2020: A Year in Review
When I finished writing the yearly review for 2019, I said “Not sure if 2020 can top that, but here’s to an amazing new year!”
It’s amusingly sad reading it now, knowing what a challenging year 2020 turned out being for everyone.
It seems like the world has shifted and we all had to adapt in one way or another. The lucky ones only had to deal with transitioning to working from home, while many suffered losses in both livelihood and health.
I want to start this yearly review with wishing you, our readers, a much better 2021. I wish you nothing but good health and happiness.
So how was 2020 for us, you ask?
- Langage localisation
- New courses
- Notable articles from this year
- Most popular video this year
- What’s next for 2021?
The first big thing I need to talk about is Snowlands, as this is certainly the project that has taken up most of my attention this year.
Last year I wrote about how I will dedicate 2020 to pitching the film, and getting as many meetings as I can to shop the film around.
Of course, going to meetings all around the country wasn’t possible anymore, and in general the film industry was dealing with a major shift, releasing films on streaming services, and networking possibilities seem harder than ever.
But, of course, this is just an excuse.
I didn’t end up in meetings and pitching the film as much as I planned because that’s just not something I like doing. I wrote a lot about “choosing yourself” or “not waiting to get picked“, and that’s because I truly believe in those concepts.
I hate asking people for anything, let alone to believe in my projects.
So here’s what I did – I made sure my screenplay was as good as it could possible be, and then pivoted to making it a graphic novel first.
The screenplay made it to the quarterfinals in the Academy Nicholl Fellowship, the Austin Film festivals, and a bunch of others. I wrote a HUGE article about the process of writing this screenplay, so check it out if you’re interested in writing one yourself.
Why a Graphic novel
Simple. It is something I can produce and publish myself.
I’m no stranger to self publishing. I published the Pixar Storytelling book, as well as my own Animation for Beginners, both sold thousands of copies. But that was years ago. I now had more time, money, and experience to put into the book, and create a premium product – a full length, hard cover, original graphic novel.
Again, I was faced with the option of trying to pitch it to publishers, but again – I prefer to do things my way. So I decided I’m going to make it myself.
But not really myself. I was going to operate like a professional publisher.
I started by hiring an experienced graphic novel editor, who helped me adapt the screenplay into a graphic novel script. I hired an artist, a colorist, a letterer, a cartographer, a logo designer and even started a new company that will be dedicated to the Snowlands franchise. I’ll go over all of this in more detail in the future.
So while I still plan on making Snowlands an animated film, I decided to start by building an original IP, and release a few more products around Snowlands, such as a video game, a comic book series, and a sequel to the graphic novel.
That’s a lot, I know, but it is all doable projects that I believe can be amazing to produce. There’s no better investment to make than in yourself, and I believe in the Snowlands long-term prospects.
Last year I mentioned that I will be putting more emphasis on localization. Over the past year, localizing has become even more important, as people all around the world turn to online courses to expand their skills.
In 2020 we localized our entire course library to Portuguese, Chinese and Spanish, as well as most of the website itself. All translations are created by actual people, and are not auto-translated.
This was a very important goal for me. It’s not cheap to have 3 full time translators, but I believe animation is a sought after skill all over the world, and I want to remove as many barriers to entry as possible.
We released 2 new courses in 2020, as well as 2 updates to existing courses.
Stop Motion Animation
We’ve designed this course specifically for aspiring animation filmmakers interested in making their own stop-motion animations.
After taking this course you will have complete understanding of the entire process of making stop-motion shorts from start to finish, and will be able to take the next steps to making your own idea come to life.
We’ve designed this course to be tailored specifically for aspiring animators, or professional animators transitioning from a different program.
Moho Pro is an incredibly robust professional-grade animation software, and can do pretty much anything in the realm of 2D vector animation. We’ve brought an amazing 2D animator to take you through this amazing journey, and I truly believe he created one of the best Moho animation courses out there.
Blender Animation update
This one was WAY overdue for a makeover, as the course used an older version of Blender, and became obsolete with the release of Blender 2.8. So of course we had to update the entire course from scratch.
But we didn’t stop there… We got one of the best Blender animators to do it – Dillon Gu. He’s the guy Blender hired to make their official tutorials. He was also an animator on RWBY, and is just an amazing animator, specializing in fighting sequences.
He created a brand new course for us, from scratch, teaching his entire animation process for creating an amazing parkour fighting sequence. This course is double the size of the current course, but more than 10x better.
After Effects Animation update
Honestly, the After Effects course we had was great, but I wanted to take it up to a new level. Since After Effects is a motion graphics software, and not really aimed at character animation (though it can totally do it, as covered in the course), I figured it’ll be a good idea to teach motion graphics in addition to character animation.
So what did we do with this course? First, we re-did the character animation section, showing more advanced rigging. We also kept the old section of the course that teaches how to use our ninja rig, so you’re getting double the characters. But then we added brand new modules focusing on logo animation, text animation, client work pipeline, and even using 3D with Cinema4D Lite. This course has doubled its size, but more than that it now covers more areas After Effects excels in, so you’re not limited to only character work. You can now learn about other motion graphics oriented tools and methods.
Notable articles from this year
- Animation for Beginners: Where do I Start?
- Animated Short Film Structure Guide: Breaking Down the 8 Genres of Animated Shorts
- How to Start Learning Animation at Home
- How to Create a Portfolio Website: A Detailed Guide
- Writing an Animated Feature Film: How I Wrote the Screenplay for Snowlands, from Idea to Final Draft
Most popular video this year:
What’s next for 2021?
1. Releasing the graphic novel + Expanding Snowlands
I’m planing to release the Snowlands graphic novel for the Holiday season of 2021.
I honestly don’t know if that would happen, since this is a rather large production with many moving parts, and I want to do it right, but this is the goal for the book’s release date.
I’m also planning to work on numerous new projects around the Snowlands franchise, so you’ll probably hear a lot about it in the future.
2. More courses + more talent-based courses
Same goal as last year, I hope to keep pushing our courses production to the max, and release more talent-based courses by bringing in more known animators.
3. YouTube localization
One more thing I’ve played around with lately is the idea of localizing our YouTube channel to different languages by dubbing our videos.
In 2021 I plan to launch 3 new YouTube channels for Chinese, Portuguese and Spanish versions of Bloop Animation.
These channels will have the best videos from Bloop, dubbed into their appropriate language.
I supposed that’s it for 2020. All things considered, I think it was a successful year for Bloop, and myself.
I try to look at the bright side of the situation. I was able to spend more time with my wife and my son, since we all had to stay home most of the time. I think that’s precious time I wouldn’t have otherwise had, and that’s a big upside to this situation.
I hope your 2020 was at least reflective, if not pleasant, and that 2021 will be better for you and those close to you.
Happy new years.
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