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Quintessential Conversations: "One Night in Nar Shadaa"

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Love your video!!!! great writing and acting BRAVO!!!
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Posted Jan 18, 13
All l can say is Sam Spade had better move over, there's a new kid in town and he's carrying a light saber.

P.S. Absolutely brilliantly done Kreep, and that voice work was awesome.
Posted Jan 18, 13
DarthDjek wrote:
Kreep, love your writing and editing, and Ama, Wym, Many and Rhean did cool things with their toons and voices! My favorite shot is

My favorite is the close-up of Clusterquark with that creepy grin on his face after Voluptua arrives. Makes me laugh every time.
Posted Jan 18, 13
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Thank you guys so much for all the positive feedback, I really appreciate it. I think this one is my favorite video, so far, so I'm a little usure of what to do next, if anything.

Again, I HAVE to thank the people involved, because without the contributions of the cast and crew, these videos would be pure shite. Those who took the time to record voicework and play toons, who stand around for HOURS on end, surfing the net, doing schoolwork, or watching me run around like a fool, perhaps not realizing I'm lining up shots, or taking stills, or making a last-minute decision about an emote change. The videos are as good as they are because of your patience. Thanks to E'va who provided a toon and outfit for the Kingpin's dead hooker, and to Xod who ran E'va's toon while she was working. And special thanks to Wymsical, off of whom I frequently bounce ideas and ask for input or feedback during the various stages of production (Script writing, voice recording, storyboarding, filming, editing, re-filming, re-editing, rendering, and uploading). Thanks to you (and everyone else) for being so supportive of and encouraging to me so I can have the fuel to finish these time-consuming nerd projects. I'm tempted to post the script so people can see the final version, after all the edits and updates and deletions and additions of ideas from people who had great suggestions.

SENSATIONALIZED GUSHING: It's nothing short of a miracle to have been born in this solar system, on this planet that can support life, in a first-world nation, and at a time, not of hardship and strife and inquisition and oppression, but of relative plenty and comfort, technological bounty and globalization. You only live once and you guys chose to spend hours and hours of your miracle time indulging my silly hobby; I'll never forget it and I can't express just how much it means to me.

As a little Special Edition making-of feature, here are some interesting tidbits about the production...

-SERENDIPITY 1:
The transition between the Kingpin scene and the scene in Cluster's office was initially an accident. I hadn't planned for the same "ponder" emote to be used at the end of Scene1 and the start of Scene2, but once I'd separately edited each scene and saw it, I tweaked the editing to focus more on the "ponder" transition.

-With only a few emotes available (and appropriate for certain lines) I go through the entire emote list at least twice, trying to spread each emote out so it's not AS noticeable that the same emotes are used over and over. The most frequently used emotes are: /yes, /shrug, /poke, and Cluster's /ponder.

-I vowed to use people walking as little as possible, for this video. There is a "stutter step" effect when another player's toon is walking, where they appear to move, stop, move, stop, and it's worse the slower the toon is moving. So the compromise was to have walk on, but to leave on /sprint to minimize the stutter and elongate periods of consistency. Sometimes, an actor will have to back up and walk forward several times before I get enough footage of smooth, consistent movement with which to work. My least favorite shot is the side shot of Voluptua and Cluster walking to the seats in Cluster's office waiting area, so I tried to edit it so they spoke lines during their brief pauses.

-SERENDIPITY 2:
During the Tabitha Turncoat confrontation scene, I was getting a shot of Ama's pistol, to show during his line "My anger clouded my judgment" and noticed his finger move, which of course would be perfect for his next line "...my finger tightening on the trigger" so I grabbed a close-up of his finger tightening then and there; that one wasn't in the storyboards.

-One of my favorite shots is of the emote I had Djek use for her line "Take this vial, it contains..." I'm always tickled when an emote perfectly matches a line. Another is the sped-up /stretch emote for Tootsie's line "(breath) We FELL in LOVE!"

-Giggledust, Magnatar, Whiff, and Rill are names of actual spices in the Star Wars universe.

-I try to limit my use of panning shots, though I absolutely LOVE them. But my mouse slows, pauses, and stutters while I'm moving it, so I take the smoothest shot and break it down, speeding up parts of each pan segment to smooth it out. It's tedious and ends up with fairly crappy results, anyway, but... I take what I can get.

-Ama let me log into his account so I could get the shots of him riding the black taxi speeder, which I used to replace a confusing panning shot of the Network Access area and a gun-toting droid. The shots of Ama in the speeder were the last ones I recorded before rendering the final product.

