In the increasing market of subscription media outlets that are constantly producing new original content, you have to wonder, "What is worth my time?"
Dollface is a Hulu original show just released not long ago. Starring Kat Dennings, who some may recognize from 2 Broke Girls, and the Suite Life of Zack and Cody star, Brenda Song. Both Dennings and Song have been around the Hollywood circuit doing small co-star roles and movies for a while. They are both seasoned actresses, but in the last few film projects I have seen, their performances were not very memorable. Even Dennings in 2 Broke Girls felt robotic, and looking back on some of Song's work I have to say something was missing.
In Dollface, both Dennings and Song hit the mark in this series. There was a perfect mixture of fun and depth they brought to the roles that resembled my own group of friends. I found myself laughing at both women, and finding my own personal traits reflected in both. Dennings plays Jules Wiley who just had a heart-wrenching break-up with her long term boyfriend, Jeremy. Though it may seem she could have taken a cliché route, Dennings presented a real girl with a real break-up. She immediately tries to reconnect with old college friend, Madison Maxwell (Song), as an attempt to not to fall into a lonely existence. Madison is incredibly abrasive towards Jules at first, feeling a sense of betrayal since Jules left their friendship for Jeremy. It was refreshing to see this response. Most break-up stories we are immediately introduced to a dumped girl with an already tight girl posse by her side with margaritas at the ready. Though, I'm happy to report Jules and Madison eventually reconnect to form a new girl squad and an even tighter bond.
This whole series is amazingly feminist without taking away from traditional girl behavior or trying to fight it. In fact, most of the girls who seem to exhibit feminist ideals are materialistic, high fashion, and mostly feminine women. Jules is considered the outsider, because she made herself that way, not because the other women didn't want to accept her. Naturally Jules is the one who cracks jokes and questions most of the 'girl code' that Madison holds dear. I adore how these 'girl codes' are explored humorously, but also earnestly. Dollface has a stimulating approach on providing some much needed light in why these codes exist for the women who may want to make fun of them. It's an honest take on true feminism and sisterhood. The Hulu series take a magnify glass on women judging each other, and explores how the pursuit of a male counterpart can, at times, be un-healthy. There is nothing preachy about the content, there was no need to have a queer woman to make it feminist (though there were queer moments) and the humor was poignant and creative.
I must also mention the wonderful performance of Shay Mitchell as Stella Cole, the cool wild-child of the group who wants to be taken seriously. You would recognize Mitchell as Emily Fields from Pretty Little Liars, but in this show she shines as a true comedic beauty. I fell in love with Stella the moment she said her first word, and was impressed by her uniquely powerful mature thinking. Least we forget, Esther Povitsky, who was one of my favorites from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Though Povitsky plays Izzy Levine, its as if she is reprising a much more desperate and socially awkward version of her Crazy Ex-Girlfriend character. I was a little thrown at first, but Provitsky still gave an amazing and a delightfully fun performance that made me excited to see more of her throughout the series.
The real star that shines in the show is the incredible play on reality and fantasy. You never know exactly when it will switch, but you always are prepared for it. There is no confusion and reading in-between-the-lines and trying to scavenge meaning out of every shot. This is an amazing stylistic element that genuinely adds to the humor and theme of story. You even have a 'fairy-godmother' kind of guide through the fantastical parts so you know why and what is happening. It was something I wasn't sure about right away, but it quickly became an amusing piece to look forward to.
I spend a lot of time searching through Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube looking for content that feels worth watching. Sometimes I want a morally questioning show like The Boys (Amazon Prime), and at times I want my Holiday romance like A Christmas Prince (Netflix), but ultimately I want something worth watching. I yearn for content that make me laugh and think and even cry. I recommend this for anyone, but especially for women. It may answer some questions for women, who are like me, and didn't grow up understanding 'girl code' and have a harder time finding commonality with women. Dollface is an amazing show that makes you feel the girl-power every time you watch it.
