Around the beginning of last year, in anticipation of the Your Face is a Saxophone Kickstarter, I started acting differently online. I became less candid, less talkative, and more worried about how the things I said would be interpreted. I was trying to seem professional. That was a mistake. It didn’t actually make me look like a more trustworthy person to throw your money at, and it only made me, personally, more anxious.
No more. Total transparency time.
Production of Your Face is a Saxophone has stalled. We haven’t made any progress on it since April. The reason for this is that, at this stage of production, all the onus is on me. I’m the only one with the hardware, software, and resources to animate this thing. There’s also a little bit of dialogue to record, and many of Dave Lanz’s lines need to be re-recorded, but I haven’t scheduled the time for that. I’ve been out of commission, and I haven’t had the motivation and drive to do any of this.
Now, for people who’ve given me money with the expectation that it would translate into hard work, “I don’t have the motivation” isn’t an acceptable excuse. I know that. So if you don’t want to hear any more of it, you can stop reading after this: I still plan to deliver more episodes of YFIAS, but if anyone who has donated to Episode 3 would like a refund, I will offer it. A lot of the money has been spent, so I won’t be able to fulfill that refund immediately, but if you want it, you can have it.
If you’re still with me, I’ll explain what’s behind all this.
First of all, the reason the money’s spent is because the fundraising is meant to pay my bills, so that I’d be able to work full-time on YFIAS instead of finding a “real job.” At this stage, there aren’t any costs associated with the project other than my ability to eat and stuff, because starvation is a severe impediment to animation. Fortunately, I’ve been able to eat and find a place to live without needing donation income, but there are still expenses beyond that. It’s a fact of life that everyone needs to spend money. I haven’t been spending it on Ferraris, I promise. I’ve been living as frugally as I possibly can, simply because it’s necessary.
Anyway. The motivation bullshit. The end of April was when I had planned to start getting into the swing of animating Episode 3. Then the end of April began some family troubles, which culminated in me having an uncertain living situation. Most people would be able to compartmentalize these things. Unfortunately, I’m a nutcase.
I’ve been clinically depressed for the past few months, and I’m currently on medication that’s sorta-kinda helping not really. Behind all this is something going on with my brain which causes me to have dissociative episodes which my doctor initially thought were panic attacks, but on further study it turns out they’re atypical. It’s never a good sign when your doctor looks at you with utter fascination twinkling in his eyes, like he’s an astrophysicist and you’re a newly-discovered planet that appears to be orbiting 16 different stars at once.
So, TL;DR, health problems. That’s why I haven’t been animating. That’s why I haven’t updated anything. That’s why I’m still dawdling with opening the source files for Episodes 1 and 2.
As you can probably tell, though I like to refer to “we” when talking about Plankhead and the YFIAS team, a lot of it rides on me. I don’t like that. I work much better when I’m collaborating with someone, because it makes me feel accountable. I’d venture to say the only reason Episode 2 actually got finished is because I had Erica Frohnhoefer sitting in the room with me, day in and day out, also animating.
To rectify this, I’ve decided I’m going to use Blender entirely for Episode 3. I figure if I’ve taken this long to actually start animating, I might as well take a little longer to get used to Blender. Since many more people have access to (and expertise in) Blender than do Apple mother-skull-fucking Motion, that potentially enables a bunch of people to work with me, if not physically then at least remotely. It also eliminates proprietary formats from my workflow, and frees the project from the shackles of OS X.
I’m also going to start local meetups for artists and creative people who want to collaborate on each others’ projects, as a way to start turning Plankhead into a movement. I’m not going to trademark the name or logo of Plankhead. Anyone who wants to start a local Plankhead chapter, do it. Anyone who wants to release work under Plankhead branding, do it. All I ask is that this work be CC0 Public Domain or equivalent. Obviously there’s no way I can enforce that, other than the hope that Plankhead becomes ubiquitous enough that people automatically assume if it says Plankhead, then it’s public.
I will start doing all this as soon as I’m ready. To all our fans and producers, I thank you for your patience and your continued support. Life is hard, and challenging the way that art is made is hard, but I plan to keep on doing it. I hope you’ll all stay with me.