FILM MAKING IN MINECRAFT
THE USEFUL GUIDE FOR THE ASPIRING FILM MAKER
Here is where you can learn more about producing a film in Minecraft. If you have any questions or concerns, post them below!
Before we get started, you must understand one thing...
Your video won't get 'millions of hits'**Well, it might.
So many people these days just think they can jump into making a film in Minecraft - Expecting it to be better than all the rest, get thousands of hits and just win at everything.
Wake up. That is not going to happen.
Question time - How many minutes of video are uploaded to youtube every second?
a. 1 minute?
b. 10 minutes?
c. 20 minutes?
The correct answer is:
So what have we established so far?
To get your video noticed, it's gonna have to be amazing. Actually, better than amazing. Your little, poor 5 minute video is going to have to get noticed out of the 34,560 HOURS of video that is uploaded daily.
So lets start from the beginning...
The idea (story, plot, what ever way you want to look at it) is the basis for a good film, or a film that makes people die.
Lets take 'Inception' directed by Christopher Nolan. He developed his plot for many years because these things do take time.
He took something ordinary (Dreams) and turned them into a vivid reality, where the ground can fold onto itself, and there are big twisty hallways of rotational death. He put ordinary people in extraordinary situations - ordinary arguments then turned them upside down.
The idea behind the film was revolutionary, and much was every other aspect of it.
With your idea, there are some key points to consider, especially in Minecraft.
The main ones that arise are these:
-The Nether is always depicted as a bad guys dimension. How could YOU use the Nether in a new and interesting way?
-Yogscast. DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED. KID, YOU WON'T GET ANYWHERE WHEN YOU COPY THEM.
And that's about it. Using the Nether in a Minecraft film is so... yesterday. You know, when the other film makers used the same thing.
Developing a plot is one of the most difficult things you can do.
What I like to do is this:
I ask myself - 'What sort of film do I want it to be? Action, Drama, Comedy?'
I would usually find something that fitted my style.
Next, I would dive deeper into the question - 'What do I want it to be ABOUT? A spy, a mother, a pig riding cow... what?'
This really helps you to have a base for your plot.
Speaking of basing a plot, a lot of the time it is easier to just work on a back story.
"Back story?" I hear you say?
It's basically what has happened to the characters before the main movie plot takes place.
If I was to come up with a plot for a comedy about a cow riding a pig, I would go...
So there was a cow, and through an evil experiment from the evil Doctor Hohenstaufen, the cow mutated with a pig as an udder. The cow was teleported out of Doctor H's realm and was found in the house of Doctor Robin. A. Bank. Bank adopted him as his own, but now the cow wants revenge and will stop at nothing to get it.
As you can see, this has given me a motive for the main character, and a dynamic back story as to not constrict my ideas for the main part (but now the cow wants revenge and will stop at nothing to get it).
That's right, that whole entire line is where my movie will take place, but this line tells you so much about your film.
Where will he go? What will he see? How will it end?
As long as you have a basic plot and back story and you can have thousands of open questions thrown in your face then you have done well so far!
Developing your plot
So now we have a basic and sturdy plot, we need to fill it up with action, drama and suspense.
So how do we make a Cow with a pig as an udder an interesting story?
Here are a few rules to follow when writing a detailed plot:
-ALWAYS have a conflict between 2 characters on the same side.
-If you think something is to cliche, then do the opposite. If you still think that is to cliche, then ditch the idea. Unless it HAS to be in the film for the plot. That is the only exception.
Those are pretty much the two main rules in my opinion, but break them. Good plots always break the rules.
Notice how we don't have a name yet. This is an important thing. Having a name for a film can severely bias your thoughts and creativity.
This is the stage where you can go wither full blown description, or just give the general direction of the story. If you decide to keep the plot quite open, that's fine. You can just develop it as you write the scrip in the next part. Here, I'm going for the in depth because it's easier for me to convey the plot in the PLOT section.
