Toy Rant! #WTFU

While I was making my toy prototype for Brandy and Gin (I don’t know I was thinking about changing it to Brandy and Jin what do you think?) and I noticed a murkiness to fair use.

When it came to kit bashing, the art of taking other models or toys apart to make a new prop etc. seems to not be something in developing toys.

If you’ve seen the documentary on Netflix called The Toys That Made Us, in the episode about G.I. Joe the maker from Mego talked about how they kit bashed the original G.I. Joe leaving all except the head and they got sued by Hasbro and lost.

The impression I got from researching online was that it has to be wholly original or else your infringing even the smallest of parts, and it doesn’t matter if you Frankenstein a toy together from other toys, it’s still forbidden.

While I can understand why that case was infringement, if you took different parts from different toys to a toy that is wholly new?

When it comes to art, and what they drilled in us in art school, is Frankensteining different things to make something new is fine but it isn’t for toy design?

Don’t get me twisted I’m not talking about for example YouTube videos using clips and copyrighted imagery to parody or critique that work, while that is fair use it’s not related to my discussion.

Mushing things together is a form of creativity. Linked here is a Ted Talks video about creativity comes from mixing things together and honestly we should welcome it.

www.youtube.com/watch

Whether that be ripping apart toys to make a new figure or using a song’s bass and drum to make an entirely new song. It should be as long as it’s something new, something different.

Now I may be mistaken and someone could point out that it is acceptable; I really hope someone does. However my gut tells me at best it’s an unwritten rule that can easily reversed at a moment’s notice, and that is shame. However at the end of the day there’s no knowing where you stand, and when you don’t know where you can’t know where you should.

A Toy Story or How Pixelwood Studios Is Going Retro

So I’ve been busy. It all started with trying to customize toys to make another program (hey YT Saturday Morning Cartoons isn’t going to be a thing by itself) and it jumpstarted me to try and make a line of toys for Brandy & Gin.

Let me be straight I’ve wanted to make toy lines for cartoons I’ve created. Originally I wanted to start with Franco Noir, and it was something I wanted to outsource. What spurred me to move ahead of schedule and make the toys myself? Money, and YouTube.

Allow me to explain. I grew up during the 80s and 90s when cartoon- to-sell-a-toy-line was the business of the day. And to be honest, even the worst of the cartoons, had this (usually) creative synergy where at best would spew forth a flurry of weird that was awesome, or made R-rated movies with toy lines (which is a win-win in my book), because let’s be honest Robocop and Predator to 3 year old Willie was a million times cooler than f***ing Mickey Mouse. If you don’t believe that there is merit to this cocaine-filled, capitalist, cyclone look no further to the hangover of remakes, reboots, and regurgitations that Hollywood has been spilling out over the past few years.

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Robocop Fun for All Ages!
Images is from Kenner’s line of Robocop action figures found on The Robot’s Pajama’s. 

I personally, find it odd how with internet creators free from the regulations that would make the corporate big-wigs soil their pants in pushing the boundaries, would be apprehensive to try and balk at the chance to try and be this generation’s Transformers or at the very least Jace and Wheel Warriors? Before I hear commenters (or the voices in my head that I think are commenters) complain about the manufacturing costs, sculpting, and molly sorting that it would take to do this (because let’s be honest, real mavericks sort molly, and then I don’t know wash it out with a Tide Pod?) may I remind you about RWBY, is massive enough to afford to make a f***king statue of the titular character, (but not the preverbal balls to make a line of action figures?), Cyanid and Happiness  can make a board game (it is fun btw) but, no action figures, or a knock-off Funko Pop? It’s silly is all I am saying.

Imo, this is an opportunity that is sorely needing to be filled (I’m looking at you Egoraptor. Also I’m not going to lie it would be cool to have a Philip DeFranco action figure to make out with my Batman action figure (that’s for display only!) just for s**ts and giggles (insert phallic Batarang reference here. D’oh!).)