It's a must-watch and preferably a must watch with your girl friends and bottle of róse.
Chapter 3! Thank you to everyone that has been keeping up with the video comic 'Astralfinch'! Getting closer to the release of my Webcomic and I encourage you to check that out too! Make sure you follow Wilbur Comics on instagram click here.
This is honestly one of my favorite chapters! You get the gist of our main character, Erika, and our main villain, Mr. Vanish. So now we can focus more on the story arc and development of characters. Originally the festival was suppose to be a trip to the mall, but we just saw that a while back ago in the anime. Also, what is more Japanese than a good ol' fashion festival? Some scenes got cut, like Erika asking Iida to go into a dish shop and look for a set of dishes. She would have her wings out at this point, and wouldn't be able to go into the small store without possibly breaking something. I wanted this to be a good time to show what some of the struggles she faces with having wings. It was also suppose to demonstrate how uncomfortable she feels about having her wings out, because people have a tendency to stare.
This ended up being kind of a soap box for myself, because many times when I was a kid I too stood out. I have Auburn hair and eyes, and growing up I had people starring at me, or asking if I died my hair. The school I went to in my elementary and early middle school years didn't have many red heads. I got a lot of attention because people thought I was pretty, but I still didn't like it. I feel like Erika has the same crutch. Her white big and beautiful wings are admirable, but she also stands out in a crowd. It's well known that not many people in Horikoshi's world have wings. We establish she isn't really attractive looks wise, and actually is suppose to be average. Here wings though is what separates her from a crowd, and back in California, it gets her constantly recognized. So she bought a jacket that could hide her wings, and help her blend in.
This character in some ways is a personification of myself, but mostly a vehicle to address some troubles and issues I think characters may have in Horikoshi's world. This was a fun chapter, and I think some may notice the nod I made to the My Hero Academia: Vigilantes series and characters found in the manga.
Keep watching and share with your friends! Remember to create the world you imagine! Plus Ultra!
Every one has that skill they let drift away in the background. It didn't pan out, or you thought you were not good enough. So you let it go, and tried to be more realistic. Maybe your like me and you got a second chance, even if it looks like a complete failure.
I had been drawing since I could get my hands on a pencil. I plaster notebooks and loose paper with my little drawings. At a young age, everyone draws cartoons and little comics of observations. Many artists start this way and graduate to more of a realism approach, or dive into abstract style. I, for some reason, was always facinated with animation and cartooning methods. I had a hard time training myself to draw more realistic artwork, but I did because I saw the benefits. I was in art class through most of middle school and high school (I skipped one semester to broaden my courses). I had always been one of the best artist in class, but I felt like I fell short. Mostly because I was more interested in cartooning and a 'messy' style of art. I always thought it was because I was lazy, but the better reason was it didn't resonate with my soul.
In senior year of high school, I decided to pursue a film degree. Objectively, I assumed I wasn't cut out to be an animator, and I always was enamored with the process of filmmaking. I was also an active thespian in high school, so it made sense to move into the movie realm. I spent four years investing in learning about filmmaking and how to craft a story. I even took classes outside of my major to make sure I had a rounded education. When I graduated I tried a basic nine-to-five job, and quit about a month in. Then I was an independent video contractor for years, until I again needed a more stable income. This lead me to work for a church for about three months, till I was fired.
I spiraled; hard. Overeating, and constantly too depressed to even leave my own room. I would only leave to get enough food to last me for a while, and I was afraid of running into my friends. The only thing that made me feel even an ounce better was drawing on my iPad (which I purchased before losing my job). It gave me joy to create stories again, ones I assumed were not good enough to share.
After a while, I moved back home to Colorado for multiple reasons. There, I was determined to do something with my life. I was given a chance to basically do a six-month personal study on cartooning and minimal animation. I worked on character development, and lunged myself into making a comics, even if they were just sketches. It was the only thing that was making me happy. I spent a lot of time trying to even wrap my brain around where I was at in my life. It was a hard time, and yet also a very educational one.
