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I've been interested in animation for longer than I can remember. I'm mostly self taught, and seem to be improving with everything I release. I hope to one day further my skills. I love making cartoons.

23, Male



Joined on 12/13/08

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My Dilemma

Posted by artistunknown - June 21st, 2018

I haven't wanted to be an animator all my life, not even an artist.  I don't know what I wanted to do when I was really young, I mostly just played with toys and didn't care about much else, but the art thing just kinda happened naturally.  I started drawing, because it was another thing to do, and I guess I liked it enough to pursue it further, to the point where in school I was the "artist" in the class, despite my drawings not actually being very good (they still aren't now tbh), but I was drawing, so I was an artist.


During these years, I don't remember exactly what I drew, I know there were a few characters I ended up making between the age of 5-9, characters that I've held onto all these years and will eventually do more with them (one being FrogMan, who I have done a lot with but we'll get to that later).  The other thing I remember drawing a lot as a kid, was the only cartoon I would make fan art of, Spongebob. I don't remember how long I was drawing Spongebob as a kid, but I was also drawing some original stuff around then too, including the first "Adventures of FrogMan" book. It's interesting, that Spongebob is the only cartoon I would draw as a kid, 'cause it really doesn't show up in my current art style, unlike a lot of other artists who were heavily inspired by cartoon art styles; they can still draw original content well though, unlike me.  I can actually draw the Spongebob characters pretty decently now though, so something did come of it.


That's all pretty unrelated to the topic at hand though, at least, mostly unrelated.  I did briefly mention FrogMan in that, and that's the topic, and we'll get to it, but I feel the need to give as much context as possible to help make the situation easier to understand.  Maybe it’s not needed, but eh, I don’t get to write a lot anyways, so… yeah.


At some point between 2004-2006 (I don't remember when exactly) I was introduced to Newgrounds.  I had been browsing the internet for a bit before, because we finally had dial up (wow), and I was mostly just going on LEGO.com, but once I found Newgrounds, I couldn't stay off of it.  A few years later, I realized that the stuff on Newgrounds was actually made by individual people, and not some corporate entity, and that was cool man, and super motivating. I had been trying to find more ways of furthering my "art" beyond crappy pencil drawings, or even worse MS Paint drawings, and I had discovered the art of Brick Films recently, so it seemed like animation was a good way to progress.


But I didn't start animating until a few years later.  I don't remember why it took so long. I guess I didn't understand that flash animations were made in flash, and I didn't know how to make cartoons, so it probably just took me awhile to figure things out.  So I made crappy "cartoons" in MS Paint. Fantastic.


I've already talked about that period of my life many times though, and that's not what this is about.  This is about FrogMan.


In 2004, I made the first FrogMan book, at the age of 9.  It ended on a cliffhanger, because I somehow planned out a 5 book series, but I completely forgot the original plan for that, or what the thought process even was, but 2 years later, in 2006 I made the 2nd book, and in 2008, 2 years after that I started the 3rd book, but it was never finished, and what I had done accidentally got thrown out, so it was lost to the ages, but I did remember most of what the story was supposed to be.  After that point though, I have no idea what the story was supposed to be, other than a few major plot points, but I don't know how I would've gotten 2 more books out of it.


By 2009 though, I had fully gotten into animation.  I was making pretty decent garbage with paint, and here I had an unfinished series of books, that I kinda cared about.  This character had been with me since 2003 at the earliest after all. And so I started writing scripts for a possible animated adaptation of the Adventures of FrogMan series.  When I got to book 3 again though, I couldn't finish it. Because I didn't know what the story was. The first two were easy, because it was just improving on what was already written, but with the third one, there was nothing there, other than a vague idea.


So I again sat on it for a while.  And then a year later, I completely gave up on the original story, and decided to make a FrogMan continuation in the form of an adult animated sitcom (that I erroneously branded as a reality show, though tbf it is supposed to be following the life of the family, so it kinda is a reality show, but really it's just another animated family sitcom).  And thus, FrogMan the Series was born.


