5. As you have mentioned taking an objective point of view with this project, does that mean you’re not playing into fan expectations?
Definitely I think we have to, to a degree anyways; we probably wouldn’t really be doing our job if we weren’t, but at the same time I don’t want to essentially take the game and put it into live-action movie form because I feel like you could just go and pick up the game and it would essentially be the same thing. I wanted to make sure it was more cinematic, more based on the story.
The movie’s definitely a balance of both [artistic and game-centric] because we’re trying to push to crazy visual effects and I think that’s important when you adapt something, otherwise, it just becomes agame on the screen – and it’s not.
6. What sort of budget did you have to work with? Did you have budget constraints?
Yeah, we definitely do, but luckily we’ve had the help of tons of volunteers. We calculated what this project would cost if we were paying everybody to the industry standard and it would probably be hundreds of thousands of dollars. Fortunately, we were at, like, well, let’s say under 10 thousand. Just because our crew, like our visual effects crew, is at almost 200 people and a good 120 of them have worked at Digital Domain and ILM, so, major, major movies like Transformers and Super 8, which are out right now, we have leading artists from those movies working for free.
7. We’ve heard that this short is supposed to have groundbreaking CGI technology and using some tech from Avatar; can you tell us a bit about that?
I don’t want to necessarily say that it’s groundbreaking; it’s groundbreaking on the level for which we’re using it. First of all, we’re creating this whole world from scratch, so that’s really the first main big thing. When it comes to the characters, we’re also using, going back to that Avatar thing, the facial technology for the Covenant; that’s one of the things that’s revolutionary for us.
8. Is there any fear of people perceiving this as a cutscene in the game?
I think there was in the beginning, because the first script we had and actually the first shoot we did, it kind of played out that way. So, we went back and we tweaked things up and we changed the beginning a lot to make it more dramatic and to follow the storyline.
9. How does someone so young have access to this technology and staff?
I think you really need to prove that the project is worth their time. I think you need to pitch it really well.
How did you do that?
(Laughs) Well, for Halo I used past projects as reference material to get people onboard. So, with Halo it was a lot of using the World War II movie [In the Hearts of Men] to get people onboard. We won a number of awards for that movie as well, so that was also incentive.
10. Were there any difficulties in filming and conception?
Definitely during the filming, because we’re shooting everything against a green screen and a concrete floor. So, it’s really hard to translate our storyboards to a strong vision for the actors and other crew members. It’s difficult when, literally, there’s three, well we had four actors, three live-action characters in the movie having to react to these epic battles and hundreds and hundreds of other characters who obviously aren’t there, so definitely a huge challenge – one bigger than any of us expected.
Remember that big, badass gun we mentioned in the intro? Keep reading…