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Strip 923, Volume 5, Page 156


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< Piro >

that other site...

"the truism of goals"

Tuesday - October 24, 2006

[Piro] - 13:39:00 - [link here]

As i indicated in the status bar above, i had to postpone Monday's comic a little in order to meet a big deadline on Tuesday (today). I met the deadline, thankfully, and was able to get everything uploaded last night. What was the deadline for? I can't actually say yet, but it's exciting stuff and i look forward to telling you. No, i can't give any hints, not yet. I had only two weeks to do the work, and its part of why i had a DPD last monday and have had to push this week's comics to the last three days of the week. It was a bit of a challenge, but i got it done. Thank you for your patience.

In other news, i had some people ask me for an update on how my full-page approach to creating comics is working. I think it's working really well. At first i was concerned that the constraints of having to lay things out beforehand would limit me and prevent me from being creative as i went, and that i'd have problems leaving enough space for dialogue. This hasn't really been a problem, in fact, i've discovered some real benefits to doing the comic this way.

The biggest benefit is that in my previous method, i would completely finish one frame before starting the next. Working on the entire page, i find myself going ahead to future panels sketching in the next scene to get a better feel of the flow. I'm also getting a better overall sense of the entire page, and can make adjustments as i work on it. Before, all of my drawings were reactions to previous drawings drawn independently of the finished page. Now, i can react to previous drawings as well as balance them with future panels as i work. I'm getting the hang of it, and it really is a nice way to work.

Of course, there are some problems. For instance when you work entirely on one piece of paper for 6 to 8 to 12 hrs it's hard to prevent smudging and artifacting. Another problem is that if you decide to change the layout of the comic half way through drawing it, that can be a real pain. Yet all in all, with good planning, the benefits outweigh the negatives. I'm happy with the process so far and will see where it leads me.

In response to some missed comics recently, including my post today moving the comics towards later in the week on account of a deadline for something i can't tell you about, I've had some nasty emails. One of them accuses me of lying - of saying the comic would be posted Tuesday morning, and then changing that to Tuesday night / Wednesday morning and making up excuses.

Y'know, when i posted that status last Friday i figured i would be able to finish my project by Sunday night and then i'd could work on Mondays comic during the day Monday. That was my goal. I'm not a machine -- drawings sometimes take 30 minutes to draw, and sometimes they take 3 hours. I'll often do three drawings then go back and start over, discarding several hours worth of work. Often, just writing the script can take 3 or 6 more hours than i had hoped. It's how i work, and it makes it difficult to estimate how long it takes to produce a comic.

After working all weekend, including several discards and having to start over on a few things, i was unable to finish the project sunday night and had to continue working on it monday. I did finish in time to meet my tuesday deadline, but i was not able to meet my goal of posting mondays comic. Does this make me a liar?

No. This is the nature of goals and workflow. MT is a reflection of my workflow, a release of comics as i produce them. In a more professional setup, i would be doing this weeks before you see the comics, so that these delays and shifts in time needed to finish comics would be transparent to you. Since I post comics when they are finished, this time can vary greatly depending on what it takes to get the comic done.

I've often felt that i should put the release of MT comics on hold for a month and build up a backlog like this. It would eliminate the varied release schedule and make Megatokyo as timely as any comic, and would eliminate all these accusations of how unprofessional i am. Aside from the fact that i really dont want to put you on hold for a month, i feel that MT would loose some of its immediacy if i did this, which for me is part of what makes it what it is. On average, you get 2 to 3 comics per week, at some point during the day on release days. Ideally it would be nice if i could finish and be ready to post at 1am every single MWF without fail. There are plenty of webcomics that do this, but there are plenty of webcomics that leave readers hanging for weeks and months and even yeaers between updates.

If you Judge my work entirely on the fact that i often post comics 2 to 4 to 8 to 24 hours after my stated goals, then you will obviously have a very low opinion of me and my work. But if you judge me and my work by the fact that for six years i have continuously pushed myself to produce these comics, page after page, through many changes and the many vicissitudes of life as well as convention appearances and work on the four published volumes out there... that i always give you the best work i feel i am capable of doing, i don't think its anything to be too embarrassed about. I always err on the side of drawing quality rather than taking shortcuts. I've experimented here and there with shortcuts and other things to try to speed things up (for a while i was even thinking of eliminating backgrounds). Some have worked, some really seemed to cheapen the comic to me. I have spent hours agonizing over a few lines of dialogue, fiddling with things that i could have just left as is and posted in plenty of time. I often will abandon entire comics and start from scratch if they don't feel right. I may rarely be able to finish things on time, but when they are done i feel confident that its the best i can do.

Honestly, this web comic thing doesn't suit me well. I'm actually much better at long term deadlines where i have to get a number of pages or a variety of tasks done by a certain date. Some comics and drawings take longer than others, and things usually go quicker when you can flow from comic to comic. The complexity of the page has little to do with how long a comic can take. Some of the most elaborate, complicated pages i've done have gone the quickest. I've had very simple pages with nothing but head shots take all day. Also, it's much easier to look over a group of pages and make sure they work together than having to do and post them one at a time, with no ability to go back and change things.

