State of Twinsanity – August 2019 and Beyond

OK, we haven’t done this in a while, but it’s high time to address the elephant in the room.

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“Word!”

Lately there’s been very little going on here and a lot going on behind the scenes, and it’s time to address that, and what shape Twinsanity is going to be taking in the months to come.

As you may have noticed, neither of us have put up any blog posts in July, and this is the first one either of us have done in August. After returning from a self-imposed vacation early in the year, I thought I could resume blogging until we were ready to start video production (this past week we began comparing prices for green screens and back lights, and I we have to upgrade from the ‘starter’ camera we have to a more high-end one, just to keep you guys abreast of where we are on that), but no, I find that the longer I stay away from blogging, the harder it is to get back into it. I never want production here to lapse (Jason and I usually try to put up at least 1 post a month) but at the same time, the desire to move on to a different medium is just getting too hard to ignore. Not only do I no longer possess the desire to blog as of late, but I don’t even think in terms of blog posts anymore. I can’t force myself to do something that I really don’t want to do; when your enthusiasm isn’t there, your work reflects it, and I just have to face facts and be honest with not just you guys, but with myself: I don’t want to blog anymore. The spark just isn’t there.

This is not the end of Twinsanity, not by a long shot, but Twinsanity’s days of being a blog are indeed numbered. I can’t even pretend to want to continue making stuff in the blog format anymore. We started Twinsanity back in 2010, so we’ve been at this for nearly a decade. I still want to express myself creatively and share my ideas and opinions with others online, but I can’t do it this way anymore. After 9 years, I really feel like I’ve done all I can do on a blog; the blog format just doesn’t accommodate my visions and ideas anymore.

Jason and I have discussed this numerous times, and we agree that one of our biggest regrets this year was starting the Regular Show What the Funny and the Animal Jam Pop Dream, and it’s not because they’re bad, but we like to finish what we start and there are/were 6 entries planned for each of them. Right now I can’t imagine doing 1 more full-blown blog entry, let alone 5. We want to continue doing both of these miniseries, just not in blog form.

After our second or third year, we’ve wanted Twinsanity to be a visual experience, and now our desires have gotten too big for mere text with still pictures. I want to do stuff like this:

 

Or this:

 

Or this:

 

Or even this:

…And I just can’t do things like this on a blog. The format has become too confining and too limited.

The other reason we really want to move on from blogging is…

We want to be SEEN! From the get-go, Twinsanity has been manned by 2 people. It’s always been the 2 of us, Jason and myself. That’s why this site is called Twinsanity. From the day we first began posting stuff online, people have always suspected that we’re just one person; if they see us on-screen together, that’ll squash that notion once and for all. Going back to above videos I cited, Jason and I want to appear on screen together, we want to interact with one another, trade jokes, barbs, perform skits, etc., kind of like the Hudson Brothers (or the Lucas Brothers or the Sklar Brothers if you need a more modern reference), and again that just isn’t possible on a blog. On a blog it’s just the blogger talking to the readers. You can’t bounce lines and jokes off of another person on a blog. And as egotistical as it may sound, I want people to see me. I have a personality and a style that I’d like to share, and that just can’t be expressed with text on a page. I’m tired of being a faceless entity.

Finally, my desire to move to a more visual medium goes back to something we tried years ago. Back when we were still on Blogger, we had considered doing a fiction blog, but at the time we had nothing but the desire to do it. I have from time to time made some attempts at original fiction here, stuff like ‘Superhero City: A Visitor’s Guide’, ‘Hero: 108: Fast Forward’ and the Cyber City Nerdvanas,  and they can be seen as first attempts, but again, that’s something like, but not exactly like what I want to do on that front; I’d like to make original cartoons and artwork. In addition to writing, I also like to draw, though I’ve never posted any of my drawings online. As of right now, I don’t quite know how to post original artwork online or make digital drawings or art, but I’d like to learn. I no longer wish to just post random images on to the screen and force people to use their imaginations as to what they’re supposed to be looking at; I want to display my own artwork. At least now unlike before I have some ideas of what kind of stories and cartoons I could post. Over the past 2 years or so, Jason and I have been toying around with an idea for a cartoon show that’s been steadily growing over the past several months. I won’t go into huge detail, but the basic premise of the show is that it’s about these young twins who live with their family and their exotic talking pets on a tropical resort island in a fully automated mansion (did I mention that the family is crazy rich?), and adjacent to the mansion is this vast, savage untamed jungle land similar to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, only with Beastly Kingdom in it (’cause there are creatures like dinosaurs, dragons, unicorns, pegasi and sea monsters in it as well) that the kids sometimes play, explore and frolic in. Think The Loud House meets Lilo & Stitch meets Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse meets Johnny Test meets those early ’00’s Danimals ads meets Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs, if that makes any sense (and I know it doesn’t). If we do indeed opt to actually make a fiction blog/site, it’ll be its’ own separate site, as we don’t want this one to get too cluttered.

