Ego Central to Machinima Filmmaker Ken Thain

Thursday, June 29, 2006

BloodSpell: From Concept to Finished Scene

Hugh and Co. have been hitting the news wires of their article release 'BloodSpell: From Concept to Finished Scene' (Part 1) over at BioWare's NeverWinter Nights site.
When we started making BloodSpell, nearly three years ago, we thought that it would be a six-month project. Max. Just knock the damn thing out and get onto other things.

We wuz wrong.
It's a pretty thorough run through of the production and the different stages they have traversed. It also includes some screenshots and an animatic (and as a side note in hearing Hugh's voice in the animatic I wonder if we're in for a cameo treat within the series?). The article is well worth a visit.

I did manage to watch Bloodspell EP5 today and what I enjoyed most about it was the increase of character flavour. The addition of 'non-human' species into the story gives it a deeper 'otherworldly' feel, and therefore the greater curiosity of what can happen next?

It's too bad other machinima films and series didn't have the marketing drive and publicity interests like Bloodspell because based on PR alone, you'd think it was almost the only machinima series being made....

Hollywood and Games Summit leaves Machinima on the Cutting Room Floor

There is a good review from the machinima perspective of the Hollywood & Games Summit over at Machinima Premiere.
Seamus Blackley of Creative Artists Agency, representing the Hollywood film side and moderator offered more response to the question of the effect of Machinima. Seamus said that, "Machinima is an exciting new form of media where we see a real reason to stay tuned and keep our sights on machinimators as they continue to bring their low cost stories with high entertainment to life inside this new media."
I've been thinking about machinima and how it's placed among industries a lot lately. Being a part of its day to day I sometimes have to look back to keep its growth in perspective. In its earliest days, many questioned why bother. Within a few short years a small percentage of people across industries knew of it but even less gave it a second thought. These days it seems like its a pretty known term but I think with it's increased use and generalization it's still a little fuzzy in the average person's mind what exactly it is. So the very fact that its acknowledged in conferences like this one is a great thing, and who knows, 10 years from now machinima may have conferences of its own that people from these industries come to, rather machinima coming to them.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Playin' Catchup

Woof. Wednesday already. We've been deep in production at work blocking cutscenes for various story elements of Mass Effect. Once the scenes go through the 'approval' process then we'll take the next step of implementing them into the game. So this part of production is fun because you can kind of explore the different ways you cinematically want to have your 5 - 20 second story clip come across, all while working within the limitations of the engine ("You want to make how many people bust through that door?").

After being knee deep in cinematics all day I then come home and after my designated 'family time' I jump back in front of the computer and dig into HL2. I've got my animation pipeline figured out so now I can go from animating model's in Max through to having them play in-game once triggered. So I'm using this pipeline for posing the models so I can set up my storyboard shots in game with general character poses. I was thinking maybe this time I'll try to get a few animators onboard to help with generating some of the character action within MAX so I'll be scouting out some animator related discussion forums in those in-between moments.

As far as what's happening in the machinima news world, much of it may be old news by now but I should catch up... Hugh and Bloodspell were featured on the BioWare site. This is great exposure. Along with this Bloodspell EP5 is hot off the presses...or wire... or airwaves, depending.

Paul Marino has a great write-up on Machinima and Second Life posted today. I seriously checked out SL for an idea I was on the fence with but ended up going with this project in HL2. I didn't go with the idea because I was worried about solid framerate captures via an online world. Also, as Paul points out in his article, you have to really build your production from the ground up. But with the self contained economy of SL I think we'll begin to see bigger and better machinima projects come out of it. Imagine begin able to hire someone to build your set based on Linden Dollars? That is truly the middle ground of current machinima filmmaking and the budgeted world of independent filmmaking. Definitely drop by and give the page a read.

Overcast Numeral Seven is out. I haven't had a chance to listen to the full production (only about 5 or 6 minutes in) but is definitely worth a timeslot within ones' listening schedule.