Anyways, i spent time writing rather than working on the comic, which was bad, but i feel a little better. It does make me feel bad to hear from readers who are unhappy, and I always worry that there are people who simply give up and wont come back. I've been dealing with that feeling for six years and it never goes away, but i also feel that as long as i post the best work i can do, no matter how long it takes, as regularly as i can, there are a lot of readers who will be more than happy to read it. If you are one of these readers, and most of you are, thank you. You have no idea how much respect i have for you. I do try but never seem to be able to express it by posting comics when i want to post them, but i do so by producing the best work i can.

Thank you for reading. Time to get back to "monday's" comic. :) Oh, and part of why i must do three comics this week is because i have a deadline i'm trying to reach to finish this chapter, so in order to meet my big deadline, i have to. Thats what you do.

< Dom >



Thursday - October 26, 2006

[Dom] - 10:00:00 - [link here]

So my quarterlife crisis is mostly past, and by "it's past" I mean "I mostly forgot about it."

I mean, so many small, weird things have happened to me over the past few weeks.

Saturday was especially strange, as I went straight from a college football game to a game of Dungeons and Dragons. I'm not quite certain, but I do believe that this is the first time in human history that particular sentence has been written.

Things got weirder in the middle of it, though - I got a call from Suberunker telling me that among the Xbox 360 achievements for Gears of War is a pair of little gems called "Dom-curious" and "I can't quit you Dom."


Meanwhile, I've been getting in little packages of Amazon lovin' (the online store, not the series of porno flicks that I'm sure exists) over the past week or two, which has consisted of DVDs and CDs by which I can thoroughly confuse Amazon's recommendation. Take a look:

* 1 of: Kannazuki No Miko, Vol. 3 - Destiny Eclipsed (Limited Edition)
* 1 of: Over the Hedge (Widescreen Edition)
* 1 of: Catch-22
* 1 of: Birth of the Cool [Original recording reissued] [Original recording remastered]
* 1 of: Run-D.M.C. - Greatest Hits
* 1 of: Hot Shots!
* 1 of: Saturday Night Live - The Best of Phil Hartman
* 1 of: Bottle Rocket
* 1 of: Jackie Chan's Who Am I?
* 1 of: The Tick Vs. Season One
* 1 of: My Man Godfrey (Colorized / Black and White)
* 1 of: The Naked Gun - From the Files of Police Squad!
* 1 of: Straight Outta Lynwood
* 1 of: Earth Wind & Fire: Greatest Hits
* 1 of: The Cannonball Run

Combined with previous purchases of miscellany and the addition of a copy of From Eroica with Love for a friend of mine, Amazon has NO idea what to do with me. Page 1 of my recommendations page is full of anime, page 2 is full of gay porn (though after I deleted From Eroica with Love from my history it disappeared, thankfully), page 3 is old black and white horror flicks, and on page 6 I got a recommendation for zither music. I love confusing automated systems.

Let's see what else is going down...

Ah yes, I'm at another crossroads in my life - with my DVR coming in, I am now at two remote controls, and I'm wondering if I should take the plunge and become one of Those People With Three Remote Controls.

What makes this a difficult choice for me is cost vs. usage - my TV exists for two primary purposes: watching sports on TV and playing video games. Yet it only has one component video input.

Well, that's not true, it has two component video inputs, but one of them has no RCA audio in, instead demanding coax digital audio. But my DVR only came with RCA audio in, while my Xbox 360 uses optical audio (I still feel funny writing that). So I have to choose now - do I buy a switchbox for my component video feeds, or do I just take the plunge and buy a receiver, complete with its third remote control and gargantuan presence?

I mean, should I want to get a DVD player, I'll definitely want component video on that - I've gotten used to a certain standard of viewing. But I'm not really an audio freak, and I don't even know if I have room for the subwoofer, much less a full suite of 5.1 speakers. Meanwhile, my home theater advisor, Ed, has somehow has found a way to fit all of this in a room with a dog, two cats, countless toys and comic books, and a metric assload of consoles. I envy his space management, though it is somewhat hard to find seating for more than 4 in that room.

So I'm heading out today and trying to figure out what I want to do with my TV and my home theater - do I go whole hog and actually make it a home theater, or do I continue to be OK with a flat-screen HDTV playing my Xbox 360?

Meanwhile, I'm trying to figure out what I want to do this New Year's during my Japan trip. Thanks to Asmodeus, I think I'll be going to Comike and sneaking into the show two hours early, so there's no reason not to go to that - but for example, Cal has a significant chance to make it to the Rose Bowl this year, something they haven't done in almost 50 years. I'm trying not to put the cart before the horse here, since there are 4 games to go and one of them is against UCLA, but it's something I have to think about - I'll be in Japan between December 27 and January 7, but it wouldn't cost TOO much to buy a ticket back to America just for one glorious New Year's Day... right?

And what about the other way around? I've made it my goal to make it to one Tomoyasu Hotei concert before he passes his rockin' prime (I already missed the boat on AC/DC and the Stones, for example) and now I find out from mixi that he's going to have a concert with Brian Setzer at the famed Budokan. But it's on the 20th, two weeks after I get back from Japan--should I buy a ticket BACK and go there for one weekend concert?

Ah well. I'll figure it out in time. I have plenty of time for this and everything else...


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