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.