Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Captain's Blog 29.04.09

Wooo-weee! It's out, and it's a doozy!

Yes, that Master of Macabre wows us all again with the release of his adaption of HP Lovecraft's "The Shadow over Innsmouth"; a tour-de-force Mythos tale that is, in my opinion, Joseph's best work to date!

With some incredible visuals, a solid script, great performances from the main cast and some damned fine ambient music and effects, this is a stunner. The chromakeying alone is absolutely top-notch (I defy you to spot the joins in a couple of the sequences!). An all-round must watch!

As a rabid Mythos fan myself, I was especially stoked to see this beauty, so go watch it (with the lights off, in a dark room, wearing headphones for the full effect).

It doesn't get much better than this for fans of the macabre... watch it, watch it NOW!!!

Oh and I'm nearly 2/3 through the first draft of Episode Seven as well, but that's not important right now!

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Captain's Blog 26.04.09

At last; the Episode Six script is completed in first draft and off to my checking guy for first looky-loo. In the meantime, the double length season finale Episode Seven is underway and upto page 11 as I type. The blockage I had with Episode Six which stymied me for weeks has been blown out the airlock at long last, and hopefully now I can get back on track and crack out what I was trying to achieve all week (namely, completing Season One scripting and getting started on my CQ script).

TMOA tonight, in the company of Uber and old K4, which should be fun. Wrench packed in case Roger goes off on one, so tis all good.

Anyway, stuff to do, mods to complete, more writing to do. Auf Wiedersehen (for now!)

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Captain's Blog 25.04.09

Bah...

Why "bah", you say? No, I haven't suddenly turned into a sheep overnight (sorry Norrie :P), but have been beating my head against a brick wall for some time now with Episode Six. I just can't get the premise to work properly. So, after some serious thought, I've plumped for extending the plotline for Episode 7 backwards by an episode (purely because, being rational about it, with the scope of that Episode, it'd be madness to try and cram everything into it that I was going to... 4 seperate stories, each important to the overall plot, in two episodes? Crazy).

So, I've gone back to the drawing board. I've salvaged what scenes I can from the original draft and am embarking on the huge job of putting together the season finale, split over two episodes. I've already got the major notes, it just needs some tweakage to bring it together.

In (vaguely) other Odyssey related news, I was massively pleased to see that JosephKw's "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" is nearly ready for release. I've been a huge HP Lovecraft fan for years (ever since coming across my first copy of "The Call of Cthulhu and other Macabre Tales" in a second hand bookshop in Manchester many gibbous moons ago), and Joseph is quite simply a master at portraying Mythos tales on screen; everything else will definately get dropped the second that gets released!

Friday, 24 April 2009

Captain's Blog 24.04.09

Roleplaying and how it translates to the Machinima Hobby
Spurred on by the comments on my last post, I thought I’d wax lyrical about the fine art of Roleplaying in this blog entry, and how it made a huge impact on me, both as a writer and a machinima director.

As with most people who got into the hobby, I first stumbled across the delights of RPG when I was a wee laddy at school and the Games Club put on a display of a fantasy battle with full array of miniatures. I was hooked; I’d already devoured fantasy writings by such luminaries as Haggard, Howard, Tolkein (naturally) and a slew of the cheap knock-off fantasy books that seemed to appear overnight in WH Smiths during the 1970s, so this was the natural next step.

I cut my teeth on the old Red Box Dungeons and Dragons Basic Set, rapidly being pushed into the role of DM, as no-one else wanted to spend the time to put adventures together and sit there behind a cardboard screen describing that dank, slimy dungeon corridor again for the 10 millionth time.

From there, I was initiated into the ranks of other classics such as Traveller, Star Frontiers, the old FASA Star Trek game, Aftermath (where I learned rapidly that masses of tables showing just how deadly a .303 bullet is when it hits your left ear-lobe do not an attention-grabbing game make…), Gamma World, Chivalry and Sorcery, Runequest, Golden Heroes, Call of Cthulhu… the list goes on.