So now, here I am, making comics like I dreamed of doing as a kid. Not really making any money from it yet, and I have a long road ahead. I'm the type of person who has great ideas, and never finishes them. Maybe it will be like that again, but I'm gonna work on that. I want to make stories that change people's mindset and makes them happy. Something, when they read or watch it, forget what was stressing them out and can laugh a bit. Storytelling has always been my goal, and I'm gonna see what stories I produce this time.
Work to make the world you imagine.
Hello! If you have been keeping up, then you know Erika Richardson's hero name has changed to 'Astralfinch'. I made the decision because I only uploaded the trailer and first chapter, so there was still time to make such a drastic change. I'm sure some of you liked the name 'Arkangel' but X-Men already featured a hero like that, and apparently there is another My Hero Academia fan video called 'Archangel'? So we needed something new to make this comic stand out more. It doesn't change the story, or character at all, and actually the name is more unique. I feel like it fits in Horikoshi's hero society better. So sorry for this change, but I think it was the right move.
Now, let's talk abut our villain, Mr. Vanish. His real name? I don't even know. It really is best for his current profession to be nameless, since he is the guy you hire to take care of everything. Assassin, private investigator, arms dealer, black market distributor... the list goes on. His unique quirk allows him to go anywhere without being detected, and can easily kill anyone that gets in his way. Erika and Mr. Vanish share a similar trait of having super versatile quirks. Erika can make multiple air weapons out of air currents and Mr. Vanish can not only vanish whenever, he is quick about it too. You do notice his time interval extends a bit, and that is from his quirk tiring him out. The 'vanish quirk' does remind you of Kurogiri, but Mr. Vanish can't use his quirk on other people like Kurogiri does. Mr. Vanish can only move other people if he is touching them and even that is tricky for him, so he doesn't do it often. We do know that Mr. Vanish (for the most part) has to see where he is going to activate his quirk. Kurogiri can warp people anywhere without seeing where he is gonna put them. I'm not worried about my characters having similar powers to other characters in Horikoshi's world, because Horikoshi establishes that people do have quirks that resemble other quirks. Which makes sense if we consider quirks work like basic genetics, in that people have similar hair color or noses to one another, but share no clear blood relation.
Mr. Vanish is an interesting character and has a lot going on in his brain. You already get the sense this guy is a little crazy, but you don't know to what extent. His response to Erika is very playful, much like a cat with a bird in their clutches. He likes seeing it try to fly away before catching it again. She tries to be inventive, but facing against a guy with that quirk and speed would be hard for any seasoned pro. Mr. Vanish gets a lot more intense as the chapter progress, and it makes for some exciting fights.
His look hasn't really change from the original design either. Mr. Vanish needed a more 'Japanese' feel to him than Erika, so I tried to make his outfit stylish. I used the same type of jacket and t-shirt for another original character of mine. Also the hairstyle is a common one I use for men with longer hair, which is kind of a signature. The star on his left cheek was a last minute decision when getting his final look down, and its a nod to another original graphic novel I have been working on since I was in eighth grade. I'm excited for you to know more about this guy, cause he has a rather unique point of view on hero society.
Thanks again, and remember to make the world you imagine!
Hello! If you are reading this, thank you for checking out my MHA Fan Fiction Comic: Arkangel. If you are reading this and have no idea what I'm talking about let me give you a quick explanation. Those who don't need an explanation can scroll down.