And I think that's about it. Now I'm caught up I can proceed with the regularly scheduled program.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Thinking Success

Paul Marino has updated his blog with an entry listing some recent machinima successes. My employment with BioWare is on the list and I thank Paul for the inclusion.

I've talked about my position before in relation to taking the next step from 'independent' machinima filmmaker to full time professional. BioWare is so behind this that they are sending me down to the Austin Conference in support of the Machinima Theatre to help garner any interest in people taking the next step and in doing so with BioWare. I'm really excited to be heading down to Austin in early September and look forward to meeting any other machinima enthusiasts.

Machinima Survey - help Machinima.com

I just filled out a survey sent to me by Ingrid Moon (aka Coyote Republic, long time machinima advocate) who is the new Director of Production over at Machinima.com . It's a quick 10 minute-ish survey soliciting feedback on one's thoughts/feelings in and around machinima and Machinima.com.

After doing so I offered to post a link to the survey in case it helps get a few more hits which Ingrid ok'd so here it is. It expires in 3 days(! - somewhere around Friday) so if you want to provide some input that will help machinima.com's ongoing development, giver' a hit.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Out of Sight x2

CGSociety has a good article up on CodeHunters, a short animated film commissioned by MTV Asia.
“As I was creating concepts drawings,” explains Ben Hibon, “MTV Asia was starting to plan their annual Music Awards. They then came up with the idea of ‘launching’ our project by using it to brand the show; posters, banners, trophy design and intro/bumper animations. So the brief changed from ‘short film’ to ‘branding package’ for the MTV Awards show.” It formed into a seven-minute prologue / intro animation to the world of ‘Codehunters’, an on-going MTV/BLINKINK project launched around the MTV Asia Awards 2006 in Bangkok.
I've had this CG animation sitting on my desktop for a few weeks because I like to take another look at it here and there. It is very stylized and touches upon a look I would like to achieve with machinima one day. I don't think I'll try to reach it in my current production but its a great inspiration, both in style and movement. You can also see it here if you want to avoid the cgsociety registration.

Also, over at RoosterTeeth they are reporting on their 'offshoot' RvB series, 'Out of Mind' that's being released on Xbox LIVE. The cool thing about this is how the machinima series is exclusive to LIVE (to be released elsewhere once its run its course). That is very cool that a machinima series has such clout that it can be used in such a way.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Top 5 Machinima Controversies

Riding the machinima bus has been a very cool ride. I've achieved great successes, both personal and otherwise, that I may not have seen if I hadn't hung out on this bus. But today I feel like noting some of arguably the biggest controversies I've witnessed within machinima's child like development over the last 6 years.

1. 'Why Machinima?' In the early days there was many heated discussions validating if machinima was 'real'. Were we just playing with games? Was there any real advantage to doing machinima over traditional animation or filmmaking. With every other new person interested in machinima came the question, 'Ok, I've heard of this 'machinima'. Now convince me I should spend my time doing it over other mediums'. The thing about this one is the discussion still hasn't ended. Many have steadfast over their reasoning for sticking with machinima and I think we are really just seeing the money now where our mouths once were.

2. 'Machinima' is a stupid name'. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when those two Scots came up with that one. And even when they had a new name for 'quake movies' that clicked, they spelt it wrong for (deity here)'s sake! Classic! But what the hell is 'machine cinema' anyways? As an almost scripted response to understanding 'why machinima' many suddenly wanted to rebrand it anew. I was not a fan of the name at all (I was always on the opposition), and spoke my peace in many of those discussions but there came a point, a point when The New York Times came an asking, and the Wall Street Journal came an asking, and Wired magazine came an asking and CNN came an asking. A point where we could have started calling it 'sexotronic' and it wouldn't have mattered. The train had left the station and it was called 'Machinima'. I still see the odd forum posts challenging this one, 'what a stupid name'. Challenge all you want, I don't know what the f'k machine cinema is but I sure as hell know Machinima.

