Be A Man: animatic action

These images are from the storyboards I’ve been doing for my animated series, BE A MAN.

Actually, they’re an awkward cross between storyboards and animatic frames.

Storyboards should be clear and easy to read when printed on paper. These would be quite difficult to read because of the way I do my boards — I draw the frames in Flash, and, anticipating turning them into an animatic, I draw WAY too many frames! I put in all the little glances and moves the characters will do.

This is great for when I do the animatic and can easily watch how all the actions time out, but now that I want to show actors this stuff, I find it’d be time-consuming to put together a version that’d work on paper or as a PDF — I’d have to drop out all the extra frames.

Maybe I just need to physically flick through the boards for them — like having them watch the cartoon in flip-book form. I’ve been showing people my progress this way and it seems to work.

Animation time again!

The MEGA pitch went really well! Unfortunately, none of the broadcasters or entertainment types Justin invited actually showed! True, the pitches were happening right in the middle of the work day, but still… not good enough, ABC and SBS. You really had something better to do?…


  1. Flicking through lists of reality shows, trying to find ones they can buy or produce that are superficially “classier” than the ones on the commercial networks
  2. Watching the hot new young guy, Tino, on Gardening Australia, touching selves lightly
  3. Latte-sipping
  4. “Lefty shit”
  5. Repeating the word “vodcast” over and over while staring, shirtless, into a mirror
  6. Thinking about where they were the day The Glass House got axed
  7. Establishing exciting new online initiative, closing down yesterday’s
  8. Ironing wrinkles out of Triple J presenters
  9. Searching for an even more wanky way to say “documentary” than “factual programming”
  10. Commissioning somethingorother

Obviously I kid. I do it because I love them so!

I’m going to do a video of the pitch so you (and they) can see what I presented on the day.

From the animatic

From the animatic

Meanwhile: it’s about time to make this John Farnham-related Precinct short I’ve been talking up for a while. Now that MEGA’s over I’ll have time to finish off the animatic. Then, it’s animation time.

I’d love to get it done over the holidays, but I can’t do it all myself. What I’m thinking is that I’ll set aside some money and hire on some help! I know a lot of animators who are suddenly out of work

The problem, of course, is that I can’t afford to pay people what they’re worth (or even what they’re used to being paid, which is another, lower, amount). I’m thinking that maybe I could assign individuals a maximum of one or two shots, to minimise the pain.

Not that I’m against abusing animators. They should just know they’re going to be abused before they sign up!

The Precinct: Playing To Win is going to be an “illegal” short, too, in the sense that it’ll be using copyrighted music by John Farnham. The idea is that w’re going to show it to John Farnham and he’ll like it enough to agree to get involved with the show (i.e. sing the theme song!). It so badly needs him.

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So: can you animate like this?

And do you want to be abused?

Proof things are moving along

Here’s the current version of my Farnsy-themed animatic!

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I (and our growing team) just spent a few weeks working on an application to Film Victoria‘s Digital Media Prototyping fund. It’s 80 pages long. You could injure someone with it if you swung it at their head. I would never do such a thing.

The “future-innovation-online-mobile-media” discussions that’ve gone on around it, and at MEGA, are starting to really do my head in. It’s becoming very clear that I’m not the sort of person who does big, visionary ideas involving technology that hasn’t been invented yet. I prefer looking at what already exists and trying to figure out how we can use it all in an amusing way.

Also, people continue to tell me things like “in the future, you won’t be a storyteller: you’ll be facilitating OTHER PEOPLE’S stories!” Because in the future nobody will watch a TV show or movie without interacting with it. Also, in the future everyone will wear silver jumpsuits and eat Space Food Sticks at every meal.

Never mind. The application we put in (around The Precinct and our “choose-your-own-adventure” thing) may not be enormously innovative technically, but it’d be (i) a lot of fun, (ii) a sweet tool for showing broadcasters the possibilities of COP ACTION as a cartoon and game and (iii) not half as easy, cheesy and token as some TV series online tie-ins I’ve seen.

And I am trying to open my mind to more inclusive, truly “interactive” stuff. As long as I can still make my funny toons.

Ackersley and keytar

Ackersley and keytar

Speaking of which, for those who were not at our secret Precinct puppet/slide-show in July, here’s the images we showed telling the story of our 1986 flashback episode! Since there’s no script or explanation, it will be be bit mystifying to most of you. Make up your own story: it’s TOTALLY INTERACTIVE OMG LOLZ

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We’re going to be pitching The Precinct to an audience of INDUSTRY BIGWIGS as the grand finale to MEGA later this month, and are able to make suggestions as to who should be invited! If you know of (or ARE) a switched-on film/tv/online industry person with a sense of humour, drop us a line and maybe we can swing a ticket their/your way.

Precinct ep 06: Blam!

I stopped working on the animatic for the John Farnham episode because I’m doing something special this weekend: myself, Adam and two of our Precinct voice-maestros, Thomas Pullar and Adrian Calear, are going to perform a reading of the episode 6 script for a select audience at a secret location. SO MYSTERIOUS

We’ll be assisted by some weak puppeteering and the pitch boards I’m drawing now, which we’re projecting on a big screen. Pitch boards are storyboards like the ones I’ve posted earlier, but fewer drawings: only the relevant “beats” we absolutely need to show the story progression.

Most of them are all grey and scratchy like the Farnham boards, but this one frame I coloured up nice because it’s an EXPLOSION!

'80s flashback: Sarge & Sandhurst escape an explosion. Sarge saves his axolotls.

'80s flashback: Sarge & Sandhurst escape an explosion. Sarge saves his axolotls.

Bonus link: Go here to read John Kricfalusi’s heartwarming story about what it’s like for a cartoon genius to pitch a movie idea at Dreamworks nowadays.

Precinct ep 00b: Eras of Ackersley

Eras of Ackersley

Eras of Ackersley

As with Farnham, in the new Precinct cartoon we’ll be seeing Ackersley at different points from 1986 thru today. I think ’93 Ackersley is my favourite.

More animatic done now:
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Do The Precinct Cop Action Survey!

Do The Precinct Cop Action Survey!

Please go to the Precinct site and try out our Cop Action Survey. We need some info about what people think of Cop Action and how they watch it! I’ll post more extensively on the idea behind the survey later.