Website clean-up and music licensing

I took a little time to spiff up the website, which was looking a little neglected.
I also sent out queries to some of the musicians whose work I am hoping to
relicense under By-SA for use in our soundtrack. So far I’ve gotten one
positive response, and one slightly unclear one. But I’m optimistic.

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.

New Banners

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.