3. 'Ottawa Animation Festival snubs Machinima'. This one was nasty. The Ottawa Animation festival is 'the largest event of its kind in North America and one of the most respected animation events in the world'. Back in 2004 they opened the doors to Machinima entries, and this was a big thing. Machinima veterans such as Paul Marino, Friedrich Kirschner and Brian Mayberry, among others, flew out to represent their Machinima films and evangelise the technique. It was a big step in Machinima growth. I lived in Ottawa at the time and felt very honoured both to have these guys come to Ottawa and that the festival was taking notice. Then during the awards ceremony, when it came to the Machinima award presentation, this was given, " "New and inventively weird, machinima straddles the line between visual fan fiction and filmmaking, a genre filled with potential for engaging complete visual expression. While the Jury does not wish to discourage filmmakers, we will not present a prize for this category as we feel the award needs to represent a certain level of excellence of expression. We hope to see more entries in future festivals". At that point, those present representing machinima stood up and walked out of the ceremony. A silent but potent response. Needless to say the forums buzzed afterwards. Everybody had input. Even the conference organizer got involved, which was more like feeding raw meet to wolves at the time. Surprisingly enough, the stronger response was to stuff the conference submission boxes with more machinima the next year, rather than a FU response. This clearly reflected the strength of the community.

4. 'You can't handle the truth...of Intellectual Property rights'. After the 2005 Machinima Festival a discussion came up regarding 'A Few Good G-men' by Randall Glass winning the 'Best Virtual Performance' award. Here the fence was based on this machinima entry having a soundtrack provided by a personal copy of 'A Few Good Men'. Did the sound track give weight to the virtual performance created by Randall? Should the entry have been accepted at all since there was question of permissions? Would the festival happen at all if every permission had to be verified and double verified? The Intellectual property rights in machinima discussion still goes on and raises its ugly head(c) every so often but here was a case where it was really argued, for pages, and pages, and pages. I'm sure Randall threw his hands up a few times at this one.

5. 'Machinima and the Women who make them'. This one being the most recent and unfortunately the most tragic. With the preceding 4 controversies they centered around one place, a machinima.com forum. Everybody could provide their input, thoughts or choose not too and silently listen. At the end of the day, or days as some had it, we all walked away having said our peace. Many who opposed each other got past it and often found themselves sided on other controversal issues. But this particular controversy has made me realize something I had not previously. There is no machinima community any more. And I guess this may very well be a detriment to its own success.

I'm not going into the nitty-gritty, play by play of this particular episode, but I'll share my perspective. A few weeks back I came across a posting on a blog about machinima that I found pretty fresh and invigorating. And in relation to this posting the author and I started exchanging emails back and forth on various topics. I really found her insight interesting and perspective intriguing and felt her input into the machinima community would be thought provoking. Shortly thereafter she made another blog posting. This one providing an opinion about the subject matter of machinima films commonly made by women. In the post she mentioned a top rated machinima film as a less than stellar example of her subject matter, and I honestly believe that had she not named this film I would not be writing these words right now, but it caused an 'explosion'. Because in reality, her piece was an opinion, but as soon as she laid an example, that seemed to push the post into an attack.

And so it all painfully came down, albeit not in a community centered forum, but across websites, blogs, forum posts, comment threads and apparently personal emails. He said, she said, well you said, no you said, fuck you, fuck you too. But here's the tragic part. The blog poster still continues to have to remove slanderous anonymous postings on her site, gets personal emails from multiple people full of negative statements and taunts, and constant notices of personal messages waiting at other sites that are filled with graphic words of hatred (WTF?). In hearing this I've poked around various open forums to see where all this has gone, only to find participants coming across like gladiators of roman conquest cheering and patting themselves on their backs for silencing an evil heretic.

So the controversy here is not the topic at hand, but the state of the machinima community that the topic has reared an ugly side of. It's gone political. The community has splintered into factions that have their own social standings, machinima perspectives and agendas. And those factions are free to speak to and represent machinima however they wish, which is fine, to the point of mob like personal harassment for those who speak against them, which is not. The next great controversy will most likely arrive when factions begin to turn on each other, each touting they hold the holier machinima grail..And this one may become the bloodiest one yet, as we turn from open minds to oppressing elitist. And if one party can speak loud enough while others remain silent, it will begin to represent the whole, which, if this particular controversy is an example of, isn't to the benefit of the greater good of machinima.

