ENN: The Make-Up Blog Post
July 3rd, 2010

Posted by Jeremy

It’s been an eventful (and very busy) few weeks for the crew of ENN. Those who follow me on Twitter will note that I haven’t really posted much, and I’ve been lax in my blog responsibilities. This ends now: allow me to tell you about the delicious ENN feast of the last several weeks.

E3 News Bytes

The E3 News Bytes were my idea, and were basically conceived of out of spite that I, myself, was not going to make it to E3. Also, pragmatism may have played a role. In our normal ENN schedule, we allow ourselves several days of production time to put an episode together after it has been written and filmed-those glorious shoulder graphics don’t just make themselves, after all. It was pretty apparent, however, that this was not going to work against the power of E3. The standard news cycle is squirt gun to E3’s waterslide, and the huge amount of news causes stories to go stale before they can even be properly digested.

We needed a way to publish more news quicker, and so you got ENN every day-hooray :). I’m very happy with how the project turned out, and for those who are asking, yeah, we could probably pull off ENN every day if it was necessary to drive off the end of the world or something, but that equalled a lot of late nights in a row.

E3 Recap

After the E3 Bytes came The E3 Recap, though this wasn’t what was originally planned to come next. Kathleen and I were well underway on a script called The Belvedere even before the News Bytes started coming out, and for  while we considered filming it for the Wednesday of E3 week, before we realized it would then stop us from effectively reporting on Sony and Nintendo, which wouldn’t do. Thus we held off filming The Belvedere until the weekend following E3, though it was certainly done in time for the next week.

Then a funny thing happened.

At some point during E3 week, I installed an iTunes update that reorganized my podcast library. This inspired me to go through, look at my podcasts and realize that my Bonus Round updates were not coming down. After correcting this grievous error, I commenced watching the most recent episodes, which were (surprise!) E3 predictions followed by E3 recaps. The contrast of these two, combined with the near-constant fog-horn-like whining from Matt about his hatred for motion controls more-or-less inspired what became a second ENN “recap” episode, reuniting the cast of the 2009 recap in December.

Of course, while Paul and I wrote both sketches, this one ended up much more character-driven … and by that I mean “turned into a gfight between ChadX and Ryan Quickbender.” That’s fine: if we have two gigantic dick characters on our show, might as well let them be big dicks to each other, right? This was shot the same day as Conan’s Witnesses, with mostly the same crew.

It occurred to me as we were filming that the episode would be completely incomprehensible to new viewers who didn’t know the characters, but in this case we just decided to go with it. ChadX’s “frag dance” and Quickbender pulling on the Dr. Zobec lab coat were last-minute additions: so much so that Graham, who was on camera, didn’t realize they were happening until they did.

SnobCon 2010

ENN feature stories are notoriously difficult to name. A large proportion of the time, the name of the lead story becomes the name of the episode, and we really try for names that will look evocative on the Escapist main page, and encourage non-ENN-viewers to check out the episode. Thus, while this video was called The Belvedere until about 11:00PM the Monday before it went up, it was given a less obscure name at the last second.

I had a pretty clear idea of how this script was going to go from the start, and it’s one I’ve wanted to write for a long time. The 1Up Show used to do shows on indy gatherings like this, and pretentious artist are always fun to poke fun at. The real trick was coming up with games that were ridiculous in entirely different ways. The idea of a game that is so artistic that it fails to be a game was Paul’s big contribution, and formed the height of the joke’s escalation–the trick became getting there. I’m pretty sure my favourite part in this episode is the Super Mario Bros. exchange.

This episode features the largest number of speaking parts in any ENN feature story, as filled by Bill Nance (Penrose), Dave Morris (Howlett), Missy Peters (Shiloh) and Morgan Cranny (Morris), who are all awesome local performers, who are universally great to work with.

And that is that – three weeks of ENN (and apologies for the tardiness) all wrapped up in a post just for you. Hope you’ve all enjoyed E3, and I’ll see you next week!

Announcing ENN Newsbytes
June 14th, 2010

Posted by Jeremy

As many of you are probably aware, this week represents the most densely-packed part of the yearly videogame news cycle. With so many huge announcements, demos, and reveals happening at E3 in LA, you may be asking yourself, “How will ENN possibly stay on top of all this news?”

Starting tomorrow, ENN will go daily with a series of mini-episodes called ENN Newsbytes. These will run until Friday to allow us to better cover the deluge of information spouting from all the major publishers, developers and platform holders over the course of this week. They won’t be as long as a “standard” episode, but should, together, add up to much more content than you’re used to seeing.

We’re really excited about this project, and look forward to seeing your reactions :).

Casting Call: Scene Kids
June 12th, 2010

Posted by Jeremy

We’re going to need a bunch of extras for an upcoming ENN shoot in downtown Victoria this Sunday at around 3:30pm.

Specifically, we need folks who are 18-35, and can dress like scenester-artists. We are talking skinny jeans, swoop hair, ironic t-shirts, nose piercings, men in low-cut V-neck sweaters and possibly bowler hats, and women with dark eyeliner and pink lipstick. Basically, you need to look like the kind of person that would cut in front of me at an Owen Pallett concert.

If you have a Mac laptop, 360 controller or keyboard those would be useful props to have.

This is an unpaid gig and you (obviously) need to be ok with us putting you in an episode of ENN. You will be credited for your help.

If this sounds like something you’d be into, drop me a line at [email protected] and I’ll give you the rest of the details. I’m not revealing the location here, as we want to have a general idea of how many folks are coming.

Best and thanks in advance!

ENN: Resident Evil Romance
June 9th, 2010

Posted by Jeremy

This week marks the beginning of Rejected ENN’s run on the Escapist Publisher’s Club. In its place, I’ve decided to give you some inside info on this week’s episode, similar to what Matt does for the weekly video posts. To discuss the move, check this forum thread.

This week’s feature story is an idea I’ve had for a while, but had been struggling to iterate. My foray into the Dragon Age pen-and-paper roleplaying game led me to read both Dragon Age novels, and that got me thinking about game literature in general. I’ve picked up quite a few novels as PAX freebies and such, and they’re always useful to have on long ferry or plane rides. Meaning no offense to the game writers who often create them, however, they are typically not that hot.

I already had the idea of using the horrible dialogue in Resident Evil as grounds for a romance novel, but it wasn’t until I pitched the story to Paul that everything really clicked. The “people who like books that aren’t very good” part of the venn diagram was his idea, and really brought it together.

Not including video, Paul and I generated over 70 graphics and sound files for this episode. Notable among these was the narration for Resident Evil: The Spencer Mansion Liaison, which was cut significantly to reduce the length of the episode. I’m including the full version here, for your listening…uh…pleasure (no SFX or music though, I’m afraid):

Resident Evil Romance (long version)

Huge thanks to Dale Friesen for lending his superlative pipes to such an icky task–makes me want to write more things for him to narrate :).

Rejected ENN – May 19, 2010
May 19th, 2010

Posted by Graham

With this week’s ENN we made a couple changes to how we write/shoot the episodes. We’re hoping it will add a bit more character and punch to the series, which we feel the newsdesk stories need (we’ll talk about this more in the forthcoming LRRcast).

Now, will these changes work? That remains to be seen, though we like how this week’s episode turned out. We’ll still need a couple weeks to get into the groove though.

Until then, check out a story that got cut!

(We like this one too—it was cut for time and the feeling that it wasn’t as strong as the others, as are the usual reasons for stories getting the axe)