Hello Interwebs! And welcome to a special edition of our company update. 2022 was a productive year for TPM’s team, so let’s recap the highlights together…
Firstly: let’s break down our work goals from December 2021’s End-of-Year Roundup. We’ve got to hold ourselves accountable for the results, either way…
2021 NEW YEAR’S GOALS
1. Finish and Release Manimal Food.
We, unfortunately, moved no further on this front. But that’s because our release strategy shifted. I guess that still counts as a failure though…
2. Finish and Release PoB 5: The Good, The Bad, and the Aesthetically Impaired
See above goal. Though we did film some PoB 5 re-shoots, which ought to improve the final product for its ultimate release. So we didn’t ignore the film altogether.
3. Expand our network of regular collaborators.
Here’s a major success! Justin is in talks to hire a 3-D model painter for an upcoming film. And I started Close Up with Ryan Walker. We’ve gone 38 episodes strong thus far, and traction has picked up nicely.
4. Maintain a one sketch release per month.
So close! I poured a steady stream of YouTube videos until Fall. But I then began to work full time, and so struggled to balance YouTube with my other projects. Sketches sorta fell by the wayside.
5. Get SOMETHING in ANY film festival.
This one’s a big fail. But we started to film something for next year (which is more than we had in 2021), so fingers crossed.
6. Earn advertising revenue from this website.
I had high hopes for this one. And we gave it a good effort, but our attempts fell flat. This goal will take far longer to achieve than expected.
7. Complete two first drafts for short films.
We got one finished. But not 2, so I’m gonna give a 0.5 point here.
8. Begin an official treatment for Planet of the Beavers: The Video Game.
Success! Though I haven’t looked at it since the start of the year.
9. Complete 1 issue of any comic book series.
We’ve got scripts finished, but still need art. So that’s a fail.
10. Complete a script for an episode/ story of any Audio Drama concept on our list.
Not even close.
TOTAL: 2.5/10 successes in 2022. Ouch! I take solace in the fact that most of our incomplete goals weren’t for lack of trying. A lot of these things we started, and are still developing, but couldn’t finish within the calendar year. So 2022 is arguably better in that regard than 2021, where most of our missed goals weren’t even started.
2022 was, yet again, a better year for concept generation than development. Sometime in Spring I re-trained my mind to see the humor in mundane situations. This prompted a steady stream of ideas for sketch comedies, which we’ll develop in the coming years.
Justin and I heavily researched new avenues for distribution (mainly film festivals), and what to distribute in those places. We especially scrutinized the anatomy of short films– how they’re structured, what award winners look like, and what stories they tell. Our findings proved illuminating! TPM also plans to produce short documentaries for these film festivals, to cast an even wider net on the potential for recognition.
Justin and I settled on a cyclical development format for 2023 and beyond: he’ll be project lead (handling most of pre and post-production) for a short film of his choosing, and I’ll help with production whilst developing a film of my own; I’ll be the lead on my production the next year, and he’ll assist me whilst developing something else; and we’ll continue this cycle for as long as we’re able.
This month I produced 9 original sketches for our YouTube channel: Canada’s President is a Russian Spy, Watch What You Say Around the Winter Soldier, Group Therapy for Movie Quoters, Vaccines Are Not a Conspiracy, Guy Who Won’t Let You Leave a Conversation, The 10 Stages of Being on Hold, Toxic Fans Be Like…, The Cleverest Comment on the Internet, and Cobra Kai Sucks. Most of them went OK, or better. Others left me disappointed with their execution (Canada’s President especially).
A problem with these sketches is that I required second opinions during the production process. For example: I could have used someone during filming, if only to gauge their reactions. If my guest behind the camera chuckles, then maybe what I’m doing is funny; or if they’re stone-faced, then I’m probably too dull. Even that would go a long way to achieving higher quality products.
Still– my progress as a solo film-maker largely improved in 2022. I developed new techniques to shoot by myself with ease (which mostly boiled down to more pre-production prep), played around with green-screening and built my own studio, and generally figured out how to quicken my over-all process.
This fall TPM filmed the long-awaited ending for Planet of the Beavers! We’ve been putting it off for years, but we finally made the time. And we’re excited for you to see it.
Justin and I also took a 3 hour road trip (to a national park) to use its incredible scenery for A Blue Star Apart. Our new equipment, plus the locale, produced the most beautiful imagery we’ve yet made as film-makers.
I haven’t edited videos so consistently since 2013. And all that practice made for quicker turn-arounds than ever (of higher quality than my previous work too)! For example: my editing time on Close Up used to exceed 6 hours; now I’m well under 3, for most episodes. I also discovered improvements for TPM’s ADR/ dubbing process, which will be sure to aid TPM going forward.
I further completed multiple blooper reels for my sketches, which can be found on our the Patreon page (for subscribers)! Some of them arguably surpass the sketches from which they hailed. I can’t guarantee anything for you, but I laugh more.
And Justin has all but finished A Blue Star Apart‘s first scene: the one we filmed in the Dunes. The film still has a ways to go, but we’re trying to keep ahead of the work-load. It’s best to edit as we go.
Close Up With Ryan and Joe is TPM’s biggest, most consistent project of 2022. We began modestly, but soon invested in an RSS feed. And our analytics data shows numbers steadily rising ever since. I’m also pleased to report that Ryan and I have grown through this podcast as well– into better speakers, film critics, and friends. We’re excited to continue our show through 2023!
As ever, we’ve written down lots of ideas, yet made no tangible progress. Art is kinda key for comic books, but we have no time to produce any. So we’ll just keep story-plotting for now.
We’ve also changed our release format strategy for GoG, once more. Our last idea was to make Guild of Gallantry like other superhero universes and release a series of titles for each main hero. Now we’re looking at ONE anthology title (“The Guild of Gallantry”), which covers different heroes and villains with every issue, yet maintains overall story arcs for the world. That’ll keep the book streamlined, give us variety from issue to issue, and won’t stretch us as thin.
-TPM’s Patreon now houses three supporters. THANK YOU Allison, Jessica, and MrWalruss!!!
-I finished the closed-captions on all of TPM’s old videos.
-We successfully expanded our media reach with posts on TikTok and Instagram.
-Justin and I invested a couple thousand dollars (between us) into new audio/visual equipment.
Let’s keep up the good work for 2023, team! And that brings us to our final matter:
THOUGHT PLANE MEDIA’S 2023 GOALS (In no particular order):
1. Release our Planet of the Beavers movie by Jun 10th (the 8th anniversary of the first short film).
2. Release A Blue Star Apart at one or more film festivals.
3. Write and complete pre-production on a short film for 2024 release.
4. Return to writing minimum one article per month that’s NOT a review, or an update.
5. Hire an artist to assist with comic book workload.
6. Invite a guest speaker onto the podcast (could be anybody).
7. Gather some members for a comedy sketch troupe, to aid YouTube channel.
8. Minimum one YouTube sketch per month.
9. Finish the treatment for one of the branching plot-lines of Planet of the Beavers: The Video Game.
10. Complete a treatment for an episode/ story of any Audio Drama concept on our list.
FINAL NOTE: Thank you so much for supporting us through another year! We truly appreciate that you’re willing to spend any of your time with our work. And we aim to give you more going forward! I hope to see you for the remainder of 2023.
This has been TPM’s 2022 roundup. If you have any questions about what I’ve written today, or have something you’d like to see addressed more in-depth in next month’s update, let me know in the comments. Also, if you have any ideas for future articles, or any general questions, let me know that as well. Be sure to like this article on Facebook and share if you enjoyed!
Till next year (or later this year?),