Well, given how infrequently I update this ol' personal blog, I think it's about time I moved things over to JKRiki.com permanently. It's updated every Monday, after all! Plus I'm going to be upgrading it in the next few months to include links to other spots I hang out online, such as my new digs at Instagram. If you're looking for me in the meantime, check over here!
Please note: Posts here older than June 24th, 2015 should be considered officially archived. I am not removing them, but in the ten years that I have been writing on this blog I have changed a great deal. Things beyond this point should be considered outdated at best, and may contain many errors or opinions I no longer hold. These things tend to happen as you grow and live life. Or at least, they hopefully happen as you try to become a better person as you age! I just want readers to be aware of that, so that if you decide to go poking through history you will know that it doesn't necessarily reflect my current or future views.
If you'd like current thoughts and posts, please visit JKRiki.com for regular scheduled updates that provide better insights and information. Thanks!
I was prodding around FredtheMonkey.com and the blog here recently, just to see what old things I had long forgotten about and what might be improved if I ever attempted another random redesign (because come on, it's been FAR too long since one of those happened!).
I clicked the Carrot Cake icon up in the blog header, just for old time's sake. Imagine my surprise to find Mr. Louis "Edmund and Darrell" Durrant had been hard at work revamping his own website and blog!
I really like the classy new style he's got going on over there, and he's combined the blog with the website proper (something I think I ought to do one of these days myself). You should stop by, check it out, and say hello if you have a moment! The new logo alone is worth the visit. He really did a nice job with it.
Hmm... I suppose posting the logo here has given you less of a reason to go there. Oops. Well, he also has FREE COOKIES!*
*Lies, just go visit.
Much in the same way as the last blog entry was not the return of Fred the Monkey, yet still FEATURED Fred the Monkey, Louis has been jumping back into updating his personal blog and is showing off the new stylings of Edmund and Darrell:
You can read more about it right here. The short version is he's hard at work determining the future of the duo and Carrot Cake Studios in general. I understand completely, I've been there with FtM lots of times! A big good luck to him on choosing the next path!
I woke up this morning to an email from Jonathan. The subject was "What exactly is going on with FTM?" Here it is:
I recall a very long time ago (I can't even guess when) you stated you were on a hiatus to learn this new program to make FTM with. But I haven't seen much updating about how that is going, is FTM dead or do you plan on picking it back up at a later date?
For starters I want to make note that in the past I did a TERRIBLE job at keeping people posted on what's happening behind the scenes. During Seasons 4-6 (I think) in 2006-2008ish I would disappear for months at a time and not say a word about what was happening. It was because I was afraid of upsetting people, and the longer it went on the more afraid I became because things were only compounded by every day that went by un-updated.
Then a few years ago I was privileged to taste the other side of something like that: Homestarrunner.com stopped updating with no word to fans.
It was awful. Every week you wondered if they'd ever come back, but you just didn't know. And after a few weeks of that (which has stretched to years) I vowed never to do that again to Fred fans. It was too painful on the fan side, and I hadn't realized that until then.
I've updated the blog with what I've been up to in order to keep people up to date on what's been happening. However I realize now that not everyone reads the blog daily, so that means you have to post any of the biggest news front and center on the website itself (and Twitter, and Facebook, and where ever else people might stop by!) so that's what I'm doing today. Let's talk about what exactly is going on with FredtheMonkey.com.
What WAS going on with FtM
Jonathan, you're right. A while back (summer of last year, if memory serves me correctly) I discussed the hiatus in order to learn Toon Boom Animate for future Fred cartoons. My plan was to spend a few months learning Toon Boom, rigging the new character models, and then relaunching the website on October 1st 2012. That did not happen (obviously). Here is why: Rigging took a lot longer than expected. Learning Toon Boom was much harder than expected. I began my first Studio Riki short in earnest, and it took up 100% of my working time. Then things continued to be delayed as I started an apprenticeship to begin to truly understand and master drawing. Please understand those are reasons, not excuses. If I worked harder, I could have done it all. I did not work harder, and so here we are. That is on me, and I take responsibility for that. On top of those things, I had an experience last year that changed my reality from top to bottom. When you go through something like that, things are different afterward. Things don't quite line up with how the world worked before, and going back to how things were seems very difficult. So every day is a new experience for me, and has really made long term plans a strange thing to consider in some ways.
What IS going on with FtM
Now there is a slightly different plan. And I use the word "plan" loosely because every day that I live I see more the foolishness of laying out complex plans. Life is too unpredictable. That isn't an excuse, that's merely what I've discovered. And it's something that sets me more and more free every day. Perhaps I will write an entry about that later, for now let's get back to FtM.
The short answer is: FtM will continue.
The long answer is: FtM will continue in some form which I currently have little idea what will be or when will happen. I am still currently working on my own personal art skills to try to improve. I'm not content with where I am now (or have been for the past 30 years). I've been coasting. I don't want to coast anymore. Life is too short and big and powerful and interesting to coast. I'm also still working on the Studio Riki short, so that is a big project. Plus there's that "life" thing that happens outside of just work, and it's deeper and more involved than ever. I will not say this is what will happen, but this is what I'd LIKE:
I would like to learn Toon Boom along side my drawing instruction and Riki short. After I am comfortable enough to function with it, I would like to build a backlog of cartoons and updates for FtM so that I can set them to automatically release on a reasonable, regular schedule. I have been at this for almost 10 years, so I know fully well that if I do not do things this way then updates will be missed. No matter how fired up I am at any given moment, there will be times when I'm not as fired up and that will cause delays. I do not work well "running behind" so to speak. So I would like to do updates in advance and have technology give them to you on a set schedule. That way no one is wondering when there isn't something new after I said there would be.