MHA = My Hero Academia a manga done by Kohei Horikoshi, which is wildly popular among many anime and manga enthusiasts. Anime and Manga are a form of Japanese media. I made a fan fiction comic basically about original characters I have made, put into Horikoshi's world and those characters interacts with Horikoshi's characters too. I'm making a storyline in his world that I thought up of, but the storyline is not canon. That means my storyline it is not recognized by Horikoshi as truth in his story. Therefore, what I write may follow a lot of the rules and regulations Horikoshi has made in his world and I may get some facts right about his world, but my story is not part of his original story plot. It's like an alternate universe to his world with people I would like to exist. That's how most fan fiction works, and as long as Horikoshi is cool with me doing this fan fiction comic and I legally don't make any money from it, I'm am okay to do this. If Horikoshi does not find my work flattering (which I'm trying to convey I love his world and just want to put my own nerdy twist on it), he can ask me to take it down. Which I will do with no hesitation. I'm not trying to steal his work.
Alright now that we have covered that, let's get into some 'behind the scenes' of the creation of this fan fiction.
First off, I love super heroes and have always dreamed of being one. If I could only have one power, it would be flight. Ideally flying would be mixed in with super strength or some other cool power set. When I watched MHA the anime, I was immediately hooked. I already was a big fan of anime and mixing that with super heroes made MHA my new addiction. I've watched all the seasons about three times now, and am reading the manga so I can get all the details and character biographies you don't get in the anime. I can't wait for season 4 (nerd scream).
If you read the character page above, Erika was originally created to be a third party so I could comment about the MHA world in comic form. I was already doing these kind of comics with Digimon on my Tumblr. I got a little carried away with creating a back story, and it was consuming my thoughts so I had to make a graphic novel out of it. That too was originally done for fun, but then I thought "This would be a great opportunity for me to learn how to draw action shots better for my own personal stories." That lead me to re-draw my comic and make it more of a sharable fan fiction comic. Her wings and quirk was decided before I ever knew about Horikoshi's character Hawks, and Yoarashi. I kept both, because her quirk works differently than Yoarashi, and Horikoshi has already explained that some people in his world have similar quirks and develop similar mutations.
I already know a lot about editing videos, so making it into a YouTube video was an easy next step for me. I also thought this was the best way to get it out to other fans of MHA since fan fiction comics are not as easy to share as traditional written fan fiction.
As you can see in the photos above, Erika went through a few changes, but the original look pretty much stayed the same. Even her original hero costume didn't go through many fixes. Her hero costume was to seem a little lame, and bland. I wanted her to have a mask to show she is a private person, and not make her suit sexy because that also speaks to her personality. She is a young a new hero trying to figure things out, so there had to be something incomplete about her look. She does have a different costume on the graphic novel cover. You'll see her in action with that costume soon enough.
Now, where in the MHA story does Erika come in? She is in an alternative timeline after the Komino Attack, but before the Pro Hero Testing Arc. As if there was a magical two months between those events. I didn't want people who watch the anime to have spoilers about what is to come, except there is a character you meet later that is only in the MHA manga so far. They play a little role, but not enough to give spoilers.
She does look like a cartoon version of me, but honestly we are not that much a like. When I draw her, I don't feel like I'm drawing me. Erika is like drawing any of the other characters and she has strong opinions about who she is.
I hope you enjoy the comic as it continues and I'm excited for you to see how my artwork grows as you read on. Feel free to comment here, or on my videos, or any of my social media outlet. If you want to aggressively troll me and treat me like crap, I won't stand for that. I welcome constructive critique, but this is a comic for fun, not somewhere you can shove your opinions down someone's throat.
Thanks again and always work to create the world you imagine :)
My understanding of love comes from years of my family saying "I love you", one long term relationship, and a few random acts of love here and there. I have to say, I got a pretty good dose of love in my day.
For quite some time I have had the pleasure of filming and editing weddings together. Some of them were for good friends of mine. I enjoy being the go-to videographer for my friends weddings. I enjoy the fact that I don't have to be standing around awkwardly looking for someone to talk to. You bet I partake in the dancing though.
What have I learned from filming a few of these weddings? That love is alive.
Yes, it is alive and working wonders. It is intertwined with the fibers of wedding dresses and sprinkled in the bright lights on the dance floor. Weddings give a sense of hope that love exists and is out there for anyone. Capturing that glimmer in someones eye as they look at their new wife or husband makes my heart melt. Sometimes I can't keep back the tears.
