Website clean-up and music licensing
Music Licensing Issues
I always had the intention of using "found" free-licensed music tracks for our soundtrack, rather than commissioning a lot of music. There's a lot of good stuff out there, and it's much simpler to pick existing tracks that you know you can use instead of trying to deal with commissions and licenses.
However, there were a few tracks that I really like which were under "Non-Commercial"/"No Derivatives" terms, or under the essentially identical in intent, but technically incompatible "Free Art License" ("License Art Libre").
This creates some uncertainty, because, of course, if I can't use these tracks, I'll have to find substitutes, and no substitute will exactly fit how I've conceived the sequence (since the cutting is based partly on the music). So, if I need to work with different music, I'll probably need to re-imagine the whole sequence, and that could throw off the balance of the script a bit.
It's a risk. And I like to resolve risks in time to recover from them if I have to. I also wanted to have a little bit to show for our project though, before approaching musicians. So I decided to wait until we had some pre-production artwork. This week, I finally realized that we probably had enough available to give an idea of what we're doing.
One response was a bit ambiguous -- apparently I over-estimated the artist's English skills. I responded again with a little bit of French to help it along. We'll see (I usually imagine that my French is so bad that it isn't worth it for me to try this, but maybe it'll help this time).
I got an affirmative on one of the most important pieces, though, so I'm really jazzed about that.
I have yet to hear back from the person I asked about the main title track. I've got my fingers crossed about that one.
In the Kickstart, I promised certain placement for our two organizational sponsors. That didn't include putting them on the front page of the site, but I decided to add them to end of the index page anyway. I'm very grateful to both The Luna Project and the Chamba Project for their generous support of our pre-production work (as well as to all of the individuals who contributed).
Another thing that happened this week is that another open movie, "Tube", launched their production Kickstarter campaign. And I realized that I have been ignoring the Pledgie Campaign that Morevna Project has been running to pay their key frame artist. And then, of course, there's the Blender Foundation's Mango project, which is focusing on using 3D animated effects in combination with live-action film. It seems that 2012 is a great year for open movies!
Morevna Project is especially exciting to me for a few different reasons. For one thing, the English version of the script was largely edited and partially translated by me (with a lot of help!) from the Russian. So I really feel connected with it. Moreover, it's a good script -- it's exciting and funny and will make a cool anime film. I'm not sure about the length, but I'd guess it'll be on the order of an hour long when finished. So, in terms of story scope, it's similar to our pilot episode. It also focuses on different technology: most of "The Beautiful Queen Marya Morevna: Underground" will be 2D-animated, using Synfig (although they are using Blender for 3D effects animation). So Morevna will expand the envelope of film tools and assets for open movies considerably.
Lunatics will be mostly created using Blender, but it is possible that we will make some use of 2D animation in Synfig. So Morevna is one of several projects showing the way for us, technically. The beauty of open movies is precisely in how they make it easier to share assets and experience between projects.
So, I decided to add some banners to my resource links at the bottom of the entry page. There's some cool projects out there. I've also linked to four completed free-culture open movies that are definitely worth your time to watch if you haven't seen them already.
I also created an animated gif of the twelve model sheets Daniel has finished (there are just going to be two more which will be used to create walk-on characters and background extras). I originally asked for four sheets for this, but since Daniel is creating layered vector graphic drawings, it makes more sense to combine them into just two sheets -- one male, one female. By mixing and matching options on face, hair, and clothing; by altering colors; and by stretching and squashing the models; we will be able to create a large number of background characters as needed.