Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Surprising news in the post!

Can you imagine my surprise this morning when I learned that my little movie Clockwork has been nominated for an award at the BitFilm '09 festival?

Naturally, I'm delighted - but I do feel like a bit of a fraud because Clockwork actually happened by accident. Let me explain....

When I started making machinima I concentrated on doing comedy. This was because over the years people have told me I'm funny. As it turns out I think they meant funny peculiar. Anyway, I found that there are others who do much better sketches than me, so I decided that I needed to be taken seriously; that meant branching out into other styles.

I'm a huge fan of A Clockwork Orange, both the book by Anthony Burgess and Stanley Kubrick's masterful movie. I love the dystopian themes in the story. I decided to do a short music video featuring my band Diesel and use animation created in Moviestorm that would be based on the Clockwork Orange themes - e.g. sinister gang of "droogs", Korova milkbar etc. So, I made that movie and put it to music.

It sucked. Really.

The music was called "Work and Smile", and was a parody of the sort of music that would be played in a factory to motivate the workers, in some sort of Orwellian world. It just didn't go with the visuals. I decided to find some other music to use then I could get the movie out of the door and concentrate on something else.

I couldn't find anything suitable so I tried the official Clockwork Orange score just to see what it was like. And it fitted perfectly! Bish, bash, bosh, job done, upload to YouTube et al. The thing is, YouTube has this very clever scanning software which immediately jumped on Clockwork for copyright infringement due to the music (much to my shame). The movie was pulled and once again I was left with a movie with no sound.

I was ready to scrap the whole thing. But I felt that there was still potential in the movie so I sat down and wrote out a proper script (there had been no dialogue when it was intended to be a music video). I needed it to have a story that would be dark, maybe a little disturbing, and hopefully surprising. In the end, none of the original movie survived, but I did manage to bring in some of the ideas from the Work and Smile song (BTW, it's a tongue-in-cheek song that's actually quite cheery.) I was pretty happy with the results. Yes, it could be better - I'm still learning to use the software, and there were a few gliches that I was having trouble ironing out. The whole time I was doing Clockwork though, I was inspired by what I know is possible in Moviestorm. That's the kind of quality I'm striving for.

So, as I read through this post I'm thinking that it sounds like I've actually won already! Well fingers-crossed I may yet win, but if not then let me just say what a huge honour it is to get the nomination!


  1. Congrats, IceAxe - Clockwork is a wonderful film, and I'm very happy you have been nominated! Loved reading the backstory, too! :)

  2. Thanks Sisch - it's all the better for your singing!

  3. Congratualtions. Great to see that movie idea
    finally won against your first concerns and made it to life. And now we have the pleasure to watch that excellent machinima movie.

  4. Congratulations, IceAxe. Your story had me grinning.

  5. I love to hear behind the scenes stories like these! Good luck, Ian!

  6. Clockwork is outstanding - congrats!