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Apr 20, 2009 | 10:28 PM EDT
  • Daily 3rd Place April 22, 2009

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While you load, feel free to read these comments, and also check out the collaborators' sites down below for more great work.
Be sure to TURN UP YOUR VOLUME!
Questions about words? Please USE DICTIONARY.COM!
THANKS FOR YOUR REVIEWS! After receiving over 350, I CAN'T PROMISE I'LL RESPOND TO NEW REVIEWS! I'll try!

Here is the Newgrounds Flash version of "A Bid for Freedom".

It is a story that I wrote and converted into a small fable with images provided by the talented Nacho Rodriguez (who created Mr. Coo and won the #1 slot in Cold Hard Flash's Best Animated) and lush watercolours by his girlfriend Cecilia Deshayes.
It is an illustrated storybook, narrated for your pleasure by the debonair Andy Dennis, with guest turns by Sasuya and Josh "Tomamoto" Tomar you HAVE to hear!
The Storybook route was pursued so it could enter ReNaeNae's excellent Storybook Collab;
http://www.newgrounds.com /bbs/topic/1003968 Talents in writing, art, voice, sound, code etc. should give it a look!

To turn the pages, hover your mouse pointer over the bottom corner of the page, then left-click and drag the page across with your mouse until it fully flips over.
Narration starts on each page as you view it, but you're free to read at your own pace (you can right-click and select "Zoom In", then drag around to see all the fine details).

This story is NOT an attempt at hair-pin-bend trigger-happy balls-to-the-wall FBF hentai-maniac game-parodying shenanigannary. NO REALLY, IT'S NOT!
The power here is in the words and the pictures.
There is COMEDY, ACTION, DRAMA and ROMANCE, all skewed at odd angles.
There's fantasy, exotic locations, body odour, and even a fast car if you stick with it!
Have patience, we've many things to offer you. Stick with us. We're a good group.

Please vote and review showing respect to the combined talent and hard work involved in this Flash. A lot of passion went into this just for you guys, so be fair.
Critique, constructive criticism, suggestions, these are things we graciously accept.
If you vote or review abusively, you let Newgrounds down. Don't.
If this is "not your sort of thing" or you're somehow disappointed by the lack of animation, this is not the fault of anyone involved; no-one's forcing you to watch!

With all this in mind, we hope you enjoy (with your drink or snack of choice) our hard work, vote and review responsibly... and may your day be brighter.

For more awesome while you wait, check out:
www.mistercoo.com (Nacho's site)
ceciliadeshayes.blogspot. com (Cecilia's blog)
www.ediblecastle.com (home to Andy Dennis and his mate Will)
www.scarymarymedia.com (earlier collaborative efforts between me, a mate of mine and Nacho, including an award-winning short for the Marbella Film Festival)

==================

This section is for the creative people out there:

This has been a hot coal in my hands for quite some time, burning with collective passion, yet I've been reluctant to throw it into the fire.
Enough people are happy with the results as they stand for me to go forth and submit it.
Trust that this will blossom over time as we come back to better adorn this work.

My preliminary thanks are on this page:
http://www.newgrounds.com /bbs/topic/1049617/3

I additionally thank DrNeroCF for saving us in the coding department and Deathcon for further help; Joey Young (http://joeymofo.newgroun ds.com) for providing sound effects at short notice and the Very Odd House (http://www.theveryoddhou se.com/) for a small snippet of lush score; and to Josh Tomar, introduced late into the project yet he delivered an outstanding performance within minutes of me asking him.
Further thanks go to the Newgrounds Team for their support of this work, and to all Newgrounds users who do the same (including Mr GUS, who is highly underrated: be sure to see his latest http://www.newgrounds.com /portal/view/483436 and vote for it in this year's Treasure Hunt).
Any other great participants that come to light will be remembered here equally.

Cheers!

Reviews


09nephilim09nephilim

Rated 4.5 / 5 stars February 19, 2010

Very nice.

I'm something of a writer myself, but I lack the skill to create anything so subtle. My plots tend to be all master-organisations, ridiculously overambitious plots and devices and larger than life characters. You have a rarer talent in that you can use gentler themes to imply your thoughts on society/certain cultures etc, which is something to be envious of.
Also, the choice of complimenting art and voice acting is excellent and shows that all involved are equally adept. The combined effect is something slightly nostalgic for me, 'cos, god its been a long time since anyone read me a story.
Conclusion... well, anyone who's seen it can guess.


