Artist. Designer. Awkward wad of nerd. Fights off existential terror and self-loathing with Godzilla films.

amechanicaldisaster@gmail.com

Like you never had wings.

Hello there. It's been a while.

I suppose some of you are eager to find out what's been going on, huh? Well, let's start with the bad news: I failed Works in Progress. Again. This makes two strikes, one more and it's bye-bye BFA. What's troubling is that practically everyone else failed it as well. I only know of maybe two people who passed. TWO. Out of like, twenty or something! I've heard they had to buckle down more because people were graduating through the BFA program that didn't really deserve to, but isn't this a bit of an overkill? I don't know. You can speculate all you want, I'm sick of thinking about it. My plan is just to work my arse off this summer to have a brand new portfolio to show next semester. And if I fail again? I'll hopefully still be able to graduate on time with a BA after getting a couple semesters of Spanish out of the way.

And now on to more pleasant things.

REJOICE! For the editing of Black Hole Ghost is completed! I just need to cut together the final credits, finangle around with it to get the right old-fashioned film look I want, and add music. Then I will throw the thing online and we will all celebrate and you will love me. And I made this for it, or well, for a gallery/temple I'm creating in Second Life:


I love that shot, for some reason.

I've done other, similar pieces for the gallery/temple. I'll be putting them up, along with screenshots of the place itself, in a new gallery once it's all done with.

In Typography, my Flash animation of the lyrics to Dance Commander went over quite well. I MIGHT put it on Youtube, if I can figure out how. No telling whether I'll really bother or not.

I am also working on a pair of poster designs. A Call for Student Entries poster for the Southern Appalachain International Film Festival, which will go on their website, and one for the Knoxville Horror Film Fest, which may not even get used. But at this point, I'm getting pretty bloody used to rejection, y'know?


Isn't this one of the greatest book covers ever? And it's EXACTLY how I pictured Palmer Eldritch when I was reading my own copy, except for the wings, but those are just sweet. I'm posting it because, well, for one it's pretty awesome, and for two, I just came off of another of my Philip K. Dick kicks. See, I read a huge chunk of his work back to back, burn out, read something else, then head back, and this is my third burnout phase. I finished Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and while I still have FIVE more novels of his to read through, I also picked up a collection of 21 of his short stories, read a few of those, and read a bunch of stuff about him online, as well as worked about halfway through an essay of his entitled How to Build a Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later.

I guess that, as much as I read of his stuff, as fascinated as I am by him, that PKD is one of my favorite authors. He's certainly not the best, and his works are all quite flawed: the main characters are almost always some kind of blue-collar everyman, the women deceptive, his dialogue is weak, there's little sense of urgency, no real climax or third act, things just kind of end. Not to mention they almost all deal with the same themes of the questioning of reality and paranoia. But I keep reading his works because they're so weird, and have this almost David Lynch, Twin Peaks feel to them. I wish I could explain it better, but I'm not sure I can.

But alas, I'm burnt out again, and because I read William Gibson's classic Neuromancer during my last break, I'm borrowing my girlfriend's copy of Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson. She claims it's a parody of Neuromancer, as well as one of the major inspirations for the creators of Second Life. Not too far into it, but it is both hilarious and awesome, and I am loving it.


Also, sloths are adorable. And always smiling. I'm planning on doing a lot of drawings and paintings and stuff of them during the summer, for that portfolio.

And that's all there is tonight.

[Brett]

Dance, monkey, dance!

So today I take Works in Progress. I took it last semester and failed utterly, so now I'm on attempt number 2. I'm feeling more confident this time around because I've really gone over my portfolio, I know what to talk about with each piece if I am asked, and I've practiced with my girlfriend. I also think I've made a lot of leaps and strides since I failed it last semester. Nothing like failure to wake you up, huh?

I'm still worried, though. I'm still concerned. My girlfriend goes in before I do. We'll see what happens.

IN OTHER, LIGHTER NEWS!

Our group project for the film and animation class is completed and uploaded to Youtube. It is simply one of the greatest things you will ever see. Our friend Joseph put on a gorilla mask and danced around campus and downtown to the happiest song ever, Tunak Tunak Tun. Give it a watch:

Also, I've ditched the song from the previous blog in exchange for Dance Commander, by Electric Six, also known as the greatest song ever. So I had to start a new Flash animation from scratch. I still know next to nothing about this program, but I'm making progress.

