Sunday, July 16, 2017

Ive Got Some Explaining To Do

This is a long one so please buckle in.

Its been four years since my last blog post and four years since Ive assigned any serious freelance work to any available contractors. There're several reasons for the long silence all of them amounting to what seems to be a lack of content. Even though I landed a full-time job to help pay for hardware and software, even though I helped with a successful Kickstarter campaign to develop a pilot... we still went dark... for years........ why?


The most primary reason is on a personal note, I ran waaaaay ahead of myself and I began to realize it. There were elements in filmmaking, graphic design, presentation and storytelling I took for granted and just assumed because I was passionate about them and received a healthy amount of training in those areas that I believed I was more experienced (and deserving) than I actually was. 

There were even places in my personal life I allowed to get out of hand, sacrificing not only precious time from my projects but also some very good friends and most importantly my own self-respect. A lot of that I wont get into here and while "personal issues" isn't a very good reason why I let communications fall flat from my end of this studio-adventure, it is *a* reason.

I got selfish and greedy. I forgot who I was and I didnt like who I was becoming.

But besides personal issues, I also had to maintain a full-time job to help cover rent. As much as I like it to be, Spark-Flow Studios isn't a completely functional production house, at least not yet anyway. Its me, my brother Tyrone and a few talented, patient and incredibly knowledgeable friends working from their laptop computers from our own homes. I have a few original ideas Id like to get off the ground and so does Tyrone. But we also still need to provide roofs over our heads as we continue chasing our dreams of producing powerful and exciting works of cinema and entertainment.


Most importantly though... we simply didnt have much to show you all. Tyrone did as I transferred creative rights and production over to him for Elements of Light... but aside from his comic and its merchandising? We had (and still have) a very anemic portfolio for this company. We have ideas but not enough capital to help bring those ideas to light.... and its frustrating. 

Its frustrating to tell other creators in the group "No, we cant work on that. No, dont do that because this idea isnt doable anymore". Its not something we can just trade to one another in hopes of clearing a plate and meeting a quota. There is a certain level of quality I'd like to meet as a company and having one gorgeous and nicely written comic isn't entirely profitable for the future I have in mind for us.

And this is where we are at present:

Tyrone has finished up another incredible issue of Elements of Light. Im married, living with my best friend and soul-mate... and all three of us are working separately, chasing the dream of producing our original animated films and shows on our spare time. The pilot to Peter & Company is moving slowly however the creator has had some extremely rough patches that stalled production there as well. We are currently developing Shot Lists for what will most likely act as our official storyboards.


Button Mashers, Im afraid is dead. I simply dont have the love to continue on with the format AJ & Needles were forced into. I like the idea of video game reviews, Lets Plays, the whole 9-yards. But those characters were created out of a very specific idea and later transferred to a video-game comedy simply because I wanted to pitch the idea as quickly as possible. I dont mind coming back to them but only if I can use them in the original story I had in mind for them in the first place.

As for the flagship series Pumpk & Cham and Pai, that has also been discontinued in its current format. Throughout the last four years, I decided to dump the idea in its YouTube series format and to start from scratch, resetting my entire skillset and the PCPAI idea as if they were beginning at zero. I relearned everything in writing, animation and filmmaking in general redeveloping the story while shedding some bad habits, specifically my over-reliance on scriptwriting and animating without finished or clear storyboards. From that decision and with the help of several skilled artists such as Sif Perlt Savery, Jess Sims, Aisleen Meyers and most notably my wife, Serena Henderson...... Ive produced a 45-minute animatic of the film called The Will of Monsters, the reboot of PCPAI. I hope this can tide you all over until I find a way to fund its production entirely.

I do want to apologize to everybody because a large part of me feels that Ive let you down. I know Ive let myself down in many areas before I managed the strength to pick myself back up. Im so blessed for everyone of Facebook who are continually cheering me, Tyrone and Serena on as we continue to conceive, develop and God-willing, finally produce our big dream projects.

We like great stories and we feel we can make them too. If you're still around, thanks for sticking with us. If you're new to the adventure... thanks for joining us.

~Christopher Wade

Creator of TWOM / Chief of Operations


Monday, December 2, 2013

Is it December Already?


