The following animation was made by Tomasz Kaye. Consider donating to his Patreon account here.
Message from the author:
Roderick T. Long’s essay, on which it’s based, tells a story very few know. I appreciate its challenge to the idea that government is the protector of the poor, guardian of their well-being. One of my motivations for making an animated adaptation of this narrative was that since making Edgar the Exploiter – in one respect a defence of the ‘greedy capitalist’ – I was looking forward to illustrating an example of how a historically greater measure of liberty enabled the working class to empower themselves and help one another.
Roderick kindly gave his blessing to the project by email before I began in earnest. I very much hope he enjoys the result.
Scroll down for a few remarks about the process of making it and what’s next.
Working with @stephaniemurphy providing the narration (http://www.smvoice.info/) was great. We scheduled a Skype appointment for the recording day so that I could listen in remotely and give direction while she did the takes. While she was recording it became clear that there were some small problems in the script that (despite the many revisions) hadn’t been apparent before. Stephanie gave some great suggestions for fixes that made it into the final recording. Her personal knowledge about, and involvement with mutual aid was apt and helpful.
Matthew Zipkin provided music and sound effects. As ever his versatility and turnaround speed were so helpful.
Checking the creation date of the script document I can see it’s been in production for about one and a half years. Though much of that duration was part-time so it’s hard to say exactly how long it took.
That’s a problem for me. I know that my animation work always takes a tonne of time to complete, but it’d be really helpful if I knew exactly how much, so that I can plan smarter and stand a better chance of avoiding financial trouble. With a young kid to support this problem has gotten more urgent lately.
I’ve tried using traditional time tracking apps in the past but each of them required too much self-discipline and manual interaction for me to use any of them for long. Part way through HGSTHC I discovered using PaymoPlus, a kind of automated time tracking system that tracks the document titles and apps you’re using on your machine. You can set up regex rules on the document titles to automatically assign working time on certain document titles to certain projects. The data is being collected now and I’m happy about the prospect of being able to get a better handle on exactly how much time animation work is costing me in the future.
Even without full time tracking data, I know that I spent a good deal longer on this project than the funding covered – entirely my fault. Lesson: the caution multiplier I used on my initial time estimate wasn’t high enough.
There were problems in the storyboard phase that I didn’t figure out a really solid solution to before moving on to design and animation. That’s a bad idea, ends up costing much more time and wrestling with sub-optimal visuals later on. Lesson: Fix the storyboard first, even when (especially when) it’s a struggle. On the subject of storyboards, there are a couple of very promising looking online tools in the works: http://www.theplot.io/ and https://boords.com/
This was the first time I’ve used a proper video editing software for editing. In my previous projects both compositing and editing was done in after effects. No-Shit-Sherlock-Lesson: Use the right tools for the job, even if you don’t know them yet, it makes things easier.
The way I’m thinking about my next independent project right now, I want to return to something much closer to the feel of George Ought to Help again – a short script that has the viewer agreeing with each claim, and feeling either the discomfort of cognitive dissonance or a little epiphany by the end. I’m looking forward to it!