Hi all! It’s been a couple of weeks since our last update, and for good reason. We’re more than a little busy at the moment touching parts of 4 different episodes in various (sometimes dirty) ways. In fact, we’ve hit a really huge milestone in production and are ready to check out our first cut of Episode 1.
Does this mean the episode’s almost finished? Not at all. Rough cuts are just what they sound like, and barely watchable unless you know what you’re looking for. It’s more of the bones of an episode, and it’s after the rough cut that you really pile on the meat.
At the same time we’re getting ready to start cutting Episode 2, we’re building the scenes for Episode 3 and working on maps for Episode 4. There’s a lot of stuff to juggle, but we finally feel like we’ve nailed our production pipeline down and things are really soaring.
But in addition to those things, we’ve got some other stuff going on creatively as well. Daniel, for instance, has been working with his comedy group, The Magnificent, whose hilarious video Water Mouth just passed 340,000 views on Funny or Die recently. You guys should check out more of their stuff.
In addition, I just had some big news drop about a project I’ve been working on for the last year — a Red vs. Blue book I’ve been writing with Rooster Teeth and Dey Street Books! It’s coming out on November 17 in book stores and is going to be really funny and full of stuff Red vs. Blue fans will love. You should pre-order it because then maybe I’ll get to write more books some day.
Anyway, that’s a quick (but full) update on where we are at the moment. Thanks for checking in on Leet World — we’ve got some cool stuff coming soon.
I was looking through the site the other day, and I can’t believe I forgot to post this back when it happened. One of the bonuses to being on Revision3 for a couple of seasons was the opportunity to meet some awesome folks in the same boat as us. This afforded us double rainbow like powers to create epic crossovers.
You already saw Daniel make an appearance on the Revision3 show Film Riot, where he demonstrated some of the audio techniques we used on Web Zeroes. But did you know that he also appeared on their indie video game show Bytejacker? Nerd and host Anthony Carboni did an episode where he toured the offices of Revision3, speaking with people from the other shows. One of those people included Daniel, who appeared as his character Ray from Web Zeroes. The results were hilarity and plaid. Daniel shows up at 3:57.
In other video game related news, today we posted an article over at GamerSushi about the top 30 upcoming games of 2010, and I love it. Go check it out. Got any you’re looking forward to?
More free soundtrack titles coming next week, plus hopefully some video/pics from Fantastic Fest.
We are ever plodding away at filming the last two episodes of the second season, and boy are we feeling it. Getting through any season of material is tough work, and by the time you’re at the end of it, it almost seems like it will never end. Lucky for us, this isn’t our first rodeo, so we are wrangling and breaking this thing like a Hungarian Halfbred in Red Dead Redemption. Maybe I should have prefaced that last sentence with “nerd alert”. Oh well, too late.
Anyway, over the last week or so, I’ve seen a couple of cool things I wanted to share here. The first of these is from a machinima series we’ve linked to before, called Forecast. Their first season ranks as some of my favorite Halo work, so that’s why I’m excited about the trailer for Forecast season 2, which you should watch.
In addition, BlackwatchFilms has mocked up a pretty cool thing that we’ve taken a liking to lately. He mashed up Web Zeroes clips with the intro theme of the Office, which works surprisingly well together. As a long time fan of the show, it’s awesome to see, and he did a good job with the right cilps.
I just wanted to write a quick update to say thanks to everyone for the comments you left and e-mails you sent about Episode 14 of Web Zeroes. We were really excited to finally get it out for everyone to see, and I think the things we learned over the course of Season 1 really showed. Not to toot our collective horns or anything. We do that enough to each other. This paragraph is getting progressively stranger and more full of innuendo. That’s what she said.
Episode 15 will be out on Wednesday (for us North Americanos, at least), and is titled The Red Headed Menace. It’s got some cool stuff in it: some beards, some chicks and a cowboy hat. Oh, and a game that involves shocking.
While I had your attention for a second, I wanted to direct you guys to a few places you may or may not know about. If you didn’t know, we’ve got ourselves quite a slew of social media handles going on at the moment. If you’re interested, here’s a bit of a link farm:
Also, you may not know that we run a video game Web site in addition to this one, called GamerSushi. It’s a pretty cool place with some great discussions and cool people. Come hang out, follow GS on Twitter or fan GS on Facebook.
