The Mockingbird Song should hooooopefully be fixed and ready to go shortly after Easter. I'd hoped to finish it by this weekend, but I've been out of town, under the weather, and had other priorities. AT THE SAME TIME. But worry not! It's coming soon. Would you like a snack while you wait?
I get a lot of email from you all (which I love!), and there are a few questions I get more than others. Once upon a time I had an FAQ page, but I think it fell down the rabbit hole. I couldn't tell you what happened to it, but I imagine it's probably having tea with a festively bewigged Johnny Depp or something. So, here's a new one! [toc title="FAQ Contents:" hint="Click a title to jump down to it!" style="inline CSS style"]
What software do you use to make your movies?
Where do you get your inspiration?
From everything around me. Memories, music, nightmares, things I thought someone said but actually misheard, shapes in the clouds, interesting patterns in half-mixed cake ingredients. There's no one source for creativity. So, if you're hoping to find a magical font of inspiration, all I can say is look around you. It's everywhere!
I have an idea for a cartoon. You could do one about...
No, I couldn't. If you have a story idea, I wholly encourage you to do something with it! Invent your own characters and make your idea come to life. Don't give it away to someone else! I just can't take anyone else's idea, no matter how great it might be. It wouldn't be mine, you see, and that's important. (But thank you for the suggestions, of course!)
Where do you get the music you use in your movies?
Sometimes friends write it for me. I've occasionally found songs in the public domain. Sometimes I purchase a license for royalty-free music, and there are a variety of places to order such tracks. I will not use anything without permission. Unfortunately, this also means you usually can't look up the tracks on iTunes and order them for yourself.
When is your book coming out? Where can I find your book?
Skary Childrin and the Carousel of Sorrow came out on August 23rd, 2011 and is available pretty much everywhere. If you can't find it in a local shop, you can most certainly order it online. BookDepository offers free shipping worldwide, so that's usually my recommendation for those of you outside the US.
What's the book about?
It's about a terrible evil that takes up residence in the woods of a small, forgotten town already cursed by dark forces and locked in perpetual autumn. People have vanished! Ghosts shriek desperate warnings! And there are signs of worse to come. It's up to three strange girls and one rather awkward boy to save this town, even though they have been cruelly outcast by it.
How do I get you to autograph my copy of your book?
Send it with return postage, preferably on a self-addressed envelope (USPS priority mail envelopes make this easy if you're in the States) to:
Katy Towell NEW ADDRESS COMING SOON
Be sure to let me know who I'm signing it for and if there are any special messages you want me to write!
Will you make a music video for my band?
How much are you willing to pay? ;-) And, well, no. Probably not. It's not that your band isn't great. It's just that animation is an arduous process for me, and I don't know how I'd manage to find the time!
Can my band make music for one of your videos?
I'm extremely selective when it comes to the music that I use, so unless I've posted a call for music submissions, I've probably already got something in mind. Also, I'd feel bad about asking for a lot of changes, and you know I would ask.
I'd like to offer my talents as a voice actor.
Thank you! ...but, just as with music, unless I've made a specific call for voice actors, I'm not really looking for anybody as I already have a list of go-to people. It wouldn't be an easy job, anyway. I'm a mean director. I made Tim Jones cry when he was working on The Little Girl. Um... don't tell him I said that. It's, uh, very upsetting for him. Yes.
How did you come up with the idea for Skary?
The Childrin were mostly inspired by the antics of actual children. I worked with preschoolers a long time ago. Loved it. But I found that kids really do say the darnedest things. The darnedest, creepiest, most disturbing things. And they have no idea how strange the things they're saying are! Yet they say it all with such sweet, cherubic smiles. Parents don't usually allow their little ones to play with sharp objects. You think that's for the kids' protection? THINK AGAIN.
Who does your web design?
Can I send you my resume?
Er... okay, but it won't do you much good. I'm a one-woman operation.
Will you answer some questions for my school project?
I usually do, but it can take me a while to get to all my email. So, please don't ask if you've got a close deadline, and I recommend having a backup plan!
Have you thought about collaborating with Tim Burton?
Sure. But has he thought about collaborating with me? I don't know! Let me call him up and ask. Hold on. Got another call. Oh, drat, it's Scorsese again. I gotta take this.
Those are all the FAQs I can think up at the moment! As always, if you have other questions, use the form and ask away.
Because True Blood isn't on yet.
Update 2/14/10: Technical problems. I know. Again. The day I can publish a cartoon without issue is the day the Earth stands still. But I'm working on the problem and will post Mockingbird just as soon as I'm able.
Update 2/17/10: This has been one doozie of a technical problem. I've sent the file off to someone who's good at figuring out why things break, and I hope to have a mended animation to show you soon. My apologies!
