Animated in the style of a retro video game, “RPG OKC” tells the story of two minor video game characters who go on a perilous first date after meeting each other on an internet dating website.
Emily Carmichael is a filmmaker and artist whose funny and fantastical movies combine magic, adventure and sharp dialogue.
Her short films have screened at Sundance, Slamdance, SXSW, Cinevegas, Rooftop Films and now Tribeca, at festivals in Canada, England, Ireland, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain, in New York at BAM and IFC, once on the beach, twice in bars, and several times in small Italian villages. Her short film The Hunter and The Swan Discuss Their Meeting premiered at Sundance in 2011.
RPG OKC is a spinoff of her 8-bit films in The Adventures of Ledo and IX series, which was acquired as a web series by Penny Arcade. Written and animated by Carmichael, RPG OKC is produced by Chris Goodwin with original music by Chris Thomas and additional tracks by Sceptic Deejay and Acid Paradox.
“The film is about two characters in a fantasy video game from the early 90s,” says Carmichael. “Playing those games could be totally haunting. Because the sprites were so simple, and you had to read their dialogue off the screen, you ended up investing a lot of yourself in the characters– they were great vessels.”
Commenting on the use of the short format, Carmichael adds, “I don’t think the world is ready yet for a feature length movie whose characters only have two facial expressions. Although I’m a great Bruce Willis fan, so I could be wrong.”
Carmichael also enjoys mixing genres in order to create more creative options. “Combining genres is really exciting!” she says. “It raises exponentially the story elements at your disposal. Genres give us a wealth of character archetypes and worlds and themes to play with, but they can also be a little confining. They predetermine outcomes to a large degree. For me, the moment of realizing you can switch from one to the other is electric.”
Watch parts 1 and 2, below:
Carmichael’s feature script, Arrow, was recently selected for NYU’s Purple List and involves a sad girl, a sci-fi city, and three-and-a-half talking reptiles.
Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.