11 days ago, I finally finished the first scene of the first short for DataQuest. A whole… 40 seconds of animation, and that took nearly 3 months.
I’m gonna cut the assumptions short and throw out the notion that this’ll be a post about how I’m slow with animation, because honestly, I’m really happy about that. From the first draft of the episode 3 of the old review series to now, it’s been about 2 years since the start of this mess, and to finally make some actual progress on this just… feels really fucking good.
So instead of pointlessly complain about efficiency or some shit, I want to look back on how this evolved from another review from the mind of an 18 year old who didn’t know much about animation and without much knowledge on how the story would progress for a story-based review series, to a series where that same now 20 year old actually knows what’s going on, at least in a much better sense to actually have a plot.
Oh, and if you want an update what that actual first part is, it’ll be at the bottom of the post.
Let’s go back to April of 2020, the Pandemic just started, everyone realized “oh dear god we’re going to be stuck in our homes for a while” and I was just done with Episode 2 of a story-based review series where I reviewed Nuclear Throne which, yeah not gonna lie, I really don’t like the old series. I might make a post later on or talk about it later in this post, I haven’t really decided yet, but tl;dr, I thought originally the first episode was half intentionally bad, but nah it’s just bad, same with the second episode.
Anyway, thoughts about the preboot aside, this episode would’ve well… continued from where the last episode left off, with Paladin waking up in a empty room with only a table, with two stick figures who turn out to be Sam & Mike, two characters that were my renditions of Microsoft Sam and Microsoft Mike, more specifically remenisant from when one of my hyperfixations was “Microsoft Sam Reads Funny Windows Errors” videos and decided to make one of those series myself.
Things would happen where I go “Wait, I’m the real user.” and they go “nuh uh” and then then do research to try and find ways of knowing that it’s me. With it originally being…
me reviewing Hazbin Hotel…
Yeah, the third episode and I was doing that trope. The trope of
But you know, with Hazbin Hotel.
Probably should get this out of the way, from the tone and that singular 4chan post, you can assume that I don’t exactly like Hazbin Hotel, and you’re right. I didn’t find it funny, the characters were one note and annoying, the animation was janky, and the only time I laughed was at one scene that tried to do 3D perspective and failed miserably. It’s just generally an unpleasant pilot to watch and I generally don’t give a shit enough to talk about it and Helluva Boss any further than this paragraph (I did not watch Helluva Boss and I don’t want to).
Anyway, I noticed that the beginning portion was a bit too long, but it was still important to the “plot”, so I decided to just simply split it into two episodes, the beginning part, and then the review. One rewrite and revoice later and now, I’m actually animating the scene.
I did actually have a plan for where to go with this during this point. It would end with I think Sam & Mike not believing me, so I would escape and then I would get hit by a giant DS cartridge, which would leave into the next episode about Ghost Tricks, at this point, the whole ghost thing wasn’t really a thing, so god imagine if I stuck with Ghost Trick rules for that instead of what I’m going to do which none of you have seen minus maybe that one twitter post.
But yeah, after that then more things would happen which would lead to the next episode which would be the finale of that arc, but I’m not gonna reveal that because I still have similar ideas for that part, for reasons for which you’ll know later on.
At this point, I started animating it and I quickly realized something, “God, I fucking hate reviewing things.”
Not that I dislike talking about things, the fact that I’ve gone several paragraphs talking about a canceled version of the show I’m making is evidence enough, but the thing is, I really don’t like making videos with that type of review format. I like watching them, and honestly with video essays I might have an actual shot at making videos talking about things again. But, you could kinda tell that I was… struggling to talk about things that would fit that type of video and that I just wanted to make plot shit.
