Well, Forma Pictures is 2! That's pretty wild, if you ask me. These past 2 years have been somethin' else, and I have absolutely no regrets about it.
Deciding to up and quit my well-paying job was definitely the best decision I ever made. The reason for this is that I was able to go and do things I really cared about. Stuff that I believe in. If you're debating a similar set of choices, I urge you to do the thing that will lead you to more joy. Do that which will lead to a great story, even if it ends in embarrassment. Sure, the road may be harder, but it's worth it. At least it has been for me.
This past year was a lot of fun. I worked on a few commercials, a game, launched a journalistic website, started a weekly series of narrated videos, and lots of other designs, edits, and articles. It's been busy.
I have no idea what this next year is going to be like, but I'm not really phased by so much uncertainty anymore. I'm used to it at this point. It's fun!
Anyhoo, I'll leave ya with the project I started this year that is nearest and dearest to my heart. I fuckin love working on it:
This past week I had the great pleasure of trying out VR with the HTC Vive.
I was beside myself. It was so unbelievably cool that I didn't want to stop playing with it. My family and I each took turns trying it on (including my grandpa), and we all adored it. We were all giggling with pure delight for well over an hour. It really, truly was that incredible. Without a doubt, it was the coolest tech thing I've ever experienced.
Naturally, it got me thinking about the future of my career. I have no doubt that I'll be developing art for VR before long. It's just so obvious that that's where everything is heading. Sure, it isn't saying much now that it's part of our zeitgeist, but there was a time when it wasn't. I've been begging for VR for the last ten years, and I've wanted it in some fashion for my entire life. Well, it's finally happening!! Nothing makes me more excited than VR and augmented reality. Nothing.
This week was all about the vidya games. Of course, I'm talking about that annual Mecha up there in LA, E3. It's a time for giving thanks and sharing pixelated joy with our fellow people.
But mostly it's about watching dope cinematic trailers! Seriously, E3 is like Christmas for we cinematic enthusiasts. The only problem is that there are SO many trailers that come out at this time that it can be hard to sift through the gunk to find the gold.
Not to worry, my fine friends, BtC has got you covered:
That's all for now. Until next year, people!
I spent some time this week improving the site for Behind the Cinematic. I mostly just added a bunch of invisible stuff that should hopefully improve things going forward. That's the thing...so much of the work isn't readily visible and everything takes so much time. It's good, though.
I also wrote a quick essay on the subject of hubris. It's something that I've thought a lot about in the business context because of how destructive it is. Here's the video:
Next week is E3, and that means that new trailers and cinematics will be coming out soon! Very excited about that. Expect some coverage on cinematic news over at Behind the Cinematic.
This week I launched a new section for Behind the Cinematic. It's all about the people behind the cinematics. It's where I interview the awesome men and women who have contributed to the art form.
The first interview that went up is all about Ryan M. James, the lead editor at Naughty Dog. It was an absolute pleasure getting to speak with him. He's a knowledgeable guy with a stellar portfolio of work. And, as an editor, he provides some unique insights into the craft. It's a rare position in this industry, as there aren't that many places who have full-time editors on staff. So, our conversation was very informative and whole lot of fun to do. Check out the interview here:
Also, be sure to check out his personal site right here.
As you've probably guessed, there are more interviews on the docket already. In fact, I've got two more scheduled this week, and even more later this month. It's a busy time for Behind the Cinematic, but it's just getting started.
To those of you reading this, I cannot describe how passionate I am about BtC. When I started developing the idea late last year, I had no idea what it might evolve into. And it's already exceeding all my expectations. I find myself running to keep up with its needs and the demand for its content. It's a great feeling. Clearly there is a hunger for what BtC is providing, but I never expected the hunger would be this strong so early in its life. I'm working hard every day (and having a blast) to make sure that the site is a beautiful place where people everywhere can enjoy cinematics and learn about them in detail. I've long wanted to honor the creators and inventors who have made this art form possible, and now I finally have the chance.
I can't WAIT to establish the vision that I have for it in my head. It's gonna be big, folks. :)
I'm a visual artist, I like designing stuff and editing video. But I sure do have to do a lot of writing for my job. I feel like most days are spent writing, but I suppose that's what you gotta do if you're telling stories and working with people long-distance.
If I'm not writing this blog, writing emails, or editing this website, I'm writing articles for Behind the Cinematic. And when I'm not doing that, I'm writing my next tutorial, preparing interview questions, or transcribing an interview, or even writing stuff on places like Twitter to keep contact with fellow artists. Of course, in order to make a commercial or a short film, I've got to write the script. And if I'm in negotiation with a client, I'm writing contracts and licensing agreements. And, I'm always writing up my thoughts and business plans so I can figure out what to do next. Write, write, write! Oof!
But it's worth it. It's what's enabled me to have everything that I have right now. If I couldn't write coherent thoughts (not saying I always manage that), I couldn't negotiate paid work. And Behind the Cinematic wouldn't go anywhere at all if I wasn't able to edit prose.
Speaking of which, a brand new section of Behind the Cinematic is launching this week. I'm so pumped!
You know, every now and then, a whole bunch of sweet things happen in sequence. It isn't often that I feel overwhelmed by one piece of great news after another, but that's exactly what happened this week.
The life of a freelance artist can be difficult. That's not to say that I don't experience a great deal of happiness, because I do. But when there are so many unknowns, things can get a bit tricky.
But this week was different. A few buds on the tree I've been growing have begun to blossom. The site I run, Behind the Cinematic, is beginning to take off. It's early days yet, but it's positively brimming with potential. I can feel it.
Next week I'll begin interviewing artists in the industry who work on game cinematics. The interviews will be made available for people to read on the site. And let me tell you...I am extremely excited to be doing this. After almost six months of planning, it's finally happening!
And...there was some more good news this week. All speculative stuff, but opportunities are exciting. The future is bright. It's good!
Quick update on the side projects that Forma's got cookin...
Behind the Cinematic
The new behind the scenes site continues to grow and expand its readership. New articles are going up every other week right now, and will continue to do so for a long time. There's also a whole new section to the website that will be launching around the end of May. Look forward to that!
Weekly Essays and Tutorials
After seventeen weeks, there are currently seventeen videos up on the channel HERE. A new essay or tutorial launches every week. Some have been more labor intensive than others, but hopefully people are continuing to find them useful. There are no plans to stop as of this writing.
An indie game that I had the pleasure of providing the art for is in the last phase of development. We're still polishing up the functionality and adding a few more things to make it better. I'm not sure when it will launch, but I'll post about it when it does.
On a recent StartUp episode, the team at Gimlet were telling the story of a particular startup in the Bay area that almost failed over and over again. Before eventually selling their company at a ridiculous price, there were many times when they had no idea if the damn thing was even worth all the trouble. There was a lot of stalling and failures before success. Have a listen:
Everyone that goes off on their own will inevitably face the question of "do I push ahead, or do I hang it up?" And rightly so. Even though my small freelancing business is small, I've asked this question over and over again. It's so hard to know when to change direction and when to push on. Because in the moment, both paths feel exactly the same. Those who have been far more successful than I say that the success they did eventually acquire was usually a surprise to them. That is, things were bad for a long time before they were good.
So, is this an immovable wall, or is it just the way of it? I don't know. But I'm going to push on.