Damon Dark World and his spin-off: Vincent Kosmos, The Young Adventures of Damon Dark, The Lansing Chronicles.


    The YouTube format.

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    Straker
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    The YouTube format.

    Post  Straker on Sun Aug 09, 2009 7:54 am

    If you know about the origins of Damon Dark, it began as a concept I intended to sell to TV as a drama series back in the late 80s, early 90s. In 1990, I wrote a feature film script which was like "Die Hard with aliens", about Damon and Candy fighting a squad of green, reptillian alien warriors in Melbourne, after the whole city is put to sleep with alien nerve gas. I submitted it to "Film Victoria", a govt funding body. The Head of Film Vic said "No one's gonna watch UFOs and alien invaders in the 90s! That's 50s B-movie stuff!" Three years later, the X-Files started on TV and I was like "this is Damon Dark!" (we all know how no one watched the X-Files because it was 50s B movie stuff, right?)

    When I finally got a chance to make Damon Dark, it was in TV format. I used 24 minute episodes, some stand alone and some as parts of a serial. (Maddox was 65 minutes in it's first cut and showed over three weeks)

    But when it came to YouTube, I had to think long and hard about the format. What would work on YouTube?

    One thing I found was that stories with multiple parts tended not to get as many views as one-offs. I started to think in terms of self contained ten minute stories. One idea which occured to me was that if there was a temporary ending, like the hero simply escapes an enemy, then the plot could pick up again in another ep. This way people who wanted a one-off could get one, but those who wanted more depth could learn more about the characters and situations when they came back again.

    An example would be the way Damon escapes the Magician in his first story, but really only escapes his control and singes his fingers! When he comes back again, we get a little more on his powers, his background, etc.

    The same goes for Lansing, Hecate and the whole Tempus Project concept. So it's like a serial, but loosely enough for people to drop in and watch one and not feel like "oh, it's part six, I need to go back and watch parts one to five first".

    some of the basic stuff...I figured, way back before YouTube...that if I made a character and he was played by me and he developed as I myself aged and developed...then I could play him whenever I got to make a short film...that way the character would always be there, even if I couldn't get other actors to always be there.

    When I came to Youtube, I decided to age Damon and add this idea that he'd been off in a space war for a long time. This meant two things...

    Firstly, Damon didn't need a car or to go to locations, he could now appear from thin air inside a setting. This was a very effective way to kick off an episode and for the hero to travel. It eliminated the need to go out and shoot all manner of time-consuming shots on location. For a ten minute webseries, it was better than if he's stayed a secret agent.

    Secondly, he had Trans Dimensional Control. This was also a real time-saver. I created a clip using frame-by-frame animation, of a green eye-like thing in space. I called it "The Pulsar". It's a telepathic relay for Trans Dimensional Control.

    I then was able to have Damon talking to his superiors, getting sent on his missions and also arguing with them, without the need to shoot complicated drama scenes. I simply used a pitch-change in an audio program (Audacity) and did the voice of Control. Sometimes, I even had Damon talking telepathically, so I could record the lines in Audacity for Damon and Control. This saved a lot of time with learning lines, etc.

    At the start of 2009, I decided Damon should leave TDC...I decided it was getting too easy and a little dull to do...this was good, because as Trea and Olly came along, I was able to have Damon communicate by slightly more interesting means with their characters.

    The "video phone" idea has long been a fave of Science Fiction, so I really loved the idea of Lansing on the line to Damon.

    And Olly enabled me to have another TV SF fave...the villain in his lair who watches the hero from afar and plots his downfall! (I loved the Cybermen when they used to monitor Dr.Who on their screen and discuss what they were going to do to him!).

    So, that's some of the ideas and ways I used when I adapted Damon Dark to YouTube's format.
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    Oliver

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    Very interesting read

    Post  Oliver on Sun Aug 09, 2009 8:39 am

    Very interesting read Adrian.

    My experiance was slightly different. As mentioned before, I used to work on short films, theatre and tv, as a prop maker and scenic artist. Later I became a photographer and realised it was only one little step to becoming a film maker. You Tube had not yet come along but I knew it was only a matter of time before something like it did.

    Buffy & Angel had just finished and the new Doctor Who was just about to come out. I thought I would use the interest in both to hopefully get some views once I had made my show.

    I set myself the task of making my own scifi show with some stipulations.

    1. Each episode had to be less than 15 mins.
    2. I had to film it in one day and one evening.
    3. It would be very cheap.

    I shot episode one in one day using a cheap camcorder, two big torches with lighting gels and a smoke machine. I used a local club, my home and a church as my locations. The cast was friends that I cast to type. Micheal the villian is really like that and that really was his room in episode one. I only used myself, since I knew that I would always be around (nothing worse than loosing an actor in the middle of a series)

    After filming, we got a big mention in the local newspaper, which meant that more people wanted to help out. By the end of the series, I had a crew of about 5 people. Camera, lighting, sound, props and costume. I still directed and was in charge of telling people where lights went, camera etc but I was much more like a proper film.

    Other real improvement were Showerheads music scores and Nigels writing.

    I am so pleased that I can keep up the spirit of what I started with Adrians "Dark World".

    Anything that you would like to ask about how I made my show, please do ask.
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    thetimethief

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    Re: The YouTube format.

    Post  thetimethief on Sun Aug 09, 2009 8:47 am

    Well there's also a way for upload episodes more long than 10 min. on youtube....but unfortunately my country is not included:(
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    Oliver

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    Request to be a director

    Post  Oliver on Sun Aug 09, 2009 9:06 am

    Hi Chris,

    I dont know quite how I did it but I became a director. I think I sent them a request. You could always upload to google video, since they own "You Tube". It will come up in searches.
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    j3pfilms
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    Re: The YouTube format.

