LOTRO Short Film- Murder in Bree

April 2, 2013

Community

Murder in Bree is a murder mystery short film building on the relationship between Merric, Goldenstar and Bandoras.  It involves actors from several LOTRO podcasts that have come together to form an engaging story that happens to take place in Bree.

Creating Murder in Bree

If you have not already done so, please watch the above video before reading about how it all happened.

I started getting ideas for a LOTRO fully voiced skit several months ago when I started doing more refined editing for my YouTube channel.  This just happened to be around the same time The One Ring Adventures podcast had reached an uncertain future.  This allowed Bandoras to be freed up to help me write the script.  Having him involved lead us to create a story around the long standing flirts that go on between Goldenstar and Bandoras.  This led us to come up with an extremely exaggerated situation of what if Merric was highly opposed to this going on.  So much so that he went on to eventually kill Bandoras.  Of course it had to be a fairly funny script and so we decided to include chickens into the plot.  It is after all a story mostly of hobbits and so what better enemy than their food.

Then there came a problem.  Where can we host this murderous event if there was never a murder in the shire?  Well the next most iconic place in LOTRO of course, the city of Bree.  While hobbits were in Bree, they were not very common and so this lead to another issue that we just hope the audience overlooks.  Then we realized that this is LOTRO and hobbits are very common in Bree and so this overstep was actually perfectly fine.

Bandoras came up with the next great idea of having his dead character tell the story of his own murder.  This gives more personality to the tale and really helped keep the story moving during what would have been some fairly slow narration parts.  We then decided that we would try to include as much of the LOTRO podcast community as possible.  While we wish we could have included more, we are happy with the overwhelming response we received from the LOTRO podcasting community.  Nearly every podcast said they were interested to the point where we had to turn down some of them for this adventure because we did not have a big enough script to feature everyone.  We felt that expanding the script anymore would have just felt forced on screen and we didn’t feel that it would do justice to the people taking on the role.

While we had a basic idea for the script for over a month, we were working on it right up until the day of the shoot.  This became a little scary at one point because we actually had some last minute things come up that caused us to have a lot less time to work on the script and we had to be up late one night working on the script to make sure it was done in time for the shoot date.

Once we started recording, things went really well.  It was nice to see the tailored lines come to life with the voices of the various styles of the LOTRO podcasts.  We were also able to see some of the problems that we didn’t see till we actually started shooting.  For example, it is really hard to shoot in Bree on the weekend and not attract attention from players.  The problem really showed itself when we were filming outside of the mess hall and there were several players that kept running between the camera and the talent.  Overall though it was a lot of fun to have hosts of multiple LOTRO podcasts in the same place.

The bad thing about shooting for two hours in LOTRO though is that then you have to go through all the footage and audio and how you want to edit everything.  This by far was the longest part of this project as far as time put in goes.  It took me four full days of editing to get Murder in Bree released.  With the large amount of audio and video that I had to go through it just took a long time.  After you do all of that, then you have to find music that fits the scene and also fits the theme of the film.  It also has to fit music you have already chosen for the other scenes.  Then you have to time all the music correctly at the right moment so that it lines up with the dialogue and development of the plot.  While it did take a long time to edit, I think the end product was worth the effort.

The last hurdle of this project came as a surprise.  After I had a final version of Murder in Bree, my internet went down right before it was time to upload to YouTube.  This happened because some construction workers in my neighborhood did not bother to look for power and cable lines before they started digging and so we lost internet for some time.  This was eventually resolved and Murder in Bree is now shared amongst the LOTRO community.  I hope you all enjoy this short film.   If Murder in Bree gets enough support from the fans then we will definitely work on another short film.  I have several ideas for more scripts and am looking forward to sharing them with CSTM fans and the LOTRO community as a whole.

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Avatar of Andang

About Andang

A lifelong Tolkien fan, Andang loves just about anything related to Tolkien. Andang is also a lifelong hardcore gamer with a huge love for any genre of game, as long as it is good. Andang currently writes for A Casual Stroll to Mordor and Middle-Earth Network's Gaming Team. He is also a co-host on Random Fandom, a weekly news podcast here on Middle-Earth Network. You can also find Andang on his YouTube channel and his Facebook page and if all that is not enough he has a twitter as well.

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24 Responses to “LOTRO Short Film- Murder in Bree”

  1. Avatar of eleen scholten
    eleen scholten Says:

    love it
    realy nicely done everyone

    greets es

    Reply

  2. TheElvenTailor Says:

    I will never look at a chicken the same again. Awesome work! One of the best Lotro machinima I’ve seen in a long time.

