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Want to Make an Open Movie?


directorchair.jpgEvery so often someone will appear on BlenderArtists with a plan to make a great CG movie. All they need is lots of volunteers to do the work. We get quite a few requests for writing about these initiatives on this site, too. AndyD has published an article reviewing some of the problems of this approach, while giving a few helpful pointers to succeed.

About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. This is a well thought out and written article. There's not anything there that I don't disagree with, but I would add this:

    If you want to create any type of CG film on a low budget, you had better be prepared to do a lot of the work yourself. I've had help with my BSG-23 series in the area of writing and now with the voice over recording, as well as some assistance from some 2D artists with creating logos/graphics, etc., but 70% of the work is being done by me (with a lot of help from purchased render time at Respower).

    It's taken over a year to get all the models lined up, scripts written, and a lot of pre-vis renders done to try different methods of rendering and ways of doing things to produce what I deem to be the best results given the resources at hand. Tracking down voice talent has been a major factor. Fortunately I do a lot of work with indy and student directors who are looking for some decent CGI/post effects for next to nothing. So I can usually barter something out.

    Each revision of the script saw the cast cut down from about 20 to 6 - 8 characters. It took 6 months to write the story bible. Currently there is a 20 page script for the first series of minisodes. If all goes well, we'll have the first series completed before BSG resumes in April.

    The other words of advise I would give is you have to be stubborn as hell and develop a thick skin. It's amazing to post works to battlestar fan sites and watch as the masses say "That's cool. Wow! Blah, positive, blah." Post the very same things to CGI websites and watch every little detail be ripped to shreds. Especially the, "Model it yourself" comments.

  2. Fantastic article! You've basically compressed everything from every book you can rent from the libraries!

    I would like to add one small thing: learn how to cheat. A good CGI artist is someone who knows all the tricks and all the little ways around problems. Five years making short movies and we still use equipment and software the same, but with every shot we learn a different way to "cheat". We've found that this sort of thing has really helped speed up renders in our CG Feature - even though we really haven't learnt not to bite off more than we can chew lol.

    I completley back up Unimatrix - a thick skin is essentual, and forget about everyone who'll pick your work to pieces - aim it at the fans who just want to enjoy it.

  3. Great read and yes soo true. Also I must say you sound very discouraging. I think anyone starting a movie project should read the article but nonetheless if they think that they are up to it let them do it. Afterall it's their time and their effort so even if it doesn't work they will have learned something and written it down.
    I don't think saying "Ohh that doesn't work!" or "Not another of these lame projects" will help anyone. Give them advice as you have AndyD and let them decide and most important learn on their own.
    Like you mentioned it is the process which is also important.
    As with other open effort it is a learning process. Looking at open source software it took the internet and a couple of years til the first truely successfull OSS came out. And a lot has changes since then.

    I think one piecer of advice everyone should take also is have patience since things will be slow if you are counting on volunteers.

  4. Thanks all. I hadn't realised this had been posted here at Blendernation. All the above comments are valid, especially musk's point about giving it a go anyway. As I've said in threads at BA, where would we be if the Wright Brothers had given up at he first sign of bad press?

    I absolutely believe people should have a go at these projects if they want to but I hope they have their eyes open, otherwise it can lead to disappointment.

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