February 2020: I will not juggle

“Keep it simple, stupid.”

Probably should have written this a little sooner in the month, but too late for that! Here are some updates on Starstreak Media and our projects.

THAC XVII: I did not meet my goal of not staying up late for the Twenty-Four Hour Animation Contest, but did produce a much shorter entry than last year, one I like better than the first. Watch it above!

COPPA: It’s been six weeks or so since the COPPA changes took hold on YouTube and my channel. So where are we at?

  • Comments are gone. ūüė¶ Fortunately I saved almost all of them before they were purged from YouTube.
  • Revenue has plummeted (from a measly amount to even less; I wasn’t making my living off YouTube in the first place!).
  • Viewership is holding steady.
  • Subscriber gain has improved: it was caught in a slump for a while, where I ended up with a net loss of 30 subscribers over three months. By what I assume is coincidence, it recovered to a normal 50-100 subscribers gained per month around the same time as the COPPA changes.

The Last Mecha: Progress has been a little slow, unfortunately. I don’t enjoy sound design as much my other animation duties, but it has been taking a lot longer than initially expected because I’m not willing to half-heart it. I want it to sound good; at least better than my previous work. After that I still have to compose some amount of music for it. The release date has turned into “when it’s done;”hopefully April or May? If I weren’t filming so much I’d have more time, but…

2021 Short Film: I’m now on the third setpiece of the film, filming my fourth scene. It’s a pretty short one so shouldn’t take long, but I have two more scenes to do on this set before building the fourth.

Feature Film 2: I did finish filming the third of those preceding short films I mentioned in the January update. However, I think I’m going to prioritize The Last Mecha and the 2021 short film for now. There’s little sense juggling too many projects at once, except at the rare times it is advantageous to do so. Right now is not that time; finishing those two shorts will give me the momentum needed to jump into Feature Film 2 when the time is right. Rather optimistically, I’m trying to make that August…

-mysteriouspi

Starstreak Media

January 2020: The Year(s) Ahead

So we’re in a new decade, I guess. That’s cool.

I’ve been hard at work behind the scenes, so let me recap where Starstreak Media is at now compared to September.

General: It took a lot longer than I expected to get filming back underway. The new filming table and other furniture took a while to come in, and I had lots of organization to do before making use of it. I finally began filming again in mid-September. I’ve done some post-production here and there as well after upgrading my computer in October, but not as much as I would have liked to.

YouTube and COPPA: Given the nature of my content, I set Starstreak Media’s YouTube channel to “made for kids” even though I don’t specifically write for an audience under 13 years of age. This means I’ll lose comments, some degree of discoverability, and much of my already-meager revenue in the coming days. To make up for the second of these I’m posting most of my films on Bricks in Motion, where they can be commented on in the forums if anyone chooses to do so. These are unfortunate changes, though, and I hope YouTube works hard to improve the platform for “made for kids” creators this year.

Unsorted and The Upgrade-O-Matic: Released October 4 and December 6, respectively. Neither was a demanding project, so they didn’t take too many resources away from other plans. Just fun little shorts to carry Starstreak Media into 2020.

Filler Street: Dead in the water. There was way too much work left to do for a project far below my current standards. I wasn’t enjoying working on it either. For what I initially envisioned to fill space between more serious projects, it was taking too much time and effort. I would rather those resources go to films I care about more.

THAC XVII: I’m excited to say I’ll be participating in the Twenty-Four Hour Animation Contest again this year. My goal is to get a good night of sleep, so I’ll be trying to avoid a time-consuming entry like three-minute Seeking the Surface from last year (which was submitted in the final hour of the competition, haha).

The Last Mecha: Filming was completed October 2 and the film has been in post-production since. Visual effects are complete but I have yet to start work on sound design. The plan has been to publish the teaser trailer in February and the film itself in March, but these could be pushed back depending on how much work I get done (or rather, don’t get done) in the next two months. I am excited to complete it and show it off, though.