   Holy crap, it IS December! This year has gone by so fast and so much has happened since the beginning of this year. We've begun production on PCPai, released 
Elements of Light on a regular basis and laid down some groundwork for Peter & Company. Certainly alot more than what we put out last year. Thanks for sticking around with us, even though I missed last week's update.


Kuki Krumbles, more troublemaker than self-proclaimed best friend.
  
Sometime back I think I teased Kuki Krumbles (above) and Aggie Magnus below. I definitely wanted to toy around with a possible villain with some healthy nods to the older Sailor Moon franchise with the other female characters that'll show up in PCPai. However, I also wanted to do something a little different than simply having rival sorcerers stand in our heroes' path so I made Kuki and Aggie more like family to start things off.

While Pai may be about the weakest witch around, Kuki does her best to look out for her though starting out only slightly more experienced. Aggie herself stands as among the most powerful youths in the city of Hocus Pocus Heights. Of course Kuki doesn't exactly look the description of being slightly above par does she? So far, she's one of the characters Im having the most fun writing.

Aggie Magnus, the newest magical prodigy.

That's not to say I dont enjoy writing Aggie either. Surprisingly enough, I came up with the idea of her name overhearing my coworkers chatting about witch titles awhile back. 

Lady Miasma, Pai's Grandmother runs a household of young, orphaned witches and Aggie was the first to be taken in by the wise old sorceress. As such, Aggie has not only learned the newer, more peaceful ways of learning magics but also the older, more violent methods of magical conjuring, thanks to her studies with Pai's mother, Anima. I have a few storylines in mind for her already and once hers and Kuki's designs are a bit more solidified, she's sure to be among the more important characters in the series.



Speaking of villains, Vaporotem has given us a very strong redesign of our villain for our upcoming short film. I mean, LOOKATHIM! The Craven-King returns a bit more streamlined but much more lively than before. 


I know alot of people are watching Kill la Kill at the moment (rightly so since it's fun and Studio Trigger just rocks all over the place). But The Legend of Legendary Heroes (currently streaming on Netflix) was surprising to say the least. It's a bit heavy-handed (though to be fair, a lot of fantasy-based anime are) and not everything about this show sticks, but there are a lot of fine points I've come to respect.

The story focuses on two characters actually. The first Ryner Lute (Mr. Brown Hair up there), a powerful mage cursed with a set of eyes that allow him to not only decipher most magics in his unwilling journey serving his kingdom but also grant him a highly feared (though kinda cliched) berserker mode. Ryner himself has a couple of cool moments mostly because of his modern personality which constrasts the more proper, medieval-speaking cast. Though he starts out as a lethargic do-nothing who doesnt lift a finger to help his friends until later, he does grow to become a likeable, more-grounded protagonist. Then, there's Sion, the white-hairded pretty-boy above.

 I won't reveal much here about Sion and surely he doesn't ooze the laid-back charm that Ryner does. However, the struggles he endures as the King of Roland slowly take hold of his soft-spoken yet noble ideals, forcing him to become a weaver of destruction in his own right. It's not the most original device to turn a protagonist into an antagonist of sorts
(see Code Geass) but this show pulls it off very subtly and effectively. It's a tad haunting really since Sion's change is actually very well-intended for his own people, in some way fooling the audience using gleams of stained glass whenever Sion himself is met with a life-or-death decision which would influence the progression of his kingdom. 

I gotta hand it to the creator Takaya Kagami and anime director Itsuro Kawasaki for this nice little gem. Can't get those incantations out of my head now: "I offer up this contract, to unleash the magic beast of light which dances through the skies!"

"What I seek is thunder! EAT YO PEAS!!"

~ Christopher Wade
Founder/Creative Director




 



Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That

         It has been a little while since I've posted a nice substantial update. With some changes going on with some our internal properties, (which should be detailed sooner than later by Tyrone) today I decided to post some early PCPai designs I had in mind for an eventual series which will later go on it's main page.


Pai's mother "Anima", codenamed Cespool at the time.


I remember toying around with a few early concepts for our young witch hero, Pai Hex-Haggle and her family. I did like the idea of how she would have wicked step-sisters that would torture and demean her because she could not control magic but I knew from jump it'd be cliche. I fiddled around with their dynamics a bit more, taking some elements from my own upbringing and giving Pai a parent with anger issues and a overly-mothering grandparent as a counterbalance. 