Last year, as many of you know, we announced the end of the Leet World. At the time, we cited several reasons, one of them being our confirmation that Valve was not interested in machinima in the slightest. While we couldn’t go into the details of how we knew this to be true, it seems that another machinima studio has done so.
Pixel Eyes Productions are the creators of the well known Shelf Life machinima, using the Source engine. Recently, they’ve gone through some of the same issues we had in terms of trying to monetize their (hour intensive) hobby, and came up with similar results. We just assumed not talk about the problems we had, but it seems they have done so. This includes their issues with trying to become YouTube sponsors, where they were denied, just like us, since they don’t own the rights to the Source machinima they produced. Naturally, Valve owns those.
More interestingly than the YouTube dilemma, though, was that they (like us) pursued the securing of these rights from Valve, via a commercial machinima license of some kind. And, they have posted the official response. Which, just as we insisted all those many months ago, was simply that Valve is not interested in machinima.
If you don’t feel like clicking on the link, here’s the short of Valve’s response.
We are not interested in licensing our technology or IP for machinima. This includes providing copyright approvals.
I have to say, I really feel for Pixel Eyes, having been in their shoes just last year. If you are a young filmmaker trying to use Valve’s excellent Source tools, they have essentially shut the door with statements just like that. While I don’t blame Valve for trying to protect their property in the slightest, it certainly is a shame to see them take such a hard line stance when it comes to something their community produces so readily and in many cases excellently.
To me, it’s stances like these that will keep machinima in kind of a stale flux for many years to come. What you are starting to see is that the more talented individuals get snatched out of making machinima and onto other things, because machinima runs into more dead ends than it does opportunities. While it’s a nice low-budget way to practice something you love doing, making money off of it is often times the exception and not the rule. And this extends beyond machinima even, to any kind of derivative content.
My advice for any hobbyists out there that like to dabble in machinima or other forms of derivative content (fan fiction, stories based on popular games or movies, comic strips that do the same, etc) is that if you want to do this stuff for a living, don’t spend all your time on something you don’t own. By all means, practice your craft with machinima and use it to gain a fanbase, but let that be only a supplement to a project that you own completely, and let that be where you sink most of your time into.
Trust me, in the long run, it’ll be worth it. You don’t want to spend years of your life working on something only to be told that it doesn’t really belong to you in the end. Sure, you gained lots of experience and you had fun doing what you loved, but if you can do all that and then use it to pay the bills, it’s a double bonus. And believe me, if you’re good, somebody somewhere will want to pay for what it is that you’re kicking ass on.
The first season of Web Zeroes is nearing an end, and it happens to be right when the annual Streamy Awards have started back up! The Streamy Awards honor the best shows around the Web and we are asking for your guys’ help with voting to see if we can be one of the official nominees for our work on Web Zeroes. You can vote once each day between now and the 15th of January.
Votes can be made on a “series” or “individual” basis. Here’s what we’re asking for your voting help on:
Best Directing for a Comedy Web Series- Daniel Miller
Best Writing for a Comedy Web Series- Eddy Rivas, Jeff James
Best Editing in a Web Series- Nick Comardo
Best Sound Design in a Web Series- Alex Adamitis
Best Original Music in a Web Series- Jace Ford
For this one, please head over to the individual voting page and submit all these fine dudes for their hard work on this show. Use either www.smoothfewfilms.com/webzeroes or www.revision3.com/webzeroes as the URL. Remember, you can vote every day for the next month!
Thank you guys so much for taking the time to do this! It would mean so much to us for you fans that have stuck it out with us to vote and help us get more exposure.
Even though we’re not making so much machinima anymore here at Smooth Few Films, it doesn’t deter my interest in it. I still like to scour and search for what’s new out there in the wide world of video game movie-making, just to see what other people are doing and what games they’re using.