People find this review helpful!
AdamCook responds:

Ridiculous over-ambition never hurt anyone. It's the execution you have to perfect.

Larger-than-life is a huge part of much great entertainment, and indeed whole fields of literature such as magic realism. I'm a major fan of it myself, although my tastes are more eclectic than most.
I would have honestly thought my grandstanding characters in this short piece were pretty LTL, but I'm happy you find the subtlety in them. :)

Characters are maybe the most important through-road into any story; if an audience can relate to the organisms involved in a tale, they tend to wilfully accept the most outlandish circumstances.
Next time you're writing a character, try to step inside their head for a while; empathise with them. It's tricky to do, you may want to give yourself a little space and peace in which to do it, but just act out from their perspective.
Feel how they feel; how will they act and re-act to other characters, to their surroundings, to specific circumstances? How do they live life, on- and off-page?
It's only by understanding why characters are the way they are that you can find the reality in them, the magic glimmer of truth that readers can observe from their own experiences and thus emotionally attach to.
(Understanding is actually the key to solving most crises in life; ignorance sucks.)

I hope you endeavour to write in the style that best pleases you; passion trumps all stylistic tics and technical education... if you steer too far from your own interests you'll only hamper your progress and ultimately satisfy no-one. Follow your bliss.

As for the review itself;
Thank you very much for enjoying our hard work! We're very pleased that we've brought back great memories for a lot of people; I used to love this style as a young kid, so it's huge fun to have the opportunity to carry it on and update it for a new group of modern readers. Glad we could read to you once again.

Keep up your own hard work, and if you produce something you're happy with I hope you'll post or publish it and send me a link so I can check it out.
In this era of compromise and scaling down in entertainment, I'd like to be reminded what over-ambition - any kind of ambition - really is.

Cheers for your great review, and much future success to you!


KozelekianKozelekian

Rated 4.5 / 5 stars April 24, 2009

A fairytale satire with a cute little anticlimax

There are a couple of nitpicks, but overall it was very good, fine tuned product. Highly original, especially for a site based on movement rather than stills.

Really the only serious complaint I have is one that may be unpreventable. The images were highly pixelated; enough so that I could barely read the actual text and had to rely on the voice-overs. If I spaced out looking at the artwork or just thinking, I had to flip back and listen to everything else again.

Minor quarrels include the fact that voiceovers should have been mutable. They were definitely good, but it should always be an option. On the eighth page, the watercolor seems to literally 'cut-off'; the top off the page is suddenly pure white.

You seem to spend a bit of time in the beginning (when he's at the party, but before he bids on the girl) navelgazing. It seemed introspective and not really correlated to the plot. This section was still very enjoyable and provoking, but it sticks out because of this. Perhaps it was meant to set the stage for the character but I didn't really get that.

I'm not sure why the file was so big when the images felt relatively low-quality. I thought it may have been the page turn effect, and if this is the case I honestly would have preferred higher quality pictures instead.

On the brighter and much more important side, the drawing and writing was distinctive, the coloring was wonderful, except for the page where he enters the garden. For plants that 'dripped paint' it seemed odd for the barren space to be the focal point.

The writing was great. Highly distinctive, yet in tone with the story. Definitely thought-provoking and satirical. Lots of room for some great analysis and thinking.

The ending was certainly distorting. I personally loved it, but I can see it being very polarizing.

Generally, the vocals were great.

Ultimately, the most important things were done well, but the little things really impeded the work.

If this is be an actual book for sale at some point I would love to know. Definitely something I could see picking up.


People find this review helpful!
AdamCook responds:

Let me start by saying thank you for your detailed review! I see it is your first, and I am thrilled it is for our first submission; I am also glad the Flash provoked this intelligent response with excellent even-handed critique.

Sadly, the text issue is probably still avoidable, but it takes a long time to format and is difficult to work around the images without obscuring them (a horrible shame whenever it occurs). It's really the only way to integrate the language and the visuals in a harmonious way, but perhaps it could be better handled, as with the jungle scene you described. The cut-off is also a nasty glitch and needs to be fixed coinciding with the long text haul, but we will definitely do it sometime soon so the whole thing looks more professional and can be better enjoyed!

