This week we discuss our machinima film picks. Unfortunately, Phil isn't with us this month but he'll be back in October. Check the completely machinima website for full breakdown of all the films we've chosen plus links to each film.
This week we discuss our machinima film picks. Unfortunately, Phil isn't with us this month but he'll be back in October. Check the completely machinima website for full breakdown of all the films we've chosen plus links to each film.
Completely Machinima 8.2 Machinima Films, September2021
This episode, Ricky, Tracy and Damien discuss classic literary adaptions made into machinima films, including works based on Hearn, Shakespeare, HG Wells, Tolkien, Lovecraft, Gower and Yeats.
machinima, film, hypatia, adaptation, story, character, animation, thought, people, life, rendering, classics, style, game, wrote, tales, bit, community, visuals, poem
Damien Valentine, Ricky Grove, ANFSCM, Tracy Harwood, Phil Rice
And Now For Something Completely Machinima
Tracy Harwood 00:07
Welcome to this week's And Now For
Ricky Grove 00:13
Now For Completely
Tracy Harwood 00:15
Who the hell are we?!
Damien Valentine 00:20
This is gonna be the take we're gonna use!
Tracy Harwood 00:21
Yeah, yeah, okay. Lost it! Hello, and welcome to this week's And Now For Something Completely Machinima podcast. I'm Tracy Harwood. I'm one of the co-hosts and today I'm joined by Ricky and Damian. [Hello.] Unfortunately, Phil's not here with us this week. But he has sent us a great film selection that we're going to be talking about shortly. Now this this week's theme, which follows on from a conversation that we had last month actually, is to do with machinima classics. And by classics, we mean the adaptation of literature from from, you know, old text, if you like, to any kind of new new new media format, really, that presents a new story in machinima. And we've we've, we've kind of had a great look around to, you know, dive back into the, the archives, a little of of machinima. And we've got a really interesting selection of films, and a couple of interviews, linked to classics. And I think before we start talking about the way in which we see these having evolved over the years, we'll have a look, listen to the guys about the films that they've picked, and then come back to to this idea of how they've been adapted. So Ricky, do you want to kick us off with your selection this week?
Ricky Grove 02:10
Sure. I'd like to talk first about Yeah, interestingly, when I dove into this subject, which came out of a conversation and a discussion several months ago, about classic machinima not again, the distinction is not classic machinima, machinima adaptations of the classics. I just found a wealth of interesting subjects and films. So it's really hard to come up with something that I thought I should present here because there was just so many. But I was able to narrow it down to some that I thought would be particularly interesting to people. And the first one is a film that I did the sound design on. And it's called Snow Witch by Britannica Dreams. Snow Witch is an adaptation of Lafcadio Hearn's collection of Japanese myths and folktales. And the original, I went back and reread the original story, and this adaptation is really, really good. And she did it in The Sims. And what's particularly interesting about this adaptation, it's a sort of horror film about the vengeance of a spurned lover. Um, but what, what's interesting about is that it has none of that sort of, I don't know how to describe it in The Sims animation style, it's a kind of herky jerky quality of the Sims animation. And it's all sort of that's all very light, very silly, you know. She got rid of that entirely in this she met and, and you know, that's not easy, because you can't control the animation and Sims character the way you can, in others, where you you select and you, you know, you, you're able to do precise animation, you have to create the behavior mood for the character, and then you shoot. So I wish if I could go back in time, I would like to look over a shoulder while she was working on this, because she came up with just flawless animation. Plus, the style of it is very eerie. It's creepy. Even though it has this beautiful quality of set the winter in the characters had this Asian design to them. But I thought our adaptation was spot on. Sure. It's a serious adaptation even though it has some humor in it. It's a poetic adaptation of it. And I personally found the experience of working on the sound and that to be one of my favorite experiences, because I really like detail in sound. And sometimes the directors that I work with, they either think it takes too much time or, or they don't like the stuff I come up with because it's overly detailed. She was great. The woman who runs I forget her name. I'm sorry,
Tracy Harwood 05:18
Michelle Pettit Mee
Ricky Grove 05:20
Michelle Petit Mee. Thank you. I'm sorry. She was so encouraging in the sound design that I think she helped me make my sound better. And I really, really enjoyed working on this. What did you guys think of the film?
Tracy Harwood 05:36
Well, okay, so I can tell you a little bit from from my my perspective for way back when so this is one of the first films that made me think that machinima had a massive future as a storytelling medium. It won best story at the European Machinima Film Festival that I directed back in 2007. And I can remember, on the panel that selected it was a reviewer from the BBC. In fact, he was the former head of children's TV. And I remember that panel were hugely impressed with it actually, resulting in them putting some effort into exploring the potential of machinima for themselves. So this was a quite an influential film. And, in fact, probably what folks don't know, it was the film that resulted in Leo Lucian-Bay working for them on a project a few months after the Festival, which was in October, which is how, in the end, he comes to credit his own film, Beast, if you remember that we covered that in the very first podcast we did, right, as being the basis of his career Mass Effect, which it was, but it's this film, that was the inspiration and the backstory to how he was recognized and recruited for a project at the Beeb after which he moved to Canada. And so, you know, this Snow Witch I think was I mean, it's a really fascinating adaptation of this. As you said, Ricky, this peasant folktale Yuki Ona I think up, which means snow woman in Japanese. And it comes from his book Kwaidan, which, you know, translated as ghost stories was published in what 1904 has been the subject of an awful lot of reenactments and portrayals in all sorts of different media ever since. And I think what's, what's interesting about this adaptation is is is the narration soundscape is is spot on the narration is very precise, and dramatic, and, and evocative of Japanese rural life really what you would expect or anticipate Japanese rural life to be. I think it's been performed beautifully in the in the Sims. And, you know, the whole thing. Really, it it really is brought brought to life. But I kind of have a sort of a question, maybe Ricky, you know, the answer to this really, it's narrated in English, very clipped English. I think it's quite an interesting choice because the author of the of the book, well, he was, he was an Irish Greek he was he was, he was born in Greece, but moved to Ireland as a very young man and then emigrated to America at a at a young age 19 I think lived there for 20 odd years before moving to Japan. But I wonder why would you why would you narrate this in clipped English? Do you remember that the decisions that were made about that?
