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From Movie Watcher to Oscar Worthy Director

The Sims has always had an incredible community of movie makers. A quick Google search will return thousands of hilarious and touching videos made with our lovable Sims. Unfortunately before, The Sims 3 players didn’t have an easy way to make movies. That changes now!

Scene 1: The Drawing Board

Every great director must first design a story with a plot and characters. I noticed I kept creating odd, mythical Sims. I thought they would make great characters in a low-quality cable access channel sitcom! My favorite characters were Puck Midsummer, Chazz Diablo, Cleopatra Egyptia, and Lizz Cupid.

As for story? I wanted to introduce these mythical and literary characters into Sunset Valley. Instant sizzle and drama!

Scene 2: Shooting the Thing

Most of my time as a director is spent shooting the video clips. It takes time to get my Sims in costume (Create-A-Sim), build a set (Build and Buy Modes), get them organized on the set, then let the camera roll (Un-pause and start video capture). Because of this (and my Sims’ bladder, day turning to night…) I always want to capture my videos in as few takes as possible.

I always plan ahead! I like to scribble out a rough idea of my scenes with a pen and paper. I try to put in the characters, what I’ll have them do (Slap? Play computer games? Go swimming? Propose marriage?), and any dialog I may need. It really helps.

As for Puck, Chazz, Cleo, and Lizz, I knew of a few key plot points. For starters, Chazz is a real jerk and Puck is a total prankster. They were going to be at odds. Lizz Cupid is a matchmaker that is horrible at finding love herself, so I knew she’d have failed dating exploits in town. Lastly, Cleo is a flirty woman who tends to attract men and trap them. With these in mind I was able to quickly sketch out fifteen scenes.

Scene 3: Cut! Cut! It’s all wrong!

I knew ahead of time that I would need lots of tweaks when editing my video. I tried my best to explain the story through clear shots and help my viewers build an emotional attachment to the characters I created. I also accounted for short-attention spans!

I keep my videos to just a few minutes when possible. I honestly cannot remember the last time I sat through a 5+ minute long YouTube video! I did this by only using video clips that advance my story. I knew that the more fluff I added the more distracted and confused my viewers would become.

I try to keep all of my sitcom videos to about 2 minutes. Because of such a limited time I tend to focus on just one or two characters per video. I like to keep Puck and Chazz Diablo together, with Lizz Cupid and Cleo on the other videos.

The Create a Movie tool lets me drag and drop my clips in order, then re-arrange them until I’m content. I can then tweak every clip to only show what I want. For example, if I have a 40 second clip but only want the 5 seconds in the middle I can do that! After this I add transitions like fade-ins or wipe rights. Some of these will really make the scene shine, especially when I’ve set my camera angles and shots in the sequence just right.

I like to Preview my shots before I save the entire movie. It’s really handy to view a shot by itself or in a sequence of 2 or 3 shots strung together. I also like the flexibility of choosing whether to use in-game audio on each clip. Sometimes I really want to use the Sims dialog or an object noise (toilet flush anyone?). Other times I just want players to hear the music. Speaking of music…

I always add accompanying audio from our huge audio library. I’m constantly amazed at how much sound can change the tone of a video. Hip hop, rock, country, and classical can change a tragedy to a comedy!

Scene 4: Creating an original screenplay…

The visuals just won’t be enough for some of my films. Thankfully, I can add captions to each clip in the online video tool. These are great for dialog, narration, or just calling out more subtle plot points. I have to constantly remind myself to keep things brisk! I must show, not tell, because more words are rarely better.

I tended to use a lot of quick one-liners to explain the scenes in my series. I transition between four fictional characters that are doing a wide variety of odd activities. Had I not narrated the scenes, most people probably wouldn’t have any idea what was going on. Learn from my mistakes and try to make a story that isn’t so confusing!

And, scene!

Create a Movie will let you create home movies of your Sims’ weddings and birthdays, parodies of your favorite TV shows, or even original movies of your own design. We’ve given you the tools – what’s inside your head, just waiting to get out?

I’ve saved all of my movies on The Sims 3 community site in my own personal Studio. From there I can share them with friends on, via email, or on social networks like Facebook or YouTube. I can literally make a movie for the world!

All of us here are so excited to see your creations online, because we know we have the most creative fans in the world!

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