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So tonight was when our heat was playing at the Paramount. *whew* It was a bit nerve wracking. There were a number of really interesting films, and some really not so good films.

All in all, it seems that everyone had a lot of fun making their movies – some will be forever burned into my mind (Supertran, I’m looking at you…) and others were somewhat forgettable.

We were fortunate enough to have a very slick but very pointless “horror” flick before our movie, so the comedy of Hypochondriacs – the Walking Goldmines really hit a mark. People laughed and it seemed that the entire theatre applauded at the end of our film. In fact I got the sneaking suspicion that we got the loudest applause of all the films that played. But that could have been my imagination.

The presenter certainly liked it and made a comment that it had something for everyone – and we got more raucous applause when we were asked to stand up. 🙂 So fingers crossed that we at least make it to the top 40 films to be chosen before the finals.

The film really managed to stand up well against the competition, and I was pleased with it – although I can see where we need to improve some things. Hopefully Project TWC will help us develop the necessary skills to up our game. 😀

It was hard to vote for films I liked – there were a number of great movies to choose from. I ended up choosing Supertran – for being a memorable GBLT entry, and for being kind of funny in parts. (That moustache did make him look hot…) My other choice was Oh Illium… which was an atrocious film but very funny. And there was a kind of hot guy in it. LOL!

I probably should have voted for Homekill, but the revenge seeking hedgehog was likely to get a lot of votes anyway… 😀

So yay! Here’s hoping that all went well, and that we get to the next stage!

Love and Huggles

Conan

Currently Reading: iMovie HD the Missing Manual
Currently Playing: Exalted: Nexus of the Sun
Mood: All warm and fuzzy!

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I’m surprised by how some people don’t seem to think that I’m serious about this project. At the moment I’m playing with footage taken of the Town Belt to get comfortable with iMovie. It’s not as powerful as using Final Cut, but I think it will help. Essentially, yesterday I took footage of areas that kind of fit with the theme or “feel” of the series as I see it in my head.

I also recently bought a book on film-making using DV format. It is aimed at people like myself who are planning to get into film-making with the aid of a camcorder, a computer and a dogged determination to get a film made.

It’s proving very helpful, already suggesting techniques in the pre-production. So I’ve worked on the series overview and I’m planning to work on a storyline for the first five episodes as well as a treatment of those first five episodes – so as to spot the series inconsistencies. 🙂

To that end, I’m looking for some preproduction crew as well – namely to help with planning, and writing. I have a couple of volunteers for general work on the project. So we’ll see how that goes. 🙂

I am soooo excited! 😀

Love and Huggles

Conan

Currently Reading: Practical DV Filmmaking
Currently Playing: Exalted: Nexus of the Sun
Mood: Super happy Conan

It’s my day off work today. So I’m chilling here with Uriel – what a sexy computer! – and planning out ideas for my Web Project. I wont reveal too much here, but it is going to be a kind of Insider’s Guide to Happiness with more of a humorous edge and a different approach to the surreal aspects.

It will, naturally, be a small budget affair. I’ll be looking for volunteers to help with the writing, acting, and production based aspects. The idea will be produce a series of 5-10 minute episodes (more on that once I’ve worked a bit more on the core concept) which will be shown on YOUTUBE.

I’ll then set up a website with higher definition versions of the episodes for download.

The idea behind the project is to get practice in with making a series of short films, and maybe even start a new web following. I have some cool ideas for the series – and with Fraser’s help I hope to develop them.

Today I’m looking at getting some footage of Wellington to play with and start building a visual library of Wellington shots for the series. There is also a gym visit and a few other activities in the works today. 🙂

Laters!

Love and Huggles

Conan

Currently Reading: Magnum Opus
Currently Playing: Exalted: Nexus of the Sun
Mood: Bubbly and Excited

It has been on the books for some time – I was planning to eventually upgrade to a new computer. An iMac to be exact.

