"What Is Machinima?"
This project was my first attempt at machinima. Here is how it came about: I had accidentally stumbled on the tools for making movies from computer games while looking for ways to modify Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas - a game I liked to play. I just wanted to learn how to extend the longevity and enjoyment of that game playing experience. The learning process snowballed, my imagination went wild, and I began to write scripts. I built a 3d model of a giant green colored building to use for composite shots and imported it into the game.
When I asked a very talented friend of mine if he would like to do some voice-overs for the movies I planned to create he asked me two questions:
"What the heck is machinima?" and, "Have you made any movies that you can show me?"
At the time I hadn't produced anything more than a couple of 5 second test clips, so that weekend I decided to accomplish three things:
1. Prove to myself that I could take a movie project all the way to completion.
2. Have a movie available that explained what machinima is.
3. Create a demo reel I could show my prospective voice actors.
On Friday night I visualized the scenes in my mind, wrote the narrative and began using Photoshop to customize the facial texture of the in-game human model I picked to be my narrator. On Saturday I finished the model and named him Barnson Waterfield (the first thing that popped into my head).
I then scouted locations in the game where I could shoot my scenes. The filming tool called San An Studios (found at www.pawfectfilms.com) has a nifty feature that can instantly transport your player character to key locations around San Andreas' vast geography.
I wanted to have a nice office with a view for my narrator and his team of nerds to occupy, a customized setting that couldn't be found during normal gameplay, so I used the modding tools available at www.gtagarage.com and www.gtaforums.com to relocate and refurnish an existing San Andreas building.
"What Is Machinima?" is meant to be more entertainment than instructional, so many of the free GTA modding tools available online were not listed in the movie's last scene. Ingenious people from around the world have created tools for manipulating almost every aspect of the game. The information could fill volumes and is beyond the scope of these production notes. However, those who want to teach themselves how to get inside of GTA: San Andreas and take control need to study the tutorials available at GTA Forums