When I was a child, I enjoyed writing stories, drawing pictures to go with them and then acting them out with my toys.
Put Away Childish Things?
When I became a man I put away these childish things. For years and years I would do 'grown-up stuff' until I had children of my own. Once again I found myself creating stories and playing make-believe. All too quickly my own children found it necessary to put away their childish things .... BUT I wasn't ready to this time.
With "You're only young once but you can be immature forever" as my excuse, I looked for a way to turn written stories into something visual. Live action was a BIG step too far. Comics? My drawing skills would need HUGE improvement. I seriously considered 2D digital cartoons before, eventually , deciding upon Stop Motion and, specifically, 'Brickfilms'.
Armed with a limited knowledge I turned to YouTube to find what others were creating. I found astonishingly good examples of what could be achieved. I also found people willing to share their knowledge by way of fantastic tutorials. This is how I was introduced to Gold Puffin's channel
I had assumed I would be using Lego for these stop motion videos. They have the figures, the bricks, the sets and, frankly, the popularity. Then I noticed a number of people using figures from Mega Bloks (now Mega Construx). Less 'cartoony' and with more points of articulation I felt they better suited the type of story I was interested in writing. I found they also did Marvel figures *AND* classic Star Trek **AND** was <ahem> compatible with Lego.
My mind was made up.
With my script, figures, webcam, two desk lamps and some software I was ready. The first surprise was finding I didn't particularly enjoy animating. At best I would say I tolerate it. However watching a little plastic figure come alive gave me a massive sense of achievement and pride. I was hooked.
I nervously uploaded my first ever video to Youtube in April 2018
To my surprise people watched it... and liked it.... and commented nice things about it. Since then I have uploaded another 30 videos, learnt a lot in the process and enjoyed super feedback. I have also discovered a vibrant and supportive community whichever brand of plastic is used. There is, however, one thing I have NOT enjoyed.
The Curse of YouTube
Likes, Views and Subscriber counts are a really nice way to receive feedback on your content. It is also great if you can see your channel growing.
However, I began obsessing over these numbers and how to increase them
"Create extra content", "post more regularly", "focus on what 'sells' rather than what you like."
All good advice if your main aim is growing but, all too quickly, I had lost sight of my reason for doing it.... and it began to cause me stress. .
So, in 2019, I decided a change was needed.
I'd still be making short, daft sketches. I'd still create stories with my own characters in my own worlds even if they didn't appeal as much to a larger audience. I'd still be encouraging people to visit my channel, watch my videos, leave comments and subscribe. I would, to quote Film Riot, "Write, Shoot, Edit, Repeat" ...but within my time schedules.
Most importantly I would remember to....
... HAVE FUN
Dafter Things is a brickfilm channel on YouTube, creating original entertaining stop motion animations. Visit Dafter Things here.