26 January 2015

Today is Community Manager Appreciation Day! For those who aren't so familiar with the tradition, the fourth Monday in January is reserved for thanking our community managers for being amazing throughout the year. And I like writing these posts because Meagan doesn't have the easiest job and, especially near the release of titles or a gaming events, it's a demanding one. 

Last Autumn, Meagan announced that she was returning to Crystal Dynamics. And while I'm really glad that she enjoyed her adventure working with the developers of League of Legends, the news that she was returning to Tomb Raider felt like being reunited with a family friend. 

Last year also showed how important Community Managers are.  At Gamescom,  Crystal Dynamics announced that Rise of the Tomb Raider would be coming first to XBOX, now this post obviously isn't the place to debate that topic, but it was a moment which reinforced to me how difficult and how important that role is. It also speaks volumes that her impact and kindness in and dedication towards the community was never forgotten for a moment in the months she was away.

A Community Manager is someone whose enthusiasm for a project is contagious, and who you genuinely consider as a friend, that even when you have a concern they will address it. And something I really admire about Meagan is that, no matter what situation you're in, you feel like she's on your side and she empathizes, and that she will do her best to reassure you.

Plus she likes Star Trek!

Thank you for all your hard work this past year, Meagan!



Photograph from Meagan's Facebook page, taken by LJinto. 

24 January 2015

Today marks the end of our week long preview of the upcoming Tomb Raider fan film, Hunted. I hope you enjoyed reading the extended interviews with the cast and crew members. It's an incredible project, so if you want to follow their progress, make sure to check out their Facebook page and YouTube channel for updates. Anne, Sara, Carla and Kate are not only very talented but their kindness and passion for the series clearly shines through. They are joined by the dedicated Joshua Pate, whose jobs as Mathias, the film's director AND photographer, means that his role is one of the most challenging.

You may have noticed that the same set of five interview questions were sent out to all of the cast and crew members; this was representational of the article structure originally in mind, but then something rather cool happened. Despite having the adventure together, each member had different experienes; what they enjoyed the most and what they found challenging as well as their motivations. It was something pretty awesome that I didn't expect in such variety.

In addition to her answers, Sara sent over some exclusive behind the scenes photographs, which you can check out below!

Thank you to the entire team behind the Hunted fan film!


Anne getting the final touches added for her Lara Croft outfit, by Joshua as he prepares for his role as Mathias.



Sara preparing for her shoot as Sam.



Carla adding the final touches to the skull props.



Joshua and Anne walking to the set, through freezing conditions.



Sara and Anne recreating the university photograph as seen in Lara's locker.

22 January 2015

Hunted is an upcoming fan film, a collaboration between a group of friends and cosplayers. It's an exciting venture and one I very much recommend following through their Facebook page. Last year I wrote an article with the help of interviews from the awesome cast and crew, as well as photographs from the filming.  Extracts of the interviews were used in the piece, and throughout this week, I'll be posting up their full answers. Our final interview is with Anne Roig, the actor portraying Lara in the fan film. 

Follow Anne here: Facebook   /  Twitter




As you're in the middle of production, what are your views on the project? Is it exciting or daunting? 

 

To be perfectly honest, it has been an exciting challenge! When the project was just in its baby stages, and planning had only just begun, we all agreed that we were going to give it the best that we all had, whatever it may be. We are not a professional team, just a bunch of crazy hardcore Tomb Raider fans with a passion to bring Lara to life! We’ve never asked for money or donations, so all of this is coming straight out of our pockets. I feel it is something to be proud of, however, it does cause quite a bit of frustration when you can’t afford the proper equipment. But that’s where the beauty of innovation lies, and we’ve only just begun!



What challenges have you faced so far? And was it something you prepared for at the start?


We certainly prepared as much as we could before everyone arrived for filming. You should have seen Sara; she was the list making queen! However, I believe nothing could have prepared us for the crazy journey that soon took place as everyone was getting ready to meet. Sara, Carla, and Sara’s husband Steven all piled into their car and only made it about 40 miles into the trip before their car broke down in the middle of the highway! They had to pay out of pocket to have it towed back, which was a huge set back. Not only did they use up the rest of their savings, but it also meant we had lost a whole day’s worth of filming. So that day, Shu (the director of the fan film, and also our Mathias!) and I talked and agreed that we were willing to drive states away in order to pick everyone up and bring them to our apartment. 