Well the high from doing the 48hour Film Challenge has ended up being the unexpected instigator of change. I went looking at video cameras and realised that I would also need some serious hardware to do even semi-decent editing. Thus when I looked at the monthly cost to upgrade my computer and get a camera, it was an easy decision. 🙂

So here I am typing on Uriel, my new iMac computer. It is a very sexy little machine (and the free ipod nano was a great surprise to get. 🙂 )

Now I’ve downloaded the powerful Celtx software that I used to help plan out the scenes and shots for the weekend, and I will be saving up for Final Cut Express… The plan is to practice and prepare for application to the Film School next year. I want to work on a few personal projects first and further develop my understanding of media before I apply.

Also it will mean that I’m more prepared for next years 48 hour challenge, which I will definitely be intending to participate in. 😀

On that note, I’m working on a web-project concept (gotta love Macs) which would be a monthly 5-6 minute episodic series based in Wellington. The current concept is about 12-15 episodes… but I need to think a little more on it. I’ll be inviting friends and the like who are keen to get some movie-making practice in with a little web project. 🙂

I’ll reveal more once I have the concept further developed. 😀

Love and Huggles

Conan

Currently Reading: Manual of Exalted Power: The Lunars
Currently Playing: Exalted: Nexus of the Sun
Mood: All fired up!

Wow. It’s finally over – the 48 Hour Film Challenge was an absolute blast! I was involved with Gino’s Rebel Faction team, and it was a fantastic experience from beginning to end! 😀

Even though numerous obstacles kept popping up to block the creation of our film, someone was looking over us. Firstly, I was unable to finish work on time to be at the assignments of genre etc. Then we found out that the primary shooting location was first invaded by parents for an open day, then the rugby first XV. Then we found out that the next day our final primary location was going to be where the Regional BRASS BAND competitions were going to be held!

Yet through some impressive team work and sheer determination we were able to get all our primary shooting done between 2pm and 11:30pm on the Saturday, which meant that Ryan and I were able to sit down with the dailies and edit the sucker over the course of Sunday.

For my first serious directing project, it was a lot of fun. Gino had managed to get a team of truly creative people who were full of ideas and talent. Gino and Jeremy’s script was hilarious, and it was important to me to try and keep to the spirit of our run throughs – aided by their performances as two of the key characters.

Viv and Angela dressed up the set amazingly, Jamie’s graphics (some of which I had to leave out of the final cut, 😦 ) were perfect.

Our cast were fantastic – often in these “friends as actors” projects, you tend to have to take what you can get performance-wise, but Danyl, Gino and Jeremy put in bloody amazing performances. Meredith’s medical props were invaluable – as was having her around to help out with all the jobs that needed to get done so that Ryan, Gino and I could focus on the post-production.

Margaret… what can I say? The Donut shot was fantastic!

Felicity (Flick) also was a godsend with the music, she found us some fantastic Royalty Free tracks that when Ryan put them into the rough cut, we found that the music cues mostly married up to the action! You should have heard us in the Editing room! 😀

I’m also very pleased with the cinematography – it was my first time using a camera, and everything is well centred. I kept thinking “that couldn’t have been me!” 😀

So thanks to everyone on the Rebel Faction! We made a film that we can all be proud of, and best of all everyone had a blast! *Whew* I hope I didn’t miss anyone out! Angela, Felicity, Jamie, Jeremy, Danyl, Gino, Viv, Meredith, Ryan, myself – I’m sure I’m missing someone out…

Sorry! I’m so tired, I’m sure there were eleven people…

Well, when we watched the final product, we were in hysterics. Of course there are plans to make a 10 minute (or so) Special Edition. (I hesitate to say “director’s cut” because it will also be including Gino’s ideas and isn’t just my work.) I hope we get to do commentaries for the DVD. 😀

Love and Huggles

Conan

Currently Reading: Scion: Hero
Currently Playing: Exalted: Nexus of the Sun
Mood: Super Happy!

