Ego Central to Machinima Filmmaker Ken Thain

Friday, July 29, 2005

I'm Going to Wonderland!

Figured I'd drop a post that I'm off today on vacation! We're hitting the road to hit a number of attractions over the next week including Canada's Wonderland, Niagra Falls (Marineland) and Sauble Beach. I'm sure I'll be needing a vacation from this vacation by next Sunday night.

Anyways, I'll be quiet around here until then. Once I'm back, along with my normal news updates I still have a lot of the site to finish up. I want to get my top 10 machinima picks up plus maybe a few RSS newsfeeds. This along with continuing my latest machinima production called...hahaha forget it! I am aiming to be script and storyboard complete within two weeks.

Finally, I just got my copy of Matt Kelland's Machinima book and all I can say is WOW. What a cool and fantastic book! There is so many awesome pictures of The Everseason and Rebel vs Thug in it, I will be showing it off bigtime! Its things like this that make it all worth it! And even on the whole the book is a real visual and complete snapshot of machinima. A must have for any who can seriously appreciate machinima. Way to go Matt!

Right then, I'm off.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

What Every Game Developer Needs to Know about Story

Since I am still in the scripting and storyboarding phase of my next production I have had 'story' on the mind a lot. Heres a great article from Gamasutra that focuses on story and video games.

From Microsoft Game Studios writer John Sutherland

"Increasingly, story is a hot item in games. Partly, this is because the quality bar is rising in this relatively young art form. As games evolve, people want more depth, not just higher polygon counts.

More to the point, game developers want to sell their wares to more people. Selling them to the same ones every time doesn't lead to a lot of growth. It's clear we need to tap into something more universally human. And story is a universal human experience.

So how do we approach story in games? Well, to answer that, we need to look at what has worked in other story forms, and what is unique to the new story form of games."

"And story is a universal human experience." I love that. Check out the article.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

thinking RIAA

Paul Marino has an awesome article up at thinking machinima concerning the RIAA takedown of a machinima site. We are seeing a very scary premises. It is a choking of personal freedom of expression, at a most innocent level.

From the article:
While I don't agree with the RIAA here (obviously), a move like this should encourage us to work with smaller artists who are willing to license their music and/or work with Machinima filmmakers.
I fully support this. As an example I have two versions of The Everseason. One is done to Radiohead's 'Exit Music for a film' and the second to the music that was composed by Randy Jones to the film story itself. - I have the animatic storyboard with Radiohead available from the site so please don't rat me out. I'm innocent! ;P - I tried to get rights to 'Exit Music for a film' to release with the film but as the record label licensing manager told me, 'Getting Radiohead is like getting the Beatles'. Also, to fully use a song you have to get rights to the recording, and secondly, rights to the lyrics/music. So when I couldn't get rights to the recording for my film I tried to get rights to the lyrics/music. I figured I could find a musician to perform it. The song publishers wanted to see the piece before considering to grant rights and I felt it would be next to impossible to find a band to recreate the song since that song is so....Radiohead.

So I then contacted a few music composers that professionally solicited their interest in working with machinima makers in the machinima.com forums. Found Randy who created a superfantastic composition of the film and brought it to a whole new level of quality.

The moral of the story being, if your serious about machinima, you have to find yourself a music composer for your films. You just don't 'own' the film if you don't have rights. Its also a win/win relationship for machinima producers and musicians in publicizing your respective skills, and who knows, he or she may just be the next John Williams.

thinking machinima

Monday, July 25, 2005

Game for movies

General article over in Tacoma, WA's 'The News Tribune' covering points on the machinima medium/technology.
Finding themselves without an abundance of spare cash for actors’ salaries and expensive recording and editing equipment, some independent filmmakers are turning to a new medium: machinima.
Includes words from Hugh Hancock of Strange Company, Alex Coletti of MTV's Video Mods, and your usual 'Red vs Blue' banter. Well read article.

The News Tribune

Sunday, July 24, 2005

ION Festival Introduces Machinima, a New Blending of Film, Computer Technology

The ION Festival has released this press release specifically about accepting machinima entries.
Now in its second year, the ION International Animation, Games and Film Festival is accepting entries for Machinima, a new form of filmmaking that utilizes computer game technology to shoot films in the virtual reality of a game engine.

The ION Animation, Games and Film Festival showcases and promotes high-quality animation, short films, Machinima, music videos, game trailers and games by filmmakers and gaming companies from around the world, and it is the first festival and conference dedicated to the merging business of animation, gaming and filmmaking.

