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Pablo The Pufferfish: Big Shots Get Shots

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WGCNY + Healthline + Serial Lab help kids overcome their fear of needles.

Big Shots Get Shots is a campaign aimed at kids to help them overcome their fear of needles. Healthline contacted me to do the storybook art for the free app, while Serial Labs provided the audio. This project was a big collaborative effort, and so far it’s been met with great results. This campaign starts with a pledge to protect and inform kids (and adults) about needles. Once you have taken the pledge (or even if you don’t pledge) you can then download a free app from iTunes for your kids to enjoy.

Taking a step back for a moment, it was over 3 months ago when Irene McGee contacted me about the project. When she described it to me I was excited and ready to go. She didn’t waste any time getting me the script and we began working on the character design for Pablo the Pufferfish. Once we had Pablo nailed down, we started to create the world he lived in, and the friends he helps in this adventure.

As the project began to move forward I contacted Gina Zdanowicz to see if she was available to add her audio skills to the mix. Fortunately for us she was! She really came through with some great sounds for the app, and what makes it even more amazing to me is that we did a great deal of this during Hurricane Sandy. If you were on the East Coast when Sandy hit, you can likely imagine how hard it was to keep things moving while so many other things were falling apart. This project could have easily been shelved and it would have made sense, but it wasn’t and for me it turned out to be an unexpected distraction which was desperately needed at the time.

Once we had all the art and audio ready to go, Dustin Dettmer began programing the app, while Nelson Hernandez began work on the site. It all came together early in January 2013, and everything went live shortly after. Now that it’s live and available to the world, make a pledge and share it with those in need. You’ll be glad you did!

CBS Segment

Laughing Squid Demo

NYCC 2012: The show and aftermath

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( WGCNY + Zephyr Games, Inc. + Interactive Monster Inc. ) x NYCC = An amazing 4 days of fun, excitement and games!

First, I want to say thanks to Kenneth Johnson of Zephyr Games, Inc. and Kevin Loughran of Interactive Monster Inc. for helping me put together a great show. We all had a blast, for all the hard work involved. We met so many new people, fans and colleagues alike. We laughed, told great stories, ate lots of candy, and watched a lot of people enjoy our games. Our booth was almost always packed with fans, and we enjoyed every moment of it. Here are some of the highlights from the 4 day show.

Day 1: Press and Pros

The first day of the con is usually the slowest. This is mainly because the show floor has a limited opening. This year, however, the time the show floor was open had been extended and it seemed as if there were a lot more pros in attendance than ever before. Because of this, our booth was jumping off right from the start. We had a lot of people come though and play out games, and I even sold a few pieces of art that day. It was a good start to a great weekend, but it didn’t prepare me for friday at all!

Day 2: General Admission

The night before, right as the show was closing, we got word that NYCC had more people coming then they expected, and decided to open the show a 1/2 hour earlier than planned going forward. This meant I needed to get up and out the door earlier as well. The lines to get in were just as I expected, super loooooong. Being a exhibitor has it’s perks, and walking past that line is one of them!

I setup as quickly as I could and before I knew it, the booth was packed with fans. Friday turned out to be my best day in terms of sales. I moved a few prints, some original art and did 4 commissioned drawings. Deadpool, SpongeBob, Batgirl and Dr. Strange. It was crazy, and I don’t remember having a moment to chill at all!

When the day was done, I kicked it with a few of my peeps at Halo Berlin for dinner before heading home. It had turned out to be an awesome but very long day, and I was happy to be home with my lady and my kitty for a few, before crashing.

Day 3: General Admission

2 days had passed and we were 1/2 way done. I was surviving the day on Water, Coffee and Candy! We had candy out for the fans and boy did it go FAST! Saturday was by far the busiest day, with the most people. Our booth was packed all day but for different reasons than before. A lot of people stopped by to view my art, and a very few even bought something, but the apps really boring in the fans that day.

Corpse Toss was a popular favorite. Having debuted at last years comic con, there were fans who already owned it and wanted to tell us how much they enjoyed it. And as I mention in a post above, we have a lot of ideas for CT, we just need the time to get them done!

Legend of Fat Ninja was very popular with kids and adults alike. Weather they first saw the app, or the amazing Paperfoldable done by Bryan Green, every one loved our little ninja chef. We had a few kids who didn’t want to stop playing, but did so only to end up playing another one of our games!

