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Artistic Spark, and more about where I’ve been all this time

June 30th, 2019

I still enjoy going through the Moose River pages. Partially to read up on the old stories, and partially to see what I could probably clean up… which actually isn’t all that much IMHO. I may inject some new frames here and there to help with the pacing and cut up long chunks of dialogue, but the story is pretty concrete as it is.

  • >>> For the record, if I inject frames into the comic, I’m not going to maintain a “six square page” format. Some pages will just have seven or eight frames total. Oh well. Of course if I decide to reprint the comic in graphic novel form, I’ll definitely make sure the format is maintained. … Somehow. I’ll figure something out later.

One of the pages I came across which I want to clean up is Page 162 (dated March 24th, 2008); the coloring of Navy’s hair is spotty and I probably should have the backgrounds be something more than just this flat color. Hmmm.

But as I poked through the page, I came across the post I wrote for the page, talking about Moose River was (is) the first narrative artistic project which I’ve put in so much effort into and to have made it this far without stopping. Little did I realize back then that I would stop on page 200-something. I’m kinda disappointed in myself for having quit it, despite getting so far into it.

But to be honest, I can’t blame myself for having stopped working on Moose River so suddenly like I did. I am absolutely glad that I at least made it past page 200, meaning that at page 162 I still had a good 20% of the total story left to go, which was still a lot of effort left in me. But little did I realize that the decision I had made and would up at that point in my life make would take a serious toll on my artistic output, and it would completely wipe out my artistic spark. And that toll on my artistic spark would be something that basically either ensured my spark remained lost—until literally just now—or was at most channeled through other artistic outputs which at least made me money, such as my current career in virtual reality videos using a VR camera that I helped create and which is now patent pending.

But still, one reason why I didn’t get back into Moose River in all this time was, well, I didn’t want to give up. My VR career, that is. So many other things I gave up in my life… apart from the art art projects which I talked about on Page 162, but other things like music (I took clarinet and piano lessons in my youth), school and college… college being the major one because I’m pretty sure that in 2008 I was still a Computer Science major, but this upcoming October I would have a crisis of faith after working up to 90, 95% of my major, and I would switch out of it to Technical and Professional Writing. Fortunately my TPW major was able to use my completed CS major course work such that I had already 1/3rd of my TPW major completed the second I switched… but still, between my Computer Science major and my attempt at switching majors to Cinema (which I also gave up on)… it was just one more thing that I would give up on prior to completion. I swear I have a fear of success or something.

Moose River, again, ultimately ended up being no different, stopping a few pages into Chapter 7. I therefore fear that Moose River VR will end before SOMETHING is completed, but… OK fine, maybe I promised too much… let’s just make ONE VR story first before I decide to make FOUR MORE ON TOP OF THAT. But anyways, yeah, Moose River would end at page 200-something, and I wouldn’t do anything artistic for almost five years afterwards. It’s not that I didn’t want to work on it… I had fully attempted to return to it… but, life got in the way.

But it’s not like I wasn’t creative in some form. First off, I managed to graduate from San Francisco State University in 2012 (although my coursework had long since been done in 2011), and so I found myself at a crossroad… which I decided that maybe I should go try to teach English in South Korea for a year. So I started work on trying to earn a certificate in “Teaching English as a Second Language”, did some and got some tutoring in English at Canada College in Redwood City, CA,… but the company I tried to get my certificate from randomly went out of business, so I never got accredited. But I thought I still had a chance anyways, and one way I felt I could increase my chances was to take Moose River down; the chances that they’ll do background checks and find my comic about naughty sex and drugs and shit was too high, and I didn’t want it screwing my chance to teach in Korean. But it didn’t matter in the end because I got turned down twice. I ultimately never was able to teach English in Korea.

But that’s OK, because it actually helped me set the stage to started my Silicon Valley start up, MindVR… with three other guys… in 2014, and I’ve been making VR videos ever since. Here, you can watch me spit game about VR and its future:

This is my life, and I have no regrets about it. In fact that’s why I want to do Moose River VR, because I want to continue to do something new and unique in the VR realm. Life is full of surprises, and while I’m slightly disappointed that I stopped work on Moose River, I was at least able to help build a new company from scratch as well as help play my part in expanding an ever-growing industry which, frankly, need creatives like me in it to help it blossom. Honestly I never imagined that my life would take me down this path into virtual reality filmmaking, especially given that filmmaking was just one more thing I gave up on. Still, I’m glad to have gone down this route.

But most importantly, I don’t want to give this up. Moose River may have been the first project that I got so far along, but even then I still gave up on it. I don’t want to do the same with MindVR. I want to see it to its end, for better or for worse. I want to see it completed, however “completed” is defined.

But that said, the spark to do comics remained effectively nonexistent in all this time. That spark of comicmaking creativity disappeared after 2009, although I did some parody comics around 2013-2015 for a stupid anonymous project under a different user name; I’m not interested in sharing it here. I ended that side project when MindVR started to take off and it started requiring more and more of my energy to keep going.

That creative comicking spark remained dulled…. until this past week. Long story short, I had a very intense dream about someone I hadn’t thought of in years, and it suddenly snapped me out of a sort of haze that I’ve found myself in lately (doubly-so beyond just the lack of comicking energy), and I suddenly wanted to change that. Hell, it’s more like something else inside me wanted me to change, and I’m kinda along for the ride. So I dusted off an old large-paged drawing pad and my drawing kit, and started getting back to work. Coincidentally I had brought this site back online back in March, but even then I didn’t do much with it other than change a single frame from Page 198 where Thaddeus was drunk-raping Anne. (Check out the page for more details on what and why I did what I did.) This random kickstart of my spark was like a flash to my soul, returning a fire in me which I didn’t even notice I had lost, and I couldn’t be happier. I don’t think I’ve worked on this much Moose River ANYTHING since 2009, beyond random test drawings of Anne saying “you haven’t forgotten about us, have you?” lol

Anyways… I truly want this to be the start of something new. I need a change in pace in my life in general, which even includes putting myself back on the market (hey ladies :3 ). One of my best friends, Jim, even offered a room at his place in the Midwest in order for it to be a chance to restart… an offer which I may take him up on, but I wanna try a few things out here in San Francisco before I truly commit. I gave him a yearish.

Incidentally, this has been one of the first times I’ve been so open about my personal life in public like this… probably another sign for the better. I obviously had so much internal pressure building up and it was only a matter of time that it would implode (think how a diesel engine operates, or the Big Bang). And while I have no regrets about my life up to that point, I’m also glad to be on this new path for once. I look forward to see where it takes me now.

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Moose River
by Philippe Van Lieu
—Fully Charged - June 27th, 2019—

From the bottom of my heart (and the bottom of this page): thank you very much for reading my comics.

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