Throwback Thursday – Takedown

Throwback Thursday Official

Wow… Yes you see that right, it’s actually a new ‘Throwback Thursday’ post. I (Evan) became extremely busy these past few months with school to the production of our latest big short film ‘Savage’ which kept me from doing our weekly post like throwback.

Well here we are in August, there’s no films to be shot, no classes to focus on, no clients with videos to be made. So it’s ample time to post a new Throwback Thursday!

When we left off in April with the last throwback we were looking back at 2007 when Insane LLama really took making movies more seriously. To be more precise we looked back at the two short films that basically started us with the Facility duo. Continuing after that we started to make short films on a more regular basis, especially once school got out in the summer of 2007 and we had way to much time on our hands. There were a couple other short films made during this time, but they were nothing special so I guess I’ll save those for another throwback post once we scrape everything out of the barrel on our history.

In this post we go to late summer 2007 when a Hollywood film starring Matt Damon came out. This movie of course is the kickass action flick ‘Bourne Ultimatum’, the last release of the Bourne trilogy before the whole Jeremy Renner ‘Legacy’ and now return of Damon in the unoriginal named ‘Jason Bourne’.

The Bourne series was a favorite of all my brothers, father and myself; with us seeing the first two installments in theaters when released. The third segment was no different with all of us pretty eager to see how everything ended in the series. We went and saw the film the weekend it came out. The movie easily met our expectations and you can say may even exceeded them. Young Eliot and I were easily inspired by the feel of the movie, from the shaky camera to the blue color correction (Both later incorporated into our own movies). Though there was one aspect that inspired us the most: the fight scenes. The hand to hand combat in the movie was just completely badass and invigorating. It was like nothing we had seen from Hollywood action films before, the intensity, the brutal feel, and the sound design.

We were definitely inspired… Which brings us to.

Takedown 1

Takedown. The very next day after seeing the third Bourne, Eliot, my older brother Ethan, and I decided to do our best to emulate the style of the movie. We were basically going to make a fight scene.

What ensued was our most ambitious film yet with hand to hand combat between Eliot and myself. We also tried some stunts which included one where I throw Eliot across a table knocking down some cleverly placed empty bottles and containers.

Takedown 3

We tried our best to make the fight as realistic as it could be, which watching now may seem a little off with punches seeming weak and not hitting their target. Us being young didn’t know the tricks we know now to make everything seem better. Which includes speeding up footage and the most use tricked in fights which is to cut away a few frames between the punch being thrown and hitting its target.

During the end sequence in the bathroom we decided to go all out, which during the melee I hit Eliot’s head on the toilet hard by accident. He played it off and continued, with Eliot’s character eventually being defeated by me. I kill him off by slamming a door against his head multiply times. This part made our close friend Zach Schnieder laugh his off literally every time he viewed it, even to this present day.

Takedown 2

For how young we were and inexperienced the short came out pretty damn good. The film did pretty successful on our Youtube channel when it was released. It became one of our most viewed shorts and gained us quite a few subscribers by our standards.

Like many of our early films it was taken off the main Insane LLama channel when we purged all of the shorts that had aged and contained younger us.

Don’t worry though it has been re-uploaded on Insane LLama Young, Old and Shitty for everyone to view its glory. Watch it and be entertained by some kids kicking the shit out of each other. Here’s the link with it also being embed here. Enjoy!

Link To Video – Takedown

Well I hope you enjoyed this look back at Takedown and early Insane LLama history. I’ll hopefully be back next week with another throwback. I also hope to do a better job giving insight into the short, this week I’m strapped for time and need to pack for a trip to Minnesota since we’re leaving very soon.

Thanks and continue doing what you do!

Throwback Thursday – Takedown

10 Years of LLama – Mike Filkins

10 Years - Mike Filkins

We’re back with the next installment of Insane LLama’s 10 Years of LLama. A series where we look back and celebrate the people that have helped us these past 10 years since our formation.

This time the history of the legendary Mike Filkins is examined and explored. Who was Mike Filkins? What was Mike Filkins? Is Mike Filkins Mike Filkins? What happened to ‘The Rise and Fall of Mike Filkins’? None of those will be answered, but we will give Mike’s history acting with us at Insane LLama. From the beginning…

Mike Filkins ‘Filkins’

YEARS ACTIVE: 2008 / 2010 – 2012 / 2014

MEMORABLE ROLES: ‘The Briefcase’ / ‘Pizza Killer’ / ‘Bloody Coke 2’ / ‘Nerf Force’ / ‘Pac-Man’

Filkins 3

Mike Filkins met Insane LLama’s co-founder Eliot in the third grade and a friendship was formed. Filkins would eventually start coming over to our (Schultz’s) house; eventually like most friends who came over, he would find a way into our movies. I (Evan) can’t identify or remember Mike’s first time’s being filmed, he was most likely in some random early footage, but the first short film I can identify him acting in was a school project from the year 2008.

Filkins would be the lead anchor on the Intense News station, where he covers a story about some thiefs (which he also portrays) who steal a television. This short is the only edited and completed one with Mike Filkins in from 2008 and basically all of early Insane LLama.

