Tag Archives: Youtube

The Problem With Machinima

MachinimaLast 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.

So go out there and make it happen.

The Subtractions

tlw208We don’t really have deleted scenes in our episodes all that often, but once in a blue moon it happens. There are a few reasons for this. I’m a strong believer that in our show, scenes should do three things:

  • Advance the story
  • Build characters
  • Have lulz

While it’s not possible to accomplish all three things in each and every scene, we hope to have at least two, and if nothing else, just one. When a scene has none of those 3 things, then it usually just gets axed, never to see the light of day. And trust me, that’s for the better.

However, there are other times when we cut scenes simply because YouTube sucks, and only allows us to put up 10 minute videos with our account (certain accounts allow you to do more if you’ve signed up before a certain date, but we were late to the YouTube party). We could split the video in two for them and deliver you guys a longer one, but it becomes such a pain in the ass to do this.

This is where you guys get screwed a little, and that’s mostly due to many of the kind folks over at YouTube being unable to grasp the concept of checking our profile page for the second video. Seriously, I don’t know how some of them even turn on their computers (if you’re here from YouTube, you are not included in this group, since you are clearly of a superior intelligence). Luckily, this has only affected just a couple of episodes throughout the entire series.

Anywho, Episode 8 of Season 2 had a couple of scenes cut for this very reason. One of them was filmed and one wasn’t. Check them out after the jump.
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Important Post: On Branding

It would appear that nothing is going on here from just a mere glance, but that is one tall fib. A lot is going on behind the scenes, much more than you know, and all the dust of our construction (specifically, Nick and Jeff’s constructions) should settle, leaving behind something superb in the aftermath.

After taking a long hard look at things, it dawned on us that with all of our new endeavors (GRIEF, Web Zeroes, GamerSushi, etc), we can’t just be known as The Leet World any longer, as is the case for our base of operations (this site) and other things like our YouTube account. But rather, we need everything to be focused around who we are, and that is Smooth Few Films.

What that means is, we’re getting a new website. Several, to be more accurate. By the end of the weekend (fingers crossed), this whole place is going to look different, and smoothfewfilms.com will be a part of the Smooth Few Films network. We are also launching a new SmoothFewFilms YouTube account that will eventually replace the old one, and if you frequent that site feel free to go ahead and subscribe.

Over the weekend, we’ll release some announcement videos there to attempt some grand migration of our subscribers from one account to another, leaving the old one behind as some ragged skeleton full of old videos. It’s not going to be pretty (or easy), but it’s better to do it now than later. The Web Zeroes pilot will hopefully be coming alongside all of that.

So yes, big steps are coming. And once they are done, production hits the ground running on all fronts.

Also, Ty (the voice of Mendoza) has made it into the second round of the AMC Mad Men competition. Feel free to lend your support once again, and show what a great supportive community we can be.

Edit: In addition, Happy Birthday, Ty.

Knocking at Death’s Door

Smooth Few Films proudly presents: the final installment of Season One of The Leet World. Part 3 of the finale, Death Comes Home.

It’s been a wild ride. Thanks for sticking with us through our first season. We’ve learned a ton over the last year, and we hope to put it to good use in future episodes of The Leet World and beyond.

Also, stick around between seasons. There’s more going on than I even listed in our Announcements. For instance, outtakes are coming next week and a ‘making-of” feature is on its way in the near future. And who knows, maybe a special video or two to bridge the story between seasons… You won’t regret staying around.

Read comments at your own risk- there are bound to be full of spoilers.

Duels, Fates and Phantoms

We now proudly present to you dudes and dudettes that visit our site, Episode 12 of The Leet World, “Attack of the Noob“. Once you watch it, you’ll realize that I wasn’t kidding when I said this one was going to be a big one. Mondo big.

After this, there will be just two more episodes before the end of the season, making for a total of 14 episodes. Season 2 will resume in the Fall along with our insanity and lack of a social life. But don’t worry, over the next few weeks we’re going to start talking about our summer plans, and what kinds of cool stuff you can expect. The plans may or may not involve lollerskates.

Downloadable versions and YouTube will be up in the morning.

Enjoy! And remember to click here to digg it.

A Special Message

There’s quite a bit of you guys out there floating in the nebulous ether of the internet. You know who you are: The Leet World fans. Some of you are on this site, some of you are out on YouTube and some of you get updates from other websites. While we love the long, sweeping arms of “da web”, ultimately, we’d like to see all of our fan community located in one place. That’s why we try to offer things like podcasts, screenshots, forums, trailers, and extras to make sure you guys come here first for information regarding future episodes and projects.

While more and more people are coming from these other places, we’d still like to see our website become more of a central hub for the people that like our videos. So often on YouTube we get messages like “When’s the next episode” or other questions that are answered right here on this site. This little message is up for our YouTube subscribers, encouraging them to come here for information regarding episodes and the like. I thought we’d show you guys, too.

If you are here for the first time, these links might be helpful:

Episode 11 Trailer

Ahmad’s GetSomeHax Commercial

Episode 9 & 10 Outtakes

The Leet World Podcast, Episode 3


If you’re here for Episode Two, scroll down, or go to the episodes page. So far, we’ve been hearing great things about this one- as I said before, we’re overall much happier with how it came out compared to Episode One. We’ve already started on the next installment, which should be a tad easier to film. The second episode just hit machinima.com, spikedhumor.com, and youtube, so be sure to vote for us if you feel like it. And keep spreading the word about the show.

Nick put this nifty little poster together for “Dirty Deeds”, so I thought I’d post it here, even though I already stuck it up on the forums… Click on the thumbnail for a larger version.

“Dirty Deeds” Poster

Stay tuned to our site, because early next week we should be putting out a small preview of Episode Three. More than just a screenshot this time.

Going to be playing some Bioshock this weekend. Very excited. Episode Two’s release kept me from opening it- but nothing will stand in my way this time!