The Mythomen Movie Project Year 2013 Review!

2013 has been a tremendous year for The Mythomen Movie Project, from the project reboot early May, to the creative burnout late November, a lot have been done, a lot have been missed but in the end, what have we learned? Welcome to The Mythomen 2013 Year review!

<tl;dr>

  • 8 Month of production
  • $4900 of budget
  • 87 minutes of screenplay written
  • 15 characters rough designs
  • 3 Member Team
  • 26 Posts published
  • 2 Behind the scenes video released
  • 4 Tutorials video released
  • 4 AE Script developed
  • 1 AE Script released

The 2013 Review – 8 Month in Production

It’s like I rebooted the project yesterday. Only that yesterday was 8 months ago. Time flies so fast. We are already in the new year and I haven’t taken yet the time to look back to what was already accomplished, what was supposed to be accomplished and what we hope to accomplish in 2014. It will come to no surprise if you’re a follower, that we missed a lot of deadlines:

  • Screenplay isn’t finished
  • CrowdCodile isn’t released yet
  • Storyboarding v1.5 isn’t released yet
  • The shooting board is not even in the next semester timeframe
  • No draft voices recorded
  • No draft main theme music

So yeah, a lot of what I expected to be finished is in fact far from being near completion, or even started. Why is that? Well, I guess I was too optimistic on my capacity to do so much in such a short time. I couldn’t imagine that I’ll have a two month creative burnout. Writing the screenplay was much more challenging that originally thought, because I under estimated the difficulty to write it in full english instead of my native tongue French.

Still, if I look back at what I wrote, I already have 90 minutes (one hour and a half) of content, which is not that far from the 100 minutes target of the movie. Only that these 90 written minutes are too chatty, too descriptive, so I barely met the half point of the movie. I expected to be too chatty on this first draft, but not by THAT much.

With an incomplete screenplay, it’s difficult to move forward with shooting board and draft voices. And this work will obviously need a second draft to be finished before starting. In order to keep the art going, I wrote in depth character sheets for 20 characters yet in the movie (this includes, first, second and third role characters), and Anthony managed to keep his pace by drawing 15 rough, plus some side designs such as full colored buildings, to try to have a broader look of what we want to achieve.

Meanwhile Jerzy worked on a lot of cool scripts that will be really useful in the future, as I was focusing on Storyboarding. The version should really have been released this year, but a big fat ugly bug crushed this perfect scheme, and the AE engineers are still scratching their head on it. It’s breathtaking to see such dedication on their part to solve an issue only a couple of scripters would face. But the bug is deeper than expected, so it needs time.

I’m regularly in touch with a very talented composer, but his schedule have been so busy in 2013 that he barely had time to have a look at the project yet. We often talk about it, and I hope 2014 will hear the first notes of the demo score. I hope to be able to travel back to southern Poland to meet him. Should be awesome.

Almost $5000 of budget

You know, usually, production companies don’t like to share their number. And because we are not a production company (and even if we were one), so I’m not bothered at all to share the Mythomen Movie Project numbers. Please, keep in mind that these number are rounded on purpose. It’s easier to follow, and our actual very detailed figures are also somehow not that precise because some income are in dollars and euros, and the same for the outcome. Of course, I don’t really track all the money transfert costs, so even though they are not 100% accurate, these numbers are at worst 98% accurate. For 2013, we had $4900 of budget for the whole movie.

  • 67% Came from my own money (roughly $3240)
  • 33% Came from my aescripts.com income (roughly $1650)
  • 0% Came from Youtube ads on our videos (roughly $10)

First of all, thanks to all of you who helped us by purchasing my After Effects Scripts. It helped us feel a bit more comfortable, even if $4900 is still a very very low budget. The majority of the budget came from my own money, I use a share of my paycheck to finance the movie. Last but very least (for now), I tried the monetization options on our Youtube Channel videos, and we are at $1,25 a month. The most monetized video is our Introduction to Storyboarding (4280 views in 2013):

So what have we done with this money? Let’s check out:

  • 69% went to creative work (roughly $3380)
  • 24% went to software / plugins / hardware (roughly $1175)
  • 7% went to web hostage / wordpress plugins / domain names (roughly $345)

As you can see, most of the budget went to the creative work, which is, for this first year, all the designs Anthony made. Because we are very good friends, and because he only works part time on the project, he managed to make much much more than what I actually paid for, which is of course awesome. A few years ago, Anthony spent a lot of his time working on Mythomen with me, before the animation company we were working for closed. Because the project was on hold, I felt guilty of having him work for free on the project, and that’s why I refused this time around to let him work for free.

I also had to buy some gear to be up and running, and it costed almost a quarter of the whole budget. I hope that this will be reduced to 0% in 2014 if we can secure sponsorships with the best companies we can think of. Last but not least, 7% of all the money went to the website, with a 50/50 split between WordPress plugins and domains plus hosting costs. These will be reduced next year, because the domain names are in a 2 years contract, I probably won’t need any new WordPress plugin, having only the hosting left to pay for.

Nearly 90 minutes of screenplay written

90 minutes, that’s the duration of a BBC Sherlock Episode, but also the duration of the screenplay in his 2013 state of unfinishness. In its current state, it covers only half of the story. The target duration is roughly 100 minutes, and I know I’m way to chatty and explanatory in early drafts of my screenplays. The good news is that I don’t plan to extend the movie duration to 180 minutes, but that also means that I still need to write 90 more minutes before shrinking the whole into something shorter and eventually better.

