Sep 9 2009, 12:50 PM
After the enormous amount of effort it took to make last year's Halloween special animation, I've come to the conclusion that it's just not going to be practical for me to do that again this year. I'm going to be working a lot of overtime and I've got other out-of-work commitments that I need to attend to.
So, my solution is that I've written short horror story and I'm going to record it and distribute it as a free audio book. I'm going to record it myself to see how my voice comes across, if it's not up to standard then I'll get a friend with a very good reading voice to record it for me. Hopefully it should be a reasonably slick production, and it means that people will be able to enjoy something from my site when they're not in front of the screen.
This signals a new direction for my output. I'm hoping in future to release small compendiums of short stories in audio book format, charging a few pounds for them. The Halloween story will always be free for the foreseeable future - I wouldn't mess with that, but I do want to become self-employed again at some point and this seems like a good potential way to achieve that.
I get 30k visitors to this site every month, and my comic has 3k regular readers per month. These are good numbers, but I sell very little merchandise, the Amazon links income probably doesn't even cover the hosting for the year... In other words, I've got a lot of people coming here and being entertained, but I don't get any profit from this. It's lovely to help make people happy, but smiles don't pay the rent. To put it another way, if one twelfth of the people who visited this site gave me £1 then I would make considerably more money than my day job.
Like I say, this story will be free, but in future I will be charging a small amount for the stories.
My plan is set for the moment, but I'm interested to hear what you think.
Sep 9 2009, 02:05 PM
I voted "How dare you break this tradition!" but I am intrigued by the short story idea. This seems like a good way to gauge interest, so maybe you should just ignore the poll and do it anyway. Or do both
Sep 9 2009, 03:20 PM
I love audio books, and I especially like those that are read well. You've always been a good story teller, and the voice overs you've done for your animations make me think that your audio books would also be fantastic. I'm looking forward to seeing, or rather hearing, what you come up with.
Sep 9 2009, 03:39 PM
I'm all up in this audiobook idea.
Sep 9 2009, 05:56 PM
I put I'd prefer the animation but understand why it's not practical and dont blame you in the slightest. My reason for my choice is I dont do well with horror but can handle it with the animation where as spoken or written word would leave it to my own imagination which where horror's conserned is never a good plan.
Sep 9 2009, 06:08 PM
Go for it, man. Diversify. I'll still respect you in the morning
Sep 9 2009, 09:02 PM
It makes me sad to see that you don't make animations anymore. It used to be every two weeks! But the idea of being able to purchase an inexpensive and entertaining short story while supporting a good friend seems like a great idea.
Sep 10 2009, 12:39 PM
I miss the days when I had enough time to animate regularly, but it's not a practical way of story telling. As I get older, my ambitions get greater for what I want to do, and I can't afford a month or two of work for a three minute story. I'm a reasonable animator, and a reasonable cartoonist, but I'm not among the best at either of those things. I also suspect that I think too much about jokes for 99% of people to actually find them funny, so spending that long working on an idea isn't a great plan if I don't know what the result will be.
The times have changed on the internet - animators have generally either got a solid reputation for lo-fi nonsense (such as Joel Vietch) or have gone professional and really polished up their style by making steps into advertising and hiring animators (such as Jonti Picking). I don't really have the time to compete. What I can do though is write, because the technical challenges of the written word are a lot lower than creating an animation. It's a level playing field.
A story is never likely to be as popular as an animation, but I hope that it will stay with people for longer.
I suspect part of this is that I want to move into making things that are a little bit less disposable. There's a bigger market for disposability, and a lot of talented competition among writers, but I've got a good platform here to start from and I think it's worth a shot.
Don't worry Cath - my stories aren't likley to be more 'horror' than my previous Halloween animations were. There are many different types of horror. I tend to fall into the 'bizarro' bracket, I think, not the 'teen slasher' kind of thing. Though it might be interesting to try the latter at some point! Do people write teen slasher novels, or are they purely a film-based genre?
Anyway, thanks for your views and understanding. I'm a little sad to have to make this decision, but life has pushed me in this direction and I think it could lead to some good things. I don't think my animating times are completely behind me, but it will be a rare time when I've got enough free hours to do it again.
Sep 10 2009, 05:52 PM
Well, I voted "How dare you...!", merely because you gave the option and everyone (including you, I'm sure) misses those days when you had the time to sit in front of the computer and concoct a bizarre new animation
But... I'm sure we also are well aware of how "life" catches up with all of us, in one way or another. Due to various circumstances, I've back in a position these days where I do have a lot of free time, but I'm not necessarily happy about that - or, more importantly, necessarily using it for anything constructive!
So I've pretty much seen this coming, hehe. It's certain, I believe, that all of us regular Matazonians will support your new creative direction because we all think you're lovely, and we're eager to see the things you've put your mind to - whether that's via the written word, the spoken word, the 3D model, the paintbrush, or the trusty cursor.
Whilst your book finds its publisher, Halloween can give us a tantalising glimpse of your writing style :]
Good luck, and I look forward to hearing it - whether you do it yourself, or get a trusty assistant.
Sep 10 2009, 07:08 PM
Aww, cheers Hobbes
Sep 17 2009, 01:54 AM
Ooooh, sounds like a pretty good idea to me.
Naturally, I do miss the days when the animations were coming out constantly, but at the same time I'm glad that you're working within your limits to get your creativity out there in some form.
Of course, I've always prefered stories to animations - they provide a bit more space for my imagination to go wild, and in the case of a scary story, that'd be perfect.
We'll just see what my mind goes to whenever I listen to it, and who knows - you may end up with some illustrations (though, not top-notch ones) to go with it after all.
Sep 17 2009, 06:20 AM
Doing things this way will allow me to release things more often - let's face it, it couldn't get much less often than once a year!
I've already written two stories and I've got a third planned. I've recorded one, but I'm undecided about the quality of it, so I'm going to try and get to use my company's sound booth, which should give excellent results.
It's taken a fair bit of investment to get my shop to support MP3 downloads (this is going on in the background, so you won't see any changes there yet), so I need to sell a fair number of stories to even break even, but if things go well then I'll buy myself some better recording equipment for my home so I can get good results here instead. That would be a lot more convenient.
I'm really keen to release these. It's very exciting for me to be moving in this direction, and I hope lots of people enjoy them!
Sep 17 2009, 03:36 PM
You should be able to get good quality home-recording equipment very cheaply, for spoken-word productions. Producing high quality music, which has a greater range of frequencies, requires a bit more effort and money, but you can even get USB-based microphones now with superb quality at a really good price.
Looking forward to Halloween though...
... assuming that's when we'll hear the new stuff, that is.
Sep 17 2009, 06:16 PM
Yep, I think I'll wait until the week before Halloween before putting these online.
I'll have a look into USB microphones. I guess you know a little about this field, is there any model or type that you would suggest?
Sep 19 2009, 01:54 AM
I am intrigued by this new idea.
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