SEED – Behind the Scenes: WIP of a few rendered comps ForYouTube

Here are a few rendered comps of our work in progress Teaser – SEED: Paradise Lost.

Why have I decided to do SEED as CGI instead of live action, like originally planned?

Well, C19 has all but destroyed the entertainment industry for one thing. It’s going to be a while before live action production can ramp back up. But even without C19, I was moving away from live action because of cost. Put it this way, technology is getting better and better and will continue to do so. It’s already to the point where CGI is almost indistinguishable from live action… and the best part is, it’s getting cheaper and easier – and I can almost do most things myself.

As much as I’d love to have a massive budget to work with, the reality is I have a VERY limited budget by industry standards. By way of comparison, the highly acclaimed Star Wars Clone Wars 3D animated series cost between 1 and 2 million per episode. While it was meant to have more of a cartoon-ish look than photo-realistic, it still packed a LOT of punch, with massive sets, ships and creatures, battle sequences, etc.. Meanwhile the average, live action television drama costs 2 to 3 million per episode, with little to no CGI required. The shows that require heavy CGI along with live action are considerably more expensive. Episodes of shows like The Mandalorian and Game of Thrones cost nearly as much as some feature films to make. And if you don’t have the appropriate budget, the live action suffers greatly by “subpar” CGI.

There is a reason movies and TV shows cost what they do. Granted, a fair amount of the bloated budgets these days are due to bloated egos of actors/producers/directors. That aside, live action production is still very costly, with a massive amount of those costs being sucked up just by location shoots alone. Having worked on several movies myself, I can tell you locations are probably the biggest problem, prone to far too many costly delays, setbacks and disappointments. One time, we had to shut down production for several hours just due to noisy bugs. That’s not counting weather and all sorts of other unforeseen problems inherent to location shooting. When George Lucas was making the first Star Wars movie, his entire Tatooine desert set was completely destroyed in a sandstorm the night before shooting. So all the time and labor that went into the building of those sets was a wash and compromises had to be made because time is money and once you have cast and crew on location, you have to take advantage of every second, because it’s far too costly to have to go back and do everything over again. You have travel expenses, lodging expenses, catering expenses, etc. all on top of set design, prop building, lighting, rigging, and all of the rest of the typical cast and crew production expenses.

In the end, I realized, I can get the MOST “bang for the buck” and save a TON of time and money by doing the whole thing in computers. This means I can have one centralized studio close to home for recording actor’s voices and motion capture data. The rest can be done anywhere in the world on networked computers. No issues with blending live-action with CGI. And all CGI assets, once created, can be shared and used in other projects such as the SEED video game. Furthermore, the bigger our 3D asset library becomes, the less expensive production becomes. Instead of having to build assets, we’d just moving them around. So, yes, there is a sizable upfront cost to the early productions, but the latter productions will cost far less.

What I’ve listed here are just a FEW of the benefits of doing SEED this way. There are many, many more. But ultimately, the value of art “is in the eye of the beholder.” In that regard, it’s a no-win-scenario. I will never make everyone happy no matter what I do. So, I just have to go with what makes me happy (both in terms of art as well as budget).

The 8 minute Teaser I’m working on right now cost me $100,000 – doing it all in South Africa. And that’s still at a significantly reduced rate. They are doing me a huge favor because they believe in the project. This Teaser contains 7 characters, an aerial dog fight between a TBF Avenger and two Japanese Zeroes over the jungles of the Solomon Islands. It involves a crash sequence into a river and an encounter with a 12 foot cannibalistic giant. It would have cost me a FORTUNE to do as live action and it would have been a logistical nightmare, involving lots of traveling. In short, it wouldn’t have been possible to do. So, this first project is really going to serve as a “proof of concept” pilot episode. Hopefully, when people see what about 25 people were able to pull off on a very tight budget, they will get excited and want to see this go bigger. We’ll see. But I remain hopeful and excited. All the more so as they have been sending me comps like this.

If you believe in what I’m attempting to do please visit:

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