EssRec-Bee and Puppycat

Welcome to Essential Recommendations! My occasional blog post in which I recommend you guys books, films, videos games or anything really that I find cool. Last time, I recommended the brilliant Killing Is Harmless: A Critical Reading of Spec Ops: The Linean essay detailing the nuances of a video game that challenges the current perception of military first person shooters, the depiction of violence in entertainment and even the portrayal of post traumatic Stress disorder. This time, it’s an online cartoon about Bee, an out-of-work twenty-something who has a life-changing collision with a mysterious creature she names PuppyCat. So yeah, not exactly keeping to a  theme.

Bee and PuppyCat

By Natasha Allegri and Frederator Studios

Available on YouTube, Kickstarter Page (funded)

This is pretty much required watching for anyone who is a fan of Adventure Time and the similarities are clear from the start: magical pets, crazy adventures and a childish psychedelic art style bordering on a drug trip. It’s no coincidence: series creator Natasha Allegri is a crew member on Adventure Time and it well-known within the community. However, as someone who is categorically not a fan of Adventure Time, I wanted to post this so encourage people who maybe wrote off Bee and Puppycat for its similar AT ‘vibe’.

Source: http://jailboticus.deviantart.com/art/Bee-and-Puppycat-in-Fishbowl-Space-392317801

You might write off B&P as a Adventure Time rip off, but you’d be oh-so wrong.

The series has a beautiful art style that’s almost impossible to describe (and probably why I keep referring to its closest relative, Adventure Time). Every frame has this beautiful fluid motion to it, and the characters are wonderful animated and expressive. What drew me in was the sound however- it’s crazy and over the top but so beautifully made and pitch perfect. The voice acting is also wonderfully crisp, simple and soft-spoken. It doesn’t feel jarring or out-of-place like I’ve found Adventure Time to sometimes suffer from. To someone studying sound design, it’s really inspiring to see something so detailed and unique sounding in a cartoon. Either way, keep an eye out for new episodes soon- a whole series was funded through a record-breaking Kickstarter campaign and I couldn’t be happier. You can find an Ask me Anything interview on Reddit by Natasha and the executive producer Fred Seibert here. Also check out Bravest Warriors by the same studio if you’d like something similar.

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(an even LATER) Sunday Night Sketchbook 2/02/2014

Sunday Night Sketchbook? Tuesday?! I know, I know! It’s a disgrace and frankly an affront to the word ‘Sunday’ but I got to keep to the plan! Sunday stays on whatever days! A smaller amount of individual drawings this week as I’m working on some new stuff that isn’t finished yet AND I was doing an animation! At under hundred slides, it was  a smaller project than some of the others I’ve done but it was definitely one of my favourites- Fifty Shades of A is online now and I’ve included some of my favourite frames in tonight’s ‘Sunday’ Night Sketchbook- enjoy!

Kurt was featured in the Mail Online! And they got his name wrong. Typical.

Kurt was featured in the Mail Online! And they got his name wrong. Typical.

My first attempt at a logo for Sore Tooth Games- MJ's new game project!

My first attempt at a logo for Sore Tooth GamesMJ’s new game project!

One Year on the Internet

Well if anyone hadn’t noticed on twitter or on my most recent video, my channel is officially one year old. On the 23rd of November 2012, I uploaded my very first video to YouTube. It was… uh well, it was pretty standard for your first Let’s play video in that I was quiet, boring and it sucked! Also, for whatever reason I started an LP on a hardcore world of Minecraft, meaning if I died the whole place would get deleted. So yeah, I wasn’t the most forward thinking of chaps back then.

Either way, now that I’m at my one year mark I thought I would look back and reflect on how I’ve done and give some thoughts on the experience on a whole. A year ago, I decided to start making YouTube videos as a way to build a portfolio if I ever got into radio or some kind of job that might benefit from a pre-built fanbase. This has been my go-to answer to most people when the ask “Why the hell do you make videos?” and since I studied radio at college, they’re pretty used to me doing weird things. That said, I’ve always hoped and dreamed to actually make a living creating, writing or talking in whatever capacity and while I don’t expect Youtube to be the platform for me to make any real money, I’ve avoided telling people that it case they simply scoffed at me for being an idiot (I wouldn’t blame them, I would too) and wasting my time. However, now that we’re one year in- have I wasted my time? Is it time for me to call it quits? When I started, I made a pact with myself based on some advice I heard on an interview with Dave Chappelle, where he told James Lipton  that, while getting into comedy, his father told him: “Set a price. Set a price, and whenever it gets more than the price you set; get out”. So I said to myself I would give it a year- I’d give it my best shot and I’d see where I was in a year. Well, a year is up. Was it worth it?

If I looked at my channel today before I had started making videos, I’d probably be pretty disappointed. When you start a channel, your lofty ambitions of gaining a thousand subscribers a day is quickly dashed when you realise just how hard it is to gain a steady viewership. It can be hard for someone who hasn’t spent hours recording, editing and rendering to appreciate just how much a single comment, like or even view means to you after toiling away at making the best you have to offer. A year later, having experienced the elation of having two, three or even four comments on a video and seeing the views shoot up to almost twelve (twelve!) views after only a few hours, I’ve come to appreciate the difficult of building  fanbase. That said, I could never have dreamed the positivity and warmth people have shown towards the things I’ve created, case in point: Crappy Animations.

I’ve talked at length before about just how incredibly I lucked out with the Mindcrack animations I’ve made (for example, avoiding my near disastrous plan to upload my first ‘animation’ to a separate channel in case they weren’t well received) but you have to understand that when I started out, if I had been told my main subscriber base and thousands upon thousands of views would come from animations, I’d have laughed. I’ve gone on record as saying I’m certainly no artist, much less an animator, so the sheer avalanche of positivity and compliments I got in reaction to each and every animation has truly shocked me. I understand people may look at each video and ask how something with ‘merely’ <20000 views can mean so much to me, but this is from a guy who gets over the moon at 150 views per video (something I’m still getting used to).

Maybe this is a bit presumptuous, but I can almost feel myself looking back at this post down the line and laughing over my excitement of approaching a measly 700 subscribers, or gushing about videos that get upwards of 20 likes, but I really hope I don’t. If this year has taught me anything it’s that having a small fanbase or reach makes each and every interaction, like or  comment that much more special and unique and the be all and end all should never be a meaningless number at the top of your channel page. If I had to measure my biggest success, the greatest achievement of my YouTube hobby thus far, its been in the people I’ve met. Interacting, laughing and goofing around with people all across the globe has made for some of the funniest moments of 2013, and it’s justified every failed upload, every content ID and every restless minute trying to edit things together as time well and truly spent.

Here’s to another year!

At least, above all else, my quotes shall live on.

At least above all else, my quotes shall live on.