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Forum Home > How Goes the Project? > Writer's Block - how do I get rid of it?

Lil Sparrow
Member
Posts: 55

Hi there,

I started to film a series and then realised it was going nowhere. I started a new one, and it was an epic fail, too... now I'm moving on to short films, but I have no idea where to start. Okay, of course I need to create the sims and sets and all for the film, but... after that? How do I start conversing my thoughts to a plot that would be as intriguing as possible? :-(

August 27, 2015 at 10:07 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Sims Berrry
Member
Posts: 24
What I do is listen to music. All kinds of it. And usually I come up with the plot first and do other bits and bobs later. Also I look at inspiring pictures and quotes. It sounds weird but half of the plot of my series was defined by a picture I saw on tumblr. The other half is music. Also just play with the Sims, see the objects and the surroundings and see what you can do with them. But if you ever need ideas be sure to ask me ^-^
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August 27, 2015 at 10:47 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Minraed
Site Owner
Posts: 3019

Ya, this is a tough thing to advise another person on, because we all function so differently, creatively speaking. 


As for a series. I personally am in awe of anyone who actually starts and carries on a machinima series because I can't imagine keeping one thread of creative spark going for that long. I think many people struggle with this, which would explain why so many really awesome series' that I have watched initial episodes of never go anywhere, even though they have had great potential.  In addition to this, a series' is a HUGE commitment that most people in the end probably just can't stick with in the long run. It is unfortunate.


I too send to go towards films, where I can express one creative idea or story. I too use music as my muse. 


What I do believe to be true is that the creativity should flow. It should be your own.  I really believe, for me and my creative process anyway, that if the idea hits a block no matter what I seem to do, then it is time to move on. If it is really something I can run with then I go with that.  I find that when the creative process becomes too much like a chore, it is too easy to lose interest and no matter what I do, it just won't come out well. 


How to convert your thoughts to a plot?  oh, another difficult question to answer in a really concrete way. I think for many it comes with practice. Not being afraid to fail, or to be less than perfect or to be a bit embarassed if your first attempt or three are not really great. Along these lines, it is important to be open to feedback (with a thick skin) and don't take it personally, but rather let it guide you to be able to improve with time.


I hope this helps a bit. Creativity comes from the heart and soul, not from a textbook of rules that we can follow unfortunately. On that note, welcome, and perhaps you will find that with some planned updates here over the next few months, and even with what we are already doing, you will find some creative inspirations. Look for our 100 themes photo challenge, or our monthly theme challenge and watch for other things we will soon be adding to spark creativity.  Don't be afraid to share stuff for feedback along the way. 


Good luck!

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August 27, 2015 at 6:15 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Lil Sparrow
Member
Posts: 55

Thank you, Sims Berrry, Minraed! You really helped me realise... inspiration comes and goes.

It really cannot be learnt from reading a book or such... I already have a hunch of what I'm going to do. Maybe I'll just write down my ideas and do a sketch of what I'll be filming. I used to film without really knowing what I was doing... Right now I'm listening to some epic music and downloading a world where my story will be located! I'm planning to refilm Snow White, just as a practice. That is what I really need. I have an old, slow laptop with only 2 GB RAM, so I can't use heavy editing software. I'd love to use Fraps to film and some better video editing software, guess I'll have to use WIndows Movie Maker till I can buy a new computer... Some people say Windows Movie Maker is for beginners, and maybe that is true, but I see nothing embarrassing using it for so called "serious" projects as at the moment I'm not able to use any else program.

I should get rid of my shyness. I know I'm no good at filming yet, but I guess I just need some more practice. I'm also planning to do a music video on some epic piece - using my three angel sims I created yesterday ^^ I've downloaded loads of CC but I still need waaaaaaay more...

I need pose player and some custom animations, but I can't download mods - it's just I don't understand how to do that. My boyfriend promised to help ^^'

I'll post some of my Simatography right when I find out how to do that.

Thank you for your help, really, people!