That's all for now. COMMENT ON MY DANCING GORILLA VIDEO!

[Brett]

The Virgin Child Makes Her Wish Withot Feeling Anything

Heh. This is more for my own use than anything else. In Typography, we have to do a text animation set to music, and so I finally decided on this song from the videogame No More Heroes, sung by Dr Peace, the second boss of the game. I'm posting the lyrics for my own reference, and I'll post the song and the cutscene it's from, also:

Despair, the end of the world
I hear the rising phoenix in my dream
And the virgin child made her wish upon a star
That night her mother talks no more
Cape of Hope, the end of the dream
A shiny fish splashes in a stream
And the virgin child loses´╗┐ her heart and soul
That night her mother's eyes see no more
When the wind blows
The virgin child's corpse sings a song
Such a pretty melody, never heard before
No more lullabies
The virgin child smiles from Hell

The song itself:


And the cutscene its from (NSFW due to language?):


I could write pages on why I love this game and its sequel, but lets not worry about that right now. Back to work.

I'm a scary gargoyle on a tower.

No I'm not.

I finally picked up the new Gorillaz album, Plastic Beach, on Monday, and I've been listening to it every chance I can in the car. I haven't made a final decision on my opinion of it, but it's still very good. Has a very wet, summertime, floating in the ocean feel to it, which contrasts with the ugly weather we've been having lately. I mean, it snowed on...was it Monday or Tuesday? Then it got bright and sunny on Wednesday. Then it got cold and rainy, and there it stays. Schizophrenic weather is schizophrenic.

So here's how things have been since my last blog update. Over the weekend, my girlfriend and I went to the Biltmore with free tickets from my parents. It was a lovely day for it, and a good trip. Afterwards we wandered Asheville and I bought some older Japanese manga called Pixy Junket, made by an artist known simply as Pure.

Last night we invited some friends over and watched Black Dynamite, which is utterly hilarious. Not world-changing by any means, but still crazy entertaining. We also watched a DVD of Eddie Izzard's standup.

Aaaaannnnnddd as far as work goes, I've uploaded sketches and stuff to the galleries and fixed page 2 of the Ezra Neuro comic, so give those a look. Also you may notice a new page for Black Hole Ghost.

You wanna know what's there? A TRAILER. A TRAILER FOR BLACK HOLE GHOST.

Oh fine, I'm sure you're too lazy to click away from this here blog to watch it, so I'll embed it:

Now, let me also show you a MUCH BETTER TRAILER for the Scott Pilgrim movie! I'm afraid to admit how many times I've watched it. I cannot wait:

Um. Let's see, what else. Here's what I've been working on in Computer Art and Design. A horrifying skin for my Second Life avatar:

Um...Yeah.

I recently accidently kind of sort of destroyed our glass coffee table in our apartment. Because I was sitting on it like a moron. BUT I used the frame and some glass shards for Typography!

See? I am creator AND destroyer.

Um. That's all I've got. UNTIL NEXT TIME!

[Brett]

We are on the brink, of awesomeness.

So in case you haven't noticed, I put up my 5-page Ezra Neuro comic this morning for your free consumption and enjoyment. Drawn in 4 days with the story formulating panel by panel, it is an exercise in near-stream-of-consciousness artistic madness. "What should happen next? OF COURSE, a giant slug monster bursts out of the tower's stomach!" It is also me testing the waters of an entirely new style, one with several influences merged into...well, that. Go read it right now if you haven't already done so.

This week has proven insanely productive.

So we shot the majority of the script for Black Hole Ghost on Wednesday, including reshooting just about everything from Monday because Sierra cut her bangs. Arg. But no, things went really great. I've spent hours and hours converting the over 1200 pictures to black and white and messing with the contrast and brightness to get it all looking just the way I want it to...which is very much like Pi. I guess I'll be giving that film a Special Thanks credit.

Anyways, here's a couple shots to whet your appetite. The first is of my roommate, CJ, who plays the Man in Black, the third primary character of the project:

And here's a shot of Sierra as Gemini, looking into the mirror just before things get crazy:

We finish shooting on Monday, then I have to get some friends together to play ghosts. I'll be playing one, too. Then we edit, add music, finalize, and it will be DONE.

I am excited.

