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‘Dogshow with Cat’ pilot clocks 1 million views

A soliloquy for Dogshow.

Back in 2016 / 2017 I was part of the Triggerfish / Disney Story Lab – an ambitious and fantastical accelerator for animated TV shows and movies. The project I pitched was a Bru & Boegie movie, and I got into the series programme. We soon ran into problems – Bru & Boegie is one of the most longstanding projects I have, and I wasn’t going to drastically change it just for a Mouse, so we changed it up to Bru & Boegie’s pets and called it ‘Dogshow with Cat’. We were included in a football shorts compilation Disney was doing, where animation teams around the world would produce animated shorts to be broadcast on TV around the same time there was a big European League Football competition on.

So, we needed to cram a new show into a rough bible of sorts, and the pilot needed to be football themed. Dogshow is not about football at all, but we somehow managed to Venn diagram / Frankenstein Bru & Boegie vibes, a Dog and a Cat in underpants, a Karoo setting and football together (!) into a short, all with a view of making this a longer-running series. We made the pilot at Triggerfish and hired some people working by proxy. With such high stakes, very little time and a guerrilla crew that were trying their best to figure out a good 2D pipeline while the show was being developed (instead of handing it over to a dedicated studio that knows their 2D pipeline), we finished the short. Costs were overblown, but it was done.

The short performed better online than all the other shorts from around the world. It recently clocked 1 million views, and to be honest I feel a bit bad until a commercial video I’ve been paid to do clocks at least 1 million views. It’s kind of like a ‘ok, the litmus test is in, we did something decent’.

One of my favourite parts about the pilot is the backgrounds. I worked with Philipe Rios on the environment. Philipe is super skilled, and I’ve luckily found some of the production and pre-production work we did on the show backed up on an external drive. Feeling like the show was a little too low-energy (it inherited that from Bru & Boegie), and always wanting to have done a band show (the messages I kept getting were ‘I really need to make sure I love the show I’m doing’), I changed almost the whole thing up last minute to change it into a band show. Still, a lot of the early work is great, and here’s an image gallery below that you can click through:

There were many people involved in the project, everyone did great work (there’s some lovely animation in there and I can still sing the theme song by heart) and all deserve congratulations for their input (credit list at end of post). Still though, the sensible thing is either handing it over to a dedicated 2D animation studio like Mind’s Eye Creative (we could have partnered up for this, might have proved very fruitful), or hiring people directly to avoid extra unnecessary processes (that old chestnut that often processes are added to computations for a computer to try speed things up, but the more processes there are, the slower things go). If I did it again I’d really put my foot down and insist on getting a tried-and-tested 2D pipeline involved, handling production and budget myself, or not being involved in the production at all and just doing pre-production. I remember the project as being extremely stressful, trying and failing to balance the needs of so many parties, for such a little short. No other project I’ve been involved in prior or since has been so taxing. Weird one – a real white whale. Thankfully, the human mind is excellent at looking back on the past through rose-tinted glasses, so more and more I remember only the good bits.

Sadly, Disney officially passed on the show and rights reverted back to Triggerfish. They’ve kindly passed development rights back to me, with a sizeable fee that needs to be paid back to them (about equal to my yearly income, if I was mega-ballin’ I’d pay the fee myself) should the show ever get picked up (the new buyer wouldn’t be getting that amount of value from just the bible and pilot unfortunately). I’ve pitched it as best I could at Annecy and Ottawa International Animation Festival, but with the turnaround fee and the number of people that have already seen it, and with a very short development time leading to a fairly half-baked show (though with a great 11-min pilot script, Greig Cameron‘s largely responsible for injecting the lol’s), it feels like it’d keep consuming valuable time and energy, difficult to convince someone to partner up with me with the current terms, and there’s still weird juju for me with the it, so I’ve shelved it indefinitely and decided to work on other projects that might have a better chance of taking off. I’m already in deep with Bru & Boegie in terms of ‘sunk cost fallacy‘, don’t need to add another one to the pile 😉 There’s a bit of solace that the short outperformed all the other ones, and despite the struggle, we delivered on what we were contractually obliged to, and on time.