Finish creating your characters
Yep. Don't write your screenplay until you further develop the characters.
This part is quite easy. Just imagine the character in a normal or strange situation.
I have always imaged Chicken to be quite the joker, and Cow to be the serious one, so put yourself in their shoes. What would they do? Now you could go even further and talk about their family but that's boring as shit so don't.
I'm not asking you to write this all down, but as long as you have a good idea to how they will react to events, then you should be sweet.
Writing your screenplay
Ok, you have your plot (or plot base) and now lets start putting the ideas in a screenplay.
Now before I get to this part, I want to make one thing very clear. Very, very clear.
That's all I beg of you. Use freaking grammar.
Now that that is over, let us talk about the script writing.
There are many ways of writing a screenplay but by far the best is using screenplay writing software. If you have money or if you don't, there is something out there.
A great free screenplay writing software is Celtx. (Celtx Home)
This is the best free screenplay writing software, and whats great about it is that you can write a stageplay, novel or basically any kind of anything, for free!
If you do have cash to burn because your dad is a high-flying lawyer, then I reccomend Final Draft. (Final Draft Home)
Now don't get me wrong, but there are many many more out there, but these work for me, and as long as they work for you to, then you should be happy and so on.
For this example we will use Celtx, because I guess everyone will be using it.
Turn on the program > Select 'Film' > Crazy scary window with blank page appears > Type.
In a nutshell, anyway.
I'm not spending my whole time explaining how to use this program as you can google that yourself (But because I'm feeling nice - Here you go. )
I shall teach you about writing conventions.
Here is a simple list of things to use while writing your screenplay.
In the grey bar you write the scene setting like so:
EXT. HOUSE. DAY
This is telling you the scene is outside (EXT.) the house (HOUSE.) at daytime (DAY)
Another example is: INT. WAREHOUSE. NIGHT. Inside (INT.) a Warehouse (WAREHOUSE) at night time (NIGHT.)
An action is when someone does something.
Mary walked into the kitchen and picked up the car keys. As she did, she gave Brent a dirty look.
This should be at the side of your page, like your setting but without the grey bar.
-First time you mention a name, put it in CAPITALS, followed by their age.
MARK, 21, walked past MARY, 35, in the shopping mall. Mary turned around and tried to get Mark's attention.
-If you want a certain shot, then put CRANE UP if you want the camera to fly up. CRANE DOWN to fly down and DOLLY (if moving in a straight line) or TRACK (if freely moving).
As the car pulled up, CRANE DOWN to Mary's terrified face. TRACK as Mary walks to the front door.
-Sound effects - If they are not a vital part, then don't but them in. People aren't idiots.
This is bad: Mark blew up the house (BOOM FX) and it fell to the ground.
This is good: Mark blew up the house and it fell to the ground.
Now for god's sake. Do everyone here a favor and don't write your script like this:
emma wakls into the room and beigns to cri
emma=i am so sad :'(
mark=so am i
they btho cri and hugs
(writerz note: i crie evry tiem)
Just. Don't. Do. It.
USE. THE. PROGRAMS. AND. PROPER. LINES. UNLIKE. I. AM. RIGHT. NOW.
(When I have enough time, I will write out parts of the Cow screenplay)
Issues writers will face
Click for a cool story!
That's right. When you are writing, somewhere along the way you will hit a wall. That wall is the most annoying, freaking piece of wall you have ever ran into. You know what it is called?
*Dun dun DUUUUUNN
Yup. Writers Block. Sort of ironic, huh?
Writers block is when you don't know what to write. You are typing away at your keyboard full of the biscuit crumbs you were eating to try keep your brain going while writing and all of a sudden just out of no where... WHAK! into your face.
You don't know what to do next, you feel that the story is crap, and you just are stuck for ideas. This my friends, is writers block.
"But how do I overcome writers block, Tyler?" I'm glad I posed as you asking that question!
