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A fan film based on Automata - "Automata: Prelude"

SiegeSiege Registered User regular
edited May 2012 in Artist's Corner
So, I made a fan film based on "Automata." I posted it in Social Entropy++ ( but I wanted to post it here as well to get some feedback.

Set 30 minutes before the original comic run.


SIEGE TV | I made the short film Automata: Prelude. Check out the thread and go watch it here!
Siege on


  • amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    What is that song you used starting with the "Automota" logo and where can I buy it?

    are YOU on the beer list?
  • SiegeSiege Registered User regular
    SIEGE TV | I made the short film Automata: Prelude. Check out the thread and go watch it here!
  • NicNic Registered User regular
    Very nicely done overall. I kind of imagined Carl would have a bit more robot distortion in his voice, and a british accent, but that's pretty minor and more just the way I read it in my head.
    The song was a really, really good choice. Great work!

  • SiegeSiege Registered User regular
    Heh, funny thing is that the dude who did his voice (Bacon-Butty) is actually British.

    SIEGE TV | I made the short film Automata: Prelude. Check out the thread and go watch it here!
  • MustangMustang Arbiter of Unpopular Opinions Registered User regular
    That was pretty great.

    My one piece of advice is to add a "swwwTHWACK!" sound effect during that initial baseball bat strike. It will give the violence of it more impact, at the moment it feels limp wristed.

  • SiegeSiege Registered User regular

    I played around with it. I chose not to, in the end, because I didn't want to detract from the radio show's dialogue and left it all silent until Carl shows up.

    SIEGE TV | I made the short film Automata: Prelude. Check out the thread and go watch it here!
  • eGregiouseGregious Registered User regular
    I don't mean to be "that guy", but for a trailer it would be much for easier for the viewer to read if you wrote it as, "INSPIRED BY AUTOMATA - CREATED BY JERRY HOLKINS AND MIKE KRAHULIK" with the Penny Arcade logo below that instead of what is in the trailer now. "Based upon the creations of...(names)...from" is not easy for the audience to read and understand in a short amount of time.

    Other than that, I thought this trailer was intriguing and well-done. I might have gone with a first-person perspective for the entire video (shooting from that pedestrian's POV first up until the point he is killed, then from the point of the robot--is his name Automata? I forgot.). But the editing and production quality look top notch. Is that Matt L. Jones (Badger) from Breaking Bad in the beginning?

  • nakirushnakirush Registered User regular
    Looks pretty solid. My only gripe is that it looks too crisp - which kinda kills the dirty, rough atmosphere. Throw in a slight film grain and lower the frame rate. Otherwise, good job. :)

  • MolybdenumMolybdenum Registered User regular
    This is awesome and you should feel awesome for making a kickass Carl mask. However, negative (but hopefully constructive?) commentary below.

    Clearly you've got the idea for the visual style, but I have to speak up and say that the pacing was, for me at least, terribly flawed. I'm a huge fan of the work that was done for Automata; there was a whole lot of world-building done in a very small number of images, and I feel like you aren't living up to that depth of material.

    First off, you have two very different stories running at the same time during the introductory sequence.
    First of all is the radio interview telling us that a memetic 'tick' is spreading through the automata, foreshadowing Carl's episode.
    Secondly, a murder is taking place, foreshadowing Carl's appearance as a detective.

    The action on-screen seems like it should be taking precedence, but it is extremely hard to follow. Here's why it gets very muddy very quickly.

    The first issue is that the bundled man isn't clearly an automata. He doesn't move like one, which leads to a lot of doubt about whether he is a sleuth character, someone in disguise, etc. He doesn't have the glowing eyes. Maybe the goggle/glasses things are opaque, but how am I to know that? It isn't that ambiguity here is bad- it is more than fine if you wanted some shock to the murder scene, but the way that was handled ruins the effectiveness if that was the intent.

    The blinking and slight nod at :55 seems to indicate the beggar is either
    a: perhaps part of a bait/switch to mug anyone dumb enough to enter the alley, man or machine and/or
    b: approving of the crime being committed, in which case we have to assume that the bundled man was a robot and that once realizing this the beggar is fine with his being beaten, presumed killed.

    The way the actor gives hesitant approval, or at least non-interference, implies that he's helpless to stop the beating/murder. We don't know if he's not interfering because the bundled man is a robot or out of guilt, since the bundled man was giving him the equivalent of $5-$10

    (Actually we don't even get to see the outcome; whether these guys are just beating on the robot because they can without it fighting back or if they're out for synthetic blood would go a long ways towards developing the atmosphere.) There are several paths you could have taken here that much more clearly fit the overarching storyline. If we know the bundled man is a robot immediately, we can go into the mugging scene with a better understanding of why he's being preyed upon, although we still have no idea why he's in disguise. If it is revealed to us in the process of the mugging that he is a robot, that allows for some really cool character insights- maybe the beggar is at first shocked and tries to defend the bundled man from the assault until he sees chrome.

    Who is grinning at :40, the beggar or the man in the shadows? Who's hand is holding the change? Who is picking up the hat? These are all clear on a second viewing, but I shouldn't need one. You failed to tell the story clearly enough. There's too many cuts and I can't keep a mental map of the alleyway and how the characters are arrayed in it. I had to watch this upwards of 5 times before I realized the beggar was behind the large metal structure on the left of the alleyway. The shallow DoF makes things look dreamy, but it hinders my understanding of the environment. Your opening pan to the right makes me expect future shots to continue in a left-right.

    The audio presents a much clearer storyline and characters at the exact same time that you're trying to present three completely unrelated characters, and it's way too much at once.

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