What is the likely hood of this happening? As things sit right now, great. Because I am in a fired up state and really want to accomplish it. Read the above paragraph, though, and you'll know as well as I do that saying that is rather meaningless. So I'm sorry, the only real true answer I can give is "I don't know." It is possible that will happen, or possible that something else might happen instead. The one certain thing is that there WILL be a continuation of FtM in some form at some point (so long as some unexpected tragedy doesn't occur, such as me being hit by a bus. However we can never plan for those sorts of things).
I hope that clears it up some, and I apologize again for not explaining it all better in a way that everyone can find the answer to that question. Hopefully now that there is a link on the front page of FtM people will know what's currently happening with things!
If anyone has any questions or comments about this whole thing (positive, negative, whatever) please don't hesitate to leave a comment below or send me an email. I realize that folks who have been along on this journey with me for many years have had to put up with some tough moments as I've learned-by-doing and grown as a person, and I thank you for your patience and hope that the cartoons and stuff I do is worth the stress. If not I totally understand if you want to seek greener (more frequently updated!) pastures, and I hope you'll stop by again sometime and see what's going on and say hello.
All the very best,
EDIT: Also a bunch of comments are being flagged as spam for some reason, so if you don't see yours pop up immediately give it some time because I'll check in the spam folder and unflag any that are real comments.
So yes, it is January now, but I love Christmas so we'll just celebrate it all year round, how about that? Today the recent Edmund and Darrell Christmas Special finally hits FtM so if you've not seen it yet, go check it out! Love those cookies.
Since the site has now been updated for the first time in... let's see... forever, I thought I'd take a moment to fill you in on what's been going on. If you missed the news, I've been working on my studio's first animated short. It's a fully 2D frame by frame number with amazing art and animation, which means it takes a TON of time to do. As a result, Fred and the crew have had to take a long vacation while I attend to other things. I plan to go back and do more FtM stuff in the future, but when that will be I can't say. I promise to keep you posted, though.
I will also be starting a new apprenticeship next Tuesday, and I'm tremendously excited about that! It's going to be a lot of drawing from what I understand, so I'll probably be knee deep in sketchbooks for the next month or so (and doing little else).
You forget how!
Louis sent me a few weeks ago a new Edmund and Darrell cartoon to put up at FtM and I've totally forgotten how to use our updating software to get it online. I haven't updated in so long, and been learning so many new programs and things, that I'm not sure what to click on anymore to get things up. SO I'm going to try to remember to ask Q for a refresher tutorial tonight and then hopefully tomorrow or Friday there will be that new cartoon there to watch. Or you could, of course, just go to Carrot Cake and watch there!
In other news, I want to thank a few people who have really been helping me grow (personally) in the past few months, weeks, and days. As anyone who reads the blog often knows, I've been going through a period of supreme changes emotionally in the past 8 or so months, and their support has just meant the world to me. Especially during times when some people I've asked for help have brushed me off and essentially said no, I should do it on my own. So you hopefully know who you are, awesome supporters. I really appreciate your kindness.
I drew you a little doodle.
There is a brand new cartoon waiting for your cartoon-deprived eyes right here right now!
Edmund and Darrell are back with a slightly new look and an all new adventure. The Supermarket awaits!
Speaking of slightly new looks and all new content, if you haven't stopped by Louis' blog over at Carrot Cake Studios recently you should pop by. He's redone the whole thing and is updating with frequency. I'm personally hoping for more RUM comics soon myself. I want to know what happens next.
Work continues this week on the Fred model for Toon Boom, but I must admit I'm much farther behind that I'd like to be. Life keeps springing up in my path and leading me down detours, but I continue to tackle it whenever possible so hopefully things will start coming along quicker! I'm also trying to get my house up for sale on the market, so that pulls me away temporarily for many hours.
Tomorrow is Christmas Day, so a very Merry Christmas to everyone out there! Whether you celebrate the holiday or not, I hope the weekend is filled with a good time for you and your loved ones. It happens to be my personal favorite day of the year, so I'm excited. Of course, I still have to finish some gifts, so I should probably get to that.
For your Christmas delight, here are Edmund and Darrell in a brilliant new animated short Christmas special! Louis did a great job combining humor and emotion so I hope you'll check it out and enjoy.
The new Fred cartoon, on the other hand, is still being worked on but coming along MUCH better than it had previously been. Things should be ready to go for this 5-6 minute Feature Toon in early 2012. I was hoping to get it ready before the year's end, but it looks like that might have been a little bit of an unrealistic goal, what with the madness of the holidays keeping me extra busy. I always seem to forget just how quickly these few December weeks fly by!
I want to apologize as well for the site/forums/blog being down yesterday. I still don't know what happened, but we've switched hosting companies so hopefully it isn't as frequent as it was before. There will still be downtime (that's just how these things work), the new hosting company should just keep it to a minimum and not for 12 hour stretches on random days.
I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas, and stops back next week to see what plans are being made for 2012! Cheers!
Presenting for all the world: Edmund and Darrell Episode 3! In this entry, the Mayor has called a town meeting and gathered everyone to discuss... what was it again? Ah yes, the moon. A terrific new cartoon by Louis, so go check it out right now!
Plus if that twernt enough (twernt is like twas but with weren't, FYI) he's started an awesome Super Fan program over at Carrot Cake Studios. Join up for exclusive content sent to you before anyone else. And act fast, because at some point it will be a subscription-based program that will cost money. Right now it's free, for the loyal folks watching since day 1! I'm going to see if he'll throw in some of the action figures that are no doubt imminent now that he's expanded the character roster. (I want a Reggie's Personal Transport Service Playset with Real Working Wheelbarrow!)
Enjoy the cartoon, and why not let him know what you think in the comments? Or, even better, have a chat with the man himself over on the Forums.