Machinimaker Spotlight: Bongoman

This week we had the opportunity to catch up with the incredibly talented Bongoman.

What led you to get involved with machinima?

I have done animation of sorts before, so going into 3D animation wasn't too much of a stretch. I've always been interested in moviemaking, but lacked the tools & experience. However, the specific thing that really got me excited about moviemaking was 'The Movies'. Until then, I'd had very little experience crafting a story, which I found to be harder than I thought. Using TM was really good practice for me, and the input I received in many reviews was most instructive, and encouraging. Watching other movies, good and bad, home-made and Hollywood-made, gave me more confidence & perspective.

What aspects of movie-making do you enjoy the most?

I like the many facets of the process, though I get more excited when I've thought up some crazy plot twist, or some crazy special effect that would warp a few minds. As long as it's something I've never done before, or seen before, I'm happy. The story, the visuals & atmosphere... all these things keep me addicted.

What programs do you use to craft your work? Why did you choose these?

Blender 3D first of all. Since learning it a year ago, it is my number 1 choice, for effects, modelling and video compositing. Second would be Moviestorm at this time, though that could change, before that it was TM. Also I use UT2004 for action & background environments, sometimes UT3 as well. All the physics are in already, it's so much easier to create action sequences when I don't have to hand animate everything.

How would you describe your movie style?

'Heavy Metal' (the movie) meets Terry Gilliam on acid. Effects and music saturated, but thoughtful, intelligent. Or outright absurd. Monty Python is a big inspiration at times.

Which of your movies best depicts that style? Why?

Hm, there's quite a few movies that reflect um my style. I can't get away from it really. However, my best work is always my most recent, so I'm including a trailer of 'Clandestine Invasion: Belly Of The Beast'. It will be out very soon now, and stars Goofparade, Kwistufa & Sisch.

What are your proudest achivements in this field?

Learning Blender 3D. Learning how to tell a story.

You also do some terrific mod work. What can you tell us about that?

Currently I'm modding Moviestorm a fair bit, as it's currently my quickie moviemaker. However I've been modding UT2004 a great deal over the past few years, and its finally starting to pay off. Blender has opened everything up for me too, because it reads & translates so many different model formats that I can modify almost any game engine.

Have you worked on projects with anyone else in the TMU community?

Just with voice actors mostly. I did some animations for the TMU 'War of the Worlds', just making the tripods walk for Chris62 & Killian the Tard. I hope to get Trashman to voice for a movie I have planned, hopefully I can convince him to ad lib some lines too, he's brilliant.

Do you have any projects on the horizon?

2 projects as of now, with a few more coming down the pipe. CI:Belly of the Beast (made with Blender, UT2004 & Poser), and 'Garn' (made with Blender & Moviestorm), a continuation of the 'Casteneda Cops' series, posted on the Moviestorm site.

What advice would you give someone starting out with machinima?

Choose your tools carefully, take the time to try them all then get into that chosen program till you can run it in your sleep. If you want to make good art, it is important to be able to let your creativity flow as it comes out; therefore, the better you know your tools the better you can express those inspirations.


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