It’s been a while since I made a blog post here, endless thank you for your patience! This is a copy of my most recent community post on YouTube.
I’ve been debating whether or not to do it in a video, but I could always leave that as a second option to go more in-depth and answer any questions you might have as a result of this post.
Swift Spark and the Defense Five is definitely my biggest adventure yet. It’s also been a good wake-up call as to how insanely difficult it is to be appreciated as an original creator as opposed to someone who does fan art to please the masses.
What I built this channel on originally was pretty much fake, something I’d soon find out I probably would’ve been better off never doing. That video (that is now privated permanently due to the IP’s creator’s horrible personality) brought along certain expectations that I had no desire to meet. The recent decline in my channel’s views and subscriptions sadly proves to me that the majority of my subscribers were here for a certain fandom, not for me or my content. Once I stopped posting about said fandom, they dropped off because they don’t care. And they still are.
But at the same time, if that video had never gone viral, I’d never had the chance to get in touch with Frederator, either. So that’s a good thing, I suppose. Words cannot express how grateful I am for the advice and the connections I’ve been able to make thanks to my Network membership with them. I just wish I hadn’t allowed myself to get sucked up by the “views views, money money” attitude some of the people I’ve encountered along this journey seem to have, especially one person I considered a friend who ultimately only wanted to make money off of me. That’s not what I’m here for.
I wish I’d had the courage to build this channel based on original content from the beginning. After that particular animatic took off I allowed myself to get sucked up into that “money” mentality – and it never really took off, anyway. I feel like I never should’ve made the “in 99 seconds animated” videos, but rather just done my own thing instead. Sure, that wouldn’t have got me 4 million views, but 3 million of those views are gone now anyway thanks to She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and my desire to be as far removed from that witch as possible. But I digress.
But, back to the present. Channel switch made. 124 Subscribers lost so far, when I was gaining 500 a month earlier this year. From 100,000 monthly views down to 20,000. From $4 a month to $1.
Any creator would be horrified at these numbers, scramble, apologize for the “mistake” the channel switch was, and go back to what they were doing before. Not me. For me, it was a confirmation of my previous fears – I was doing this completely the wrong way, and if I ever wanted to break into the industry, I’d have to keep going down this “downward spiral”. There are times where I think I might as well have deleted this channel, or abandoned it, and switched over to a new channel. Would’ve made little difference in terms of views and subscribers. But there are still certain benefits, such as what little monetization this channel still has, and the fact that there are people on this channel that are here for my original content and were as excited as I am when I made this switch. So I stayed here for them, for you, who is reading this massive wall of text at the moment.
I also feel like I should talk about the Kickstarter. What should have been a sky-rocket with beautiful colours, fizzled out like a wet sparkler. Do I regret running it? Nope. Not at all. I’d never done a Kickstarter before – or any marketing campaign, for that matter – and it was a good learning experience. Also the first ‘ding’ on the indicator that I wasn’t going to get this done if my channel stayed the way it was before.
Did I launch it prematurely? Oh yes. Way prematurely. There were some lovely people standing in line to help me, but of course nowhere near enough. About 1% of your audience (and by that I mean actively engaged audience, there’s a difference between casual and engaged fans that I’m not going to get into here) will actually support you with money. Considering that “12.5 K” below the channel’s name is pretty much a farce, I’ve got a long way left to go before another Kickstarter would be in the charts – for that amount of money, at least. A $500 merch-Kickstarter could kick up sooner, but again, we’re still far off from that.
I am proud to say that one of my job applications made it to “under review” at Dreamworks. It’s been like that for a couple of weeks now. No college degree, no professional experience, and yet my resume made it through the initial “98%-rejection” rate at a company that highly rated. I like to believe that that says something about my skill. My pitch at Frederator (which was more or less just a “does this have any chance at all”-interview rather than a pitch, a practice round in front of a professional who actually knows her stuff) also boosted my confidence. I know I’m no professional artist yet, but I’m close.
To hear that my work for the past 9 years has paid off, is a good thing. It’s just a matter of “keep learning, keep going, keep applying – you’ll get there.” And that’s good to hear. As far as my application at Disney (Character design trainee, kind of like an apprentice-role), I don’t know if I’ll ever hear from them, because it’s so close now to the date that the traineeship would begin… but I can’t give up hope yet.
Over the past few months I’ve finally been putting my feet into the kiddie pool of the animation industry, and I truly feel like a baby chick that’s just hatched from its egg. I have so much left to learn, and I can’t wait to do so.
Swift Spark is growing up, and I am growing along with it. I just need to be careful that it’s not going to grow over my head. As for 2021? I’m sincerely hoping that one of my job applications will turn out into a successful interview, and my first mark on the professional industry will have been made. This will likely include a move to California, so that’s going to be my wildest adventure yet as a fresh adult. As far as Swift Spark is concerned, I’m still working on it, albeit a bit slowed down at the moment as I’m wrapping up other things. I have some new insights for the pilot’s script that I want to implement before I continue boarding, but I hope to have that all wrapped up by March-May. So… expect the first big update regarding the Pilot by then.
Animation is a long process, especially a 22-minute episode. Long Gone Gulch started production in 2016 and they’re just now wrapping up production. That’s kind of the timeline you should expect here – +1 or 2 years.
The webcomic will wrap up its fifth (and probably final PG-13) chapter in 2021 as well. I expect June or October. After that, there’ll be a bit of a hiatus to make room for the pilot and some redraws and improvements of the original comic, but that should be no longer than a few months. The full comic has an expected completion date in 2026, just before its tenth anniversary. So… gotta be patient there. After all, including Chapter Five, we still have eight chapters left to go.
So what I want you to take away from this post is that it’s not a “woe is me”/self-pity party. I was warned I would lose subscribers, and I knew that it would happen. It’s for the best, anyway.
This is a learning experience, and I can’t wait where we’ll be around this time in 2021. Any questions/concerns? Feel free to ask them in the comments. I’ll gladly answer them.