-In the shot for the line "Pimps, hos, and pushers" I was surprised to see that each of the NPCs in that shot did a little gesture that could potentially line up pefectly with each word of the spoken line. Also, I kept the discarded recordings of Ama trying to read the entire line. They were discarded because he kept cracking up and I listen to it now and then, because it cracks ME up when he tries to read the whole thing through his own laughter. In one of them, he took a breath, there was a brief pause, and then it's just several seconds of him busting up into his mic.

-Every time a voice actor reads a line, there is a sharp intake of breath prior to the first enunciation, and often in the middle of a line, so I usually have to chop up sound files in editing to remove breathing. I chose to keep certain breaths in, though, such as in the lines "I have to get off this planet" and the gasp before "We fell in love."

-I had a biology final today (Friday, 1-18-13) and had to miss the Crimson Nova raid the night before to study. When I got home from a study group, Wymi told me that people were saying in vent that Mandy's reading of Tootsie the Trick reminded them of Harley Quinn from the Batman cartoons. In fact, I had Mandy watch (and listen to) a long video compilation of Harley Quinn from the Batman cartoon so she'd have an idea of what I was looking for in her character's voice. She nailed it. The girl's a pro (she's 17).

-The carpet in the middle of the Party Barge during the Tootsie scene matches her loincloth and her lipstick. It was intended to complement the youthful exhuberance and erratic mood-swings of her character.

-SERENDIPITY 3:
Mandy's not a true nerd like the rest of our family, so she didn't really know how to pronounce "Coruscant." I like to have an actor do a baseline reading of every line so it's easier to see what I have to work with and tweak each line in pieces. Mandy pronounced it "Koruskent" and Wymsical and I started to correct her, but I had a thought and interrupted myself with a "Wait... actually..." We kept every pronunciation of the word the same, after that, even exaggerating the KARuskant to emphasize her character's ditzy demeanor. I then added the word to Ama's next line, read properly, though she would continue to make the mistake in spite of Cluster's correction.

-I like to storyboard each scene before we start filming, so I impose less on the other people involved (filming for Spurius's "One of Us" took a total of about 5 hours). I hadn't storyboarded the Tootsie scene, yet, since we had to get her to Social II before she could wear the slave girl outfit I wanted her to wear. Wymi, Ama, and Spicey (Evonna) ran me through 2 level ten Black Talon runs and waited through the timer of each conversation so I could get all the social points for Tootsie. All the other scenes were filmed, already, and I was logged into Tootsie one night to plan shots, when Ama logged in. He suggested we start filming the scene, and since Wymi was around and amenable, we did an impromptu filming session. Since it wasn't storyboarded, it ended up taking over 3 hours to get only half the scene shot, before I finally asked if Ama wanted to break for the day so he could get some sleep.

-Many of the lines in the script were added or changed because of suggestions from the voice cast. I like to encourage my voice actors to speak their mind when they're reading their lines. I think I'm either "too close to the problem" or looking at the whole thing too objectively, so I always appreciate when I get to have a conversation with an actor about their character's motivation or get suggestions about what might be a better line. We almost always incorporate the changes, not because I'm so flexible, but because the perspective of the actor on their character is often more focused than my own, and also because the suggestions are usually so solid and creative.

EXAMPLES: I wanted a lot of cliche in this project, so of course Tommy Palermo had to be "the BEST cop I ever knew" with a wife and child, but then Menoric added that he should be 2 weeks from retirement. Wymi and Ama colaborated to change the "Why did you kill Tommy" line, and Ama's final reading of the line was mostly ad-libbed. It added a lot more feeling and believability, further reinforcing his history with his partner. At first, Ama was supposed to say (after the blaster sound during the intro monologue) "I gotta get out of this town" but his suggestion was to change it to "get off this planet." "...one less gooshoe in this town..." was supposed to be "gumshoe", but Wymi suggested the "gooshoe" change, as it seemed less incongruous in the Star Wars reality than "gum" (and more fun). The steak dinner line was read more aptly by Djek with a pause and repetition, to make it more visceral and believable, ultimately improving the flow of the ending. And many, many more!

-I told Dan (Rhean) to read his lines VERY quickly, but he read them way faster than I thought he could, and even considered having him re-record them or slowing them down in the editor. In the end, I found his fast-talking to be perfect for the fast-talking stereotype of early 20th century film noir.