Long story short: don’t expect another full-blown blog post with a ton of embedded images and clips from either of us anytime soon; I don’t want to neglect this site, but I can’t continue doing what I’ve been doing, at least not this way, the spark just isn’t there. I’ll try to keep you guys up to date on our progress, most likely via micro-blogs on Tumblr and site updates here (I’m not a social media person; I got tired of the endless bric-a-brac on message boards and I don’t go anywhere near Twitter or Facebook for a number of reasons, the least of which being how toxic the atmosphere is on those sites), but I can’t just go back to making blog posts, not even as we begin the process of overhauling things here. Not only do I just not want to continue the blog format, but while we have a lot of things planned, they either don’t accommodate the blogging format or we simply don’t wish to waste our best material on blog posts. As I said, we’ll keep you posted on what happens as it happens; you’ll know we’re ready to roll when you come here and notice Twinsanity sporting a new look and a new theme; we’ll be upgrading the site once the new format  and new material are presentable. The blog posts we’ve already made will be archived for those who want to revisit them.

I know how annoying this roller coaster trip has been, but I assure you, it’s going to be worth it; when Twinsanity returns in its’ new format, it will be bigger and better than it’s ever been.

State of Twinsanity Address – August 2016

The following is a State of the Site Address, discussing the present and future events for Twinsanity.

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Salutations, y’all.

Just thought I’d give our followers a (fairly) little heads-up as to what we’re working on currently for the site, and what to expect from us in the upcoming weeks and months.

First off, I realize that the output these past 2 months or so has been a tad sporadic. This has been kind of a roller-coaster summer for us; nothing really serious or dramatic has happened, thankfully, but a lot of dumb and inconvenient things have been going on in our everyday lives, and as a result, we haven’t been able to devote as much time to making stuff for the site as we’d like. Hopefully, things will calm down a bit in the upcoming months so we can devote more time to production. Also, currently we have a lot of ideas and potential ideas in the works, just not a lot of them are ready to be presented yet. Quality takes time, and again, things have been kind of nuts offline, so bear with us. Creativity is like running a marathon: when you run 10, 15 or 20 mils, you have to stop and walk for a little while before getting back up to speed. We’re in a walking period right now.

Here’s what you can expect in the immediate future, i.e., the next few weeks or by or around next month:

  • I’m working on a Videots similar to Favorite Fighting Game Stages, but this time it’ll be just for 1 game specifically, Marvel VS Capcom. I’ll be giving my thoughts and feelings on my favorite stages from that game (or maybe I’ll just do a personal breakdown of all the game’s stages, since there are only like 8 of them in total).
  • Jason is working on a Cartoon Country for the syndicated animated series, Bionic Six.
  • I may be doing a Why (Blank) is Awesome! for the character Videl from Dragon Ball Z. NOTE: this entry won’t feature any references or allusions to Dragon Ball Super, because I don’t watch that show.
  • On the subject of Dragon Ball/DBZ, Jason may be doing an Unpopular Opinion about Ch-Chi from DBZ.
  • We have 2 future TV Special Showdowns in the works: one for The Charmkins, a syndicated special based on an 80’s toy line, and another for the Tiny Toons Spring Break Special. Both of these will ready at ??? (the TV Special Showdowns in general take longer to produce than the average segments, since they’re one-and-done specials rather than on going series so they require more digging for proper information, images and clips), but we already have some material for each.
  • I have a possible Commentary entitled “Stuff We Just Don’t Dig”, in which we list some of our least favorite story lines, tropes, character types and cliches; however, I seem to have a hard time getting motivated to actually write it. I’d much rather spend my time and energy geeking out about things I enjoy rather than ranting about things I don’t. I prefer to simply ignore the stuff I’m not fond of, which is probably why this particular entry is taking so long to do; I prefer the positive stuff.

Also, there will be considerably less articles about superheroes in the upcoming months. Why? In the wake of the big superhero boom, we’re both kind of Caped out, and we’ve been wanting to focus more attention on our first love: comedy, so future installments will be more focused on comedy cartoons and toyetic cartoons. Earlier this month I did a Nerdvana entry on the Animal Factor, which, while not bad, wasn’t really what I wanted to do; I really didn’t want to go all superhero-ey with it. I had another Nerdvana about the Tech Factor which I still may do one day, but that one will not be so superhero focused. (I may also take another shot at the Animal Factor, if I can do an article for it that doesn’t feature superheroes so heavily.) Maybe we’ll get a renewed interest in Supers once the next big comic book movie comes or or when Justice League Action premieres next year, but for now, look for the primary focus of Twinsanity to be comedy over superhero stuff.