The Story Lab, at the end of the day, has been a success for many people. If I’m able to separate the disappointment of not being able to do Bru & Boegie and the struggle we had doing a 2D short at a 3D studio, we received MEGA value from the whole thing – we had some incredible writing workshops with Pilar Alessandra (her book ‘The Coffee Break Screen Writer is *SO* good, I still refer to it), we got a trip to the US (!) where we toured Disney studios in Burbank, and around the same time I used the trip to meet Pen Ward and Phil Rynda, visit Nickelodeon Burbank and 2 buds and I did an awesome road trip up to San Fran after. So, while the Story Lab was cut short once the DTI pulled funding, chatting to some of the other Story Lab peeps, we all view the program as a success, with many tangential benefits, even if it didn’t relate directly to the projects we were picked for. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity I was lucky to be a part of, and at the end of the day we got a trip to the US, got really great lectures and talks to upskill fast, got a short on Disney XD, got rights back for Bru & Boegie, and am back to doing my own thing. On those points, mega grateful and a win all around.

The pitch bible is here:

‘Dogshow With Cat’ … by on Scribd

When thinking about the show and the pilot, I’m a little saddened that we’ve ended up with this great albeit expensive show that’s dead-ended a bit. It’s the kind of show I’d like to watch, with wacky characters, rad music, the surreal and enticing landscape of the Karoo desert – those are the ingredients that’d have appealed to me back in the day when I was a kid, and it’s the kind of show that’d appeal to me now. It’s time still might come, although probably not anytime soon.

In other news, my fairly low-budget (R20k) Pac-Man vid that Japanese musician Fumitake hired me to make has clocked nearly 9 million views. It’s quite unbelievable. I think the song is fantastic and the visuals are just there to support that. I hired long-time pixel collaborator Carl Douglas from the US to help me with the animation, and that was it. I vaguely remember paying a small amount for its promotion early on, maybe that helped. Maybe it got friendly to the Youtube algorithm. I used to be partnered with Frederator, and maybe they punted it a bit. Whatever the case, I’m thrilled because the vid is on my channel, it’s bringing in some revenue and subscribers.

In other OTHER news, we’re still waiting for Moosebox S1 to be released. You gotta have the patience of Job when working with Nickelodeon. My one buddy made a short with them – it took 22 months for it to be released. We’re all super proud of what we made, and am pretty confident the show will do well once it’s released.

Peace out!


Dogshow with Cat credits:

CREATOR/DIRECTOR: MIKE SCOTT
WRITER: RAFFAELLE DELLE DONNE
HEAD OF DEVELOPMENT: ANTHONY SILVERSTON
DEVELOPMENT PRODUCER: VANESSA ANN SINDEN
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: STUART FORREST
POST PRODUCER: JAMES MIDDLETON
ANIMATION: GERHARD CRUYWAGEN, RUDOLPH BOONZAAIER, RYAN VAN EYK, SHANNAN TAYLOR, MIKE SCOTT
BACKGROUND ARTIST: PHILIPE RIOS
COLOUR ARTIST: KAY CARMICHAEL
GRADE ARTIST: CLEA MALLINSON
TITLE CARD ARTIST: JAC HAMMAN
TITLE CARD ARTIST: JOSHUA NEL
VO SOUND ENGINEER: DAVID SCOTT (AT POPSICLE STUDIOS)
FINAL SOUND MIX: THE WORKROOM STUDIO
FINAL SOUND MIX ENGINEER: MICHAEL BOTHA
ANIMATIC EDITOR: MIKE SCOTT
EDITOR: CLEA MALLINSON
EDITORIAL CONSULTANT: LUKE MCKAY
MUSIC: DAVID SCOTT
SFX: DAVID SCOTT
VIDEO AND AUDIO QC: LOFT LONDON
SCRIPT TRANSCRIPTION: TAKE 1
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER: JEAN-MICHEL KOENIG
ACCOUNTS MANAGER: CISCA MEYER
ACCOUNTS ASSISTANT: SHAUNDRE STEWART

VOICE OF CATLYN: JESSICA DAWSON
VOICE OF DOGGIE POGGIE: DAVID SCOTT
VOICE OF FOOTBALL COMMENTATOR: DAVID SCOTT

A Triggerfish Animation (Pty) Ltd, Registration No. 2013/028823/07
Directors: S. Forrest, M. Buckland, A. Silverston, J. Middleton (British), J. Koenig
The Longhouse, Dreyersdal Farm Road, Bergvliet, 7945, South Africa
Tel +27 21 713 4008
Email: animate@triggerfish.co.za
www.triggerfishstudios.com

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‘Advice I’ve Found Useful’ – 2019 Edition

Ey.