    Post  j3pfilms on Sun Aug 09, 2009 9:48 am

    The formats for my films and series has always been changing. Sit back for a very long and probably tedious story.

    I started of making crappy animations which weren't actually animated in late '05. I would have been 10 years old. Most of the films were short episodes for Gerry Anderson series such as Supercar, Fireball, Stingray, Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet. The dialogue was all improvised and complete shit. I haven't watched them in many years and I really don't plan to ever again.

    Then I started writing scripts for my first home-grown idea. It was called The Last Day and was three friendly aliens searching for a villain across the entire universe. It was a fairly good concept but sadly I only made three out of thirteen planned episodes.

    Later I bought my first web-cam and started making 1-5 minute stop-motion films about a character that had been in my head for years called Agent Little, who was a three-inch tall secret agent solving fantastical crimes with his assistant Sgt. Kirby in a giant kid's bedroom. Something along the lines of Pixar's Toy Story.

    Later 2006 arrived and I began to work with new high-school friend Jacob Senior on a little known idea called Space Station 5. It was originally planned as a series of 6, 15 minute episodes. All the scripts were completed and everyone agreed they were bloody hilarious. Then I made the fatal mistake of planning in TOO MUCH detail. I created a schedule detailing the exact time we should shoot a scene. I'd worked out that it would take just 4 days to shoot this series.

    With all these complications I decided to make Space Station 5 into a film which I'm sure most of you have seen and hopefully enjoyed. I personally believe that the Space Station 5 works far better as a series with lots of different little adventures rather than one huge dragged out one. The film had to be divided up to fit YouTube's ten minute rule.

    Then I wanted to write something utterly fantastic. It came in the form of a series called UFO Hunters. Each script was 30-40 pages long. UFO Hunters would have made a great TV series but I suppose it's just too long for YouTube. Trying to get it into production was a nightmare so I tried reformatting it into a 90 minute feature film but by then everyone was fed up. It may re-appear one day as an audio series!

    Then The Subject came. This was originally intended to be just a ten minute episode every week. However, the completed episodes were slightly too long and had to be split into two parts. The episodes are best viewed as one whole but the two-part format does work suprisingly well because by lucky coincidence each episode had a cliffhanger roughly in the middle Smile Although each script was 8 pages long the length of the episodes varied from 9 minutes to 20 minutes. But the final script was 27 pages long and the episode was just 25 minutes long!

    The Blue Crystal, by Patrick Murphy was originally a stage production written by Nick Perrin. Patrick adapted the script to make it more of a serious drama and take out a load of god awful songs. It was originally going to be made with real actors but it was decided that this was too ambitious and so was turned into a very long lego film.

    And so the story of J3P Films continues!
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    thetimethief

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    Re: The YouTube format.

    Post  thetimethief on Sun Aug 09, 2009 10:09 am

    Oliver wrote:Hi Chris,

    I dont know quite how I did it but I became a director. I think I sent them a request. You could always upload to google video, since they own "You Tube". It will come up in searches.

    There's a way (I don't remember the name) for have 1 hour videos...and a banner etc...but Italy is not included:) oh...yes maybe is "partnership"Smile
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    j3pfilms
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    Re: The YouTube format.

    Post  j3pfilms on Sun Aug 09, 2009 10:10 am

    I've tried to apply for YouTube partnership twice and they haven't accepted. You have to have loads of views, loads of subscribers etc.
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    thetimethief

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    Re: The YouTube format.

    Post  thetimethief on Sun Aug 09, 2009 10:11 am

    j3pfilms wrote:I've tried to apply for YouTube partnership twice and they haven't accepted. You have to have loads of views, loads of subscribers etc.

    And not to be "italian"Smile))
    Ehi..what about wikipedia???I need to know what I need to have for put VK page!
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    Straker
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    Re: The YouTube format.

    Post  Straker on Sun Aug 09, 2009 6:27 pm

    You need verifiable 3rd party sources to back up your Wiki article, Chris.
    See the References at the bottom of any Wiki page for examples!
    The YT partner proogram's a bitch to get into.

    BTW, I think Olly has one of the very first YT accounts. Apparently at the start, Director's got more than ten minutes. Later, YT changed the rules, but if you opened an account back in the early days, you'll still have more than ten mins. Can't be done now!

    I should just add one thing about writing for webseries...when I made the Maddox serial, it took 3 months to get it shot and was another month or two before we got it edited...I came to the conclusion the story was just way too complicated for the budget. I really should've made something simpler, which I could've made faster and more episodes.

    So when it came to YouTube, I decided to really simplify the show right down. I think the keep-it-simple principle really is essential to a successful story in low budget production. As soon as anything gets elaborate, it becomes time-consuming and lots of things arise which can go wrong.
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    j3pfilms
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    Re: The YouTube format.

    Post  j3pfilms on Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:30 am

    I should just add one thing about writing for webseries...when I made the Maddox serial, it took 3 months to get it shot and was another month or two before we got it edited...I came to the conclusion the story was just way too complicated for the budget. I really should've made something simpler, which I could've made faster and more episodes.

    Hence why UFO Hunters was such a bastard for me to get into production!
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    Straker
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    Re: The YouTube format.

    Post  Straker on Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:43 am

    Yes...I think the format we ended up with now is best, and I think what you did on The Subject was a great example of that simple but interesting approach.

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