Another Magazine Interview, The latest one, and a Near Death Experience.

Hi there, everyone....apologies for the lateness of this blog, I was somewhat incapacitated, but I'll go into that a little later.


 

Another Interview

A Manga serialization magazine from America recently interviewed me regarding the Millennium Exile project...that makes 2 Interviews in as many weeks :)

The magazine is called "Saturday AM" and is an amazing publication in which talented artists from outside of Japan come together to get serialized in hopes of getting their work out into the world.
The magazine really is quite amazing as it sports an array of extremely talented artists with some exceptional stories to tell. 

This interview was extremely interesting to say the least as the questions were so well thought through and cleverly written. 
It really shows the passion and respect the author must have for Anime and for those attempting to get noticed by the industry. 

I'll be sure to link you all to the issue with my Interview however unlike the Gametraders magazine, you will need to purchase a subscription.
$1.99 for a single issue or $5.00 a year for so much content,what a bargain!




 

Gametraders magazine Interview

The Interview with Gametraders magazine released and it looks awesome!
I recently posted this on the Millennium Exile Facebook page however I thought I would link it here for anyone who may have missed it.

Click below to read the full article:





A Near Death Experience

A few days ago I was involved in a rather serious car accident. I was driving at 60 kph when a car left it's lane and crossed into mine, causing a near head-on collision. 

My car did not have airbags and I hit the steering wheel with such force that I broke the drive shaft, pushing the wheel upwards and into the windscreen. 

I was rushed to the hospital with suspected internal bleeding, broken bones and a fractured spine.
Amazingly however and after extensive testing and scans, none of these were present within my body and I was left with severe whiplash, bruising and swelling. 
I't been a tough few days to say the least with making call after call, attempting to get back on the road and find the sense of normality I possessed before the accident.

I'm having to get an ultrasound today to check that all my organs are still functioning properly so fingers crossed.


 

Side Note: I was the Green Car with the Gurren Lagann Signage on it...

Trying to stay in high spirits on a very uncomfortable ride in the ambulance.

 Day One

Day One

 Day Two

Day Two

 Day Three

Day Three

Here is the dash-cam footage of the accident.
It was captured by another motorist waiting at the intersection and provided to me.
In an attempt to keep my sense of humor, I made a few edits to keep things light-hearted.

Well, that's about it for another blog. 
Apologies for a lack on content this week however I'm sure many of you will understand given my recent circumstances.

Until next week - Stay Safe on the roads these holidays!

Newest artwork & Anime Figure Photography - Shameless Self Promotion!

Another week, another blog.
This week I'll be sharing with you my newest piece for the upcoming demo reel and some of my Anime toy photography.

Shall we?


 

Newest Artwork:

The newest still from Millennium Exile's upcoming demo reel is out. In this image, we see a group of people walking in a crowded area. This is to illustrate that the Meisters of our story walk among regular people and are in-fact still a normal part of society.   

Spot a familiar person? :p


 

Anime Toy Photography

For those who may not know me all too personally, I am a photographer. Real Estate photography is the means in which I earn my weekly wage , however I absolutely LOVE taking photo's of nature, animals and scenery...but none more so than Toy photography.

Being the Anime fan that I am of course  means that Anime collectibles are my predominant focus when I'm behind the camera :) 

Please see below for some examples of my work.

Now this certainly isn't all of my work, but more of a few of my highlighted and more popular images.

While I enjoy setting up the studio, firing up the lights and doing some product photography by a standard practice, I also enjoy getting out and setting up the figures for some environment shots.  I feel that these shots can often (and if done right) lead to capturing the emotion and characteristics of the subject.

Should you want to see more of my catalog, please feel free to check out my Flickr gallery or swing by Finchzero Photography on IG & Facebook. 

Facebook: 
https://www.facebook.com/finchzerophotography/

IG:
finchzero_photography

Flickr:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/102896696@N06/

Flirckr is a fantastic source of brilliant photography as it contains hundreds of thousands of groups - all dedicated to specific types and styles of photography including toys!
There is a vast range of amazing talent on this page and can often be a great source of inspiration so I would highly recommend you check it out :)


For me, toy and figure photography is another way of expressing my passion for Anime.
Maybe if you guys are interested, I can do a blog on the toy photography process :) 

So tell me, what do you like to do to express your passions?

