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Machinima Making New 3D Inroads on Spike TV's VGAs

Spike TV (a division of MTV Networks) will be airing animation created using ILL Clan Inc.s proprietary 3D animation technique called machinima. By modifying off-the-shelf computer game technology, the New York animation studio produces machinima in a fraction of the time it would take using typical computer animation techniques.

The ILL Clan created 12 short animated vignettes, co-directed by David Kaplan and Dan Torop, introducing the award categories on spiketv.com for their Video Game Awards Show (VGA), eight of which will be used during the VGAs scheduled to air Dec. 4, 2003. Each animated intro features 3D assets created by game designers and players from around the world, available for download on the Internet. "By tapping the resources of the public gaming community it allowed us not only to produce animation quickly and effectively, but also to support the efforts of a lot of talented 3D designers," says Frank Dellario, president of the ILL Clan.

The vignettes were created using Fountainhead Entertainment's Machinimation toolset based on Id Software's Quake 3 game engine. Each of the roughly 10-second animations can currently be viewed at www.spiketv.com.

Machinima (Machine + Cinema) allows the group to accomplish what many animators would never have imagined possible: the ability to control puppet-like animated characters in realtime and record them using a virtual camera as if they were objects on an actual film studio set. All of this using off-the-shelf software and standard desktop computers.

The ILL Clan has also demonstrated the potential of machinima when combined with their comedic talent by performing animation live before an audience at the 2003 Florida Film Festival. The result of that performance is a cartoon titled COMMON SENSE COOKING, which recently won best virtual performance at the 2nd annual Machinima Film Festival. Since then the group has continued to push the limits of computer animation with their latest show, LARRY & LENNY ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL, in which two unemployed Lumberjacks join the race for president in the hopes of landing a cushy, do-nothing job.

Audience members at the live premier of LARRY & LENNY ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL in New York City were invited to participate in a Q&A session with the animated characters. Upcoming episodes of the show can be viewed on the ILL Clan's Web site: www.illclan.com and a schedule of live performances in New York City is currently in the works.

Although machinima itself is an emerging art form, The ILL Clan is moving ahead based on their absurd content and unique talent. The group is currently developing a prototype for an Xbox console game featuring Larry & Lenny Lumberjack, and their agent, Circle of Confusion Management, is shopping around a new animated show concept for television distribution.

Brooklyn-based ILL Clan Prods. is a collective of 3D artists, filmmakers and improvisational comedians focusing on creating animated episodic shows and works for hire using the machinima process and 3D CGI.

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