2021 Short Film: We’re playing the long game. I began filming my next big short on November 9. Only one scene has been shot so far, but it’s a long scene that comprises a significant portion of the film. Ideally filming will be complete by the end of April, but May or June are more realistic completion windows. I’m targeting this one for release in February 2021. Unlike other projects, this release window is immovable and I need to do my best to hit it. The why of this will become clear when the film is revealed…

Feature Film 2: We’re playing the longer game. Filming of Feature Film 2 has been underway since October 16…sort of. Multiple shorts precede Feature Film 2 and are what I’ve actually been filming (currently working on the third of four), but they’re still part of the Feature Film 2 project. The vast majority of work on Feature Film 2 will begin once those four shorts and Short Film 2021 are done being filmed. Right now I have no release window and won’t have one for a long time. I’m not going to do what I did with Knightrise and promise date after date that I can’t stick to. But it will be worth the wait.

That’s everything. Looking back on 2019 for just a moment, I’m easily most proud of The Dust of Ormiin. It set a new standard for my projects, one I hope to meet or exceed with The Last Mecha and following projects. But until those release, it’s back to work for me. Same shooting, different decade.

-mysteriouspi

Starstreak Media

September 2019: I like to move it

Since the last time I posted, I’ve had a few teeny tiny life events happen:

  • I organized nearly the entirety of my LEGO parts collection
  • I got married
  • I moved

Like I said, tiny things. They came at the cost of a few months of animation work, but that’s to be expected. There is good news too: organizing my LEGO parts makes it much easier for me to build new set pieces, and moving into a new home allowed me to create a more useful animation space.

During that time, I managed to film the majority of my upcoming short The Last Mecha and got some post-production done on other projects. Unsorted and The Upgrade-O-Matic are already complete, and Filler Street is currently undergoing post-production (filming is complete, fortunately). With that in mind, here’s my new anticipated release schedule:

  • Oct 2019: Unsorted
  • Nov: The Upgrade-O-Matic (or Filler Street if I complete it early)
  • Dec: Filler Street (or The Upgrade-O-Matic)
  • Jan 2020: THAC XVII if I am able to enter
  • Mar: The Last Mecha

I’ve anything but forgotten Feature Film 2. It has a few related and preceding projects, work on which will begin at the end of October(!) according to my current schedule. Production of the film itself is still several months off from that, but it’s exciting to finally be moving in that direction.

Before then, however, my focus is on finishing up Filler Street completely and finishing production on The Last Mecha. If all goes well, shooting will resume in a couple days. Until next time,

-mysteriouspi

Starstreak Media

May 2019: Let’s recap a bit, shall we?

Hey all,

I’ve been a little more quiet than anticipated. Apologies for that. But for once, it’s not because I haven’t gotten much done. Here’s a few recent highlights.

Let’s get this out of the way: even one video per month is not happening, haha. Stop motion takes an immense amount of time in a world where I have less and less. I can only justify so many projects now. But that’s ok, because it means I can pour my heart and soul into what I create. That being said, I do have three projects filmed and in various states of post-production, one that has just started filming… And one that will start soon. More on that in a moment.

I finally got a new camera: the Canon EOS Rebel T7, which has now replaced my Nikon Coolpix P7000. This upgrade grants me greater resolution, better image quality, interchangeable lenses, live view, and more. It’s been a lot of fun to film with so far. I also picked up two vintage Nikon lenses, a 35mm and a 55mm macro. I haven’t used them near as much as the T7 itself but they already seem better than the kit lens that came with my camera.

And the biggest news: Feature Film 2’s screenplay is complete. Done. Whole. Five drafts in, the details are set in stone and ready to enter production. That isn’t happening immediately because I have another project to finish filming first, but it won’t be too much longer. Give it a month or three.

With these points in mind, I feel comfortable giving a rough outline for the next three-quarters of a year:

  • June: Unsorted LEGO
  • August: Filler Street: Cold Trail and Other Nonsense
  • October: The Upgrade-O-Matic
  • February: The Last Mecha

I know it’s a more sparse calendar than desirable, but this is 100% to get Feature Film 2 off the ground and into production. I’m so excited to get it into a revealable state and show you what I’ve been dreaming up for years. Until next time,

-mysteriouspi

Starstreak Media

March 2019: Goals

Straight to the point, I’d like to accomplish a few goals this year and beyond. Those goals changed in scope after I demoted Filler Street from a regular series, but not in spirit.

