For the past year I’ve been uploading old animations I did back in the 1990’s titled The Unicorn With An AttitudeLast week I uploaded the 42nd and final clip in that series. Like I’ve written in previous entries, it all began when I originally started reading about this then-new phenomenon known as the Information Superhighway and how it would revolutionize the way we did business. A whole slew of new dotcom businesses cropped up, which would lead to a dotcom bubble and its ultimate crash.

I became enamored with the idea that I could somehow parlay my art talent into something digital that would lead either to becoming rich and famous (LOL!) or, at least, to better career opportunities for me where I would land higher paying jobs. I started to read that multimedia was going to be the next hot computer field to get into and I wanted to get in on the ground floor. The Unicorn With An Attitude came from a series of doodles I did at my old job when I suddenly had a lot of free time because the the current owner had sold the company to another company and, overnight, the new owners were trying to decide what to do with its newest acquisition so a lot of the work we workers did came to a grinding halt and I found myself with less things that I needed to do.

I eventually played around with various software and taught myself computer animation. The Unicorn With An Attitude started off as a series of animated gifs but, eventually became released as a series of Flash animations by the time I quit working on that series.

I got some attention but it was never from anyone with deep pockets who could either bankroll a more sophisticated version of The Unicorn With An Attitude (for example, I would’ve loved to have had actual animated characters talking but I couldn’t afford to hire voice actors on my own so I had to stick with comic word balloons) or hire me for another project that involved animation or multimedia. But the attention I received has led to some interesting stories that I can now tell without feeling anger or bitterness.

I had a few close calls with multimedia web success. I had a New Jersey-based site contact me after they had seen my first JenniCam parody and was interested in featuring my animated series on its site. I saw the site and found that it was primarily a webcam site that had women who were living their lives in front of a webcam just like JenniCam. Despite my trepidation, I did a phone interview with one of the guys connected with that site and he said that his fledgling company wanted to expand beyond just webcams and into a total entertainment site that would include multimedia animated clips like mine. They said that they were speaking with a few would-be investors trying to get them to invest in their site in order to do the necessary expansion so the site would become a full-fledged online entertainment site for the masses. They said that if it happened, my Unicorn With An Attitude would be among the first series picked up.

I never heard from them again after that phone call.

I had a job interview with a web design company in Northern Virginia that initially liked my animations but the woman I interviewed with kept on complaining that “my file was too big” when she tried to load it on the computer to view it. (At the time I made my animations in an animated gif format while music embedded into the web page would start playing automatically when the page loaded. Yeah, it was pretty crude at the time. <LOL!>) I didn’t get the job.

Then there was a guy who called me out of the blue saying he really loved my series and he also lived in the DC area and he totally raved about my animations. I met him in person only to find that he was just an individual, unconnected with any online multimedia entertainment companies (like the ones that were initially well-financed but ultimately went belly-up when the dotcom crash happened, such as Icebox, The Sync, Pixelon, Digital Entertainment Network, Pop, The Romp, Pseudo, etc.), who has basically spent his career working a variety of library jobs and has a keen interest in bridging the digital divide among the haves and have-nots. He also was interested in expanding the field of educational software for kids—especially very young kids. He thought that some of my animations were too gory and not very young child-friendly. I thought it was strange that he would contact me in the first place because my original series was geared more towards teens and adults (I had even provided warnings stating that fact) and he was more interested in computers and software that provided content for young kids. He also recommended that I try using my talents towards various groups because my animations could somehow “serve and build community” but the bulk of them were very young kid-oriented and, on top of it, none of them were offering paid positions.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with volunteering and giving back to the community. I would like to work at something that provides an income stream so I could afford to do other things on the side like giving back to the community by volunteering for worthy causes and charity events.

I lost contact with him for a few years then ran into him out of the blue just a few months after my husband left me in late 2011. I’m speaking with him again. He talks about how I could learn Apple Motion then use that knowledge to revive my Unicorn series, although I would have just as big of a challenge getting someone to notice them as I did in the past. Right now I’m just trying to financially support myself in a tough economy while trying to put the hell my husband put me through behind me.

There was a woman I met through this event that we both volunteered at. She saw my animations and she said she really loved them. She was an entrepreneur who was about to start her own web design and multimedia company and she wanted me to work for her, especially once her company got off of the ground. She managed to get an initial loan though this non-profit program that was designed to encourage the creation of women-owned businesses. The idea would be that she had to come up with four paying clients in four months and the program would give her more loans in order to help her get her business off of the ground. If she failed to get those paying clients in the allotted time, then the program would drop her and not give her any further loans. So she got the loan then I didn’t hear from her for two months. I sent her e-mails with no reply at all. I even tried to help her by taking the initiative to forward job postings that I found on this mailing list that I subscribed to at the time. A couple of times I even answered some of those postings myself while forwarding the person’s name and e-mail address.