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What’s Up You Beautiful Bastard!
Batman-Gay by Un-Monochito

Truthfully, I’ve been trying to find a good way to represent my ideas of the nitty-gritty in blog form, because while I can eagerly talk about what I’m doing to someone face-to-face, it probably wouldn’t be entertaining, not mention you would wonder if I escaped from Planet of Apes.

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Behold My Fabulousness!
Image is from Specterman

YouTube has the audience and someone could come forth and develop the loyal enough fanbase who would want to buy action figures as their merch. I have nothing against the mugs and t-shirts that YouTube personalities would want to sell to their audience I really don’t, but come on, if you spend the amount of time trying to find the best vendor like pulchritudinous Philly D does or MatPat, then s**t man swing for the fences! Or else have some upstart like me come in and do it.

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Again, Behold My Fabulousness.
Image is from Specterman

This is where I see Pixelwood Studios. Having kick ass cartoons that are epic ads for toys. Who knows, if I don’t f**k this up to baldly, maybe a Philly D action figure with Bat-groping action? I can see the fat stacks now…

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Millionaire Douchebaggery Here I Come!
Image taken from Giffy, and Getty Images.

Hope you enjoyed this. I’m hoping to go more into what I’ve been doing toy wise as well as animation wise in the future. Please don’t feel neglected, the time spent not working has been productive trying to put out stuff that doesn’t suck. 

Stay hustling my friends.

I’m Sorry :(

I am an idiot. While burning my figurative candle at both ends I lost sight of my major goal: making Brandy and Gin. I got intimidated recording the vocal performances because I’ve been so run-down from my day job I got scared of doing a bad job. HOW LAME IS THAT?!

This weekend, I’m going to do the voice recordings, until it’s right. Then I’ll record rough vocals for the female lead (my girlfriend is going to voice the part.) so I do some animating around it.

What was I doing while goofing off? Researching how to customize figures for another animated program.

I’ll drop on Monday a promo image and maybe some stills Monday. Definitely, the promo image. Until then, thanks for your patience.

Stay hustling my friend.

Franco Noir Layouts

Hi,

Even though Franco Noir is shelved (for now), there is a good chance that I’ll have to jettison them anyway, therefore I want to share these layouts/backgrounds I did for the Franco Noir series bible I made last year. I’m really proud of the work I did. Also I’m happy to answer any questions about the process. Enjoy:

shantytown_layout02.jpg

Shanty Town

int_methLAB02.jpg

Meth Lab

necromancer_base_long02.jpg

Necromancer’s Lab

LempickaCITYbg.jpg

Lempicka City

Stay hustling my friends

How to Handle Trolls?

I am a fan of the YouTube channel Retroblasting. For those who don’t know they do reviews on toy lines from the 80’s and 90’s, do toy restorations, and reviews on cartoons from the 80’s. Micheal one of the two hosts made a video Sunday about his stance on internet trolls, and when said trolls attack his audience. Here’s the video:

While I never really had much of an audience to have to contend with trolls, honestly my take with how to deal with them is my natural instinct. With the levels of toxicity that comment sections, Twitter threads, etc. would the idea of confronting them be better than just letting trolls be?

I understand that the solution he is posing to do is to just delete them and I hope it works out. As much as I wonder if this SHOULD be the best strategy for every YouTuber going forward, I have to take pause and wonder if this is something that would be abused? People rage and get butt-hurt over constructive criticism all the time. Should not those people learn how to take constructive criticism?

As my thoughts and feelings pour out like a flash flood, the thought occurs to me, it IS the best way to handle trolls. Delete them and ban them. While I am a free speech absolutist, meaning that people must be free to express their thoughts and opinions (with the obvious exception of threats to physical harm/ doxxing), especially the ones that are toxic. However with that said, we as people in a liberal society must understand the Yin to the Yang of free speech, we are not free from the consequences.

YouTubers and their mods have every right to delete a troll’s post as much as a troll has the right to speak their mind. It would be hypocritical to deny them that. I believe that the human condition is always has a Yin/Yang dichotomy. For every freedom, like speech, we must also allow for the freedom to say things that we don’t agree with.