I hope you enjoyed this weeks little blog.
Until next week, stay frosty and stay safe throughout the holiday season.

MillEx: Artwork updates, Edits & One Less Artist....

Howdy all, I hope this week has been good to you :)

My day job has kept me extremely busy (I'm a photographer & running my own business), it's currently summer here in Australia and looking to be one our hottest ones yet!
I was bitten by a dog today which was only a very small laceration however I did have to receive a Tetanus needle just to be safe....my arms feeling pretty sore :(

 Anyways enough about me and onto the Millennium Exile stuff:

 

Working on a project such as this, I am given the awesome chance to work with some amazingly talented artists from around the world, many of whom I befriend on a personal level.
One artist in particular has been working with me on MillEx for a number of years, I will not go into specifics but I loved his art style and he was not only an artist to me but also a dear friend. Unfortunately a few issues arose for this artist on a personal level that eventually began to affect his performances professionally. 
After almost 2 years however, these issues could not be mitigated and after lengthy consideration, the decision was made to cease any and all collaboration with him....it's a sad day indeed. 
This has been the main reason that Hary has had to pick up some of the slack and start drawing for the demo reel which in turn, takes him away from the awesome character artwork I used to release so often. 

Again though - the amazing Hary has decided to step up and continue working where the other artist left off. This will still mean that character artwork will be on hold, however I am currently re-planning the demo reel's final stage to make up for having one less artist. 
I am also reaching out to a few other talents around the world in search of someone who may be able to fill in and get Hary back to the character art ASAP.

All in all it's been a fairly hectic and turbulent time :(

 

 

 

Hary completed another piece for the demo reel so this week, I thought I would show the the steps that go into the commission process to show you how a piece evolves along the way :)

The brief should be an explanation of what it is exactly that you would like from the artist. It can be as detailed or simplistic as you want however it will be your responsibility to ensure that you have communicated properly with the artist. 
Also, it's sometimes a good idea to allow the artist to flex their creativity...this can often lead to some amazing results!

For this image in particular I did not see it necessary to provide any initial designs for the characters as their specific appearance was somewhat irrelevant. Usually for a character, I would provide a concept design along with the descriptive brief however in this instance, the brief was as follows:

"For this image I would like 8 mages, all dressed in identical (or very similarly styled) robes.
Their faces can be covered as their identities are not overly relevant and should add to the mystery of the piece."
"I would also like them to be casting magic please."

At this point, you should also be requesting a rough draft (or several) in order to ascertain the artists direction before putting in all the hard work.
This helps to shape your expectations as well as improving upon your communication with the artist. 
This stage can  also prevent him/her from spending enormous amounts of time to possibly produce the wrong results.

 Draft 1:

Draft 1:

 Draft 2: The one I ended up picking.

Draft 2: The one I ended up picking.

Depending on the artist, or if you have specifically requested it, the artist should now be providing you with an idea of the color palette they are using. 
This step helps to give both yourself and the artist an idea of the feeling and the vibe this piece will likely give off.
You can always provide this information in the initial brief also however a final approval is usually best.

Don't forget that between these steps that there is always a waiting period. If you know the artist well then you may not feel the need however negotiating a deadline can often be beneficial.  
At the end of it all though, you should be presented with an amazing piece of artwork :)

Now you 'may' want to take this up with your artist however I personally enjoy tweaking, editing and putting the final touches on a pieces should I have decided on a creative change.
In this situation I decided to highlight each of the mages a different color to emphasize the different class they each were responsible for making. 
I also made lighting& shadow changes and added some extra effects!

Well, that's it from me this week. 
I hope you all stay safe and have some amazing fortune ahead of you :) 
Until next time Space Cowboys!

The Death of Anime?

Weather it be One Piece, Naruto, Tokyo Ghoul or the classics such as Ninja Scroll and Ghost in the Shell; we love our Anime in one form or another.

Well, what if I were to tell you that the anime industry was going to die?, or even more baffling, that we may be experiencing the death of it right now?

Back in 2015 Hideaki Anno, creator of the renowned Neon Genesis Evangelion, was interviewed by Russian journalists from RIA Novosti. He explained that “Japanese animation is in decline", and that “It has already peaked", going on to prophecise  that we will likely see a resurgence...a rebirth if you will (pun intended) however that it's "only a matter of time" before we witness the death of Anime.

