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Forum Home > Sims 3 Machinima Lessons - Beginner > Machinima for Dummies - Quick Tips

Posts: 1183

How to Fail at Machinima

written by Minraed

based on Chapter 21 of Machinima for Dummies


I always love the way the "Dummies" books use humour to get a point across and I love this chapter. I have editied it so that it is more specific to The Sims3 Machinima.


  • Don't Plan - Wing it! Just turn on your game, aim your camera and start shooting and hope for the best. Toss it together and call it a movie. Not planning saves alot of time.

  • Don't write a script or story line - another time saver - besides you have the story in your head so it will probably just fall in place.

  • Get any random friend to do your voices - it's hard to find people who can do decent voice acting so don't bother trying to audition or pick out the better voice actors - just take anyone you can get and it will be fine.

  • Ignore camerawork and shot composition - it is said that some movie makers compose every bit of film footage as an oil painting or winning photograph. Machinima is supposed to be easy and this sounds like hard work so if you do not want to improve then don't practice or learn better photography theory or how to visualize and compose better shots and angles. More importantly, don't watch too many good machimima movies or you might get the idea that taking time to compose your camera work is a good idea, and this will take time and may also cause your work to improve.

  • Don't cut it down to size or edit - just film away. Film everything and anything and stick it all into your movie. All that time you took to film such beautiful footage shouldn't go to waste so be sure to include it all, even the irrelevant parts. No one will mind that your short story drags out over 10 episodes right?

  • Dont' get help - whatever you do DO NOT ask for help with anything - do it all yourself. Somepeople like to get help with set design, wardrobe, researching topics or whatever else. This will just take up your time.

  • Copy other movies and story lines - when you see alot of the same story line or plot it must be good and popular so it's probably best to just copy it, afterall the original was successful right?  Whatever you do, don't analyze what you liked about the original and don't think about how you can use those elements in a different way.

  • Don't read about film theory (Warning: film theory will be part of Machinima School from time to time) This will be a big mistake - film theory might help you to understand why certain types of camera angles are used, or how colour can create emotion, or how stories can be told with actions and music alone. You definitely will not be able to fail if you learn about film theory so this is your warning.

  • Don't waste time on set or wardrobe - no one will really notice the details anyway will they?

  • Last but not least - DO NOT turn on the cheat "HideHeadlineEffects on" this will remove the thought bubbles that give your movie that distinctly non-realistic feel. Obviously you don't want to fail do you? These topics and more will be coming your way over time both here at Machinima School and in our fourm discussions in general. Let all of us, the Simatography staff and the many creative and knowledgable members, help you make machinima magic possible!


October 25, 2011 at 8:08 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 1183

Top 10 Machinima Tips

Written by Minraed

based on a list from Machinima for Dummies


  • Take a break every so often - clear your head before you start to get sloppy or frustrated

  • Get other people's opinion on your work - many times people will not give truely honest feedback because they may not want to hurt your feelings. If you really want honest feedback ask for it and don't feel upset when things are pointed out to you - it will only help you to get better

  • Don't be too ambitious - take it one step at a time. There is alot to learn along the way.

  • Plan before you do anything.

  • The script is the most important part of your movie!

  • The sound can tell add as much to the story as the visuals.

  • Don't be afraid to enter competitions.

  • Always film with "HideHeadlineEffects on" unless of course there is a purpose to having the thought bubbles and plumbobs showing

  • Practice using and getting better at using camera man mode and preset camera angles

  • Learn from others - watch great movies to discover what works great, read and learn from the forums

October 25, 2011 at 8:15 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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