Other games such as Math Evolve, Kirin Wars and Kiwi and Pears Adventures also got a lot of attention. We really had a bustling hub of excitement going on. We carried that excitement to a near by bar after the show. It was nice, because we got to toast our efforts, as we prepped for the last day. The bartender was kind enough to put a Fat Ninja Paperfoldable up above the bar. Maybe it’s still there?!

Afterward Kenny and I met up with another crew of great people at Southern Hospitality for dinner. After such an intense few days I was unable to hang, lol. I needed to rest before the last day, so we only stayed for a few hours. Still, we had a blast and met a lot of cool people.

Day 4: Kids Day

We love kids! As former nickelodeon employees, we’ve all spent many years producing work for kids. So it’s no wonder that on kids day, we had our booth filled with kids from open till close. It was really great to see kids playing the games, and parents getting into them as well. And when the kids decided they weren’t ready to leave just yet, the parents spent time looking over my art. Sales were back up a bit on Sunday, but the games where still the main show.

This whole convention was a win win for me, as the cost of it is an investment, and the sales are an immediate return on my investment. The long term impact is going to be far reaching, but hard to decipher for quite some time. I can say that from the initial after con response, things are going in the right direction.

Outside of that, I didn’t get to see much of the show, but there were a lot of cool costumes! On Sunday, I saw someone dressed as Peter Griffin, and he have the voice and mannerisms down and everything. I fled the booth to get a picture! The rest I mainly heard about from others and will catch up with online.

Thanks to all the folks who put NYCC together, and all the fans that showed up, especially those that stopped by our booth We had a blast and look forward to next year!

Legend of Fat Ninja: Available on iTunes

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WGCNY + Zephyr Games, Inc. have launched “Legend of Fat Ninja” on iTunes. Kindle Fire version to follow.

It’s finally here! Legend of Fat Ninja is now available for download on iTunes. Priced at $1.99, Fat Ninja provides hours of gameplay at the tap of your fingers! We are really excited about this game, and we have a lot of plans in store for it. I’m going to run down highlights from it’s conception through launch, note a few updates we have planned, as well as say a bit more about the game as it is. Before I do I need to say Thanks to those fans who were there from the start, and to all you new fans, welcome aboard!

Legend of Fat ninja combines the skill based gameplay of physics games such as Angry Birds, with the arcade scoring and chaining mechanics of Pinball and point based arcade games. Every time you launch Fat Ninja into a level, you are able to direct his movements by simply tapping in the direction for him to attack. With every object you hit you build up power that allows you to continue. Attempt to build up the highest score possible while keeping enemy ninjas from reaching your noodle stand, and then defeat the resident chef to liberate the famous ingredient he has been

It’s been a wild ride from concept to product. The initial idea was rejected by one group of gamers before it was brought to Kenny Johnson of Zephyr-Games, Inc. Can you believe that! We’ll it’s ture. Fat Ninja almost never made it past the idea phase. Thanks to Kenny, not only did fat Ninja make it past the idea phase, it made it to the alpha phase. Once we had an idea of what Fay Ninja could be, we reached out to potential fans via Kickstarter. Thanks to our fans, Fat Ninja made it to the product phase in a much better condition than it would have otherwise. We’ve gotten a lot of really good feed back from our supporters which we’ve been putting to use. We already have some plans for future updates that will not only extend the games experience, but improve upon the current gameplay as well.

Right now we are asking those who purchase ( and like ) the game to rate and review it on iTunes. This is an important factor as it lets Apple, and other people know about the game. Plus it gives us good feed back in once place. So far we’ve taken a lot of your feedback and put that into the game, and we want to keep on doing so.

Past that, we’ve gotten some really good press! The word is spreading and people are enjoying it. We’ll have more updates as time passes, but I’ll leave you with the a few links to some write ups / interviews worth checking out:

Reviews

1) PadVance.com / slidetoplay.com – “Best new games for your iPad this week” – We were right in there with Rovio’s “Bad Piggies”!

2) JayIsGames.com – John Bardinelli did a really nice write up for Jayisgames.com. Can’t say thanks enough for his kind words!