  • Grow¬†the¬†YouTube¬†channel: A pretty obvious one. I’d like to primarily work toward increasing average view counts on each video as well as the number of subscribers to the channel.
  • Publish content regularly: My original goal was to publish either weekly or twice per month. But having decided to cut Filler Street’s original plans, that is completely unfeasible now. I do want to publish content regularly still, so maybe once a month? Potentially difficult, but realistic if I’m not constantly working on Filler Street anyway.
  • Present content professionally: You’ll notice all my 2019 videos feature my new logo as well as as a new end screen with cards linking to other videos. I’ve also made new custom thumbnails for all videos to improve first impressions. This should hopefully help with the first goal.
  • Improve my animation skills: I’ve become more than proficient with editing (as The Dust of Ormiin shows wonderfully), but my actual animation skills have plateaued for a while and need improvement. While my number one focus will always be stories themselves, I’d like to improve their presentation as much as reasonably possible.
  • Experiment: Try new animation and editing techniques. Without Filler Street as a regular series, this goal shifts to the shorts I put out this year.
  • Have fun: What’s the point if I don’t enjoy every second of this?

I want Starstreak Media’s 2019 to be great for all of you, and for myself as well. As nice as weekly or twice-monthly content would have been, shifting to monthly at most will ensure the best quality I can give all of us.

-mysteriouspi

Director at Starstreak Media

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‚ÄĒit’s expected given my year and a half of inactivity‚ÄĒbut 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

January 2019: We’re Back, Baby!

It’s like those multiple other times I said Starstreak Media would relaunch, except it’s actually happening. But of course it’s early in the year and only one video is up yet. So what’s the difference this time?

There’s actual material ready. Lots of videos and lots of WIP videos. Of course that raises another question: why make you wait? Why not release the currently ready videos now?

My major goal for Starstreak Media this year is to build momentum: I really want to try a regular upload schedule for once. In general it’s a better growth strategy than releasing videos sporadically, and I want to see where that takes us this year. I’m starting with a video each week (yikes) for a while and will eventually transition to 2/month once 1/week is no longer feasible. Videos will release Fridays 2:00 PM EST, and only on the first and third Friday of each month once uploads slow down. I’m “guaranteeing” (outside of something catastrophic happening) 1/week videos through March. Whether that will continue past this depends on how many videos I have ready and my rate of production during the first quarter of this year.

So what can you look forward to in the coming weeks?

  • Jan 4: New channel trailer (already online, check it out below!)
  • Jan 11: My THAC XVI entry, made in only 24 hours
  • Jan 18: Filler Street Episode 3
  • Jan 25: Filler Street Episode 4
  • Feb 1: A brand-new short film (teased in the new channel trailer…)

I’m very excited about the last of these as I believe it’s my best work yet. Hope that gets you anywhere near as excited as I am! See you again soon,

-mysteriouspi

October 2018: The Purposes of Filler Street

Let’s talk Filler Street more. If all goes according to plan, it will comprise the majority of Starstreak Media’s output in 2019 (and some time past that). Two episodes were uploaded last year but I took a big-ol’ break after finishing Knightrise Part 13, so it’s been a while.

Filler Street fulfills three purposes:

  1. To provide regular content while I work on larger and more serious projects in the background.¬†Knightrise is an excellent example of how long a large project like a film can take me. I don’t want to spend so much time on large projects but provide nothing in the meantime. Just look at the series’s name: Filler Street will act as filler between large projects. My largest current project still has at least a year before filming starts, so thats’ plenty of time to build a backlog.
  2. To provide a testing ground for equipment and techniques.¬†While I can test with more important projects, I’d rather not if I don’t have to. Filler Street provides a good testing outlet for film techniques and camera settings by comparison. If it doesn’t go well, not a big loss.
  3. To serve as my comedic work.¬†All of the bigger projects I have planned are essentially dramas. They can have funny moments but are not primarily written in that vein. Filler Street is therefore an outlet for my rather…interesting sense of humor. I think they’ll be funny to the majority as well, just not in the same way as other content typically on YouTube.

