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Friday, August 27, 2010

Veteran British film director Peter Greenaway to judge 48 Hr Film Festival machinima

Chantal Harvey and her team at 48HFP have pulled off an amazing coup. They’ve persuaded film director Peter Greenaway to join the jury for the machinima section of the contest, along with machinima pioneers Tom Jantol and Phaylen Fairchild, and academic Dr Tracy Harwood.

Peter Greenaway has always been a unique film maker. He’s best known for his dreamy, artistic films such as Prospero’s Books and The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and her Lover, More recently, he’s been experimenting with the film form, and projecting moving images onto buildings, paintings and other installations, creating interactive stories, and developing movies for mobile phones. Last year at the Clicks and Mortar festival in Newcastle, he announced that “the future of film was Second Life”, and declared he was passionately interested in machinima. (You can read more about his views on machinima and the future of film on Matt’s blog).

His inclusion on the jury is a great step towards legitimizing machinima in the eyes of conventional film makers. It will be fascinating to see what this jury picks - they’re quite unlike other machinima juries, and this will doubtless persuade machinimators to challenge themselves artistically even more.

(0) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Moviestorm to sponsor Machinima Expo 2010

MachinExpo is the leading international festival for machinima artists. It’s a celebration of this unique art, bringing together film makers from many different backgrounds. Some use game engines, some use Second Life, others use tools like Muvizu, iClone or Moviestorm. They’re coming from America, Europe, Australia, and Asia, and there’s a special focus on machinimators from Latin America.  At the Expo, you’ll see the very best machinima of recent years, and the top machinimators will be discussing their work.

MachinExpo 2010 will be held on November 20 & 21, and it’s free to enter.

In order to bring this diverse audience together, MachinExpo doesn’t have a physical location. For the last two years, it’s been held in Second Life: this year they’re working with the experienced team at The Movies Underground (TMU) to bring it to an even wider audience by streaming video direct to those who don’t use Second Life.

We’re extremely proud to be sponsoring the Expo, and will be donating competition prizes of subscriptions and packs.  (If you haven’t submitted your movie yet, you can do so until August 31.)

Come along and stop by our booth. We’ll have interactive presentations throughout the expo, and various members of the Moviestorm staff will be around to answer questions much of the time.

The entire show is made possible by a fantastic team of volunteers under the leadership of three legends of the machinima world: Phil “Overman” Rice, Ricky Grove, and Kate “kkffoo” Fosk. If you’d like to help out, please let them know.

More info:

(1) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

Moviestorm to sponsor 48 Hour Film Project

Last week, we told you about the upcoming 48 Hour Film Project, which challenges film-makers to create a movie in just 48 hours. (Not to be confused with the 48-hour machinima contest being held by Fantastic Arcade, which we told you about earlier today and are also sponsoring!)  We love seeing how creative people respond to working under pressure and with extreme limitations, so we’ve decided to throw some Moviestorm goodies into the prize pool.

We’re offering a year’s sub to Moviestorm for every member of the winning team, plus licenses to all the Moviestorm pack other than the audio packs and After Dark.  We’re also throwing in a free month’s Moviestorm sub for everyone who enters.

We wish all participants the best of luck, whatever tools you’re using. This is a great test of film-making skills, and is as demanding for machinimators as it is for teams using conventional film techniques.

CALLING ALL Machinimatographers!
The 48 Hour Film Project, the oldest and biggest time filmmaking competition, is looking for machinima!  In a wild, sleepless weekend, you and a team will make a movie—— write, shoot, edit and score it.  From scratch.  In 48 hours.  On Friday, September 17, you’ll get a character, a prop, a line of dialogue and a genre, all to include in your movie.  By Sunday, September 19, the movie must be complete and uploaded to our server in California.

Each completed film is guaranteed a screening in Twinity, Inworldz and Second Life.

Winner ánd runner up will be screened at MachinimaExpo 2010.

Meet other machinimatographers, spend 48 hours in intense movie making, have your film screened in several virtual worlds, and compete to represent machinima against the other 90 48HFP cities!  Come on out and make a movie!

To be part of the 48HFP, register online at: http://www.48hourfilm.com/machinima Registration costs $48 per team. Space is limited, so register today!

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The events in 2010 are held in Second Life, which is a free download at:http://secondlife.com/support/downloads/

Teamleaders are expected to be present at kickoff and screening event, if you need any help at all in entering Second Life; please contact Chantal Harvey, and you will be coached step by step. It is also possible to come to the events in a ready made account. (talk about it being easy.)