3) IGN.com – Ign highlighted all the worth while releases on September 27th. Not only did Legend of Fat Ninja make the list, but so did Kirin Wars!

Interviews

4) APPetite PR interview: Kenny Johnson was interviewed about Legend of Fat ninja ( and Kirin Wars ) !

5) Examiner Interview: Kenny Johnson was interviewed again about Legend of Fat Ninja ( and Kirin Wars ).

Legend of Fat Ninja: Paperfoldable

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Legend of Fat Ninja’s Kureijita has come to life as a 3D paperfoldable toy. Get yours today!

Legend of Fat Ninja has gotten some cool swag! With the launch of the game on September 27th, we wanted to make some noise outside of the usual social media marketing strategies. Enter Bryan Green of paperfoldables.com. Bryan came on board to create this awesome LOFN paperfoldable. Available for download here, you can print, cut and paste ( or tape ) your way to happiness! This amazing design has really given life to our little fat ninja outside of the mobile arena and best of all it’s 100% FREE!

Kids and adults alike will have fun creating their own little paper ninja. It is a fun activity that can be done by one, or in a group. It does take a little skill, so parents will definitely want to help out with kids who want to make one. Once created, your little fat ninja becomes a great companion. You can play fight with him and your other favorite toys, he can watch over you while cooking, making sure you use the best ingredients for your meal. Or maybe take a trip on the town for a fun photo shoot! Below are a few of the photos people have taken with him. If you have a cool photo of your Fat Ninja, post it up on Facebook and tag it with Legend of Fat Ninja. Or you can send me the photo directly at wg@wgcny.com

Hail Fat Ninja

Naked Cowboy

Head Stand

We plan to have these available at this years New York Comic Con, so if you are there, swing by and pick one up. We’ll have a few of them displayed at the booth, since these work great as promotional materials. So if you are interested in having a paperfolable made, and what to know what they look like / how they work, stop by booth #362 and take a look! You won’t be disappointed.

Farfaria: The Magician’s Assistant

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WGCNY has illustrated a children’s story for the mobile subscription service FarFaria. Get a FREE 30 day trial!

Earlier in the year I reached out to the folks over at FarFaria about drawing a story for their children’s app. They were more than happy to let me do so, and we started down a path that led to a story called The Magician’s Assistant. We felt this was a great story that matched my style, and I was very eager to get started on it. We went back and forth for awhile figuring out the character designs and set designs. Once we had that locked down it was all hands on deck as I started working up the pages.

It took me quite some time to get his story together, as I did all the work myself. That includes character / set design, layouts, pencils, inks and colors! Whew! It was a great experience tho, and I learned a lot from the process. It was also a great reminder of how fun it is to tell stories. I really enjoy trying to figure out camera shots, action scenes, and the flow of the story overall. It’s something that I put to use in storyboards and animation work as well but the vibe is slightly different for me in story / comic form.

FarFaria is a paid subscription service app that offers new stories on a weekly basis. If you ( or your children ) love stories, it’s definitely worth checking out. You can download it here and check it out as they have a FREE 30 day trial offer.

Kickstarter: Legend of Fat Ninja

“Legend of Fat Ninja” Kickstarter A Success!

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WGCNY & Zephyr Games Inc’s the “Legend Of Fat Ninja” Kickstarter campaign was a success, Thanks to your help!

As some of you know, we recently ran a kickstarter campaign for the Legend Of Fat Ninja App. The plan was to raise $14,500 for us to use to polish off the game, to do a Kindle Fire port, as well market it upon release. All that means is the money would go towards making a cool game even cooler, and allowing more people to have access to it. We thought it was a good plan and, apparently, so did you! So first let me say, our hats are off to all of you who pledged, shared, liked, tweeted or helped in any other way!

Even good plans can be hard to achieve, as it took us the full 30 day period to raise the above amount, but we did it! YOU did it! And now we are in a good position to really put out something special. We’ve been working on Fat Ninja for over a year now and to get this kind of support really shows our work has been worth it. It also servers as an inspirational jump off to help finish the game. A lot of times when working on a project, you reach a “dead zone” where you’ve done a whole lot, but you still feel so far away from the end goal. In those moments it can be easy to fold, give up, and do something else. Fortunately your support quickly moved me out of the dead zone and pushed me toward the light at the end of the tunnel.