So this is why I list this as controversy number 5 in machinima. Not so much for the volume of discussion on the topic, but because the discussion speaks volumes to where machinima may be headed.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Machinima Daily

I got an email about the Paris Cinema hosting a Anthology of Machinima screening. The screening is part of the " Versus : Cinema & Video Game " program and will be followed with a discussion. Click through to see the attendees. (babelfished to English here)
Machinima.fr and Paris Cinema are proud to announce that the Paris
Cinema film festival will hosts a one hour and half machinima screening
called "Anthology of Machinima", monday 10th of July, ten o'clock, at
L'Arlequin movie theater, 76 rue de Rennes, Paris 6.
Xavier also provided links to a cool little movie promoting the screening (here in Windows Media and here in Real Media).

Also, checked out a fun piece of machinima called 'No Grant' released over at the Dead On Que site. The thing I love about it is it's done in Half Life 1, with original assets. It looks soo old school that its retro cool! Nice work by the DoQ guys.

I read this machinima article in the Toronto Globe and Mail (link kudos to mprem!). I think its basic goal is to promote the Red vs Blue screening at the Canadian Film Centre's festival but does mostly focuses on 'The French Democracy' and .... Leeroy Jenkins ... It's a good read that leaves machinima in a positive note.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

My Shen Is Ma Shen a Ma n Korn

So did a little machinima viewing today. First up was episode 4 of BloodSpell. This episode enters into some comic relief as our relationship with the main character becomes a little more playful. Plus we get a partial glimpse and introduction to the big ...one...

I also got caught up in TrashTalk episodes, seeing the newly sponsored episodes 8 and 9. I was thinking back to the first episode when after I watched it I was mildly amused. Now I find the show has its stride and I appreciate it a lot more. Ill Will does such a great voice.

Caught episode (note to self, create a macro for the word 'episode', it's word of the year for machinima).. episode 3, module 4 of Spartan Life. It's an interesting perspective on the nature of leet speak and Damien goes right to the gamers to get the scoop. Unfortunately I had a very hard time making out what most of the people were saying, but what I caught was good.

WHoooaaaa. HOLD the Presses. The.... ahhh nevermind. When I was getting the Spartan Life url I saw they finally posted the KORN interview on SpikeTV. I was waiting forever for this. But now I've seen it I was pretty disappointed. It seemed pretty much like some cell phone audio (maybe 1 minute total) to acted out ingame characters. I'm pretty sure the band wasn't even ingame which is part of the appeal of SpartanLife, seeing the interviewee's interact with the environment. Ohh well, I'll blame this one on SpikeTV stifling Chris's creativity for the sake of having KORN.

Finally, gtoon posted a good commentary over at Machinima Premiere on 'Machinima & Commercial Film & TV'. I saw it a while back but have been meaning to point it out. It speaks to machinima filmmakers who should not forget the possibility for new originality in machinima and to make careful consideration on what one wants to achieve and which engine one uses to do so. Or in short, lets not forget to continue to raise the bar.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Machinima: A Future for Fan Films

This article from over at TheForce.Net came across the news wire this morning. It's a surprisingly in-depth article about Machinima and how it's well suited for making fan films. It does a great job of comparing creating machinima to other methods of visual filmmaking such as live action and animation and goes into the different machinima filmmaking techniques. It's a great primer.
There's a production technique out there, invented a few years ago, that meshes with fan filmmaking so cohesively that you'd think it was designed with fan films in mind (it wasn't). It addresses most of the aforementioned problems while offering additional, often surprising, advantages. It's not a panacea, but it's certainly worth a closer look. I'm talking about machinima, the process of making movies out of games.
Much like creating a machinima film using the original assets of a game and basing the story inside that game world, I think fan films offer a great way to quickly jump into an established world/mythos and get to the point of telling a story, i.e. not having to explain what a 'jedi' is allows one to really get down to the nitty-gritty of the tale at hand.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Quite Possibly Photo Realistic