I am grateful for the clients I have had. They all have been understanding and laid back for the most part. I always ask the bride, before the mayhem starts, what she wants captured the most. One said her grooms face, while another smiled and said "just capture the joy of the day." I love hearing the answer to these questions, because it lets me see a piece of them. You're not just filming another wedding, but you're filming the love between two individuals.
People. Showing off the human condition is one of the reasons I got into filmmaking. The joy, the sadness, the one-in-a-lifetime moments and the unexpected turns. Weddings are one of the most joyful and stressful events to film. They are one of the highlights of the human experience. I feel honored that this is my job.
I can't imagine not having something to create everyday of my life.
There are those painful days where you wonder if you're any good at what you do. How do you get paid for this? When did a love become a job? Why am I getting coffee and going for a walk when there is folders of un-edited footage? These questions sometimes overwhelm me... and that is okay.
There was a time I didn't believe in my own passion and ability. At one point I was looking for a second job, because my current videography and editing gig was not gonna pay all my bills. I stumbled upon a full-time position doing one of the most relaxing and stress free jobs society could offer a recent graduate. The company got little over a months worth of work out of me before I had to leave. I was spending 8 hours a day wishing I was somewhere else, doing something else, with someone else. The people I worked with at that company were amazing and a wonderful group of people. They were the ones that made me realize, I can and should do what I love, because I have the talent and passion. So I followed my passion right out the door.
If you talk to any filmmaker, famous or not, there is something just lucky about how you get where you do. The harder you work the luckier you get. Opportunity is waiting, and it doesn't tend to look for you. I had to make a hard decision. I then had to work harder to make that decision worth it. And I did work harder. I looked to see how to get more clients. I invested in making reels and re-doing my website. I focused on making a social media impact. I reevaluated the cost of my work. I created a new business out of those hours in a cubicle, wishing I could do what I loved. The miles I trekked out of a year in this business, is unbelievable. I wouldn't have been here if I didn't also have passion. Hard work gets you luck, but passion keeps you working.
I still have a lot more to learn. So much more growing. There is a list of projects I need to do and complete. There is steps I still need to take. Much more advertising and clients to reach. Yet, I can see my dreams becoming more and more possible. That is why I will work hard and continue to film with passion.
You remeber making those silly music videos with your friends? The onese where you laugh so hard you can't breath. The video you made you friend where a wig. That video where you and your friend were rock stars. . . even if for only for three minutes and sixteen seconds.
My history with music videos, from my awkward middle school days till now, has been incredibly significant in my growing as a filmmaker. I had a conversation with a friend who is also a professional. I told him I loved working on them. He laughed. Not at me, but at his own experience. In his past work on music videos (which includes Taylor Swift's Bad Blood) he found there was a lot of work with little pay. Hours and days spent on a project that doesn't always get credit for being art. Unfortunately not every music and video mash up can come out like Beyonce's Lemonade.
After talking to him, I wondered why I had a love for them. Even as a kid I had always enjoyed making homade music videos with friends (but usually by myself). What is enjoyable about music videos?
I think for me, what makes music videos some of my favorite jobs is three things. . . Pace, Sound and People.
Pace, is basically the rate at which a video moves. Every shot and every edit has a pace. When it come to music videos you pace with the music. Easy, on to the next section of this blog, right? No. Seriously why would I even mention it if I wasn't gonna elaborate? Usually when I'm about to film a music video, I have the song on repeat for hours and sometimes days. I need to find the pace, because I need to be able to naturally flow with the music. This immersing with the song is one of my most enjoyable things. I get to daydream with this song and let it tell me what the video should look like. A little film school pretentious, I know, but it is how I feel. Without this time I wouldn't be able to do the video justice (that's just what I believe). When shooting, there is a lot of it that can be planned ahead. You have your basic shot list, but if you have a moving slider shot, that shot needs to have a particular pace that fits the song. If you're just cranking a slider along without pacing it out to the music, then stop shooting and listen to that song another five times. To me, if you shoot with music, you have to feel the music.
