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I received an IM from Rodney yesterday inquiring about updating this forum thread. It got me thinking about this series again and what I needed to do to continue it, if that was something that I wanted to do.


I began this series in the spring of 2006; mostly as a challenge to myself to see what I was capable of doing with my skillset at the time and all my experience and knowledge up until that time. Also, I was unemployed at that time. It was also my initial venture into single person production, scheduling and marketing a product as an artist to see if (at that time) it was a profitable venue for self-sustaining an existance.


A few things became clear quickly. Each episode (roughly about 4 to 5 minutes a piece) took roughly 4 to 5 weeks to complete. That's about 1 minute of complete and edited animation a week. I was working about 10 to 12 hours a day for 7 days a week. Not bad, if I didn't feel like doing anything outside of that. Or, for that matter, anything outside.


At that time, there were only a few distribution outlets that I felt catered to profitability. YouTube was one, but, at that time I was rejected from Partnering with YouTube since I really didn't have the viewership. I tried Lulu.com to sell videos via download, but, that was more of 'How to Drive Traffic' to their site and hoping people would want to buy from an unknown artist. That was more a marketing challenge. There was Vimeo, but at that time they didn't have their pay-per-view installed. There was always DVDs; but, I would have to have more content to fill up a DVD versus 1 or 2 5-minute videos.


Having to wear all the hats in a production like this, somethings will have to be sacrificed, if one wants to meet a timely distribution. If I am honest with myself, I would have to say that (on viewing the series again) the animation suffered the most. I didn't allow enough time to build key poses or build in dramatic poses. Also, some modeling is not up to par, as some of the props are mediocre. But, as I said, it was a self-imposed challenge. What were my weaknesses, what were the obstacles to a full production, how best to distribute and make a profit? All questions that needed to be asked and surveyed.


Last January 2011, I decided to upload all episodes to my YouTube channel. As of this writing, I am edging towards 12,000 views. Not bad for an aging unknown.


So, now I sit here and comtemplate where to go from here. I have to take into account that I have done alot of other video work since starting the series, mostly live action, music videos, and more visual effects work. Currently, finishing up a music video. I am also currently developing other series (3 others) and working 40 hours at a company. So, that doesn't leave alot of time to commit and concentrate on a full production type series like I had before. Also, I have plans on buying some land and setting up an animation/VFX shop at the end of this year.


So, I ask myself, does this series (in its current form) have something to offer an audience? Perhaps, if the YouTube views are any consideration that there is some interest there.

How much current time do I have to commit to it? Once a few things are complete, I could have more time.

Is this more of a personal interest and commitment, than one that will be profitable somehow? It is my first series, so it does hold some personal interest.


Much like the executive decisions that ended series like Firefly, Terra Nova, Flash Forward, etc. a decision needs to be made, in order, to move forward in one direction or another. I'll post again in a couple of days. I feel I need more soul searching.


What do others think? Is there a time to end a production? Is it time for a new series? Is there any interest out there? I do have plans to continue this series. Perhaps in another medium (graphic novel?) or live action. I feel that with my current schedule it will be difficult to be more timely with submissions. Should this forum thread be trucked away like a crate in an Indiana Jones movie?


Executive decision time. :)

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Do what makes you happy, that's what these things are for. :)


If it would be a relief to table it, go for it.


You can always say "We're on hiatus". That's what the big wheels do! B)

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Thanks for that write up. That is very useful information to those of us contemplating productions of our own.

You know I'm a fan of 'Subject 99'. :)


It doesn't surprise me a bit that you'd consider taking 'Subject 99' into graphic novel and live action. If nothing else you've got a great animatic that you can show around! Obviously, I hope you can find whatever incentive it'll take to tell us more of the story... I wanna know what is up with this guy.


What do others think?


That's easy. I think you should tell the rest of story! :)

I think it's also important to be able to say you're finished with this one... even if you begin to move on with other things (its a given you'll do that).


Is there a time to end a production?


Yes, there most definitely is. I'd say it is when you've brought your story to a satisfactory conclusion. (on your terms)

If you don't want to tell the 'big story' perhaps you can still have the characters reach a satisfactory short term conclusion.


Perhaps you would prefer to get others involved in your storytelling.


Is it time for a new series?


It's always time for a new series. :)


Is there any interest out there?

does this series (in its current form) have something to offer an audience?


Yes, there is but this forum is (at least at this point) populated more by creative types than by consumers. We aren't going to have the same perspective as would a movie going audience. Most of us want to just watch, we want to create products like 'Subject 99'!


I'm not sure what your goals are but if you aren't making money at 'Subject 99' then it's important that you enjoy it or (as Robert suggests) place it on hiatus for awhile. But I don't think the series has to end just because new episodes aren't coming out... no... you still might have time to post little teasers and reedits and whatever you like to keep interest going for 'Subject 99'.


It's just like you to leave us on such a cliffhanger! B)

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I was quite enjoying the series, and looking forward to seeing more.


Life is full of choices. It's really hard to make money with these things, so you have to do it for the love of it first. It also helps to do it with someone else.

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I wrestled with the same thing on The Wannabe Pirates (and still wrestle with it.)


For me, the bottom line comes down to what are you going to get the most enjoyment out of doing. Let's face it, it's a crap shoot that anything we do independently will ever be financially successful.


The Wannabe Pirates did have a small following, but in the end, I had to consider whether or not I was getting what I wanted out of it, and I don't think I was. However, if that weren't the case, if I was still enjoying it, I would be doing it no matter whether or not there was an audience or a reward at the end.


If you had been contracted by a company to produce this, that would be a horse of a different color. Doing our own projects is really no different than a hobby. Sometimes folks start a hobby, put it aside and come back to it years later. Other times, they never come back to it.


I say go with what excites you.

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Ernest, I always enjoyed "Subject 99" and was avid for more episodes. I don't have any advice except, do what you enjoy! Your episodes always had a sort of insular or dreamlike quality that I'm sure came from being a one-man production, but which also lent it an intrigue I enjoyed. I don't know if you can create that same feel with either graphic novel or live action, but I think that's one of the things the animation had going for it. One man's two cents! I wish I knew how to focus on just one project to the exclusion of others and really make it shine; if I could I'd tell you how!

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