• Ridley Scott signs up for the #1 Channel on YouTube: Machinima -

    With 210 million unique site visitors reportedly viewing over 1.9 billion videos and 707 million mobile videos in February 2013 alone, Machinima is YouTube’s number one entertainment channel.

    Never heard of it?

    Not sure what “machinima” means?

    The term comes from the fusion of “machine” (+ “animation,” according to some) + “cinema” and, with roots in the video gaming community, has traditionally referred to,

    “… original films made within a real time 3D virtual environment, combining film-making, animation and games development.” (Tracy Harwood, “The Machinima Movement,” Fallopian, October, 2009)

     On the other hand, Machinima, Inc., the company, which draws on gamer, fan-produced machinima for content, is,

    “… a video entertainment network (online) for video gamers (that provides) gaming-focused editorial and community programming  (featuring) official publisher content, gameplay videos, scripted series, and original content, including weekly and daily shows to 18 to 34 year old male demographic. The company’s properties are available across various distribution platforms, including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, iOS, and Android.  Machinima, Inc. was founded in 2000 and is based in Los Angeles, California.”  (Bloomberg Businessweek)

    So, you may wonder, why has Ridley Scott (ALIEN, BLADE RUNNER) signed up to work with a gamer-oriented network like Machinima?

    Things are changing. With a solid and growing audience firmly in hand, Machinima, Inc. has slowly but surely been ramping up its efforts to develop original content … content related to video games or the interests of gamers, but not necessarily derivative of specific games. Joining the ranks of Google, Netflix, Hulu, and others who have started providing funds and support for the development of original content for their online networks, Machinima’s entrance into this arena can only be good news for filmmakers everywhere.

    In May 2012, Machinima’s Chairman and CEO, Allen DeBevoise, announced that the company had raised $35 million in a financing round led by Google, Inc., with existing investors, RedPoint Ventures and MK Capital participating.

    DeBevoise outlined the company’s plans for the funds as follows,

    “With this latest round of funding, Machinima is well-positioned to make the next evolutionary step in the world of multi-channel video programming and distribution by expanding into original content, international territories, and new platforms and devices.” (Machinima.com)

    As a sign of its commitment to the development of original programming, Machinima announced its deal with Ridley Scott in March 2013 to produce twelve Sci Fi short films for the Machinima Network.

    Scott will executive produce the films himself and work with directors he selects from his commercial production company, RSA.

    His pool of directors numbers more than eighty and includes such well-known names as Kathryn Bigelow, Martin Scorsese, Sam Mendes and Joe Carnahan.

    Scott commented on his reasons for getting involved with Machinima,

    “RSA has always been at the forefront of creating innovative work. With new media transforming the way audiences connect with films and filmmakers, Machinima is a great partner for us as we embark on this new model of delivering original content to fans. It’s a tremendous opportunity for pushing the creative boundaries for both our filmmakers and the audience.” (Stan Schroeder, Mashable, 3/12/13)

    Any of the twelve films developed by Scott that prove to be successful will be developed further, possibly expanded into a web series or feature film. Given generous development funds, a wealth of talent, and guaranteed distribution on YouTube’s top entertainment channel, all signs point to a very intriguing set of Sci Fi shorts coming to your viewing screen soon.

    Stay tuned.

    RP & KW

    Note: If you’d like to see some examples of machinima, check out “Red vs Blue,” one of the earliest and most popular machinima series on the web, “A Law Abiding Engineer,” or “The Heretic.”

    For a listing of  the shows currently available on Machinima.com

    For a history of machinima, see Friedrich Kirschner’s “From Games to Movies:  Machinima and Modifications,” ETC Press, 2012.