February 2019: The Sudden Filler Street Problem

This is something that last year I considered possible but shrugged off at the time. Perhaps I should have given it more thought, because here we are. Filler Street already trended low as far as view counts went, but “How to Fight your Dragon” hit a new low. “Not even 24 views in 24 hours” low. It’s made me reconsider a lot of things.

While Filler Street was partly meant to experiment, it was also meant to provide easier-to-produce content that I could put out regularly. The ultimate goal there was to grow Starstreak Media as much as possible before Feature Film 2’s announcement and release. But I’ve seen the opposite response, as the subscriber count stalled for several days around the time both Filler Street episodes went up. I don’t mind that I’m losing some subscribers—it’s expected given my year and a half of inactivity—but it was much more pronounced there. Combined with the lack of views, it became clear people didn’t care about Filler Street. So the question became, did I care about it?

I haven’t mentioned it before but I’m a huge fan of Nintendo’s Metroid franchise. Coincidentally, the day “How to Fight your Dragon” was the same day Nintendo announced that they were restarting *Metroid Prime 4* from scratch. The game wasn’t meeting expectations, so rather than push out a poor or mediocre product, they chose to delay development so they could publish something they were proud of.

I’m not proud of Filler Street the way I am about Last Stand or Knightrise or The Dust of Ormiin. It existed to provide content, but it was content that neither viewers nor myself cared enough about. With that in mind, I think it’s time for Filler Street as it was originally intended to end.

The production I’ve already completed won’t go to waste. My new plan is to film the end of the Cold Trail story arc and then produce all remaining Filler Street content as a single video. That way it’s just one more video for people who don’t care about it to skip over and it doesn’t dominate content on my channel. This does mean that two+ videos per month is no longer feasible. One each month is the best I can see happening at this point. Unfortunate, but…

YouTube channels are defined by the majority of their content. And if the majority of my content is filler, what’s the point? I would rather make every video a quality piece worth clicking on instead of mediocre content worth skipping. And without the pressure and time commitment of a new video every week, I can shift the effort and energy that would have been given to Filler Street into short films and Feature Film 2.

Sorry Paul Brickman, but I have bigger fish to fry.

-mysteriouspi

Director of Starstreak Media

Breakdown: The Dust of Ormiin

This is the short film that I animated just after publishing the finale of Knightrise then burned out on. I sat on it for some time before coming back to finish post-production. This proved beneficial: I put a lot of time and effort into the editing and it really paid off. In fact, I’d argue this is my best work so far. So where did it come from? (Spoilers coming so watch the film first!)

Near the end of Knightrise’s post-production I took an Energy and Society class whose final project included a creative work, intended to accompany and expand on the research paper. My paper was about the positive and negative impacts of nuclear power plants on local communities. Unsurprisingly, I decided to make my creative work a film. I submitted the first draft of the screenplay to my professor and told her I intended to produce it. “You know the script is more than sufficient, yes?” Indeed I did, but what’s the point if I don’t overdo it? On the due date I presented my paper and “The Tarnished World of Oormine,” an early version of the short with minimal special effects and no music or sound effects, only voice lines.

While the short film originally focused on the same topic as my paper, the theme quickly morphed into something else: mishandling any energy source devastates local communities. Settlement 490 was already exposing the nearby Ormian village to harmful radiation. But by pursing profits over safety, Covup enabled disaster for both the Ormians and Settlement 490. Proper management of the situation would have prevented the disaster, but EnCorp should have been more cognizant of the local Ormian village in the first place.

I gave this film my all, especially in post-production. Color correction and dust clouds transformed Ormiin into an unforgiving world. Light placement granted life to Settlement 490 and the Ormian village, illuminating them in the darkness. Moving Covup’s space shuttle with LEGO rigs wasn’t exactly smooth, but careful masking of the rigs made the shuttle fit seamlessly into its environments. And for the first time I experimented with balancing my audio between stereo speakers.

A clearer look at Covup trying to reach Settlement 490.

Here Covup is standing on the same pair of baseplates as the miniature version of Settlement 490 seen when Covup lands on Ormiin and after the explosion. To make Settlement 490 look large far away, I adjusted the depth of field so the settlement was blurry and placed some big ugly rock pieces between it and Covup. Darkening the set and adding special effects sold the illusion, though in my opinion I overdid the lighting.

Settlement 490 looks convincingly distant, if a bit too dark.

With the time and effort required to produce The Dust of Ormiin, it is unlikely I will produce more than a couple more films of this caliber (or at least, of both this caliber and length) this year. But it is a new standard that I will strive to meet and exceed as often as possible. I love telling impactful stories such as this and I hope you enjoy watching them just as much. Until next time,

-mysteriouspi

Director of Starstreak Media