Season 1 is halfway complete; we’ve released our first four episodes, and are hard at work on getting through the back nine. Back four, rather. Sorry to mix the metaphors. Episode 4 is (as of right now) live on the Season 1 page, and it just might be our best yet. (Though I also really like Episode 3. And Episode 1 will always be close to our hearts…) Suffice it to say, we’re happy with the quality of what we’ve been putting out, and hope you’re enjoying Season 1 as well. We’d love to know for sure, though, so if you have a minute, we’ve created a brief questionnaire to get your feedback and find out what we can do to make the show even better.
A Quick Note About Upcoming Release Dates
When we set our release schedule, we neglected to factor in extra time for the usual holiday season madness. (Apparently, we thought Halloween and Thanksgiving were good days to release new episodes as well.) So in order not to rush the finishing touches on the second half of the season, we’re going to take a short two-week hiatus to get ahead on development.
We’re pushing our release schedule back so that Episode 5 will air for Season Pass holders on January 9th, and will go live on our site on January 16th. All subsequent episodes will go out at the usual frequency, just two weeks later. Apologies for the short notice on this!
The State of Our Art
Episode 4 is a particular favorite of ours, because it encapsulates such a nice balance of all the things we do best: cohesive animated scenes, original soundtrack, and a great blend of entertainment and technical analysis, knit together by the occasional humorous non-sequitur. We’ll discuss various aspects of our production process in more detail later, but one thing I want to quickly note is that our process is not a linear one. We don’t write, shoot, animate, and edit one episode at a time from start to finish, sequentially, and then move on to the next. Two years ago, we didn’t even know there were going to be exactly eight episodes in Season 1; since then the season has evolved through many stages as we’ve iteratively improved the episodes more or less in parallel to get to the point we’re at now.
And in getting to this point, it feels like we’ve reached a peak, like we’ve really hit our stride: we’ve nearly mastered the art of “scenification”, or developing cohesive, multipart segments of animations and live footage to tell a specific part of our story; we’ve settled on an efficient workflow for planning and prototyping animations and concurrently developing whatever attendant soundtrack is necessary; and we’ve taken our revamped website to a place we’re really happy with. We’re still hitting the occasional bump in the road along the way (case in point: the aforementioned one-week delay), but we continue to learn and improve — the peak we’re at now is but one of many local maxima as this process advances. If there are any parts of this process you’d like to know more about, please let us know in the questionnaire linked above, or in the comments below.
Gifting the Code
Any special guitarists in your life? Just wanted to let you know that it’s possible to send friends and loved ones a Cracking the Code Season 1 Pass (or anything else sold on Gumroad). After you hit the “I want this!” button, click the small gift icon next to the email input box, and enter your recipient’s email address, along with a personalized message.
Right now this is an exclusively digital gifting process, but physical gift cards are in the works. (And, I have to say, they look fantastic.) If you’re into cyber stocking stuffers, feel free to jump on the existing digital gift option; if you’re like us in preferring your gifts to take a physical manifestation, we’ll have more for you in a few weeks.
But hey, don’t want to pressure you to spend more — we’ve all already got enough to think about in that domain. What we’d really appreciate is for you to share the show with a friend. Send them a link to our site, and if you like what we’re doing, tell them so. Glowing recommendations actually mean even more to us than any single purchase.
Thanks, and Happy Holidays
If you’re reading this far, well, we’d like to say thanks for watching, and for sticking with us through the long production process. There’s much more to come, and we hope you find it as rewarding as we do. If you’re excited for a deeper technical investigation — the meat and potatoes of picking mechanics — ’tis the season to start thinking about Season 2. We anticipate launching Side A (the first half of Season 2) in mid-to-late 2014, and are taking preorders now. Head on over to the Season 2 page to whet your appetite and see what’s in store.
Oh, and we’ve got something else exciting coming — sooner than you might think. We’ve set the wheels in (slow) motion on this one, so keep an eye out for further updates.
Happy holidays, and we’ll see you back here in a couple weeks!