Communication can be through using skype @ chantal.harvey, and by email: (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

This SLurl will take your avatar to the 48HFP theatre :  http://slurl.com/secondlife/UWA/6/248/1638

Some dates to remember:  (all times are sl/pacific times)

  • September 14:  Meet and greet the 48HFP teams - 3 pm
  • September 17:  Kickoff event at 5 pm, genres/prop/line/character handout and start of contest September 19:  Dropoff event at 5 pm, end of contest is 6.30 pm
  • September 23:  Screening of the films, awards and winners announced


Don’t miss the chance to bring your machinima to the world: the winner will be screened at our Filmapalooza Festival, and winners there will go to Cannes!!

Chantal Harvey
Machinima Producer 48 Hour Film Project
http://www.48hourfilm.com/machinima

 

(0) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

Moviestorm to sponsor Fantastic Arcade

We’re very proud to announce that we’ve been chosen as sponsors for Fantastic Arcade in Austin, Texas, in September.

Fantastic Arcade is part of Fantastic Fest, the largest genre film festival in the United States, featuring the best in new science-fiction, fantasy, horror, animation, crime, Asian, and all around badass cinema. Last year, they featured the premiere of Zombieland, as well as special screenings of The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and The Men Who Stare At Goats. Fantastic Arcade is a new independent games festival, running concurrently with the first four days of Fantastic Fest, September 23-26, 2010.  It’s all ages until 6pm, then over-18 only for evening events.

The Highball ballroom will be transformed into an old-school arcade featuring games the likes of which never existed in any Aladdin’s Castle back in the day.  The Fantastic Arcade curators have selected some of the most fascinating new independent games and retrofitted them into vintage arcade consoles set to free-play for the duration of the event.  We feel that video games rightfully belong side by side with shorts and feature films at Fantastic Fest, and the artistic merit of these games will be honored with both audience awards and a juried competition.
Other Fantastic Arcade highlights include a live game demos by their authors on the big screens at Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar, a machinima film competition judged by Red Vs. Blue creator Burnie Burns, video game art installations featuring work by Cory Arcangel, live chiptune music performances, games showcases and demos from major game publishers, game design guest speakers, screenings of popular games culture films, a Starcade game-show competition, a light saber dance party and more!  Among other topics, the panels will explore the crossover and differences between the visual story-telling mediums of the film and game worlds.

We’re very proud to be sponsoring the machinima competition as well as the other games tournaments.  Teams will have just 48 hours to make a machinima movie, starting on Friday, Sept 10. (The organisers have confirmed that Moviestorm is classed as a game engine for the purposes of this contest.)  Prizes include a bunch of top Dell gear, plus Moviestorm goodies including free subscriptions and packs.

Fantastic Fest official Web site | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube
Fantastic Arcade official Web site | Facebook | Schedule | Machinima competition

 

(0) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

Friday, August 20, 2010

Emerging Screenwriters

Moviestorm isn’t just for aspiring or amateur directors. It’s a tool that can be used by people in many different roles in the film business - see the video at the end of this post. As Matt commented earlier this week on the Going Down Writing blog, it can be a great tool for writers too. It can help you see your movie, and start to think more like an editor or director: you start to focus your writing not just on the dialog, but on what the viewer sees and hears. It’ll also help you write more natural dialog, rather than stagey prose that doesn’t sound as good as it reads on the page.

That’s why we’re proud to support the Emerging Screenwriters 2010 Screenplay competition. We’re offering prizes to all top ten finalists, worth $1000 in total. Other prizes include cash, software, meetings with Hollywood producers, and screenwriting classes from ScreenwritingU, the leading online film writing school.

There are categories for both feature films and TV pilots. The contest simulates the typical production process, so the first stage involves submitting a logline for your script. That’s basically a one-sentence pitch that gets people excited and makes them want to see more.

There’s a small entry fee for the contest, and full contest rules are on their Web site. Final submission is December 15, and first round winners will be announced on February 28th.

Test your movie knowledge - can you identify these films from their loglines?  Answers and more examples on the Emerging Screenwriters site.

“A struggling stage performer kills her lover in a jealous rage, causing a media sensation.”

“After being falsely convicted of the murder of his wife, a once prominent surgeon escapes custody to find the real killer and clear his name.”

“An attorney, because of a birthday wish, can’t tell any lies for 24 hours.”

“A private detective must team up with an ex-football star to catch the killer of a topless dancer.”

(1) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

48 Hour Film Project - Machinima section

We’re very pleased to be supporting the 48 Hour Film Project once again.  This just came in from Chantal Harvey, who runs the machinima section.

