Simatography 

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More Survey Feedback

Posted by Jorgha Haq on August 22, 2015 at 1:55 PM Comments comments (1)

One thing I can say about the survey that we posted is that it's giving us something to write about in the blog area for a change :) This post in addressing the feedback we have gotten on the survey is going to be quite long, I am afraid.  Apologies in advance.


The survey was made anonymous for a reason. We want to encourage the feedback and get opinions, especially with some of the things going on behind the scenes. Sometimes, though, I wish that I knew who gave the answers where I could talk to them and get more information. If anyone wants to discuss anything that they have put in the survey they can email us at [email protected] Right now I want to once again address some of the specific feedback 


"Make a contest only for people who are new with the sims stuff."  -  In theory, this isn't a bad idea, but it's something that would take time and planning. Having said that, we do have an award for Best New Director. New Director means someone who has made 5 or fewer machinimas. I don't remember how we came up with that number, honestly.  t's voted on internally by our Machinima Masters. This season we have a number of people who have been brave enough to share their very first machinima projects with us and we want to do something to bring a bit of attention to these new directors. Since we do acknoweldge the new directors on their own, I'm not sure that we need to set up a contest specifically for them. In some ways I feel that this would be doing them a disservice since SIFF has always been a way to introduce people to new directors and people use it as a vessle to get more views on their projects as well as more subscribers. Doing a separate, new and therefore less known, competition probably wouldn't provide them with that. This is a topic that we really need more feedback on.


"I would love to see more of an inclusion for animators, pose makers and cc creators. I know they are already welcomed and encouraged to participate but perhaps if there were awards for say, best costume designer, animation and pose creator more people who aren't as into the machinima aspect would participate and get in on the fun, as well as helping to spread the word." - I feel like I am picking on whoever suggested this but that isn't my intention. SIFF is and always has been about machinima. Without CC makers machinima wouldn't be what it is. It would all start too look the same very quickly. The CC community is a valuable resource. However, this isn't a CC awards show. It never will be. As a CC creator myself, I would love to get more attention for what I do but that's not going to happen, not through SIFF. There is no way we could do this. Every piece of CC, every pose, every animation would need to be kept track of along with what submission it's in there would have to be a way for the audiance to know where and what they are looking at. I don't even want to think about the logistics involved there. Having to pay attention to every little detail, like what outfit Alex, Tyler, and Samantha wore in each scene of "I Dream of Plumbobs" is just going to make the audiance tune out. Yea, CC awards are not going to happen. We do have awards for costume and set design that go to our directors because they are the ones that are putting all the CC together like a giant puzzle and making it work together.

Many of our directors list in their credits the CC creators that who's stuff they use. If you want to get the word out for stuff, let us know. We have been telling everyone over and over that we want adverts for the magazines for your content and websites and yet people don't take advantage of this.


"I feel like battle of the bands could be more a summer thing." - Battle of the Bands. Ah yes...my baby. LOL! This survey has told us two things that have been extremely helpful.

 

  1. People want two seasons of SIFF because of real life. Some people can't particapate in the spring, but can the fall and vice versa. We're not going to take that away.
  2. SIFF and Battle of the Bands have two very distinct audiances and Battle of the Bands should really be it's own thing.
We are going to work on making Battle of the Bands it's own thing that runs between SIFF seasons. It's going to take a bit to best decide how to do this, but we think it will be beneficial to both SIFF and Battle of the Bands.


"Make the Buzz more prominent/mandatory or just stop spending so much time and effort on it." - I am honestly confused by this. I'm not sure what is meant by "mandatory" here but as far as making it more prominent I am not sure what we can do there. This is one of those things that I wish I could ask whoever gave us this feedback what they meant. We promte it on all our social networking sites as well as post it on the site. It's a fun thing that is put together to help showcase what is going on in SIFF and our survey results show that people do not read it consistantly. We can't tie people down and make them read it and I am not sure what needs to be done to make people show more interest in it. Again, this is one of those things that we need more specific feedback on from everyone in order to make te best decision - that middle ground between what we want to provide for everyone and what everyone finds important/enjoyable.