Then, my gaming group and I ventured into the murky realm of compiling our own rules set as we came to realise that the D&D rules we were using at the time just couldn’t cut it for some of the stuff we needed for our joint campaign (one of the other players and I alternated play sessions with two disparate groups of characters, each on a separate continent, that eventually grew into an epic campaign of world-spanning and world-changing adventure.)

Eventually, family, job, real-life issues and problems and other factors all contributed to the group fragmenting and falling apart after a great 5 years of regular gaming sessions. Some wonderful characters developed out of those sessions, which I still remember fondly (and not so fondly!), which really left an indelible mark on me.

As I started my initial shakey steps into the minefield of Machinima last year, the ghosts of my misspent youth (and adult life!) dredged themselves up from the past. I could almost feel the same energy, creativity and excitement growing around me as I sat down to write the first instalments of Odyssey. Long forgotten adventures, scenes, dialogue, most of which actually happened in sessions whilst sat around my gaming table, came rushing out of the mists of the last 20 years or so to spring, fully formed, back into my mind.

Geeky hobby? Sure. Looked down upon by the majority of folks at the time? Most definitely. An enormous source of inspiration, enjoyment and fertile ground for the hobby I now enjoy? You betcha! The lessons I learned in constructing plots, characters and adventures during those years definitely served me in good stead, and frequently the techniques I called upon back then still get pulled out to assist me now.

As said in my first TMOA interview, many moons ago now, the advantage of seeing your creation taken out and driven by your “audience” (i.e. the players) and getting almost instantaneous feedback from it as the story unfolded definitely helped me in my construction. NPCs brought to life with twitches, coughs, bizarre accents all get called upon again when a voice is needed. Convoluted plot strands, twists and turns and the less-than-white actions of some of the PCs in the various groups I had the pleasure to play with all serve well when fleshing out characters and situations.

Roleplaying has given me a lot of joy, over the years. Sadly, I have little to no time anymore to involve myself in the hobby as I once did, but one glance over my shoulder at the boxes and shelves here in the Cave, still groaning under the weight of myriad rulebooks and supplements, still raises a wry smile. And, boy, are they excellent sources of inspiration for writing scripts and characters!

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Captain's Blog 23.04.09

Episode Two complete and out; some pre-prod done on Episode Three (all the actors now cast for that); all actors cast for Episode 4; all actors ready for Episode 5. One of the guests confirmed for Episode 6 and a slew of people to approach for the two part Episode 7/8 season finale. Just have to complete the scripts now! Episode Six first draft is about 1/3 written (after three false starts, I think I've finally licked it)... some of the intro to Episode 7 written and the general plot worked out in rough.

War of the Worlds Part Three still to complete, but with Chris out of action, Section 3 to re-film and another project in the pipeline for him, there's no rush to get that out. My not-so-secret Conquest project is then next up on the block, then my plate is relatively clear.

Which will enable me to look at a project I've "ummm"ed and "ahhh"ed about for a while; a modern adventure/horror tale, based on a long lasting RPG campaign our group played for quite some time (and one I didn't write, for once!)

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Captain's Blog 18.04.09


Phew! Episode Two is completed at last and should be uploaded in the next couple of days; final checks to do and then I can render it out. Then onto finishing Episode 6 (well, rewriting it, to be frank; since I took a break to do some shooting, I've had a much better idea for the penultimate episode, which still keeps the focus on the character of Leyland, but challenges the character in a much more direct way. Of course, as always, there will be ties to the backstory (going all the way back to the pilot and beyond...), hints about the arc plot and the set-up for the season finale.

Bad news on the War of the Worlds front; Chris' PC died a death and he lost a fair chunk of the work he'd already done on Part Three. However (and given the fact he's limited to using his son's PC at the moment), I THINK he's going to redo that part as a mostly iClone movie, which should be a real interesting result (so, there may well be an up side to the death of his machine, after all). Not positive on this, yet, as I haven't been able to speak to him about it yet, but more news as and when.

