Arrival – Film Review

No More Workhorse

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Arrival– Film Review by Gareth Stack

Director: Denis Villeneuve
Writers: Eric Heisserer (screenplay), Ted Chiang (based on the short story “Story of Your Life” written by)
Stars: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker

Nobody makes science fiction movies anymore. What?! I hear you say. Aren’t they the only movies these days? And sure, if you walk into a random screen in a multiplex anywhere on the planet, chances are there’ll be a franchise superhero movie playing. Star Wars has recently seen a reboot, arguably besting the original. Ridley Scott’s masterpiece Blade Runner is due to receive a sequel next year. JJ Abrams Star Trek ‘re-imaginings’ are popular and indeed fun. But this revival of interest in the fantastical is deceptive. While Marvel and DC movies, and even the techno futuristic work of Christopher Nolan may play with the tropes of science fiction, they are emphatically not SF. For a…

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Getting Into The Game

Download: Getting into the Game Documentary

Broadcasting Bank Holiday Monday 31st October, 11AM on Newstalk.

Getting into the game is a new documentary aimed at kids who play games. Video games. Kids who play videogames and wonder maybe, possibly, perhapsily, if they’d like to make them. Growing up I remember getting those magazines full of strange impenetrable symbols that promised – if you could just type the whole book into your computer, without making any mistakes – you’d get a brand new, completely free game. These days games are everywhere, but they’re so damn fancy they can seem impossible to learn how to make.

This documentary will help open the lid, just a crack, to see what lies inside your favourite games. We’ve brought together people from every corner of the industry – artists, coders, indies, musicians, gamejammers, and developers of every age.

Featuring interviews with..

Mary Moloney of Coder Dojo
Andrew Boel, Pete McNally, Nick Grey, & Jen Taylor of Havok.
Terry Cavanagh, creator of VVVVVV and Super Hexagon
Owen Harris, designer of Deep, and co-founder of DubLUDO.
Niall Kehoe, Irelands youngest videogame developer.
Students and Lecturers from IT Carlow’s Videogame design degree.
Vicky Lee & Andrea Magnorsky of Global Gamecraft.
and filmmaker, animator and indie developer David O’Reilly.

The programme is divided into five segments, each one looking at a different part of making games.

Learning the Art

We visit cutting edge computing research laboratories at DIT and IT Carlow and tour exciting games development technology.  Lecturers and students explain the skills students should be building outside the classroom if they’d like to study videogames in college. Students tell us about their love of games and how they got into making their own.

Getting Covered in Jam

At DIT a group called ‘Global Gamecraft’ host ‘game jams’, competitions where anyone (over 18) can help make a game in just a few hours. Game Jams are an excellent way to develop the technical, artistic and collaborative skills sought by the games development industry. Jams are a fun and friendly way for young people to get a taste of game development. We speak to competitors and organisers like Vicky Lee, and provide a glimpse of the excitement and accessibility of ‘homebrew’ game development

Creating Havok

Modern videogames simulate exciting and realistic physics. The most impressive game physics ‘middleware’ software in the world comes from an Irish company founded by graduates of Trinity College. Havok are an industry leader employing dozens of artists and programmers. We speak to staff at the company about the day-to-day work of making one of the key technologies underpinning some of the most exciting and popular videogames.

Independent Heroes

The independent game development community is a thriving segment of the industry. We speak with leading Irish indie developer Terry Cavanagh, creator of hit games like ‘Super Hexagon’, about running his own studio. Terry explains how new distribution methods make it easy for anyone to sell their homemade game on the internet. Independent game development is a part of the industry that is particularly important to present to second level students – since it can be used to develop skills, or even start a business while at school.

We try out virtual reality in the company of Bryan Duggan of DIT, exploring DEEP, the anti-anxiety game from Owen Harris. Deep uses unique breathing sensors, soothing music and a beautiful polygon virtual environment to teach deep breathing relaxation techniques.

We hear from David O’Reilly, animator and creator of fictional videogames for use in Hollywood films. David gives us a glimpse into a self-directed career involving art, graphic design, and filmmaking.