Ricky Grove 09:04
I don't, I don't remember any decisions. I wasn't part of the decision making process in terms of her narration, I just she told me that she had got a narrator. And she liked it. And she just sent me the stuff. I liked the narration because I thought it it was invisible enough that it didn't dominate the story that was being told. And I thought it I thought it was interesting because it was a choice to do a British clipped narration as opposed to an Asian narrator. I think possibly when that when the when the film came out of that issue of having a native speaker speak the tales of their country isn't as prominent as it is today. I think it would be interesting to see this project being done with a native narrator. But the clipped quality of it, I thought was very useful because it kept the story going and kept it, the story always moving forward. It wasn't about the narrator stopping to make a poetic image out of phrases. Like if you kept Laurence Olivier to narrate it, it would be a great narration, but we'd be an inappropriate narration, because he'd dramatize everything. This was more or less. This was almost a documentary style narration, which I thought was really interesting and useful. Yeah.
Damien Valentine 10:37
So when I saw you'd picked this one, I faced a very difficult decision: do I actually want to watch this again, because when it was released, I loved this film. And it was so well done in The Sims, it looks stunning. And I didn't want my memory of it to be spoiled, by the way that I know that quality is not gonna match up to the way I remember it. So in the end, I did not watch it again, because I, I remember it very well. And obviously, my memories gonna enhance the visuals a bit compared to how it actually looks. But I remember when it was released, and it kind of blew everyone away in the community that we had. [Yes, Yes, it did.] And I started talking to Michelle, and we had a pretty good friendship going for a long time, because I, so you kind of inspired me to pick up the Sims for, for my own projects. And so I was asking her how to do all this kind of stuff. And she gave me a list of mods. And she was very encouraging. And I just loved everything that she released and think Snow Witch is still my favorite. Yeah, film that she ever released. But yeah, it's, I don't know what else I can say that you guys haven't covered. It's a stunning film, from what I remember. And it's still one of my favorite machinima films, not just one that she's done, but that I've ever seen. And I think it's definitely a worthy choice for this month.
Ricky Grove 12:06
Yeah, I agree with you. I think it's one of the best machinima films ever made. It also put the bar very high for people. If you were going to do an adaptation of a literary classic, you better do it right, because this is the way to do it. It also kicked the idea that sloppy filmmaking is acceptable, which was one of my problems a lot with the community, although I become much more accepting of that now. Because let people create what they want to create, you know, but if you're going to set out you're going to adapt something like this. That serious and that has a high quality, then you better do it right. And she did. Now one of my concerns about her was that she did many other excellent outstanding films, and then just dropped off the map. Do you know what happened with her filmmaking? Um,
Damien Valentine 12:59
She got more involved in Second Life and I think she was exploring it as a potential way to create machinima, but then got more caught up in the social aspect of it. So it kind of took the time away from her time away from making machinima. She also, like, Leo Lucian-Bay went to work for Bioware. And I think, because she was doing that as a day job, the last thing she wants to do was to come home and then do the same thing at home. [Yeah, of course.[ She worked on the first Dragon Age game. And I do remember the time she told me which cutscenes that she worked on. So I would know to start I said, I want to know what what did you do in the game so I can watch it. And she gave me a list of them and obviously a couple off the top of my head that there's something about the the ritual scene with Morrigan towards the end of the game. I think she animated a bit if you turn down Morrigan and Morrigan turns into a wolf and disappears. She and I did that. And she did some stuff in the forest with the elves I believe. But I can't remember exactly what it was that she was did. And I think she was a little bit involved with one of the Mass Effect games as well, but I might be Mass Effect 2.
Ricky Grove 14:23
Bioware at a huge brain drain from machinima. Yeah, man, tons of really very talented and driving forces in the machinima community left machinima completely understandably and I get it, you know, you're doing heavy 12 hour days. You don't have time to do machinima. But it really I think it really,
Tracy Harwood 14:48
it was a watershed moment, wasn't it? Really? Yeah. It was 2007, 2008 and by the end of 2008, half the community had gone. And, and then everything you know, everything kind of changed. We were looking at you know, questions around is machinima dead all of that kind of stuff was emerging at that sort of point in time and then dot com took over yeah and yeah history was forever shifted at that point but I think really the start of it was the the Ricky says the brain drain side of it from the community really.
Ricky Grove 15:30
But also many other people Paul Marino in particular was a driving force on machinima. Yeah. And not only did we lose his filmmaking, and the films and the inspiration that came from that, but we lost his leadership. We lost his ability to be able to put people together but if you think about it, practically it makes so much sense for him. Because why do all of this stuff for free? [Yes, absolutely.] You know, and when you can get paid for it and and work on the high quality professional and your reputation gets bumped up to so I understand that completely. There is a certain sacrifice when you're a leader in the machinima community and I get that
Damien Valentine 16:13
and I can see why Bioware wanted to do cinematic games with want people who understood cinematics in games to go work for them and of course for the Mass Effect remastered you can that was released a few months ago, you can now check out their work with enhanced visuals but it's still their work because they're the ones that animated it originally.
Tracy Harwood 16:32
Yeah, you've got a second film for us haven't you?
Ricky Grove 16:35
I do. I have a second one. And then a quick note on short third one. Pierrepont School in Brooklyn to private school or excellent school. They use machinima to teach the classics and they have an Ovid machinima. There's a fellow who put together a theater called the EK Theater (E K) and their goal was to keep the classics present in a digital world. And since 2007, Pierrepont students have performed live productions of Ovid, Shakespeare and Yeats. I'm really chuffed that teachers are using machinima to implore the classics. If you go to there's an online theater that was organized by the person, the main person to put the put all this together at the Pierrepont. He has a theater called The Brick and he mashes up classics as well. And he'll, he'll put together the graphics. It'll be a theater presentation, but the graphics will be machinima projected on the stage, one of their big hits, which I unfortunately was not able to screen before this, but I am definitely going to do it. It's called Grand Theft Ovid. It's just brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. They use Minecraft. The middle schoolers, using laptops are able to learn about it. It's got a live action theater. I think that's just terrific. And it was inspiring. Although it's a hybrid form of machinima. That idea of using the machinima idea to do quick illustrative things are something that I had thought way back in the beginning of machinima could be done. And I'm sure happy to see it's being done today.