Oddly enough, it doesn’t seem that any game has made as big of a splash for the machinima community as Halo 3 did back in 2007. It’s crazy to me that it’s just over 2 years later, and we’re still waiting on the next engine to come and revitalize amateur filmmakers to try out some of their own stuff. Uncharted 2 just dropped for the PS3, and it has some machinima tools hidden within its depths, if only you can make it past the incredible single player campaign (and trust me, it is quite incredible). I also hear that Dragon Age: Origins coming out next month will make use of some rather robust tools.
In terms of some of the new things I’m seeing out there that hold promise, a couple of things come to mind. Red Vs Blue Recreation once again sets the standard for awesomeness. SgtPadrino has some remarkable Call of Duty videos that he’s been scripting together, and they’re impressive as anything I’ve seen in recent months. Likewise, Mystfit continues to work away on some custom TF2 animations. Can’t wait to see what the results of those experiments are. Running Gun (creators of Spriggs) are steadily releasing a fully scripted Fallout 3 machinima called JudgeMental. And then there’s good old Darkspire Films, who just released the Candy Coated Wonder Road, a Halo 3 children’s show.
So what do you guys think the state of machinima is? What are some of your favorite machinimas out there right now?
Also, Web Zeroes Episode 3 hits tomorrow, and some new TLW outtakes should be up later this week- hope to see you back for both of those!
We’re excited to announce that Web Zeroes is coming next month to Revision3!
For some of you, the cat has already been out of the bag since the newest episode of Diggnation aired last night, but the rest of you can still be surprised. If you’re unaware, Rev3 is the king of awesome Internet television content like Totally Rad Show, Film Riot, Co-Op and then some. Those of you that already watch their stuff can easily attest to that.
As for our show, this is going to be a slightly rebooted version of Web Zeroes, hence the removal of the episodes from our site. I can’t go into a whole lot of detail about it just yet, but for now, you should go watch the new Web Zeroes trailer over at Revision3! This is a huge opportunity that we’re extremely pumped about. We can’t wait to show you what we’ve been working on.
I started reading The Watchmen this week in preparation for the movie’s release, and also because I’ve been putting it off forever. I understand that it is a notch in the contemporary geek’s bedpost to say he’s read Watchmen, but I really have just never gotten around to it.
I’m trying not to get my hopes up about the movie too much. For one, I’m not sure how they are going to pull off the story, which in the graphic novel meanders on a slowly unraveling thread all around a generational mystery. Beyond that, there’s no way they could possibly cram everything into even a 161 minute outing.
And while the Watchmen trailers are actually shirt rippingly awesome, I do worry that it’s one of those trailers that will end up being better than the movie. Because yes, sometimes this happens. And I have quite a few examples where this has happened in recent years, Sin City being the most notable of the bunch, whose trailer pulled off something much more interesting than the end product:
We here at Smooth Few Films are huge television fans, if you haven’t been able to gather that from podcasts, comments, or even bits and pieces of content you’ve seen in our videos. Personally, I gobble up TV shows like nobody’s business, and I’m following way too many to keep track of at the moment. My DVR is swollen and burning with righteous indignation at the suffering I’ve put it through recording Lost, House, 24 and Battlestar Galactica, to name a few.
Anywho, I say all of that because our love for TV no doubt reflects in The Leet World. Apparently, some very observant viewer thought enough of the show to put up a Leet World page on TV Tropes. Listed in the article are several recurring themes from the wide terrain of television that have made their way into our goofy Counter-Strike:Source machinima. They range from the “Big No” to the “Handicapped Badass” themes that we use.
The funny thing is, most of these are intentional on our parts, but some of them actually aren’t, which just means that they’ve been ingrained into our psyche as creative TV watchers. Anywho, it’s a really cool analysis of The Leet World, and if you click on each of the tropes, you can find more specific examples and analysis given about the show more in-depth.
This is probably one of the coolest things a fan has written about what we make, and it really made our day to see it. It’s cool to see someone recognize all the layers that are actually going on with the characters. We really do put a lot of effort into that. So to whoever did it, lots of thanks.
In other news, we’ve got a TLW short coming next week that I think you guys will dig. Stay tuned! By the way, what are your favorite TV shows?