Monday, 25 April 2011

Captain's Blog: The Chronicles of Humanity Redux

Don't forget (or, for those who didn't know in the first place!), Damien Valentine's re-imagining of his excellent The Chronicles of Humanity series is being premiered tonight on Indytheatre.  Originally shot in The Sims, Damien decided with Season Two to switch to Moviestorm.  In doing so, he made the decision to go back and redo the first series in the new platform as well... and tonight, the results of those endeavors will be available to view!

Showing times are 8:10pm PST/11:10pm EST (that's 4:10am in old money for us Brits).

Unfortunately, I can't make the live premiere (4:10am is a little too late in the wee hours for me over here in the UK), but I would urge any of our transatlantic cousins who can make it to go and show Damien your support for this top-class series.

And, to wet your whistle for the showing, here's the trailer he released recently...

...if that doesn't get you making "squee" noises, here's the cast list...

Starring: Elizabeth Cameron, Charlie Allen-Wall, Gabrielle Pugliese, Richard Grove, Ingrid Moon, Kim Genly, Damien Valentine and Felicia Day (yes, THAT Felicia Day ;)).

Come on; if the trailer didn't make you squeak with excitement, and the voice cast didn't make you want to either, I don't know what will!

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Captain's Blog: Eldritch - Apocalypse Then (Part One)

is now available on TMU or direct from Vimeo... or even here, if you prefer :)

Part One of Eldritch - Apocalypse Then
Meet John Eldritch, London's Night Hunter; a man whose destiny is to defend the night against the Dark.

Might want to watch full-screen, as most of this takes place at night and is therefore a little dark :)

Part One of a new mini-series, written by Macwemyss from an original idea by Killian.
Credits for Part One:-
Killian - John Eldritch
Macwemyss - Gabriel
Bezzer - Zack
Written by
Killian and Macwemyss
Mods by
Squirrelygirl (Mods 'N More)
Chris Ollis (Moddingstorm)

Friday, 15 April 2011

Captain's Blog: Eldritch - A Production Blog (Part Two)

Part Two: The Rebirth
When last we left our intrepid blog, the idea of Eldritch had languished for a good while in the dank, dark recesses of my brain...

Recently rewatching the delightful Strange series (starring Richard Coyle, better known to some as the legendary Jeff Murdoch in the UK version of Coupling (still one of the classic comedy series, and written by none other than Steven Moffat, latterly of Dr Who fame, but enough sidetracking...)), the idea of Eldritch resurfaced.

Whilst the idea itself isn't original (mix up equal parts of Constantine, Buffy, Angel, Legion, Prophecy and throw in a tad of Kolchak, a pinch of detective-noir and a soupcon of  any other supernatural TV show you can name), hopefully it'll be entertaining.  In any event, the main thing is (as ever) for me to have fun with it and if others like it too, it's a bonus :)

A while ago now, I'd passed the stalled initial script to the talented Mac to see if he could jumpstart it, and for various reasons, neither of us had done much about it.  However, I've recently gotten back into Moviestorm in a big way (mainly since the increase in quality mods being released, starting with Chris Ollis' excellent Moddingstorm packs).  After playing around with it a little last year (which ended up with Strange Worlds and Strange Worlds: The Beast of Eastbourne for the annual TMU Roger Thong contest (which reminds me; where's my damned thong, Ken?!?), I decided after the latest Odyssey episode to sit down and play around with it some more.  And quickly realised that Eldritch stood a good chance of now being able to be made.

A swift PM or two to Mac, and the wheels started turning again.  Within a few days, we had thrashed out the basic premise (updated somewhat since I acquired Chris' excellent Castle, Horse and Peasant mods, which necessitated a change in some of the flashback sequences, but made it much more visually interesting as a result) and, whilst the redoubtable Scot hammered away at his keyboard, I started blocking out some scenes and generally fiddling about to start to put the initial vision together.

I had Mac in mind for a main role anyway, and was lucky enough to get the talented Bezzer on board to play another of the recurring characters in the story, Zack (his interpretation of the part and his great voice, although initially somewhat different from what I expected, actually fit the character really well, as I'm sure you'll agree when you see the first part of the story).  My old pal Norrie was a shoe-in for another pivotal role, which I'm glad to say he agreed to play, and with LewisQ aboard, Fospherous and that talented bloke KV, the cast began to fill out with some quality Brit actors.

The main female role was never going to go to anyone other than my lovely wife (who, after all, brought the original character so vividly to life as we sat around the gaming table so very long ago, it now seems), and she was (and is) very excited about this project; more so than anything else I've done upto now.  I might even be able to convince her to write for it, which would be very cool.

And, naturally enough with me being the director and all, I wanted to do the part of Eldritch myself.

So, whither the future and the direction of Eldritch?  I've got more ideas bubbling away (after all, there are 2 years of twice weekly game sessions to base stories off, and the characters themselves have rich backstories that I'm aiming to leak tidbits from as the series progresses) and, as a "side project" to Odyssey, it's nice to be able to lay aside sci-fi from time to time and stretch my wings a little into a different area.

Well, that about wraps it up for the initial blurb about the mini-series.  The script is still in development, but expect the first part to debut very soon... very soon indeed...  Keep watching TMU and you might be surprised... and hopefully, you'll enjoy the first installment of Eldritch - Apocalypse Then!

In the meantime, here's a few screenshots to be going on with...

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Captain's Blog: Eldritch - A Production Blog (Part One)

I thought that I'd post my thoughts and feelings about the creation of "Eldritch" as release of the first part grows near.  Bear with me, as it's a little self-indulgent in places (and definately wordy!), but hopefully it'll serve as a "raison d'ĂȘtre" for genesis of the production, the roots of the characters, how the story has evolved from it's beginnings as a tabletop roleplaying campaign, and where it's hopefully destined to head.

