Title: Small Screen Big Ticket – Why Machinima is good for Hollywood & the Movie Industry
Authors: Paul Fleck, Andy Gniadek, and Tom Brophy
1. Machinima could be a threat to Hollywood. Low-budget, easy to create movies may draw people away from the big screen.
2. Machinima could be a boon to Hollywood. With all this content being produced by amateurs, interest in professional movies may rise and bring more people to the theaters to see how the masters do it.
What is Machinima?
1. Machinima is the use of computer hardware (PC’s and video game consoles), third party digital recording software programs, in most cases some type of video game content , to record, edit, score, and voice over tell a story independent of the video game itself.
2. Machinima was first used in two different ways: one was to show off one’s “e-peen” in slaughter videos, the other was used by Roleplayers to create movie stories.
3. Machinima portrays “emergent game play” where players participate in and take the design to unexpected results.
Machinima and 3D games
1. Machinima has been used by roleplayers to create stories of their character and others independent of the game design.
2. Players also took pre-made movies and spliced them together to create fantasy mish-mashes of different games.
3. In PvP environments, Players would create “slaughter videos”, which portrayed their character mercilessly slaughtering opponents.
4. Critics of Machinima argue slaughter videos are not machinima because there is no story, just the slaughter.
5. Roleplayers would frequently stage long events with multiple people shooting Machinima to pursue a storyline that the guild or group has decided upon.
On the Virtual Side, who is the audience?
1. Most Machinima’s audience on the 3d world end are gamers
2. Most gamers search for Machinima that spoof the game they play. Two perfect examples are “No Trucks in WoW” for World of Warcraft and “Medieval Weapon” for Everquest 2.
3. Frequently, gamers themselves will create the movies for fun, not profit, and post them on YouTube to entertain friends.
4. The market for Machinima from the 3d world end isn’t as large as one might think. Watching it for enjoyment is one thing, paying for it is another.
3d World moving towards profit or not
1. There are some projects that are moving for profit, MMOvie being one of them.
2. This is a full length, professional Machinima done all in World of Warcraft.
3. It is notorious of avid 3d world goers to keep things free, for example most custom UIs for games are free, so it will be hard to push profit on them unless there is a service to back it up. Perhaps some kind of series that one pays per episode.
Machinima as a Production Tool
1. Steve Spielberg used machinima as an aid for his storyboarding.
2. Peter Jackson used a flight simulator in preparations for King Kong.
3. George Lucas used gaming engines to preproduction in the last three-prequel installments of Star Wars.
4. Real time changes allow for faster production and rendering in animation.
5. Those inside the movie making industry believe it can be used in all production of movies, games, television, and online content.
Machinima as a Learning Tool
1. Many more machinima artists are aspiring filmmakers and not entrenched gamers.
2. Machinima provides resources to these people that most would otherwise not have the access or money to use and experience.
3. It allows directors to actually experiment in different genres, shoot in different locations, build elaborate sets, and try different camera moves most would not be able to do without a budget.
4. The full start-to-finish production of a machinima film can give the amateur a good taste of the pre-production to distribution process.
The Budget Breakdown
1. M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Village”, by no means an action packed blockbuster, was budgeted for over $72 million.
2. A 5-minute machinima short can be financed, end-to-end, for as little as $600.
3. Many of the expenses listed on the budget for Shyamalan would not be applicable had the movie been made using gaming engines.
Machinima Imitating Hollywood
1. The Academy of Machinima Arts and Sciences was created by Paul Marino to further develop the art of machinima and celebrate its achievements, much like the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
2. Many machinima films are entered in film festivals around the world. A number of festivals are devoted to machinima works only.
3. Machinima works are beginning to develop a serious dollar value. Writers for Red vs. Blue make handsome salaries, while Douglas Gayeton sold his Second Life machinima documentary for a six-figure sum.
Video Game Industry Specific Statistics
1. US computer and video game software sales grew six percent in 2006 to $7.4 billion – almost tripling industry software sales since 1996.
2. Sixty-seven percent of American heads of households play computer and video games.
3. The average game player is 33 years old and has been playing games for 12 years.
4. The average age of the most frequent game buyer is 38 years old. In 2007, 92 percent of computer game buyers and 80 percent of console game buyers were over the age of 18.
5. Thirty-eight percent of all game players are women. Women over the age of 18 represent a significantly greater portion of the game-playing population (31%) than boys age 17 or younger (20%).
6. Forty-nine percent of game players say they play games online one or more hours per week. In addition, 34 percent of heads of households play games on a wireless device, such as a cell phone or PDA, up from 20 percent in 2002.
7. World of Warcraft has reached the 8 million subscriber number world wide (2 million in the United States) at $14.95* per subscription: $1,435,200,000 annual subscription sales.
* Subscription rates vary by area reaching $19.95 per month in some areas.
Motion Picture Industry Specific Statistics
1. In 2006, there was a 5.5% increase in total domestic box office, bringing the total box office to $9.49 billion.
2. Global box office reached an all-time high with $25.82 billion in 2006, compared to $23.27 billion in 2005, an 11% increase.
3. U.S. theater admissions grew 3.3% to 1.45 billion tickets, ending a 3-year downward trend.
4. Average theatrical costs remained flat in 2006 at $100.3 million – a drop in marketing costs offset an increase in negative costs.
5. Advertising expenditures on the Internet jumped up to 3.7% for MPAA member companies.
6. The number of movies released has been steadily growing, with total releases topping another all time high of 607 versus 549 in 2005, a growth of 11%.
7. Research conducted in the summer of 2006 found that people went to movies in the theater more frequently over the prior 12 months than in 2005. Likewise, the proportion of people who never go to the movies dropped in 2006.
1. Machinima is a valuable tool on many fronts and should be embraced and supported by the Motion Picture industry:
a. Machinima provides a low-cost means for creative expression for aspiring filmmakers and future blockbuster directors of the for the Motion Picture industry, in a similar way that music video directing has produced several acclaimed directors.
b. Machinima provides a low-cost tool for directors in the filmmaking process as a means of virtual storyboarding, shot testing and pre-production testing of environments, settings, and concepts.
c. Machinima is an essential tool in the viral media-marketing world. Web sites such as You Tube provide a massive, willing audience to companies (movie production companies and video game companies) willing to embrace the viral medium.
d. Machinima becomes a promotional tool for cross merchandising video game titles and movie titles.
e. Machinima is a low-cost effective means of traditional television advertising.
2. Video game market, though large is still in its adolescent stage. With broad band access growing, processing speeds increasing, hardware improvements continuing, and as 3d engines and graphics capabilities sore the video game market will continue to grow.
3. Hollywood is already embracing the 3d CGI graphics for most big budget films, and many recent releases are entirely produced using 3d CGI engines – Beowulf.
4. Numerous video game titles have been turned into film based franchises; Resident Evil, Hitman, Silent Hill.
5. Numerous film titles have been converted into hit video game titles: Godfather, Scarface, and James Bond.
6. As films move away from film and toward the digital medium ( Star Wars prequels), and as the video game markets continues to grow the blending of the two on a large and profitable scale is inevitable, thus Machinima is the future.