There are many ways to combat writers block, but there is one thing you should never do - keep writing.
Stop writing, save your file, turn off the computer and go watch some TV, eat, sleep, do whatever you want to APART from even think about your film.
"But why Tyler?" I hear myself ask once again.
Because this way your brain is being stimulated by other things than just a screen. Doing other things is like creativity brain food. Another way is to just sit down and doodle. you could... make a stop motion film about how a dog saved a monkey from a cage full of deadly magical ponies - Hey, it's possible. Who doesn't have My Little Pony toys sitting around their room! Oh. Well me neither. That's not manly at all.
Obviously I'm not getting much creativity or real food because I'm sitting here typing this. It's 7:30pm, I'm tired, and I'm going eat and to go to bed soon.
ANYWAY - So yea. Don't focus on your project unless you come up with an idea. Try hold it back. If it persists, then run as fast as you can away from your TV, food or bed and sit your butt back down and type. Type like it's running out of fashion. Let the
Screenplay writing will get boring and you will want to stop. STOP. Just put the computer away, and do what I said before.
If when you come back and you still find it boring, grab a piece of paper and write your script on that. Trust me - I would write on paper over computer any day, but it's just one more time consuming step.
One other thing that I find helpful is to save you screenplay. This can avoid you computer getting mashed by a sledge hammer when you computer has a hissy fit on you and decides to take a nap. It's your fault if you didn't save it!
Next up, you will have your script, so now what?
Get to know your jobs
This is the part where so many go wrong. And when I say so many, I'm talking about pretty much everybody.
Lets get a few things clear:
YOU DO NOT:
- Need 3 or more co-directors
- Only need actors and builders
- Have to get 3 editors
- Have 3 music makers (we like to be called composers)
So now that I have that off my chest, we shall begin with a brief overview of the crew members.
Now don't get me wrong - this jobs sounds amazing. And of course you are going to be the director, but it is one of the hardest jobs you can do. Being a director involves pressure, stress, and a lot of feeling tired, down in the dumps, etc.
So what does a director do exactly? Well, he directs. He/she is in charge of the creative side of things in the movie. The director should have a vision and want to tell it and how will he? Using a film, made in Minecraft I suppose. The director needs to be able to communicate very well. If anything, he shouldn't be doing a single thing apart from be taking to the actors.
Now believe it or not, but the Director does not have final say about the non creative side of things. Technically speaking, he isn't even in charge when compared to:
Now I'm having a debate in my head weather or not to bring you this information, but at the end of the day you might use it.
The Producer is in charge of all the boring stuff - getting funding for the film, hiring crew, distributing the film etc.
On one hand, many of you will be to new to making films that a producer will seem like a hard task, but on the other hand, with a producer it takes a lot of stress off of the director. Trust me - I know that being a director and trying to organise the sets, actors, etc is very hard work, and my project eventually fell flat on it's face because I was so exhausted.
THE EXECUTIVE PRODUCER:
Nope. This is a position that is not necessarily at all, but lets just call them a motivator. So the Executive overlooks the project and see's how it's going. If a builder is talking to long for a set, the executive will say that to him, or notify the producer and leave it to him.
There can also be many executive producers as well, each overlooking their own section. One could be looking at set construction while the other at skins, textures, etc.
1ST ASSISTANT DIRECTOR:
Now you may think I'm going a bit overboard, but this job could be crucial. "How Tyler?"
Whats the difference between 2 people having a conversation and a full on war with 200 people?
So who is going to direct them? Not the director. That is the 1st assistant directors job. He worries about all the stuff the director doesn't want to like the 198 other actors.
This actually is a fun department to work in.
Well, this art is quite self explanatory. The builder builds the sets and should work closely with the director to make sure the set is what he wants. He should build the sets using the texture pack the director wants.
TEXTURE PACK ARTIST:
Once again, pretty much the same as the builder - he/she works closely with the director to get the desired outcome. They can also do the character skins but you can get another to do that.
