Tuesday, June 22, 2010

10 Days of Allied Forces: Part 4 - We Have a Situation (2003)

In 2003 I was a Junior in high school.  The time was at hand to attempt to get into a college.  Having given up on animation (seriously), I decided to focus on film.  I toured the UCF campus and realized that to get in, I would need something amazing.  Some kind of brilliant student film that would surpass almost everyone else's.  I didn't have the fancy equipment, the best actors, or even the best computers, but I did have two things.  A functional copy of 3D Studio Max, and Allied Forces.


While visiting my grandmother's house for some kind of family gathering, I sat on the porch with a composition notebook.  For the past year I had been doing test animations in a vastly revised Twin Spires testbed environment.  I had a certain knowledge of how to make flyby's and spacecraft look fairly dynamic.  I was also coming to understand chroma-key technology.  For one reason or another, I decided that the time was right to make a combined live action and 3D short film.  My last attempt at a pure live action film in August 2000 having failed miserably.

I began to pen down some storyboards in the notebook, and after about 20 minutes, I had boarded out the scenes that would become the Twin Spires Theatrical trailer.  Two weeks later, I had borrowed a camera from my High School, purchased a blue tarp as a matte, and was ready to start shooting.  The result was crude, but it was far better than anything I had done before.

Not the greatest, but a phenominal improvement over the earlier versions.  Keep in mind, the shot with the actor was filmed outdoors in front of a blue tarpaulin!  I filmed on January 25th, and completed the edits on January 26th, 2003 - Twin Spires Day.


Flash forward into June.  After touring the campus of UCF I knew I needed to make a short film, or at least an edit reel.  I already had a movie - and a GOOD one at that!  I just needed a little more money and a lot more 3D knowledge to realize the vision.

I spent the rest of the summer saving money and studying up on 3DS Max.  In a couple months I learned how to make realistic water, terrain, and some atmospheric effects.  I put my skills together and released a trailer, for my trailer!  The result was the Allied Forces OCS:  Twin Spires Short Trailer.  The tag line was "See them again, for the first time,"  alluding to the fact that the improvements in visual style were so vast that to see the same place again, would look completely new.

I think I succeeded.  The short trailer is still one of my favourite pieces of art.  In October, when I bought my first DVD burner, it was the Short Trailer that became the first movie I ever burned on DVD, and saw on a television!

In November, Over a period of 48 hours, I refilmed every scene from the original theatrical trailer and even a few new ones, and re-made my film.  The total cost of the film (including a cheap MiniDV camera) was around 1000$.  Over time, to date, Twin Spires as a whole has been my most profitable IP I ever developed.

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