Coder Dojo

Coder Dojo is a place for kids to learn how to make games, websites, and even robots. Started in County Cork, the Dojo movement has spread worldwide. Amazingly, Coder Dojo events are completely free! If there isn’t a coder dojo in your area, you can even start your own. We meet some of the kids who are making coder dojo the coolest place on earth.

Getting into the game was produced by Dead Medium Productions. The programme was developed, researched and presented by Gareth Stack and James Van De Waal.

All the music and sound effects used in the programme are listed here. Many of them are available for you to use for free in your projects under a creative commons licence. This documentary is available to download and share for free under the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence, it can be played in class or emailed to your students. Use it and share it! Go make some games!

BAI CREDIT

Radio Drama Revival Interview

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World famous radio drama podcast Radio Drama Revival have rebroadcast part of our series ‘The Wall in the Mind‘. Wall in the Mind was a location recorded drama series broadcast on Newstalk earlier this year. The series is moves back in time between contemporary Germany and fall of the Berlin Wall, and follows one woman’s search to resolve a mystery that’s lasted a quarter of a century. The first episode of the show is out now over at Radio Drama Revival, accompanied by an in depth interview with yours truly.

The series starred James O’Connor,Jasmin Gleeson, Dominik Domresonski, Dagmar Baar, Helena Clarke, Janine Dürkop, Sven Moritz, Andrew Harvey Robert Deering and Seb Connellan. Written, directed and edited by Gareth Stack. Sound engineering by Colm Coyne.

Ray Brown – Staten Island

As a quick turnaround creative project this weekend, I headed back to the Concrete Cathedral, in the company of actor James O’Connor. We made a super quickie video for my friend Ray Brown’s 2012 single Staten Island. Ray recently visited Dublin and performed a number of gigs with Cal Folger Day and Myles Manley. We shot on a borrowed 5D Mark ii, and edited the results in a few hours on the free Davinci Resolve package. Davinci is the video equivalent of Reaper on the audio side – effectively free, lightning fast, quirky to use but feature rich and powerful. There’s a lot to be said for rapid, limited scope projects which build a few concrete skills and fuel creative expression. This project gave me lots of hands on experience with the full frame Canon, and colour grading in post on Davinci – something that’s way less intimidating on a short fun project. Thanks to Shane Conneely who graciously lent us his camera and lenses (85mm, 14mm ultrawide, and 24-105mm zoom).

In The Dark coming to Dublin

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Two Summers ago, I was lucky enough to attend the first ever Hearsay Audio Festival. If you haven’t heard of the festival, it’s a unique chance to enjoy the most inventive, avant garde and creative audio from around the world. The festival is also a hella chill break, as it’s held in the bucolic idyll of Kilfinane, Co Limerick. One of the highlights of the first Hearsay was the short doc contest run by Bristol based BBC crew ‘In The Dark‘ (and not just cause I won😉. In The Dark run uniquely joyful listening events in a wonderful variety of locations from crypts to eerie forests . At last years festival they setup a shop full of curiosities, each of which was paired with a story. Visitors plucked an object from the shelf and were passed an MP3 player containing an accompanying story. Mine concerned an urban myth about an underground group of students who got their kicks climbing into tumble driers and experiencing the spin cycle!

AIRPI have invited In the Dark to Dublin, for what promises to be a unique listening even at the Unitarian Church. In The Dark will be playing a selection of stories for the start of winter. Highly recommended!

When: Saturday, November 5 at 8 PM – 10 PM
Where: Dublin Unitarian Church
How Much: 10 euro or free for AIRPI members.
More info.

October Podcast Workshop

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After a successful first run last month, I’m happy to announce I’ll be hosting another podcast workshop at A4 Sounds October 22nd. The course will cover literally everything you need to know to create, publish, promote and even (should the show become popular beyond your wildest dreams) ‘monitize’ a podcast. The workshop is split evenly between lecture and hands on, and runs a whole day.

When?
Sat 22nd Oct, 10-5pm (with 1 hour for lunch).

Where?

A4 Sounds, St Joseph’s Parade, Off Upper Dorset St, Dublin 1

How much?
60 euro.

Full details of whats covered can be found at the A4 Sounds website. As we sold out last time, early booking is advisable.