So there are the jobs I can explain separately without any issues. Now on to the more... difficult ones...
CAMERA MAN AND EDITOR:
But why are they the same people?
It's as simple as that. You wouldn't like it either. A lot of directors like to film themselves, but if so, either edit it, or be prepared to send it on a hard drive.
Actors and Voice actors should be different people recorded at different times.
ACTORS AND VOICE ACTORS:
For someone to record the movements while saying dialogue, that would be stupid because of issues like lag, etc, but if recorded at different times then it is a lot easier.
I will add more to this section as I can think of it.
FINALLY! You finished your script, and you want to get straight onto production! STOP. Print out your script. Staple it together. Now put it away. Leave it there for a week. Forget it existed. Just do other stuff. Play some TF2 or BF3 or COD or whatever, just don't get involved in your script again until that week is over. You are allowed to think of ideas, but not put them in place.
Week over? Good. Now get that script again and now read through it. Don't skip a beat, just keep reading.
Is the magic still there? Do you feel the motivation through all of it? If not, throw it away. Start from scratch. Seriously, come up with another idea.
If the magic IS there, then you must re-write your script.
"But why Tyler?" - I'm glad you asked.
By re-writing your script you mentally remove things you dislike, add things you like and just make a better script.
Feel free to skip that step, but trust me - you will probably want a re-write.
This is fun, but not fun at the same time. The is the part where you read your script and write down everything you will need.
Sets, items, what textures you will need, how you will achieve SFX. All that stuff needs to be written down.
So you have all of the big dogs sorted out the script and production script, but now you need to turn to the community to continue the project...
Basically in this section I will be telling you how to write a topic, how to make sure it does not get buried and how to get as many people as you need.
Tylers Rules of Topic Making!:
Use grammar. Again, correct grammar, syntax and everything in your post will make people like it. It will make you seem mature and trust me - people HATE reading this:
You don't need 4 filmers, 3 editors, 7 composers and 5 co-directors.
You only need one filmer, one editor (who should be that filmer) and one composer.
People have different styles of filming, editing and composing. You want to keep something called 'continuity'. You don't want your music to be hard out rock then switch to classical.
You don't need back ups. If someone can't make it, then just make a post on the forums saying that you need immediate help, and I'm sure someone will come to the rescue.
You are never right. When posting a topic, don't seem like a stuck up bastard. People want respect, so give it to them. Make your topic firm, but don't be so anal that nobody want to help you.
So there are 3 rules to live by.
THE WAY THE INTERNET WORKS:
How are you going to get your message across effectively?
You don't want to give to get a TL:DR or a "not enuf info noob"... so how?
Those things there ^^^
With a spoiler you can cut your post down to something less intimidating. If you have a long paragraph like this:
HERE IS MY FILM PLOT:
HERE IS MY FILM PLOT:
Having a page full of labeled spoilers is much better as it gives the reader control over what they want to see and what is relevant to their overall goal of reading your post.
Once again, use grammar and syntax.
How to make your topic magical
FIRST IMPRESSIONS ARE EVERYTHING:
Make a picture. Put the picture on the post and make it the first thing people see. You want to wow them - having a picture makes you seem organised and that you mean what you say.
For example: http://www.minecraft...fficial-thread/
GET MORE PEOPLE:
Noticed how after you have a few people, the applications start to die?
Here is the trick - DON'T say you have all the actors or whatever you have.
Note the name, IGN, age etc and then when you feel you have more than enough applications, but them in paper, drop them in a hat and randomly pick them out.
When you see that there are places already taken in a film, you think that you don't have a chance. If your topic has to many views, people will they they don't have a chance.
It's a fine balance between what they want to see, and what you give them.
DON'T LET YOUR THREAD DIE:
Worst nightmare: your thread gets buried. It didn't last longer than 5 minutes on the first page!
What to do? Get a signature banner. Then when people see it on other non-film related posts, they will click it and possibly comment, bumping it to the top place once again.