Came across this short article on the Crytek engine with some images on how close to photorealistic it's looking. I find the second 'jungle hut' image particularly good.
Recently the Crysis Engine also known as Cry Engine 2 developed by the makers of the popular PC game Farcry, has been getting a ton of attention with recent demos of the mind blowing graphics it can produce. We recently ran across some images of the graphics the Crysis Engine can produce compared to what they look like in real life and the results are shocking.
I can't imagine what the next, next gen of engines will bring us. Beam me up Scotty.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

A Second Life for Games

Interesting article over at 'Broadcasting & Cable'. It's mostly focused on gaming but does refer to machinima as well.
"We think this is the next world of motion pictures,” says Greg Moyer, general manager of VOOM HD Networks, which owns Gameplay. “Terms like 'community' and 'indie producers' mirror the passion people have about filmmakers and filmmaking. We see it becoming incredibly democratizing, user-generated programming.”
It also mentions one broadcaster trying to get content rights to broadcasting a machinima series. My guess is RvB on the TeeVee.

Friday, June 09, 2006

So You Want to Be a Filmmaker?

Pretty busy day yesterday so had no time to post but its almost like the greater machinima community can start posting 'topics of the week'. Last week was Intellectual Property rights, this week its 'Machinima and the Women who make them'. Once again, I don't have any comment on this topic (I had wrote up a long thing on this then deleted it, I'll let those who have direct experience speak to it). Stemming from the Burnt Coffee blog entry noted below. Rachel at BabaYaga has provided her thoughts on the subject more literally. And Kheri over at britannica dreams has responded with hers as well. ...and, well... there you go...

Speaking of britannica dreams, they have brought to light a YouTube machinima group. You can check it out here.

Theres also a great article over at Wired today. It looks how the film industry is even more difficult to get into now more than ever.
Do-it-yourself video technology has given an entire generation of young filmmakers the tools to master the video art form. But it has also created a cutthroat environment where only a few can find work.
I think Machinima makers will also attribute to a tougher market, if the filmbiz is your goal. At the same time, machinima allows the possibility of more filmmaking 'screen time' to really polish your craft.

Finally, I'm now into the storyboarding stage of my next independent machinima film. I've started out doing it in-engine with HL2 Source, but I've also checked out this storyboarding app, FrameForge, that may help me get the job done quicker. Working in-engine helps get one up to speed as your forced to work within it but I'll be spending lots of time in there anyways. The FrameForge demo may be too limited, then again, it may just give me enough to get the storyboard done. It's well worth checking out.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Good Morning, Ms Machinima

Wow, its been quiet over the last week or so then BAM, everybody's talkin' about machinima.

Women in film (and Machinima) have been a focus this week with the latest entries over at machinima related blogs Mu Productions Online and Burnt Coffee Chatter. The latter having an interesting comment based discussion happening in regards to the subject matter. I'll leave it at that. ;)

Speaking of women in machinima, Rachel Bray over at Babayaga (and by association Machinimatix.com) has released a new Sims2 machinima film, 'Our Time_'. Her site has a good primer on the meaning behind her film and her journey into making it using the Sims2 engine for the first time.

Strange Company has released the first part of 'The Making of Bloodspell'.
The Strange Company crew present the first part of the "Making of Bloodspell". Get behind the scenes at Strange Company Towers, and see how half a dozen geeks in Hugh's spare room manage to make a film by turning each other into badgers.
Also, Strange Company crewman Johnnie Ingram must have found a few extra moments between BloodSpell episode productions to write two articles released today at Machinima.com. The first is his compilation of machinima related things that have stood out as his top 10 ten 'My Favorite Things'. The second is an article entitled, "Managing a machinima script with Celtx". I've mentioned before I've been using Celtx in writing my most recent script and it really is a big help. Mostly in sorting scenes and characters and building your script up without worrying so much about formatting. It misses some of the finer polished aspects of a word processor but in my staying with it says a lot (trust me, I'm all about the easy).

