Thursday, January 31, 2008

Liberate in '08, Create in '08

About a month belatedly, but Happy 2008!

We'll be widening the scope here this year. I'll still be posting those half-formed thoughts about the future, and probably more rambling video conversations. But the big change this year is a PROJECT, and the goal is to expose all its detailed workings here.

Back in 2003 I had a large credit card debt, a car loan and still some unpaid student loans. I made a slogan for the year, "Debt Free in '03", and this was a successful focusing agent on my behavior. Any time I reached for my wallet, or contemplated a purchase, it popped into my head: "Debt Free in '03". Usually, the purchase was deferred. I eliminated all my debts that year.

Since then I've tried to come up with a slogan to focus on each year, but haven't really been able to. Unfortunately, I couldn't think up good rhymes for '04, '05, '06 or '07. At least, not one's that coincided with major life goals. But this is a new year, and now I have two!

I'm 38 years old. I work in the corporate software department of a bank. It's a decent, but uninspiring job. I've strayed pretty far from the artistic activities that used to be the meaningful side of my life. I used to be an actor, I used to draw and paint, I used to write and create things. This past two years I've ramped up the drawing again, and am getting to the point of surpassing my old skills at last. But I'm 38 now... it's a bit late to jump careers. I will not be poor again. There are risks I'm no longer comfortable taking.

I get the feeling if I can't make my creative work pay by the end of this year, it will be too late. This year is really a line in the sand. I put up, this year, or I shut up.

The easy slogan, "Create in '08". But the larger one, the one that matters, "Liberate in '08".

So, what is the PROJECT?

Did I show you my cat drawings?


They are for an animated short that my friend Eric & I are now working on. It'll be probably about 3 or 4 minutes long, and it's called "The Night Felix Met Satan Cat"... it's going to be done in the style of those old fashioned Max Fleischer cartoons - you know the old Black & White cartoons where every character has rubbery arms & legs and they're always bouncing up and down in time to the music? Ours will be in color, but should be the same style.

The story is a sort of comedy song that Eric wrote a long time ago. We've performed it live before - I drew a series of cards that told the story, and Eric would sit onstage and do the song while flipping the cards to illustrate it. The video isn't too great, but here's a youtube of one of those performances.

We expect to be done with it in December. It is good to have goals.

Animation seems to be a logical way to go for me. It requires skill in all the things I've enjoyed doing so far. The thing it also requires that I haven't really demonstrated is relentless concentrated determination. So this is the key... narrowing focus for the year. This is the main project. Side projects, my usual Attention Deficit Derelictions, need to kept in check. I need to save money, start selling some of the artwork I've already produced, and complete this cartoon to a professional level of quality. Granted, the plan sort of looks like this right now:

STEP 1: Make Cartoon
STEP 2: ?
STEP 3: Profit!

But that's where we're starting. We'll figure out step 2 as we go.

In the meantime I'll try to keep popping in here to do updates.