Zubby Newsletter – September 28, 2003

After ranting quite heavily in my last e-mail, I got some really nice replies from people. It’s good to know that people are willing to slog through a burst of frustrations and offer a bit of advice.

It’s Sunday morning and I’m a little groggy, typing away here and vegging a bit. Last night they had their first karaoke night at Gal’s bar and I went down to help “christen” the place with some singing. It’s a smaller place, but they had a regular rotation of 10-12 people singing up a storm. Less people also meant that each person got more chances to sing. I knocked out 5 (Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash, Delilah by Tom Jones, Superman by Five For Fighting, the Spider-Man cartoon theme and Breakfast At Tiffany’s by Deep Blue Something). It was fun and a good break from the workload that’s been pounding at me.

It’s been a wild couple of weeks with work going out and coming in at a rapid pace. I’m actually far more organized with it then I thought I would be. Microsoft Excel’s been getting a workout on my computer, far more than any video games lately. It’s a constant stream of e-mails, ICQ, phone calls intermixed with approving artwork and then actually sitting down at the drawing table to get my own stuff done. Some days it feels like a massive overload and other days it hardly feels like work at all.

I love working with our clients and seeing artwork head out. I love seeing material getting published with my artwork or the artwork of the guys who are working with me. I hate, hate, hate reminding clients about late payments and trying to get in touch with them after the work is long done and money still hasn’t arrived. Even in an industry where 30-60 day payment periods are common, some of these guys ride it out until you practically break down their door. Not all of them are like that by any means…heck, most are wonderful. It’s just the one or two that cause extra frustrations. It’s something I’m not used to and it’s something that can be trial and error. Learning which clients we want to always work with and which ones are more trouble than they’re worth.

I’m still giddy about it. Giving one of our artists his first comic pencilling job and the excitement he has over it is a real booster for me. Handing out an assignment and seeing the amazing artwork that comes back is always a thrill. Once late October hits and things I drew start coming out, it’ll be wonderful.

Speaking of seeing your own work, I finally watched an episode of King, the show that I drew layouts (backgrounds) for at Helix. They’re showing it on the Family Channel here in Canada. The guys at the studio rarely watched their own stuff and I didn’t know why. Cornflake said that he would just do his best on the stuff and try not worry about how it looked on TV. I wondered why that was…now I know. The show is okay, but the storyboard sequences I read sounded infinitely better than how it plays out on the real show. The voice acting is bad, teeth grinding bad and the colour palette they’re using hurts my eyes. It’s average, and a bit disappointing. Mind you, watching any show that I enjoyed as a kid is equally as disappointing, so maybe kids now will yearn for King re-runs when they’re older. I may try watching another couple and see if it gets any better. Maybe I’m just an optimistic masochist.

I’m trying to organize things so that I have a more reasonable work schedule. I know that it’ll never be 9 to 5 per say, but at least that things work well enough that most weekends and several weeknights are more open. I’m slowly finding ways to do it, and am not responding to work e-mails in the evening unless it’s emergency-type material. We’ll see if that’s a good start.

Saw Underworld. First movie I’ve checked out since Matrix Reloaded. Underworld was bad…sort of entertaining while in the theatre, but just like greasy movie popcorn, the good taste doesn’t last and your stomach lurches afterwards. Apparently vampires have nifty supernatural powers like: hissing, falling out of windows, kicking doors, fainting and pulling triggers…that’s it. Werewolves go down with one bullet (a silver nitrate bullet, I know, but still) and all character dialogue must be spread out with dramatic pauses that make you want to hurt something. It didn’t even have the tongue-in-cheekiness of Blade, which saved those two flicks from being really bad. It’ll probably do well on video, joining a ton of other goth-cinema and dark movies. Nick and I used to have a sort of game where after a movie was over we’d redialogue pieces or re-edit the movie in our conversations, salvaging what was good and creating some idealized version of the film. I still do that internally. I don’t know if it’ll ever be useful, but it’s a neat creative exercise anyways. If you want a really long and pointless conversation, ask me about any movie that I don’t like and I’ve probably got a Zubby Special Edition floating around in my cranium.

I’m finally getting a chance to flip through the mass of books I accumulated this summer. Between comics and RPG books, it was a very, very geeky acquisition. When Gala and I move out and get our own place, more bookshelves will need to be addressed. Staying in Toronto, finding an amazing place to live and having the huge library all set up would be nice. Mind you, winning the lottery would be nice too. It’s easy to want these things, it’ll be interesting to see if it all really happens that way.

Gala jabbed at me the other day when we went to the grocery store. An air cadet was taking donations and he called me “Sir”. Very much that “you’re an adult authority figure” type sir. Gala told me that was absolute proof that I was old. She’s literally a week younger than me, so it was a silly jab, but then I realized that I was probably 10 years older than these air cadets. Yeesh. I know I’ll get a dozen e-mails from the older people on this list telling me that I have no clue what I’m talking about and 27 is not old, but I’m just dumping the things on my brain.

That’s the latest here.

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