It was like early to mid 2010 when I started writing episodes.  The first episode was already written at this point, 'cause when the school talent show rolled around, I had the bright idea to enter it with the talent of "animation" and I made the FrogMan the Series pilot for the talent show... except it was animated in paint, and had to be completely family friendly, so I basically re-wrote it and cut out the villain's subplot entirely.  And it was horribly edited because Alex didn't know what he was doing (sorry @RECONmasterFILMS). Animation-wise though, it was pretty decent. Looked about the same as Attack of the Squirrel King. I would show it to y'all, but it's kinda lost. I know it's still around somewhere though, so hopefully I'll one day be able to re-edit it and share it with everyone, 'cause it would suck to lose such a historical part of my development as an artist.


Anyways, after that, I started working on the series proper over the summer.  I thought it was gonna be animated in flash, but my trial ran out, and I couldn't afford it and I didn't want to resort to pirating.  I don't remember what I was thinking after that, but eventually my dad ended up buying me and my sister an animation program called Anime Studio for $50.  Unfortunately, this ended up being a severely limited version of Anime Studio. That we paid for. Yeah, okay.


I've gone into how bad this was many times, but because of its limitations, I ended up animating the first 2.5 episodes of FrogMan the Series in Anime Studio, so it was all tweened and stuff, and it didn't look very good.  Then during the making of episode 3 I got fed up with it and finally went and got flash, except I apparently forgot everything I had learned about animation from doing stuff with paint, so the first few episodes I did in flash ended up looking bad still.  That's my fault for trying to make long cartoons before I knew what I was doing. I eventually did get better at animating and ended up remembering how to actually do it after making a few shorts in between the episodes. Speaking of which:


FrogMan the Series was plagued with problems from the start.  The first two episodes were finished before school started, so it should've gone off on the right foot, getting episodes up every week should've been a piece of cake.  Episode one went up on September 1st, 2010, as planned, but then something went wrong during the editing of episode 2, so it had to be delayed by a week or two. That's fine, episode two was already finished, and I was well into episode 3, so it should be easy to get it out sooner.  But then there was an even bigger delay. Episode 3 didn't come out until November 14th, nearly 2 months after episode 2. I somehow still thought I could get the rest of the season out by the end of the year. Yeah, that didn't happen.


What did happen by the end of the year though, was my dad dying, and that sucked.  I've talked about that enough though, but that did mean that a lot of life stuff was getting in the way of making cartoons, so because of that, episode 4 didn't come out until May 22nd, 2011.  Because that gap was so long, I vowed that the wait for episode 5 wouldn't be nearly as long, and it ended up being way longer than I could've ever anticipated.


Episode 5 finally came out June 21, 2012, after many headaches that I've already gone into in other posts.  Once again though, after the way-too-long break, I promised it wouldn't be anywhere near as long between episode 5 and 6, in fact, I was pretty confident I could get the rest of the season out by the end of the year.  I'll never learn.


Episode 6 was making pretty good progress though, and by the time the end of the year came, I had about 3 minutes of it animated, which is pretty good since it was fully frame by frame now, instead of the bad tweening from previous episodes (at least episode 4 and 5 served as improvements for art style).  The original version of episode 6 still wasn't great though, the script had a lot of issues. Also, at some point, my computer died again, so I lost access to the file for a bit. In fact, I couldn't even access the file until over a year later, but still, I didn't touch it. It was just so long since, how could I just get back to it now?


It wasn't until 2014 that I finally decided.  Episode 6 was just too old at this point. I had improved so much with both art and animation, what I had would just be too jarring next to anything new, so I made the tough decision to scrap what I had, and start over completely from scratch, even re-writing a lot of the script and re-recording dialog because the original just wasn't very good.  And you know what? I had a lot of fun getting to record episode 6 and 7 back to back with Alex, and then directing my sister to record Chick Frog's lines. I immediately started working on the episode's animation, but then for whatever reason, I just stopped. I don't remember why, but considering the timing, it was probably depression. I still managed to make some shorts, but my output really wasn't that great.  And on top of that, I wasn't working on episode 6.


Since 2014 was the 10th anniversary of The Adventures of FrogMan, I deemed 2014 "The Year of FrogMan" so I was gonna make it special.  At this point, I had already made a few FMTS shorts, so I made a couple more in 2014, and I had planned to finish episode 6 and 7 by the end of the year.  At least I was getting a bit less ambitious with my plans.