Also let’s look at it from the YouTuber, if they refuse to heed constructive criticism, it is THEY who will suffer from it. They cannot learn from their mistakes or cash out before they get banned. So, we as commenters should rest assured that when they abuse the idea of deleting and banning viewers who post constructive criticism, they will only hurt themselves.

Now YouTubers, take a stand against those who harass you and your audience. Don’t be afraid of losing subscribers and views you will get them back by standing up for something. Stand up for yourself! Or else to quote Jean Claude Van Damme from Street Fighter:

 

Stay hustling my friends.

Hi

So, I have not posted in awhile, and to me, this sucks. This week has been really draining, not only with personal stuff, but with my full time job, and getting ready to announce YT Saturday Morning Cartoons (semi-shameless plug).

I honestly don’t know what more to say. To be honest, I’m really tired. Anyway I wanted to pop in and say “hi” as well as apologize for the silence.

FAQs (of sorts) of YT Saturday Morning Cartoons

Currently I am constructing a separate website to be able to host the videos outside of YouTube. Stay tuned to for details.  

Why did you start YT Saturday Morning Cartoons?

Well, to be honest, we didn’t like the state of YouTube the animation community. We didn’t like how animators have to work themselves to sickness, or compromise on making quality animation/ or at least minimal animation. With the decline of TV, YouTube is looking to be where to go for content, that means in order for animation to survive, animators need to band together.

 

Will Pixelwood Studios own the content I submit?

No. We are not a Multi-Channel Network. While we ask for permission to host, debut, and edit your content, you will still retain all ownership of the intellectual property.

 

In that spirit of cooperation, we insist you let us know what your YouTube channel, Patreon, and social media is so we can promote it.

 

Edit my content?

We will only edit your content, in the case of animated shorts, to combine with other shorts as a compilation, and to incorporate ads for other contributors and (in the future) sponsored ads.

 

Will I get the money from AdSense?

No, but neither will we. Our policy is to not monetize our videos. We do that to avoid worrying whether any of our content is advertiser friendly.

 

How will I get paid?

This we why YT Saturday Morning Cartoons is a co-op. We encourage you to have online stores, Patreon pages, etc. you get all monies from that.

 

What do you provide?

Aside from hosting your content, we also provide advertising services for a small fee (meaning we make adverts for you which we cut within our programs. If you don’t have an online store, Patreon page, etc. we will be happy to sell your merchandise on our page. If you need design services for your merchandise we are happy to provide design services for a small fee.

 

How do you make money?

We are making our own cartoons and merchandise too.

 

Does Pixelwood Studios own YT Saturday Morning Cartoons?

Sort of. Anyone who submits animated content, is a partial owner.

 

Are you going to age restrict my content?

We accept any genre or age group however we do reserve the right to age restrict your videos. When we look at your content we are going to ask, is your cartoon more like a Saturday morning cartoon or is it like something on Adult Swim. If it’s more like a cartoon found on Adult Swim (language, gore/violence, nudity, etc.) we age restrict it. If we do, we will let you know, and why. With that said, this is YouTube’s platform, they have every right to restrict your content.

 

What if YouTube takes my video down?

If that happens fear not, we will also host your video on our site. However with that said, in order to protect us from copyright infringement, if your content contains copyrighted materials that do not meet fair use guidelines, contains racist propaganda, or pornography we reserve the right to reject your videos. We don’t want it.  

 

Why are you hosting the videos on your website?

Well, this is really temporary, until a more permanent site be made.

 

 

What Do You Do When You Hit a Wall?

So, days before I launch my big news that would hopefully help animators on YouTube, I came across, what I suppose is a competitor, called Brave.com (here’s the link because I am an idiot https://brave.com/index/) on Philip DeFranco’s Monday video.

What seems to be different, is that they seem like users download it as a browser and websites can sign up with Brave.com when people view those sites that get paid by a subscription. I’m going to be honest with you, I usually need to read something a few times in order to fully understand it.

What seems to be the same is banding together, especially for animators. I’m not going to lie there is a part of me that is really insecure about it.  Let’s be honest, if you invest time into something you find worthwhile, you feel like a like failure when it looks like it’s going to collapse. No duh right? So what do you?

