Paul Marino: Machinima: Using Games to Change Filmmaking and Instructional Video

Serious Games Summit DC 2005, Day 2Paul Marino: Machinima: Using Games to Change Filmmaking and Instructional Video (Jerz’s Literacy Weblog)

Executive Director, Academy of Machinima Arts and Sciences

Author of The Art of Machinima

The presentation was a brief introduction to a demonsration of clips, many of which I’ve seen, so it wasn’t as immediately informative as I had initially expected. Still, a useful focal point for many different issues. Marino began by defining machinima as “the intersection of filmmaking, animation and interactive/game technologies,” ended by calling it “the democratization of animated filmmaking/storytelling.”

What follows are my hastily typed notes. I kind of shut my brain off and just watched the clips, so this entry will be a little thin.

Capturing live action, even if it takes place in a virtual world, is a kind of filmmaking.

Cinema + Moore’s Law = Machinima

Quake Movies – The Rangers – created “Diary of a Camper,” a silent film with text-chatting dialogue, created by capturing the actions of players in the multi-player environment. The term “Quake movie” persisted for a while, but since it was being created within different games, a new term was needed.

Term coined in 1998 by Hugh Hancock and Anthony Bailey. (Machine + cinema, with the misspelled ending being part of an e-mail communication.)

Clive Thompson, NYT, noted that machinima is not just about creating an animated movie, but also permits game players “to comment directly on the pop culture they so devotedly consume.”

Machinima Clip Screening

“Apartment Huntin’”

“Warthog Jump”

”My Trip to Liberty City” — “Almost a travelogue, in a Woody Allen kind of way.”

(Played the clip from the beginning to the joke about not really playing baseball.) (The same author also created a great short film on a text adventure theme.)

Visionary Machinima

“Anna” – lifecycle of a wildflower.

“The Journey” — abstract, arthouse film, medium of expression.

Dance Videos: Keep of Movin’

“Let’s Get Started”

”Shut up and Dance”

Episodic Machinima

“Popular, and to a certain extent profitable.”

Red vs. Blue – five-person team that supports themselves, a million downloads per episode, over three years.

“Strangerhood Studios,” based on Sims 2.

“Cyborg Altar Boy”

New Building Blocks: Machinima Gets Crafty

In machinima it’s hard to do drama, easy to do comedy (the reverse of Hollywood)

Half-life 2’s Faceposer.

Marino’s clip… Presented the G-man singing in a music video.


“A Few Good G-Men”

(As soon as I get the chance, I’ll add links to sources for all these clips.)

Marino noted that Pixar films take two or three minutes per frame to reander, but today’s machinima creators are taking advantage of the real-time rendering tools that their computers and consoles possess. We’re reaching the point where creating these films don’t take nearly as much time as it used to take. Are we in the “Age of Ubiquitous Creativity”?

The talk really didn’t have much to say at all about instructional filmmaking, even though that was part of the title. Overall, I’d say the audience was impressed; a crowd of about 20 people were around the speaker at the end of the presentation — that’s generally a good sign.