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.