Anno goes on to explain that we will likely see this death and rebirth throughout the Anime industry within the next 5 years, and that “Japan will no longer be the center of world animation”.

Anime has never been more popular throughout the western world as it is today.
When my generation grew up, we watched shows such as Astroboy, Macross and Dragonball. However we only identified them as 'cartoons' back then, with very little knowledge of the titles origins. 
Many children today however are growing up with the likes of One Piece, Bleach and Naruto just to name a few; but what's more is that they understand that it's an Anime...and that Anime comes from Japan. They can identify and differentiate Anime through it's varied styles and story from that of say; 'Ben 10'. Most youth can even surprise you with detailed knowledge of the directors and studios in which these titles were made. 
On average, the children of the 90's through to now, have a much more coherent understanding of what Anime is compared to the children of the 70's and 80's. 

That's large in part because the industry has been around for a long time and has carved out a name for itself and become more established.
It's a simple notion really, the longer something stay's relevant and popular, the easier it is to be identified by the general public.

But, does that rise in popularity mean Anime is capable of dying? I believe so.

Anime took the world by storm by expressing that 'cartoons' don't have to be just for children. We saw this in titles such as The Guyver, Ghost in the Shell, Ninja Scroll, Street Fighter The Animated movie, First of the North Star and so on. However once that message had been successfully relayed, what next? Well, the Anime industry began producing extremely original content, shows that were dark and gritty, light hearted, yet meaningful, comedic yet so very serious. These stories manifested themselves within titles such as Anno's Evangelion, Cowboy Bebop, Wolf's Rain, Agento Soma, Samurai Champloo, Full Metal Alchemist etc. 

But do you ever wonder why there is inherently more shows now containing panty shots and half naked high-school girls with physic defying breasts bouncing around the place as there was in Anime 15 years ago? 

Unfortunately we just don't see that same level of originality, passion or thoughtfulness behind works coming out today,
Very few shows are being created with the love and passion they deserve because at the end of the day, regardless of where your heart lies it's still a business and needs to make money.

Being that episodes can just be downloaded off the Internet or streamed via online services, DVD and Bluray sales are at an all time low. Thus, many studio's feel it necessary to really push stories that can sell a lot of other merchandise in order to get a return on the money it cost to develop the show. (Model kits are basically the reason why we will never see the Gundam franchise go out of business any time soon)
This eventually pigeon holes and restrains the creative processes and reduces a studio's vision to that of just making money however they can.

This also usually takes the form of the 'sex sells' mentality, thus the overly saturated seasons of fan service Anime we get bombarded by.
I mean, sure, there has always been fan service and nudity in Anime, don't get me wrong.
But my point is that it wasn't always so ridiculous, nor was it everywhere like it is today.

Working conditions are also to blame, with extreme levels of stress being placed upon animators, unreasonably long working hours and financial instabilities.
One anonymous ex-employee of an Anime studio went on to share his experience with the world that "There are many who suffer from mental stress mainly caused by lack of money." and that "The income of an employee is small with the annual income of a first year earning a little over 2,000,000 yen." 
That's roughly $24,000 AUD or $18,000 USD per annum for working 12 - 14 hour days.

Given all of these factors and many more, it becomes very apparent that the Anime industry in it's current form is not sustainable, giving much more credibility (or rather educating us more so) to Anno's claims.


To surmise, I personally believe that the "best of Anime" is behind us...all the great titles that were made with love and passion have all been made, leaving those responsible exhausted, stressed and underwhelmed due to the toll the industry has had on them. 
That's not to say that 'all' Anime are shallow and failing. 
We still see a very high caliber of quality and love coming from studios like Ufotable, Production I.G, BONES and Madhouse, but unfortunately those titles are few and far between, with the shallow 'cash cowing' and 'sex sells' mentality fast becoming the norm within the industry. 

I can only hope that as I endeavour to take Millennium Exile to Japan for Anime adaptation, that Anno's prediction of a "rebirth" is accurate.
My wish is to break down the borders and boundaries set by conventional methods so that love, respect and hard work can allow for creations within the industries we love.

