fun. It is who i am. To stop drawing would be like cutting off my hand---it is a part of me. So once i finished my TENTH character in MASS EFFECT 2 (yup---10 different play throughs--10 different scenarios)---I went FULL FORCE back into my craft.
Once again, I reached a new peak. I was excited again---I was inspired again. And i made a silent promise to Chelsea that i would NEVER let myself entertain the idea of surrender EVER AGAIN! As 2010, came to a close, I knew there was only one thing left to do. I needed to let people know what happened to me. I needed to let my Deviant Art followers know that i was BACK!
Thusly, on January 11th, 2011, I returned to DA. I immediately made sure to upload the few pieces of art I had from the years prior. Naturally, this included the VG Exiles posters. Having sat on them for so long, it was nice to let them get some fresh air. I uploaded them one per day, and linked each poster with each episode on R1's page respectively. To my surprise, It was literally a FEW MINUTES after I uploaded the first poster that he left a comment---expressing his complete astonishment at how it turned out. I didn't expect he would still be active on DA, and i figured he'd have his next episode out within weeks.
He then contacted ME on DA, saying that he remembers how hesitant he was at first with the poster thing---but he had decided that it would actually work out well and wouldn't result in spoilers AT ALL. He was officially on board. Keep in mind---this was only after seeing the first poster.
Poster 2 garnered even more interest from him---Poster 3 is when he (to quote him directly)--"SHIT A BRICK." I couldn't help but note the irony. The shoe was indeed on the other foot, heh-heh. We had a full blown role reversal. The plan was to do the poster for him once I was open for commissions. At the time, I had to focus on my own work and such.
It wasn't UNTIL i was open for commissions---In March of this year---that he hit me up with another proposition. He said that Lee was no longer doing the artwork for this new episode. He was ALL done with the actual sprite fight, but didn't have any artwork for the episode and had been sitting on it for about a year. He and Drake are still great friends, but i think it became a situation where Lee just didn't have time anymore to do all the art. Trust me--I KNOW HOW THAT GOES.
Naturally, I was very interested in creating the art world for his episode. It was just a matter of finishing my contractual obligations first. March passed, and I was slightly freer in April. We met up, and I figured, considering the idyllic nature of the art Lee Drake provided in prior episodes, that I could do the same direction. That would mean finishing his artwork in as little as 3 weeks.
But then....something happened. First off, my work demands tripled that month, so my attention wasn't quite on VG Exiles just yet. But more importantly, I was becoming overtaken by my ambitions for this series. All of a sudden, each piece of artwork i was doing, made me want to try something new. It was during May that i made several suggestions to R1 regarding the artwork. I proposed trying new storytelling direction. Something more like a visual motion comic as opposed to static cuts. This of course, would mean more work for me---but i didn't care---it would also mean a better looking feature.
But the ambition for the art scenes didn't stop there. Here's the thing---R1 is SOOO proficient at sprite choreography now, that you could argue that he could EASILY not have ANY story at all, and people would still come in droves to watch his movies. Hell, I know i still would. The APPEAL of R1 is that, the fight is the special desert. It's what you're eager to get to and eager to see. But it's the STORY---with all those trimmings and dialog that is the meat and potatoes. It meant that i couldn't keep that simple. It meant that if the series is going to go to the next echelon, I need to make the art scenes just as interesting as the fight. Obviously not take AWAY from the fight (NEVER WANT THAT and doubt that could EVER happen)---but just highlight the art scenes enough so that people who came JUST for the fight, may actually sitback and enjoy the full ride without the notion of "THE TALKING IS BORING, JUST GET TO THE FIGHT"
So it became a situation where the scenes were becoming more involved, and demanding more work, pushing me to find a balance between NOT going into intricate art details, but STILL finding a style that was simplistic enough to translate well into the series and that would fit the alloted memory space. It was giving birth to something that has never been seen in R1's vids, and we were BOTH drooling over what this would mean for the series.
With the art as it is, I soon realized that the cardboard cutout backgrounds weren't gonna fly either--which demanded MORE work, because it meant i needed to actually MAKE them.
This then led to making more actual music and sound samples that we hope will be a staple part of the series as well, with a couple of mixes made by me that are sourced from movies, video games, and the web. This ALSO led to me wondering if MUSIC could now be used to highlight specific parts of an art scene. I'd seen R1 sync specific musical cues during his Gambit/Talbain fight, and figured, if it can work with sprites, it can work with the dialog parts too. Yup---more work.
Soon R1, at this point blown away with the level of commitment i'm trying to bring--as well as the quality of work, realizes that this is indeed turning into a Juggernaut. And that's a good thing! He then proposes that he add some more camera tweaks as a means to highlight the actual artwork, as he doesn't want it to be an after thought. This requires me making sure the art fits with the camera work, and that i help with some camera direction. Are you noticing a pattern here? Yes, THAT means more work.
So ALLL of this is what's been happening behind the scenes. Now we are putting the pieces together and holy vagina puppies----it...is looking...GORGEOUS! I am pressing forward with the last bit of art, while still mixing/looping tracks, still aiding R1 with camera direction, while he keeps me appraised of how the Flash world works, how to go about doing the things i want to add, and puts his finishes on the post production.
This is a monumental undertaking---more than R1 ever intended, but the man is fueled by ambition, and we are on the same page in that regard. It is resulting in something VERY special that i am so very proud to be a part of.
I would also like you guys to be aware of the following. While, from your POV, you've been waiting AGES for this movie----from MY POV, it's only been a few months of HARD WORK. I didn't get really cleared up to REALLY focus on this until early-mid May. I know what it's like to be so anxious and frustrated at this release---but TRUST me, this is NOT gonna turn into a DIABLO 3 scenario. We are WELL underway, and that distant finish line is getting closer and closer into view.
Stay Frosty, people. Many a brick will be shitted upon our completion.