-Each character goes through wardrobe prior to selection of toons for filming. Sometimes a player will show me several characters before I pick one with a face/body type I'm happy with. I then go through the GTN and put an appropriate costume together and present it to the respective toon. This time, with "Nar Shadaa", everyone did their own costumes (with my final approval) and I had very little input about what they would wear. For Voluptua and Cluster, their guns are somewhat similar. I picked Ama's gun because it was the most retro-looking one he had available.

-The first day I worked on this project, I was up for 20 hours and worked on it for about 18 of those hours. I woke up at 6:30 one morning and had the idea for the script. During that day the following was accomplished: the script was written, voicework for 3 characters was completed, the intro was initially set up and filmed and edited, as was the conclusion, some music was added, and some storyboarding and pacing was conceived.

-I turn off all sounds except "sound effects" during filming. There are only 2 scenes where there is background ambient noise, the Kingpin murder scene and Tootsie's party barge scene. I go into the location alone and record the ambient track for 20 seconds, remove the video component in the editor, then try to find a good place to loop it comfortably through the rest of the scene.

-Not sure if everyone caught these tidbits, but for starters: Voluptua was developing a toxin to mix into the Kingpin's (wife's clone's) synthehol shipments to kill off as many males as she could. The toxin was called "Abolishol Y" or "Abolish All Y", a reference to abolishing everyone with a Y chromosome. Also, the Kingpin's name is RAH d'JEN EHritt, or "Raw Degenerate".

-Voluptua's line starting with "Tabitha Turncoat, that double-crossing mole..." (during which she reveals her entire plan all in one crazy monologue) took Wymsical, understandably, several tries to get the wording and breathing right. She had to read the entire thing (starting from "Tabitha Turncoat") without taking a breath, so that she could gasp for breath at the end before the final word. I thought she was gonna pass out, but Wymi was a real champ about it. lol. Thanks, baby.

-Parts of only one song are used in the background throughout the video. The song is "Chinatown", the Nicholas Payton rendition.

-The short sound-byte I add to the end of each video's closing credits is my favorite 1-second sound from voice recording. In "Everybody does it" it was "I poop!" by Spurius, ripped from a line that was later removed from the video to shorten its length. In "One of Us" it was Krevdar saying "UH oh!" And in "Nar Shadaa" it was an orgasmic "Oh!" Wymi read during her voicework on day1. I was not pleasuring her at the time: she's just that good.

-The final tally of files in the project folder of sound/video files, not including the various script versions and video project, itself, contains 687 items.

-Making this video took almost 3 weeks. I had 2 weeks off during Christmas break and spent at least several hours every day working on it. Most of the time is spent in the editor, adjusting footage or storyboarding.
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Posted Jan 19, 13 · OP
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Kreep, thank you for adding this story. Makes for a very interesting read!

I am contemplating making a little action/slapstick movie of Djek's (mis)adventures trying to get 20,000th kill. Like Force Charging someone on the edge of a cliff while another jugg Force Pushes them away. And entering a War Zone to face two premades where you can't get a medal, an objective or a kill at all. And coming back to the Black Hole to find yourself surrounded by ten flagged pubs... All of those things happened, just not all at once.

But as you explained, Kreep, that's a lot of human-hours of work... So who knows.

I am very much looking forward to your next masterpiece!
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Posted Jan 19, 13
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DarthDjek wrote:
Kreep, thank you for adding this story. Makes for a very interesting read!

No problem, I was excited to share some of the fun and interesting moments that happened throughout production. And maybe give people an idea of what it takes to make a video. AND maybe providing some of the techniques might help people... get started on their own projects? I'd love to see more stories or music vids from our members. It's just that it can be a lot of time/work, and bigger videos take a certain OCD personality to pull off. There are a lot more little details that go into a 10-minute vid than people might think.

I wanted to add, too... it might just be my imagination, but if you listen to Ama's line "After some time leaning on pimps, hos, and pushers..." I think you can hear him smiling around the time he says "hos and pushers." The final line we used was after a long, silent break during which ama was laughing and trying to compose himself.

I should stop, though, because I could go on forever about all the little fun/interesting moments of making this video.
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Posted Jan 19, 13 · OP
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Thanks for the added info about the making of the video! Very interesting to read. Big props to everyone involved!
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Posted Jan 19, 13
I\'m new here, but this is too awesome for me to not post something.

This is awesome.

Done.
Posted Jan 24, 13
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Glad you enjoyed it, everybody worked really hard on this one. :d
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Posted Jan 25, 13 · OP
Tootsie the Trick = AWESOME. Nice work Mandy. :)
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Posted Feb 21, 13
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