So the next morning, we set out on our eight hour journey to New Hampshire to pick everyone up! When we finally made it back home, we had to juggle finishing up miscellaneous props and costume pieces, take care of my son (who, might I add, is in his terrible two’s!), and get filming equipment ready, etc. (which we had a *TON* of technical failures with boom mics not wanting to work, among other things.). There should have been Benny Hill music playing in the background, because we all looked like chickens with our heads cut off! By the time everything had been finished, the struggle to find a babysitter had been resolved, and we had all gotten into costume and makeup, we loaded the car up with a ridiculous amount of gear and props. We all squished ourselves in like a clown car and headed to location. We got about half way there and realized it was *WAY* too cold to safely film the planned scene. Needless to say, with our hearts crushed, and frustration high, we were still not going to give up, so we did an impromptu photo shoot and called it a day! 

So now we had lost two full days worth of filming, and it seemed like fate was completely against us, however it never got us down. Everyone remained positive and the next morning we made sure to have everything ready super early (Thanks to Sara and her ridiculously awesome ability to organize everything with her lists, seriously… I’m super impressed!). We made it on location, and even though it was still dangerous for us to film, we did it anyway! We took all of our props and gear, (which collectively weighed a couple hundred pounds, at least!) and hiked roughly 15 minutes in through the frozen tundra of a forest to get to the perfect location. We literally risked life and limb trying to get the scene filmed, everyone unfortunately got frost nip, and my poor knees suffered almost getting straight up frost bite! 

Then, in order to get home, we had to force our frozen bodies to lug all of our gear over a frozen lake, hike up through frozen snow covered hills, and forged our own path through a blizzard! It may sound crazy, but it was totally worth every second to me. I have never seen such a strong willed, dedicated, and crazy passionate group of people before in my life! So despite all of the countless numbers of setbacks, challenges, and complications, we all stuck together as a team and got through it alive! And for that, I’m extremely proud of us!


Photography and Makeup by Shu Pate


What is it about the latest incarnation of Lara and Tomb Raider which has inspired you to create this movie?


Where to even begin? I have been a fan of Lara since the beginning, and to be honest, the newest incarnation of her is my absolute favorite. There’s a certain rawness, or vulnerability I guess you could say, to Lara that no one has ever seen! The raw emotions you hear in her voice, the realness of situations where it’s fight or flight, is so real and captivating (and terrifying at times!). And to be what seems so up close and personal with Lara on her journey of finding out who she is, and seeing her become the badass we recognize today is very inspiring and empowering! My favorite line she says is “I can do this.”, and I find myself in my daily struggles quoting her time and time again!



What has been your favourite or most memorable moment of the project so far?


Definitely our first day of filming, I know it’s something I will never forget. It’s also something that I believe we will reminisce about for a very long time. I’ve learned so many valuable lessons about friendships and teamwork to last a life time! It was definitely an adventure!



What made you want to create a fanfilm?


I’ve lost count of how many years I’ve been friends with Kate, and as far back as I can remember we have always wanted to team up and create a fan film! I’ve been obsessed with cosplay and making films pretty much my whole life. I even went to school for film and animation, and my first official movie I made was a Resident Evil fan film! Sadly, life happens and I ran into a lot of personal problems, so I stopped cosplaying for many years. However, my fiancé Shu had started working with me to help build my confidence back up and get back into it. Because of that, I had met Sara online through her website and was welcomed back into it with loving arms! After getting to know each other better, we realized we lived pretty close, so we planned a Tomb Raider photo shoot, which then turned into the idea of the fan film, and I was floored with excitement! Then, as planning took shape, Carla joined the team, and I was speechless, talk about a dream team! So I’ve jumped on the opportunity, and I haven’t looked back since! I believe it’s been the best decision of my life, I’ve never had something I’ve worked so hard for and have been so proud of! 


21 January 2015

Hunted is an upcoming fan film, a collaboration between a group of friends and cosplayers. It's an exciting venture and one I very much recommend following through their Facebook page. Last year I wrote an article with the help of interviews from the cast and crew, as well as photographs from the filming.  Extracts of the interviews were used in the piece, and throughout this week, I'll be posting up their full answers. Today's interview is with Carla Lemley, the actor portraying Himiko in the fan film. 

Follow Carla here: Facebook




As you're in the middle of production, what are your views on the project? Is it exciting or daunting?


This project is very exciting! We have a great crew with lots of ideas and ways of crafting that will make this film certainly memorable! 


What challenges have you faced so far? And were they something you prepared for at the start?


Personally, I faced the challenge of flying north side of the States, transferred flights and so on. As a collective, we faced car problems and bad weather. All in all, we pulled through nicely and in turn grew closer!


What is it about the latest incarnation of Lara and Tomb Raider which has inspired you to create this movie?