Tracy Harwood 18:29
Live Action, basically, isn't it sort of live puppeteering which is which is interesting because we're seeing quite a lot of live theater performance of, you know, machinima like let's let's play machinima type performances, using theatrical works if you like to, you know, to engage audiences. And most recently, we've seen that done in the UK with the Royal Shakespeare Company themselves using live action, mo cap puppets on screen to perform a version of Midsummer Night's Dream, or Dream - just an excerpt from it. But I think this you know, and to your to another point that you made earlier about the let's plays that we've been doing. I was in a sim in Second Life, talking to some guys that regularly put on Shakespeare plays as live performances inside Second Life inside the virtual theater, which I think is an interesting development. That's not necessarily machinima recording as such, but it is a machinima performance.
Ricky Grove 19:52
Yeah, Freidrich Kirschner was promoting this way, way back. Yes. midpoint of machinima I remember up some big machinima festivals in New York where he did live productions using I remember that my backgrounds in projection. Yeah, I remember, I needed one more in German theater. Also, he was an early proponent of this and I'm really glad to see that that that idea is still going. Congratulations, Pierrepont and I hope other schools think of this idea. I think it's really good. It's also something that I want to encourage machinima filmmakers to consider. There's no reason why you can't use machinima to create an educational program. It doesn't have to be that dry, facts only sort of approach. You can have a lot of fun by using your machinima in game to tell a classic story. I mean, the world of of free and publicly available copyright free material, it's just huge. To be able to do Ambrose Bierce short stories of Shakespeare. Many of the stories that Lafcadio Hearn did are in the public domain. So there's lots of material to choose from and I encourage you a machinima filmmakers to consider that as a possible subject for machinima in the future.
Damien Valentine 21:24
Before we move on, as a thing about Ovid, I want to share with you guys this, I read, I looked at the article, I read through it. And for a good friend of mine, her name is Jenny is she's a home teacher to help kids boost, you know, the home learning. She's also really into Shakespeare, so I thought she'd find this article very interesting. So I sent it to her. And her answer, which I've got here, it's going to read out, I'm stunned. It's so simple, but a great way to get the feel of Shakespeare into schools with a low budget. And we had kind of lengthy discussion about how this is a great way to is when you present Shakespeare or other classical literature to kids, it's very hard to get them interested because it's their all books and they've got their own modern entertainment, so much more interested in. But by, she felt like by engaging the kids with a medium they understand, which is video games, it makes them interested in these stories. And it's a good way to teach them. And so we had this whole lengthy conversation, which I'm not going to read out because it'll take ages. But she was very excited by this idea. And I think if she had the ability to teach literature, in games ourselves, that is something that she would like to do.
Ricky Grove 22:41
I think that's a very smart idea. I actually became interested in Shakespeare through the Classics Illustrated series of comics. Because I was just too intimidated to, to actually grab one of the books. I mean, you open it up when when you're a kid, you see all of this language Elizabethan language, and you're just what the hell I have no idea what any, it's like the Bible, you know, the Bible, you can look at it, you had no idea what this is, but then illustrated classics put it in a comic book form, and I could follow it easily. I thought Macbeth, Wow, that is correct. witches. Wow. That's great. And that led me into slowly figuring it out. And I got over it. And I learned how to read the language. And you know, it made a big difference. He was a doorway opening for me. So I think machinima can be a doorway opening for all kids who want to learn the classics, especially Shakespeare.
Tracy Harwood 23:35
Yeah. It's an interesting visual medium as well. I think that's the that's the point. Damian. You've got something great for us.
Damien Valentine 23:43
Yeah. All right. So I picked two films this week. So the first one is Robert Stoneman's War of the Servers. And what he has done is he's taken the story of War of the Worlds by HG Wells and he's applied that story to the world of Garry's Mod. So instead of Martians coming down to earth, it's these griefers who are who appear on their Garry's Mod server, and they kind of build these I guess the game couldn't allow tripods but they've got these towers on wheels. It's all really horrendous thing. put together all kinds of random junk. And they basically rampage through the server destroying everything just like the Martians do in the original story and all the terminology has changed to match. Garry's Mod and the game, but it's, it's very true to that is more true to the book than some of the Hollywood adaptations, which says a lot really but so even though it's about the video game itself, it's, it's just so well done if it follows the characters to the through the invasion, and he's narrating it and stuff happens. And he struggles to survive as he tries to escape from the from being killed. And yeah, it's just the first thing that came to mind when we started talking about classics last month. This is what I have to pick!
Tracy Harwood 25:18
It it's a great film. I mean, I really enjoyed watching it, but in an hour and 40 minutes, you have to be committed to watch it. Well, I, I've seen the film, in so many different forms, obviously, know the story. But I think what was quite interesting with this one was that it seemed to mirror not so much what I'd seen in the films, but the stage play by Jeff Wayne, and the soundscape design that he used and all the the music pieces were from the stage play, which I think is very interesting. And I did a bit of a bit of a comparison to excerpts from the stage play how he done it, and I think he was probably inspired by that. And as you know, it's obviously as well as the book. But you know, he's got a really, really droll voice acting style with it. So he's Yes, he's very, you know, but I suspect, as I said, I think he's mimicking the stage play version of it.
Damien Valentine 26:38
That makes sense in I can't say I've seen the stage play, which is something I need to fix at some point. But that makes a lot of sense. Yeah,
Tracy Harwood 26:48
Yeah, I think because that's narrated in the same sort of way. Not that I've seen it just seeing the excerpts from it looks brilliant, actually. But there's also something which I was gonna ask you about Damian, there's clearly a gamer backstory to this as well, which is a little bit hidden from me not be in that PHW Community. Because there's an awful lot of references to it. And ice, you know, it's, it's, in some ways quite difficult to follow because you don't have the references to this particular community. So, you know, I didn't if you had any of the insight into that side of it?
Damien Valentine 27:32
I never played Garry's Mod, so I can't really elaborate too much because, well, I was involved with most of what you know about Garry's Mod is from watching this film. I do know that it was a before Minecraft became the big creative game that everyone loved, it was Garry's Mod. It was the is a mod for Half Life and you had this gun you could carry around and you can use it to build things by picking up objects and sticking them together and people will make vehicles and buildings and all kinds of stuff. But I never played it, so I can't really explain it too well. And I know that bits and pieces of terminology when I first saw the film I looked, looked up to see what I could find about it. And I didn't do it this time. But I do remember that it was true to theories, but a lot of effort to make sure this is obviously designed for Garry's Mod players to enjoy. And which makes sense. I mean, that's what he's make it with. But I remember he had a very good reaction from Garry's Mod players when he released it originally.
