Category:animated musical

Dan Roth wrote a sweet article on AD Vision, the American anime distribution and production powerhouse, for Fortune last year. I just stumbled across the version of it on his blog.

One great example of their approach: bringing fans into the creative process, and very early to boot:

The flip side is also true: The fans can help wreck a show if they don't like what they're seeing. With that in mind, Ledford makes a point of keeping his fans in the loop. Since 2003 he's been shopping the idea of making a live-action version of Neon Genesis Evangelion, the same show that spurred Ledford's stalker--it is to otaku what Star Trek is to Trekkies. Ledford signed on the Weta Companies, the New Zealand special-effects firm behind the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the new King Kong, to come up with plans for what the Evangelion world might look like. But instead of micromanaging the project, Ledford had Weta answer to two Evangelion fanatics at his company.

Richard Taylor, Weta's co-founder, says he's never experienced anything quite like it. Twice a week he'd have a conference call with the fans at ADV, sending them renderings of his designs for things like the 100-foot-tall robots and getting in return their encyclopedic take on the interpretations. "These are people who could be considered scholars on the world of Evangelion," says Taylor. "We had to appease them and find their approval."

I'm thinking he may not have written the title, though:
Anime: It's....Profitmon!

It feels like ages since I've posted about actual moviemaking around here. I was a fan of Darren Aronofsky's Pi, and a fleeing refugee from the theater of Requiem for a Dream, but I have to give props to his vision and instinct for making his new film, The Fountain:

No matter how good CGI looks at first, it dates quickly. But 2001 really holds up. So I set the ridiculous goal of making a film that would reinvent space without using CGI.


Aronofsky and his crew flew to Central America to consult with legendary Mayan experts like Moises Morales Marquez, who has guided scholars through the ruins of Palenque for half a century. They made a pilgrimage to the Guatemala location used by George Lucas for the rebel-base scene in the original Star Wars film, high in the crumbling temples of Tikal.


The microzoom optical bench furnished Aronofsky's film with something neither a computer nor an old-fashioned matte painter could deliver – chaos, in all its ultra high-definition fractal glory. "The CGI guys have ultimate control over everything they do," Parks says. "They can repeat shots over and over and get everything to end up exactly where they want it. But they're forever seeking the ability to randomize, so that they're not limited by their imaginations. I'm incapable of faithfully repeating anything, but I can go on producing chaos until the cows come home."


Steve Silberman interviewed Aronofsky for Wired [wired via bb]


We're beyond Machinima, people. Some titles have photography as part of the gameplay, and some players are tweaking the games themselves to take in-game photographs.

The results are finding their way onto flickr, like Gregory Perez's homage [top] to Andreas Gursky's 99 Cent Store [above], which he shot inside "Grand Theft Auto 4: San Andreas".

Check out the out-of-focus foreground in this shot by Daniel Kuhne from inside SWAT4. Same focal length effect here, too, in Perez's shot of a plane.

Marco Cadioli "reports from the war online," covering battles in MMORPG's. Some of his black & white photos from "Counter Strike" remind me of stills from Pontecorvo's The Battle of Algiers. He also "works" as an in-game freelance photojournalist named Marco Manray in Second Life.

There's even a book coming out, Gamescenes: Art In The Age Of Video Games which includes in-game photography and other artistic and journalistic repurposings.

[via wonderland, where a whole bunch of links are accreting in the comments]

October 6, 2006

WOW, Southpark


I missed the hilarious machinimesque World of Warcraft episode of South Park on Wednesday, and I managed to catch half of it last night. Did I mention it's hilarious? The whole thing is streaming at for the moment. Personally, I'm happy to watch it with commericals.

And while I, too, have a life and so don't know my Warcraft macros from Final Fantasy's, but even though the lingo's as authentic-sounding as any ER claptrap, it was Cartman's hypnotic ascending tone that had me laughing out loud. [via waxy]


From 100 anime movies, to 1,000 cloned machinima race cars. Here's an incredible experiment in fluid dynamics, a flock of a thousand cars at once careening through Trackmania to a Moby soundtrack.

The 1k Project, uploaded by smull [ via wonderland]


Imagine Christian Marclay's multi-channel movie mosaic masterpiece, Video Quartet, but done entirely with anime--and with a little bit of narrative laid over the top.

That's Istiv Studio's The Race, which is made up of clips and rotoscoped characters from over a hundred anime films, laid over a Weezer soundtrack. A pretty awesome way to spend a year of nights and weekends.

The Race by Istiv Studio
[google video via boingboing]

Andy has some video of some in-game developer commentaries that are included in the Half-Life 2: Episode One. They're a cross between a typical DVD director's commentary track, hyperlinked footnotes, and a first-person video tour. Fascinating.

Perhaps the coolest, though, is a commentary where they show how an in-game video projection--where a game character's talking head appears on an in-game monitor--is made. Turns out the clip is actually "shot" "live" in a walled off part of the game, and "broadcast" to the monitor. It's like in-game machinima or something, which is a bit to recursive for me. I think my head will explode.

Half Life Developers' Commentary []


Edge magazine takes a look back at the torturous, tangled development process that resulted in Grand Theft Auto. At one point, all the artwork was thrown out and redone when programmer Mike Dailly figured out a new way to render the game's pseudo-3D cityscape; it added a year to the project. Though they came up with film-inspired features and innovative workarounds for technology constraints, they didn't really have much inkling about what would become some of GTA's biggest draws:

Elements of the game were added as they were thought of, often as a consequence of some casual tinkering with the behaviour of the living city.

“The Gouranga bonus is a really good example of that,” he points out. “One of the programmers came up with a routine that had pedestrians following each other. This led to the idea of a line of Krishnas following each other down the street and then, once we had all experimented with ploughing through them all in one go, the Gouranga bonus became an obvious addition.”

