So a ‘Musical Machinima’?
Yes. I’ve always loved music and being a musician myself for many years, wanted to incorporate music into the movie somehow. It all started with I was listened to Brand New’s song ‘Play Crack The Sky’. I was picturing a story as I listened to the lyrics. I thought of a guy lost at sea, stranded and cold. I questioned as to why he was trying to get away. Tax envision or child welfare payments were ideas, but no really truly scary enough. So zombies became the next best thing. From there I worked backwards and started filling in the spots. At that same time, I thought about trying animation. I want to get into game development, so in my spare time; I was currently learning all things about modelling, texturing, level design and animation.
What tools did you decide on using?
It was originally going to be filmed with Garry’s Mod [a Half life 2 mod tool]. One day I was home, sick with the flu. To pass the time I thought I’d watch some Youtube videos and came across DasBoSchitt’s channel with his ‘Gmod Idiot Box’ series. As I watched and scanned for more Machinima of this type, I realised that there wasn’t any serious action packed Machinima available. Well not that I could find easily. Nor could I find any that were full length movies [only one I found was ‘War Of The Servers’ by Robert Stonemen]. Then June last year, Valve released their toolset, Source Filmmaker; that they use to film their game trailers. Having seen what it was capable off, I was eager to start using it.
So you’ve never animated before?
No this is my first attempt. First of many things. I never even used Source SDK, but because I wanted to make custom levels, I thought about giving it a go. I remember that it took me a whole weekend just to do the work office [Scene 1, Chorus 1]. But once I got over that learning curve, I was able to build the whole city block [Scene 1, Intro and Verse] the following weekend. Source Filmmaker is such a powerful animating tool, and I recommend anyone to give it a go.
How long did it take to create?
I started in June last year, when the beta for Source Filmmaker was available for everyone. I’d work on it every spare moment I had. When I got home from work, I’d spend 5 hours on it. Weekends would see me put in 14 hours+. I didn’t go out, and even stopped playing games [even those Steam sales tried to draw me back in]. But I loved every minute of it. I was learning and I was being creative. It wasn’t a chore. To date, I’ve spent over 2400 hours in Source Filmmaker, but that includes level creation, filming and rendering out scenes.
So why the choice of music?
For me, and having played in a progressive metal band until recently; people viewed that music as talentless, with no emotion or feeling and thought of it as ‘simply screaming’. I found this frustrating. So I wanted to create a film a film that featured music, from the likes of Slipknot, Killswitch Engage, Avenged Sevenfold, Disturbed, and Atreyu, to show the world that heavy music can have feeling and emotion.