Ricky Grove 28:43
Yeah, this is a perfect example of how machinima speaks to other creators of machinima. GMod was an underused machinima tool, especially for narrative storytelling. It was great for skits and Saturday Night Live farce kinds of things, you know, you'd build wild machines or, or put the Gman with his face all changed because you can adjust the expression on characters into bizarre ways and but it was never really used very much for narrative short storytelling. So I was really intrigued to go back and watch this because I missed it when it first came up. And I was obsessed with HG Wells for God for months, read everything I could about him re-read a ton of novels, including War of the Worlds and War of the World's was a not only was a was a great science fiction novel, and established the, the sort of primal archetype of the invasion story, which went through science fiction and still today it's going through it but Wells always had a political message and a social message and everything he wrote, and he would frequently have a character who was a mouthpiece for that. Well, I think it's fascinating the fact that you mentioned that he you think he adapt Stoneman adapted is primarily from the stage play. And I think that's even more evidence, because all of the social commentary has really gone from this adaptation. Basically, he replaces it with in-jokes to the GMod community, which I understand perfectly, because those are the people you're, you're you're making it for, that's the specific audience you're making it for. But when you're not in that community, and then you add the links to it, it makes it very hard to sustain interest in such a long, long thing. In fact, later, I'd like to talk to both of you about can machinima sustain in general, can it sustain long form narrative storytelling? In this case it didn't. Although I think that I think there was a lot of really interesting stuff in it. And I admire the hard work and creativity that went into it. I watched the short trailer that they did for it, which was great, excellent short advertising trailer for the film. In fact, I actually preferred the trailer to the whole film. I know that I don't mean that as a, disrespectfully because I think that War of the Servers is a really interesting and important film, especially as an adaptation. But we'll talk a little bit more about this later. But I really enjoyed it. I thought it was really interesting. I probably watched maybe half of it, I think skipped a little bit, got to the end, it became a little redundant and repetitive with people doing the same sorts of animations over and over again, going back and forth. And the in-jokes made it hard to keep your disbelief suspended. But I thought it was a really good bit. Thanks, Damien.
Tracy Harwood 32:11
And you've got another one for us as well, I think?
Damien Valentine 32:13
Yes. So before I start talking about this film, I'm going to preface it by saying humor is a very subjective thing. So just think how we're going to start this one. So the Nobbit is a very adult humor, take on The Hobbit, by Tolkien. [N O B B I T?] Yeah. I this is not my kind of humor at all, I did not find it funny. But I do appreciate the amount of work that went into returning The Hobbit into even a comedy film like this. And it more or less follows the basic plotline of The Hobbit as all this adult humor into it, which is not really my cup of tea. But I'm not really sure what to say about it. Because I don't want to just say I don't like the film, because of the humor. I like the film, because of the hard work that went into and it is made with iClone, it must have taken such a long time to do it. Because it is more or less the whole book of The Hobbit turned into this sort of parody. So it's not just like, it's not just one chapter, or the small sector is the whole thing. And if I were I remember his, he was inspired because it was around the time that they announced that they're going to adapt The Hobbit as originally two films. Before Peter Jackson took over the role, it became three. And in some ways, it's actually more condensed and feels like the right length for The Hobbit rather than the three, three hour long films that we ended up getting, which felt a bit excessive. So in a lot of ways this this comedy version is a more watchable form. As long as you don't mind again the humor. Yeah. So what do you guys think of it?
Tracy Harwood 34:19
Well, it's what I call toilet humor really. And toilet humor from the very opening credit, this film is rated I for immature audiences.
Damien Valentine 34:31
Tracy Harwood 34:34
And so it goes on with the character, character names and the clan names. I mean, it's just yeah, it's, it's a very, bizarre retelling of the Tolkien story through a process of adaptation, some and we some really great songs actually. That keep that pace going, because I mean, it's an hour and a half long again, which is a really long time to listen to this approach to humor. But what I what I, what I think probably because I did watch it pretty much all the way through. Because I felt I should. I remember it coming out, but I don't remember what watching it all the way through. But when I did sit and watch it less, you know, some hidden cultural references which make it, or your pitch is just a particular period of time, which makes it quite intriguing. So I picked up on references to things like Planet of the Apes and Silence of the Lambs. And, and all of that sort of stuff, which I thought was quite a clever way of appealing to a particular, you know, type of audience, I suppose, and, and referencing a cultural period in time, as well as through the retelling of, of this sort of classic story. I think it's an ambitious piece, to be fair is ambitious, in what I tried to do, and I think it generally, you know, if you can stick with the humor, it's carried it off reasonably well. There's some pretty good voice acting in there. And there's some in tune singing, which I quite liked as well.
Ricky Grove 36:28
Yes, yes. It was the Anima Technica and Biggs Trek. And Biggs Trek has another film that we've selected that we'll talk about later and others, you know, I applaud their
Tracy Harwood 36:41
Killian, exactly. That's right. Killian was the singer. I think that's right, brilliant.
Ricky Grove 36:47
It's a great example of what fun you can have with machinima and satire. And I think that the machinima community especially appreciated satire. Because it's an irreverent community that loves to poke fun of the games that they're watching to take serious moments out. I think you have to have a pretty accepting attitude in order to accept a lot of the cursing. That's in the film - Gandalf in particular character is a great cursor. In fact, you know, I I pride myself...
Tracy Harwood 37:28
He's called Gonedef..!
Ricky Grove 37:30
Yes. I pride myself on my cursing and and I was impressed with some of the cursing one, at one point Gonedef says Well, F U C K my succotash that one point, which I thought was just incredibly creative cursing.
Ricky Grove 37:52
But again, you're you're you're sort of caught up. You're sort of caught in the can machinima support long form narration. Now I think it was more effective in this film, because there are musical interludes there probably about five or six musical interludes, which actually were my favorite parts of the, of the film. Because I thought they were musically they were so well done. They reflected pop styles of the day, a variety of pop styles, and African American characters in them, which I thought was superb. Something that the novel doesn't have in it. But I thought that hip variety help keep you going through the story as opposed to War of the Servers which didn't have enough variety in it for to sustain your your interest. But it is for a certain kind of viewer if you don't mind the cursing and toilet humor. It can be a lot of fun. And in a way that the the satire of Tolkien is right on on is spot on, because right after Tolkien's trilogy came up at the Harvard Lampoon did a parody called Bored of the Rings, which they borrowed a little bit from, I think of the Frodo character was Fredo look up Frito Lay kind of thing. And there was a lot of toilet humor in that. And that was highly successful. But the advantage in that is that it was shorter. I think it was like under 100 pages. I think this film could have benefited from a shorter presentation, I think it would have been more effective under an hour, maybe 40 minutes, or even in a staggered series, like 10 minute to 12 minute pieces or 15 minute pieces. But I was I was very impressed with the quality that especially the audio, it's no mean thing to get people together to make good audio recordings, and then get good performances on top of that. So it's an inspiring production and it was a really excellent choice for satire in adapting classic, classic literature.
