I must admit I was a little wary about watching this after reading various comments around the machinima blogosphere, and after listening, I think that a fun community event maybe wasn't the best arena to air these particular sentiments.
However, taken a little out of that context he makes a lot more sense than I imagined.
Cinema has become mostly homogenised into a style format which originated in Hollywood and is focused a great deal towards making money. The Hollywood format is text based, and often utilises exisitng popular works of literature.
His theory seems to be that the new media are copying the old styles of working, and his personal vision is to see more visually based storytelling which thoroughly exploits the potentials present in new media (he seems to have said elsewhere something about non linear storytelling as it comes up in people's comments but not here)
He says he likes a fight, and encourages debate, and that doing and showing is better than telling.
Is cinema dead?
I doubt conventional media is dead. I did think that when I first encountered Machinima though, I've mellowed out a bit since.
Are machinimators pursuing experimental non-linear story telling techniques?
Yes (well we are at Pineapple and we can't be that unique surely?) Non-linear visual storytelling is hugely popular and driven by video games. I must admit it has taken me a while to get a grasp on this idea, though Mike has been pursuing it for a long time, but then he had 30 years to get to grips with Cinema. It has also taken me quite a while to find video games which I like.
Is there an audience for experimental machinima?
No (or at least the audience is tiny), but the good thing is that some of what was once experimental eventually becomes mainstream by various stages.
Will Peter be good for machinima?
I hope so. I'd like to meet him anyway.
Back in January 2008, our first blog post read;
By the end of 2008 the first Pineapple full length feature film should be rendered, posted and hopefully available for public view.
This blog is a record of the ups and downs along the way...
So where are we now?
In the middle of 'short test film 2', working title 'voices'.
This film uses an Anymation approach, centred around Moviestorm and Iclone.
Our schedule suggests the end of February for completion, to coincide with the submission deadline for the Bitfilm Festival.
This test has been our first use of a live actor (thanks Doug :) ) and a more in depth use of the iclone prop animations.
More news to follow.
..and then in 2009
So what happened to those films?
Did we faff about, make a few sets and give it up as a bad job? Did we hit one brickwall too many, did we get distracted, did we scale down and do other projects instead?
We did all of those things, and between us wrote four full length movie scripts.
The faffing, the changes of plan, the engine switches all of those took time, but were taking us in the right direction to make the movie (Movie 1, see the 2008 reference above)
We worked out that because of the rapidly changing technology it would work better to make ten minute segments, and maybe redo earlier sections once complete, to make them match, and to misquote the Six Million Dollar man prologue 'we had the technology we could build it'.
So around May time this year we had everything we needed to begin and so it was crunch time.
Faced with an actual start date, and the means to begin, Mike found himself utterly conflicted. To his surprise he discovered that he was no longer interested in making movies. Along the way he had discovered fascinating new virtual worlds, and like his pioneer ancestors, he found the urge to 'go west' and explore this new digital continent overwhelming.
The unexpected virtual lands contained possibilities he could not have previously imagined, and he found himself immersed in learning about open source software, and becoming involved in creating his own virtual spaces. The old world of movie making could not compete, he'd been there and done that, and while working hard towards new goals can be a pleasure, simply reusing old skills can seem tiresome in comparison.
..and yet, he knew he loved working as Pineapple, the Kate Mike mix seemed to produce something that neither could achieve by themselves.
Around that time I was asked by Phil Rice and Ricky Grove if I might consider helping out with the Machinima Expo in a more formalised way. (I'd always been around in the background helping out, as many people have been & still are). The timing was perfect, as Mike and I were unsure what to do next, and I imagined being an executive producer would be demanding, not something I could have taken on at the same time as being in full production flow.
Feeling that the pressure was off a little, Mike and I decided that we would allow ourselves to work on whatever sidelines arose and see where it would take us. We extended our organic film production ethos to our development path as creators. This felt like a time when we needed to take parallel routes, and hope we might meet up along the way.
I knew I needed to be more involved in the community than working in Open Sim would allow, and Mike need to uncover new skills that had been hidden behind years of Film Producing.
In the meanwhile I decided to tackle the modder's workshop in Moviestorm, and found content creation to be a very rewarding path.
Mike and I are finding recently, via our meandering routes, that we occasionally nearly meet up, find diverse paths in a Wonderland Garden way leading back to the same spot. The other day, I very nearly, with Mike's help, got an standalone Open Sim working on my PC..it was running but I couldn't log into it. I'm finding Mike is now setting off down routes which I find myself wanting to follow..whereas previously I would have simply felt overwhelmed. In a few months I may press the start button and it will all work as it should.
Mike and I met as Beta software testers, he is now working mostly with Alpha (pre-beta) software, whereas I have headed off for the more stable shores of well established Open Source programs. As the technology advances and becomes more stable, our areas of interest start to overlap again. We're dredging different waters but we're finding the same treasure.
I hate not to do what I say I will do, and part of me still has 'full length movie' on my to do list, but it may be that 'interactive story telling' may be the format, instead of classic linear film.
Some days I'm not sure what I'm doing, just bent over following a trail of breadcrumbs which appear to lead somewhere. Mike and I kind of know we'll bump heads at some point, but we're not sure where. We've heard each other in the undergrowth a few times lately.
I never did learn patience as I grew older, I just learned to distract myself with more things, so I would notice the impatience less. Experience has taught me that indirect routes often turn out to be quicker in the end.