Thursday, August 30, 2007, 05:15 PM - MachinimaIt’s been a while since I’ve made some commentary on the state of Machinima, but it seems like there are more than a few reasons to dust off the ol’ comment cap this summer.
First, the deal with Microsoft: Sounds good to me. Run with it, play with the boundaries, and tell them what you’re up to. Ask for insight from their legal dept, I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to get back with you. You never know, it just might result in a wonderful new partnership between you and one of the worlds largest companies, and in my book, that ain’t half bad.
Is this the Golden age of Machinima? Probably. Does it get bigger? Oh yes. Are the good old “Birds of a Feather” days over and done? Hell no! The vocal core is still as tight-nit as always, members are always coming and going, and the ones who really love it will always be back for more. As the word gets around, more and more people will crawl out of the woodwork, crying, “Hey, I’ve been making (X) game videos for years! There’s a whole collection of sites for this crap?!” There are also folks who’ve been making film or animation with more traditional tools that see our plight and make it their own, bringing old-school techniques to the table, solidifying our stance.
I do hear cries of foul from the subtext , it reasons that Machinima is supposed to be for the every man, the xbox Kid and Joe PC, goofing off after work or school making funny vids for their friends. The cries scream that these days are numbered, the money machine Hollywood is setting its sights and that the whole ship will sink under her weighty gaze. I say this is not the case, or at least not so extremely the case. I’m afraid the Machinima cat is out of the bag, and with the help of sites like YouTube, Hollywood types may never gain the foothold needed to smash the existing system. Can they make quality Machinima? Sure, but they no longer own the theater; the visible shelf space is no match for online distribution methods. Brick and Mortar can no longer meet the demand of the hungry viewer. Movies are free at last, and Machinima is all a part of that movement.
Now the new trick is in monetizing your Machinima work. It’s almost obvious that you’re not going to be selling tickets here, and our particular sub-cultured audience doesn’t take to advertisement as currently known to marketing. A few podcast I frequent have already pointed this out, but it bears repeating that what’s old is new again. A few moments taken out of the regular show to pitch the product/service in a way integrates seamlessly with the program. Nobody will skip a section sponsored on the slight by Amazon when the topic is ‘I, your host recommend reading…’ The biggest problem with modern ads is that they are distracting. In fact, that’s their goal, make you notice them, and hopefully you’ll recall their brand when it’s time to buy. It’s similar to a buzzing fly, it’s annoying and you only wish to squash it. Take a moment at the start and/or end of your program to say, “This program brought to you by…” and be done with it. No interruptions, no bottom third, just quality entertainment made possible by company (X). As a Machinimator, you need to make sure you control how this happens, when eliciting sponsorship keep in mind your audience, format the ads appropriately, and make sure your sponsors are clear on this format before you even start negotiating. Of course, all of this pending you’re licensed appropriately. Money has a funny way of making small civil torts into federal crimes…
That's about all I've got time for this lvl, good luck and have fun out there! Oh and make sure you submit to the Machinima Festival Europe 07!