Speaking of my latest machinima production, I just got proper permission today for the main song to be used in my film. It's a song that will be the emotional backbone to the film. It's such a great unlabelled song that I really look forward to helping bring it to the larger masses. You'll love it, I promise. And that's all I'll say.

The Elusive Machinma Pro

Caught over at Machinima Premiere, there's a pretty good article at 1up.com with a focus on the 'going pro' side of making machinima.
For run-of-the-mill machinimists, the answer is no. While most machinima videos get laughs from avid gamers, the clips are too amateurish. "Many projects feature bad writing with voiceovers made over a $5 plastic microphone," says Philip Debevoise, president of www.machinima.com. Debevoise's site, serving the machinima community for more than five years, has found some gems. "Some projects are as good as what's coming out of the top studios," he says.
The article covers many aspects of the possibilities of making machinima professionally and has a second page with a quick 'how-to' process presented by Rooster Teeth.

I thought the section on machima makers and the gaming industry was a little off sided, leaning toward a 'we don't think so' view from the gaming industry. I may be biased, but I find BioWare to be a company that is open to the machinima scene for future growth. After all, I was directly plucked from it and this is pretty much the reason why we are sponsoring the Machinima theatre at the Austin Game Conference.

Now one difference may be that my role as a cinematic designer at BioWare is a little different. I have both artistic cinematic responsibilities and technical responsibilities related to working with game engines to create cutscenes and digital actor conversations. My role is balanced between creative art and technical logic, which I believe to be an unique skill of the 'purist' machinima filmmaker (by purist I mean someone who really digs into the game engine to get the fruits of their vision, not being limited by 'what the game offers'). If the role at BioWare was more as a cinematic animator (working mainly within an app's like Max or Maya) then I wouldn't have got the job, because I would need a lot more training (read: schooling or job experience) to really be good at that. The cinematic designer role is more tailored to working directly in-engine, using assets provided by animators, artists and level designers to create cinematic scenes, a hands-on director of sorts. I feel really lucky that BioWare has a job so well suited to machinima makers and that I was able to get onboard and do this full time. My past work on machinima films has fully prepared me for this role (with a team of 5 now, where a little over a year ago it was about 1 full time and 1 part time person split between roles).

Ultimately, I don't know if the game industry will adopt a more Cinematic Designer type role across companies, or if the traditional animators and cinematic builders will be expected to adopt a more machinima type way of development. That is definitely one area I will continue to watch. Overall, I just wish the article had this persective as well.

Doesn't really matter though I guess. Just keep doin' what you love doin' and the rest will follow.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

TurboSquid & ILL Clan TrashTalk Together

Caught this article over at VFXWorld:
Animation studio ILL Clan and 3D objects provider TurboSquid have partnered up to present TRASH TALK, which employs the use of machinima in the production of the latest talk show host to grace computer and iPod screens.
The article doesn't really specify how they have 'partnered' up to present the series other than the Ill Clan using TurboSquid for assets. But hey, marketing created the machinima star.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Machinima. It's For Real This Time

Not a whole lot of machinima happenings out on the interweb today. So as I worked on pre-production scene blocking in Matinee for cutscenes in our game I took the opportunity to catch up on some podcasts. First off with MachinimaLIVE episode 9 as mentioned below. Matt sounds a lot better with the new tech and as per previous 'season two' episodes the show is more focused on educating the machinima filmmaker.

I also listened to the podcast interview with Daniel Frome, aka. TFG, The Family God, The Family Dog, Dannyboy, Mr. Frome, Dan, D, Frome-man -[g] over at eSports TV. He gives us a good audio tour of his background, entry into machinima, work in eSports and GWFilm projects. Daniel is from my original stomping ground of Toronto, Canada so I always enjoy following his endeavours.