    Reply

    • Avatar of Andang
      Andang Says:

      Lol…me neither. Glad you liked it, and I hope it gets the community more involved with LOTRO.

      Reply

      • theelventailor Says:

        But whatever becomes of Merric and his quest for magical powers in Isengard? Did he get that audience with “The Big Man” or what?

        Reply

        • Avatar of Andang
          Andang Says:

          The ending is meant to be a little open ended but in my opinion, he is given the magical powers of being turned into a chicken and teleported to Bree hence the white flash or it could just be a random chicken within the city or it could be that old lady’s chicken. The first answer is the one that is conveyed most clearly but it is open-ended. Also note that the time frame might not be set in stone between Merric’s actions and the rest of the events. Merric could have been on his way to Isenguard months or even years ago before this plot line and also could have been teleported to Bree in a matter of seconds and been a chicken in Bree while Bandoras was still living (assuming the chicken is him)
          Presuming it is the Old lady’s chickens it could be that they are loose in the City hungry for meat.

          Reply

  3. Saelyth Says:

    the sound quality is awful…

    Reply

    • Avatar of Andang
      Andang Says:

      Believe it or not, that is miles better than what it was…if we make another, I will get some better stuff to record the audio. Also it didn’t help that every time I processed a video segment, it lowered the sound and so I had to artificially raise some segments. And then lastly I had to try and balance levels…

      Long story short, I have come up with a much better way to do this for next time that should keep audio quality high.

      Also strangely, on some computers it sounds much better than others, IDK why but I think it has to do with what levels you have on the speaker.

      Reply

  4. Ivaneus Says:

    I don’t know where you dug up that nutjob that did the crazy lady’s voice, but I sure hope that they were well paid for showcasing their insanity.

    Reply

    • Avatar of Andang
      Andang Says:

      Yeah Cari from LOTRO Reporter was wondering the same thing, its not like the credits tell who voiced it or anything…
      As for payment, I sent you an E-Mail the other day and just seeing my words addressed to yo..um I mean the “crazy lady” should be payment enough…

      Reply

  5. Giftel Says:

    So cute! Would love some close captioning since I have some hearing issues. But I caught the basic idea. You all are very clever and talented. Nicely done! :-)

    Reply

  6. Lilikate. Says:

    I enjoyed your video but really, evil chickens!? I ask you what next? Kitties in league with the dark lord? (When can we expect the next one?)

    Reply

    • Avatar of Andang
      Andang Says:

      I hope there is kitten play by the time we make it to Mt. Doom…

      As for future projects, right now I don’t have enough time to edit but over the summer I will. So likely sometime over the summer. I have plenty of ideas…just not enough time. I will definitely make another one though…just a matter of when.

      Reply

  7. LilyRose Says:

    Great job! I rofling.

    *spoiler*

    If I were married to that battleaxe, I’d have a wandering eye, too. ;)

    Beware the Chickens!

    Reply

  8. Lorgelas Says:

    Great job! Next episode… The great frogmorton pie caper!

    Reply

  9. Faelor Says:

    Just a quick note. Maybe it is due to my (very damaged) hearing, but the music drowned out quite a bit of the verbiage. That, and quite a bit of it sounded hollow and tinny. Like you were speaking from the bottom of a barrel.

    I do not mean to be critical, and as I said, my hearing is to the point I am wearing hearing aids in both ears. It was just very hard for me to understand what was being said. I love the idea, and the parts I could pick up were quite good. Please do not take this wrong. Maybe lower the music a bit, and get a touch closer to the mic (or reduce the echoes in the room)

    Faelor of Vilya

    Reply

    • Avatar of Andang
      Andang Says:

      It is not just you…there were some errors in the way the audio was edited that caused it to become extremely quiet in some places even though it was balanced before.

      This is because Windows LIVE Movie Maker has an auto-balance thing that simply just lowers levels to be the same instead of actually doing a good job.

      For the next one I will be doing a work around that should fix this problem.

      Also as a side note…it seems to depend on what level you have the base, trble settings on your speakers. Since that is the case, it sounds much better on some devises as opposed to others.

      Reply

  10. Eaowyn Says:

    Wow, Chickens! lol thx for the laugh. Please make another w/ elves and dwarves next time. Gj. :)

    Reply

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