Doesn’t help that with the way videos are structured, making plot shit and making reviews are basically two different things. It was basically a wakeup call for why Channel Lore™ kinda died off unless it was Scott the Woz. The reason it worked with Scott was that it’s built off of in-jokes and gags and usually the skits end really fast or, the payoff is the point of that episode (which is why I think borderline is one of my least favorite episodes, but Chibi-Robo! Zip-Lash is my favorite episode) meanwhile the thing I and many others were trying to do was to like, have an actual plot happen, or do skits that take way too long and interrupt the review, which fucking sucks pacing wise.
Anyway, upon realizing that I fucking hated making Channel Awesome type videos, I just decided to chop off the review part and get to the part that I actually liked, making plot shit that’s animated. Or, just making an animated web-series then.
At this point, it’s now 2021 and I still haven’t finished the first scene, there’s a number of factors with that, from high school ending and college beginning, to making other videos, to some gender shit that happened in the middle of that. Over time, I’ve been developing more of the plot when something pretty major happened. I used Linux long term for the first time, it was only around a month, but during that month so many things fell into place, not only the pivot to being a furry, but also realizing, “Hey, I’m not using Windows anymore, and the time frame for this is like, what, 2018 or so? That’s horribly outdated. I think I’m gonna reboot.” So that’s when I decided to finally reboot that review series into what it finally is now, DataQuest.
Now obviously, I would start making episode 1. It was going to be a remake of the first episode, but, how would I be able to do that? If it’s about SUPERHOT again, that would look weird, but, I thought of a solution, not making about SUPERHOT. It also would allow me too introduce the series with more of an actual plot to it.
I don’t want to spoil what happens, because technically I’m still going to use the idea once I’m done with the shorts, but once I’m done, oh boy it’ll be great. But quickly, I ran into that problem again where I didn’t really animate anything, hell, I barely finished the script.
I think it’s because I was trying to rush it instead of letting it sit, honestly, I’m happy that it’s taking me so long because I’ve really fleshed out the story so hard that describing what it was would be much different compared to what the story is now, but there’s still a lot of overlaps that I really can’t say anything about it still.
It’s now the summer and I’m not making progress still, it’s clear that I have burnout for this, so, I decide to make a Sonic Iceberg video. One of my friends made a Sonic Iceberg, mostly as a joke, but it still contained a lot of insane sonic facts because they are a huge sonic fan. So me and two other friends went and remade it with new, less jokey entries, and writing, and voicing, and a bit of editing.
And this is where I started to realize I had a bit of a problem where I would overdo things hard.
I basically wanted to implement… less plot related shit and more of having animated skits in between and that’s really it. Some rantsona styled pop ins here, animated bits at the end and the beginning there, maybe small animated stuff for the tier intros. But still, nothing major. The problem came in where I would want to go all out with the editing and the intro that I eventually burned myself out again. Plus, we really weren’t prepared for something this big, For me, it was the perfectionism and wanting to go a bit too far, to the point where I wanted to include that previously mentioned friend that made the iceberg as a cameo in without thinking “I should probably ask them about that” because they don’t exactly want to be known, even with cameos. There were a couple other things, but it was mostly the burnout and perfectionism and overdoing it that got to leading to the project dying off. We might go back to making a video together, but that’s not gonna be for a while.
This is where we are now, where I realized that I’ve gone a bit too far with a lot of my projects. I’ve learned a lot recently, mainly in just… slowing the fuck down, but that knowledge has finally allowed me to finally get here, finishing the first scene, something that hasn’t been done at all in the context of this project.
That doesn’t mean this didn’t change either, it was originally going to be about DELTARUNE, but I only recently switch it up to a different game. The reason for the switch was honestly just because I didn’t think it would work with a shorter length, maybe I’ll get to it, but honestly with how I’m writing, probably not.
And now, for a nice little screenshot of what’s been working on. Or more specifically, me taking the background I made for it and making it into a wallpaper that I’m currently using right now, because honestly it does kind of rock.
(Update 10-9-22: I updated the image, bumping it up to 1440p, as well as changing it a bit, making the chunk on the left an actual chunk.)