"I feel a bit overpowered by the masters in BOTB or soon to be masters in regular SIFF" - Honestly I am not picking on anyone. This is the only way I have to address this stuff since we didn't ask for contact inforamtion on the survey. SIFF Masters compete iin their own catagory against each other. The soon to be masters...there is no way we can separate them out from everyone else.

This goes along with something someone else sent in about adding a beginners and intermediate catagory. That would mean prescreening everything. Last season there was around 48 hours of machinima to watch. That would mean that the staff would have to find the time as soon as the films were released to watch everything ASAP. One of our staff members works 12 hour days with very little time off. Another one of our staff is in University full time. Watching all this stuff as soon as it comes out would put a huge stress on our staff that we don't want. Then we would have to sit down and debate between ourselves where each submission belongs. What if we can't agree on something? What if people don't agree with where we put them? What if we asked them where they wanted to be put and we didn't agree with it? This would seriously hold up getting the polls up for everyone to vote on and potentially stop people from re-entering making SIFF die a slow death.

Pulling out those that would be put in the masters catagory prior to putting up the polls isn't really fair. This means ruining the SIFF experience for the few people that make masters every season. They aren't officially masters so they can't compete there, so where would they compete? Against each other? That's not going to work because some seasons only one or two people are put in the Masters catagory. It would also mean getting a second group of people with commitments in real life together to watch everying quickly and make the decision about who will make Masters early on where we could do with them whatever we decided would be "fair" (and there isn't much that would be fair to them). Logistically this would also be a nightmare. You also don't annonce "winners" before vote even starts and that is, essentially what we would be doing by separating those that will be added to Masters at the end of the season.

The films submitted by the Masters are there to inspire, to push each of us to improve. While a big part of SIFF is to showcase our films and practice our craft, everyone wants to win and/or be acknowledged for what they have done. Everyone wants to be told "You are good enough to be a Master."  We need those films that are better than ours to encourage us to improve. I am not a master, as much as this surprised Gus Rockman on a regular basis, who thinks I should be there based on creativity alone. I don't mind competing against those that are better than me - the almost masters - because no matter how much I improve there is always going to be someone better. There is always gonig to be someone with a better eye for various details than me. There is going always be someone with more skill than me because of their major in university or because they have more time to perfect the craft. This is just the way of things and those people shouldn't be penalized because I don't or can't live up to their standards. It's my job to find the time to improve. I really hope that makes sense.

One thing that people may not realize is that the Masters are approachable. They are willing to help people and give feedback on how to better do things. They are more than happy to help. Believe it or not, their first machinimas were probably pretty bad...and speaking bad quality machinima I want to direct everyones attention to Manscaping with Duct Tape. If you haven't watched this you should. Fall 2012's "Best Advert". I threw this together in 15 minutes tops. I'm not kidding. It was written and put together on the fly. No planning, no nothing. I did it to amuse myself and very little effort was put into it. True story, Min chased me down and told me to enter it, and that if I didn't, she would enter it on behalf. Yes, I was blackmailed. From a technical standpoint it is probably one of the worst pieces of machinima ever submitted to SIFF. This is NOT something I would have ever said "This is good enough for SIFF" and I really didn't expect it to get more than maybe 5 votes, and I am being generous there. It did not stop it from winning against things that people spent more time on and were technically oh so much better.To this day I still have no idea why it won and why people like it. I have seen brand new machinima makers put together better quality stuff. A peice of machinima doesn't have to be a technical masterpiece to be entertaining and enjoyed or even winning. Remember that.


"Promote it more on social media" - I will admit, we fail here. I hate admitting that because I spent a number of years working in social media. It comes down to time and resources. Promoting stuff on social media is a full time job in itself and we need people dedicated to doing it. We are working on this and I think we are slowly improving.

To everyone who thinks we're perfect, thanks for the vote of confidnece. I think we have a lot of room for improvement and every season we make adjustments where they are needed. I want everyone to keep sending us their feedback. 

 


Features and More

Posted by Jorgha Haq on August 20, 2015 at 4:30 AM Comments comments (4)

As you all know, we have been talking a lot about the future of SIFF and what we need to do to enure it's sucess as it grows. We've gotten a deal of feedback and we will probably continue to throw ideas out over the next several weeks in the form of SurveyMonkey surveys since they are quick and painless for everyone to answer while preserving anonymity. Bare with us, we want to make sure we make the best decisions. I do want to take a few minutes to address a few things that have come up wthrough the survey process thus far.