One other big FrogMan related thing that happened in 2014, was I finally figured out what to do with the original story I started writing for The Adventures of FrogMan.  I tried writing an animated adaptation before, but it just wasn't working out. But in 2014, I finally figured it out: I would do a feature-length animated origin film, based on the story I "wrote" when I was 9, except, a lot better.  I started writing a plot outline, and I even made a cool poster for the film, and I even thought I could start animating it that year. Yeah, okay, I was still too ambitious.


I couldn't even finish episode 6 in 2014 though.  I don't remember why, I had already finished 2 scenes, but I sat on it for over a year.  I think maybe I couldn't work on it because I was working on FrogMan and Pico? I don't remember, but that seems likely, since I started that in 2013, and I was working on scene 2 and 3 in 2014.  Now that I think about it, I did work on a lot of cartoons in 2014, but still nowhere as many as I should have.


Point is, I didn't get back to work on episode 6 again until the summer of 2015, because I had no internet, was going crazy, and I had nothing else I could work on.  So I opened up flash, and started animating a new scene of episode 6. And it felt great. So I animated another scene, and then I storyboarded the rest of it, and I felt so good.  For the first time in a long time, I felt so good and I was happy because I finally figured out what I really wanted to work on. I wanted to work on episode 6 and finish it after all these years, and I didn't realize it earlier for some reason.  So I kept working on it, and from then until April 2016, I worked on nothing but episode 6, and finally, it was finished. I couldn't believe it. It had been nearly 4 years, and it was finally done. And after episode 6, I was satisfied. I felt no need to immediately jump into making episode 7.  Episode 6 was done, and that's all that mattered. It was a huge weight off of me.


It's been 2 years now, and I still haven't started episode 7.  I rewrote the script and re-recorded the audio at the same time as episode 6, but I haven't started animating it.  I haven't even started storyboarding it, and it's just because I haven't felt the need to. I've been working on all different kinds of creative projects since then, and I'm so overwhelmed with everything I want to do that I can't choose something to stick to, so I end up working on nothing a lot of the time.


I've made a few FMTS shorts since episode 6, but other than that, I don't know what to do with the series.  At the end of 2017, I finally finished writing the script for the FrogMan origin film, and I really want to animate it entirely by myself, because that'll just be the cheapest option, plus it’d be cool to say I animated a feature film all by myself.  But that's gonna take forever, and I'm perfectly fine with putting the time in, but after it's done, what do I do with it? I can't just spend years animating a MOVIE and then slap it up online for free and get a few hundred views. That's a problem I'll have to think about later though, when I actually decide to start working on it.


I was seriously thinking of starting the animation for the film this year, but I've got so many big projects I want to work on, and it'd make more sense to work on them first.  Most of this year though, I've felt unfulfilled, and I don't know what I want to work on, like when I figured out I wanted to work on episode 6. At first, I thought that would be my mini-series "Gripp".  So I started working on it earlier this year, but I just wasn't feeling it. I thought more than anything, that would be what I wanted to work on. Turns out the only thing I can really bring myself to work on now is the Breath of the Wild parody i started last year.  Yes, a stupid, dumb zelda parody based on a joke that's probably been done to death now. But it's more than that, and I did get a good bit of progress done on it last year, and I just sat on it, because I wasn't feeling it anymore at the time. But I guess I am now, because I can't bring myself to work on anything except for it, so I've gotta get it done, and that's what I've been working on, and that's why there hasn't been anything from me for the past few months, because I can't bring myself to work on anything else.


I was working on the Zelda cartoon for a good few weeks straight, I was even streaming most of the process, but then I got a chance to do an animation test for a potential freelance gig, so I had to stop to do that.  Coincidentally, I also had to do a bunch of yard work starting the same day, because it's hurricane season I guess, so we gotta get some things sorted. So I had to spend like 6 hours a day doing yard work, cutting down trees, replacing the roof, whatever, and then I had to work on the animation test, but I was so tired and sore from doing the yard work, I just couldn't most days, so the animation test took way longer than it should have, and this whole time I couldn't touch the zelda cartoon, the one thing I actually wanted to work on because it was holding me up from working on anything else.


That was the past two weeks. I finished the animation test on the 18th, but I haven't done much since then.  I've been kinda relaxing since, because the past two weeks were just so awful, but I've gotta get back to work on the zelda cartoon, because I can't bring myself to work on anything else.


