The new year is off to a busy start at SYF towers. Fans in France could stumble out of bed at 3:30pm on January 1st, to see our work featuring in a documentary on Canal Plus. Meanwhile, the tv commercial I'm directing for Tandem is nearing completion, and should be broadcast for the viewing pleasure of our British fans in a few weeks time. After it airs, I should be able to talk about it's production in greater detail. It's quite a stylistic departure for what it is, so I look forward to seeing how people react to it.
Also, the episode of King Arthurs Disasters that I storyboarded (episode 22) aired on CITV in December. The series was their highest rated show. Look out for repeat viewings this year on CITV and Nicktoons (UK).
Speaking of fandom, it's probably about time for a brief round up of the years web activity surrounding the SYF catalogue:
I get sort of embarrassed when recognising that we have a 'fan base', and such a strong one too. But have them we do - in fact it is fan support, forum conversation and viral spreading that has kept SYF going strong for so many years. So the biggest change for SYF this year, as it has been for everyone online, is the incredible expansion of Youtube.
This has mostly a good thing, but it has also homogenised free web distribution. Previously, a viral film like our LEGO films, would reach its audience across a host of platforms over a long period. Our films have sat at the top of the charts on sites like iFilm and Yahoo for years, steadily gathering a fresh audience - then every once in a while, one of them would be linked by some community or other, and we would suddenly recieve a fresh new spike of interest. Now, everything gets posted to one place.
In July, I made a futile attempt to purge Youtube of elicit copies of our films, that I could upload versions with the correct accreditation. This lasted about a day, and of course there are now countless duplicates of our films up there again - which on the whole is a positive thing. I couldn't possibly try to understand the mind of someone who would volunteer their time uploading something, that has clearly already been uploaded, but the fact that they do means that more and more people are still watching our films and visiting our site. The down side for the film maker however, is that with multiple copies of the same film on a single site, it's impossible to determine how many viewers we are really getting.
The great joy of Youtube, of course, is that it has democratised and simplified video uploading, leading to a massive increase in the amount of weird useless nonsense in the world - and that can only be good. For instance, how else can one account for this German fan dub of Peril of Doc Ock, a film which is originally without dialogue!
Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, and there is no greater accolade the film community has to offer, than having someone produce an unauthorised Mexican remake/sequel of your film! Thats when you know you've made it.
Special thanks also to Anthony Kaufman at Daily Reel for including Doc Ock in his 'best of the best' selection, and for proving that other video hosting sites still exist!
Also, an honorary mention should also go to our arch enemies for seeing fit to produce this, which was clearly inspired by our work for LEGO and features some great character animation. I can't speak for the big L of course, but our relationship with Megabloks could be analagous to that of Charles Xavier to Magneto, a sort of contentious rivalry and respect. Somebody over there rightly recognises that stop-motion animating their actual product, is infinitely preferable to the alternatives.
Finally, a hint of things to come. The constant barrage of fans (quite rightly) harrassing me to upload the 'behind the scenes' material should be treated to a dramatic change in direction on that front. Meanwhile, SYF are in the earliest stages of planning a new animated short. Here's to keeping busy!