• Morgan Lea

Moving foreWARD in 2020

Updated: Jun 20, 2020

Where is foreWARD?

That’s the question on everybody’s minds, isn’t it? I wish I had an easy answer, but the short of it is- it’s here, just a long, long way off. If you’re interested in the nitty-gritty, please keep reading.

Let’s start with some positives, shall we? The first story arc has been completely drafted, and we've begun the proper outline for the second of four total story arcs.

Now onto the harder stuff. Cody’s hard drive failed back in August 2018 and he lost the majority of his life’s work with it. While this happened after I backed up most of foreWARD’s concept art, fortunately, we did ultimately lose the AE project file containing the entire animatic of the pilot, along with most of Cody’s personal projects that he’d been working on for roughly 10 years.

Needless to say, Cody fell into a massive depression and stopped work on everything altogether. It has been an uphill battle since to recover, both emotionally and creatively, and life hasn't really let up since with various health issues plaguing both of us, as well as our families. I won't use this place to divulge those details, as they are quite personal, but I want to frame this with the context that foreWARD just hasn't been able to be the priority we wanted it to be since the release of the animatic.

We’ve envisioned foreWARD as a fully animated project from the beginning. While its origins were the plan for a webcomic, it was reimagined with the focus and intent of animation, and we’ve approached the series with that in mind from Day One. This mindset has influenced everything from designs to the writing, and as it stands, it is extremely close to the very core of foreWARD. We have, however, maintained the acknowledgement that animation is not only hard, but expensive, and we knew our biggest challenge to face would be funding.

All of this to say… we are regrettably making the extremely hard decision to not pursue animation. While we’ve managed to achieve a lot, like the successful completion of the animatic and the crowdfunding for our cast to get compensated, maintaining that success and building the audience necessary to propel that momentum is not easy with the resources we have right now.

The fact of the matter is, there’s not a lot of interest in work that doesn’t have a lot to show this early in the game, and while we have plenty of work going on behind the scenes, the vast majority of it is spoiler content. The foundation of the series was completed years (read: 10+ years) ago and only needed minor work to be adapted, so the core effort has been things that won’t be seen for a while.

foreWARD is a MASSIVE undertaking. Ultimately, we had to decide what mattered more to us: the medium or the story, and the story won out. We could sacrifice and cut and trim all day but not without losing critical elements that we see as part of what makes foreWARD so special, so when we came to the conclusion that animation was out of the question, we then had to figure out…

What next?

We had drafts for the whole first season, rough notes mapping out the course of the series, concept art upon concept art, a hefty production bible, and a dedicated voice cast. Any decision we made would have a monumental effect on everything else, so we’d have to consider the repercussions that came with it, and after months of deliberation, we knew that the second most important element to the success and future of foreWARD was our voice cast.

With that in mind, we have decided to shift gears from animation into an audio drama. At least for the time being. There are a number of contributing factors to this, but a few I feel are worth making clear.

First and foremost, one of the things I have personally tried to do with this project is pay all extra hands that touch the project in an official capacity, going so far as to pay out of my own pocket to reimburse those that lent us a hand for the animatic outside of those compensated through the GoFundMe. I don’t want anyone working for free. Time that people spend working with us is time they can spend getting paid for something else, and I refuse to be a contributing factor to someone else’s financial struggles having been there myself.

The second reason piggybacks off this point. As of now, I will, at least temporarily, be the sole producer of foreWARD. This transition has been about half a year in the making and closer to a year in discussion, and the decision boiled down to Cody's mental health and well-being. As the sole visual and artistic contributor, he was overburdened and burnt out. Because we've had no budget to pay him for his art and no budget to cover other artists for assistance, I was given permission to pursue production in a format that I could feasibly organize on my own while Cody takes time for his other creative passions.

That's not to say Cody has dropped the project altogether. For now, he's just stepping out of his role as lead artist as we pull away from heavy visual production and focus our efforts on producing the story in audio form first.

There's still a lot up in the air right now, but things are finally settling into place where I will be making more candid announcements very soon. I am looking forward to sharing more news with you soon. Until then, stay tuned!

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