I am a storyteller. A writer first, a machinima director second. I believe story trumps all else–no matter how eloquent the prose or how impressive the camera work, without a story, all you have is empty words and wasted frames.

So why have I, a writer at heart, gravitated toward machinima?

I discovered machinima as a storytelling tool in 2010, and since that time I’ve been exploring its uses in the mainstream, not just in the underground communities that have enjoyed it for years. One thing I’ve discovered is its value in the production of affordable book trailers, which are fast becoming a marketing staple for all new novels, especially ebooks.

The thing about machinima, though—it has a very distinct look and style. It’s based on video game technology, not cell-based (like the old Bugs Bunny cartoons) or Pixar-type animation. Traditional animators regard it with contempt, and I will be the first to admit it often gets stuck somewhere in the uncanny valley between photorealism and robotics. It’s an evolving technology.

However, it’s a technology that’s accessible even to those without a degree in digital arts. And it’s affordable. Works produced with royalty-free machinima software (like iClone, which I use) are generally well within the marketing budget for most independent and first-time authors. A book trailer filmed with iClone might not rival a Dreamworks production, but it should be quite watchable and loaded with potential to sell the novel it advertises.

Is machinima right for every book trailer? Good heavens, no. Will everyone adjust to its peculiar brand of animation? Of course not. This would be an excellent time to remind everyone that I am still buried deep in the learning curve—each new project teaches me something. So far, my chops as a director have improved with each trailer I finish. By following the links in the left sidebar, viewers can trace my journey from Sims 2 music video producer to Sims 2 “feature film” director all the way into the professional territory of iClone and 3DS Max. I certainly hope my progress shows!

A word or two about me as a person: in times past, I’ve worked as a hairdresser, long haul truck driver, and emergency medical technician. These days, though, an autoimmune disorder (almost certainly lupus) and a complication called “POTS” (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) have put me out of work and onto the sofa. These health issues played a huge role in my discovery of machinima and should explain how I found time to learn the mechanics of it.

Yes, I’ve written novels. No, I haven’t sought to publish them. . .yet. The publishing industry has been in upheaval for a few years and I’ve felt no pressure to entangle with it. Although I have yet to put any real energy into seeing my manuscripts turned into books, other works of mine have appeared in various trade publications and online magazines like Amarillo Bay. My short story, “Before Our Time,” is available for download in the right sidebar. I’ve been heavily involved in and credited with the revision and pre-publication critique process of several novels including The Messenger, Exposure, The Story Makers, The Rest Of Forever, and Secret Confessions Of The Applewood PTA. I’m also an active machinima critic for Sims 2 and 3 derivative works, partnering with another adult machinima director to bring the art of storytelling to the hordes of kids who populate that community.


7 responses to “About

  1. breaksystembse

    Saw this, I’m hoping to get one too for Co-OH. 🙂

  2. Love your work,Rhonda, for LEFT ON STONEHAVEN and look forward to HURRICANE. Your visual interpretations brought Carol Kean’s story to life beautifully..

  3. Hi Rhonda,
    You’ve done a terrific job, one that would baffle me. I love the way you used an obsticle in your path to turn your creative mind in another direction.
    As to Carol’s book, I love it already in all it’s carnations. But seeing your trailer would inspire so many people to take a look. This is definately the way to go for promotion.

  4. Beth and Francene, hello! and thank you for watching this and commenting. I have so many visuals in my mind thanks to *your* novels. Seeing someone else’s vision of Mac, Moira and company (Beth’s Standing Stones) or Francene’s Liliha and Harry would be startling, and everyone says “the book is better” because it’s peopled with their own images…but… I really came to love Rhonda’s cast here. Those Sims2 people become real, somehow. And to think it all begins with algorithms.

  5. Well, it *begins* with a software engineer programming a computer, but there’s so much artistry to what Rhonda did here. I can’t even explain it, or remember her explanations to me, but timing and lighting make such a difference in getting expressions from an animated character. As Gary commented, Rhonda makes it look easy, but it was a tremendous effort.

  6. You are a very talented woman. I love those book trailers!

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