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xxx Lil Sparrow

August 30, 2015 at 10:17 AM Flag Quote & Reply

sylentwhysper
Moderator
Posts: 1183

Lil Sparrow, You are right that inspiration comes and goes.  Even to the best of us, we lose it sometimes, only if for a moment.  We all have those days where we just go 'Blah.'  There is nothing wrong with using Windows Movie Maker to make a film.  I think we tend to recommend that for beginners because it's easy to use.  But a good machinima or film is in the video content not the glam of the Video Editor. 


To grow, you have to be willing to learn.  You've embraced the right attitude and that's very good.  Of course, there is a lot to learn, so gaining knowledge with patience is a must. Many times, you will have to teach yourself on how to do things.  Reading tutorials is good but you have to apply it to truly understand a concept, so take it one step at a time. 


I think you are heading in the right direction.  Good luck and hope you will share more of your projects soon.

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August 30, 2015 at 10:46 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Lil Sparrow
Member
Posts: 55

Speaking of which, yesterday I had a blast of inspiration and filmed and edited my very first machinima movie! I should have been studying German, though... The exam went fine, I guess. Back to the business: the machinima did not quite turn out as I hoped it would, but after all, it's my first machinima! I had fun filming and editing it. Here's the link:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuhiLS5vz9Y


Please check it out and tell what you think! :-)


Something about the story: The story is about three guardian angels and their ward, a young girl. One of the guardian angels, Lilyth, is Fallen, no longer in the service of Good (right words, why don't you come to me...?). She is planning something fatal for their ward... wants to become the Queen of the Fallen. The more people a Fallen angel kills, the more powerful he or she is.


~*~


I think carrying on a series is tough. One may have everything planned out, but changing the Sims' clothing and hairdo over and over again may become tiring as time flows. At least that was for me. Maybe it's good to start with a less ambitious project. I take this machinima series as practice: I'll practice using the in-game Cameraman mode and building more versatile-in-editing videos - if you know what I mean, the right word doesn't want to come out for me. I think at some point I'll try to add my own voice as a storyteller in the videos... I'd love to do some voice acting as well. I wonder how I could practice voice acting... maybe by voicing my own videos at first. What do you think?


I also agree that it's not about the quality of sound and picture, it's about the video itself. I think one could be a master of machinima even without using any custom content, custom worlds or mods. The idea behind it all is all that matters. I must say I feel a bit embarrassed sharing my videos, so many people have some fancy video/audio editing program, and there are some people who think using Windows Movie Maker or not using any custom content is not professional... I think one should not try to be professional, although there is nothing wrong with it, but rather concentrate on the story itself. A bad story is a bad story even behind all those fancy after-effects and music.


Minraed, sylentwhysper, Sims Berrry, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on overcoming writer's block! <3 I mentioned you in the end of my first machinima.


Wow, this post became a bit longer than intended. Haha, now you have something to read. :-D

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xxx Lil Sparrow

September 2, 2015 at 8:03 AM Flag Quote & Reply

sylentwhysper
Moderator
Posts: 1183

I watched it and commented.  :D

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September 2, 2015 at 11:08 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Lil Sparrow
Member
Posts: 55

Thank you so much!

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xxx Lil Sparrow

September 2, 2015 at 3:22 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Minraed
Site Owner
Posts: 3019

I will watch it too, tomorrow if all goes as planned (bedtime now) zzzz


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September 2, 2015 at 9:10 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Lil Sparrow
Member
Posts: 55

Thank you, and good night! :-)

It's morning here. Or no, more like afternoon. I just woke up, at 11:30 am... I have a day off school, my lessons would have started at noon but they're cancelled, so today is going to be a Sim-ful day!

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xxx Lil Sparrow

September 3, 2015 at 5:51 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Lil Sparrow
Member
Posts: 55

Hey fellas,


I continued the story of the angels in this video, "Awakening": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKki48RULjg


But now I'm kind of stuck. I know what I would like to film next, but I'm not quite sure how I could do that... I would like to create a believable, and, preferably, an epic battle scene between Adéle (the died human girl) and Lilyth (the Queen of the Fallen). I guess some effects like lightening or flames would do, as they're using some magic to harm their enemy, but I need something else beside these fancy effects. (Yesterday I watched some tutorials on the possibilities of using fog emitters in machinima and got all excited about that, hahaha...) How to make it look like the sims are in a combat? Do I really have to level their Sim Fu skill up to 9? It takes time and I'm sorta impatient... :-D But if that's the only way to go, I'll definitely do that. I know there might be some cool combat-themed custom animations for download, but I can't use them... If you have any ideas concerning my project, please let me know!