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CALLING ALL Machinimatographers!
The 48 Hour Film Project, the oldest and biggest time filmmaking competition, is looking for machinima!  In a wild, sleepless weekend, you and a team will make a movie—— write, shoot, edit and score it.  From scratch.  In 48 hours.  On Friday, September 17, you’ll get a character, a prop, a line of dialogue and a genre, all to include in your movie.  By Sunday, September 19, the movie must be complete and uploaded to our server in California.

Each completed film is guaranteed a screening in Twinity, Inworldz and Second Life.

Winner ánd runner up will be screened at MachinimaExpo 2010.

Meet other machinimatographers, spend 48 hours in intense movie making, have your film screened in several virtual worlds, and compete to represent machinima against the other 90 48HFP cities!  Come on out and make a movie!

To be part of the 48HFP, register online at: http://www.48hourfilm.com/machinima Registration costs $48 per team. Space is limited, so register today!

image

The events in 2010 are held in Second Life, which is a free download at:http://secondlife.com/support/downloads/

Teamleaders are expected to be present at kickoff and screening event, if you need any help at all in entering Second Life; please contact Chantal Harvey, and you will be coached step by step. It is also possible to come to the events in a ready made account. (talk about it being easy.)

Communication can be through using skype @ chantal.harvey, and by email: (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

This SLurl will take your avatar to the 48HFP theatre :  http://slurl.com/secondlife/UWA/6/248/1638

Some dates to remember:  (all times are sl/pacific times)

  • September 14:  Meet and greet the 48HFP teams - 3 pm
  • September 17:  Kickoff event at 5 pm, genres/prop/line/character handout and start of contest September 19:  Dropoff event at 5 pm, end of contest is 6.30 pm
  • September 23:  Screening of the films, awards and winners announced


Don’t miss the chance to bring your machinima to the world: the winner will be screened at our Filmapalooza Festival, and winners there will go to Cannes!!

Chantal Harvey
Machinima Producer 48 Hour Film Project
http://www.48hourfilm.com/machinima


Best of luck to any Moviestorm team who enters - let’s hope you go all the way to Cannes!

(0) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Moviestorm 1.4 early access now available

Moviestorm subscribers can now access the very latest version of Moviestorm, ahead of its official release. It’s been a while coming, but it’s absolutely packed with goodies.

If you’ve been following our progress behind the scenes in the development blog, you’ll already have a pretty good idea of what to expect with this release.  Here’s just a small sample of some of the new features:

  • The Dressing Room has a far more flexible and powerful interface for designing your Moviestorm characters.
  • There are new characters with morphable sliders to change the shape of different features, or even the ethnic origin and skintone.
  • Characters also have different decals for skin detail, makeup, eyebrows, beards, and much more. Some decals can even change color and be moved.
  • There are ‘Randomize’ buttons for automatically generating and adjusting a new interesting character.
  • In the Set Workshop, the inside and outside faces when placing walls are now clear.
  • There’s a new 3d ‘amber-blue’ preview option in the Cutting Room.
  • The Color Chooser has been radically enhanced, with an improved wheel and ‘Recent’ selection option.
  • Dramatic lighting has been enhanced with a ‘Tri-Directional’ lighting option.

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This is still a preview release, so you’ll need a slightly different installation procedure to get it. You’ll find detailed instructions here, along with full release notes. You can, of course, continue to use your existing version of Moviestorm if you prefer, or revert to it if you find problems.

Moviestorm 1.4 will be on general release in a few weeks, and there will be new tutorials showing you how to get the best from all the new features. In the meantime, please give us your feedback and let us know what you think via the forums.

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(0) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

2020 A.D. - the first commercial Moviestorm movie on DVD

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Aliens with guns… lots of guns…

Doomed to a colorless existence in a faraway galaxy, in 2020 mankind will stage a war for freedom in this Science Fiction B-movie adventure.  When fourteen year-old Opheila Knightflower is kidnapped by aliens, the Kimerians, she is taken to a distant galaxy, bound for the planet Starliss, where male humans are kept as slave laborers and human women are used for breeding.  Soon Opheila is rescued by alien hunter Jai and his rebellion who wants to free the humans from the Kimerians and return to Earth. Will Opheila join the rebels in their fight against inhumanity? Or will she find her way back home to see her family again?