I eventually heard from her when she finally sent an e-mail giving her reasons why she was AWOL for the past couple of months: She decided to use the loan money to take Chinese lessons. Her new plan was to fly to China then use what she learned from taking three months of Chinese lessons to do some networking and, hopefully, land some paying work. From China. That would be done in the U.S. then sent back to China. Yes, it sounded daft. I spoke to her in person after that e-mail and she gave this reason why she made this unexpected foray into learning to speak Chinese: She heard that China is a rapidly growing economy and it would be foolish for her not-yet formed company to ignore the opportunities from that country instead of focusing on the U.S. She even mentioned that Rupert Murdoch was in the process of investing heavily in China so she thought she should start doing business in China too.

Never mind the fact that Rupert Murdoch was (and still is) a billionaire with very deep pockets who could easily afford to risk building new enterprises in an emerging economy like China. Also this woman had never studied Chinese before and she had the unrealistic expectation to learn enough Chinese to fly to China and do some networking for opportunities for her not-yet-formed business. I know through personal experience (taking one year of French in high school and three semesters of Spanish in college) that one doesn’t become fluent in a new language after just three months.

Now you understand why I started to distance myself from her. I haven’t heard from her or her would-be Chinese enterprise since.

There was another woman I met through an e-mail list who saw my animations and she wanted me to work with her in starting a new web company where she would sell electronics and electronic parts online (similar to what sites like Adafruit sell). I would use my knowledge of web design and animation to set up her site. We had set up an interview appointment but she told me to call on the day of the interview before I come in order to make sure that I would arrive at her place when she was there. So the day came, I called her about a half-an-hour before before I was scheduled to leave for the appointment, and I got her voice mail. I left a message then waited. She didn’t call back so I called again several times and it was still the same result. I left a message each time I called and she didn’t respond. So I called back several more times that day after the scheduled interview was supposed to begin and it was the same result.

I didn’t hear from her until two or three days later. She apologized saying that something came up. We made another appointment for the following week and, again, she said to call her before I come in order to make sure she was there. Once again I did so and I got her voice mail. I left a message and she didn’t respond. I called back two or three more times and it was the same thing. I left messages each time and she didn’t respond.

For the next week or so I kept on calling her once a day in the hopes of getting her. Finally I grew so frustrated that I left a message saying that it would be the last message I would leave unless she called back in two or three days. She called the next day and apologized and we had a nice brief chat on the phone. She said she was still interested in having me work for her and she still wanted to meet with me so we set up a third appointment for a few days later. Once again she told me to call her before I come.

I called her on the appointed day and—guess what?—I got another voice mail. I left a message and told her that unless she responded to this one, I would give up on working for her. I never heard from her again after that.

There was one more close call with breakthrough success. I already wrote about in detail recently but basically a website loved my animation that was on the same topic as that website and had even featured it on that site. That site had gotten a lot of hits because it dealt with a controversial person (Lizzie Grubman) and I anticipated some more attention as a result of that site embedding my video and linking back to my now-defunct TwistedUnicorn.com site.

Just a few weeks later the September 11 terrorist attacks happened and, overnight, public attention shifted away from what Lizzie Grubman did and more towards Osama bin Ladin and Al Qaeda.

So I basically had a close call with greater multimedia web success just like the Fairy Godmother turning a pumpkin into Cinderella’s coach only to have it turn back into a pumpkin at the end without even the opportunity to become a princess at the ball. I tried very hard but, as every baseball player in the minor leagues know, sometimes you can work very hard and give it your all and you’ll still never make it to the major leagues.

At least my then-husband loved the series. Or, at least, he told me he did. But I have no reason to doubt him on that because he was always encouraging me to keep on working on that series. He also said that he would still love me no matter how successful The Unicorn With An Attitude became or didn’t become. (All this was long before he left me for that friend of ours but that’s another story.)

In time I grew tired of working hard on The Unicorn With An Attitude only to have it not lead to anything more lucrative for me so I gave up on it in 2002. I haven’t touched that series since. While I haven’t ruled out maybe reviving it sometime in an undetermined future, right now that series is a very low priority in my life. I’m just glad that I finally finished with remastering the last of the original animations in high definition and uploading them on to YouTube so I now have an online home for them and anyone can watch them at any time.

While I’ve given up on The Unicorn With An Attitude, I haven’t stopped my interest in computer animations. I’ve done others that are different from my Unicorn series but they are all one-offs. I’ll eventually remaster them and upload them on YouTube as well.

In the meantime, I’ve created a YouTube playlist of every single Unicorn With An Attitude I’ve ever made so you can binge-watch them all. All of my animations are short (the longest have a running time of around five minutes) and you can watch all of them in about 90 minutes or so. Here’s the playlist for you to enjoy!

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