More than anything, I love writing, movies, comic books and design – mostly toy, tool, game design and digital product design.
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My life’s ambition is to look back at a massive body of work – stories, visual works and designs. And to also create something that never existed before. My approach toward this goal, is heavily influenced by Lloyd Kaufman’s Troma. To bang out fresh ideas constantly, except in addition to this: with attention to detail, strong craftsmanship, innovation and thoroughly sophisticated intellect – but as many works as humanly possible – to stimulate the gears in my head, and provide momentum for my career.
As I see it, cartoons are the most flexible medium of creativity in existence today. They simultaneously release your inner child, and refuse to censor your grownup NSFW fascinations.
the intersect of art and intellect
My top25 fave films of all time are: Empire Strikes Back, Henry Fool, Labyrinth, A History of Violence, Oldboy (2003), Night of the Demons 2, True Romance, It’s Such A Beautiful Day, Monster in a Box, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Kids, La Cite Des Enfants Perdus, Killer Klowns from Outer Space, Idioterne, Rush (1991), Star Wars Uncut: Director’s Cut by Casey Pugh, The Langoliers, Unforgiven, The Neverending Story, Upstream Color, Umbilical World, Mr Holland’s Opus, Oleanna, Sunshine (1999) and Demonlover (2002).
What problems do I want to solve with my career?
1. To help young people achieve their goals earlier, to avoid them falling into depression due to fixations on creative failure
2. To inspire change – forward movement in industry and education
3. To improve entertainment quality standards and local production/festival infrastructure
4. To tell great stories and design innovative products and fun digital art
5. To help beginner writers better construct their means of expression
As far as ecology, I feel like I’ll pass the buck to someone more passionate about solutions. And simply inspire and support those of the next generation with those causes as a passion. And do my bit in small ways.
I am seriously fascinated by the development of digital works. Mechatronics is a combination of mechanical output and electronic parts (usually the brain and power source are electronic.) This includes but is not limited to animatronics. You can have mechatronic spaces, toys, art installations and physical-digital products.
Digital products are products that utilise technology for their function. Often this means things like software and electronic games and hardware. With either invisible moving parts or physical electronically controlled moving parts. However, physical-digital products can be any finished physical thing (that is to be sold) that uses technology for its physical functioning. A digital product might be Facebook (software) or a Barcode Reader (hardware). Whereas an example of a physical-digital product might be a consumer robot (physically-functioning hardware).
When I was younger I wanted to be an inventor.
I was less concerned about being understood, than being myself.
I wanted to create something new and original – which isn’t hard, I’m weird.
How weird: eccentric tastes, variety of humour styles, few emotional & mental health issues, neurotic – which is almost a strength in creativity.
Issues lead to: overthinking, thinking things through to excess.
My writing style – either about deep thought, or something well thought through. Deep and abstract BUT specificity in the action/setting. I was told my stage plays were “too novelesque”.
After my TVNZ rejection, I learned to create… to low budget, minimalism, restrictions. This was a challenge that took me on a 7 year quest.
While also pursuing: fantastical, sci-fi, big projects. Doing both = different approaches to the same problem.
“If I didn’t find different ways to solve one problem, I’d find myself failing.” – I don’t accept rejection/ failure – it’s just a problem with more approaches to try, and a challenge to meet.
Mechatronics – “driven by the hunger to understand, define, communicate and express the process” + “sometimes I get so engrossed in the process I forget about the subject.”
Obsessive: weaknesses, bad habits, things that worry me.
Not so obsessive: strengths – arrogant/confident, can muster “blind faith” and leap in the face of wild odds.
Optimist – rather build a shield to protect myself from getting bogged down by what I’m afraid of.
Daily routines + time/energy management.
