The year of cancellation

So everything got cancelled. Not big news. A few shows I was supposed to work on through the summer – from home even – were some of the productions that announced a halt to work during the pandemic.

I’m not sure, but I think some of them had footage in the can, but couldn’t complete shooting. So once they figure out how to finish shooting and get into editorial, there could be a mad rush of sorts past the normal post production crunch.

But, I beefed up my home setup three times – two extra render nodes with 32 available cores when up and running.

But like everyone else, I have no idea how this is going to end or when. But I know at least I have plenty to do in the meantime.

Looks like no Wondercon 2020

Pretty sure that’s a good thing considering how my work situation got really dry this winter – two major projects were pushed back an entire month putting the deadlines at the same time as WonderCon Anaheim. Too bad, I love tabling that show but it’s gotten so much more competitive to get a table now and I guess I don’t have the number to impress these people enough to rate a table.

Oh well – at least my graphic novel looks amazing and is nearly done.

Fingers crossed for WonderCon 2020

Applied, followed up, waiting to see as one rep says in November if I get a table or not.

Not the end of the world, but it NOT getting a table would relax me a little bit as I would likely take more time to finish the last issue of my graphic novel. It’s the big finale, and I was planning on having it done just after WCA 2020.

It’s still the plan. But it also falls very near tax time which is always super stressful. Anyway, here’s hoping for a good finish to this project.

The race is over, nobody really won

So it’s no surprise the print run of Encoding Bushido’s second chapter came in ahead of Comixology. It was never a fair race since Comixology Submit processes the issue separately from anything I can speed up. KaBlam even waits a while if its queue of job ahead of yours is big enough.

So issue 2 is available in digital and print today.

Print vs. online race continues

So with a hiccup at the printer caused but some missing files has made the race to see who delivers Encoding Bushido #2 first more interesting.

I admit this is my mistake, the file which outputs the layouts for Comxology can’t have advertising in it. This is easy enough to configure since the output just cuts out the last two pages – but it also save the output settings. This was a rookie mistake – and I chalked it up to being on a pretty tight deadline at the day job.

But so what, the race isn’t over yet and I for one don’t care who wins.

Encoding Bushido 2 coming to print and Comixology

So issue 2 just went to both the printer and Comixology and it’s sort of a race to see who will actually complete first.

It’s not really an exciting, Top Gear across the mountains, Indy 500 sort of race – the print deadline is mostly guaranteed by the printer. The delivery is pretty reliable with their schedules and practices – they’ve finally got things down to a rigid set of procedures. I want to be able to say the same thing about Comixology but they are far more opaque a company than the printer I am using.

That has always bothered me about Comixology. It is still by far the least data rich of all the platforms I have ever used. And I have commented about this at length in other posts and blogs, so I am flogging it again, hoping someone is listening inside their offices.

But, in other news, it still doesn’t look like WonderCon 2019 is in my cards – I have a pretty hardcore work deadline that delivers that weekend and I’m sort of supervising the whole thing. I always hated supervisors who blew off deadlines and buggered off to wherever instead of seeing things through. My, my, how that would be a table turned if I started doing the same! But if I did it would still be “work” – just not for a client of my own. Still.

Pro Registration confirmed, WonderCon 2019

So I have my professional registration for Wondercon 2019 – just like the title says – and it’s the first time I have ever registered as such for any convention anywhere. Decades of comic cons later, even when I was working on things being featured AT comic cons, I would never register.

Why? Usually I was working on the next thing, show, project or whatever. Really, it’s that I just never liked driving all the back to San Diego, spending money on hotels etc. WonderCon in Anaheim is a different story. Nevermind Disneyland, Anaheim is just far enough away to feel like I’ve busted out of town, and close enough to get back home when I get sick of the tourists.

But Wondercon over that past few years is just a bit better sized than most cons like the bigger brother ComicCon San Diego. At a decent enough part of the year, temperatures are manageable enough for the cosplayers not to die of heat exposure and the organizational powers have more of their collective act together. They have to – some of the bigger – and louder – names in the business are coming to Anaheim these days. Can’t bite the hands that feed, yadda yadda.