But that's not entirely related, because it doesn't have anything to do with FMTS.


The actual point of this whole post, is, I wanna work on FMTS.  I have so many ideas, I've got over 100 episode ideas, and a few movies, and the thought of never being able to finish all of it kinda scares me, and it's getting more and more real the older I get and I hate it.  And, I'm at the point now where I could finally make the series look exactly how I've always wanted, and that idea is so cool to me, yet I'm still not working on it. Why? A big part, is 'cause a lot of the time I feel like it doesn't have enough fans to justify it, but I don't think that really matters, since a lot of the time, it also feels like it's the only thing I want to make.  If all of FrogMan the Series is all I got to make in my life time, I'd be happy. Even if it's just a stupid profane show about a bunch of frogs with super powers they don't even use, I really wanna make it, because it means a lot to me, and there's even some really good, meaningful stories in the later seasons, and I really wanna tell them. But I'm not working on it.


And the main reason, is animation takes a long time.  I wanna animate the episodes entirely frame by frame, but that would take way too long to do by myself, so the only options really, are hiring a team to help make the episodes quicker, which would cost a lot of money I don't have, or go back to tweens, so the episodes can get done drastically quicker.  There also comes the issue of the episode lengths. Some of them can get close to 30 minutes long. While a 30 minute video every day works on youtube, a 30 minute video every other month isn't gonna work, and most of the episodes aren't even 30 minutes, most aren't even 11. If I could make an episode in a decent amount of time though and UPLOAD them weekly, maybe it could be worthwhile if the time investment isn't so bad, but again, the only way of doing that is by outsourcing, or cutting back on the animation quality.  Alternatively, I could also upload the episodes in shorter chunks, and then later upload the full episodes, to milk them for all they're worth. This seems to be a route that a lot of people are going, but these episodes were written as full episodes, so they don't really have a natural splitting point, but looking at the scripts, it could work MOSTLY. I just would hate to do that, because then some episodes would have like 6 parts, and that's really annoying, but at least it would mean they could come out faster.


So that's my dilemma.  I want to work on FMTS, but I don't know what I should do.  I wanna make more shorts, I wanna make all 10 seasons, and I wanna make the couple of movies and spinoffs that I have locked in my head, but I don't know what I should do.


So what should I do?  Should I give in, and go back to tweens?  They wouldn't be as bad as they were originally, in fact, I could probably do some pretty good tweens now, because I have a bit more experience with better rigs now.  I wouldn't entirely enjoy doing it, but it would get the stories out. Another option is mostly using tweens but still supplementing with some frame by frame when it's not too much of a time-sink, but this could get jarring if I'm not careful, but I know it's doable, I've seen plenty of internet animators do it.


I really wanna keep doing FMTS fully frame by frame, but it'll take too long.  I don't wanna have to do tweens, but it makes the most sense. Give me your thoughts, 'cause it would really help.


I've made a poll to make this official: https://twitter.com/xArtistunknown/status/1009850973177696258


Thanks for reading this stupidly long, probably pretentious, ramble.  I do a lot of thinking, and I want to do a lot of writing, but I really feel like I shouldn't just dump all my awful thoughts on Newgrounds.  No one wants to read that. This isn't Deviantart or Tumblr... that does give me an idea though...


But that's for another day.  Thanks for reading. I'm gonna go back to not working now, because I'm once again in a transitional period where I don't feel like doing anything and I don't know what to do.  I'll get over it in a few days though. And then it'll happen again.


Comments (8)

I think you should work more on your art style. It has been improving with time but you need to work more on it before you focus on larger tasks like frogman.
I hope to see more from FrogMan and your other works in the future, but you need to hone your craft first.
I was't able to vote, but if I had a twitter I would voted for B, with a close second for C.

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Actually we made a same way but I satarted animation 4 years ago. So yeah, I see same troubles in my works.
Your animation (motion) turn much better but your art style seems a bit complicated and clour palet not so great as coud be.
So I think you shall think about style and colours. It will make sence.

Yeah, I've definitely been looking to better my color choices. I understand color theory a little more now, so maybe I should revisit some of the colors for FMTS. For FMTS specifically though, I don't think there will be much changed for the art style, 'cause it's pretty much exactly how I want it to look. I could definitely use some improvements for other things though!