Here’s some unsanctioned life / animation industry advice I’ve found useful – some of it I’ve learned from others, some of it I’ve learned through experience. Maybe it’s self-evident, maybe it’s noise:

  • If you’re serious about your job, don’t use pirated software. A lot of people (including myself) started out using pirated Adobe software, but after earning from it, I bought Photoshop CS3 when I could afford it, and didn’t feel guilty charging clients for work as I was LEGIT BREH YO. Now all my stuff’s legal (including music), and the good digital juju has helped. Pirated software leads to bad digital juju. You don’t want that bad juju. It’ll get you when you least want it.
  • Don’t do big overhauls on earlier 2D animation, otherwise you’ll never finish. As you work on your project, your later stuff with invariably look better than the earlier stuff. Leave it be (ok, maybe tweak a bit) but rather move on to the next project instead of getting caught up in an endless loop or redoing. Keep moving.
  • The myth of ‘Working With Nice People’. This mantra makes sense, I’ve heard it before and I used to say it all the time, until I worked with people that were very nice and proficient in some areas but clueless in other areas which related to the project. It was difficult, and sometimes proficiency is more important than politeness. If someone can’t do the job, doesn’t matter how nice they are. Think carefully about partnerships. (Bonus if the person is both very nice and very able at that particular job, makes working life hecka easier.)
  • Integrity of a project – it’s not nice when the integrity of a project is pitted against the integrity of colleagues, and a person is constantly being asked to choose between the two. Might need to choose between your project, or your friends / colleagues.
  • Forget about the mantras ‘story is king’ and ‘character-driven stories’ if they don’t mean anything to you yet, they often obscure the thing you’re trying to get to, or you might be doing it naturally anyway.
  • Network Partner – they’re not someone you’re trying to trick, or to ‘get one past the goalie’. Gone are the days of trying to get subversive or dirty stuff into a kids show and thinking it’s ‘cool’. You’re making a kids show for a particular audience – don’t try to lowball a network, they’re paying you good money to produce a quality product.  We can make entertaining content for kids that is fun in its own right, removing subversive stuff doesn’t make it feel stale or clinical, it can still be hecka fun, but really – keeping the intended audience strongly in mind is a win. I try imagine watching a show I’m making with my imaginary kid, and if I’d be comfortable watching the show. Pushing the envelope in lewdness / rudeness isn’t cool anymore. Pushing the envelope in other ways, like character or story, is much cooler, and fun for both kids and adults. Lewd stuff is easy, stale and boring.
  • Usually, quality is the best business plan – just keep making cool things. You’re only as good as your last work / project. Either it’s in an upward trajectory, plateauing, or downward trajectory, and ‘get rich quick’ things usually don’t work.
  • A good script writer and producer are worth their weight in gold. Generally, script writing in animation seem to be one of the areas we skimp over in South Africa. There are, of course, excellent individuals that excel in the field, and they deserve hero’s praise. When script is neglected and not working, good animation is almost never is enough to cover it up. Don’t skimp on script – it’ll show like a bad stain later on. A good producer can be the glue to hold a project together, do numerous things behind the scenes that you might not even be aware of to get the project finished, and save you headaches – not give you more headaches. If they are good at what they do, they can make a project 100x easier.
  • Don’t underestimate anyone. Career trajectory can happen super fast in South Africa, someone can very quickly go from ‘nothing’ to advancing particularly fast, especially if they have just a modicum of self-motivation. These people are to be celebrated and supported. Don’t keep anyone down – why would you wish that anyway? Let their skills and talent rise to the top, and try and give people opportunities to do what they like to do. Celebrate what people are good at and support them. There’s a wealth of new talent coming through, and luckily (at least in South Africa) it seems the cream rises to the top one way or another.
  • It’s easy to be a buzzkill for projects. Don’t do that. I can’t tell you the number of people I’ve met that have told me what I’m trying to do is impossible, and then I do it anyway. It only reflects badly on the person who is self-limited that they try and stop others from succeeding.
  • Don’t edit while you’re creating. Sometimes it helps to just lay down a bunch of stuff without getting too precious about it just yet. Just lay it all out and you can start polishing once you’ve had a chance to see the jumble you’re working with. Sometimes a golden thread starts emerging and the path is clear. Get ahead before retracing your steps, otherwise a person might always be in this tight spot of editing what they’ve just created, doesn’t give them much to work with. They might be editing out good stuff too that’s already working. Keep going forward for a while before looking back, you’ll likely thank yourself later.  The creative process can seem messy, but don’t judge yourself – it sometimes be like that fam.
  • Sometimes you do actually know – everyone likes the agreeable person but if you’ve made pitfalls before and someone else higher ranked wants to make an important pitfall that experience tells you is wrong, there’s always a tension of wanting to be surprised (maybe it’ll work out this time even though I think there’s a better solution), and wanting to avoid the pitfall. It’s frustrating being steered into bad waters when you know it’s the wrong move but are being kept under the thumb of company protocol that’s using tired and useless rhetoric. I’ve learned that if I’ve clearly voiced my concerns and still no-one listens, it might be better to walk away. When that spider-sense is going crazy, it’s really worth listening. In one situation I could clearly see the pitfalls, pointed them out, they were ignored, we all suffered, was told patronisingly ‘animation is hard, we’ll learn from these lessons and do better next time.’ Kind of agonising.
  • There’s opportunity cost of going into something that you know is a dead horse – you could be doing other cool stuff that has a better chance at working out, and time is incredibly valuable.
  • With that said, I always try to be prepared to be surprised. We all have blind spots, myself included. If someone has a better way of doing things, or has a strong hunch, or is more skilled, that’s of huge value. Many people are excellent at what they do, many of them far better than what I can do, and I can trust them to do their thing because they always ‘plus up’ a project better than I can. These are the people I like to work with. Instead of making things needlessly complicated or worse, they’re making it better. What an absolute pleasure. Keep working with those people.