As an update, we’re getting closer to completing the first full version of Fat Ninja. There is no doubt the App will have some updates and upgrades after it’s release, but it’s awesome to see that when it does drop, it’ll be a more robust app than we originally planned on. I’m currently working on some of the story scenes and the help section. You can keep up with the latest on Facebook, as we try to post work in progress shots as often as we can.

For those who are considering starting a kickstarter project, I have a few pieces of advice:
  • This should go without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway. Believe in your product and put out the best work you can. If you don’t really believe in your product, it will show in your work, and no one else will believe in it either.
  • Prep for the campaign. Most people know there is a lot of work that goes into a fund raising campaign while it’s happening, but most don’t know there is a lot of work that happens before the campaign even begins. One important thing I would suggest is to contact those closest to you, like family and close friends ( and put out word to everyone else ), 2 weeks before the campaign launches. This way they will be expecting it, and they can pledge to your campaign on day 1. This has a lot of advantages and could get you listed on kickstarters homepage. We did not do this, but you can believe we will going forward.
  • Be ready to put in a daily effort. Unless you have a name ( celeb status ), or an product people can’t live without, you are going to have to work your campaign on a daily basis. If you are a single person launching a campaign, you have to consider no one else is going to be pushing as hard as you. You have to take the lead and be the driving force behind your campaign. If you have a team behind you that can help, as the more people pushing the campaign can help it reach a wider audience, but even still having a team is no guarantee of success. A team might mean your asking for more money to do more things, and there could be a number of other variables that make it harder or easier to promote. But it all comes down to the bottom line: it’s all on you to get the word out, and get people to pledge. You can’t let up for a minute.
  • And the last piece of advice I’m going to mention here is this: If your project does not get fully funded, reevaluate your product and campaign, then try again. I say this because regardless of the outcome, you will learn a lot about your project via comments from those that pledge and those that do not. The whole thing is a learning experience, and part of that is learning how people react to ( and what they think of ) your product. So for some of you, you will find that your product is fine, or might need a few tweaks, or that your campaign needs a different approach. Others will find their product needs more work than that thought, or might be more of a niche product than they had thought. Whatever you do learn will allow you to take one steep closer to your end goal.Even for those who find that their product doesn’t have the appeal they thought, the things you learn can be applied to a new product and a new campaign. In this way, no matter what happens you can’t lose.

Lastly, I want to give a special thanks to Kevin Loughran of Interactive Monster and Gina Zdanowicz of Serial Lab. They have both provided excellent work on this game and I’d recommend both of them without reservation.

That’s it for now. Be sure to check back here and on Facebook for the latest in Fat Ninja news!

WGCNY has been upgraded!

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WGCNY has been in business for over 10 years and we look forward to 10 more. Join us in the next chapter of our story

Thanks for taking a moment to check out my new site. It’s a major upgrade in terms of presentation, but there is still a lot of manual work to be done in terms of upgrades and updates. Because of that initial updates might be slow, but I am going to do my best to keep you updated with what’s happening. As soon as I can I’m going to look into setting up something automated, but for now this will be more than sufficient. It’s much easier to update than my old site, so it’s still a win / win situation as I see it.

You’ll notice right off that the site is a lot cleaner and easier to navigate. This site is also what is called a “Responsive” website, which just means that it will adjust to whatever you are viewing it on. So for those of you who had been trying to view my site on your iPads/iPhones and other devices, now you can do so with ease.

Aside from that you’ve already seen that I have a blog/news section again. I’ll try to post relevant updates before or as the happen, or soon there after. For more frequent (and I use that term loosely lol) updates you can follow me on twitter and Facebook. At the top of the site are links to the WGCNY accounts, but below you’ll find links to my personal pages and others as well.

And as far as the portfolio goes, all of the art can be found in the main sections like Portfolio, Animation, Apps etc. For those of you viewing this site on a device, you will have to click twice to view those pages. The reason being: On the first click you open the drop down menu. On the second click you can choose that section.

Lastly, I will say that due to the nature of things, some of the site features may not be fully functional yet, or might still have bugs. I’ll be checking for these things over the next few weeks, so if you see any issues, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

I hope you enjoy your look around, and be sure to spread the word and check before for more, as we are just getting started!

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