The image quality is actually the reason for the high file size; better quality could drastically up the size, lower size could kill the quality!
There might be a way around it, but until we find out what that would involve, this is the best we can do!

You're right that sounds should be optional (although they always come HIGHLY recommended!), and when we fix the text issue we'll probably chuck in a mute button; maybe even a few other buttons as well, depending what works and what we can fit in there.

It was from the initial introduction that the rest of the piece spawned, and although I'd thought about editing it I was encouraged to run the story as-is.
Doubtless I could have trimmed some of it, but it seems to work in context for the majority of people and flows with the material.
Asides from minimal set-up of the character, the setting and general ambient mood, there's some slight foreshadowing of things to come that's perhaps more obvious in retrospect (the chandelier, the mysterious figure desiring his presence, the patrons stuck like flies... simple stuff, just little hints).
Plus when Nacho + Ceci came back with such fantastic images for the early scenes, followed by Andy's great take on the narrator character, I could hardly say no!

I'm really glad you like the art and the voices, and your praise for the writing is well-received on my part; you know what you're talking about! It is very personal as a story, even with all the parts that speak to popular interests, and so I'm amazed it's garnered as many fans as it has! Naturally I'm deliriously happy that's the case!

We'll probably produce a print edition of this in the near future; we'll keep you and all of our fans posted as to when and where print copies can be picked up.
However, if you want our voice actors to narrate the print edition for you, you'll have to pay for their bed, board and travel expenses in advance.

You should be glad you nitpicked; it gives us direction and helps us take things we can change in the right direction. Hope our future editions rectify these errors.

Cheers for your fantastic review; please be sure to keep an eye out for our future works!


jemge7jemge7

Rated 4.5 / 5 stars April 24, 2009

Superb

perhaps this deserves a better venue than newgrounds


People find this review helpful!

cuffocuffo

Rated 4.5 / 5 stars April 23, 2009

Wow Just Wow

I thought this was amazing. It had such a great story and i found the interactive pages to be a great element to it. Great job.


People find this review helpful!

SleazeSleaze

Rated 4.5 / 5 stars April 21, 2009

I heard a fly buzz-- when I died

In spite some jank similes (i.e.as blue as dolphin tears) and volume spikes (in between characters) I adore everything about this work. The story, the art, and the voice acting where all great. I caught several allusions in the writing including Emily Dickenson, Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer, and Donkey Kong.

I hope that this will become a new collaborative standard for Newgrounds.


People find this review helpful!
AdamCook responds:

Hey, there, nice commentary! Finally some criticism aimed at me rather than the technical issues I know too well about!

The "jankyness" of the similes are partly intended; it became so ridiculous trying to think of one-upping descriptive qualities for her ("a dress spun from the finest silk of 1000 spiders", for example, would have been considerably less useful) that I decided to go for complete camp instead. (I mean, surely you didn't think "shone like the centre of an Oreo" was a great romantic declaration!!! Hahahahaha!) Plus, it managed to convey something visually interesting that Nacho + Ceci picked up on and ran with gusto (notice the teardrop pattern on her dress).
I'm happy with your comment, though; it's a personal thing, writing, and we all have different views on the values it should uphold. On this work I tried to make something with heart but also with humour; I'm pleased with what I delivered and glad that in the main it worked for you.

As for the volume spikes; good call, no-one's mentioned that yet but I've had a sneaking suspicion. Some of the characters are meant to be a bit loud, but I could probably do a better mix in the studio. Cheers for a helpful critique!

The references were fairly incidental (although I am the biggest fan of video games), and though I get the Emily D reference you pointed out, I don't see this having much to do with her take on the spiritual rot that comes with death. Flies get around in all the media, you know! As a side note though, when Joey was providing some of the sound effects, he did offer me a fly buzz I'm sure was from the IHAFBWID animation (short and fantastic piece of work http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzK0mQ ER28A). It was too surreal for this... sounded very eerie.

Naturally I hope that more people start combining their talents for increased benefit: many people could deliver so much more with a good team. I also hope that we start to attract more writing, artistic, vocal, audio and programming talents of the calibre witnessed here, so that we can raise the collective standard on what constitutes a great submission.

Most importantly though, I hope we start attracting more viewers like you, who appreciate what we're trying to do and welcome us with such open arms. Thank you very much!