New Merch!

Stand by to stand by! –Mad Squid

1st Drone Flight of 2021!

Today I successfully flew my first Part 107 drone flight in over a year! About time! =-)

FULL HD VERSION HERE

Explore the 3D Panoramic on Kuula!

TikTok version here:

Stand by to stand by! -Mad Squid

Time To Celebrate The Renewal Of My Part 107 Drone License!

I will soon have new footage to share with everyone. In the meantime, I’m going back through some of my old content from YouTube and publishing some of them to TikTok.

I won’t be posting many from TikTok here because of the video rotation. Come enjoy my new stuff on TikTok!

Stand by to stand by! –Mad Squid

Thank The Gods (ALL of them) For The Small Business Administration!

In the face of the COVID pandemic, which only exacerbated my already shaky financial situation, Mad Squid Productions™ could easily have dwindled away into nothing more than the memory of a dream I once had. I was fired from the only good job I’ve had since leaving the Navy in 2003, on Trump’s Inauguration Day. Luckily for me, I had my personal projects at Mad Squid to keep me going. And my food delivery gigs.

In 2018 I became certified by the FAA as a Part 107 commercial drone pilot, and I was gradually figuring out ways to make money with my drone. But when the pandemic hit, my 2-year recurrent test was coming up, and I didn’t see much point in renewing my license if I wouldn’t be able to go anywhere and fly. Procrastination set in, and a few political distractions like January 6th and my TikTok account, and before I knew it a whole year had passed with my drone never leaving the ground.

I do many things under the moniker of Mad Squid Productions™. I sell 3D statues on Second Life. I make MEMEs. I have a handful of social media accounts. I publish music, every decade or two. I do amateur blacksmithing. And on, and on, and on. But the only reliable–and scalable–money maker in the bunch has been my drone piloting.

That money has come primarily in the form of stock media sales, not from for-hire work. I have sold numerous stills and 4k videos captured from the air with my DJI Mavic Air on Pond 5, Shutterstock, and Getty Images, as well as aerial imagery for the Australian mapping company SOAR. There have been a few for-hire gigs, all of them attained through the Drone Base app, but they amounted to less than $1k in all, and often resulted in wasted days and travel time. This was because I would be hired for a gig 100 miles away, only to arrive on site to find that the cloud cover didn’t meet requirements for the gig, or that there was too much snow on the roof, etcetera.

Then, my laptop battery began to expand. My external drives gradually began to fail. My licenses for music and sound f/x expired, and I couldn’t afford to renew them. I had lots of designs for products like posters and metal or glass wall hangers, shirts, hats, etcetera, but zero capital to purchase inventory. Everything that could go wrong with Mad Squid, was going wrong. It was all snowballing on me, and it seemed that the forecast looking ahead would only get colder.

And then the U.S. Small Business Administration stepped in and gave me renewed hope! This is not a joke! First, they approved me for a long term, low interest loan which allowed me to replace my laptop and storage drives. Then, they approved me for a pair of grants that have allowed me to pay off my work car, which I use for both my delivery gig work and my drone missions, upgrade my phone (which is also my camera and drone controller) and, finally, renew my drone license! As of yesterday, I am officially licensed under 14CFR Part 107 to fly drones commercially, again!

Of course, this has caused me to dig back through my 2018 and 2019 drone imagery to consider an improved filing nomenclature that will allow my collection to continue to grow without it becoming impossible to find anything specific. Combine that with the fact that TikTok recently approved me to upload 3 minute videos, and you’ve got a recipe for me to release a TON of content to that platform. In turn, once that is set up and running on auto-pilot, this will free me up to focus on other areas of content there. And, of course, I’ll be flying new drone missions to capture brand new, awesome drone footage.

Stand by to stand by! –Mad Squid

I’m An Official Brand On Amazon Now!

That’s right! Mad Squid Productions™ is officially branded and approved to sell my art, products, clothing, etcetera! At the moment I have only one item listed, and admittedly, it’s over priced. I needed to test the process and determine fees, etcetera. Keep an eye out, both here and on Amazon, for more developments. If my SBA disaster loan modification goes through, I’ll have capital (for the very first time ever) to purchase inventory and I think you’ll be surprised at how much I have ready to go! Exciting times!


“Voice Activated, Speak Loudly” Gag Sticker.

Stand by to stand by! –Mad Squid

Returning To A Project (Too) Long On Hiatus

If you’ve followed me from before the pandemic, you may already know that I have been working on a 100% solo and independent documentary film about the disappearance of my grandfather in 1987. His story is both enchanting and difficult to believe. It ends, however, in tragedy.

Here is the very first trailer that I mocked up to announce to my audience on an old Twitter account–long since deleted by that service at the height of Trump’s power–that I was beginning real work on the project, rather than just opining and pontificating about it.

This trailer is crude, and not very complete in the sense that you don’t actually come away from it with a sense of the story behind the film. That’s why I decided, shortly thereafter, to craft a better trailer for the potential film. At the time I was flying many drone missions, both for myself and for gig services like Drone Base and SOAR. As such, my confidence was growing and I was really getting a feel for the project. Not to mention that I was capturing some sweet footage!

But I have begun, and paused, and begun and paused this project so many times now that I lost nearly all of my inertia when the pandemic hit, and really believed that the project might be done forever. Until today. Today I had a reawakening.

#TheGreatUntold caught my attention. Check it out here:

https://t.co/DYK1OwBNuT?amp=1

“Stand by to stand by.” –Mad Squid

ART: My First NFT Collection – Acorn Capsule Toys

After making three NFT that were kind of all over the place–and which mostly used old models rendered at new resolutions, if I am being honest–I have decided to launch my very first, all original, NFT Collection on Opensea.io!

While surfing another popular NFT site, I was very impressed by a collection of “toys” created by an artist named Trym Ruud. The Collection is called “RUDE BOY’S.” These collectible digital toys come in the packaging, as it were.

This made me think of all the fun and innovative forms of packaging that I have seen over the years. You know, the kind that makes a product stand out against all of the others on the same shelf. RUDE BOY’S was that way for me, only with NFTs.

Not wanting to mimic Trym Ruud so precisely that it might be considered intellectual theft, I set out to find a form of packaging that was both easy enough for me to model and was invoking of a sense of childhood nostalgia.

I quickly settled on the acorn capsule toy machines that I used to see at every grocery store and gas station in my youth. You still see them here and there, but not like back then. The toys you would get inside, which were usually cheap and simple, would generally cost either 25¢, 50¢, or 75¢. Sometimes they would be $1.00, but I couldn’t afford such high stakes in my youth.

I decided to make five colors, plus a silver and a gold for rare and ultra rare toys. The colors are Emerald, Sapphire, Ruby, Amber, and Amethyst. I haven’t decided if I will depict rarity with groupings of the primary colors and secondary colors, or by the rarity of the gemstone names I have given them. Leave a comment if you want to weigh in!

Here are the seven I have so far:

If you would like to watch the modeling process in time lapse (sped up to ~2750% of the original speed), as well as a preview of the very first toy, and thus NFT, that I will be releasing, you’re in luck:

Sculpting the acorn capsules and a quick preview of FlameBoy!

Stand by to stand by. –Mad Squid