How To Make a “Location-Independent” Webseries | Steve's Quest: The Animated Musical Web Series

How To Make a “Location-Independent” Webseries

One thing you may not know about Steve’s Quest: The Musical, the animated musical webseries I wrote and directed (which is now live!), is that the cast and crew of the show are “bicoastal,” meaning they are located on both the East and West Coasts of the U.S.  The upside of this arrangement was that I got to work with exactly the people I wanted, but of course working with people mainly over e-mail and file sharing came with a unique set of challenges.

In this piece over at The Snobby Robot, I talk about how we’ve worked through the challenges that came with being on opposite sides of the country, and what I’ve learned from the process.  Enjoy!

16 thoughts on
How To Make a “Location-Independent” Webseries

  1. Sara

    I enjoyed reading the piece at The Snobby Robot. You are a very determined and creative person. I’m so pleased to have been able to follow this wild and crazy journey of yours to get to your dream. May there be many more “dreams” that come to you. Now you know, you don’t need to bat them way with words like, “I can’t do that” or “What am I thinking, I have a job and way to much to do to dream.” Nope, you know these gremlins and their negative thoughts. Like Steve’s super hero, you know how to fight them. More power to you, Chris:~)

  2. Andrea Stephenson

    Wow – I barely understand much of the technology you talk about here Chris, but I agree with Sara that you’ve shown great determination to get it done in the way you wanted to get it done – without compromising.

  3. Jill W

    Your determination and creativity is admirable, Chris. Like Andrea, my understanding of technology is minimal. With that being said, I do know that out negative thoughts are our own worst enemy. Keep those positive thought in your mind and you’ll accomplish all of your goals.

  4. Chris - Post author

    Hi Sara — it’s been great to have you along with me on this journey. In my experience, I don’t have any shortage of dreams or ideas — really the issue, like you say, is staying focused enough and not allowing myself to swat away an idea because I’m concerned about how harshly I or someone else will evaluate it.

  5. Chris - Post author

    Hi Andrea — I know what you mean — I barely understood the technology I talk about in the article myself until a few years ago, but it — with the exception of Pro Tools, which I’m still a rank amateur at — proved to be easier than I thought it would be to understand the software. Hopefully the article illustrates to people that it is much more possible than they may have thought to pursue their weird ideas, even if those ideas involve a complex multimedia experience. :)

  6. Chris - Post author

    Hi Jill — yes, I’ve definitely dealt with a lot of doubts and fears about this project — almost all coming from within myself, rather than the people around me, who largely encouraged me to go for it — and I’ve found that just sharing them with people I know is so helpful.

  7. Kelvin Kao

    Hey Chris, it’s really cool to know about your process. I think recording voiceovers before doing the animations make a lot of sense. If you started with animations, somebody probably still needed to record a guide track first, so you know the timing of things. If that’s the case, why not just do the voiceover first? That makes perfect sense to me.

    It’s interesting to see you mention Finale, because I have also tried that. It was quite a few years ago, though, and it seems to be updated over time. I used to use this notation software called Noteworthy Composer. I just looked it up and it looked like the the software hasn’t been updated for a while. (At least that’s the impression the website and screenshot give.)

    I typically mix together an instrumental track first too, so that the voiceover person (sometimes myself) can record according to the guide track. I use Garage Band (on a Mac) for that purpose. But Audacity certainly works well and is totally free. It’s what I used when I briefly worked at our college’s linguistics lab recording speech samples.

    If I were to do a project like this, I probably would have use all local voice talents. Part of that is that I’m in Los Angeles and know a number of actors and voiceover people. The other is that I’m a little wary of people using different microphones with different settings in different environments, causing different people’s recordings to sound like they aren’t happening in the same story.

    It’s a lot of coordination, and you’ve certainly pulled this off well. Sometimes being producer is not glamorous, but it’s definitely rewarding when the pieces are clicking and working together due to your hard work. Great to find out a little bit about your process, and looking forward to the next episode in the series!

  8. Chris - Post author

    Hi SP — yes, it has definitely been a lot of work — partly because I wasn’t very experienced with animation when I first took on this project — but it’s been hugely rewarding.

  9. Chris - Post author

    Hi Kelvin — whatever version of Finale you used was probably still more advanced than the one I used — I used NotePad, the free Finale software, because I didn’t particularly care about how the pieces sounded when I was playing them back in Finale, and was only concerned with how the files would sound once they were translated into MIDI. I’ve never used GarageBand for recording (I’m not a Mac user) but I keep hearing about how it’s surprisingly versatile.

    Yes, if I were based in LA, it might have been easier for me to find voice talent (and not end up playing the role of Steve) — I’m actually considering making that move, because it’s not like I have a software company or something like that and thus it doesn’t make a huge amount of sense for me to be in the Bay Area (as beautiful as it is).

    I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the series — it does seem like the pieces finally fit together — and we’ve got a big chunk of Episode 2 done already, so it’s on its way.

  10. Chris - Post author

    Hi Kourtney — sorry I missed this before — yes, it is pretty remarkable that this project probably would not have been possible ten or twenty years ago.

  11. Chris - Post author

    Hi Kelly — yes, I’m not really a gadget aficionado myself, but I have to acknowledge how amazing it is that I can put something like this together with people from all over the world.

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