  • Every job is up to you how awesome or boring you make it. The job itself is a blank canvas – you can make it interesting, learn new stuff, give it your best. It’s the best way to advance career if you’re a freelancer, each job leads in to the next, if you’re doing a good job on each gig things naturally open up. Each job is the meat of what you’re doing. It’s easy to think ‘ugh, this job’ but really, that’s self-limitation. The job could be turned into one of the most inspiring and fresh gigs you’ve ever done.
  • Flow like water around setbacks. You can never blame a situation or audience or anyone for being unsuccessful. There will always be setbacks – whether they’re internal or external. There’s always a way. Where there’s resistance from one gatekeeper, another way invariably presents itself – almost always the case.
  • There’ll usually be tensions within a project – sometimes the forces of financial, creative, self-expression, client happiness, expectation, colleagues etc. all seem to be pulling against each other. When that tension can be held without things falling apart, the result is often magic. Try hold the tension and get on with the job.
  • If a client trusts you to do your own thing, that’s a rare thing; do the best damn job you can. A brief that says ‘we like what you do, get creative’ is like manna from heaven. Do not abuse this trust; it’s both a test and an opportunity to turn on the inner ‘genius’ (that we all have). Such a job can add energy to everyday life and invigorate, instead of depleting it. If you’re being given free reign, someone’s essentially paying you to make an advert for your next job, so make it count.
  • If you don’t back yourself or your project, it’s very difficult for someone else to believe in you or your project.
  • Finances. It’s one thing creatives rarely talk about, because the focus generally is on the creative (and also NDAs about not discussing money). As a result, we creatives are sometimes lacking in financial education. After listening to a bunch of audio books, if there’s one piece of advice I can pass on: pay yourself first before you pay any bills / sundries etc… by putting away at least 15% of everything you earn into a separate account (I use a 32-day notice account). That money is for you and you alone, it’s ‘money to clink’ and not to be spent on anything, but you’ll see how quickly it grows. Money attracts money. Remember – don’t touch that loot. Just keep adding to it.
  • We don’t live in the time of kings and queens, the days of the ‘kingmaker’ is over. Don’t overly place your trust in anyone that says they’ll ‘recommend you’ or ‘not recommend you’ for xyz job to try get you under their thumb. You don’t want to give anyone the power to squander your future.
  • Be grateful to anyone that helped you get where you are and was kind enough to take a chance on you, but no single person will make or break your career – they may give you opportunities, but you make your own long-term success on your own steam.
  • Show me the soul. A project with no soul – even if its budget is in the millions – is generally no good long-term. A project with no budget and soul usually trumps it. This is a debatable point, as soul might be able to be manufactured, even insincerely, though it might still be effective. Point being – if nobody is invested in a project, it’s likely to fall into the pit of forgotten things.
  • Good to understand the methods and creative processes and ‘rules’ (they’re not rules) for making something, but don’t feel beholden to them. Sometimes you know pieces 4,5 and 6 before you know 1,2 and 3. That’s ok. Work from there. As Pixar says ‘protect your ugly babies’ as they might grow up to be beautiful adults, and it’s  often just a matter of spending time and energy on a particular project. I believe almost anything can work if you give it enough TLC. It’s good to get an outside eye for perspective, but not all advice is equal.
  • If you don’t know something, that’s fine. There’s probably someone who does know, and can suggest a better way. I try and be honest when I’m not sure of the right path, and almost always someone else is stronger at that moment and takes the lead. This is the benefit of working in teams – when it works well, it’s amazing.
  • If someone gives you a boilerplate contract, they sometimes don’t even know what the legalese means if you ask questions about it. If anything, it can irritate the person handing out the contract if you ask ‘what does this mean?’ My feeling is – if you expect me to sign something and you don’t even understand it, what’s the point? Sometimes I have no qualms about going over things in-depth, other times if I feel the work relationship is one where a lot of trust is coming from both sides and if the contract doesn’t look too nebulous, it’s generally good to go. I haven’t been badly burned in the past.
  • Theory is no substitute for ‘doing’ and creative intuition. It can help to know the rules, but a paint-by-numbers approach isn’t likely to yield anything super fantastic. Your creative intuition already knows the best way, so don’t let theory get in the way. If anything, knowing ‘the rules’ or the way people have done things in the past can help to know how to ‘break them properly’.
  • Sometimes it’s riskier to play it too dumb and safe than to take a fresh creative approach.
  • When someone pulls the plug on a project (it happens) you keep going. People can promise things that fall through, things can seem unfair, but you just keep going.
  • You can never blame the audience. The audience isn’t going to drastically change their paradigm to accommodate your animated project. You can’t say “It’s because nobody gets it.” It’s an entitled approach that won’t go far. Take responsibility for your output, definitely don’t blame the audience – the audience is perfect; they’re perfect experts in viewing. They will be the final arbiter.
  • ‘Person who chases two rabbits catches neither.’ You have a certain amount of creativity per day. Be wary of spreading yourself too thin as all projects might suffer as a result. I go for sustainability and can’t pull all-nighters like I used to. I usually try passing on short intense projects if I can rather get work that’s a couple months in length, and hopefully I can afford to work on only job – eat and breathe it, really get into it. Otherwise, I’m burning the candles at both ends and it’s not sustainable. All-nighters usually end up with major exhaustion, irritability and suffering relationships.
  • Clients are not enemies. They also want a good result. Help each other find a way to get there.
  • Putting the health and sanity of employees above the project is a good idea, and will ultimately benefit the project.
  • Keep your side of the road clean even if your neighbour across the road is making his side messy. Be responsible to you and mind your own business.
Well, that’s it. Thanks for reading. In a somewhat related post, here’s ‘Bru & Boegie’s Guide to Pitching to an Animated Show to a Network‘ I put up in 2017.
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2018 Recap

