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Buddy of DoQ: Thoughts on Life, Machinima, and Everything - Video Games Live
Buddy of DoQ: Thoughts on Life, Machinima, and Everything
Video Games Live 
Friday, June 22, 2007, 12:31 AM - Everything
Video Games Live is a video game music concert... ok, it's a symphonic gaming event that tours major cities around the world. This week they landed in Dallas, and I was most fortunate in having the right friend at the right time, and so I heard about the performance before hand, for once.

The show is arranged much like a regular performance at the music hall, only this time it's edged up a bit to make it more exciting and appealing to the gaming audience. At first glance it's hokey, what with cosplay contest, video game nerds, and Tommy Tallarico playing host. (With a wicked electric guitar interlude) If you like game music, chances are they played a bunch of your favorites. The highlights for me included Zelda, Sonic, God of War, and although I'm not a big Blizzard fan, the Warcraft music rocks. Halo fans got a nice surprise with some new footage and music, and Pong fans had a little something for them as well. And did I mention the One Winged Angel theme? Oh yes.

All said and done, a very well done musical event, and if you get the chance, I highly recommend you check it out, even if their website leaves you wondering, "what this all about now?" After the Metal Gear Solid act, you're so into it that you don't even recall thinking, "Hey, this could be pretty hokey!" It's a powerful does of nostalgic, and a must see for any fan of the art.

And what, you ask, got the first standing ovation? That would be the WWW famous Martin Leung and his mad piano solos featuring Mario, FFVII, and Tetris melodies.Video!

Goodnight everybody!
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One of those days. 
Friday, June 1, 2007, 01:07 PM - Life
So, Iím thinking last night, ďHey, you know, if it wasnít already 8pm, Iíd call in for Friday off, maybe Iíll just take a half day!Ē

Should have called it in.

Why?

Goats. Wild, manic, rampaging, peeing on your shoes, yes! Escaped local domesticated goats. Only slightly madder than the ďbehind a fenceĒ kind, this sucker had a taste for freedom, and chose to unleash it in the schoolyard.

Look, I fix computers, I watch anime, and my family farm only raises crops. I donít know how to handle livestock! Well, just as well, because it was me who was handled by Mr. Piss, thatís what I named him, after his favorite thing to do on me. Well, favorite right next to kicking and chasing folks around.

By this point Iíve been at work only a few hours, and Iím called over to the second building to deliver some tech-goods. No big deal, a bit of a walk but the weatherís nice after all that rain. So, I hand off my bundle, shake a few hands, and am quickly on my way. Outside near the playground I bump into Mrs. F, who is a fellow technically minded individual. So we get into it about the school website and the merits of teacher account management, when a few kids notice a large dog in the parking lot, coming right for us. We take a quick glance and share a line, ďThatís no dog, itís a goat!Ē So here trots up Mr. Piss, head up like, ďHey guys, I was in the neighborhood, whatís going on?Ē So, Iím like, ďHey goat, not much, look man, weíve got some young ones over there and you smell like youíve been out drinking in puddles, why do you go back and get some rest?Ē He takes a sideways look at me, whips it out and proceeds to piss on my shoes. Iíve got the quickness and somehow remain dry. Seems heís now taken offence at my dogging skills, so he does the next best thing, a nice head-but followed by what I can only describe as kangaroo-fu. Reared up on hind legs, heís now taking cheap punches at my face. Again with the quickness, Iím off to the nearest door. Naturally, the laws of life decree that anything willing to run, must be chased. So Iím quick behind the door, holding it down against his head-buts. Now the goatís spotted the summer school kids on the playground, so Iím resident evil style holding closed the door trying to get his attention back to me. Heís done and lost interest and starts in after the kids, who had been quickly ushered into the gym without incident right as the punching started. Not so lucky was Mrs. F, who got cornered on the other side of the playground by the now very pissed, uh, Mr. Piss. All this time Iím back outside making a monkey show of my self trying to get the goat to charge my way, where he can harmlessly bounce off the blast doors. I guess it worked well enough, but he still chased Mrs. F into the gym with a huff.

Soon enough, Iím darting to another building as Mr. Piss remembers how fun it was to piss on my shoes. On my way I run into some kids trying to go back outside from a restroom break. With deft authority and a slight hint of urgency I asked that they remain indoors, and perhaps itíd be best find their group in the gym. We quickly scoot indoors. Now without mortal victims, Mr. Piss has resorted to crossing swords with our sign, which had been roped up to some polls. Well, word gets around that Iím outside getting owned by a goat, and Mr. H comes out and proceeds to whip Mr. Pissís little goat ass. Iím a bit awestruck, as Iím poking my head out of the door to witness the battle. Before injury can befall either participant, the local animal control boys drive up, grab the goat by the horns, and simply toss him into their truck bed with their bare hands. If there was ever any motivation for beefing up this was it. Never know when youíll be at work and a goat tries to beat you up, I plan on being ready next time! What about you?

I somehow managed to snag this pic of Mr. Piss attacking our sign while cowering shamelessly behind the door.




A quick proof-read makes it sound like I got hurt, never fear, only my pride took a real hit this day.
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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. Weíve 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. Itís 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 wonít upload any footage out of respect for the plot, but hereís 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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