Two days until The Mockingbird Song! It's been a couple of years since my last long cartoon (Ida's Luck Part 2), so I'm very excited to show it off. I've been getting a few questions about it since I initially announced it, so here are a few of those answers:
- I'm narrating it this time.
- It's based on a Sixcast episode I wrote and recorded a few months ago; many of you may already be familiar with it. I've taken the recording down for now so that you'll have some time to forget it!
- As mentioned previously, there are a few slight changes in the story. They are minor, but they're important without drastically changing the one you already liked.
- It's ten minutes long! Whew!
- It's very different from a typical Skary cartoon. Still sad and spooky (I hope), but Shawnee Jenkins is a fairly normal Kansas eight-year-old considering that, well... you'll see what I mean. ;-)
- Those of you with young children who are also fans (yay!), I would hold off on showing them this one until you've seen it first. There's some violence and gore. Granted, it's very stylish gore with a retro look to it and all, but vintage entrails are still entrails.
- Can anyone embroider? I would love a throw pillow that said "Vintage entrails are still entrails."
Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!
I'd show you more, but I want some of it to be a surprise! Also, because Shawnee Jenkins isn't quite like the other Skary kids, the animation style on Mockingbird will be different from what you're used to. It's going to be in full color, and I'm giving it a little bit of retro styling, too. I've also taken down the original recording for now. Some slight changes have been made to the first version, and you'll be glad you saw/heard the new one with fresh eyes and ears. Yes, it's a sweet story with a lot of blood. I mean hearts. I mean... oh, you know.
Hey and hello! I hope everyone had a happy Memorial Day weekend, even if you're not American. I spent mine writing, animating, and attending a barbecue where a horrible, terrible, awful children's version of the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack was played. (Where can I get a copy for myself?) The upcoming cartoon is still underway and could take some time even though it's short, as I have other projects to work on. I'm not going to tell you when to expect it, but I guess I can tell you what it's about now that I'm sure I'm not going to change my mind. The working title (likely to be changed) is Masterpieces Explained. Sounds boring, I know, but it's the real story behind a very famous painting. (No, it isn't The Scream, and it's nothing by Dali). You all think you know the story behind this one, but I'm telling you now: you're wrong. Anyway, that's all I'm saying. You'll find out more soon.
All righty. Time to answer some emails.
Where did your inspiration come from for the girl. -TH
I guess you could say I wasn't very happy when I wrote that and, while Emmeline's story is not at all autobiographical, it came about because, well, I felt like writing about revenge. And originally, that's how the story ended. Emmeline got fed up, exploded with rage, crash-bang-boom, the end. But that sort of ending isn't how things happen in life. Vengeance is, in reality, a very nasty thing that only makes a bad situation worse. As I thought about this, the story developed further. How the specific details of a small girl with a monster friend came about, I'm not really sure. It just fell into place. But my point with the story is not only that love is more important than toys and things but also that bottling up one's feelings until they explode is just as dangerous to oneself as whatever caused one to bottle them up in the first place.
(Also, I had a fuzzy white dog once. Her name was Tofu. She didn't have red eyes or wings, but she was my best friend. And she liked socks.)
Do you comission the artists/orchestras yourself for your movies? Are you involved with the creativity process with the score? -N
Most of the music from my cartoons is purchased stock music or public domain or otherwise royalty-free. My friends Gwydi and Aisha Elderwyn composed and performed the soundtrack to When Genevieve Ruled the World, however, and I was as involved in that process as I could be without abusing the very generous gift of their talents. Basically, I gave them the script with extremely detailed notes on what was supposed to sound like what and where, and they sent me snippets of music for me to approve along the way. It was a lot of fun (for me, anyway), but also a great deal of work (for them, definitely)!
Is skary something from your own personal time? ... Have you've been approached for commercial items? - N (part 2)
It is most definitely from my own personal time, and a big chunk of it too. Not that I mind, of course! I have, indeed, been approached for commercial items a few times, but it was always either the wrong thing or the wrong time, or I was at risk of losing my control over it. It's wonderful when artists are able to profit from their work in any way. I'd just rather let mass-produced t-shirts wait until people actually know what it's all about.
I noticed that the captions for the skary movies have been mysteriously ran away from the posted movies on this site. I enjoy the captions (being a wee bit stone-deaf) and wondered if you could post the clips with captioning at at least on the skary youtube tags. - N (part 3)
That is an excellent suggestion. I moved everything to YouTube because the burden on my site is immense every time I post something new. It's just so much easier to host them elsewhere! But I hadn't even thought about the subtitles and, as soon as I have the time, I will add those to the YouTube videos, too. Thanks for the reminder!