Sound, which means I HATE GETTING SOUND. Music videos sound (the ones I have worked on) are a sigh pf relief because you are not recording audio of people talking and making a scene. You're getting sound to sync with the song in editing. I am not a sound engineer, and don't have a talent for that. My sound editing comes from hours and hours of trial and error. Sound people deserve a round of applause all their own because that is one of my biggest struggles in film. There is so much that goes into recording sound; you have planes, traffic, air conditioning units, house lights, screaming hobos in LA, screaming children anywhere, and just the overall ambiance of life. Life is not silent. So trying to film in life and get clear audio is a tiresome job all its own, before even yelling action. Ultimately, I like the ability to just run around with a camera without getting clear audio. But that's enough about me.
People, because working with other artist (either than be musicians or other mediums) is like hanging out with a cousin. You have similar understanding of art, but how you come to love it is unique. Now, I have not had a lot of drama when filming with musicians. There were tense moments, musicians yelling about a sunset, others frustrated by multiple takes, and me realizing the terminology "more energy" is all I need to say. . . Despite these tense moments they are easily forgotten when you and the musician have that one take that was magic.
When you film a music video, you both are performing together. Musician and filmmaker. You are working together with what they love (music), and what you love (film), to produce something everyone wants the world to love. I am a firm believer that music can be more powerful than words (I'm sure my writer friends are outraged). Music communicates so much with so little. Music has played an important role in my life. I remember that perfect on the radio and created a beautiful summer memory while driving with friends. Piano music playing so softly in a quiet room changing how I view the world. Hearing an old song that is intertwined with a lost love one and you just have to cry with joy.
Though I believe music alone is powerful to the human soul, I also believe it works best with film. Neither music or film need each other, but the individual artistry is heightened when those two create together. Together they can spark creativity, help you get back up after a hard day, or laugh uncontrollably. Music videos bring up humanities greatest and deepest emotions in just 2-5 minutes. To me, it's worth long hours for little financial reward.
I also never worked with Taylor Swift or Beyonce. . .
Film when you are at peace.
Sometimes we fight so long for art, we forget to relax and enjoy it. Every time I direct a bigger project there is a stress that lingers everywhere. Many times people will ask how I am doing in the middle of it and I'm always confused.
Strangely enough me looking stressed is me having the time of my life. I like to work. Long hard hours of constant problem solving and running around. When you love something you don't mind the work. I unfortunately inherited the stress look from my father. I remember when he come home from a long day at work, you would hear only about a slew of problems and the people that irritated him that day. I didn't realize till I got older, his negative language was him expressing how much he loved his job. The negativity was just the reality of the situation, but it wasn't something bad necessarily.
Think of it this way. You point out all the problems, the negative events and people. Now after the day is done and you sit back and revisit the list you can say you overcame that. That is where the positive is. If my father came home and barely talked about his day, it probably was a bad day.
Though this is how my kind of work day pans out too, most people don't understand that. They think all the negative was a sign of a bad day. I never said I learned effective communication from my parents. So usually when my 15-30 minute rant is over I have to end with, "But I love what I did today." You have to also remind yourself it was good after pointing out the problems.
This one shoot, in the picture above, was one of the few shoots that I felt at peace.
Also this shoot was constantly falling apart in the preparation process and I just kept going because I needed to get it done. It was also my fault it kept not working out, and I was close to canceling almost every three hours for a week. Needless to say, I definitely dreaded shooting it.
Then I walked into the doors of this lovely couples house and somehow all that stress went away. I quietly set up lights and checked the camera and texted actors in the most unbelievable peace. It was like living in a warm glow. This reminded me that filmmaking doesn't always have to be a struggle, but should also be enjoyed.