Monday, October 27, 2008

An Update

Everything's still in pre-production, albeit on and off. Still working on the script, and I'm starting to think I'll try an episode format rather then trying to get a whole movie together in one go. Plus it'll give me an idea of whether or not this project has any merit when it's all said and done.

Other news, I'm applying for graduate school and going to attempt to write a novel in November. Go me!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Not Exactly Dead

So the re-write of the "Stray Dog" script is progressing slower then I had hoped, but I'm pushing myself to be done before mid-August. I've put the whole 'editorial' style project on indefinite hold until I have access to a much faster connection then I do now. I'm pretty sure that Steam along with every Valve game I own is incredibly out of date, so I have a strong feeling that's going to put any kind of real machinima production on hold for the most part.

In other news, I recently joined a mod team for Sins of a Solar Empire. There's a lot of helpful mod stuff out, so I figured I'd look into it and found a mod called "Gothic Sins" that's translating Battlefleet Gothic (a Warhammer 40K variant game) into SoaSE.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Curse of Dial-Up

Since graduating and moving back home, I've been limited to the quite crappy internet connection my parents currently have, so it's put quite the crimp in a lot of my post-capstone project ideas.

I was hoping to get my concept of addressing the machinima community with an editorial series or some kind of reviewing series (something with a bit of a joke title like "Your Machinima is Bad and You Should Feel Bad") but since it takes me four or so hours to even download the most recent episodes of the new Red vs Blue series with my paltry 26.4 kps connection, I'm pretty much unable to watch a lot of the machinima videos out there, let alone do some research on the matter. Once I get a faster connection I'll be able to look into it more, but for now, looks like it'll be on hold. Again. Which pretty much sucks.

On the other hand, I'm planning to be done with the re-written script of "Stray Dog" by the end of the month at the latest. Once it's done, I'm going to see if I can get some input on it by anyone in the machinima community (probably from LitFuseFilms or TheLeetWorld.) and from there try and proceed with pre-production. I have a friend who's willing to put together some concept art and from there I'll see if I can get some advice on how to put some of those creations together. I'll probably be putting together a list of what I need to do once the script is done.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What's Next

So, now that I've passed Capstone, and more or less officially graduated, it's time to look at the next project!

So far my thoughts are either to go with either my original idea of a full-length Machinima based off the script I originally wrote in back in October of 2007, or to try those 'editorial' style Machinima pieces that address the community.

However, I'm a little unsure as to where to start with either project, as they're both going to require some lengthy planning and research. I think initially, I'll re-write the script for the feature-length Machinima (tentatively titled "Stray Dog") and put out some feelers in the Machinima community to see what are people talking about or would like to see talked about.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Post Capstone and Beyond

As of today, I have handed in all works and papers related to my capstone to my professor. It'll be a while before I hear about any grades or the like, but I'm hoping for a passing grade.

Beyond that, I'm planning to use this summer to work on more Machinima projects, most likely related to the routes I did not taking during the development of my capstone.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Thinking with Portals: An Experimental Machinima

TwP is the final project for my senior capstone at the University of Maine, titled 'New Media Machinima'.

Higher Quality Link:

The live-action elements were filmed using an HD Sony handicam, while all of the machinima aspects were generated in the Source Engine by Valve. Both were blended together in Adobe After Effects to create the project you see here.

I dub this an experimental machinima because machinima is hybridized with more conventional filmmaking in this project, rather then being the dominant medium. More of my thoughts and comments on machinima as well as information on how exactly I made TwP will be in a later post, right here at this website.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Monday, March 31, 2008

The Status of My Capstone

I hope to have the film complete by this friday at the latest.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Experiments in Machinina 1: Thinking with Portals

Put together over the course of a Sunday and most of that time was making the green/blue screen map in Hammer. Video was edited in After Effects. I know it's really not much, but it's mostly just a test on combining elements from machinima and conventional filmmaking.

I have a couple of small videos like this in mind, they're currently in production and I hope to have them up by the end of this week.

