LanceRan the latest release candidate for a new short by a small group of close friends who do this machinima thing.  I don’t always do the “focus group” thing.  Maybe I should.

I felt compelled to this time, because it’s been awhile, and I suspected my eye for detail might have suffered a bit from the sabbatical.

So I guess I shouldn’t complain when it turns out I was right.  There are some glitches and visual unpleasantries that I just plain missed, or overlooked.  And the only way to fix them is to go back and re-render selected bits of source footage, after having remedied the Moviestorm glitches.  This late in post, that’s a bummer.

Those on my panel who noticed the glitches were very forgiving, acknowledging that they are Moviestorm issues and there’s probably not much that can be done about that.  The onus being on Moviestorm to fix those things.

For the past week, I’ve been chewing on that.  Trying to determine, can I live with that?

To at least some degree, I have to.  Moviestorm is where I’ve invested my time, it’s the tool I know how to use.  And as I put it in a comment of my own to the panel, I’ve probably got more stories to tell than I have time on this earth to tell them.  So right now, starting over with a whole new kit just isn’t in the best interests of my long term goals.

But I don’t have to live with imperfections that I *can* fix.  Sure, it would be easy to just say, ah well, I’ll just release this one as-is and try to do better next time.

No.  Not anymore.  If I’m not going to give this my best – and that means taking the time to go back and fix what is fixable – then I shouldn’t be doing this at all.  Yes, there will be things I can’t make Moviestorm do.  Yes, I’ll have to take caution to not get caught in the endless improvement loop that leads to ridiculous release delays.

But these animation and lighting issues… I can do better.  And I’m going to.  Not just next time.  This time.


  • John Norton (@NahtonStudios)

    Hi Phil Great to see you back into production. I feel your pain in both the area's of having too many stories and not enough time to tell them and dealing with the Moviestorm lighting issues. I admire your tenacity to do better. I'm all over the map on that one. I've never made anything approaching the visual quality of your films and tend to sacrifice to get my stories and ideas into production. I haven't really been too productive myself of late due to other ventures. Of late I've been telling myself I'll continue to sacrifice some in that area on shorter quick release type videos and also embark on a concurrent long term project where I tweak and retweak all areas of production including making it as visually pleasing to the eye as possible.

  • Phil Rice

    Thanks, John. I've decided to try to resist my quick release compulsion for the most part, along with not chasing contests / fests / etc. I've just reached a point where I feel like I can't afford to add anything to the queue - not to the front, anyway; we'll see how much willpower I end up having.

  • kradproductions

    "Yes, I’ll have to take caution to not get caught in the endless improvement loop that leads to ridiculous release delays." That's the huge part right there. Don't be like me and screw around for what, 9 months (?), working on a movie less than 5 minutes long. It entirely defeats the purpose of using a tool like Moviestorm in the first place. I don't mean to drop names here, but I remember Jason Choi making the same argument about a sequel to Only the Strong Survive. He was willing to wait for the tools to improve to have a visual experience that would rival a powerful 3D engine. And you know what? The sequel never came. Granted he got busy with work, but hey, that's life, and you can't wait forever. Don't take this the wrong way, but the material here doesn't require blockbuster presentation. It's the story and the delivery that makes it what it is. Like you said, speed is king. Ask someone to nitpick and they may very well pick it apart. Your average viewer won't do that. To paraphrase a great teacher I had on the subject of critique, "take what you can use and leave the rest."

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