November 2007 Newsletter

From Animusic director Wayne Lytle

Hi,

I’ve been elected to write this month’s newsletter directly, rather than by a group of us. It’s been quite a while since our last newsletter, so I’ll try to catch you up on things…

OfficeWe’ve been doing well enough to move into some really nice office/studio space, and are looking to hire some more people for the team.

But what a lot of people would like to know is: How is Animusic 3 coming along? (“When is your next DVD coming out?”)…

We are in production. There are all kinds of designs all over our offices, hundreds of pages of drawing, notes, and various models and prototypes. We have 8 music animations in development, each with working titles such as “Sonic Warfare”, “Paddle Ball”, and “Super Pipe Dream”. What will they be called on the final DVD? Who knows…that usually isn’t decided until we’re doing the final mixes and cover art.

Besides Animusic 3 production, we’ve also been (overly) busy with marketing, promotion (including a few TV appearances), and distribution of our first 2 DVDs, including some international stuff that we’ll announce when appropriate. But, actually….here’s what we’ve been spending the majority of time on…

We have completely rebuilt ANIMUSIC|studio (our internal production software) from the ground up. Although most experts say (and they’re probably right) that completely starting over on a major software application is just about never the right thing to do, sometimes it really is. In this case we felt that it was a worthy investment.

So, was it? How did it come out? Well….our new production system is so cool I can hardly sit still. We really went way beyond our original plan. Sometimes it almost feels like we could just turn a crank and watch music animation come out the other end. However close we get to that ideal, I think it’s been totally worth it….and a fun ride (writing C++ code is my favorite thing to do -- sometimes I wonder if I should be embarrassed to admit that, or just stand up and say “Hi, My name is Wayne. I’m a total geek.”). Dave and Wayne

Anyway, Dave and I joke about ANIMUSIC|studio being so advanced that it will have a giant button labeled “Make Animusic 3 DVD”…we’ll push it, come back in a few months and watch our new DVD. Well, it’s not quite that advanced -- still lots of human creativity and effort is required. But the flow is such that creativity can happen more fluidly without having to fight the technology quite so hard. The answer to the question “How does this instrument look playing these notes?” comes back to us much faster than before. That’s a good thing.

Some of you may be wondering if ANIMUSIC|studio will be a product soon (we are asked this not too infrequently). I wish I could say that was part of our immediate plans, but it really isn’t – for several reasons. First, our mission is to produce music animation content, not sell computer software. Another factor is that (even though I designed several generations of music animation software over 18 years or so), half the time I can hardly understand how it works myself (“Who wrote this thing?... I did?? Are you sure?”). Then I imagine trying to explain it to other users, writing manuals and tutorials, providing support. Nope, that’s not something we’re ready to jump into for a while.

But some day? No promises, but I would love to share some form of ANIMUSIC|studio with people, when the time is right. Right now, our focus needs to remain on getting more music animation out on DVD, and doing it in a way that allows us to live slightly more normal lives, spending a little more time with our families. I think we’re making progress in that area! (I hear there’s still progress to be made, though?).

And so (back to Animusic 3 production)… Yes, it’s coming along -- it’s Priority #1! Sometimes I feel like this could very well be our best work yet (and other times I have less-optimistic artist-thoughts, which we’ll skip for now). But probably when it ships we’ll be happy (and fried), and hopefully you all will send more nice emails.

So many people have said encouraging things: like how much their kids love Animusic or how cool it looks on their mega-trillion-watt 200” LCD screen…or whatever...Well, thank you. That is very encouraging, and helps remind us why we’re doing this, and who we’re doing this for. We’ll try to hurry along…

Thanks again,

Wayne


 

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