Unfortunately, is in the process of shutting down, so I won't be able to host anything higher quality until either I find an alternative or another high quality video website fills the void.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

On a Side Note...

...I just realized that I haven't actually posted my real machinima on here, which I meant to do months ago.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Concept of a Machinima Pre-production Website

Over the past couple of days I've brought up the discussion of a pre-production oriented website over at and Litfusefilms to see what those involved. Some of the feedback I recieved was mixed, but mostly pointed out that it wouldn't be that much of a benefit, for several reasons I'll go into at a later post.

Overall, I think one machinimator, SgtPadrino (who made the very excellent Born Into Freedom film), summed things up very bluntly-

"This is the straight truth: if all someone is willing to do is post a single question thread expecting somebody else to write a fucking essay about the ins and outs of Premiere or After Effects while you hold their hand, telling them what to do every step of the way, they will never create anything worth two shits. Period. That's the mentality of everyone that wants to emulate Lit Fuse, and everyone asking stupid goddamned questions about how to make quality work (God forbid they ask something anymore specific than "duuuude howd u get those sweet camera anglez???") then give up as soon as they realize that you've got to put effort in to get quality out. It doesn't matter if there was a fucking website, because they'd all still expect you to dig it up and link it for them - and hell, even then they'd just browse through and think "lulz taht program costs liek a hundred dollars fcuk that." If somebody really cares enough to make some shit, they'll take the whopping five minutes out of their day to get their own start. Once they're off on the right foot, hell I'd be all for helping them; they're at least willing to put something into it. For everyone else: why bother?"

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Personal Thoughts on the Machinima Community

From my personal experience so far, I've come to find that there's not much of a pre-production support structure in the Machinima community as much as there is a post-production capacity, in that it's easier to get critique and comments on your machinima projects after they've been competed and released compared to getting technical advice or help when you're first creating your project. When trying to find a specific tutorial or guide to modifying an aspect of game (such as Half Life 2) with creating a machinima in mind, it can be rather difficult. This is mostly because there's more of a focus on modifying the game for single or multi-player gameplay.

While there are sites like, which do have articles on the basic theories on creating machinima or modifying some of the games commonly used for machinima, there doesn't seem to me to be a central 'hub' of sorts, with guides, articles and tutorials aimed specifically at creating machinima. I sometimes wonder if someone were to create a kind of "How to make Machinima" super website with more focus on the overall creation of machinima rather then just the critique of finished films, if it would be a helpful addition to the machinima community as a whole.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Concept Ideas

As spring semester starts up, I've come to the conclusion that I really don't have the time, manpower or resources to create my original capstone idea. I've opted instead to create a series of smaller machinima experiments instead. I've only come up with a few ideas at first, but I hope that through discussion with other machinima-related forums (like those at I can come up with some others as well. I'll probably look into the various filming techniques used in older movies (before most of the digital stuff that most movies have today) to see if there's any other kind of interesting things to experiment with in a game engine.

So far, I have two main ideas in mind:

Real-Life Actor vs Digitally Replicated Actor

The basic idea for this experiment would be to test the boundaries and capabilities of the Source SDK program Faceposer. I'm going to talk to some friends who are in the Theather department, and see if any of them would be interested in doing a monologue or something. I'd record it with a camera, later seperate the audio, and then see if I can replicate the actor's expressions and body language using a character from Half Life 2. The ultimate goal will be to see just how close to a digital performance I can script based off a live performance.I'm also going to look into reskinning the game model to look like the live-action actor in question.

Machinima Movie Scene

Although my film's currently out of my capabilities right now, I'm looking at least attempting to create one of the scenes from the original script. I'm currently looking at the opening sequence, which details an assassin escaping from a pursuing helicopter across the roofs of a cyberpunk/Blade Runner-inspired cityscape (though it's probably not nearly as dramatic as it sounds). It'll be a chance for me to experiment with scripted sequences in Hammer, and possibly a chance to create some original content in the XSI Mod Tool that Softimage offers.