Here is the code:
[url=THREAD URL HERE/] [img]DIRECT PHOTO LINK HERE[/img] [/url]
There you go!
GET PEOPLE EXCITED:
That's right, get them excited somehow, some way.
Your topic title is something very important: It's what gets the person interested in a project.
BAD TITLE: film being made maybe need help
Sub-title: plzzzzz help it will be like yogscast*
GOOD TITLE: Revenge of The Chicken - The Final Chapter
Sub-title: Recruiting Cast and Crew
*Never ever copy Yogscast. DON'T.
As you can see, the second looks much more appealing as the topic creator has used proper names (Cast (Actors) Crew (Everyone else)).
USE NAMES THAT MAKE SENSE:
For god's sake, you don't know how confusing it is when I go onto a post and all I see is this:
Can you spot the issues?
Filmer - really called a Cameraman.
Set keeper - What is that?
Stage handler - Once again, what is that? We aren't even working on a stage?
Graphical Designer - What? Don't you mean texture pack, skin and banner artist?
Don't give things stupid names to try make your lingo seem superior than others - They will just think your a total idiot.
DON'T GIVE STUPID RESTRICTIONS:
If you want a builder, they DO NOT need to know how to use Voxel Sniper to build something. They can build it however they want.
If you tell an editor he has to use only After Effects because Vegas does not have the look he wants he will be quite pissed off. After Effects is a composting program, not an editing program. For all you know, that kid with the LEGAL copy of Windows Movie Maker could be better than the PIRATE with After Effects.
Let people use your video in their show-reel. Not just a few scenes, the WHOLE THING. Why? I don't know, but they did do this free for you, so the lest you could do is give them the rights to show it to people.
MAKE AN APPLICATION FOR DIFFERENT JOBS:
Can you act:
Can you film:
Can you host a server:
Stop wasting my time. If I want to be an actor, you know I cant film. Idiots.
Instead, you should have this option:
Can you do everything else apart from the job you want to do?:
Make the job applications FOR THAT JOB.
DON'T ASK FOR PROOF THAT THEY CAN DO SOMETHING:
Trust people. They have to start somewhere. Don't expect the best - be grateful for what you can get.
Second stage of pre-production
So, you have actors, builders, and all the other things you need.
First persons to talk to: Builders.
Actors won't like to come to a meeting on an empty set. They don't really want to waste their time. They want to come onto the server, ready to act and be amazed by your builders work.
Get your sets done, if order of importance and quality.
If a house is being filmed in, then that should be made first over the rest of the town it is in.
Speaking of builders, don't hate them. They are a vital part of the production. More vital than any other part.
Work with them so you don't have to tell them that half of their city isn't right. It's a lot better for them if you correct them frequently rather than tell them a whole bunch of work is crap.
Go out and buy sticky notes. Rape your wall with colorful pieces of paper that contain all the things on your mind. Need a set by the 3rd? Sticky note > Wall. Done.
Next, make a filming schedule. Figure out what scenes, when, where, who.
People want to know what dated they need to be there. If you have 5 crew, but only need 2 then tell the other 3 that they don't have to come. If anything they will be happy.
Meetings between you, cast and crew are absolutely crucial.
During your first meeting with cast and crew, I want you to talk to them about your vision, where you see the film leading onto in the future and if it has a deeper meaning or not.
Discuss the script with them. Don't just ask them "Is there anything wrong with the script?", actually talk about things on your mind and ask them if they seem something doesn't fit.
If there is a plot twist, ask them "Why do you think the wizard abandoned his father?" and see if they can answer the way you want them to. If they can't, explain to them what your intentions were. If they then understand and point out they missed something, then that's ok. If they are actually missing the whole point, close the meeting and re-write. That's right.
The part where I can't really give advice
So assuming you were smart enough to think of everything I didn't talk about (server hosting, chat communication (I recommend Team Speak or something that IS NOT SKYPE because Skype is just overly recourse hungry, especially when making a film in Minecraft)) we shall move onto the next step.
