Sunday, October 29, 2017

A Near Dawn - The Far-off Daydream

My name is Leon (@LeonDaydreamer), I am the creator of A Near Dawn - a dark, humorous character-driven psychological adventure game about a charming and intelligent Seattle attorney struggling to do the right thing while also fighting his sinister internal demons.

When it came time to it, I named my studio Far-off Daydream Games, because I feel that is what I've been doing my whole life - chasing my dreams. I was inspired by a beautiful Japanese anime just before entering high school (Vision of Escaflowne), it was like nothing else I'd seen up to that point. I dropped everything and decided I would work on becoming an artist. The dream was to become a great animator! I got into Fine Arts, but I didn't get into animation school multiple times. It wasn't all what I had hoped or expected. It was hard, and I put a lot of pressure on myself, and I felt like a failure for not getting into animation school. When I graduated, I refused to seriously look for any other kind work. I have a dream, I'm following it. I sent applications into every studio I could find in the city, eventually someone gave me shot. I did Scene Setup (a department that mostly doesn't exist anymore in TV animation). I learned a lot about the process and conventions - composition, silhouette, stretch/squash, overshoot, settle. I was close to my dream. By my next production I learned enough to be an animator, my work at the time may not inspire many people, but I was finally doing it. On the following project I was doing broadcast quality animation, that was the dream wasn't it? My art would be on television. I worked through several productions and was praised, even promoted on one of them.

But there was something missing. This was not the dream. I realized I didn't want to be a great animator, I wanted to be a great storyteller. And the stories I was helping to tell were not my own, they never would be. Finally, on one project I was very disappointed with the quality of their writing. It was disillusioning, and I began to look beyond this. I started writing more. My dream was to tell my own stories, create my own characters. A Near Dawn represents that Far-off Daydream I have been chasing my whole life.

I take full responsibility for A Near Dawn. I do the Writing, Direction, Character Art, Animation, Lead Design, Programming and even Voice Direction on this project, as well as illustrating the backgrounds in the opening sequence. It is the project that I secretly wanted to make since I was a kid and the project I never could if I didn't have all of the skills that I picked up on the way here. I've only ever dreamed of doing long-form fiction writing before, telling my own stories, and it was liberating and beautiful to be able to express situations, characters' thoughts and reactions just as I intended. I never designed a full cast of characters before, and I gained a great respect for the intelligence that goes into good character design. I never illustrated an entire skyline down to the smallest deliberate detail, and having done so I gained an appreciation for architecture and structural design. I never led an artist, composer and a team of voice actors to execute my story just as I envisioned, and then there we were - all working together to bring my project to life.

This project has been one profound lesson after another, and I have learned so much already making it. I don’t want to stop learning and growing the way I have been, that is my dream now.

*Our project A Near Dawn is Live on KickStarter. Anything you can do to help share or support our campaign would be greatly appreciated!

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