Anyway, I was more hoping to get off the waiting list but I am told that showing up and snagging a table or two from a no show might work.

Wondercon 2019?

Well, looks like Wondercon has officially decided to NOT include me in the festivities – if you’re an independent comics creator, this can happen a LOT. You lose the popularity contest and shows that are more competitive say “Thank you, next.”

You can register, pre-register, sit on a waiting list for years and still not get in from time to time. It’s become a much more competitive show of late and since 2014 or so I think I’ve managed to get into the show floor on a 50% ratio.

That said, it’s still the show I do best at and the show I like the most.

But like many shows, the year to year organization is always tweaked somehow. Before the end of the 2018 show I took advantage of the ability to register before the show was over. However, one of the people I contacted this year said they threw out all of those registration forms and everyone needed to register again during the normal registration period. When I did so, the waiting list was … uh … waiting.

SO hopefully no one forgot to hit the paper shredder during that audit (the staff’s word, not mine) because that’s a lot of credit card information.

Anyway. I wish the organizers were more transparent about what that registration process was for in 2018 if not for actually registering. Looks like it was just an head count of interest for people registering for the next year. My friend called it population control. I get the idea of selecting the floor carefully to maximize publicity and sales and also to keep the show fresh. I don’t do a show unless I have new content – I was getting two books finished for this show.

I spent the past year getting these books and prints ready and now it looks like I’ll just be publishing them online first without a public debut venue to coincide. I admit I liked the timing of Wondercon and a subsequent Comixology date. That staggered release schedule worked well.

So If I get into the show, it’ll be quite last minute notice since I contacted everyone I could, hassled them repeatedly and still nothing. The squeaky wheel in this case isn’t getting greased, as the saying goes.

Tracking the numbers

SO I built a spreadsheet to track progress of most of the aspects of Encoding Bushido – it’s a simple assignment of an integer value to discreet tasks with a definite deadline. Sounds all math-y right?

I know of project tracking software and apps that make such things supposedly easier but they do manage to complicate things easily for the sake of attracting whales – those large scale important projects lurking out in the wild that could transform their product into the b2b must have accessory.

All I needed was a telling and easy way to manage the following steps:

Those are the global steps – the spaces in between are not really worthy of a trackable number, but the broad strokes, when calculated give me a simple way to report progress in terms of percentages. It’s a simple way to mentally forge ahead without tons of database management or “fly by the seat of your pants” management.

The last field – Deadlines – is something I need to keep fluid, and I wasn’t ready to commit to any exact deadlines.  But the simple field calculates the number of days to a deadlines against the current date so updating those is a matter of entering a new date. Basically each deadline field is a countdown. But there are few fluid events in my professional future which aren’t quite settled yet, so as a gamble against that uncertainty I put out some feelers.

Updating the spreadsheet on weekends keeps me on track without going a bit mad at the sheer size of what I set out to do – I think I exceeded the level of complexity of any book I have ever done easily and I’ve never been more happy with the writing I’ve done lately. All that said, I feel like I am on track. And the numbers are encouraging.

From Foam to Digital to home

SO – I start a lot of blogs that way. But this is a first:

For the first time in twenty years of working in visual effects, and tons of rubber monster types of movies I get to KEEP one of the creatures I worked on.

Previously at Sundance and then the GO90 network, Snatchers is a teen comedy/horror series.

Technically the little rubber critter was ordered after we finished production on the second season of the show it belongs to but it was the first thing I built for this particular show.

The second season was a really big project for the company I work for in terms of scope and scale. Full digital creatures, combined digital AND practical creature shots and the prerequisite gore and mayhem for a horror comedy.

I think I personally touched more than 70 or so shots with digital creatures – full animation lighting and compositing of shots – or “soup to nuts” as some of the old timers like to put it.

The result I hope will be airing soon on an internet connection near you.

But for the meantime – the little package of foam, paint and wires turned into solid creature is on its way home.

I made a 3d print of the model I made and will likely set them on some honored spot near my desk.