One interesting aspect of the interview is how Daniel really didn't take the machinima medium serious at first and has had a change of heart over time. I think this was pretty common back in the earlier days of machinima because I fully relate as well. Even though I found machinima as a great way to get 'something' outthere, I never spoke of it outside the machinima.com forums. Being 'related' to video games and the visual quality of what could be made quickly would raise bias by the uneducated viewer. So usually I just didn't talk about it rather than have to face someone looking at an example and just not getting it ('is this a video game'). The films were most enjoyed by the community itself. I maintained a strong relationship(?) for the technology/medium because I knew, without a doubt, that it would only get better. It was not an assumption, it was a given. Some strong filmmakers back then eventually moved away from the medium because of this, and I'm not sure if they did anything better or obtained a better outlet for their stories, but its not only good to now be in a place were people are starting to 'get it' but also in a place where they don't have to.

Finally, some good news over at Machinima.com. A long time community member with great experience in the web business, both artistically and socially, is taking a place of power within the new machinima.com business. I look forward to seeing the changes and have greater hope now of a community centered site returning. Love it or hate it, word and all, in its blue and red eye straining infancy, its really where it all began.

And damn I'm happy I happen to drop by.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Would you like Machinima with that?

"To me the great hope is that now these little video recorders are around and people who normally wouldn't make movies are going to be making them. And suddenly, one day some little fat girl in Ohio is going to be the new Mozart and make a beautiful film with her father's camcorder and for once, the so-called professionalism about movies will be destroyed, forever, and it will really become an art form."
That is a early 90's quote by Francis Ford Coppola which is used in reference to a great blog entry at babayaga, by machinima filmmaker R.M.Bray. It addresses a recent CBC Radio show, "The Current", segment on machinima. It includes a segment with Paul Marino then follows up with filmmaker Stuart Samuels....and well, Ms. Bray says it best. It's a very insightful read.

theCollectiveUs has released Episode 1 of their Vodcast. I was a little surprised at the content which seems to be just machinima shorts in serial with some graphic inserts between them. The overall graphic inserts were good in a TV program kind of way but the vodcast is definitely for sharing actual machinima rather than anything about the medium itself.

There's a good article over at CGSociety with Blur Studios, which along with the article has a link to their latest amazolicious CG game trailer Rise of Nations.
Big Huge Games commissioned Blur Studio to animate and produce the cinematic, with the same power as was generated with the popular ‘WarHammer’ promotion. CGSociety caught up with Dave Wilson and the crew at Blur and asked them about the production workflow.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Machinima Filmmaking and Episode 9 Day

IGN FILMFORCE has an interview with Tommy Pallotta that's a good read.I think Tommy's story as a filmmaker/producer is interesting. He is one example of a filmmaker that has been involved in both traditional filmmaking and machinima, being the director of renown Fountainhead Entertainments "In the Waiting Line". He's, arguably, greatest success is his fine line walk between them with 'Waking Life' and the upcoming Philip Dick adaptation 'A Scanner Darkly'. I think he relates well to being a machinima type filmmaker but in the greater world of Hollywood budgets.
I tend not to place too much emphasis on the tools themselves. It's really about what kind of story you want to tell with the tools that are available. And beyond that it becomes about artistry and creativity, and that really comes from all the individuals that are working on it.
The power of the machinima filmmaker constantly does grow. Xbox live will be hosting machinima content soon and along with the guerilla filmmaking style machinima permits, its filmmakers must push this on a marketing level such as with Bloodspell and the upcoming BorgWars hitting the media straight on.

Finally, for more listening pleasure check out EP9 of MachinimaLIVE!
Emphasizing Machinima's education in the real world and how communication helps Machinima grow in our technological society.

Machinima is also beginning to grow in other parts of the world which allow for a diverse community of filmmakers. digital-phil sheds some light on his upcoming debut Machinima film, "Extreme Ways". There's lot of fun nuggets and tidbits embedded in this pod cast!
..as well as EP9 of the ToonZone podcast with, "David Burgess, John Hill and Jason Reisig, supervising animators at DreamWorks Animation, talking about characterizations, fur troubles, and animation in Over the Hedge, plus the new wave of "cartoony" cg cartoons and new projects".

That is all.