(Featured image by Kazmology).

Whaddayear eh, whaddayear.

Honestly don’t know where to begin. It’s all a bit of a swarm. So, what I can remember is – obvs did a full series of 20 Moosebox shorts. That was my main thing this year. They’re finished btw, we finished in September, but Nickelodeon haven’t yet released them on web. I’m doing what I can to get them to do that.

We launched Moosebox at the inaugural Comic Con South Africa:

 

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Best photo lol! Team #Moosebox unite! 🙂

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Went overseas to Canada, and Annecy in France and Amsterdam with Kayla the awesome, did the Orange River river rafting for my brother’s birthday, did about 1,000,000 comic jams, prob went to Cape Town and Joburg a few times.

 

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Holidaze. Paris and Amsterdam w. @kazmology

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Bought a house last year and it’s been one of the most stressful years last year and beginning of this year as I poured all my resources into getting it ready to rent out for end of year, and throughout the year, and also living in it when it wasn’t being rented out. Repaired a wall that cost a bunch, and various other bits and bobs. Anyways, love the place now, it has 5/5 stars on Airbnb, and it’s really just fantastic. Would have little mini panic-attacks shortly after getting it, trying to figure out how on earth I’d make it work with repayments. Luckily, that’s just about when I got the Moosebox 20-shorts gig. Worked with Mind’s Eye Creative on Moosebox 9 months overtime unpaid (to be honest, it’s been one of the smoothest-sailing ‘big’ jobs I’ve ever been involved with, Mind’s Eye know their 2D pipeline well), and took on odd jobs throughout to try and float myself, doing work in the evenings after Moosebox which was for all intents a full-time gig. It was an exhausting year, and has slowly tapered off into a nice vibe where I was finding more time to catch my breath, play some PS4 and Switch, see my buddy James and generally just ‘breathe’. Kayla and I met someone in Annecy that turned out to be a really great contact. We got signed up to develop a rad animation show for some really lovely clients in the UK and US. We’re almost done with that, and are both super proud of this new show.

I started a Bru & Boegie short last year and still haven’t finished it :/ would have liked to have done more on it, but it just kind of got mad scope-creep and I keep adding stuff to it.

 

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Started this little #bruandboegie episode mid 2017, and guess what – HE STILL NOT DONE, LOL.