Lets start with site features -


Chat/Instant Messaging: There is no easy way to do this. This is NOT something Webs supports. We have tried to institute this before and we have tried again recently. It's not going to happen. Not on Webs. The site would have to be moved and that means hosting, and hosting isn't free.


Profile Pages: Again, this is NOT something that can accomplished with Webs. It's not that we don't want to add features that would encourage use of the site it's that we are limited with what we can do with what we have have Remember, we all do this in our spare time and we make no money off the site. 


If you take a look around, the site is ad free. Minraed pays for hosting out of her own pocket and has invited everyone to to use the site. This has always been a labour of love but when things don't pay for themselves costs need to be kept under control. We hope that you all understand this.


Moving on to SIFF -


More Catagories: We would love to do this, in fact, we have had different catagories over the seasons. The problem is, they don't get used. Someone suggested an anime catagory. We don't have people actually submitting those kinds of films to justify giving it it's own catagory. This goes for a lot of other things. There is a complaint that things are all English based. This goes along with the catagories. Peopel weren't use the Foriegn Film catagory. At most we got two or three entries a season. Some seasons none at all. We have pushed this catagory in the past and people just choose not to use it. If we get the entires to support it we will, by all means, bring it back.


Support for other languages: We have tried really hard to do this in the past. It's something people want, but it's not something we have had a lot of help with when asked. We need people who will help us keep rules updated in other languages. It's an ongoing theme. SIFF has a staff currently of three people. Three people make everything happen. We make sure emails and questions are anwered, that the playbill gets updated, that our YouTube channel is maintained and playlists are updated, that voting happens, that there are articles for the magazines, and so much more. We can't do everything. People want SIFF to happen and for things to run smoothly but they don't want to help. Not to sound mean, uncaring, or rude, but we are three people and we can only provide those things that we can do ourselves.


A Third SIFF Cycle During the Year: Wow. I don't even know where to start with that one. Let me repeate something I have said already. We have a staff of three people. Three people with families, work and school. To add a third season would be very stressful to us. As it is, we get a two month break between the fall and spring seasons before we have to start doing all the things that happen behind the scenes to make SIFF happen. We are talking about moving Battle of the Bands bewteen SIFF Seasons at the moment for a number of reasons, and that will fill those few months of down time. We really don't want the quality of anything to suffer and we don't want to run ourselves ragged and suffer from burnout where we end up canceling seasons because we can't keep up.


Do More with Vocie Acting: We are working on this. The last two seasons we started working more with voice actors and we are still working out the best way to do this. We will be adding a voice actor to our staff to help us with this. We are oppen to suggestions.


Sectons for Stories, etc: You can always add these things to the forum. I know it's not ideal, but we have always tried to encourage people to share what they do there. You are allowed to start your own threads to showcase your work.


Limiting: I know this suggestion was made with the best of intentions as a way to keep things under control, but we will never limit the number of peopel that can join in one season. We want to give everyone a chance and no matter how many entries we get each season, not everyone gets their films done. Last season we had close to 80 entries and only 53 of those films were released at SIFF. Many of those people we found out when films opened that their products were not done. We also won't limit the amount of time for projects. It counter produtive to creativty on a number of levels. 


Please, keep sending us your feedback. We are listening and discussing everything you tell us. You can always tell us what you think anonymously through tumblr



We Want To Hear From You

Posted by Jorgha Haq on August 17, 2015 at 9:10 PM Comments comments (0)

The Sims International Film Festival is now in it's 12th season. For those of you keeping track at home, that's 6 years. 6 years. That's a lot of machinima. I know we have said this a million times, but SIFF has grown so much larger than we expected it to over the seasons. Recently when the Machinima Masters Page was put up and we were going through all the past magazines hunting down this information, it was amazing to see that progression from having just a handful of films to over 70 entries a season. SIFF has grown into this huge thing that has become a lot of work for a small staff to manage.