Don’t misunderstand: Filler Street is not something I’m throwing together just for the sake of having content. I want it to be enjoyable like any other content I put out there. It will even have an overarching plot. But it’s not the main event for Starstreak Media. More grandiose projects will always hold that spot.

Still, I look forward to showcasing new episodes next year. Until next time,

-mysteriouspi

September 2018: 10K and The Rebranding

This all happened months ago before I resumed communication so you’ll have to forgive me for the delay in announcement. Starstreak Media reached 10000 subscribers as of May 23, 2018. Personally that’s nothing short of incredible. I remember getting excited about 100 back in 2011, and then 1000 back in 2013, so this is huge by comparison. I’m excited that so many people want to see more work from Starstreak Media. Thanks to each and every one of you.

As for rebranding, I changed the name of the YouTube channel from “mysteriouspi” to “Starstreak Media.” It reinforces the name of the company and is frankly less annoying to remember. Very shortly after I updated the logo everywhere. Previously it was a photoshopped picture of a galaxy, not terribly original. The new logo stands out as unique to Starstreak Media. Check the website or the YouTube banner to see! There’s even an animated version that will play at the beginning of more substantial videos in the future.

How’s video progress? Filler Street is going quite well. I didn’t cover what my progress was in the previous update, so here’s where I’m at overall since uploading the first two episodes in 2017:

  • Episodes 003-014, 016-017 filmed.
  • Episodes 015, 018-031, 033, 036-037, 039, 042, 045, 048, 051, 054, 057, 060 written.

No filmed episodes have been completed yet because I haven’t yet done voice acting for any of them. I intend to sit down and marathon voice recording for as many as possible sometime this month.

Filler Street is set on the sidewalk of the Modular Buildings line. I only owned Detective’s Office way back when I conceptualized and filmed the first two episodes (this was in 2015) but the next 10 also feature Pet Shop and Palace Cinema. I’ve had up to three others (Parisian Restaurant, Brick Bank, and Downtown Diner) for a while but never replaced their tiled sidewalks with studded plates, which makes it much easier to animate minifigures. I finally took the liberty of ordering the parts to do so in August and got them into the rotation starting with episode 014. They’ll bring a lot more color than the shades of blues and browns from the other buildings.

Until next time,

-mysteriouspi

August 2018: What do you mean it’s not January 2017?

Look over there, it’s that thing that happens to 99% of people. You know, that thing where they say they’re going to do a bunch of stuff but it doesn’t pan out for one reason or another (usually multiple) and it’s not even the first time this has happened.

The past year has been relatively rough for me. Nothing tragic or anything, but a lot of my personal struggles, many of which I was outright ignoring, have come to light. I’ve done a lot of self-discovery and have focused on improving myself these past months. It’s helped a lot and I’m thankful for those who have supported me through it then and now.

This is the main reason behind my inactivity thus far this year. Didn’t capture a single frame for months. My lack of motivation to do‚ÄĒwell, anything‚ÄĒwas even affecting my film projects. Again I’m getting a lot better, but there will always be room for progress.

Do I want to tell you I’ll publish 2 videos every month in 2019? Absolutely. Can I guarantee it’ll happen? Not right now. The good news is that I’m currently¬†way more than on track to deliver just that; progress has been awesome. But I’ll have to stay diligent to make this a reality. No more grandiose claims until I can 90% back them up.

…ok, just one grandiose claim: the waiting will be worthwhile. Filler Street isn’t anything to write home about, but it’s still enjoyable. That short I mentioned in October 2017 is 99.9% done (for real!) and will be coming in February 2019. Right now I think it’s my best film yet. And of course, there’s another project in the works that won’t see the light of day for years. But oh am I excited to reveal it.

Thanks for hanging in there.

-mysteriouspi