I've been away, but I'm back now.

All The Best Ideas Are Spiral Bound

While I was absent I took the opportunity to write a script for my 3rd year, final major project, short film idea. I've written previously about the planning stages for this writing and once all that was done (so I thought) I finally moved onto the writing of the first draft. I reasoned that as it was the first attempt I should just get everything down on paper and then when I came back for the, no doubt numerous, re-writes I could edit out things that weren't necessary of didn't fit.
For Every Budding Screenwriter

When I was done it was 3500 words. This spanned just over 7 pages which, according to screen-writing rule of thumb, translates roughly to 7 minutes of film. This is far too long for what might be achieved realistically in our measly 2.5 terms of production time so I aim to get it somewhere between 3 and 5 minutes for the final draft, I think its going to be much nearer the 5 minute mark though considering how much I have to cram in for the thing to make sense and also have some kind of arc and structure. I'm tempted to put the whole thing up for anyone who wants to critique it, but I think a) no-one would actually read it. And b) it'd ruin the story (if I did actually finish it) for anyone who read it and then watched it after.

An Article On Screen-writing

I even read an article on screenwriting in the newspaper and among the nuggets of wisdom was one piece of advice telling me I shouldn't believe 'how to write a screenplay' books. Oops. While this is not doubt to warn people of limiting how they write according to mainstream cinema, it doesn't change the fact I've learned a lot about 'best practice' approaches to things like writing dialogue, scene structure, and pacing from reading that book.

I recently re-watched Serenity and made notes of what was happening each scene in terms of character motivation and the scene length and was going to try and analyse this and come to some conclusions about how many acts there were, how many sub-plots, what each characters developmental arc was etc. But I think it'd be pretty boring to read and perhaps not that constructive. Here is a pretty trailer instead:

Rendering is a tricky thing, and any way you can cut corners with it whilst maintaining image quality is massively advantageous. Something I'd been meaning to do for ages is figure out how to use the command line to render using Mental Ray for Maya, so I did that, after fiddling for a while and getting paths and directories wrong. Once its up and running its not too complex and can be further simplified by writing the render commands in a text file (.bat) and then just putting that file in the folder your scene is in and executing it (overly gory terminology for such a benign command). It halved the render time of my negotiated brief, so that's really encouraging that I can render Noel's face in 2 minutes at 1080p with decent quality final gathering, displacement maps, and sub surface scattering when it was taking 4 minutes inside Maya (I made some optimisations I've forgotten about because it used to be 6 minutes).

Pixel Propaganda

This is kind of out of date now but a earlier this summer an anti-islamic Norwegian shot up a political youth camp and blew up a government building. A lot of people died. Accompanying this massacre he wrote a 3000 page document explaining his motives (are the most psychopathic ones always the most lucid?) in which he cited videogames as tools he used in his preparation for the massacre. While this is upsetting in a number of ways I don't like how either the mainstream or gaming media responded to this fact.

I've been playing a LOT of The Witcher 2, it is a sublimely fantastic piece of entertainment and a pretty good game too. There are some tropes we ignore while playing videogames in order to maintain suspension of disbelief, this piece of writing uses those to make me laugh hysterically for 10 minutes solid. Though it won't make all that much sense unless you've played it.

This article talks about a game that lets the player experience and interpret history from the perspectives of a number of characters. And its from the cinematic director of Grand Theft Auto. Can't wait, providing he does it right, but he sounds pretty sincere.


I surpassed 10,000 views of my blog last month. Lets pretend this this is an achievement, yay!