2020 A.D., at 74 minutes long, isn’t the first feature-length movie made with Moviestorm. It is, however, the first commercial Moviestorm movie that we know of, and it’s available on DVD from Amazon and elsewhere, for around $13.00. This is a huge breakthrough for Moviestorm. Very few machinima films have been sold this way before, largely due to copyright issues. The only others we’ve been able to track down are Peter Rasmussen’s Killer Robot and Stolen Life, and a few highly successful Web series, such as Red vs Blue, have had DVD releases. Strange Company’s Bloodspell was slated for DVD release in 2009, but that fell foul of licensing issues with Electronic Arts.

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The creator of 2020 A.D. is Erica Hughes, from Wisconsin. In her mid-30s, she’s already self-published in a number of media. She’s got several books to her name including the romance, Infatuation, and also writes articles for screenwritersdaily.com on how to produce and pitch animated movies. “I enjoy working on different things, from painting to writing and even singing,” she says. “Film and movies seems like a natural progression for me. Not in front of a camera, but making things that other people can enjoy.”

Erica isn’t a newcomer to the movie world. She used to work at Sony as a Coordinator, and part of the support team for Vegas, their editing software, and their audio suites, Acid and SoundForge. She then worked with a producer, Kennedy Safo, editing and writing screenplays, and editing his feature-length movie. In January 2009, a friend told her about Moviestorm, and she wondered whether it would be useful.

“I fell in love with the software,” she says. “I really liked the look of the puppets. The characters in Moviestorm look like real people, depending on how you angle them. And it was very easy to learn. From the first moment I used the program, I knew I wanted to do a feature length movie. I knew I wanted to make a commercial product from the beginning. I wanted to do something new. I really don’t hear a lot about DVD movies using this type of animation. I promised everyone who participated that I would do a DVD and they could use it as an acting credit if they got involved.”

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Apart from the voices, 2020 A.D. is a solo production, which took Erica about a year of her spare time under the banner of Moon Empress Productions.  “I played with Moviestorm for a while, to see what would work. They released new packs regularly, which made it easier to do even more,” she grins. “I didn’t even think science fiction at first, until I saw the sci-fi pack. I was like a kid in a candy store! I made the first short clip at the end of June. I got actors involved in the first week of July. Casting was the hardest part. My actors were people I already knew - writers mostly. I put an ad out for a test project, and did a sample. Everyone was happy to contribute. I would have a much better movie if I had been able to cast more actors. Surprisingly, though that was the only limitation.”

(Note: you can see some of Erica’s early test clips on her Moviestorm site.)

One of the things Erica commented on is the differences between working on a Moviestorm movie and working on a real life movie shoot.  “Moviestorm gives you a huge amount of flexibility, that’s what I like about it. I could shoot, edit as I went, and then go back for retakes. It’s funny - the scenes I started with ended up in the middle of the movie.  You can see the progression of skill - at least, I can!”

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Her next project is equally ambitious: she’s planning an adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, which will also be released as a DVD. “I haven’t decided whether to do it in modern costume or period dress. I would really like to do a period piece if possible. Casting will be more difficult. I’m looking for an English cast. Finding guys won’t be a problem, but I’m hoping I can get more actresses involved.”

But that’s nowhere near the limit of Erica’s ambitions. ” I am also working on a book trailer for my next book, using Moviestorm. I’m also planning a vook. That’s a video + ebook. Basically, when you reach certain scenes in the book, it will play a video of that scene. Moviestorm would also help writers pitch movies, because it can help them create storyboards. I have so many ideas - Moviestorm is very useful in that regard!”

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We’re hoping that this is the first of many commercial movies made with Moviestorm. What Erica Hughes has done isn’t just another home movie. She’s proved that with passion and dedication, and just a little help from your friends, you can make the movies you believe in, and there’s no reason why every one of us can’t sell movies right alongside every other indie film-maker. 

For the next few weeks, you can watch the whole of 2020 A.D. online. After that, only the trailers will be available.

 

(13) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

Monday, August 02, 2010

Changes to the free trial

As from today, we’re making some changes to the free trial. Instead of points, trial customers get a content pack completely free, and the trial is 7 days.  The pack’s not just for the duration of the trial, it’s yours to keep, whatever you decide. This month we’re giving away the fantastic Law and Order pack, which includes ready-made sets for crime scenes, a cell block, and a police station, police uniforms, vehicles and props, and animations for frisking and arresting the perps, and gun actions for great shoot-outs!

If you got your free trial before today, don’t worry. You’ll still have your points, and your trial won’t be cut short.

And, as before, all free trial users still get full Moviestorm capability. The only restrictions are that you can’t use 3rd party content or Modders’ workshop.

(2) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

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