I'm curious what seems so complicated about the style though, it seems pretty simple to me lol

That was a pretty nice history lesson of your art. As to your decision, I think you can combine frame-by-frame, and work with tweens in the same project. Also, it's not really piracy when Adobe hands out activation keys. It's good to hear from ya, dood.

Yeah, most people are telling me tweens + fbf should look fine, hopefully I can pull it off. I've just been so apprehensive to go back to tweens since FMTS started out with it and it didn't look very good then lol

And yeah, they are giving out keys for the older versions now huh? Wish it was like that back when I started, heh.

And yeah, I don't say much on here. Been busy with stuff, but I still post in the help forum every now and then when someone's looking for a cartoon I can find. It's good to hear from you again too, it's certainly been a while ;3

This was really really longer than I thought it'd be! XD So much backstory... but it was interesting to read, nevertheless. Interesting to know all the phases you've gone through. Sorry about your dad. Can't imagine what that's really like.

As for your ambition: I'd vote tweens. Better sacrifice on quality and make something than keep working on (what seems like, judging by how long things have taken thus far and how much you really want to put out) an impossible dream. If you have the resources I'd go for outsourcing too. Maybe outsource all backgrounds, and background animation, if so? Doing so much solo seems somewhat unrealistic, though I'm impressed by your passion! Even though you realize there's no more to it, even if the whole world might not be able to see it... you still want to do it. It's like you've found your purpose in life.

All that said I'm a huge FBF fan so everything FBF would be awesome, but just doesn't seem possible. Occasional bonus stuff with FBF? Could be cool.

Whatever you choose Good Luck with this. From the start I was thinking it'd be about abandoning the project... good to hear that wasn't it. No matter the times between each ep I'll stay tuned. :)

Yeah, I write way too much sometimes lol, at least it was interesting to read.

Honestly, I don't think I could handle going full tweens, I find tweening really boring to do, so I'd have to sneak some fbf in there somwhere, and from the looks of it, most people seem to want me to mix tweens and frame by frame, so that seems like what will most likely happen. Keep in mind, this is only for the full episodes of FMTS, I'll still gladly spend a month making a frame by frame 1 minute short lol.

Hopefully one day I'll have the resources to outsource a lot of work, not only because it'll mean i can get things done faster, but I can also give more artists jobs and we can make something cool. Gotta support each other, you know? At the moment I can't afford to outsource anything, though some people are willing to work for free, I feel bad about doing that, but I'm not opposed to it. And yeah, I definitely think I've found my purpose in life, 'cause animating is all I wanna do ;3

I have thought about laying FMTS to rest a few times, but every time I think about it, I always come to the conclusion that I've just put so much work into it already that it would be stupid for me not to finish it. At the very least, I'll finish the first season, and then we'll see what happens from there.

Yeah no worries, good read, I just kept getting surprised I wasn't anywhere near the end already. XD

Sounds like the solution's just about figured out. :) Well tweens and FBF seems like a good compromise if it's doable! And good to hear there's pure FBF coming too!

That'd be awesome. Awesome to hear people are willing to help out for free too. I'd love to join in a ton of stuff like this, but unfortunately just no time for everything. Definitively agree! That air of helping out, teaming up, collaborating, assisting with that one specific thing you know how to do... there's a lot of that going on here and it's part of what I love about this place. A real sense of community. Also Patreon, though if everyone donates to each other hmm, someone's gotta bring in some fresh $$$ too. Noticed you have a page there btw. Such positive goals! XD

Sounds good!

Yeah, I'd imagine everything I make for the rest of the year will be purely fbf, though maybe I'll throw some tween stuff in there to experiment. Gonna hopefully be finishing off a short I've been working on for way too long in the next few weeks, so at the very least, there's that to look forward to in the near future!

