Movies, Cabs, & Hotels

So, New York. Some machinimators have waited all year for this event, and the turn out is excellent. I'm so thrilled to be back in New York after so long. There is always a familiar aura easily sensed when I'm here. This city just always gives me goosebumps. It's big enough to immerse you in culture, art, and inspiration... yet it's small enough to feel like a home away from home if you know the right places.

My hotel is incredible. Much better than the hole in the corridor I stayed in during my last visit. Thus far, I've kicked myself in the behind for not reading up on the Machinimator's dinner on Friday night. Another night here wouldn't have been too tragic of a change in my plans. Oh well, I'm sure I'll get over it.

I was stuck in my room hosting the WoW Radio Show, "User Interface" this morning. Sadly I missed a few of the screenings for the nominees, but I did make it down for the later panel discussions on techinical Machinima. Really enjoying the fact that this rental laptop hates my World of Warcraft, but loves Second Life. Wonder what the Linden guys talked this laptop into when I wasn't looking... hrmm...

Well, so yeah... the winners of this year's Mackies. Definate grats to Jason Choi. Also special grats to Paul Rice as well. I'm glad your wife didn't leave you either. ;) I must say, that one of the best highlights of the entire evening was the "Girl who Knows a Thing or Two about Games". Her quips were pretty entertaining.

Must get some sleep. I plan on doing some museum hopping in the morning before heading back to Astoria.


Mackie Nominees: Grudge at the Podium

Casting aside visions of liquid coolant, polo scraps, and cargo pant pieces strewn about a familiar set in New York; I'm glad to see the competition of this event has not lessened in these past years. The latest buzz around the 2006 Machinima Festival Awards is that not all is well in the community with the recent release of those nominated. Now, for the shocker; the artists complaining the most, are those that "have been" nominated and are now arguing for the sake of their fellow machinima competitors. Now, I'm not generally one to condone bickering in a bout of fairness and equality in an event of this level (points at the script, "@*$#(!$"). Pardon me, someone was just fired for a complete lack of original thought. The point is, that regardless of how many hardworking machinima artists there are in the world, The Mackies were not founded on an "E for Effort" rewards system. There will always be someone who feels like all their work has gone for naught, but it's feelings such as those that are natural motivators to push the limits in machinima as a whole.

Now, as to my "personal" opinion on this year's nominees: I wanted to cry and fall out of my chair in shock at the same time. There are several prestigious judges on the panel of The Mackies, many which I've spoken with at one time or another, and I do not question their personal tastes or respect for quality. I am, however, very interested to hear just how the final list of nominees was compiled when it came time to lay down your score cards and bring the public it's awaited information.
Never wishing to completely disregard or discredit my peers in machinima, but there were a few nominations I simply looked at and was in sheer confusion. Also, please let me point out that I "have seen" ALL of the films that were nominated, and well before the nominees were selected. In efforts to make this as short of an article as possible, let me just say the following. It would appear that several nominees were "misplaced" into categories they didn't even suit, some were just the typical "time sensative" entrants that were selected because they were the freshest in the minds of the community, and then there were those who were completely "overlooked" for nominations entirely. I have a high respect for Paul Marino, Frank Dellario, and the rest of the team it takes to organize this wonderful event each year; but something seems to have gone amiss for the past two years (quite a bit more noticable this year than last) and the community is taking notice.

After reading the personal responses from Bloodspell, Dementia/Myndflame, Neverending Nights, and even the boards at Machinima[dot]com it's become very apparent that this is an attempt from the community to stand up and say, "Excuse me, but what seems to be the problem here?". I can't say I'm one to completely argue the thought of posing such a question myself; afterall, machinima artists are the key to what builds events such as the Machinima Festival. If every artist who felt like their peers got the short end of the stick decided to no longer participate in the years to come, then we'd no longer have Awards to bicker about due to their potential non-existence. Before you start gathering your petition plackards and begin the trek to picketing outside the Museum of Moving Image though, let me ask "you", where's the fun in that?

For going on about five years now, I've attended more than my share of festivals, conventions, events, etc. on animation, machinima, and gaming. In that time one factor of competition has remained the same. Simply that, "competition". Your own work is neither good nor bad unless you "choose" to place it in a public forum for total deconstruction. Whether the outcome is great or poor, I hope many of you realize your own quality of self-worth enough to know that nominations and awards aren't what built machinima. Regardless if they exist or not, don't picture The Mackies as a pinnacle of conquest or failure (even though they were intended to honor the best of the best vs. handing out cake to the masses), but measure the value of your own success through interaction at such events with others in your given field. There are several members of the community that are still "up and coming" that build upon the challenges set forth from their peers and rely on influences that include some unknowns who never received a Mackie to save their lives. I, for one, would be astounded to shake Phil "Overman" Rice's hand for his endless acheivements in sound. Only time will tell how all this craze plays out in the future of machinima with the 2006 Machinima Festival creeping closer than ever. One thing I do know: I will be there, even if in not full support of this year's nominatated films.


Preparing for Greatness

In efforts to best serve my extensive media fan base, I've begun to prepare for the 100 mile trek to Astoria, NY for the 2006 Machinima Festival. Sadly, this means more slight delays in the "Eden" project... but I believe we've come to expect a few delays or so in this genre as of late. With any luck, I'll be able to touch base with more machinima artists in hopes to gain more support for my 2007-slated project. More on that later in the week.

So, where have I been this past week? Well, I'm glad you asked! I've just returned from a weekend well-spent with the talented and entertaining Hackleman brothers from Dementia/Myndflame (creators of Zinwrath/Illegal Danish). With delayed flights from Charlotte to Indianapolis and likewise on my return, I spent the pleasant part of my weekend meeting friends and cast members alike. We spent several hours discussing the course of modern machinima and, of course, the up and coming sequel to the acclaimed "Illegal Danish: Super Snacks", "Escape from Orgrimmar". The WoW-based machinima series gained serious momentum shortly after the release of "Super Snacks" and has yet to show any decline. With movies being produced at their current rate of one per year, the anticipation factor is at it's peak. "Escape from Orgrimmar" is slated for a Fall 2006 release.

After what seems to have been years since my last serious machinima production attempt, I've fled back to the arms of creating 3D Environments and Models. Working again with my love, yet worst enemy, Bryce, has been quite interesting. While many things from the original Bryce releases are still the same, the advances are very noticable and exciting to me. Currently, I'm battling wits with my characters, which have been created with the help of Victoria 3.0 and DAZ Studio 1.0. Hopefully, after enough testing with this product, as well as the up and coming Moviestorm, I'll be brave enough to go into production mode with my own machinima tools.