JunXcharlie Interviews Charlene Gallardo about Raison D’etre

So I see this is your first time entering the fest!
How does it feel or what’s going through your mind?
Other than the nervous feeling, pretty stoked. It’s a weird comeback from my 4-year hiatus from making machinimas, and to consider entering my long-time project immediately makes it all the more pressuring. I’ve had long time doubts about entering the fest since the start of this year, considering the shift from The Sims 3 to The Sims 4, but I definitely knew if I didn’t act upon the idea then there won’t be any place for fulfillment.

How did you get into making machinima?
Whenever I look back on when I started making machinima, a part of me dies with how completely ambitious it sounds, lol. But back in the day when I was about 11 or 12 years old, I saw a few MVs on YouTube (which were of course the classic HSM ones and some Lady Gaga) that I used to consider as my favorites, until the list gradually expanded. It didn’t take me long to grow the aspiration of creating my own machinima work, so I started with The Sims 3 in 2011. I did a few experiments with some (now unlisted) videos, but in those humble beginnings I was able to grow my passion for creating stories with The Sims. In addition to that, it’s always a pleasure to meet with other directors who I’ve been thankful enough to befriend and share with them various concepts on machinima-making. It’s a continuous learning process, really.

I can also tell you have experience with machinimas but how did you find out about the fest?
The earliest I can recall about me learning about the fest was back when it was migrating from Simatography, at least within that timeline. Before I started creating (very amateurish) content, I used to visit the website from time to time because I was completely astonished by the stuff you can do with such a fun game. Years went by and the amount of unique entries continued to inspire me, so I put the curiosity to practice when I entered, finally. I still have the slight jitters lol.

Let’s talk about Raison D’etre without giving too much away.
Well okay one of the series’ characters, Reine Reynolds, is a home-schooled kid who fancies her alone time, the asocial person she appears to be at the start of the series. We unconsciously tend to bridge different types of people together, so Reine is that red bridge. Most of the characters will get to struggle with their inner demons throughout the series. They’re teens who say they’re okay and know everything even when they don’t know jack about what lies ahead. Every kid says they do. Besides the inner conflicts of course, we’ll get to know what these kids stand for.

Now this is something ima challenge with all the Machinima makers, but can you describe your series in 2 words without giving it away?
Ego death.

So being a Machinima maker I think we all know it can be hard and time consuming sometimes we just give up! What do you do when you’re creating something you thought was gonna be amazing but then in the middle you just lose the spark?
A change of scenery. This isn’t limited to what I do in-game– most of the time I take trips outside and examine people both whom I know and from what I see around malls. While I scripted the episodes I often found myself lost (and it sucks because it happened a lot in the past, as with most people), and filming what I have envisioned in my head never comes out the way I want to in reality. But there’s beauty to spontaneity, and it’ll happen every so often, which pushes me to break borders of what else I can possibly do. You can always try to recreate the spark as long as you’d like.

How long are you expecting to have this series going?
I’m definitely aiming towards 7-8 episodes; the series will run for about a year or two. Who knows.

So going to your channel and I see you have a machinima in the sims 4 and so is this series what is the difference for you in between making a machinima and a series and what do you prefer?
While both machinimas and series demand the quality and artistic freedom they both deserve, a series has the tendency to gradually keep the level of interest alive in each and every episode of a story that’s released. It’s frustrating to wait though, for real, but there’s reward in patience. For me, the balance that both have tends to just tips over one or the other, depending on how it’s thought out and delivered.

Every season we all see wonderful storylines and how they’re all different like i would think people would have ran out of ideas so bring me to ask you, where did you get the idea for this series?
Oh wow, thinking about when the project started makes me realize I’ve been working on it for almost 5 years, but within those years a lot of ideas came and went. Raison D’etre is a French term that literally translates to “reason for being” so you probably get the idea. I’m no French chick, but I definitely loved the way it was worded. During my teen years I was always (and I guess I still am) fond of asking myself why I’m alive, why others live the way they do, and more questions about personalities, values, and other abstract concepts. And out of some of those frustrations I created these characters to showcase a wide array of personalities and instances which some of those are true to life experiences. I’m also aware that a lot of series in the machinima community revolve around teenagers, schools, romance, usually with most protagonists acting as modifiers for a setting, because these plot lines are easy to do. With this series I’ll constantly keep doing most of the things I haven’t done, some of which scare me, but will otherwise work, hopefully.

What do you want to accomplish as a director by next season?
There’s certainly room for improvement even after the premiere of Raison D’etre, so it’s my goal to work on that and try out new ways on artfully releasing content and collaboration with other directors. Maybe start a machinima about inanimate objects? We’ll find out.

Written by: Jorgha Haq

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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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