Yeah, the collaborative aspect of Newgrounds is the best part of Newgrounds, I think. Seems like there haven't been a lot of classic collaborations in the collab forum though, it's all just re-animate things now. The DBZ collab was a nice throwback to the official newgrounds collabs, but it was a bit of a bummer that it was invite only. I've got way too much on my plate anyways though, so maybe I shouldn't be trying to get into a bunch of collabs lol. If you ever feel the itch to collab on something though, let me know. Me and Chris could always do another Flash Library too lol

And yeah, patreon's a great thing, if you have an audience. I guess my audience isn't big enough to get any donators, but one person did say they would donate if they could so that's something at least! Also, yeah, my goal descriptions can get a bit self-deprecating, though that's pretty much part of my brand at this point. That, and dick jokes ;3

Looking forward to it! :)

Yeaaah those Flash Libraries, jumped aboard on those on their final phase it seems. :) That'd be cool some time. Also pretty busy right now, but you never know what the future holds... didn't know the DBZ Collab was invite-based btw... that sucks. I've been stumbling upon a lot of collabs lately though, but seems a lot from closed groups (well groups that handle their business outside the Collab forum), like FlowDownStream. Their stuff's pretty interesting. Some really MASSIVE reanimate stuff too.

Hehe, good to have a brand to market! Yeah I'd like to support a ton of people there, but budget's unfortunately too limited... gotta prioratize a select few...

Oh, yeah, a lot of communication for collabs seems to happen on discord now. I'll miss the good old days of just posting on the forum, but it's probably for the best. Still, it does make it a bit more exclusive. For a while I was so desperate to join a collab that I was checking the collab forum every day but it was always just people advertising themselves for work. Then I stopped checking and I lost hope and apparently in that short period of time I missed the sketch collab! Odd how that works out some times, heh.

I can understand why the DBZ collab was invite only at least, it being an official newgrounds collab, you wanna make sure you're only getting the highest quality and stuff from prominent site members. I would've figured I'm prominent enough to get in, but I didn't even get a response when I applied so that was a shame.

And yeah, FlowDownStream is cool. I've talked with a few of the guys involved with that before, so maybe I should hit 'em up and get involved, that'd be interesting. Maybe I shouldn't though, since I've already got so much to do, but eh, would be a nice distraction.

And yeah, there's so many people I wanna support on patreon, but I barely have enough money to keep myself fed, so it's definitely gonna be a while before I'm able to do that lol.

Ah yeah, joined my first Discord collab group just this month, it does make things easier... but at the same time I wonder if Discord will be around as long as NG. Or the groups. Shame if all that stuff just disappears, while via the Collab forum there'd be something to look back on, for viewers too it's a bit like a behind the scenes glimpse into the workings of, even if all important's stuff's reserved for PMs anyway. Nooo man. XD Have you joined in any of those? There's one each year though right? Hope you get on the next, or the one after, or a later one!

Yeah that's true, though agreed, you should've been there! Spots like that would be an awesome opportunity to really push your skills too. But I guess they got all the people they needed and more there. Turned out massive.

Distractions are nice indeed. :) Yupp, probably best not too, but would be fun to see you there too...

For sure, it's how it has to be. Persona progress always a main priority. :) Feels like as soon as you start supporting one other person you're not being fair to a bunch of others too... btw, speaking of, for that reason I'd really prefer to use something like Flattr instead, where you have a monthly budget that's distributed evenly to everyone you support. As fair a share as it can possibly be! Even if it'd mean a lot less per creator, the popular ones would get shares from a lot more people, so it'd probably work out well in the long run anyway. And nobody would feel left out, or have a bad conscience if they're leaving someone out.

Yeah, that's the cool things about forums, as long as the sites are still up, you can look back on all the old threads and see everything that went on.

I joined the sketch collab in 2014, and I still had an unused idea left over from then, so when I saw it was happening this year, I thought it would be great to join, but then I realized all the slots were already filled! I've been put on the waiting list though, so if anyone drops out I should get a spot! If not, I'll have to keep a sharp eye out for the next one, ha!

Once I get my schedule figured out and finally finish a few long overdue projects, I'm sure I'll be able to start looking for more collabs to join, or maybe even host, who knows. I have been feeling that itch, so if I gotta start a collab myself, I might just do that ;3

Oh yeah, I think I remember hearing about Flattr, the thing about having a budget that's evenly distributed to all the people you support sounds familiar, and definitely a nice option. It makes it easier to support everyone at least, so you don't have to do the math.

For sure. :)

Ah you have been in them at least! Next year'd be the 5th anniversary for that unused idea at least, if not this one. ;) So it's a limited set of spaces too, nice, didn't realize they had so much interest.

Looking forward to whatever happens then. :D Sounds good.

For sure. Easy and fair, just not as profitable for the select few you'd have to choose otherwise.