Pre-production scheduling

  / by Ton

First of all, I’d like make compliments to Matt and Toni, for putting this blog software and website into place in such a short time. We will use this blog to post -hopefully daily – updates on all aspects of the Machina movie production. You can expect contributions next week from each team member on the issues they’re working on..

Last week we had the first meeting with the scenario author, Pepijn Zwanenburg (already nicked Pippin by everyone!). Pepijn is a very cool guy (dreadlocks, red goatee), with especially experience in writing for theatre. The purpose is that we feed him with the concept, character and environment designs, and with ideas for the (spectacular!) events that can happen, so that he can ensure it’ll all be merged into a good dramatic storyline and dialogs. Pepijn is working on this now, we look forward to see the first results next week.

For the entire next week focus remains on further developing concept designs, especially for the characters and environment. Next week friday 16th – during our “weekly” – the results of that work should lead to sufficient clues for us to define the direction we’re heading at. So we then can spend the last two weeks of september on doing the breakdown, storyboards and first “animatic” (or moving storyboard) editing. End of this month we then also meet with composer Jan Morgenstern for the first time.

In the meantime also experiments will be done with Blender itself. Evaluating the tools/techniques we’re going to use, and pinning down precisely what needs to be added to the software to make it all possible. That’s the part I might get slightly nervous about, but definitely the most interesting challenge! :) The past month’s improvements on Armatures and Modifiers were very welcome and have proven its use already. Now will have to finish work on Action & NLA, then move to material layering and make sure get high definition color support in Blender. The ultimate goal is to have our renderer recoded to spit out “passes” (diffuse, specular, shadow, normals, AO, etc) and allow built-in compositing for it (yes, a nodal editor peeks around the corner). That’s targeted to be available in Blender (cvs) early november.

The artists will focus early october on getting the first ‘teaser’ ready for release on the Blender Conference. We’ve scheduled that this will be also the first moment to reveil much more about what the movie is going to be about.

This open aspect of an “open movie” is very hard to define and manage still. It was never my intention to rely on an open public creative process (we then wouldn’t have the need to get people working together eh!). I also like to protect the current vulnerable creative phase a bit, it’s crucial all artists in the team will fully feel confident about it, and have contributed their ‘own’ part which enables them to have the energy to work full time on that. It has to become their movie.

On the other hand, what’s there to lose? Not much I guess. :) For as long as we feel confident about it, and like to share our ideas (and needs) with the audience here. Give us a little while to get used to this experimental working method too… and time to get our own team used to working together!

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8 Responses to “Pre-production scheduling”

  1. Rui Campos said on 10 Sep, 2005:

    One piece of advice is, keep the team motivated.
    There will be stressfull times along the pipeline and if you manage to keep the Team motivated and happy about it you will have no problems.

    Any help you need, just ring a bell, I and many others are here to backup you guys.



  2. Wray B said on 11 Sep, 2005:

    The concept art looks groovy. I say take a long hard look at the animated film AKIRA which came to mind when I looked at the human figure pulling wires out of a wall.

    The amount of progress that’s been done on the CVS thus far has been astounding for me. I’m sure you’re all going to be nervous because Orange is very avante gard. Just remember that there’s a million or more fans out there cheering you all on with silly smiley emoticons and exclamation points. Rock on gang.

  3. Nick H said on 11 Sep, 2005:

    Keep up the excellent work guys and gals!! I must say, I’m extremely excited about this project! One thing I hope will arise from this will be a good number of tips and tricks for Blender users, both amatures and professionals. For example, when posting mock-ups, stills, short clips, etc, it would be wonderful if there could be a few comments on how such artwork was achieved (lighting, texturing, render settings [i.e. yafray? Internal renderer? DoF? ] etc. I think this would be a tremendous contribution to the Blender project and Blender community. It seems many users see great work produced by Blender, yet have absolutely no idea where to start when producing their own artwork. Again, great job, and keep your creative (Orange) Juices flowing! ;)

  4. Sam Brubaker said on 12 Sep, 2005:

    The way you describe pepijn; he sounds like someone from where I live. I never heard of a scenario author, but it definately sounds like someone I need to hire.

    I’m very excited about this project. I hope that the teaser trailer will be open as well. I do not think an open public process would be good for this kind of thing (to many cooks in the kitchen). It would be nice, however, to release little “teaser” segments of the project as you go along.

    Keep up the good work. I don’t believe an open movie project of this scale has ever been achieved before.

    +Sam (Rocketman)

  5. Brian said on 12 Sep, 2005:

    Looks exciting! I’m looking forward to more concept work and for the production to begin. Will the teaser also be made available online?

  6. Matt said on 12 Sep, 2005:

    Yes, the teaser will definitely be made available online after it screens at the Blender Conference. :)

  7. Pepijn Wyffels said on 12 Sep, 2005:

    Nice, somebody with the same name.
    Make The Orange Real!!!!!!!!!!!

    I am so curious about this project.

    grtz Pepijn

  8. harkyman said on 12 Sep, 2005:

    That’s a good decision to hold the creative stuff close for now. Opening the creative process to all viewers while it’s still going on will lead to unfocused criticism (you won’t be able to please everybody), and that can start to make people second guess themselves. I’ve never been part of a successful creative project that wasn’t lead by a strong creative vision, followed throughout. If you let the carpers in, you’ll surely suffer from the “death by committee” effect. Keeping it close like you’re doing won’t guarantee success, but at least the project will have a chance to rise or fall on its own.

    Good luck!