Now, on the more distant stuff, the things which are presently (as of this writing) still on the back burner. Jason has mentioned that he is planning to do a mini-series of articles of sorts,  the subject of which will be more specific than say Cartoon Country or Wild World of Shows. These would be devoted to a single show, studio or genre in particular instead of being about cartoons in general, such as Rocko’s Modern Life or Chowder or something along those lines. These will likely be split into multiple parts (multiple in this case being about 3 or 4 posts instead of one long one).  Right now, he’s calling it something like ‘Humorosity’, ‘What The Funny?’ or ‘Laff Riot’, but that may not be its’ final name. Also, this mini-series will be done in addition to the regular segments, not instead of them.

By an amazing coincidence (great minds think alike, after all) I too was thinking about typing a multi-part side-segment to run alongside the usual segments: inspired by Digi Valentine’s Who Dat?, originally it was going to be in-depth analyses (with jokes, of course) of my favorite characters, sort of a more detailed Why (Blank) is Awesome!, but that was too general and not far enough away from what we already do here–I wanted to do something even more specific than that, so now it’ll likely be a series of posts about characters from a particular franchise or studio, like a series of entries on each Barbie sister or a series on each one of the Alpha Masters from Animal Jam, something like that. Right now I’m calling this idea ‘Pop Dream’, ‘Pop Dreams’ or ‘Pop Dreaming’, but its’ final name and what it’s going to about remains to be seen.

Finally, look for some more original fiction ideas in the upcoming months. Last year I thought of doing an entry which was basically my take on Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse, centering on a toyetic toon girl, her unique home and her family. (Earlier I had tried an article called “Family Business”, about a family of adventurers a la the Fantastic Four, the Bionic Six or the Secret Saturdays, but the less said about that, the better; I’ve been driven to make up for that previous terrible entry by making a better one, this one with no association whatsoever with superheroes.) While that idea was still in development, I did the articles “Hero: 108 – Fast Forward” and the Videots/Wild World of Shows for Viva Pinata, and began grooving on National Geographic’s Animal Jam, which put me in the mood to do something tropical: my researching of the Viva Pinata game in particular (specifically the bits involving the human family and their garden) reminded me of stuff like Harvest Moon, Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley, but with a tropical island theme; in addition, each of us enjoyed Jason’s “The Future Rocks!” Nerdvana so much that we’d like to do a follow-up entry in that same setting, only focusing on a specific set of characters this time. Presently the Dream House idea has grown a little to fit those parameters; it’s now sort of Meet the Robinsons mixed with Swiss Family Robinson. I can’t say when it’ll be ready, but I have more for it now that I did before.

Similarly, Jason likewise has a previously written sub-par article that he’d like to improve upon. It was “Build Your Own Watterson Family” and it was so unmemorable that he didn’t keep it on the site. He plans to take another stab at this idea, but do it right this time. He has some ideas with the same basic premise; a toon kid and her quirky but lovable family, but now this will take place in a distinctive setting and it will have a sci-fi/fantasy twist of some kind.

If by some miracle these OC articles blossom and grow into full-blown stories and we get into a groove in which we start producing them on a fairly regular basis (say, about one or twice a month), then we may launch a separate spinoff blog for the original fiction. As always, Stay Tooned.

Funny is Not a 4-Letter Word

Let’s talk for a bit about Genre Busters, shall we?

“Who ya gonna call?”

Now that we’ve gotten that obligatory joke out of the way, GENRE BUSTERS. I’m talking about cartoons like Avatar: The Last Airbender, Adventure Time, Steven Universe, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and Over the Garden Wall, shows which operate on several levels, incorporating comedy with drama, action, adventure and mystery, pushing the envelope and offering something beyond what many have come to expect from your typical ‘cartoony’ cartoons.

Now while shows of this ilk aren’t my particular cup of tea, as a lifelong devotee of art and animation I can’t help but applaud these genre busting shows for showing us all what animation is truly capable of in the hands of skillful and talented people when given the chance.

However, the success of these shows, while noteworthy and commendable, is also a…..

DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD.