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Bru’s best ‘I’m the boss of me’ walk. #bruandboegie #toonbooming #ughtoonbooming

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Been earning some not-too-bad Youtube ad revenue. Clearly my 8bit animated vids with rad music by Japanese artist Take have rocked the party and pulled in the most loot with one vid clocking 6mil views.

I’m still feeling the effects from the fallout I had with my Bru & Boegie project in 2016. I think I had been building up all this energy for years to do Bru & Boegie, then when I finally got the deal, it was all systems go and I was firing on all cylinders. Soon into it, client was clear that I’d need to change some fundamental things about the show and characters to continue with the deal – it’s probably the only project where I’ve ever dug my heels in so deep with not wanting to budge. And I needed to quickly pack back all that energy and close up again. Weird time. It’s a hive of energy that continues to move in and around, and I’m just so grateful I got rights back early on in the process.

Haven’t really been making much music, played some live gigs with an old band and noodled in Ableton, some Sundays I bang around on the drums – soon as I got my place, I pretty much started working like a trojan. Things have levelled out thankfully, I’m finding a little more time to do passion projects.

 

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My 1st person VR Drum Simulator will be on Steam next month join the beta jks. #drums #vr

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Also, Otter Trail. Did that with buddies. Was a highlight. Damn that’s a great walk.

 

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Did Otter Trail. So much kiffness oh my sack. Gonna put up a multi-pic thing soon. #ottertrail

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We had some more fires in the Garden Route which was nerve wracking.

Did a Game Jam with the inimitable Free Lives crew at St. Francis I think.

Started learning 3D, which is rad.

 

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🐸 ‘Inbetween work attention, I noodle in the 3rd dimension.’ #bruandboegie

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Off to Prince Albert soon with Kayla-bean to meet some friends there, and the year’s turned out really nicely. Folks are down here in Plett and might be staying here more frequently, our cat Angie-Pange is here too, my bro Dave and his wife Jüte are here, so, it’s nice having a full house.

♥♥♥

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Moosebox has landed :)

(Moosebox promo trailer)

A brief post in lieu of a longer one – we’ve wrapped the 20 Moosebox shorts 🙂 I couldn’t be happier or prouder of everyone that has worked on these – amazing team effort and an incredible result.

For South Africa the shorts are playing daily on Nicktoons ch308 on DStv at 16:24 CAT (after Spongebob – great slot!) and they should be on the Nickelodeon Play App in due course (though we don’t get that app in South Africa I believe).

WHAT AN INCREDIBLE THING! I’m currently en route to Canada for OIAF (Ottawa International Animation Festival) and thereafter Toronto to hang out for a couple days, maybe see some animation studios if I can.

We wrapped Sunday night and the first short was played the following day, been a bit of a whirlwind but Moosebox is in the can, and we’re jamming some stuff on Twitter, FB and Instagram 🙂

Special thanks to Alexi Wheeler, Richard Barry, Nina Hahn, Mind’s Eye Creative, Audio Militia, Greig Cameron and the numerous writers and board artists that all had a hand in making this the amazing production it is. Even more thanks to Fathima, Tas and Lindie from Viacom and Nick Africa for giving Moosebox an amazing launch at the inaugural Comic Con Africa, and to Ed Lewis our voice director from New York and the talented voice artists he directed who all delivered A++ voices for Moosebox 🙂

Moosebox is Nickelodeon International’s first International development from South Africa.

GO TEAM MOOSEBOX! ❤ ❤ ❤

(Part of the reason I haven’t posted in a while is I started drafting a post that was meant to be a pretty mellow small-ish bespoke small-batch artisanal piece about ‘Advice I Found Useful’ which instead morphed into a 3000+ word bulleted list on ‘Good Advice’ which I don’t think is practical, so have since separated it into ‘good advice I’ve received’ and ‘advice I’d give out’, I’ll wrap that post at some stage this year.

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Mid-Year 2018 Update

Quick little post before I head off to Annecy! Annecy is the world’s biggest animation festival in France that happens every year. I luckily got to be part of the South African delegation going over, sponsored by the DTI (Department of Trade & Industry) and arranged by Animation SA. Thanks guys.

Thanks to the beautiful, the lovely Kayla Archer for helping me put together my mini show bible pitch 🙂 Looking forward to showing this around. Kayla also helped me with my new business card – so nice!

  

So, what’s been happening? It’s been a busy time, but, has it ever not been busy? I can feel things tapering off a little bit recently, which has been great to catch a breath.

Moosebox is looking so flippen’ kiff 🙂 Really so proud of what we’ve done here. A couple episodes are complete proper from start to finish, and we have a bunch more to go. Mind’s Eye Creative continue to knock it out the park with the animation and production, Audio Militia continue to knock it out the park with music & sfx and final mix, and it’s been a pleasure being involved in the process.