That being said however, it's not like we can all just keep the industry alive through sheer force of will, please...if you are passionate about Anime, then please support it by purchasing official merchandise, especially the DVD and Bluray releases.
I can understand that you may not all have much money, but it's not about the individual putting in hundreds of thousands of dollars each week, but more the individual giving what they can to support the industry they love.
While there is nothing legally wrong with have a steaming service subscription, please also consider giving back a bit more whenever you can and from official distributors. A little from each fan goes a long way, however piracy and bootleg's hurt the very backbone of the industry we claim to love so much.
 

Magazine Interview, Demo Reel Progress & more!

Howdy everyone! I hope this blog finds you once again in good health :)
Let's jump right into things shall we?

Magazine Interview:

Early last week I received an awesome message of support from an Australian Anime & Gaming company, Gametraders. They requested an interview in order to publish a piece on Millennium Exile in their next online publication of "Live" magazine.
This was an amazing offer as any form of love towards the project is appreciated, but also goes towards further exposure in order to bring it to the attention of more and more Anime fans. 

I have been sent the final draft of the interview and it's a fantastic read...not too mention they are running a competition to win a Millennium Exile mounted print! 
The issue with the interview has not yet gone live (pun completely intended), however I will provide a link in another blog post upon it's release.

Demo Reel Progress & Update:


As usual, the demo reel has been eating up a lot of time and resources which makes it tough on you guys because it's hard to share everything that's going on.

This is because the demo reel will not be released to the public or uploaded anywhere online. This is largely due to it being for studio pitch only and offers up quite a lot of extra information about the story. Not too mention that the demo has been professionally dubbed by Anime voice actors in the United States.
It sucks I know, but it's hard on me too that the best part of my project is a part that I can't show to you, so please be patients guys...I'll always share whatever I can in bits a pieces.

Hary - The main artist for the character introductory pieces has been brought on to the demo reel to help out as another artist has been unwell for some time and unable to draw. 
A couple more pieces to go and Hary will be back in his usual seat, belting out more of my character designs, I promise ;)

Marcos has also been brought into the project as the new colorist for the demo reel in order to help take some strain off other artists and to hopefully expedite the whole process.

Speaking of which, here is a work in progress of a still from the demo reel :)
This image depicts the ancient mages congregating and pooling their powers together, in order to create the great meister classes from the stories mythos.

  The image still a work in progress so stay tuned to the Facebook page for regular updates also.

The image still a work in progress so stay tuned to the Facebook page for regular updates also.

Please find links below to Hary and Marcos' Deviantart pages for more of their work:
http://the-hary.deviantart.com/
http://eroishi.deviantart.com/

Donations & Shout Outs:

As many of you may (or may not) know, Millennium Exile is open to donations.
This is to allow for anyone wanting to show their support in the form of financial contribution towards paying for further artwork. Originally it wasn't even my idea, although it was only after popular demand that I opened up the project to donations...it would seem that many of you were keen to put a little something towards seeing Millennium Exile made into an Anime and I thank you all.

This week in particular, I would like to personally give a whole hearted thank you to Tristan Woodington and Mohammed Anbari for their donations in the last week.
Your contributions will be put 100% towards new artwork and you guys will be tagged and thanked again when the imagery you helped paid for is released online :)
(Should you wish to donate towards MillEx, just hit the "shop now" button on the Facebook page).

Another big shout out goes to the Username "Skullcandyywho shared out the Millennium Exile project of his or her own free will on forums around the Internet in order to bring more (positive) attention towards MillEx.
Your awesomeness is much appreciated and goes a long way to getting Millennium Exile noticed by the right people.

Thank you :)

Anime at Abbotsford features Millennium Exile!

Social Media Feature:
*****************************
Last Sunday morning, Sydney Anime super-store " Anime at Abbotsford" contacted me, requesting information of the project and ended up featuring the Millennium Exile project on their Facebook page.

Their post was encouraging and shared out the project to their fans and customers alike, many of whom were full of encouragement.

A@A host many public events such as trade days and barbecues and also ships with amazing prices with an A+ service.
So if you live in Australia, please consider checking out their store:

https://www.facebook.com/AnimeAtAbbotsford/

Stay tuned for more MillEx news!