The latest incarnation of Lara has inspired me to do a multitude of cosplays and photoshoots! In time, my crafting skills and cosplay skills have increased a great number as far as the game, the creative design and music have reawakened my love of Tomb Raider! Inspiration for both came from a character that is centered around the story in the latest Tomb Raider; I took into account the traits, mythology and aspect and transferred that into my part in the film 


What has been your favourite or most memorable moment of the project so far?


My most memorable and favorite moment of the project has been the behind the scenes crafting with Sara and Anne. We sat down for the evening and just painted and detailed some amazing props Sara made and we all put our personal touch to them 


Why did you want to create a fanfilm?


I'd like to say that I am collaborating in the film Kate has written the script, and Joshua Pate is directing it while there is a combination of efforts on editing, sound quality and artistic design between all of us.


By Photopersuasion



20 January 2015

Hunted is an upcoming fan film, a collaboration between a group of friends and cosplayers. It's an exciting venture and one I very much recommend following through their Facebook page. Last year I wrote an article with the help of interviews from the cast and crew, as well as photographs from the filming.  Extracts of the interviews were used in the piece, and throughout this week, I'll be posting up their full answers. Today's interview is with Sara Croft, the owner of Tomb Raider cosplay and the actor portraying Sam in the fan film. 

Follow Sara here: Facebook   /  Twitter  /  Website



As you're in the middle of production, what are your views on the project? Is it exciting or daunting?


It's been the most exciting thing I've worked on in a long time. Anne and I have been friends for a while and when we discovered we lived near each other, we decided to get together. So I was not only working on a fan film, but I was meeting one of the greats in the cosplay community later that year, Carla. So you can imagine that getting to meet everybody was a big part of why this was exciting.




What challenges have you faced so far, and was it something you prepared for at the start?


A couple actually! There was the first attempt to get to Anne's house, but my car gave up on us and died forty miles away from home. So we were towed back home and paid for it with the last of our savings.

Another instance was, we needed to shoot a few scenes in the snow and even though you bring coats and try to mentally prepare yourself for the cold, it's never enough. Although I was able to handle it better because I layered shirts and pants on underneath my costume. I had to do a couple takes barefoot in the snow as well. I felt worse thinking about Anne in two tank tops and ripped up pants and Josh in the Mathias costume(!) in 29 Fahrenheit weather!



What is it about the latest incarnation of Lara and Tomb Raider which has inspired you to create this movie?


I personally fell completely in love with Lara, the minute they released the screenshots. When I got to play the game, I really liked the character development. She's just a young girl who's been backed into a corner by fate and either she fights or she dies; if it was me, I think I would have given up when I washed up on that beach. But you watch her develop into a fighter, and if a normal girl can do it, so can we.

I love that she is approachable. If it was Legend, Anniversary, or Underworld, I wouldn't be able to relate so easily.



What has been your favourite/most memorable moment of the project so far?


We were out in the freezing cold, filming. It was a fight scene between Anne and Josh, and without speaking a word, Josh had thrown his staff at Anne and she instinctively blocked it (not to give up too much) but the improvisation carried on throughout the scene and it was perfect! We still reminisce about that scene!



What made you want to create a fanfilm?


Honestly just for a chance to work with Carla, Anne and Josh in person. They are wonderful people that I love dearly and it's like we were all split from the same egg. The amount of things we have in common is overwhelming so it made the whole process easy and really fun, I am going back in the spring/summer to film the rest.



EXTRA: In her interview, Sara also contributed to Josh's section of the article.


Working with Josh Pate was a delightful experience, his passion for his art often became contagious, and it was like a surge of energy throughout the crew.  He always had a smile on his face no matter what we faced. We, as a whole crew, decided that he would be the best person suited to direct. So as the Director, it was an enormous responsibility that we threw on his shoulders but he rose to the occasion beautifully.

The other side was being Mathias, which he did an excellent job portraying, I honestly don't understand how he was able to juggle directing and acting at the same time, especially because we were in extreme weather and temperatures.

Come to think of it, he was also our photographer, we took promotional photos throughout our stay with him and Annie, and he was incredibly quick and on point. He was great at directing all of us and we captured some phenomenal pics. That's the kind of decisiveness you need in your crew chief. We are a lucky bunch to have him.

I would like to add that Anne's performance was indescribable, we were all blown away with her acting skills, she was so convincing as Lara. I almost forgot, we were shooting, and remember the Batman movie when Michael Caine said that the first time he saw Heath Ledger as the Joker was in the penthouse party scene? The shock of the transformation caused him to forget Alfred's lines.

Well, it was the same for me, I was facing away while filming our first scene (further away from her and Josh) and hearing Anne's voice in an immaculate British accent almost made me break character, run up to her and stare in disbelief. She was extraordinary!