If I get a closer look at how the writing pace was, most of these 90 minutes where written between may and september. So that’s 5 month. Will it take 5 more month to write the remaining 90 minutes ? I hope not, and I’m sure not. How can I be so confident ? Well, I’m gonna reveal the awful truth. I’ll switch to french to write them faster.

Wait! What?

Yes, I know, sounds weird. But considering how the writing went, I should have done that since the beginning. It’s easier to be chatty and fast in your writing when using your birth language, and then, in a second or third draft, optimize the screenplay and turn it into it’s final language. And that’s what I’m gonna do. I’ll spend less time looking for not so obvious vocabulary or idioms. Of course, you’ll witness how the process goes in our monthly production diary.

Anthony’s cool character designs

Writing stuff is nice, but seeing it coming to life is way cooler. Let’s have a look at our draft character roaster: design oneshots Justin_V01s Jeremy_V01s Jean-Rene_V01s Mythomen Rough Characters 1308_wip_char01

So these guys and gals are amongst the most important characters of the movie. I estimate this list to grow to 30-40. Some very important characters are still missing, and we’ll discover them in the next 6 months I hope.

Sharing our journey with you

This year, we shared 26 posts with you, that’s about 3.25 per month. Not all of them where full blown articles, but most of them are. On top of our monthly “what happened last month” log, we also started a series of articles about the creative process (yes, only one as of now, but we have 15 more in our backlog at various stages of completion). And from time to time, we shared our thoughts on some subjects that affected us during the production of the movie. Here are a few lists of 2013 highlights. Our Production Diary:

Our Creative Process Series:

Miscelaneous topics:

I have a feeling that we haven’t shared enough, and that we should at least have one new content every week. On top of that, we’ve been running some live tweets of scriptwriting sessions, and we hope to continue to do live blogging in a timely manner.

A few weeks after the rebirth of the project, we also created a Facebook page, a Twitter feed, and linked this blog to almost every social network we thought about. With the exception of Instagram and Vine, but now, we’ll be also using those to share stuff with you. With all these in place, we hope we’ll be able to immerse you more in the project life, and hope to bring you more gritty details and interesting stuff.

What about the documentary?

Yeah, that’s a big fail isn’t it?

After finishing the first episode, I optimized the pipe to make them more easily, and shorter. 20 minutes of me talking is obviously too long, but it’s still a great intro episode, explaining why and how the project started, died and back again.

If you missed it, check it out:

Making this episode was really fun. Contacting Jim Guthrie to license some of his great great music was awesome. If you are not familiar with his work, you gotta check out his homepage.

So why no news since then? Well mainly because we don’t have much to show yet. I think it makes more sense to create episodes around a theme, instead of a monthly review, more suited for articles. And we didn’t have many things to show that would be interesting in a video. 2014 will see at least one new episode, but I hope we’ll be able to ramp up production.

Storyboarding & CrowdCodile

sbv13_ui

I’ve been working on two big After Effects scripts for the movie.

The first created is CrowdCodile, it’s development started back into 2008 as a proof of concept for the animation studio we were developing the movie for at that time. I just updated it, refactored the code to be much more open to various scenarios and easier to work with. But because it’s not high priority right now, it’s on my shelf, waiting for it’s come back. maybe this year. Who knows.

But still, you can have a look at the actual beta:

Storyboarding was born with Mythomen in mind too. I developed it as a proof of concept too and turned it into a cool (but very limited as of yet) product.

I’ve spent quite some time on the next release, v1.5, and it’s gonna be a big major update, free of charge of course. But the release was hold back by some bugs in the script UI implementation (the thing that enables scripts to have graphical interfaces inside After Effects) in After Effects CC, and because we are working with CC, we couldn’t avoid hitting the wall. We spent a great time with the After Effects engineers to resolve the issue, but it still not fixed yet. So I had to find a work around, and it took several weeks to find a solution that was not completely bad.

This is what the beta version looks like:

Story Boarding v1.5 Preview

The core development started back again, I had to adjust the scope of the release (pushing back one big feature, and bring back another one instead) with the hope to release it before my birthday, april 7.

What we’ve learned

We’ve learned a lot of things in 2013. The first is that going public with the project is the best idea we could have came up with. Having feedback, sharing with people all around the world, all of this is just awesome. All the positive energy that comes from you guys is just incredible.

We’ve learned that sharing technical stuff is utterly cool, but still less fancy than creative stuff. This year we’ll push the focus on creative stuff up to 11. Fear not, we’ll still be technical, nothing changes here, but we have plan to immerse you more in the Mythomen universe.

We’ve learned that our old website design wasn’t as cool as we first thought. So we’ve changed the template and changed a lot of things behind the scenes so the website will be better over time.

Last but not least, we’ve learned that time flies really fast, and that there’s only so many things we can do in a day.

Hope you’ve enjoyed as much this very long review of what we’ve done in 2013 as it was eye opening to write for us.

Have an happy new year, and see you really soon,

Cheers

Author: Yenaphe

2D animation enthusiast. South Park lover. Dark comedy lord. Slave to the bad joke gods. Writer & Director of Mythomen.

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