We made no secret of the fact that this season Minraed stepped back because her personal life has become very busy and demading. Now it's time for us to step back and re-evaluate where we are going with SIFF. We realize that there is no other Sims fan site dedicated to machinima and nothing comes close to what we do. That is why, as we make these decisions, we want to hear from you. We want your feedback on SIFF. What you like. What you don't like.


Please take a moment and visit our SurveyMonkey opinion survey and give us your feedback. It won't take long and all responses are anonymous.


Thank you. 





SIFF Fall 2015 - Season 12

Posted by Minraed on July 1, 2015 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (0)



     Another season of SIFF has gotten underway and we have many exciting things in store for you. Each season brings old standard expectations, and always new ideas and changes to make it better than ever. We are looking forward to another awesome season and the opportunity to showcase some of the community's greatest talents. Even though it is a film festival, we always like to emphasize that you don't have to be a machinima maker to join and celebrate with us because we really do have something for everyone.

     This season kicks off early as we hope to give more people time to learn about us and prepare. We have battle of the bands already underway, as well as some of our startup challenges like the official SIFF poster challenge. Be sure to head into our SIFF forums HERE to get all of the details and updates. 

     If you have any questions about SIFF we have  special forum thread open for you so don't be shy. We are always here to help. 

SIFF Update SPRING 2015

Posted by Minraed on March 22, 2015 at 7:55 AM Comments comments (0)


Keeping up with blogs and updates here is clearly not my strong point. I apologize if this is where you turn for important news. I would like to say that I promise to do better in the future, but it is hard to say since I have such a demanding life outside of here that I find it impossible to do everything I would really like doing. So... please be sure to follow us on facebook, twitter and tumblr and subscribe to us on issuu and you won't miss a thing. 

So yes, SIFF films are open and it is time to vote!  Polls are open until April 11th so watch them all, take your time and vote fairly in support of the many talented machinima makers. 




And a final note of interest is that our next Simatography magazine is about to be released. It will be smaller since we have SIFF right now, but you will find some really great community spotlights inside. Watch for it on Issuu later today. 




SIFF Voting and Awards Outlined

Posted by Minraed on September 20, 2014 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (1)



This has been a long time coming, but such an important addition to SIFF. Over the years we have explored, through trial and error, an number of ways to approach the awards and voting process. Some things worked better than others, but our most important concern was fairness and clarity. We want everyone to feel that the voting is not only fair, but we want you to know what we are looking for, and as veiwers and voters, we want to give you a guideline so that you can help us award the many aspects that deserve attention.


After what was a very detailed debate, we came up with this final collection of viewer's choice and judges' choice awards and polls. Our plan is to NOT make changes every season, so that you can now be certain what to expect.


We hope that as fans and viewer's that you will take some time to consider voting for some of the special merit awards. We know that these take more consideration and time to vote on, especially since we have such a big and growing pool of submissions now. We will be extending the voting phase from now on to accomodate viewing and voting time.


Expect the general polls to open tomorrow, Sunday September 21st and the special merit awards polls by no later than September 25th. 


Thank you for joining us at SIFF for our very special 10th season.


Polls are Open

Posted by Jorgha Haq on September 1, 2014 at 6:45 AM Comments comments (1)

So many entries for SIFF this season! We have a record number of entries and it's going to make voting that much harder. But that's good. It means that this little thing called The Sims International Film Festival that started 10 seasons ago is getting bigger and bigger each season. With that said, the polls are now open for Best Trailer/Promo and Favorite Movie Poster. Be sure to come out and vote!


POLLS ARE OPEN!

Sims 4 Machinima at SIFF (and more...)

Posted by Minraed on August 31, 2014 at 7:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Don't forget to scroll right to the end for an important annoucement about Sims 4 machinima and SIFF.

    

    Well here we are just days away from game release for The Sims 4 and already machinima makers are testing out the waters. With only CAS to offer, creative movie makers are showing us what might be possible. The examples below will show you what people are already able to do with just simple CAS animations and some creative green-screening. I like how we are seeing some good variety in the examples. I think this provides some perspective, since we all have very different styles when it comes to the type of machinima we like to make. As machinima makers, we can all recognize that we are never restricted to the confines of style dictated by the game alone. With creative scenery, set design, green screens, costumes and lighting we can create truly unique genres that may not reflect what the game alone is offering us. So check these out...