Ideal of 5 hours – which I many times do not reach, I write intensely, “attention span of a gnat” + then I’m tired. And throughout the day I’m thinking about problems, but I don’t count this as work time. I try to work for at least 3hrs in one go – which could be a combination of a few hundred words of new script (comic or game treatment) or new novel pages, blog for 1hr and study/research/coding/free sketching or storyboarding. And a 4th hour of messing about with Adobe software or a game engine. But I’ll usually do 7pgs of rewrites around lunch time as well. This is a productive day.
Troma-esque vast body of work + to create something that didn’t exist before.
dream type of work
Epic, fantastical, sci-fi AND grounded in deep thought, post-modernism, minimalism and restrictions.
“Alienatingly snobby” – called “intellectual snob”. Good thing? “I’m fine with it… until it becomes a problem then I guess I’ll tone it down” = I won’t. “tone it down” = lowering self for others. “Compromise is a dirty word”
Standing your ground, staying true to yourself, despite expectations and level of others = courage.
How do I shrug off other people’s opinions with such conviction and grounding in my self-belief/belief in my art? I’m not impenetrable to criticism, I often am forced to work through depressed periods. I value the work, most of my feedback has confirmed that belief, even if they didn’t end in a sale. I believe that what I’m trying to express and create has value – as art, as entertainment and as motivational/functional tools.
Graduate critique – she got me. Huge push forward to keep going + rewarding to get such valuable feedback.
a study of itself
Felt really different. Proud, because it was different to anything I’d done before – mostly done fantasy + turning reality into something morbid/humorous/both.
Doing something really different is… hard, and doesn’t always happen.
WAY I’VE GROWN THE MOST: Learned to be more patient. HARD for creatives – all the ideas, rush all the pages.
How to be more patient? Learn to be better and you see it makes the work better, it shows up in the work as I don’t like to rush the pages – seeing the improvement in the work makes it easier to force yourself to be patient.
PROJECT WHERE I GREW THE MOST: fantasy novel started at age 13 (300pgs) – every time I rewrote it, I found how bad it was before, noticed how much I’d grown as a writer each time.
- At first, it wasn’t arrogance – I was naive and foolish, and struggled to get people to understand what I conveyed
- I tried hard to learn to communicate AND express (truthfully) at the same time – difficult challenge
- Now? It’s arrogance – too arrogant to submit
- “Who are THEY to decide what my writing should be?”
- If failing too much, I may consider “selling myself” – functional skills + functional member of society + functional, unglamorous gigs – the Einsteiner, without the day job
What is perfection?
To master at least 4 x creative mediums of expression – add another 2 skills (got: game design, writing) – working on cartooning, producing.
FUNCTIONAL – for the designs, to create them. For the writing, to get published.
– “So, I think what you mean by “functional” is “in the world” – to make the art into reality in the world, to take the creations beyond the page” (Amanda)
Publishing = meeting expectations/standards of others (the gatekeepers)
“Who are THEY to decide what my writing should be?”
Richard Garfield, Magic the Gathering inventor: “I so admire how he was able to create something there was no roadmap for + whole domino effect of other creations” – He invented a completely new breed of game. Love to be able to do that; change the game.
Lynda Chan-wai Earle, Graduate critique – she read, understood and really got me and what I was trying to do.
Other core influences:
Brendon Small, Don Hertzfeldt, Jhonen Vasquez, Bill Gaines, Bruce Timm, David Firth, Ben Bocquelet, Jim Henson, Hal Hartley, Terry Pratchett, Greg Egan, Roald Dahl, David Cronenberg, Spalding Gray, Jay Silver, Will Wright, Eric Chahi, David Scott Jones, Arnt Jensen, Harmony Korine, Shane Carruth, Jae Lee, Tony Wong, Jack Cole, Glen Duncan, Chan-wook Park, Rik Mayall, Anna Mantzaris, Joe Penhall, David Simon, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Henry Selick, Doug TenNapel, Stephen Chiodo, Elyasaf Shweka, Lars Von Trier, Douglas Coupland, S. S. Wilson, B. F. Skinner, David Peoples.
STEPHEN KING’S THEORY: monster = 3 archetypes. I thought about how each of the 3 represents a drive, in us.