Tracy Harwood 40:07
Ricky Grove 40:08
One last thing is that I wanted to say is that Tolkien when he wrote The Hobbit, he was writing a book in the tradition of British children's literature, which up to that point tended to patronize children. It spoken this little singsong and now the little Goblin came out and did this, you know. And he wrote in that same style, all in fact, he wrote the book for his kids, essentially, the it was only in the Lord of the Rings that he got, he got out of that style and wrote in an adult voice, which made a huge difference. But I think it's fascinating to hear you have this sort of sing songy patronizing novel, made into this very adult theme. So the type of satire is not only on the story, but it's on the style of the book as well. You know, which I thought was another level of humor for me.
Tracy Harwood 41:15
Should we talk about Phil's choice? Yes, yes, indeed. Haunter of the Dark. Who wants to kick that one off. Do you want to start Ricky?
Ricky Grove 41:27
Sure. Haunter of the Dark was done by Biggs Trek who was one of the three that did The Nobbit. It's an adaptation of HP Lovecraft's short story, the Haunter of the Dark. I have a sort of jaundiced view of it. A biased view of it, because I played the lead character, and also did the sound design in it. But, and so I didn't pick it. I always thought it was a great film. But I was really happy that Phil picked it. Watching it again. It's hard for me to judge the film, because I have always had a difficult time watching my own or listening to my own performances. They all see mannered to me. But then again, I think that's everything seems manner to me that I do. And I think that's just an inability to see what I'm actually doing. But so I'm not going to talk about the narration at all. But I am going to talk about the production and the sound editing. This was my best piece of work as a sound designer, because Phil Brown, Biggs Trek, was very, very specific about certain kinds of sounds that he wanted in the in the film, and it required creativity, because I had to come up with sounds that you that's never been heard before, like the sound of the creature that is featured in it. And that was a real challenge for me to come up with something. And we I would send him examples. And he'd say, no more of this less of that, than I do that. They say that's great. Now, can we have this? So it was a real collaborative work with him. And that's another reason why I think it was. So the sound I think was so effective in it. Because Phil directed me in it, he just didn't accept my sound design for that. But I also thought he did a really great job of catching the sort of, I don't know how to describe it. There's a gritty, depressed quality to the whole look of the of the sets of the people. Even his if you know the story, it's a fellow who comes as a writer, he's trying to write these in his room. Even his room is this depressing place. There's just he he creates this physical embodiment of some sort of aura that is just making this place awful and depressing. And I think that captured the essence of Lovecraft, he did several Lovecraft adaptations, but I think this was his best. It shows his attention to detail, his the intelligence in putting it together. I kind of the only thing that really falls apart. Oh, he was he was very careful about these adaptation. The adaptation follows right along with the story. The only thing that falls down today is the rendering quality. And all of the films that we've chosen, for the most part, suffer from that. It made me wonder what it would have been like had he done this in Unreal or Unity today. But I just loved that I thought it was. I thought it was one of the best adaptations of Lovecraft that I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot. But there's also a really terrific example of what you how you can do moody, weird horror in machinima and be very effective.
Tracy Harwood 45:03
Damien Valentine 45:05
Yeah, I remember when. So this, this film and The Nobbit released roughly around the same time period on the mainly on the TMOA radio site. So there's a big community, and they all collaborated on each other's films, which is why you see Biggs Trek was involved in both of them. And one of the things, I remember, the title was the scene when the hat falls down. Everyone in the community had no idea how Biggs Trek managed to pull that hat off. And how to make that hat because no one had gone to that much trouble with their productions before, I remember him saying something along the lines of it was a real pain to do it, he really wanted that to happen. So he spent a huge amount of time just animating this hat trying to get to fall naturally, and then go towards the camera. And that's when I started thinking about iClone because he spent so much time not just, it's very easy to make a film, you put a character in a room, and then you animate the character, but you don't you ignore the rest of the environment. But he spent a lot of time making the world feel alive and detailed. Like there's that shot of the spider, and the spider is animated. And there's no reason it doesn't add anything to the story. But it just makes the world feel like there's more going on than just what's happening with this one character who's in the scene. And that that kind of details in the entire film all the way through. And I found that inspiring back then I find it inspiring, watching me again yesterday. So that's my takeaway is even though the rendering quality isn't as good as we can reduce now. It's not always bad. Yeah, it's still effective. But the things that the detail, doesn't matter how well they rendered, it's just just the extra things in there.
Ricky Grove 47:03
Yeah, you're absolutely right.
Tracy Harwood 47:04
This film for me was brilliant. I you know, I'm not usually a horror fan at all. It just creeps me out too much. But you know that I really really enjoyed this, this is great voice acting Ricky really great voice I
Damien Valentine 47:22
can agree with that there as well.
Tracy Harwood 47:24
And I love the drama that actually the you know, the filming the narrative, the music, the soundscape there, it was all so well matched and complimentary. Nothing dominated over any of the other things. And I think if you took one aspect of the narration, or the the images or the soundscape if you took any of those away, you'd lose something in the film. But this was really, really well balanced as a, as a film comprising of all those kinds of components. And I think, you know, that That, to me is, is quite clever. And you don't often see it in machinima productions where that you've got that balance, right. I mean, you could, we could argue that the Snow Witch had the same kind of balance as well, you know, where you got the, those aspects perfectly in tune together. So it was, you know, really, really fabulous adaptation. And I can see really when I was looking at, looking at it, and then reading what's going on, on YouTube on around same sort of time that it's drawn in a lot of Lovecraft fans. And not not just machinima fans, which I think is also a testament to how well it was received. And it certainly for me recreated the creepiness that you wanted to portray, and, and the detail I think was amazing. So you mentioned the spider, but what I picked up on the spider was was the scratching of the spider. And so you can hear the scratching of spider on its web. And, and the dust. You could you could hear the dust, which is weird, isn't it? And footfalls and a ticking clock and running water. And, you know, this sort of switch between first person and third person views, I think was was also really, it was it was really interesting, and it helped create that sort of pathos between the character and the mystery of this sort of shining object. Yeah, so I think brilliantly well done. Well done all of you well done.
