Similarities between the film and video game industries

Photo courtesy of chrisjtse via Creative Commons

Although the film industry and video game are two completely different entities with completely different creative and production processes, the two entertainment industries share far more similarities than you would initially think. As video games have always appeared to have been influenced by movies, video games are now influencing movies themselves as more and more parallels can be drawn between the two.

For example, observe the video game designers and filmmakers over the course of production and how they are feeling. For some, it can oftentimes be draining, like for filmmakers and television showrunners Trey Parker and Matt Stone. In Not Hollywood by Sherry B. Ortner, Parker claims in an interview that “It’s like making anything. You hate it. And anyone I’ve ever talked to that’s worth their salt actually kind of hates the process…It’s always miserable. I have never had a good time on a set. O’ve never had a good time making an episode of South Park, either. I always hate it, and I always say, ‘I’ll never do it again.’”

Photo courtesy of JD Hancock via Creative Commons

Meanwhile you have other filmmakers who proclaim their love of the process, like screenwriter and director Callie Khouri who claims “I’ll bitch about writing all day long, but directing is so much fun, so exhilarating…The worst day on a movie set is still the best day of your life…It’s a privilege. I love it. I’m happy to do it. Even when I’m having a temper tantrum.”

Both of these instances remind me of one of the students I have been dealing with in my project, Grant. In his first group, he had a miserable time working on creating his video game and was dreading the process, partly due to his absentee group members. Now, he is working with an extremely collaborative group that gets along well, which is resulting in a much more positive experience for him. Which also expands upon the delicate relationships that can be found on film sets and in these video game design groups.

Ortner describes it best when she says “There are structural divides between filmmaker and crew, and between filmmaker and actors, who are not all necessarily on the same page in terms of what the film should be and how to go about making it in the best possible way.”

Every person involved in the production of films or video games have their own ideas as to how to make the property great. Much like how the director has the master vision of how a movie should play out, so does the creator of the video game that is being worked on. They then must convey these ideas to those they are working with to best give birth to their ideas. In the director’s case, this is to actors who upon reading the script, come up with their own ideas on how to bring these characters to life and prepare for these roles that the director must be able to work with.

Meanwhile, the creator of the video game must work alongside teams of animators and coders to give birth the world they had inside their head. Again in the case of Grant, while he was busy away coding his idea, he had specific images he had asked his coders for, such as a Pegasus animation. The animator instead gave him a horse. Showing that both industries each must face the challenge of working in a metaphorical kitchen with too many cooks.