The Making Of...Grand Theft Auto [ via rw]

Amazingly, Hugh Hancock has been making Machinima--movies created inside video games--since 1997. [If by "Machinima," he means capturing playing sessions within user-created levels, core functions of the Doom game engine, then hasn't everybody been making Machinima since 1997? But I quibble.]

What Hancock and his peeps at Strange Company have done is produce BloodSpell, a feature-length machinima film, which they're releasing in 5-7 minute segments every week. There's a production blog [on livejournal, which explains why I never saw it], and now they've published some more expansive Making Of articles as well. Here's Hancock's discussion of the 6-month creation of the animatic:

At this point, we started what was probably the most controversial part of BloodSpell's development, and also the part that is, today, most crucial in ensuring we can meet our schedule - the creation of BloodSpell's animatic.

For the uninitiated, an animatic is a storyboard, scanned in and converted to a video file, with voice laid over the top at approximately the pace of the finished film. It's a handy tool to tell whether or not your film will work for your audience in its finished form.

In our case, our animatic was created by taking screenshots in Neverwinter Nights, based on a rough storyboard (and as you can see in the picture, I'm not kidding about the "rough" part - Ridley Scott I'm not). For each shot, we took either one or several shots of the expected action, then edited them together at about the pace of the film.

It was a mammoth project that rapidly gave us an idea of the scale we would be working at - the first draft of the animatic took from December 2004 to May 2005 to create, with either two or three people working from three to five days a week on it, as we created what essentially was a static version of the whole film.

In hindsight, I don't think BloodSpell would be half the film it is today without the animatic. We went from shooting half a page a day, maximum, to shooting four or five pages of script per day by the end of the animatic's production. It was through the animatic that we managed to find and iron out literally hundreds of problems with our sets and characters, and develop the toolset we use today to film. In addition, from the first draft of the animatic to the final shooting-ready draft, we added nearly 20 minutes of new plot, exposition, character development, and de-confusing.

BloodSpell: From Concept to Finished Scene Part 1 [via boingboing]

In August 2001, video gamers protested the cartoony feel of the new version of Zelda because "it would be nigh impossible to introduce a serious and epic plot and epic characters" into such a "childish environment."

It's not unlike that time, fellow old-school Zelda fan Jordan Barry, replied, when Robert Reed sent a memo to Sherwood Schwartz, expanding on his refusal to appear in episode 116 of The Brady Bunch:

There is a fundamental difference in theatre between:
6.Satire &

They require not only a difference in terms of construction, but also in presentation and, most explicitly, styles of acting. Their dramatis peronsae are noninterchangable. For example, Hamlet, archetypical of the dramatic character, could not be written into Midsummer Night's Dream and still retain his identity. Ophelia could not play a scene with Titania; Richard II could not be found in Twelfth Night. In other words, a character indigenous to one style of the theatre cannot function in any of the other styles. Obviously, the precept holds true for any period. Andy Hardy could not suddenly appear in Citizen Kane, or even closer in style, Andy Hardy could not appear in a Laurel and Hardy film. Andy Hardy is a "comedic" character, Laurel and Hardy are of the purest slapstick. The boundaries are rigid, and within the confines of one theatric piece the style must remain constant.


Teevision falls under exactly the same principle. What the networks in their oversimplification call "sitcoms" actually are quite diverse styles except where bastardized by carless writing or performing. For instance:

The Paul Lynde Show....Farce
Beverly Hillbillies.....Slapstick
I dream of Jeannie....Fantasy

Episode 116, by the way, was titled "The Hair-Brained Scheme." Here's a synopsis:
In the final episode, Bobby's hair tonic turns Greg's hair orange on graduation day. Robert Reed refused to appear in this episode. Oliver speaks the last dialogue of the series. And the word "sex" is used for the only time in the series.
Wow, protesting the last episode? That's really standing up for your Craft. Meanwhile, how'd Zelda turn out?

The Odyssey of Hyrule - Letter of the Month - August 200190- [via tmn]

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Since 2001 here at, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting that time.

comments? questions? tips? pitches? email
greg [at] greg [dot ] org

find me on twitter: @gregorg

about this archive

Category: animated musical

recent projects, &c.

Our Guernica Cycle, 2017 –
about/kickstarter | exhibit, 2017

Social Medium:
artists writing, 2000-2015
Paper Monument, Oct. 2016
ed. by Jennifer Liese
buy, $28

Madoff Provenance Project in
'Tell Me What I Mean' at
To__Bridges__, The Bronx
11 Sept - Oct 23 2016
show | beginnings

Chop Shop
curated by Magda Sawon
1-7 March 2016

eBay Test Listings
Armory – ABMB 2015
about | proposte monocrome, rose

It Narratives, incl.
Shanzhai Gursky & Destroyed Richter
Franklin Street Works, Stamford
Sept 5 - Nov 9, 2014
about | link

TheRealHennessy Tweets Paintings, 2014 -

Standard Operating Procedure
about | buy now, 284pp, $15.99

CZRPYR2: The Illustrated Appendix
Canal Zone Richard Prince
YES RASTA 2:The Appeals Court
Decision, plus the Court's
Complete Illustrated Appendix (2013)
about | buy now, 142pp, $12.99

"Exhibition Space" @ apexart, NYC
Mar 20 - May 8, 2013
about, brochure | installation shots

HELP/LESS Curated by Chris Habib
Printed Matter, NYC
Summer 2012
panel &c.

Destroyed Richter Paintings, 2012-
background | making of
"Richteriana," Postmasters Gallery, NYC

Canal Zone Richard
Selected Court Documents
from Cariou v. Prince (2011)
about | buy now, 376pp, $17.99