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Buddy of DoQ: Thoughts on Life, Machinima, and Everything
Buddy of DoQ: Thoughts on Life, Machinima, and Everything
GT Film Project 
Wednesday, May 23, 2007, 11:46 AM - Everything
Lessons learned while filming with young students at school:

Field Trips four out of the six days of filming hurts production schedule, but not moral.

Spiriting away your cast and crew during normal class time is cheered by said cast and crew, while normal class time instructors generally frown upon this practice.

All right, so we bit off more than we could chew, and we busted a tooth or two in the process. We’ve got about 60% of the film in the can, 40% of that requires ADR because our boom microphone XLR adapter had broken, and went unnoticed for a while. We officially ran out of time last week, and as this is the last week of school, what with all the last-minute classroom administration, pulling them out to finish would be unfair for everyone, teachers and students.

We were filming with a Canon GL2 and for what it was, I was fairly impressed, a very pro-consumer level camera. We used borrowed house lamps with colored party lights, a rubber zombie mask, and we took apart a standard microphone stand with a rubber mic-grip for a quickly deployable boom mic. I put together what we had in iMovie, slapped on some letterbox and a blue tint, came out looking better than I had expected. It’s in a lot of pieces, missing narration and several key scenes, but I feel given the size of the project and the unfortunate field trip timings, they did a great job producing their first film.

I won’t upload any footage out of respect for the plot, but here’s the info page with the script, and stills from the film!

GT Project Page

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Skip April, Collect $200 
Wednesday, May 2, 2007, 11:19 PM - Everything
Lots of Machinima buzz going down last month, in case you somehow missed it: VGI talk @ MPREM

At work I somehow ended up teaching the GT (Gifted and Talented) class. Normally more work would make one weary of going in, but it's got me on cloud nine. Those smarty-pants GT kids somehow came to the conclusion that producing a film would be the best way to end the year. That's when they called me.

I now command a 5th and 6th grade army of rouge filmmakers. They are my crew, my writers, my directors of photography, my actors. I am but the humble taskmaster, the schedule keeper, the money man.

Here's how I broke it down.

We meet once a week for 6 weeks. About 1 1/2 hours a week. I will direct (as in, keep order and not settle for crap) and edit the final cut. (I'd assign students, but time is way to short!)

Week one: Crash course on script writing, framing, on the set jobs, and audience appreciation. Class picks genre and sub-genre. Homework: Write a script and draw storyboards, due next week. (Seems like so little, but it took the whole time just to do interviews!)

Week two: Interview for crew jobs, finish up those scripts and storyboards by end of class. No homework, sit tight and wait till next week when I show you whose script I picked.

Week three: I narrow scripts down to four. Struggle with picking just one, combine the four into an ultra-script and clean it up real nice like. Crew jobs issued, script revealed! Kids go nuts, love the idea, and we do a cold read. Everyone prepares for next week, the first day of filming, by playing their crew job. Actors practice lines, costume designer issues commands with frightening authority, and gaffers goof off as is natural for their kind.

Week four: First day of filming. Naturally nothing goes right, everything is missing or was never acquired. The light bulbs don't fit the light sockets, costumes are "lost," and nobody will calm down long enough to roll film. Somehow in the last 20 minutes we nab a few precious minutes of footage. I get most of my lines out of the way, I'm needed behind the camera! I also discover that wearing a lab coat and tie commands respect from EVERYONE. I will hold on to my costume for future dates, show up late, and looking like I just blasted my way from hell just to make dinner.

Week five and six are coming up, I'll do my best to post them as 'live' as possible. No matter how spaced apart, making a 10 minute Action-Horror film in 9 hours with the level of quality I demand is tragically rough.

As much hair as I'm graying out, if they'd let me, I do this all year! Beats replacing toner!

When it's all over, red drink for all! [RD]
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Birthday gift for... you? 
Saturday, March 31, 2007, 01:26 AM - Machinima
As a special birthday gift from me (24 on this glorious 31st of March) to you, here is something I'm working on for an, "on again off again," Machinima type project. A little next-gen practice for yours truly in his minty fresh 64bit 3D Max version 9.

Obviously a just-started WIP, but I figured it being a special occasion and all...

I'm going for something that oozes cinematic style, from first frame to last, a feast for the senses. The story is short and simple, the action is not. Then again, that's the way things always tend to roll for ol' Retro Cop.
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Internet Celebrity on Innovation! 
Tuesday, March 27, 2007, 04:50 PM - Machinima
Hear me brown-nose Overman on the latest edition of The Overcast

Free Pixel asks: What are the 10 most innovative Machinima films?

Here are some of mine:

The Journey/Person 2184 – Friedrich Kirschner
These films encapsulate the power of visuals, the pure unadulterated essence of emotion, in motion. The art, the presentation, it’s all right here, made possible with Fiezi's powerfully innovative production techniques. Certainly inspired me, anyway.

Hardly Working – Ill Clan
This was the first Machinima film that I had to pull other people into the room, to watch it with me. It was the first time I had ever seen a Machinima made so well, that you didn’t care about how it was made, or with what.

Ozymandias – Strange Company
When this came out, it was a promotion for the now defunct LithTech Film Producer. (WOE IS ME! STILL TO THIS VERY DAY!) It was also the first Machinima I had seen with full-on custom animations and art. It was clean, atmospheric, and hell, it showed me the new bar. It was high, but I knew we must meet it or die!

Anachronox: The Movie – Jake Hughs/Ion Storm
Everything on the screen is innovative; I could spend hours calling out the awesome here.

The Seal of Nehahra – Mindcrime Productions
One man, one dream, and one kick-ass four hour long feature-length film. If that’s not the breeding ground of innovation, I don’t know what is. Not to mention the brilliant brute-force engine hacking needed to pull it all off!

In the Waiting Line/Anna – Fountainhead Entertainment
Another fine example of art in Machinima, production values so high that they nullified the “game” within. Anyone could watch these Machinima films and say, “That was beautiful!” Even years from now they will still hold up, more comparable to more traditional 3D animations than to other Machinima films.

To me innovation in Machinima is when a film breaks the mold of “video game” and becomes closer to an animation or film. Sure you can do awesome and amazingly entertaining things with Halo/Quake guys, but I will always hold a soft spot in my heart for those gals and guys who tear into the engine, implant their own vision, and come out with something truly unique. It’s not film or animation, as we know it, it’s the machine meeting us half way.

Oh, and I guess I owe you some pictures too.
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</Road Trip> 
Saturday, March 17, 2007, 02:44 AM - Life
A week goes by pretty quick when one spends it driving to the end of the road.

And when we got there?

I've got about six rolls of film to get develop and printed to CD, then after a bit of sorting, I'll try to have a nice full gallery of my little drive up here for all to see by Monday.

Until then: Good Night!

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