Ricky Grove 49:45
It's a claustrophobic atmosphere. Very well done, that he did that even in a way that perhaps the rendering lower rendering quality works for this one, very quality may not Because I muddiness too. Yeah,
Tracy Harwood 50:04
yeah, I was I was, I was actually gonna say, say that as well, because one of the things I picked up on as I was reading through some of the comments as well, was, there was one comment that really struck me. And it was something that I used to get comments back from audiences when I used to do showcases. And it was, it was, it was a common set of comments, really. And it was along the lines of this is his voice acting 10 out of 10, storytelling 10 out of 10, ability to build suspense 10 out of 10, music 10 out of 10, animation 5.2 out of 10 overall score A. And it's a comment that I used to get a lot about, don't get the animation, why would you do it with machinima? Why? Why ruin the animation side of it, why not do it in something that sort of has a more slick look and feel. So the more you know, Unreal type stuff that we've been looking at over the last few months. However, with this film, I think if you did do this in a more slick animation package, I think you might have to rethink what the content is too, because it's that it's that sort of render speed, or speed in which it plays, that actually helps build the drama of it, you know, so you've so you've, you've freeze for a split second on a face, or you haven't got the detail on the face, you've got the sense of the face, or you've got the sense of something else. And it's all of that which which helps tell the story. And I think in the end, I think I don't talk to you in the week about this a little bit. The render to me is more like machinima as comic rather than machinima as film in this particular example. And as I said, I think if it was a slicker animation process, you'd lose that drama in the storytelling with this particular film, it'll have to work a lot harder than it than it seems to at the moment, they'd have to be more content to fill in the gaps that you would have, whilst you're looking at the, at the face, or whatever it is, you're you're looking at. So it's almost like a series of stills that focus, you know, on the different things, and it's that which communicates the depth of drama and the story so well in this particular one, I think.
Damien Valentine 52:39
Now, you said that I'm trying to imagine the film renders in the latest edition of iClone in 4k, and I can't imagine it working. I think it would just everything would be crystal clear. You would see everything. But it would it would lose something with that. So I think maybe it's better it's not rendered in that way.
Tracy Harwood 53:02
But I think it's definitely one where the as actually so you know, quite a lot of the films that we've been talking about over over time, you have to remember the historical context, because that is also where part of the story is for machinima to said, you know, it doesn't think it's a case of just recreating it. But this one's great choice, Phil. Well done.
Ricky Grove 53:27
Yeah. Excellent, excellent choice. Well, the issue of the justification for machinima versus professional machinima comes up again. And I think a lot of times people just are not informed and are unwilling to accept a style. So many times people talk about, oh, well, that show was really realistic. Or I prefer realism, it I don't like things that aren't real, when they don't realize that realism is a style. It's a particular way of presenting things so that it appears to be real. It's not real. You know what I mean? Yeah, just, just as other films are our present reality in different ways and it's a style. A Tarkovsky film, it's spends enormous amounts of time photographing the debris on the ground. Well, that's real, but it's not real in the film, you know what I mean? It's a style. So it's a kind of audience unwilling to accept the style of whatever it is. They see, they see the story, they see the acting, and those are all things that they can relate to, but they see something and they go, well, that's bad, because it's a different style of animation. Whereas that's all it is. I mean, sure, if you put a Pixar animated scene, right next to a machinima animated scene, from this period, you'll see the difference, but there are two different styles of animation. So you can accept one or you can accept them both. I choose to accept them both. You know what I mean? That's what Pixar does. This is what machinima does. So as a style, I can defend this style in the Lovecraft story, because as you point out, there are almost a series of still image vignettes, which is perfect for that. It adds a sort of antiquarian feel to it, it gives a sense of oddness of that a, a perfectly rendered animation style would not, you know, so I just think it's a matter of being able and willing to suspend your disbelief for something that you're not comfortable with.
Damien Valentine 55:43
The other side is that if you render something in a very realistic style, the best of what's capable, what you're able to do at the time, give it five years that will have dated horribly, no matter how much effort you put into it. But if you do it in a stylised comic version, like this, five years from now, that's still going to look good. Because it's got that stylized, it's not real, it's yet it's, it's slightly cartoony take on it. And think about that with my own project. I made the characters models based on photos of the characters to try and make them look real. But also know that in five years time, people are gonna watch this, this looks terrible compared to what's being done in that.
Ricky Grove 56:31
You know, I think in a way, American audiences in particular, we're all spoiled by Disney. Because Disney was the first major animation style that people embraced this, hey, this can be an art form. And it was so flawless. The animation style was so flawless, they expected all other kinds of animation to be that way. So when Europeans started showing their crazy animation styles, and their weird stuff that they were doing, people went oh, no, that that's not real. I can't appreciate that. That's not you, you don't do that in animation. So I think you struggle with what I call the Disney effect in animation all the time. People who don't watch animation regularly or don't are unwilling to suspend their disbelief over often, even if it is machinima, but other forms of animation will go, well, this isn't Disney. So I just don't think, it's amateurish. I just don't like it.
Tracy Harwood 57:27
I think as more people play games, though, and you know, I think I think that argument is going away slowly. More people are more used to that kind of animation style through the games that they play now. But I suppose one of the other things that's changing at the same kind of time is that the animation quality in games is, is advancing quite significantly to shifting the game somewhat anyway, isn't it?
Ricky Grove 57:55
No, wait. Yeah, we wanted to talk about your stuff before we go crazy.