     Essiepictures may have been the first person to put out a CAS demo turned into a machinima.These various clips are a brilliant example of the possibilties.


You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.


     Anyone who is familar with Bahariawans Studio and director Fadhil will know that he has a very oddball and quirky style that is all his own. Ok well, he's inspired by the film genre's that he imitates, but as far as Sims machinima goes, he's always making us laugh. His take on The Sims 4 CAS demo is no different. We can expect some hilarious new machinima from him I'm sure.


You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.


    And finally, I will indulge myself by sharing my very own Sims 4 machinima. This may be the first one made from game footage because I had the advantage of capturing some footage while I was at the EA Creator's Camp. My intention was just to explore some of the camera moves, and some of the basic machinima making features and tools, but I ended up with enough to make this funny little thing. Keep in mind that what you are seeing is very basic, and even given that I am feeling impressed with the possibilities. There is no cc, no special lighting technique, no mods, just plain and simple in game capture. I hope you enjoy.


You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.


Enter your early attempts at Sims 4 machinima at SIFF this season!


Since people are already exploring Sims 4 machinima we know that there will be some being made right away as the game is released, so we are going to allow these early attempts into SIFF. We will open up a separate Sims 4 category and will allow late submissions for Sims 4 only. Here are the ammended rules for your Sims 4 submission...


1. All usual SIFF rules apply - your machinima should not be released before September 15th and needs to be completed by September 20th


2. Deadline for Sims 4 submissions will be September 10th. Your film does not have to be ready by then, we just need to know that you are entering, so have your submission form in by then.


3. Have fun with it. We don't have all the CC and tools yet, so most people will not have time to finish a really in depth production. Try out an advertisement or something fun.


Get all of the needed info HERE on our SIFF page


SIFF BUZZ August 16th

Posted by Minraed on August 16, 2014 at 8:40 AM Comments comments (0)

If you are not already aware, SIFF Buzz is our weekly (or sort of weekly, depending on how efficient we are from week to week) tabloid that is here to provide you with updates, news and highlights of the festival. There is always so much going on that it is impossible to keep up with it, so hopefully you will find the BUZZ both entertaining and helpful.


This season we have changed up the format for a cleaner look, and to include more content. We really want to showcase the talents of our members more, so these larger issues will allow for that. Expect to see Red Carpet photos, film reviews and more - all related to SIFF. If you know the old joke "What's black and white and red all over?  -  A newspaper! Get it? hahaha"  wel then you will understand why we are using a red black and white colour scheme. Ok, so that's my attempt at being witty, but it does make for a nice looking publication.


Tabby Lloyd, a sim I created to roleplay the position of Media Manager, heads up the BUZZ team, but she's taking a step back to allow us to showcase the reporting talents of more people. Expect to see features from a variety of new reporters this season. We even have an idea for doing a video version to present on YouTube.   (credit to Mystery Jack for making the sim that is Tabby Lloyd, I only came up with the idea)


So be sure to follow us on our various sites so that you don't miss an issue.




Twitter @Simatography




and of course on Issuu where you will find the publications.


Click the cover pics to read the first two issues of the season...

    




2014 Fall Battle of the Bands

Posted by Jorgha Haq on June 12, 2014 at 10:45 PM Comments comments (0)

It seems like we just released the names of the Spring 2014 SIFF winners and here we are with the fall season upon us.  This marks our 10th Season of the Sims International Film Festival. Five years ago The Sims 3 was released and five years ago Simatography and SIFF came into existance to encourage and feature the kind of creativity that only the Sims can spawn.

Over these five years SIFF has grown and expanded. The Battle of the Bands started off as an experiment to try and include non-machinima makers to participate. We had no idea that it would grow as big as it has in such a short period of time or become so popular. Spring 2014 marked a record number of entries and we hope to see even more bands and performers come out this fall.

So, without further ado, we are excited to annouce that Sunday, June 15, 2014, the submission period for the Battle of the Bands officially opens kicking off the SIFF season! We can't wait to see your bands and performers! 

Due to the growing popularity of the Battle of the Bands we have had to update THE RULES. Please be sure to check them out and read over everything. The official forum thread for the Battle of the Bands can be found HERE

In the words of Ozzy Osborne...."Let the madness begin!"

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