On the one hand, it’s good that shows like these manage to get on the air, but on the other hand, the successes of these genre-busting cartoons has created a new subculture of animation snobs who now turn their collective noses up at straight-up ‘funny cartoons’ and deride them as somehow being “inferior” and “insulting the medium”. “Bah!” They’ll snort. “That show’s just a comedy!” As though there’s something wrong with a show being a comedy. Not too long ago, a message board poster actually laid out these words of wisdom upon viewing a brief preview clip of the upcoming Wabbit: A Looney Tunes Production:

“I am wondering who exactly is WB catering too (yeah, that’s really how he spelled it). they did an amazing job with stuff like Tiny Toons and Animaniacs but The Looney Tunes Show had little to no emotional moments or depth to their characters, they act as though literally no human being alive liked Loonatics Unleashed and this seems like a return to the shorts that were nothing but animated puppets making jokes.”

“Animated puppets making jokes??”

“Exsqueeze me? Baking powder??”

“You got a problem with puppets making jokes, pal? That happens to be our bread and butter, man!”

OK, where to begin? First, Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs were zany shows which were occasionally sentimental, not sentimental shows which were occasionally zany. Selective memory much? It’s also worth mentioning that those so-called “deep and emotional” segments such as “Puttin’ on the Blitz”, “Smitten with Kittens”, “Homeward Bound”, “Whale’s Tales” and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo Clock” were not only few and far and between and the exception, not the norm, of those shows’ usual fare, but they were also largely HATED by the general fanbases of said shows. Second, why the flaming heck are you watching a clip of a show called “Wabbit: A Looney Tunes Production” expecting depth and emotional moments anyway? It’s the freaking LOONEY TUNES. The Looney Tunes are FUNNY. They’ve always been funny. If you’re expecting something akin to Sophie’s Choice from a Looney Tunes cartoon, you’re living on a different planet than the rest of us and only setting yourself up for disappointment.

This same towering intellect of our time was also displeased by the recent Sonic Boom cartoon, as it commits the heinous crime of not being the 1990’s Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon from 1993-1994. he opines:

“This show is an insult to Sonic fans. Sonic SatAM should be revived, because it had drama and sadness, like My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic which is the super-duper bestest show of all time and will one day replace oxygen as the thing we need to breathe in order to stay alive. Sonic Boom has no moments of drama, sadness, tragedy or angst, so it turns Sonic into a bland character on a show for babies.”

Unfortunately, I’ve encountered attitudes like this far too often recently. I find it’s common among teens and in teen media to mistake angst for depth. They seem to think that if a character is depressed all the time, then they must have really deep thoughts about the world. It’s what we call Emo Disease.

In regards to the Sonic point (aside from the one on this guy’s head): I really get tired of this whole “characters who don’t cry or suffer a ton of angst and drama = bland and childish” rhetoric that genre-buster snobs now hold so dear. Yes, in some cases emotion and poignancy can do a lot of good, but just piling on cheap tragedies one after the other is an empty way of compensating for proper character development. There are other ways to develop characters and make your audience care about them besides just putting them through some contrived emotional wringer.

“If sadness equals character development, then I must be the deepest character ever conceived. Lucky me.”

All too often in this day and age, it seems that the wacky cartoons like Looney Tunes, Sonic Boom and Uncle Grandpa are looked down upon because they don’t meet these animation snobs’ standards of the supposed “right way” to make a cartoon, as if now every single cartoon now has to be Avatar: the Last Airbender or My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. What these chinless wonders fail to realize is that there is no one right way to make a cartoon. It genuinely angers me how people constantly want everything to be the same, and bash something simply because it doesn’t fit their narrow definitions. Cartoon creators typically make what they want to see and what they think is entertaining, which is how it should be. If you don’t like it, fine, but don’t act like every cartoon needs to follow some arbitrary checklist of your very specific desires. Seriously, get over it and yourself.

Right now I’m collaborating on a new cartoon show that I hope can get made one day, but it’s not going to be the next Avatar: the Last Airbender, Adventure Time, Sonic SatAM or Steven Universe. Quite frankly I’m just not interested in making that kind of show. Depth, pathos, drama and heart are fine if that’s what you’re into, but we can’t all be Miyazaki. Someone’s gotta just provide the belly-laughs, and that’s what I plan to do. Some people are going to like the kind of cartoons I plan to produce and some aren’t. I know not everyone out there is gonna share our tastes, and that’s ultimately going to be what we build our show around: OUR tastes, not those of a perceived majority. You can’t please everyone, and you never need to.

I can’t think of better words of wisdom than those of J.G. Quintel, creator of Regular Show, who said this:

“Make the things you want to see, not what you think other people want to see. It’s way too much work to be making something that you’re not even into.”

Well said, man.