In her early stages, Anima (above) had hands and feet that she could transform into any sort of animal/plant life she wanted, earning her the nickname "Were-Witch". These powers however, only had implications in action-scenes so later I began thinking of some practical uses for them, rather than just "MY HAND IS NOW A GIANT COYOTE CLAW! BUSTER-WOLF!!" So yeah, she'll be going through a bit more changes. Anima's disgruntled demeanor towards Pai (her daughter) still remains and her attitude/worldview are the prime reasons Pai takes off on her own in the short film in the first place. In her day, Anima was widely disputed as the most powerful Sorceress so imagine her frustrations when she realized her own daughter was unable to conjure anything without assistance. Other misfortunes occurred way back when that has stripped her of rank and public respect but I'll reveal those details another day.



Miasma, also known as "The Magical Happiness Grandma"

    Miasma was directly inspired off my own Grandmothers and is Pai's biggest fan. Miasma's early design is a little more sneering and disappointing than I currently have in mind for her character but where Anima puts Pai down, Miasma takes out the time to lift her granddaughter up. She actually has spent much of her life strengthening her community and now runs a home taking care of five other children that technically are not hers by blood. She can be absurd, senile and even tenacious, especially in her unorthodox methods of creating magics and spells, breeding insects as magical energy conduits. Miasma is incredibly spiritual and believes strongly in a "higher power" and that everything exists to replace and improve upon "what has been put before us". She's not pleased with the verbal and somewhat physical abuse her daughter Anima bestows on Pai from time to time and does her best to correct it. Though it mostly falls on deaf ears, Miasma takes great pride in Pai not for her magical prowess but for her own strength of character.

I think next week, Ill post some images of the more anticipated Kuki Krumbles and Aggie Magnus. Until then, back to the animatic of PCPAI. Ill just leave this here since I've just NOW started listening to NightWish. This is how late I am to the Internet. 

Also, CONGRATULATIONS to Bee and Puppycat for making it's Kickstarter goal! 





-- Christopher Wade
Founder/Creative Director





Monday, November 11, 2013

SSSHHHHHH!!

You didn't see anything.....
    It's a secret! Pay no attention to the man behind the thinga-ma-bob.... to the man in the corner.... or.... ugh. Okay, Ill be honest. I didn't exactly retain the The Wizard of Oz. Probably because I was too busy watching this... or f--king THIS. Personally I found those versions to be a lot more colorful, cohesive and dammit, more entertaining than the original, as classic as it was. However, among the three, I remember how awestruck I was by the production and atmosphere by the Return to Oz. As I work through PCPAI tonight, I might just cut it on. It was probably one of the first films I fondly remember watching as a kid.. yknow, besides all the Don Bluth stuff I found myself watching-WOW, I am way off topic here!

As you can see, Button Mashers seems to be making a comeback. Keep an eye out because we (may or may not) have a lot in store for you all. I was aiming to have a site of some kind ready tonight but other obligations kept that from happening. Wish I could make one of those cool Square-Enix countdowns. Anyway, we hope you all are enjoying  
Elements of Light so far. It's been quite the ride as Aydan and Monroe strut their stuff in our anime-themed webcomic. 

I think by far this has been my favorite page


 By all means, check it out if you haven't yet. I'm not talking like it's the end here either. We've hit deep pockets of emptiness before, we know, but Tyrone, myself and a number of other artists (the Banerjee Bros. in particular) have been hitting a nice little stride so far. We don't intend to stop anytime soon, even if I might miss a post here and there ;)

Speaking of anime, one series that has caught my eye has been Monty Oum's RWBY. I've finally been able to catch it. It's surprisingly well-crafted in the dialogue department and even though the 3D-character models can be stiff sometimes, the staging for characters, the fight-scenes and the plot-developments are very imaginative, even if paying homage to anime. I think it's cool Western creators are taking a stronger look at anime (much like the Airbender series) and RWBY is no exception. The world and fight-dynamics are incredibly fun especially in regards to certain characters like Nora and the growth of side characters like Blake and Jaune have been particularly note-worthy. If for nothing else, watch it for the fight-scenes but that's not the only thing this show has going for it.