Um, I think that's about it. I've more finangling around to do with the pictures, Photoshopping and whatnot.

Until next time, yo.

[Brett]

Black Hole Ghost

This is Sierra. I have known her since, like, senior year of high school. She has sort of become my go-to model from time to time, and who knows how many times I've drawn her. She also has several pieces of my art.

A few years ago, after doing a crappy stop-motion video of my Godzilla action figure and a couple Zoids models smashing up and setting fire to two model houses put together in highschool art class, I wanted to play more with stop-motion. Specifically, I wanted to do something with live actors and/or actresses. Specifically, Sierra. I knew it would be in black and white, and I wanted Sierra to be a hacker who starts getting haunted by ghosts.

It never happened.

A little while later, I got a completely DIFFERENT idea, more of a photography thing, about a girl searching for and confronting her own doppelganger. Again, I had Sierra, who happens to be a Gemini, in mind. But that never happened either.

Flash forward to this semester, and I'm in a film and animation class. We have to do a large solo project, and something involving animation, so I started thinking, and dug up the two aforementioned old ideas. And then I promptly fused them. Once more, I had one person in mind to play the lead girl and her doppelganger/ghost, and that had to be Sierra. Especially because I don't really know anyone else with the patience to do stop-motion animation and who is willing and trusting enough to follow me through my crazy ideas.

So the short live action stop-motion animated silent black and white cyberpunk thing is called Black Hole Ghost, and we started shooting today. YAY PROGRESS! The photo above is a shot I took and manipulated in Photoshop to get an idea of how I want it to look. Which is, like Pi. In stop-motion. Because Pi is my favorite movie.

Speaking of which! Yesterday was Pi Day. So we watched Pi last night, my girlfriend and I. Any excuse to watch my favorite movie is a good one.

[Brett]

And we are now ready to begin the test proper.

And Animated Trigger is now officially up and running. Paid my bills, made a (somewhat lousy) banner, and we are good to go. So let's consider this the first official blog post, eh?

Hi, my name is Brett Marcus Cook. If you're reading this, there's a decent possibility that you already know who I am. For those of you who don't, I am a graphic design student at East Tennessee State University. I am an artist and designer, and I wish to be professionally writing and drawing comics in the future. We'll see how well that pans out, huh?

I've needed a website for a while now. In my graphic design workshop class, we were given the opportunity to put one together as a project as part of our grade, so I jumped at the situation, then quickly stumbled and fell because Dreamweaver is bloody retarded and only disturbed masochists use straight HTML coding these days. Thank the gods for my friend Shannon, who recommended Squarespace to me. I wanted to have a website built and up and running before my spring break came to an end, and it seems I am successful!

This is the first step to unlocking greatness, right? Having my own website? Anyways, I'll try to make semi-regular updates here, but considering how busy I am most of the time, I can't make any promises.

So! Stuff and things:

Over this Spring Break in which I made this here website, I also penciled and inked a 5 page comic starring the girl in the previous blog entry (who is also in my gallery), named Ezra Neuro. It's a crazy thing, with a giant slug monster, a fire-breathing bag, and a hot tub. I'll be scanning it in this weekend and coloring it, in the hopes of getting it online next week! I'm excited for this, because as you can see, the last comic I really drew to completion is that 12-page mess, Dream Dive, which is also on this site. And I drew that back in what, 2007? Criminy, it's time to up the ante finally!

Anyways, this comic will be the start of some new stuff I'm gonna be doing. So, you know, don't go anywhere or you might miss out!

In other news, I recently finished reading Neuromancer, which is a most excellent novel, highly recommended. With that out of the way, I have dived into Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, which so far is basically nothing like the film adaptation, Blade Runner. It's better. Of course, the book always is, isn't it? And I'm slowly reading through From Hell, Alan Moore and Eddy Campbell's epic tome about Jack the Ripper. Dense stuff.

Also replaying No More Heroes 2, which so far is my personal videogame of the year.

...And um, that's about it. I have to finish a paper on the cinematography of the film Avalon. Um, the Polish/Japanese production, directed by Mamoru Oshii, not that other one that I know nothing about. Nevermind. AWAY.

[Brett]

In the beginning...

I, Brett Cook, artist extraordinaire and modern day renaissance man, am trying like heck to make a bloody webpage. This is all I have so far. BUT FEAR NOT! There will be content! Um, eventually.

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