We recently completed a little side-project: an animated short with Cartuna for College Humor, called ‘Slide Into the DMs: The Gameshow’ – a throwback to Nickelodeon’s classic gameshow ‘Double Dare’. There’s something very satisfying about figuring out how to make a small budget work for a project. I worked closely with 2 collaborators: friend James Wolfaardt designed the characters and backgrounds, I created the boards and animatic and directed the short, and animator-extraordinaire Kevin Goliath (currently working at Mind’s Eye Creative) built the rigs and handled animation. We did things as efficiently as we could and are pleased to have this one in the can for 2 great clients we admire. It’s got 250k views in 2 days. Kiff! Here’s the vid:

I was looking for a Bru & Boegie pic I drew a while ago (couldn’t find it) but found a bunch of stuff, including a bit of dev for a Bru & Boegie film I wanted to make. When I read the 2-page script out at the workshop, you gotta believe me when I say the room was in hysterics:

And then, oh ya, I’m putting up a new video every Wednesday – about 10 years ago I made 52 episodes of ‘HappyLand Shorts’ and I’m putting ’em up. Nice! Would dig it if you could please subscribe to my YouTube channel, been really great seeing it grow slowly, almost at 10k subscribers. I’m starting to get paid for advertising views on the video, so, that is nothing short of amazing.

I’ve just come back from a ‘Game Jam’ week sponsored by Free Lives. They booked out a house in Hermanus, and MAN it was rad just making games for a week! We started some cool stuff, I jammed a lot with Ben and Cukia from Nyamakop! Gonna add a bunch-o-images in a gallery below:

Cool beans!

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March Mueslibox Update

Guys, I started this post weeks ago and never finished it, so, here it is, as is. I figure lemme rather get this out and keep things ticking along. What I’ll say is – Moosebox is looking flippen’ amazing 🙂 Everyone’s been doing really fantastic work to make this thing as awesome as we all know it can be. Really, can’t wait to share once it’s done 🙂 S’gonna be GREEEAAAT!

Hello dear my best dear best of friends and strangers. Today is an unusual day, in that I find myself with a bit of time on my hands to ponder the universe and do a thing or two, like make a new post on my site, perhaps read a bit more of my book and then doodle some new ideas for shows. What a blessing.

It has been a busy time, but I’ve found great relief from someone who’s agreed to take on a job that threatened my sanity, and then for other work, everyone seems to be doing what they’re doing best for Moosebox which is fantastic. We talked about Moosebox during CTIAF (Cape Town International Animation Festival) to a pretty full house, and that went down really well.

What is he going on about? #CTIAF #MOOSEBOX #RoadToMoosebox

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The dream team #moosebox #CTIAF #kiff #roadtomoosebox @mikdog @mindseyecreative_

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I recorded the audio for the talk, which you can hear here (Edit: I haven’t uploaded it yet). Not quite the same without the visuals, but still pretty interesting?

Thereafter I went to Joburg to meet with Alexi Wheeler at Mind’s Eye Creative, the animation studio that’s producing and animating the series. It was super cool having Alexi there where the show’s being animated.

While I was there I got some time to get to know the MEC crew a bit better, to chat with Ryan the designer and Steve the animation director, as well as spending time with Jen and Nick that run the show and other stuff. Was a great, productive, time. Would have dug to go to MEC’s 7th birthday braai, but alas, I was knackered by the end of the week and spent much of the day horizontal.

Also, we went to The Animation School in Joburg to deliver another Moosebox talk. We had 2 hours this time and could afford to really get into it, and *still* were rushed for time. So, we could easily do a 3 hour indulgent talk on Moosebox 🙂

At the moment, we’re busy doing music and sfx for Moosebox with ‘Audio Militia’ in Johannesburg.

That’s the post, folks!

Bonus: kiff little featurette here where I say a few supportive things about everything and Moosebox gets some lurvin’. Nice:

http://themediaonline.co.za/2018/04/south-africas-booming-animation-industry/

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End 2017 / Early 2018 Update

Friends. Am still alive. It has been a long time since I made a post. Why? Mostly because my attention has been razor-focused on an awesome project – MOOSEBOX. Awww Yisss Boiii.

