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BloodSpell Development Updates

Mackie madness

BloodSpell Development Updates

Mackie madness

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Well, well, well.

The nominations for the 2006 Academy Of Machinima Arts & Sciences Awards (The Mackies) are out, and they're ... well, nobody could have predicted the choices, let's put it that way.

The thing about it is, it just doesn't seem a representative sample to me. I don't know what the selection process is for the nomination choices, or even who is responsible for making the decision. I'd love to find out. The purpose of a nominated shortlist, surely, is to make the final decision of the judges easier. The list of nominations should be a list of all the entrants that could viably be considered as contenders for the category title. If a piece is potentially good enough to win, it should be nominated, simple as that. If the nomination process serves as a first-contact filter for entries - if there is anything but the minimum subjective judgement imposed at the nomination stage in other words - then the role of the actual judges becomes rather defunct.

I'll repeat: I don't know the intricacies of the nomination process. I'm not trying to imply that Paul Marino and the rest of the Academy have deliberately not shortlisted those pieces that they personally dislike. I have to admit, though, that I'm baffled and downright angry about this year's shortlist. Partially, I'm confused as to the inclusion of some of the entries, but what's really bothering me is the omisions. There are some pieces (and some people) who really deserve to be on that list, and aren't (or don't feature nearly heavily enough). This isn't just sour grapes from me (although I do think that BloodSpell deserved nominations in more categories that the two we got). Lots of people seem equally upset about this.

If you want an example of the seemingly arbitrary pick-it-out-of-a-hat system of nominations, consider this fact : Phil "Overman" Rice hasn't got a single nomination in the Best Sound Design category. Not one. As far as I'm concerned, Best Sound Design this year should be renamed The Phil Rice Appreciation Award. The Academy should just list all the movies that Phil's done sound for, and ask him which one he wants to win with. There are lots of other people in the machinima community doing great things with sound, but I'm sorry guys ... Phil Rice can kick all your asses before he has breakfast.

Gaming News With Lady Mainframe has been totally snubed as well. A Best Series contender, surely? I love that show, I really do. I think it's one of the best things being done in machinima right now. Doc Nemesis and Binary Picture Show are doing fantastic, consistently professional work on GN, and they deserve to be rewarded for it, with a nomination if not an award.

Several high-profile machinima teams are, shall we say, slightly upset at this year's nomination choices. There have even been accusations of an out-and-out fix.

Like I say, I don't know the full story here. Maybe some of these aren't omisions - maybe they didn't submit. That's their own stupid fault, in that case. But if they did submit (and I know for a fact that some of the pieces I've mentioned most certainly did), then we have to ask the question: what's going on? Is this a fair selection process? Maybe we should be asking for more transparency in the nomination process. Or maybe the Mackies aren't the ultimate accolades that we once thought they were.

This post is personal opinion only, and should in no way be taken to represent the views or opinions of Strange Company Ltd.
  • (Anonymous)
    hey, this is friedrich from machinimag.com (and also a judge this year).

    I think you might have vented off a little much here didn't you?
    I know that english people take things quite seriously at times (like the Leipzig issue and such) but some objectivity would have helped. All the nominations are very very good pieces of work and they deserved the right to be nominated, in my personal opinion (and not the opinion of the AMAS or anyone else).
    And i am sure that there are tons of other films that would have well deserved being nominated. It's the same with football.
    In my opinion, Germany would have totally deserved to win the world cup (and not those foul Italians) because they were the better team.
    But they didn't. And some here are still sad about this.
    Pointing fingers at people whose hard work made all of this possible just because you lost your objectivity is as foul as italian football.
    All these links, if you read them carefully, have people saying the exact same thing (without metaphors...).
    Can you tell me what will happen if your favoriie films will not win awards?
    Will you be upset? Will you spit people in the face (like the treacherous french)?

    Now all humour aside, i can understand that a lot of blood sweat and tears go into the production of machinima movies submitted to the festival and i can aso understand a certain disappointment. But please keep to the rules of fair play, like the people on the forums that you linked to.
    Keep up the good work and good luck with the last couple of episodes,

    • Hi Friedrich.

      I think you've maybe misinterpreted what I was trying to say. I'm not claiming to have any particular objectivity on this. I don't - a film that I worked on was nominated, so I can't deny a bias. That's not the point, though. I'm not upset because BloodSpell didn't get every nomination going. This is nothing to do with BloodSpell. I'm upset because I feel that the list of nominations for this year's awards don't accurately represent the best movies in each category. In some cases, there are pieces that have been nominated that I don't really feel deserve the nomination. That's just my opinion, though. I'm not trying to deny anyone an award. The real problem is the many, many movies, teams and people who really should have been nominated and weren't. I can't understand what justification can be made for these omissions.

      I know you're on the board of AMAAS - can you shed any light on the nomination process? Who are the nominations judges, and what process is used to determine the nomination shortlist?
      • (Anonymous)
        Hi Johnnie,

        this is Friedrich again. I'll send you an eMail once i touch ground.
  • I'm not going to be commenting beyond this post, as I don't feel I can.

    1) The Festival's a very useful and important event for Machinima, and I know (from having seen them barely able to stand afterward) just how hard Paul, Frank and the team work on it.

    2) Discussion and open debate of key issues are vital for any organisation, profit or non-profit, to continue to advance.

    3) I'd imagine Paul, in particular, is insanely busy right now. So if he doesn't answer straight away, or indeed at all, it might well be just because he's working into the 25th hour of the day right now.
    • I know you said you wouldn't reply any further, but since you're also on the AMAS board, Hugh, I'll ask you the same question I asked Freidrich: who are the nominations judges, and what process is used to determine the nomination shortlist?
  • (Anonymous)
    Dr. Nemesis from Binary Picture Show here. I appreciate how much you like the show Jonny, but I didn't submit Gaming News to this years fest (I didn't submit anything at all). Last year I rushed an entry, and I wasn't happy about that at all. From that I learned that I shouldn't automatically aim to submit every year, only when I feel good about it... I didn't feel good about it.
    • Fair enough. As I said in the post, I don't know if everybody I mentioned submitted or not. Of course, you're entitled to be critical of your own work, but I really think GN (particularly some of the more recent episodes) was worthy of submission this year. Keep up the good work, anyway. Do you publish a channel to Democracy TV, by the way? If not, you should really think about it. GN is perfect for Democracy.
  • I really do agree. And some of the corporate noms were bullshit.
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