Well, the easiest thing to do would be to quit and delve into depression. I would be a be a HUGE hypocrite if I said that I have never done this more than once. However, I don’t want to do that.

I have a weird theory about life, what if we as people are naturally inclined to keep going, like Wile E. Coyote continuing to try and catch the Roadrunner? Look at babies when they learn to crawl and walk. They don’t give up when they fall, they try again and again.

Truthfully, I don’t know and I’m still going to keep going. If this upcoming enterprise does fail, I am glad there is something out there that might help animators. That’s the big reason why I wanted to do this in the first place was to help animators since YouTube’s machinations have widely screwed us over. Anyways I got to go.

Stay hustling my friends.

Do We Need Mr. Plinkett?

At work today, I was listening to Red Letter Media’s (RLM for short) Mr. Plinkett Reviews and when I was coming home from work it got me thinking about a live chat question: is RLM this generation’s Siskal and Ebert? When this question was posed the YouTuber who was hosting the chat, thought that while he loved Mr. Plinkett’s reviews were excellent, RLM’s Half in the Bag was considered taking the piss out of cinematic criticism by maliciously ripping movies apart.

On the ride home from work it got me thinking about making a video about this. However, taking into account the other projects on my plate and the amount of time it would take to record, draw, animate, composite together assets, make the music, and other things that would involve making a video, I wanted to write my thoughts down in case after taking all that into account I decide not to make a video. I believe, it does need to be recorded because I believe that the legacy of RLM and by extension Mr. Plinkett’s Review (in particular the documentaries about how the Star Wars prequels suck) on YouTube has yet to be tapped. Also, has the success of Mr. Plinkett’s Reviews on the (Star Wars) Prequels lead to the demise of that show.

Now for those of you who don’t know who RLM is, or what Mr. Plinkett’s Reviews are  here is a link to their YouTube page (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrTNhL_yO3tPTdQ5XgmmWjA). Go binge watch some videos. Now, while I don’t believe they are this generation’s Siskel and Ebert, I don’t think they are harmful to cinematic criticism, I do believe that the series of videos were so successful, inspiring countless other YouTubers, that they made Mr. Plinkett obsolete.

Comparing RLM to Siskel and Ebert, in my not-so-humble opinion, is an insult to RLM. Now, I’ll be honest, I have a bias against Siskel and Ebert. Even as a kid, Siskel and Ebert always came off as pretentious (kind of like Movie Bob). Half in Bag is would sum up as Siskel and Ebert meets Clerks, Mike Stoklasa (who voices Mr. Plinkett as well) and Jay Bauman review movies within the premise of being 2 employees of a VCR repair shop. They drink, they get into antics drenched in black humor, they brutally make fun of movies that they find are stupid. However, they don’t hate movies. You can tell behind the shlubby veneer that they have a passion for movies of all forms.

If you ever saw Siskel and Ebert’s show, they were represented as authorities on film. They seemed to have a distain toward the joys of B-movies. This is contrasted in Half in the Bag by their glee in B-movies. They show genuine affection for cinema (especially genre films), for example their episodes reviewing The People vs. George Lucas and Annihilation. They also genuinely don’t take themselves too seriously. When you hear Siskel and Ebert respond to when people make fun of them, they come off (in my opinion) as disingenuous. For example, when  the director of the 1998 Godzilla movie made a parody of them as the bumbling mayor and vice-mayor, they force laughter and joke about how they should have had Godzilla step on them, it all seems as plastic as the theater armrests they sit on.

Mr. Plinkett’s Star Wars Prequel reviews are often referenced from the RLM test of how good a character is, to the dry, sarcastic, delivery as seen in YouTube channels like I Hate Everything, CinemaSins, Ralph the Movie Maker, Voxis Productions’ Prof. Tosspot, etc. Now, while this is just a hot take (actually I would say more of a warm take) I would say that due to the amount of creators they inspired, maybe Mr. Plinkett isn’t needed.

Sorry, but I have to end this post. I’ll write a better for Monday promise.

Stay hustling my friends.