So, without further ado...

Part One: Genesis of Eldritch
Despite sounding like a decidedly ropey 1970's Doctor Who story title, the genesis of Eldritch began about 7 years ago, with a tabletop campaign based on Eden Studio's Unisystem rpg.  The main characters were a human male descended from an angelic bloodline (who fell to the side of darkness in Roman times and cut a swathe through early Britain, before "seeing the light" and embarking on the road to redemption that led him to modern day Los Angeles) and a human female, whose past was decided dark, twisted and f@#ked up!  As a result of various plot devices (which I won't reveal here, as they will be used as the basis of the main female character in the series), she became enpowered with the ability to do pretty much anything she could imagine... which led to some extremely dire consequences for the two of them as the game progressed; let's just say control of what she could do wasn't on the list of abilities she had to begin with!

Lifted pretty much wholesale from the Buffy/Angel TV series (which the gaming group were all big fans of), the adventures of these two, and a fully realised cast of non player characters played memorably by our larger-than-life GM, Gareth, the "Faithful Dawn" campaign turned into an epic story of redemption, love, betrayal, comedy, drama, and pathos, at least twice weekly for far too many hours and sometimes whole weekends, surrounded by dice, books, the detritus of marathon sessions where we lived in the skins of these people, bringing them to life round our dining room table in a small, 1 bedroom flat in Plymouth.

And we loved every second of it.

The characters grew, knew loss, love, defeat and victory at the hands of our GM, who pitted us against werewolves, cthuloid monstrosities, vampires, demons, vengeful ghosts, succubi, mythical beasts and immoral mundane foes aplenty, whilst all the time the characters were finding our more and more about each other and their not-so-two-dimensional companions.  Eventually, however, despite barely surviving some horrendous odds and trials and tribulations galore, the characters became far too powerful to continue "believably" doing what they had been doing for nearly 2 years, and were retired, to make way for another campaign with other characters (which also turned into a corker, but that's a half-orc warrior raised by a human knight and an exiled elven princess of a different colour!)

Heady days indeed... so heady, in fact, that when I was searching my twisted brain for further machinima projects about 3 years ago, that was one of the first things that popped into my mind.  Morally grey characters, trapped between two sides which can be seen as equally as bad as the other, surrounded by enemies both supernatural and mundane... what's not to love about that as a starting point?

I was determined to make it a "UK" based series (no disrespect to our American cousins, but you get all the cool shows, except for Doctor Who and Being Human, of course ;)) to give good old Blighty a couple of heroes of our own for once (even though the original characters were pretty much "USA-ified") and that, coupled with the long and oft-times dark history of our own sceptr'd isles, seemed like a good starting place.

I initially toyed with the idea of doing it with The Movies (as I have done with Odyssey), but the limitations of that engine (god bless it; 6 years old and still capable of turning out quality movies in the right hands, even today) scuppered that relatively quickly;  I wanted to be able to show emotion, move actors where I wanted them and do a lot more than TM was capable of portraying.  So I looked elsewhere.

iClone looked like a contender, until I saw the horrendously complicated user interface it had at the time, and the sheer lack of computing power I had (and still have presently) at the time put the mokkers on me using that.

And then I clapped eyes on Moviestorm.

Easy to use, free (at the time) and constantly updated with cool new features, it seemed ideal.  The quality of the work that was capable using it (see what the likes of Sisch, Kate and Sherwin, Kibishipaul, KV, Iceaxe and so on have produced with it and you'll see that I mean).

However, the big snag came when trying to get the visuals to look how I wanted; the ability to "set the scene" just wasn't there at the time.  Not enough mods to convey the right atmosphere and do what I wanted existed back then, and I wasn't prepared to "compromise my artistic vision" (to use an old, dried up and overly hackneyed turn of phrase), so the initial steps along the path to Eldritch' realisation stumbled to a halt.

2 years passed... and the script for Eldritch languished in my brain, peeking out at inopportune moments to wave and say "hi" to my forebrain, just to let me know it was still there and make sure it wasn't being totally forgotten...

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Captain's Blog: Eldritch - Apocalypse Then

Renewed interest in this over the last month or so, coupled with grabbing some much needed proppage from the likes of Chris Ollis (of Moddingstorm fame, without whose props I would never have been able to even think about getting this project started), KV, Squirrelygirl and PapaG over at the MS forums (special thanks to the latter two for a special modding job for a crucial scene!), has enabled me to get cracking on this project in between Odyssey episodes.

For the curious, this is the project I did the casting hint thread about on the TMU forums a while back... all is now revealed!

The backstory of this is something else that sprang out of an RPG tabletop campaign that ran for a looooonnngg time, and covers another genre I love and wanted to have a crack at; horror/adventure.

Macwemyss is beavering away on a script that will sink the Titanic for the mini-series/pilot (and you thought I was the only one who wrote scripts that were longer than the Bible!), based off the few notes and first few pages I scribbled a long while back... and it's a corker!

So, what's it about, you ask? Well, if you remember in the dim and distant past the original teaser I put up about a year ago, it's a dark, gritty look at the secret war going on between the forces of Light and Dark... and the man caught between them both.

I already have some great VO talent lined up (Mac, Bezzer (who turns in a great performance as one of the regular characters), Norrie, LewisQ and KV, with a couple more still to respond (hopefully positively!)), and the first test shots came out pretty well, even though I say so myself!

No firm release date yet, but it's likely it will come out in multiple parts, mainly because the first 15 mins or so rendered out at 250mb on it's own!

And, as always, the main thing is I'm having immense fun producing my first lengthy Moviestorm project, so it's all good!