Interview with SunniSim

You’ve returned! It’s great to see you back at Sims Film Fest!
It’s great to be back!

Can you tell us a little about your entry this season, Black Swan?
It has three different arcs, and each arc follows one of the three princesses fighting for the crown of the kingdom they live in. They will have to fight each other, and they each have special abilities to help them do so. The first episode is Venenum arc, which follows princess Talona, who poisons people. We get to see some of her past, and what some of her current struggles are.
Black Swan will be a new series.

Where did you come up with the idea for it?
It’s loosely inspired by a book I read on my plane ride back to the U.S. from Russia. I was reading the book, and I got bored with it, but I liked the concept, so I turned it into a series! I don’t think I got past page thirty, because fantasy novels aren’t my thing, but I’m excited to see where this goes! I’m in love with my characters so far, especially the ones that aren’t even in episode one.

What is your favorite Sims game to film in, and why?
My favorite game to film in is 100% The Sims 3. I like the graphics wayyyyy better than I like them in the Sims 2 and 4, and I grew up right when the Sims 3 was popular, so I know all the ins and outs. I’ve tried to film in the Sims 4, but it would take a lot of time for me to get comfortable with it. Mad props to those who just jumped from Sims 3 to Sims 4!

How would you describe your style of filming?
I would describe my style of filming as ‘needs work’ (haha). But in all actuality, I’m a huge nature documentary fan, so I like to get my artistic angles and such. I really wish I could film better, but I know I have to work at it. I will say, though, my filming has definitely improved from last season (and it helps that I’m not doing 2 hours of machinima this time)

Do you have more episodes planned for the future? Or do you know how long the series will last?
So far, I have 10 episodes written, but only the first 6 are edited. I think the first season will wrap up after 7-8 episodes, and I hope to do a second season, but I’ll have to see if people like it. I would love to make machinima purely for myself, but nursing school doesn’t always allow me time for that.

What made you decide to start filming machinima?
I’m 500000% sure it was TwistTvShow’s video from like 2011 called “The Sims 3 Fashion Show-Superstar in the Making”. That video was my inspiration for every single un-uploaded modeling machinima that I made listening to Avril Lavigne. I liked the fact that I could make up literally ANY story and make my characters HOWEVER I wanted. It’s like playing God, except for sometimes you accidentally kill your Sim while you’re filming at midnight and you have an existential crisis (It’s a true story and I think I regretted everything for about 6 hours haha)

How long have you played The Sims?
Oh wow… I turned 20 this year so like… since I was 12. That’s 8 years of just Sims 3. I was 8 when the Sims 2 was released for Macs (it was actually on my birthday!) so I’ve been playing for about 12 years. It’s… it’s been a long time. I think I’m a gamer at this point!

What would you consider the most difficult parts of filming/editing machinima?
I hate hate hate hate HATE filming machinima. I wish I could just direct it instead of film it, but that’s not how it works (it could be, but I would feel guilty about it). FIlming, for me, is tiring. Sims NEVER do what you want them to do, and sometimes you don’t have the correct pose/animation pack, or your costumes and hair glitch out once in game, or maybe you forgot to download like half of your custom content for this scene and now you have to close down your game and spend hours downloading poses and hair and contacts. I love editing, though. It goes so smooth once it’s all filmed. I especially love soundtracking my machinimas. I didn’t get to have a lot of fun with it last year since it was a musical and there’s already a set soundtrack, but I think I spent 4 hours collectively picking out songs for Black Swan episode 1.

Approximately how long do you think it takes you to complete a project?
It took me 5 weeks to film and edit and soundtrack Black Swan. I’m still working out a few kinks with voice actors as I write this, but hopefully I’ll get it all worked out. So far, we’re going on 7 weeks. I really pumped out the script and edited it really fast (crazy what you can get done on a 36 hour plane ride), and I actually wasn’t too hassled by filming until I accidentally killed Talona. That made me cry.

Do you have any advice for future machinimators?
Do what you want to do. There are a LOT of good machinimas out there, and a lot of them have the same centric idea, but if that isn’t what you want to do, don’t. Do. It. Create your original content, and people will come eventually. Also, if you have time, do it for yourself. I know it’s difficult with school (trust me, I’m a junior in college studying nursing) but I managed to pump out ‘Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812’ last year because I reeallly wanted to. Also, good luck!

Once again, welcome back to Sims Film Fest, and good luck!

Written by: TenderWolf

I’ve played The Sims since the very first game. It’s quickly become one of my two favorite games of all time. The Sims 3 is my favorite, though The Sims 4 is slowly growing on me. I love SIFF, and have made many friends by partaking in it.

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The Sims International Film Festival was created in 2010 as a way to foster creativity in The Sims community through machinima, an art form that uses video game footage to make movies. Over the years, as new entries in The Sims franchise were released and new editing methods became available, we’ve seen a lot of changes, but one thing has remained constant: our commitment to showcasing the creativity of this community and inspiring new artists.

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