Sunday, 23 May 2010

Winchester Film Society

Thursday night was the end of season party at the Winchester Film Society, and to celebrate they screened three shorts that had all been shot by local film makers. The programme included Clockwork, the highly acclaimed and technically astonishing Ten Thousand Pictures of You by Robin King, and Stand or Fall - from Page to Stage, which was a moving documentary about a play performed by prison inmates.
Because there were only three movies on the programme it meant that there was plenty of time for Q&A. It is always with a degree of trepidation that put my movies forward for consideration by a non-machinima audience - obviously if you know your audience is "into" machinima then it's fine, but when you have a less specific audience there is always a worry that the movie won't stand up to comparison with more conventional fare. For me, the true measure as to whether they like the movie is demonstrated by the questions that are asked. No questions means they didn't get it, or didn't like it, so let's move on to the proper stuff...
I have to say I was really chuffed with the questions that were asked! And, if I did this sort of thing more often then I'm sure I could come up with more interesting responses. As it was, the audience were great, and the welcome from the Film Society was warm and appreciative.
Having the opportunity to rub shoulders with non-machinima film makers was great too. As well as being a talented film maker, Robin King is also a professional actor with a penchant for software development. Anyway, I recommend you check out his movies on Vimeo.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

TV, Film Clubs, and being Judgemental

This week I discovered that the TV show I was filmed for in France last October is available online. The programme is called Tracks, and airs on the Arte channel in France and Germany (and dubbed accordingly). Tracks did a report on machinima and came along to the Atopic Festival in Paris to find out more about it. You can watch the report here (hope your French is good!). I make an appearance at the 7:30 mark, and they also show a little clip of Clockwork.
Also this week I've been asked to join the judging panel for a machinima competition which will begin in August. I'll post more details about it nearer the time - isn't it time you entered a competition...? Some desirable prizes will be on offer!
My next real-world screening is organised by the Winchester Film Society on Thursday 20 May. I'm not 100% sure of the format yet but I expect I'll do a little introduction and Q&A.
Then, on Tuesday 13 July the Bracknell Film Society will include Clockwork within the programme. I'll be there too, and I'm looking forward talking about machinima and showing the movie.
Progress with iClone has been painfully slow. The software tantalises me with what it is clearly capable of, but I'm finding it really difficult get my head around. It would be great if you could just lift that engine and give it to the Moviestorm guys sort out. I have issues with the overall workflow which is confusing, and I find that the walk animations are sometimes really poor - the characters seem to moonwalk over the ground, sliding along as if they were on skates. I've also found it to be a bit buggy - I've had characters walking in endless circles when all I asked them to do was follow a path.
As I'm finding it all so difficult I am asking myself why I'm bothering. I think the reason is because of the fantastic facial animations that iClone has. Now, if Moviestorm had that (and water, and more morphable characters, and better shadowing) there'd be no need for iClone in my arsenal. Without those features I'm not sure what more I can really do with Moviestorm (without my movies looking like every other one I've done. And everyone else has done) but I don't have the time in my life to learn iClone to the level that would be required.
I'm at a cross-roads.