1: Vampire > feeding, thirst, sexual/lust, survival
2: Werewolf > we are all animals without our conscience. All of us, are. “We need to be tamed, by ourselves”
3: Frankenstein’s monster > the most interesting. GOD motive – to punish the creator for creating him, for going against God’s law. Represents God’s wrath.
Alien/s = my perfect Frankenstein monster film – weapon discovered by humans, turned against humans to punish them for greed (the company). Greed made them arrogant, pride made them ignorant. Therein did lie their mistake. They underestimated the weapon.
AI, robots + virtual reality = the nightmares of Frankenstein’s monster turning against us, God’s law.
And then I further speculated that the monster is merely a tool; for – in the horror, materialising our fear/s, – in the thriller, creating consistent tension and teasing with the implied.
Horror is defined as an intense sense of discomfort, panic and loathing. King goes on to mention the chronology of the Horror method: 1 = terrify; to terrorise them by bringing up something they viscerally cannot handle. If that doesn’t work, 2 = horror (or shock – because it’s all horror; to surprise them). If that doesn’t work, 3 = gross out, take it further than they can handle.
Mechatronics: learned about communication – artist produced something not quite in my head. I was fascinated – many different ways to design how something can REACT to you.
REACT: God’s law? Making the next machine to react > learn to react > turn against? Am I Dr Frankenstein if I finally create something that never existed before = breaking God’s law? “I don’t think I’ll care by then” – Q: why not? A: the struggle for achievement seems worse than the idea of God’s wrath.
Maybe I’m building Jane from Speaker for the Dead (Ender’s Saga – novel series).
MONKEY + ORANGUTAN: needed to explore:
1) more than physical
Created characters that are – part of him, not him, and not fictional either.
REPRESENT: all artists have (and need) the critical analyst/the inner critic AND the sounding board.
“If you don’t have these around, you need to invent them in your head”
We love the idea of isolation for creative focus.
Cosy spaces – from Danish “Hygge” concept. Isolating yourself can be positive. Feel isolated, when travelling, even with people.
Home? It has always been a fantasy to be a hermit, live on an isolated beach, but with a dairy/some convenience.
When I first arrived in New Zealand, and then 4 x round the world – fantasy and stories were safe haven away from fears.
As a kid – “terrified of everything”: dark, monsters, serial killers, axe in night – thought it was normal (it is a bit).
Started writing at 4, turned to fantasy away from rural/boring life.
Believed in magic and the impossible, made things more interesting and exciting.
Enjoyed school UNTIL it got serious + boring. School was supposed to be about learning not discipline.
And then I grew up – you discover the demons in you are more scary than anything outside. “Totally, that’s my life!”
WANT TO WRITE: epic horror of the demons within me – more on that in my work.
The threat – “real fears put magical demons to shame”
Amanda: “Well, maybe the magical heroes are enough to overcome the real fears.”
But I don’t write about heroes – that’s too happy.
COMMUNICATION: SECOND TO EXPRESSION (core concept)
Graduate critique: “Is art about communication? He’d probably say no” – passionate NO scream!
“I think communication is a lesser beast to expression.”
If it is to affect expression, it should suffer.
Expression: pure form, truth VS Communication: meeting someone else where they are – language, expectations…
What can I do to bring my creativity beyond the page without needing to interact heavily with people?
- Learn to code so I can make indie video games, software and robots.
- Write novels and screenplays consistently and submit to places with the hope of becoming published/produced.
- Learn enough animation so I can make movies alone in my room.
- Get better at cartooning by sketching every day so I can make cartoon t-shirts and design art (and comic books/graphic novels to submit to small publishers.)
- Get good at painting miniatures and make youtube videos about my nerdiness.
- Learn the adobe suite to improve my artworks.
- Keep consistent on my blogs, to increase my essay/review output.
- Spend more time game modding.
- Invest time in new hobbies: fantasy map-making and clay creature-making.