Project Travelers, the Matt Proctor project
While most students post on Facebook asking about classes and books before the semester starts, sophomore Matt Proctor asked a different question.
He asked if there were any Belmont students who were interested in helping him with his machinima project. Machinima, the use of video games to create an animation, has become well-known on the Internet. It requires people to voice characters and record the gameplay so it can be used in a series.
“Ever since I got an Xbox 360, I’ve really been a big gamer. It’s been a really big passion. My friend on Xbox Live wanted me to write this machinima,” Proctor said.
Although Proctor has no experience creating a machinima, he has worked with online video game content before for his business, Gamers Cabinet TV. Proctor hopes that his upcoming business will provide a place for people to share their own content on the website and create a community of people that have a passion for video games.
The machinima is more important than it seems.
“This machinima is sort of our standard, I guess,” Proctor said. “The reception to the machinima is going to decide whether we decide to pursue this Gamers Cabinet business further.”
More than 30 Belmont students responded to Proctor’s Facebook post. Before the voice acting auditions, the number of truly interested students dropped down to 24. Now, the cast consists of 12 students playing various parts.
“It was really overwhelming support. It was not something I expected,” Proctor said. “The last 24 people were people who were really dedicated to it.”
Sophomore Skylar Roberts is the voice of Alpha, one of the four main characters in the project named “Project Travelers.” As a friend of Proctor’s, Roberts was excited to get involved and is eager to play his character.
“Alpha was a fun role to think about because, in my understanding, he’s an over-the-top, power-hungry guy,” Roberts said.
Before the auditions, Proctor had an idea of what he wanted the characters to sound like. As the auditions progressed, however, Proctor found that what he thought were the perfect voices really weren’t.
“I had certain voices in my head that some people reached. People really did those well,” Proctor said. “But when it came down to it, the voices sometimes didn’t match the voices that I heard from other people.”
Voice actors were not the only people Proctor needed help from. He asked for a team of machinimators to help record game footage so the voices could be placed with a video. Currently, he has a team of six people.
“I’m looking for more on the animators side. Trying to do it all via system link so everyone can be in one spot, and we don’t have to deal with network issues,” Proctor said.
Sophomore Matt Hart, after auditioning for a voice-acting role and not receiving a part, still wanted to be involved with the project. He decided to join the machinimating team. Hart has previous experience with streaming video games and is a big video game fan. He also sent in an application to be a part of Proctor’s business, Gamers Cabinet TV.
“I really want to see this come together. It will be fun to see how we can make video games look professional,” Hart said.
Proctor thinks that one of the most challenging parts about his project is not finding the voices or the animators but actually writing the script.
“It’s a comedy with a lot of dramatic elements, and for me, trying to write this and make it funny by having immature, sophomoric humor while trying to mix in some intelligent humor has been really difficult,” Proctor said.
Working with the cast and machinimators will also be difficult, Proctor says. The various schedules will make it more difficult to find time when each person can get his or her job done. At this point, Proctor says that two seasons of “Project Travelers” are in the works to give the audience time to decide if it likes it or not. He has up until the ninth season roughly outlined.
“If we reach hundreds of thousands of views and people really like what we’re doing, we’ll say ‘OK, that’s good enough. We’ll extend it indefinitely,’” Proctor said.
As far as the storyline goes, Proctor wants to keep that a secret. The first episode will focus on introducing the characters, but after that he wants to keep it under wraps.
“I will say there’s a major event that occurs that will change the way it goes even in the first season,” Proctor said. “The second season will be a lot different from the first,”
All of this came from Proctor’s passion for video games. He wants to make a connection to fans through his business, through YouTube. If this fails, he will step back from the company until he thinks it’s time to try again.
“I’d like to get as many people involved as I can. It’s an experiment in business,” Proctor said. “Everything’s riding on this.