Tracy Harwood 58:00
Yeah, let's let's do that. I've got I've got a couple of films that I wanted to mention. The first one is actually a trilogy of Tales by John Gower, which was taken from his poem Lovers Confession or Confessio Amantis. It's it's a half an hour long film, and it's produced by a Second Life, machinima creator called Hypatia Pickins. Now, I don't know how many of you guys would have heard of John Gower, he was, is a lesser known English poet writing around the same sort of period of time as Geoffrey Chaucer, who you'll know from Canterbury Tales infamy. In fact, Gower was a friend of Chaucer. So the period and place that this represents is 14th century Europe, and Hypatia's day job actually is as a professor of English with a particular interest in Old and Middle English literature. And this particular piece is one where she wanted to creatively and critically shed light on Gower's tales, which we've never really heard, that much of, or much less often than Chaucer. So here we have these three tales of human moral behavior pertaining to the vices of love, taken from Gower's, can you believe this 30,000 line poem Confessio Amantis, which was written in in actually it was written in Middle English, with a with an interesting use of Second Life to present characters as strange and ancient beings, mystical objects and also contemporary figures in modern settings. And in fact, albeit about morality, the portrayal and the poem is really about immoral behavior, and that's probably a better lens through which to try and interpret these tales. Now. I can tell you a little bit about the tails because I'm sure some of you will struggle to understand what this is about. The first tail is about envy. It's about God Jupiter, Genius, who sends down an angel to Earth to visit two men to understand their vices of covetousness and envy and the angel gives them each a gift of a wish for whatever they most craved in life. But he said that one would have double that of his friend. So the covetous man speaks first to ask for worldly goods, assuming his friend would make the same wish. But the envious man is actually made to make his wish first. And he realized that any wish worldly goods he made would mean double for his friend. So instead, he wishes to make himself blind in one eye, leading to the other man becoming blind in both eyes. So you've got this kind of open question through this kind of tale of why is man so determined to see ruin prevail? That's the moral morality in this particular story. And the second tale is about wrath and melancholy. And it tells the story of a king who has two children, a boy, Machair, and a girl Canace. Who as they grow form an incestuous relationship resulting in a child now Machair runs away and the father turns his rage at this outcome on the daughter whom he demands kills herself, which she does after writing a letter to my brother, and then on the child, which he abandons in the woods to be eaten by wild animals, so there's no happy ending for any of them. That's the moral in that one. And then the final tale Hypatia presents is about pride, expressed as complaint. Now this tells the story of a man who has everything but for misdemeanor is condemned to death. The people, however, give him a reprieve if he can say what all women want. He is a complete loss needless to say, until one day he happens upon an ugly woman who tells him the answer, but in return, he must marry her. He gives the answer is reprieved marries the woman to discover she has a secret, but he must choose. She is either ugly by day or by night. In other words, he can show her off to his friends, or enjoy his evenings, but never have both. So the story ends with him acknowledging the answer he gave, which saved his life, and I will leave you to enjoy the outcome of that one.
Tracy Harwood 1:02:40
Now, what's interesting about this, and I think, if you ever read Old English works, this particular poem was written in what they called octosyllabic English couplets, which I think is reflected in the way that Hypatia there is attempted to tell the tale. So through her adaptation, you have this interesting mix of these kind of elegant visuals, haunting narrative spoken excerpts, which Hypatia performs herself, and subtitles, all put to this medieval music soundscape that evokes the period she's trying to portray rather than the more contemporary time you actually see portrayed by the characters and the, and the sims that she's chosen in Second Life, including in in the last one, which was partially set at the Petrovski Flux installation, if you remember that. Oh, yeah, think about that. A couple of episodes back. So overall, I think it makes for an interesting viewing experience where you where you, you actually, as a viewer have to work really hard to follow these plots, understand the morals in these stories, almost hear, the old English words that are being spoken, or, or sort of semi semi sung by Hypatia there and then read try and make sense of what the subtitle text is on the on the screen in front of you. And I think you need to play it a couple of times before you get the sense of just how much effort has gone into making the work to portray these tales without necessarily losing the original work in the process. And I think that's the interesting part here the way that the adaptation is kept to the to the original as much as she, she can. And you can kind of clearly see that it's been a labor of love for Hypatia. I think there probably be very few people that could create this kind of work. And needless to say, I was quite impressed by this sort of piece, I should say. And they this month, we've also interviewed Hypatia. Her name's Sarah Higley in real life, about her mission and her work and she talks a bit about this. And it's the piece of machinima that she's created of which she is most proud, I think. It was, however, the last machinima she ever made. And she talks a bit about that in the interview too. What did you guys make of it?
Ricky Grove 1:05:16
I thought it was just, I thought it was a work of art. Go ahead.
Damien Valentine 1:05:23
We both work at the same time as we usually do. I remember when we received it for the Machinima Expo. And I feel like at the time, I may not have really understood the stories that well I think in that time since my I've grown and matured in my understanding of storytelling and so on. So as a lot easier to get into this enjoy it this time around. Now, I can't say I'm familiar with John Gower's work, but...
Tracy Harwood 1:05:56
I don't think any of us are, or ever would be!
Damien Valentine 1:06:00
No, but I was really impressed by watching it again. And I was glad that you mentioned the subtitles, but the subtitles translated into modern English so we can understand that she's reading the Old English version, the story, giving us the modern English subtitles so we can follow along. For those of us who don't too familiar with Old English. I thought this three stories are all very interesting. I think the last one, I found the most intriguing about the the guy that had to answer the question of what to all women want. And kind of waiting to see what the outcome of that would be. And I don't wanna spoil our ends. But yeah, it's an excellent film. I was sad to hear that that's the last machinima production she's made. I'll listen to the interview when we release that and find out why. But yeah, this is very much the kind of film I expect Hypatia to make. And I'm sad that she's stopped.
Tracy Harwood 1:07:07
Yeah, yeah. It's, um, I think the detail in this and the deadline that she was working to on it were the kinds of things that that just about broke her on it really detail is, is stunning. I mean, with regard to those subtitles, she's actually translated, almost word for word. And which makes even subtitles a little bit challenging to follow. To try and keep up with the story. You know,
Ricky Grove 1:07:38
I think i beta is one of the first one of the few real artists working in machinima. And I say, I say that generously. Meaning that other people have created great films, like the Snow Witch and everything. I enjoyed the Haunter of the Dark, I think they're great. But they're not art. Hypatia's work is work is truly creative. Creative in a sense, my definition of art, creative art is something you take two disparate things that aren't weren't really meant to go together, you put them together in a unique way, using your imagination, and she has done this. This is a kind of an experimental, medieval film that she's created inside of machinima. And she found the perfect medium to do it in machinima. For one thing, it's quick, you can put together stuff where you don't have to go follow the traditional 3d production process, you can do a quick and easy it's in a world and then also the look and style of Second Life. And the way she created the characters and put them together and moved them works perfectly for the story she's trying to tell, because we were talking about realism a little bit ago. This is completely unrealistic. And yet it's real for the world that she has created. I mean, it makes perfect sense. It's not an easy form of storytelling that she's chosen. But then again, her ideas and the source material is not particularly easy. It may take a two or three viewings to to figure it out, because you're asked to do several things as you're watching the film that a lot of times you don't do it. You don't do in machinima. Yeah, stop vid stop videos you understand immediately. This you don't know. I thought that her work. I was so intrigued with her work because a it was creative, and it was artistic but it was so on the fringe of subject matter for machinima. But it comes out of her own life of deep interest in me medieval culture, and deep interest in the human themes. They're almost morality plays in a sense, the medieval form of storytelling is certainly not part of the modern method of telling stories. Modernism back in the 20s, and 30s, just rejected all of that. Well, that stuff remains in our consciousness or public consciousness. And people do tell stories based on that. And those medieval myths as medieval eyes, ideas, and I deeply respect her work in this and I'm very sorry that she had to move away from it for whatever reasons, yeah, well, her body of work is significant, and totally unique in machinima.