“Our mandate is to discover and nurture the brilliance and innovation found within the convergence of animation, gaming and film," Davies said. "In order to best do this, we have also created a summit where the challenges and potential of such innovation can be explored as well as examined by industry professionals, creative entrepreneurs and forward thinking story-tellers. ION encourages the boldness and courage integral to vision. We support creative risk-takers by exhibiting their work and we honor industry veterans who have blazed the trails for them to do so.”

Hey, you loose Ottawa, you gain ION. Submission deadline is Aug 8th. I'll be submitting The Everseason.

Emedia Wire

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Epic’s Mark Rein on the Future of Game Middleware

Mark Rein is a Vice President with Epic Games, which makes the fantastic Unreal game engine, and talked this little diddy over at Gamasutra.

With the Unreal engine being one of the top machinima production environments which I've worked with, I've had the fortune of talking with Mark via email a few times. I think hes a real asset to Epic and the boys.


Monday, July 18, 2005

You Can't Handle The Truth!

I came across this recent machinima release over at Machinima.com called, 'A Few Good G-Men'. Its a recreation of the climatic scene in the movie, 'A Few Good Men' done in Half-Life 2. I watched it and thought it somewhat impressive. It demonstrates some of the machinima potential of HL2 in a familiar perspective, against the backdrop of a well seen movie.

I then came across the surprise of it making a story headline on Slashdot. Like anything I care about that shows up on Slashdot, machinima being one of them, I've learned to not read Slashdot comments. A comment thread full of geeks discussing the geeky is enough to put any sane person over the edge, each comment striving to become the ultimate words of the know-all alphageek (side note, I worked on Corel Linux during its development days. The roasting Corel and its Linux had on those boards during its heyday always left me quite pissed. Sometimes people just don't understand....). I digress, anyways I was reading the comments and there were those words that get me going every time, in one form or another,
There's no reason for the whole concept of machinima except for people to think, "Hey, that's cool that they can do that with a game engine." But the reason stops there. I've not seen anything interesting ever done with it. I've seen interesting gameplay or physics manipulation videos on the internet, but never fiction.
After my initial 'this dude just doesn't know' reaction I gave it some thought. After all, it just so happens I received my OIAF submission notice today,
'Thank-you for submitting your film to the Ottawa 2005 International Animation Festival. I'm sorry to say that The Everseason was not selected for this year’s Festival.'
And upon further investigation, the festival dropped the whole machinima category from the program! So, what the fuk? Why the hell am I so driven to create films in this medium. Why not just resort to my storytelling in flash or traditional 3d animation or whatever. Why be at the butt end of a medium that no one takes in seriousness? And it goes further than that. I've 'argued' with animation studio executives, with producers of the Canadian National Film Board (who had the balls to tell me I better request a different producer when pitching my film as he just can't see this 'whole machinima thing') and the list goes on.

So why? Why, why, why?

I'll tell you why. Because machinima is the frontier in modern storytelling. It provides a level of obtainable public expression like never before. As a technology it is so fast, so cutting edge, so open to possibility that the average artist has yet to see its true potential and the established media industries doesn't know what box to fit it in, if at all. But artists are pushing it forward.

When I watch a film I rarely see it in its raw face value form. Although I can see the issues people bring up about any film I moreso see what the film can be leading to tomorrow. One nice lighted shot. One dramatic motion. One high quality set. One creative outlook. Then every so often you stumble across a fantastic works that pushes it up to a new level of mastery. Machinima has come a long way.

So, I don't know. Machinima is something I just can't 'give up'. And believe me, if I was to I had a great opportunity to just leave it behind over the last six months. But no, I'm here, this site is here, my works are here, and my next production is going to be here. The ultimate point to this ranting spew of wordings; You gotta do it for you. I'm an Independent Filmmaker. Machinima is my choice in both tool and medium for expression. What I make I make for reasons outside the scope of words. On that theres no more I can say.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

God of War machinima attracts 45 million viewers

"Broadband network Heavy today announced that "Pimp My Weapon," a branded entertainment series that it created in conjunction with Sony, has streamed more than 5.5 million episodes, resulting in 45 million consumer impressions."
I like this part:
"Pimp My Weapon is the first example of machinima as branded entertainment, the company says."
So, on the one hand 45 million viewers is fantastic. That rivals the series finale of Survivor. As per being a good example of machinima or the first branded entertainment leads to question.


Monday, July 11, 2005

First Post!

Hahaha loooosers!

Can't touch this.

I ruulle!