Oh joy, the best part! You have dragged through pre-production, such a struggle it was.
Well, in this section I am not going to tell you how to film your film as such, but the technical aspects and tricks behind making the film better.
Now don't get me wrong - I have basically covered 1/10th of film making in this guide. There is much more, but I honestly cant be bothered typing it out.
The server you use is a crucial part of your film. Lag and... Mainly lag is going to be the issue. You are going to have many players on the server, at least have something that can keep up with it.
An English lesson with Tyler
Today we will be learning about film making!
We will be.
Now I know you will have heard this many a time before, but this shit is so simple a monkey could do it.
lolol, the dreaded angles of the camera. How boring could it get?
Actually, it is rather fun. Coming up with angles is really fun, and if you like a challenge then this is gonna be a blast.
There are a few main camera angles:
I will get back to this a bit later, but for now fill your brain with this juicy watermelon: http://www.mediaknow.../camangles.html
If anything, it will explain it better than I have :/
MANAGING YOUR SERVER/CREW:
Hehehe.... Having 20 people on a server without some form of management plugin could be quite... interesting.
SO here is a list of plugins I think could be quite helpful:
1) Permissions (there are like 5 different one's now days, I still remember the days of hmod...)
2) Anti-grief (obviously. Don't opt out for a recourse hungry one... just something that will not let people destroy your stuff.
3) Whitelist (No, it's not a plugin but it can be helpful.)
4) Teleport (You know, when its a pain to walk 10 miles to the other set on the world)
5) Some form of anti-lag (THIS may be helpful.)
6) Misc plugins like mob disguise etc...
Please tell me if there is something I have missed or should put in here!
LETS SPLIT OFF INTO CATEGORIES:
So here I am going to go into each job in more depth. I will cover all of the jobs during production right here.
Oh joy, the fun you will have.
PRODUCTION TIPS AND TRICKS
This has got to be the best part of this whole guide so far. HERE is where you will learn the best secrets and tips so you don't have to waste your time!
TIP #1 - Use Teamspeak.
Vent is cheaper, are less power hungry. Too bad. Teamspeak is like using Word over Notepad. There are more features in Teamspeak, and its much more organised and such. Also, you don't default with the push to talk which is annoying in vent when your filming.
Tip #2 - Don't piss around.
Do you know what a unsuccessful two minute scene is better than? Taking 4 hours to film it. A simple shoot can turn long, tedious and boring after an hour. Make sure you know what you are doing. Sometimes it's better to have the director to only direct and not film. The amount of time it takes to set up a camera move and execute it (I can set up a simple move in 10 seconds, but for a director doing it all it will take 1 minute for blocking, less than 30 seconds for the camera move and then you have to film it.)
Tip #3 - Make sure you NAIL THE CONTINUITY!
Continutity? What is this? It's the thing that means someone is wearing red then when the camera comes back to them they are wearing blue. Basically make sure things will line up. Characters are facing the same way, the day/night lighting you want is correct (including the sun and possibly the clouds if it's a big detail)
SET BUILDING TIPS:
1) Don't build more than you need to. If you are building a city for one short shot outside a window, only build one side of the skyscraper, then make little cells where the windows are (detail is good, but only in visible areas)
2) Make sure you don't burn your set down. When I was building a set for inception, we had the brilliant idea to use lava as a light source. Note: Don't do it on a set made out of wood and use lava as a light source.
3) MC Edit is your friend! You can copy sets, make changes in some and not the other and just have fun while not destroying your original.
4) Mushrooms are lanterns, for all you care! Work along side the guy doing the texture pack - turn wool into diamond and diamond into bedrock all by using the texture pack.
When you are editing a video, you want to have a variety of things in mind.
Don't use default effects and filters. Don't make stuff look bad.
MORE COMING SOON!