Tracy Harwood 1:10:47
Absolutely. And which brings me to my second film, which is also my final film is also by Hypatia, and this is another one using this time, this is Stolen Child. This is only four minutes long. This is not half an hour long, so four minutes poem by William Butler Yeats, which was written in 1889. And it's something which again, Hypatia adapted and performed in Second Life. I say perform because it's, it's more than a reading it's sung. This one is sung she's she's, she's used a piece of royalty free music created by Kevin MacLeod. The music beautifully fits the way the poem has been adapted. The performance is really haunting, and it's almost chant like, and the visuals depict a kind of fantastical, fairy tale, not a nice fairytale, actually, but a fantastical fairy tale and the mystique of these sort of strange creatures in the night are kind of used to portray the airiness of the theft of a child in the woods. And Hypatia's approach to this adaptation. I think it's been quite interesting. And it gets to your point about the experimental really, and it's not something it's not something we often see, I don't think I've ever seen it actually in machinima. And that's where she's using this virtual environment, the Second Life environment to unpack the story. Rather than, you know, adapt it, she's kind of us use the sim to sort of unpack it somehow, which I think is intriguing. So So you've got this, this poem, that's, that's, that's telling something and she's putting these visuals to it, and it creates something bigger than the poem if you're bigger than the sum of the parts. And she filmed it on this sim called Spirit working with an artist called Claudia 222 Jewell. And it's, it's this person's work that that, I think, is something that she draws on a lot in her work. So these are these are really quite ethereal creations, which she she uses again and again and again in her machinima works. Now about the story here, Yates, was referring to an Irish peasant legend in which a child is beguiled by fairies. And what's interesting is that the poem has inspired numerous contemporary retellings, including, for example, Spielberg's film, AI Artificial Intelligence, which features the refrain in this poem prominently and it's also been featured in the Small Worlds episodes in Torchwood, so it's a it's a common you know, poem that we're familiar with albeit in many other guises. And again, what did you think?
Damien Valentine 1:14:01
Is the first, the first thing that caught my eye was obviously the visuals because you're watching it and I was thinking what was this made in? Because it doesn't look like Second Life. Every time you watch a film you can machine to a film you can pretty much always easily recognize it as it was made an iClone that was made in Grand Theft Auto or Second Life or whatever. But because there's certain telltale things about every single way, every single engine the way it renders things in the way characters look, even if the completely new characters designed for the film, you still know that was made in whatever platform it is. But there was something about this film that didn't look like Second Life and I kind of paused it so other points throughout the film to just have a good look at the the images are seeing as this doesn't look anything like Second Life film. So then I check the date of the film thinking or maybe it's released in a made more recently and it's a more updated version of Second Life but no is 20 it's 12 years old. So it's 12
Tracy Harwood 1:15:04
It was released 2012
Damien Valentine 1:15:07
It said 2009 on the
Tracy Harwood 1:15:10
Notes, does it? That's my fault. Yeah, that was 2012. I think it was released.
Damien Valentine 1:15:14
Okay. Well, it's, it's around the same time that we were using Second Life for Machinima Expo. So I spent a lot of time we know, and I know the way the platform looks. So I don't know how she managed to pull off this, the way this island and where the water, everything works, because it doesn't look anything like Second Life. And that's the visual that really stood out to me. Again, I'm not too familiar with the poem that this story is based on. But I thought it was wanting Yeah, performance. Yeah.
Tracy Harwood 1:15:54
Well, yeah, exactly. I mean, the sim. So she used this sin by this other artist, Spirit sim, its called Spirit, which I think... There is a this is a lot of artists. In this in the mix here. A lot of collaboration going on in the mixing, which is quite interesting.
Damien Valentine 1:16:13
The person who created the sim, they obviously spent a lot of work time on this to make it not look like Second Life. [Probably. Yeah.] I can appreciate that. Because you're kind of taking the platform and then making it look something completely different from that platform as a as a talent I really admire.
Tracy Harwood 1:16:32
So here's the sort of a nice to know about, Hypatia about Sarah. Because the thing that struck me about her was the the ability to adapt these works, and then perform them, you know, to Ricky's point as well about, you know, the ability to pick visuals in the way that she has done and use that as part of the adaptive process. So when I interviewed her, we, we went, you know, right through what what our background was, and all of this kind of stuff. Got right to the end of the interview, switch the recording often she said, Well, because the one thing that I didn't tell you was that I wrote an episode of Star Trek. And it turns out that she wrote an episode of Star Trek that was released in I think, 91. And it was about her imaginings of what Second Life would later become. And she wrote the character and if I can just remember the name of the character performed by Dwight Schultz,
Damien Valentine 1:17:45
Tracy Harwood 1:17:47
Yes. So she wrote that, which apparently was the first time that people or a person with a brain challenge if you like, was performed in a contemporary TV series. So there you go. Hypatia aka Sarah Higley. AKA Sally caves. We know your work now! Well, and truly!
Ricky Grove 1:18:20
Standing ovation standing ovation!
Damien Valentine 1:18:22
Absolutely. The character that she created the Lieutenant Berkley ended up being your current character throughout the Next Generation and he was in quite a few Voyager as well. Yeah, that's all because of her.
Tracy Harwood 1:18:34
Absolutely. So that's not in the interview, but she comes out with very interesting things.
Ricky Grove 1:18:42
I'm just thrilled with the pics this this month. I think we could come up with double the amount of films we had. We miss you, Phil, I would have liked to hear your thoughts on some of these things. But we'll have you in as soon as we can. Thanks a lot, everybody for for your thoughts and your choices on these films. As usual, you can contact us at Completelymachinima.com and we're going to come back with our next episode will be a brief discussion of the topic of can machinima sustain long form film lengths so. Thanks, Tracy. Thank you. Thank you. Again. We'll be back in a bit. [Cheers.]