2015 Progress Report

Hey, guys. I just thought I’d let you all know how things are coming along with those plans to revise the site that we mentioned at the tail end of 2014.

We’re about to blow up!

There will be videos. As of this writing, we’re still in the germinal stages of video making; they’re baby steps, but we’re making progress. Our brother Chaz (aka CJP of the Otaku Gamer Spot) has been giving us some pointers and we’re taking tutorials and watching instructional videos on how to do it and the right programs and software to choose, etc., so yes, original videos for this site will be happening. Our first attempts at video making will undoubtedly suck and suck hard, but you have to not be afraid to suck because that’s how you learn. If all goes well, expect the original videos to increase and the actual typed blogs here to decrease; in fact, I’ve been thinking of relegating the actual blogs to their own separate category, they’ll likely just cover site news and announcements and the few newsy type articles which don’t require a full video. Generally speaking, if it features visuals and jokey-jokes, it will done as a video rather than a blog article. We’re still mulling over choices for a video host; right now it looks like we’ll go with YouTube as our main host but also have a backup host in case YouTube decides to act funny regarding images and clips (we do plan to feature cutaways and such in the videos); right now we’re considering Dailymotion as a backup host, but if anybody has any suggestions or recommendations, please share your wisdom with us. We can use all the help we can get.

Now as for the content: in an earlier article when we revived and revised the Reviews on the Run segments, Jason (Goldstar) mentioned how the reviews need not be for a series as a whole: they could be about a specific character or a specific episode or even a specific scene from a particular episode. When we launch the videos, expect them to follow this standard. Additional inspiration comes from our friend Hobbyfan’s blog Saturday Morning Archives, in that we’re only going to cover the subjects that we choose to cover, regardless of whether they’re currently on the air or not. I try not to let myself become “time warped”, one of those people who allows themselves to get locked into one particular era, but at the same time, I admit that I have eclectic, almost esoteric tastes and simply lack the desire to try to follow everything that comes down the pike. As Goldstar noted, trying to please everyone by trying to cover everything was both time consuming and physically draining and we definitely won’t be going back to that.

The best way I can describe what I have in mind for the videos is something similar to the Nostalgia Critic (Doug Walker)’s commercial videos, only done as an on ongoing series so we can cover one thing at a time instead of several all at once and they can cover other topics such as cartoons, video games, sketches and products as well. Phelous, Calluna and Mike J’s videos are also indicative of what we hope to accomplish with the vids. I’d love to do the kind of stuff that Tony Goldmark (Some Jerk with a Camera) does but with varying topics. That’s the hope anyway.

Don’t worry, folks; the cartoon subjects won’t be going away. We’ll still be talking toons here, animation is and always has been a BIG part of our lives and that’ll likely never change, but we would like to branch out into other subjects as well (the 2 Funny and Nerdvana segments were born from this desire).

There will be riffs. As previously mentioned, I’d also like for us to do riffs on this site, kind of like Mystery Science Theater 3000’s Shorts videos, but as a series. We probably will do some 1950’s instructional type videos like Chicken of Tomorrow and Design for Dreaming type stuff sometimes, but I don’t want those to be our primary target because Rifftrax and The Isle of Rangoon pretty much have that domain covered, plus there are just other things I’d like to riff on. Ideally, I’d like for us to do riffs on cartoon shorts and episodes, TV shows and specials, commercials, movie trailers, etc., anything involving cartoons, costumed mascots, puppety oddballs or anything really campy and outlandish. Think Retsuprae tackling other things besides video games and you have the basic idea of what I’d like to accomplish with the riffs.

Hopefully, there will be cartoons. This idea is even more beta than the videos, but nonetheless it’s something I’d like for us to do in the future: original cartoons, either as web comics or possibly original animations. We have 1 idea that’s been in the planning stages for some time now; it’s sort of our take on the Johnny Test premise but with more Girl Power and very pro-STEM. Another idea we’re toying with is the Wild Cartoon Kingdom/Eat or Get Ate thing that we joked about previously but have since decided to actuallly pursue as a project, so we’ll see where things go from there. If all goes well with those, we may be giving the cartoons their own site, like what we planned to do with Twinsanity Toons: original cartoons.

So yeah, it may or may not look like it, but things are happening on that end. Expect Twinsanity to get more video-oriented and visual and less text-heavy in the coming months. We’ve been doing the site more or less the same way for 5 years now, and I just feel like it’s ready for a makeover. I’d like to see this site become bigger and better than it’s ever been. Our dream is for Twinsanity to become a fun site full of entertaining videos where we celebrate the stuff we like, cartoons and other things. Just good times and big laughs all around. We’ll keep you all posted as things progress, in the meantime…