Plan of Action

Monday, April 25, 2005 by darco
Posted in ,

I believe I read somewhere that one of the best things you can do to ensure that you carry through with your plans is to write them down. The past four months of my life have been rather unproductive. I want to change this... And this is my plan to carry it out.

Overview

What are my priorities?

  • Become financially independent...
  • ...doing something I enjoy.

What are my skills/assets?

  • Software Engineering
  • Graphic Design
  • Animation Software (Synfig)

Ways that I could make money:

  • Designing/Implementing/Maintaining websites as a contractor.
  • Selling posters of fractal artwork that I have created. (Example)
  • Technical Consulting
  • Selling/Licensing Synfig

Websites

I have already started to execute on this plan. Originally, I never gave this option very much consideration because of the difficulty in building a decent client list. However, some opportunities have presented themselves over the past few months that have proven that not only is this a viable, but ideal.

Artwork

When I first started working on SINFG (An ancestor to what would later become Synfig), the first thing that it turned out to be really good at was making fractal artwork. A few examples:

Neato New Julia New Julia2 Stained Glass

Each one of those was really just a doodle–the idea is that if I put my mind to creating artwork that it would be even better. I have already made a handful of 600DPI full-sized posters out of these fractal compositions, and they look wonderful.

The idea that I am playing around with is creating a website similar in concept to Digital Blasphemy. For those of you who don't know, Digital Blasphemy is a website run by Ryan Bliss which showcases his computer-generated artwork. He makes money off of the site in three ways:

  • Selling merchandise, such as posters, t-shirts, etc.
  • Membership dues for access to high-resolution versions of his artwork (for use as desktop wallpaper).
  • Google AdSense advertisements.

Originally the site was just a hobby, but it eventually got to the point where he realized that he could make a decent living running the site full-time.

I've gotten a lot of positive feedback from the fractal "doodles" that I have created using the software I have written. If I can follow through with this and produce designs that are even more interesting and appealing, then I think this idea could be financially viable.

Ultimately, I believe the success of this idea hinges on one thing: marketing. I see the following possibilities:

  • Word-of-Mouth: This has the most potential in getting the word out, but it requires a certain amount of critical momentum before it becomes significant.
  • Convention/Gallery Presence: Probably the best way to get the word out. It also allows people to examine the posters for themselves to really get a feel for how much detail is really there–something which is hard to express on a website alone.
  • Google AdWords: A few choice adwords may help with generating momentum.

Another key aspect to the successful execution of this plan is the creation of a strong, identifiable brand name/image–something that people will want to associate themselves with.

Technical Consulting

I have a pretty wide range of knowledge of technical subjects, including:

  • Computer hardware
  • Software engineering (C++, C, etc...)
  • UNIX system administration
  • IP/Ethernet network planning/implementation/maintenance

I feel that I can offer consulting in any of these areas with confidence. The trick is in marketing myself for these things and building a client list. In truth, I do not find this line of work to be very appealing, but it is an option nonetheless.

The Real Prize

The item that stands to have the most fiscal potential is the software that I have been developing over the past three years–Synfig. Synfig is a professional 2D animation and compositing package, designed specifically to make 2D animation production less costly without sacrificing quality. This was the key asset that made Voria Studios possible.

Synfig is not vaporware. It not only exists, but it works. It has been used to create a handful of animations, some of which you can find here and here. You can find a screenshot of the software here.

However, the software still has it's rough edges–it is far from being a complete product. It is at best a month or two of full-time work away from being a realistic candidate for an alpha test. This is because the requirements for software to be used for in-house production vs. a licensed product is very different. It is my goal to bring the software up to the point where it can be licensed to other studios and individuals.


So these are some of the things I am pondering. Comments, advice, and personal insights are welcome!


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