I was also wondering if I've shown enough of what happens in the story, meaning should I do some flash-backs on how Lilyth got to be the Queen of the Fallen? In the beginning of Awakening, it is shown that Lilyth is praying for the long forgotten souls for help. It is not shown, though, how she really became the Queen, it's only stated in the video description. I did not find that relevant to show in the video... AAAAGGH I'm really stuck. It's frustating, knowing what you want to do but not quite sure how to do that.


I do not want to give up. This is my personal battle for really completnig a story! I used to write stories, hundreds of pages, but I never finished anything. I just got another idea and went with that, and when it was time to continue the previous story I was lost. And started to write third one. But Adéle's story, that I will complete for sure. If possible. I wonder if I'm capable of doing that at all...

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xxx Lil Sparrow

September 5, 2015 at 11:17 AM Flag Quote & Reply

sylentwhysper
Moderator
Posts: 1183

I haven't played the Sims 3 for so long, but I thought there was a cheat to level up your Sims' skills.  Look into that, so you won't have to manually level them up one level at a time.  I've done battle scenes before, I used the Animation Player to play certain animations from the game.  It would be a lot easier if you use the Animation Player.  As for special effects, you can definitely use the Fog Emitter effects.  It will take some clever timing but it would work.  Many people use a Special Efftects program and edit the effects into the video but that is more advanced.  I used a program called 'Particle Illusion' and made fireballs, water magic, electrical waves and inserted them into my video editor.  It's really fun to do all that but it's a lot of learning. 


Don't give up yet.  I get impatient to finish my projects too but it feels really nice when you actually complete a whole story.  Actually, you get this sense of accomplishment and pride.  So don't give up.  You can make the third part as the final part and give the story an ending.  As for showing why Lilyth became Queen, it's up to you.  At this point though, I think I'm ready for battle.  :D

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September 5, 2015 at 7:42 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Lil Sparrow
Member
Posts: 55

Hi, and sorry for the terribly late reply! I've caught a flu and had some drama going on with a fellow, but everything is fine now. Except I have a mild fever. Tomorrow I would have cut my hair shorter but I guess that has to wait till I get better. Ugh, I hate being sick, I have just stayed in bed all day. I'm sorry I complain but flu is not a thing I enjoy.


I have the battle filmed - I must say it didn't turn out like I wanted it to do, far from that. The fog emitter effects just ruin everything, and the fact that my "actor sims" changed to their Sim Fu training clothes... I was too tired to do anything about it. I'll leave it as it is, I know it's not a very good scene - at least the story progresses as I wanted. I'll start editing today, the third part will probably be out during this weekend. It's funny how this thread has turned from an ask for advice to a progression report of my Machinima Series. Whatever... :-D I must say I'm very happy how the end turns out!


I have an idea I have to share, I'm so excited about it! I can't say much about it or else I'd spoil the excitement of "da Final Battle". But this idea: I'll make my machinimas so that they can be linked together, I mean they are each independent stories and can be watched and understood like that, but there'll always be a character that has been shown in previous Machinima, or for example a painting in wall that a Sim has made in another machinima. To say in other words, a link between the stories is hidden in there... My current story, Rebirth (that one with Lilyth and co.), will end with a peasant girl named Polly praying for the angels. Polly will be the mother or the grandmother of the protagonist of my next story. For that I'll draw inspiration from the princess tales, like Cinderella and Snow White.


Also, one little thing: I use to put this "A The Sims 3 Machinima" in my video's description and in the beginning of each machinima; is it grammatically wrong? (English is not my native language.) I've seen it somewhere else. As "The Sims 3" is the name of the game, and the machinima is "a machinima"... I guess it would work if I put it like this: A "The Sims 3" Machinima. Or would it?


Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee my love called - this part is written after it - and I'm now superhyperactive. I feel like I could jump to the moon. There's a wild party going on inside my head. That makes actually no sense. Hahhahaha


#yolo #editedthispostlikefivetimes

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xxx Lil Sparrow

September 11, 2015 at 2:35 PM Flag Quote & Reply

sylentwhysper
Moderator
Posts: 1183

Hi, sorry you've been feeling sick.  Hope you get well soon.  Oh yep, life drama is something none of us can escape.  LOL!  I hope things work out between you and your boyfriend.  I'm no expert on relationships, but I've dealt with people and communication is always good, even sometimes if it's hard to say the words that need to be said.  Good luck.


Looks like your machinima is coming together.  There's a mod to make them not wear their sim-fu clothes when they fight, I don't remember where I got it from but it's very useful.  So you are already thinking of your next machinima, that is really great! 


For titling your films, 'A The Sims 3' is actually not quite right. You can simply just say 'Sims 3 Machinima.'  If you really want, 'A Sims 3 Machinima' or 'The Sims 3 Machinima' is not wrong either but 'Sims 3 Machinima' is mostly what we use.  Hope that helps. 

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September 12, 2015 at 12:10 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Lil Sparrow
Member
Posts: 55

REBIRTH is now out!


https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYYnTrHCVzmhH87rG6u6MjYjpSAHhO7vg

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xxx Lil Sparrow

September 12, 2015 at 12:38 PM Flag Quote & Reply

sylentwhysper
Moderator
Posts: 1183

Awesome!  Just commented.  :D

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September 12, 2015 at 1:33 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Lil Sparrow
Member
Posts: 55

Aw, thank you! ^_^

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xxx Lil Sparrow

September 12, 2015 at 1:36 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Lil Sparrow
Member
Posts: 55

And thank you for your kind words! Youre such a kind person! I'm smiling here :-)


Things are okay now, I guess. Talked nearly 2 hours with my boyfriend on phone. Is that a lot? But I love him! He's encouraged me when I feel like giving up on writing or filming machinima, he always makes me smile. There are definitely some people who never fail to cheer you up. My fever has gone down now, I hope.


Ah the mods, the mods. I haven't yet figured out how to make them work. I think I'll do fine without them, as I don't really need any custom poses or stuff. They would be cool and make my machinima look more natural, but I think I'll now just concetrate on the in-game camera. Speaking of which, I read somewhere that you can save specific angles that you want to use later, and then just press the number and the camera will lift and that looks awesome. How is that done? I've tried several times and failed.


Whoops. From now on I will use "The Sims 3 Machinima" in the titles. You learn something new every day, huh? From my boyfriend (he's a pianist) I've learned that Beethoven was half deaf and something was wrong with his mind. I don't know if that's common knowledge, but for me it was a bit of surprise :-D


How has your day been? It's night here. I'll go and eat something, I'm starving lol.


#perfectionist #alwaysproofreadingeverything #edited2times #hashtag #randomlol

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xxx Lil Sparrow

September 12, 2015 at 1:47 PM Flag Quote & Reply

sylentwhysper
Moderator
Posts: 1183

Save Camera Positions

Positions can be saved in normal mode or Cameraman mode (press Tab to go into cameraman mode).  I usually like to use in Cameraman mode.  Basically, to save a position, you will press CTRL with a camera number.  The numbers you can use are 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 0.  Example:  press CTRL and 5 at the same time.


Once the position is saved.  You can always go back to that position by simply pressing the number.  


If you save two camera positions, you can move between those two positions by pressing the corresponding numbers.  So example:  If you are at camera 5 and want to go to camera 6, press the number 6 and the camera will travel to that position.  


If you want to go to the position instantly without the camera traveling, press SHIFT and the number.  


Test it out and see if it works for you. 

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September 12, 2015 at 8:24 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Lil Sparrow
Member
Posts: 55

Hey, thank you!

That helped a lot! It worked out pretty fine. My old laptop does not quite like all the switching and stuff, the picture's laggy and the walls disappear, but putting that aside, it had a pretty nice effect on my machinima making! Speaking of which, I'm just uploading a "practice piece" to YouTube. It's kinda a sequel to Rebirth and a prequel to my future machinima. Would you mind checking it out? :-)

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xxx Lil Sparrow

September 17, 2015 at 2:14 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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