So it is about 1:30am on a Wednesday morning and I have just finished playing what can only be described as the best Final Fantasy – nay – best Computer/console RPG to date.

Seriously. Forget KOTOR, forget Jade Empire, Forget Final Fantasy X, and (thankfully for some) forget Final Fantasy X-2. This is simply the most amazing game I have played in a long time.

Firstly it is a truly imaginative and epic storyline of a war between nations, betrayal, love, mystery and humanity’s drive to be masters of our own destinies. Next is the impressive utilisation of the PS2’s Emotion Engine chip to make the characters in game the most lively, believable sprites you have ever seen. When you see Doctor Cid walk into the private chambers of Prince Vayne Solidor, his every gait and movement tells you something about his personality – even down to the bemused cocky smile that develops when he is told some interesting news.

Every character, no matter how small, has detail to their features and clothing. The main characters are all distinctive and extremely engaging. This is a game that I would just LOVE to see a live-action movie. Only they would need to have the same voices as the incredible voice actors who make each and every character interesting and enjoyable.

But what of the game itself?

Set initially in the kingdom of Dalmasca, Princess Ashe of Dalmasca and Prince Rassler of Nabradia are married to help bring peace to the ongoing conflice between the Empires of Rozzaria and Archadia. But treachery is afoot and soon disaster strikes.

The game picks up two years after, with you initially playing Vaan, a lowly street-rat of a kid who dreams of being a Sky-pirate someday. You wander around the city of Rabanastre doing odd jobs for people while they prepare for the arrival of the new ruler of the city.

Unlike previous Final Fantasy games, FFXII uses an active system for combat where monsters roam around locations. There is no cutting to a staged fight where everyone lines up on either side. It all happens in the normal location the characters were wandering around – further more, because you can see the monsters, you can avoid them.

This leads to chaotic and exciting battles where characters move around the area, seeking higher ground, trying to strike from behind the enemy… generally use various tactics. However combat is still turn based, meaning that you can pause the fight to open your combat menu, survey the scene and select the action. Or you can let the characters stick to pre-programmed routines, called Gambits, which are a sophisticated If/then set of rules that you give each character.

Each gambit is placed in order of importance – which means that the characters will make decisions based on the situation + the level of the gambit programmed. Because of the sheer number of gambits each character can take and the number of If/then combinations – this makes for a lot of detail. The AI here is impressive. Characters do not waste actions. If both Basch and Penelo have “raise knocked out PC” as an option – they don’t both act. If Basch starts to do the action first, Penelo will move on to her next priority gambit. She will also make decisions based on the situation. For example if someone attacks her- she will move out of the way before attempting her action.

Monsters aren’t dumb either. If there are traps nearby, they will try to lead the characters to them, or knock characters into deadly locations. If you catch a monster by itself, it will slowly lead the party over to other monsters – or make enough of a fuss that they will come to it.

Then there is the sheer number of options for customising your party – from a variety of weapons and armours, to magics, techniks (special abilities that can give you a winning advantage), Quickenings (kind of like Limit Breaks, but more powerful and controllable), Espers (FFXII’s summons) and accessories.

Wow.

See those two over there – that is the quality of the in-game cut scenes and graphics. Notice how expressive Balthier and Vaan are. It never ceases to amaze me how detailed the expressions get in this game. Along with the physical movement of the characters.

By the time I reached the end of the game I had to share straight away how much I LOVE THIS GAME! Balthier is the coolest Sky Pirate ever. “After all, I’m the leading man…” His voice is smooth and cocky. He makes Han Solo (who he is modelled after) look pretty lame in comparison. I kid you not. There is a scene at the end of the game where he just made me grin and think “typical Balthier, you rock!”

What are you doing? Go out and get this game! NOW! 🙂

Love and Huggles

Conan

Currently Reading: Scion: Hero
Currently Playing: Exalted: Nexus of the Sun
Mood: Pretty Freaking Good!

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