Let's see, what else? I think that's it on my end today. I have two other film-related projects I've been helping out with recently. I hope you all are excited about the PS4!

Christopher Wade
Founder/Creative Director

 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Teeny Tiny Living Space

As luck would have it, on the day that I wanted to tease a new website that is coming out soon, we lose access to our internet. Via my new Samsung Galaxy Note 3 im making this small update keep you all informed.

Don't worry, nothing is terribly wrong. I myself had a very hefty and hardworking weekend helping my girlfriend Serena move to move to another city. Also I've been looking for a 3rd roommate to move in with Tyrone and I soon.

As you might guess, I'm a little exhausted still and since I've been requested to help out with an additional short film for a friend (more details on that coming soon), my time has been cut short these past couple of days . However Tyrone and I will still push to get this week's Elements of Light comic out on Friday for you all to see. Again sorry for the delay, please be patient as we work with our technical difficulties. Thanks.

- Christopher Wade
Founder / Creative Director

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

All the Single Ladies and a Zombie


"If you click the image, the text will get big enough to read... promise!"
 Sooo there's a rumor goin around that Button Mashers may be making a return. A rumor started by me... the guy who made this series. Is the rumor true? Well, I can't say quite yet, BUT let's just say that perhaps these character descriptions weren't updated for shits and giggles and Nutella :)
 
"Step 1 - Click. Step 2 - Read....... You're welcome."
Also, please check out this fancy webcomic called SLACKJAW by my pal Greg Benge and
P.J. “Peej” Simmers, a very cool and interactive take on the whole zombie apocalypse concept! You might even find a small, yet undead special guest appearance by yours truly in the latest issue! 

You can click the word bubbles to play audio and animation!

Later Days!


~ Christopher Wade
Founder/Creative Director

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

BECAUSE WE LOVE CARTOONS, THATS WHY!

       

      OHHH BOY. This show has me super, incredibly excited with it's colorful cast, joyful music and joyous atmosphere. Like the pilot itself was surprisingly action-packed and witty. *sighs*, I love this generation of cartoons. Rebecca Sugar has definitely given us something wonderful and I can't wait until it finally lands on television (and inevitably the web). 

Late again? Yes, Im sad to say. Even later than normal really what with the PCPai animatics and all. However, that doesn't mean that's the only thing in the works. But that doesn't mean we've completely forgotten about everyone's favorite video game-playin' raccoon and green dog as they might be seeing the light of day again very soon! So just to warn you, keep your eyes peeled!


"Im shoving the crotch ice under the door!"


    Also, it seems Bee and Puppycat will be returning with your help! This show by the darling Natasha Allegri is just so whimsical and cute and OH MY GOD, MY FEELINGS WHAT  IS HAPPENING!?? If you can, please donate to the production of this neato show with it's Sailor-Moon and Superbook and Adventure Time references.

    
     Last but not least... POKEMON. Yes, dammit. Because the new X and Y games are pretty friggin' amazing. I've only played a little bit of it since I kinda sorta bought the game for a special lady of mine but from what I was able to play of the new 3DS games, Nintendo really pulled out all of the stops, essentially releasing a cool miniseries as a companion piece, featuring trainer Red and his relationship to Charizard that is more faithful to the Red and Blue versions of the Pokemon games.

I found out Production I.G. (the great studio who worked on Attack on Titan, Ghost in the Shell series) also played a large part on this, most notably the first and last episode of this miniseries.... and then I geeked out. Don't get me wrong, it's still a Pokemon cartoon so motifs of friendship, bonding, and believing in your friends are still abound but the violence has been blasted up a notch or two and it seems characters are less concerned with protecting a Pikachu and more concerned with fighting alongside their pocket-buddies (NOPE! IM STICKING TO THAT TERM AND I DONT CARE HOW WEIRD IT SOUNDS). It's a refreshing take and it's nice Nintendo realizes that veteran players of the old Gameboy run still have fond memories of the monster-fighting brand. I know I sure as hell do.

~ Christopher Wade
Founder/Creative Director








Ive Got Some Explaining To Do

This is a long one so please buckle in. Its been four years since my last blog post and four years since Ive assigned any serious freelance ...