#moosebox

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MOOSEBOX

Earlier last year, Nickelodeon greenlit 20 short webisodes of Moosebox (ha!), and I couldn’t be more stoked. Seriously. I partnered with writing-machine-and-likeminded Greig Cameron to go through the 60+ existing Moosebox story ideas and, like a game show, we whittled them down to a final list of 20 (with some new stories thrown in to the mix) by a process of elimination. I went to Cape Town to spend time with Greig, and we got through a surprisingly large amount of stories in the time we spent together, mostly making each other lol until tears, and then figuring out a basic three-story structure for the eps. Greig is the head writer at Supa Strikaz and I think probably has the most experience in South Africa for writing for kids aged around 6-12. (Supa Strikaz is on its 5th season, it shows on eTV and Disney XD in various territories.)

Mind’s Eye Creative are handling full-service production and animation! Mind’s Eye is a fully-fledged 2D studio in Johannesburg, having done rad work on ‘F is for Family’ on Netflix, other awesome International service work and super homegrown projects including a trailer for Rudolph Boonzaaier’s pilot ‘The Last Library‘ (that really impressed me). They’ve been offering a heap of great support, are extremely capable, have awesome and talented peeps working there in their 2D pipeline, and we all want to make this the best series we can 🙂

We contacted local scriptwriters we knew and had (sometimes) worked with before, we tweaked scripts as necessary and then contacted local board artists who we knew and whose work we liked and got through 20 episodes! Animatics are juuust about signed off (they’re amazing) and each is unique and entertaining. We’ve managed to hit that sweet videogame vibe while still keeping Moose and Catbox’s best friendship at the core, and I think they’re all just shining gems.

Voices are being recorded in New York (today!) and I just can’t wait for you guys to see what we’ve been cooking up behind the scenes. I’ve been working on this almost full-time from about mid-July last year, aaand it’s building up to be a cracker.

I unearthed the first time I told my buddy Keegan about Moosebox in an email in June 2013, as well as some veeery early sketches I attached to the email, some of them I showed Alexi Wheeler from Nickelodeon at Annecy in France in 2013. Moosebox has come a long ways since, it’s looking great 🙂 Huge thanks to Alexi and other key people at Nickelodeon for running with thisS.

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BRU & BOEGIE

Guys. I have failed in my plans to finish this Bru & Boegie episode by the end of 2017. It’s in various states on completion, but once I got going with Moosebox it took a backseat. I’ve chipped away at it in little bits, but it feels like a cake that’s waiting for me to eat it. EAT IS I SHALL BRU & BOEGIE – EAT IT I SHALL.

I put a lot of myself into these personal projects and it helps me try out new techniques and experiment with stuff that later feeds into my commercial work, and with wanting to keep up my Youtube channel, this is a good avenue for it.

I have a number of other episodes recorded, including one written by Greig with voice-over from a friend who used to do the voice-over adverts on eTV. Dayeem, they’re just sitting in states on inertia, but I’ve really been focusing on doing the best jobs I can for all the paying work I get, kind of a ‘Love the one you’re with’ thing, so – sorry Bru & Boegie. I love you. I’m coming back for you. But guys – MOOSEBOX!!! It’s gonna be great. But also I love you Bru & Boegie. Kisses.

A guy called Thabang Gabela is opening a new comics shop called ‘Comic Edge SA‘, and he bought 20 of my Bru & Boegie comic books to sell, so, that’s nice 🙂


[hr]

MUSIC

Bro’s. Our 10-year old band that went defunct has restarted, it’s called WILDFINGER, we had a gig recently and recorded it, as well as a jam session, which you can hear HERE:

I’ve now got a house, and I made one room a drum room, and I’ve been setting it up to make cool tjoons and am in the process of making it more soundproof to keep happy neighbourly relations.


[hr]

DOGSHOW WITH CAT

The show I made with Triggerfish and Disney as part of the StoryLab is no longer with Disney, but is being shopped around in North America by a Canadian company. Hopefully they get a nice l’il nibble yum yum.
[hr]

OTHER PROJECTS

DA BES BAND

As part of a ‘pressure release valve’ (and to try new techniques) I put this little animatic together whilst doing Moosebox animatics:

MTV

Here’s that short James Wolfaardt and I did for Cartuna and MTV:

GIPHY

Once again James Wolfaardt and I worked with Cartuna to bring you these animated GIFs for GIPHY that you can post on your Instagram stories by hitting the GIF button and searching for ‘Cartuna’. Kiff:

Smile

Shrug

Whatever Man

Mind Blown

[hr]

PERSONAL

Being able to work in animation brings a lot of energy and colour to my life. So, that’s a nice thing to have (I think). I am grateful, and thanks for visiting my site fren.

Here’s me and my boet and Duncs at my brother’s 30th birthday party this last weekend in Yzerfontein. Kiff.

Another kiff pic from @tatyana_levana_x shotness

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