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Premiere 01: "Morning Run Amok" by Frank L. Fox

The idea of a premiere for each of our new Machiniplex films came from my own background as a stage actor. It seemed to me that good quality machinima films were getting lost because so many filmmakers were simply posting their film on a related machinima site and then hoping someone would watch it and offer comments. When Jason, Ingrid and I met for the first time, I told them that we needed to draw attention to our films by having a sort of "opening night" with an audience who would come specifically to see the film we would premiere and then to have a Q&A session with the director in "real time". That the event would occur in real time was critical since it seemed to me that it would provide a more complete give and take with the director and that the level of comments and questions would be higher than those we often find on the standard machinima sites. Additionally,We would archive the session on our site so that people who couldn't attend could have access to the session 24/7.

Our first Premiere was for Frank L. Fox's film "Morning Run Amok". We premiered the film at machiniplex.com on Friday, Sept 7th, 2007 by posting the film at our site at 5pm (Pacific time; 1am GMT). After everyone had a chance to watch the film, we had a 2 hour Skype text chat an hour later. Initially, we had some troublesome technical problems because we wanted to "voice conference" on Skyp via their Skypecast Beta program since it allows for voice communication for free for up to 100 people, but we were never able to successfully connect, so we opted for the standard Skype Text chat. Skypecast is a great idea, but it's simply not working well right now
in the Beta stage. Here's hoping Skype gets their technical problems solved in the future.

In addition to the director, Frank L. Fox, we had Phil Rice who composed the music for the film and assisted with sound editing and mixing. We were pleasantly surprised at the attendance for this first premiere. Not counting Jason, Ingrid and myself, we had seven additional people for our first Q&A session. My thanks to:

Jim Mcdougal
Darth Angelus
Krad Productions

(Jim Mcdougal, if you have a link to your site let me know and I'll add it)

We appreciate all of you taking time to join us and for making our first event such a success. While text chat is a slow process, it allows for a more deliberate progression with the questions and comments. Ingrid and I moderated the chat session which allowed us to focus initially on our own thoughts about "Morning Run Amok". Then we opened the session up to general questions which went on for over an hour with many excellent questions and comments.

Frank elaborated on the process of working with Moviestorm to create "Morning Run Amok". He shot digital photos for most of the backgrounds in the film and used Sony Vegas to composite them into his scenes. He spent about 3 months working on the film from start to release. Phil Rice came on board to write the music for the film and I helped Frank with sound effects and mixing. I must say that the collaboration with Frank and Phil was one of the best I've ever experienced for a machinima film (and I've done quite a few). Many of the Q&A questions focused on the technical process of putting the film together and on Moviestorm as a machinima platform. Phil also commented extensively on why he decided on using a kazzoo chorus for the main theme and on how he thought about the music as a whole.

Here's a small taste of the conversation you'll find in the full document. Both Frank and Phil were informative and interesting in their answers to a lot of good questions. Towards the end of the conversation we branched out into more general questions about the Machiniplex site and the ideas behind it.

Morning Run Amok sample of the Q&A:

(Frank is answering a question about how the script to Morning Run Amok came about)

Frank Fox:
I wanted to come up with a story that pushed Moviestorm's limitations but still worked within them. I have amassed a bunch of jokes told to me over the years. I m terrible with remembering them and retelling them so I write down the ones I like

Frank Fox:
I hunted through my stash and found the more vaudevillian (sp?) one to string together. This is the result.

Ricky Grove:
What gave you the idea to use the morning run as the plot device to string the bits together?

Frank Fox:
I am so proud of all of the work my family, old friends and new friends have done on this

Frank Fox:
The runner was a good tie-in for all of the settings

Ricky Grove:
Next question: why the photo realistic backgrounds?

Frank Fox:
The backgrounds were me trying to make up for my compositing mistakes in Screen Scenes and I wanted to see what realism looked like up against the Moviestorm models

Frank Fox:
The interior supermarket was fun to shoot I got busted by the manager for taping and shooting

Ricky Grove:
Where there problems in matching the lighting?

Frank Fox:
Vegas has a good FX called bump map. It also lets you position the lights where you want them but I turn off the bump feature

John Martin2:
What version of Vegas is that?

Frank Fox:
vegas 6

Evan L Ryan:
*taking notes*


Frank Fox:
I can get the dark scene in the fortune tellers place by focusing the spot on just the candle and keyframe it movements......you can drag the light source from any position and it under exposes or overexposes the clip as you desire

Ricky Grove:
Phil....tell us a bit about the score!

Philip R. Rice:

Frank Fox:
I wasn't prepaired for the joy I got when I heard what phil came up with

Ricky Grove:
me, too! ....What a perfect score for the film. I thought it lifted the whole film up a notch.

Philip R. Rice:
Frank got me a cut of the film, and when I watched it the first time, I could hear that "bouncy" kind of shuffle in my head. And that seemed to go well with Frank's notes about what he wanted for the score.

Ricky Grove:
The kazoo chorus was a a great touch!

I recorded the complete Skype chat and re-formatted it as a pdf file in OpenOffice. Using the blog tool Scribd, I was able to embed the entire chat right here. You can read the document here or download it if you like. Use the controls at the top of the window to enlarge the text or to open it as a full page document (icon on the far top right).

Next up: Premiere 02: BEAST

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