Got a whole (well, not quite a whole) week off at last to feck about and finish my outstanding projects off; due to the enforced stop on WotW, that means I can take my time a bit more polishing the last script up and taking out some of the overly wordy monologues which plagued Part One a bit (hard to translate the text into visuals when you're not directing it yourself and, with the original novel and album being narrated, I wanted to keep very much in that vein for the movies, but it's harder for the director to conceptualise the scenes if you've basically got the principal actors describing everything that's happening on screen at the same time!)

More to do to finish off Episode Two (might cobble together a little post-credits something with the lines I already have in for Episode Three, which could be fun...); chores (boo!) to complete, so will add more later.

Enjoy your Saturday, phantom readers!

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Captain's Blog 14.04.09

Well, Fourth Wall Break is out (a little disappointed it hasn't got as many views as I thought it might... and the seeming lack of interest in the contest itself is very disappointing, which is one reason why I made it (Dulci's come up with a very cool concept, that should have sparked a lot of entries... or so I would have thought); it seems to have been missed in the sudden scramble people have made for the Trailer contest, which is a major shame).

Anyway, onwards and forwards (or upwards); Episode Two is well on the final leg now. Last scene to construct and shoot tonight, then the last three to insert VOs into and initial editing. A couple of remounts to do (as only just located a prop for a vital section of the episode, or else the dialogue doesn't make a lot of sense...), final editing for soundtrack, etc and done. Then, pre-production starts on Ep3, which will be a heavily effects-laden episode (so am gonna get those shots done and in the bag first).

Happy to say I've got all but one guest-star role cast with some great acting talent for Ep3, and all the guest stars for Ep4 have been cast already. Got a couple of envisaged roles to fill for Ep6 and then the season finale (where a lot of old faces will return, but not necessarily as people remember them...).

Back to work for 4 days today; then off for 3 days, then back in to go to a meeting in the provincial hell-hole of Solihull, armpit of the Midlands... then off til the following Weds (so hoping I can finally get my writing done at last on my outstanding projects).

Monday, 13 April 2009

Captain's Blog 13.04.09

Oh well, I decided to put my creativity where my mouth is and came up with THIS for Dulci's Machiniwhat? Contest.

The opening and end sequences were done in Moviestorm (purely because I needed something that was different from the main Movies footage to contrast the two; I did toy with using real-life footage, but then figured that anyone looking at my ugly mush for more than 5 seconds would scream and run a mile, and I wouldn't get many viewers that way ;)); surprisingly easy to get to grips with after some initial "Whuh? What? How??" (yes, I never read the manual, as long-time peeps will know :P).

Oh well, there it is. And, hopefully, this will spur some life into a very interesting contest which should get a lot more interest than it has had so far...

I mean, SOMEONE has to do something better than what I came up with in 15 minutes of brainstorming, surely?

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Captain's Blog (Supplemental)

Ok... got the script done, the VOs in from all but one of my actors, the middle section shot and all but one lot of VOs inserted; got the top and tail sections completed in MS... just the final VOs to enter, complete editing and out she comes!

Can't post any screenies other than this one or I'll give away the story (what there is of it!), so here's a little "peak-ette" at my Moviestorm debut (as crappy as it is)... and yes, the character is based on moi!

The Fourth Wall

The Fourth Wall

Hopefully, I'll have this completed in the next day or so if I get the lines back quickly.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Captain's Blog 04.04.09

Busy on the Episode Two front, so not had much chance to jump on here and scribble any old drivel down as usual.

I've decided to "branch out" a tad from sci-fi for a short which I'm entering into the Machiniwhat? Contest (the concept sounded great when I thought of it and anyway, if nothing else, it allows me to spread my wings a bit from sci-fi for once into the realms of low comedy (VERY low; don't expect many laughs :P)), based on an idea that struck me like a bar of falling soap one evening in the shower (I really must move that shelf, thinking about it...).

For this, am trying to find the time to learn a bit of Moviestorm to do the opening and tail ending of the short (the middle section is being shot in The Movies, for reasons that will become apparent when you see it); my initial forays were not... good, shall we say :P

Still, it's all a learning curve as a wise man once told me, so if nothing else it's a fun diversion from the usual. More as and when (well, probably when it comes out, to be honest ;)).