GWIZ – MACHINIMA

The word ‘Machinima‘ is a combination of the words ‘machine‘ & ‘cinema‘. A new way of creative storytelling using game graphics like World Of Warcraft, The Sims, Grand Theft Auto etc… I’ve had some experience doing animations back in my SVA days, and have been wanting to experiment with this for some time. So, I’ve been creating machinima in the virtual world of Second Life to add video to my own orginal music. At last, after all those years of creating art with a musical theme… I’m able to incorporate my own original music with visual storytelling (In a lot faster way than doing traditional animation…). It’s just like making a real movie, although there are quite a few limitations so far, but man…the potential is there, and it’s wonderful to contribute to a new cutting edge genre that is still in its infancy.

Still shot from Gene Williams ‘Victim Of Society’ Machinima

The music for ‘Victim of Society‘ was written way back in 1995 & appeared on my CD ‘Welcome To My World‘. An intense Fusion influenced piece in a few odd meters featuring me on vocals trying to sound like John Lennon in ‘I Am The Walrus‘!

Almost 13 years later, After Drummer, Rich Harrison (who also plays drums on this track) played it for a music student of ours at the Boy’s Club of NY, I was asked if i’d ever done a Music Video for the song. I thought about it for a minute, and responded, ‘No… But I can do one now!

Thus began my first official foray into what I had later learned was called, ‘Machinima.’

Victim of Society was created in Second Life in about 3 days after creating my best attempt at an avatar that looked as much like me as I could… using various ‘sims‘ throughout the grid as locations… including ‘Virtual Harlem‘. Yes… It’s an actual place… I didn’t make that up! … and editing in iMovie. Hardest thing to do was matching lip movement to the track… I hadn’t figured out lip syncing yet. There are also a few glitches here & there when the avatar animation bleeds through the strap on keyboard. But those are part of the limitations of this medium I’d mentioned earlier…

In 2010 Victim Of Society was even shown in a machinima expo in real life in Amsterdam along with films by many other amazing Machinima-ographers. This song has really been given.. a Second Life!

Screen capture from Gene Williams’ ‘Heroes!’ Machinima

Hereos! is an original composition I wrote & performed which is a return to the style of music I love most, & grew up listening to… ‘Jazz Rock Fusion, and Progressive Rock.

The Heroes! machinima takes the concept even further by paying tribute to not only the musicians who created that sound back in the 70’s (Miles Davis, Return To Forever, Emerson Lake & Palmer…) But, also the artists who created the cover art for many of those now classic albums. (Roger Dean, Wilson Mclean, H.R Giger…)

How many references do you recognize in this video? They’re all my Heroes!

                                                                       

 

“Welcome 2 My World”

A lot of the material i’ve posted on this blog was created in the 80’s. A time when I was really focused on my work as a visual artist. By the time we rolled into the 90’s I had made a shift in direction, and was becoming pretty successful as a touring musician/keyboardist. So, there’s really very little visual art I had created for about a decade other than promotional flyers for my band ‘Prime Directive‘, and artwork for my first CD, ‘Welcome 2 My World‘ recorded in 1995.

16 years later, after creating several machinima, I finally added visuals to the title track. ‘Welcome 2 My World‘ was always kind of a signature song for me. I had originally composed it on 4 track sometime in the 80’s, and kept coming back to it. A review in Keyboard Magazine by Jim Aikin said of the track: “A two-handed Tyneresque piano passage interrupted by fuzzy synth bass — what could be more natural? And the title track is in a pushy 11/8. “

The video concept features 4 different ‘Gwiz’ characters. An Apollo Astronaut, ‘Going Insane’ Gwiz in a padded room & straight jacket, Sith Lord Gwiz in the future, and live performance Gwiz.

The ‘easter egg‘ clip at the end, is a nod to all of the Marvel comics films that snuck teasers at the end of all the films leading up the ‘the Avengers.

 


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