One Hundred Percent American

Here’s the good news, loyal readers! Your old pal Matty Boy is producing his first new animation in eleven years!

Ready for the bad news? Here we go…

You’ll have to be one of my Patron Saints to watch it!

That’s right, I’m showing favoritism towards the good people who’ve been supporting my efforts for the past few years. I hope that’s okay, stranger. If it makes you feel any better, I literally wouldn’t be able to create any of this if I didn’t have people donating to me. Funny thing about side jobs and hustling to get by; it’s borderline impossible to produce animation at the same time. You know what, it’s not even borderline; it’s impossible.

What you see in the above trailer- which is barely over a minute, by the way- is the product of roughly a six month period. That’s not to say I was working on it the entire time; it would have taken much less time if I could have worked on it continuously, instead of having to quit for days or weeks at a time to do something that’ll cover rent, bills or food. Often there’s not enough time and I have to request donations. Which is not abnormal for an independent production, by any means, and truthfully I can get by on almost nothing. Almost nothing, I said.

So when you look at the new trailer for One Hundred Percent American, know that even the brief amount of content you’re seeing took a great deal of work to make it not look like complete shit. New stuff will obviously come a lot faster, because I’m more comfortable with the program than I was six months ago, when I was still trying to figure out what’s changed since Flash became Animate. (Essentially, it’s become a thousand times better. Many issues I had with Flash in 2006 have been rectified.)

One Hundred Percent American is a spiritual sequel to a comic book I self-published in the 1990’s. It even uses the same logo, created incog-NEATO by the legendary Mike “Rip And Tear Your Guts” Stewart. The characters you see are surviving cast member Griff Des Moines (25 years later) and his estranged father “Tuffy”. My goal with this production is to gradually fill the void left by classic prime-time cartoons like King of the Hill. So this would be kinda like the “Milton” shorts Mike Judge did, that eventually led to Office Space. Except this will remain animated. What, I’m supposed to pay actors and a film crew? Hey great, where does that money come from exactly?

My ulterior motive with this production is to beef up my Patreon and YouTube numbers until I have a proper monthly budget to work with. I need to bring in a few hundred dollars more per month to make things run smoothly. I don’t plan to stop selling toys on eBay, but I’ve learned after a year-plus of doing it that it’s rarely consistent. Some months toys sell, some months they don’t. It’s not rocket science, but it sure doesn’t pay like it either.

Dude- this is my 20th year doing web animation, excepting the time I didn’t have a functioning program (err… about ten years). I know what I’m doing; it’s merely a matter of having the time and budget to do it. I would charge a client a grand to produce a minute of animation like the OHPA teaser trailer; if I broke it down by billable hours, it would probably surpass $1000, and that’s if I’m charging myself $20 an hour. I could ask for more than that, and once my skills improve, I probably will. Dude, why wouldn’t I?

You see all those Bands I Useta Like strips listed over in the margin? Guess how many I did for free? Zero.

Just for “kicks”, let’s break down what you’re seeing/hearing:

  1. A script worked backwards from an improvisation.
  2. Dialogue recorded on location in a real vehicle in a Kroger parking lot.
  3. Sampled audio and video from outside sources (intro and closing theme).
  4. An audio track mixed down from the original dialogue recordings.
  5. A car and three characters that had to be designed and drawn from the ground up. Both the interior (three different views) and the exterior of the car.
  6. Animated smoke that dissipates when the car window is rolled down.
  7. Four seconds of animated lip-syncing.
  8. One character’s eye and hand movements, synced as best as possible with the knocking at the window.
  9. Two logos that, thank God, were created long ago, although I still added highlights and effects to both of them. It doesn’t really feel “new” if I don’t do these little tweaks whenever possible.
  10. A piece of music created by Bo Harwood that I have never been able to find when I want to hear it, so I remixed it from the beginning of the John Cassavetes film The Killing of a Chinese Bookie and used it. I mean the 1978 cut; the original version doesn’t even use it. Talk about tossing away a gem.

I’m not even mentioning the slow head-turn Griff does, which not only took a chunk of time to render, but was a beast to line up right. Maybe it doesn’t matter to the audience that the reaction comes after the second knocking, but it mattered to me.

Above: The state-of-the-art method I used to record improvised dialogue of a guy with a mask on his face knocking on a car window.

Here’s hoping you’ll get in on the ground floor and become one of my Patrons. If you’re completely dead set against it, you can wait until I make the shorts public in three or four years. Or, you can get on board for as little as a buck a month.

Don’t miss out, diaper-face!

Comments Off on One Hundred Percent American

Filed under Animation Analysis, Bad Influences, Comix Classic & Current, Idiot's Delight, Saturday Movie Matinee, Site Stuff