Filkins 4

Filkins would return a few years later more grown up in the short ‘The Briefcase’. He would appear out of no where to tackle fellow actor Andy O’Brien and famously deliver his lines of “Get out of here, it’s a trap”. Filkins had an even more well-known sequence later in the short as he is carted in while tied up, eventually getting shot in the head by the antagonist played by Eliot. Andy would follow Mike’s death with an agonizing shout out of “No”, but to no avail.

Filkins 5

Filkins would make 3 more appearances the following year of 2011, two small and one more major/leading. The two minor gigs consisted of the shorts of ‘Nerf War’ where Mike would defend the enemy bunker and get lazily shot in the head, and the other ‘The Problem’, where Mike basically stands guard and again gets shot.

Mike’s more major and more memorable role of the year took place in the short film ‘Pizza Killer’. Playing opposite of the other Mike, Mike Gjelsten, Filkins again was part of a news station. He is the stations sports anchor that Mike G turns over to at one point to get the latest sports news which Filkins quickly replies back “I think someone is winning”.

Later eventually both Mike’s are captured by the pizza killer with only Filkins escaping and surviving. Yet Filkins also ends up getting killed in the end when a pizza cutter is thrown at his face. The role was Filkin’s largest with the most lines he had to deliver at the time, which he did an okay job at, opening up more possibilities for his future shorts.

Filkins 2

Filkins 6

With more opportunities, 2012 would be Filkin’s most active year with Insane LLama consisting of 6 short films. He would make a return to a NERF themed short as officer Casey, part of the Nerf force, opposite Tim Carlson’s officer Chad. The short film ‘Nerf Force’ followed Tim and Filkins on one of their patrols, akin to the show ‘Cops’. Filkins would be asked to improv dialogue about being part of the force while being heavily dress up in armor and Nerf gear. Nerf force would be one of Filkins better roles.

Filkins 7

Filkins later would portray a gardener mixed up with a hitman in the short ‘Two Hitmen’. Most of the film consisted of a montage of Filkins and Eliot doing all kind of random activities to earn a hit job from Mike Gjelsten. Some of Filkins finest moments were captured during these activities; examples include him singing, playing numerous games, and being caught reading ‘Twilight’.

Filkins 8

‘Pac-Man’ came out in the middle of the year which saw Filkins opposite Mike G again. They are friends who get caught up in a bizarre scenario involving Eliot and a Pac-man machine. Filkins would be asked to change into a silly onesie and witness the opening of the portal where Tim Carlson appears almost naked playing a guitar.

Filkin’s most memorable role of the year would have to go to his portrayal of a suburban white kid buying drugs off of Jawon Taylor in the highly anticipated sequel of the Bloody Coke series: ‘Bloody Coke 2’. Mike’s character take’s some of the drugs which looks like cocaine. Mike had to portray his character being under the influence of the drugs, which from the performance, we’re unsure which drug Mike was really trying to act off; but in turn a very comedic and memorable Filkins role was created.

Filkins 9

The last two shorts consisted of small roles for Filkins. ‘The Walk’ my first video for film school and ‘Cupcake’ another short for a film school class. Minor but he did exactly what was needed out of himself for the roles. Big thanks for helping out on my school work.

In 2014 Mike made only one appearance, which would be his last role with us. Mike saved some of his best for this one last role. Near the end of summer 2014 we played the hat game, a tool we use to help us think of movies to make. Basically everyone writes down ten movie titles on a piece of paper, which all then get mixed up in a hat and then drawn out one at a time. Brackets are made and the titles are voted down to a final five. These final five titles we use to think of a short film to film. Filkins always loved the early short of ours called ‘The Room’, so he wrote down ‘The Room 2’, which somehow made it to the final five.

The Room 2 was made and completed, which upon Eliot and I viewing was quickly discarded to never be seen again from how bad it was. Viewed now it has some entertainment, mainly in the dramatic and over the top performances, specifically Mike’s famous delivery of the story about being dropped into the lion pen at the zoo. It was a memorable performance to go out on for Filkins; but who knows maybe Mike Filkins will appear again in a future short.

Filkins 10

Now to the best part of these look backs, the video montage of some of Mike Filkins best and most memorable moments from over the years with Insane LLama. We liked how this one turned out. Enjoy!

Link To Video – 10 Years of LLama – Mike Filkins

To end the post, like we usually we do, here is some words from Mike Filkins himself. Big thanks to Filkins for taking some time out of his day to answer the following questions.


1) Who are you and what do you do?

I am The Mike Filkins. Right now I’m studying Biomedical Engineering at the University of Minnesota. In the future I’ll hopefully be working in industry doing stuff with brains.

2) How did you get involved with Insane Llama Productions?

In third grade Eliot was in my class. We started hanging out a lot at the Schultzs’ house and part of that is being in short films; it’s what we did for fun.

3) What was your first role or short you remember being involved in?

I was in a lot of very bad ones that were the product of late night brainstorming and filming that never got edited so those were the early ones I was in but I don’t know any of their names.

4) What is your most memorable on-set moment with Insane Llama?

I think all of Pac-man is my most memorable moment. That was a very weird night, an extremely strange film, and it still ended up being one of good ones.

5) Favorite Insane Llama short film?

I can’t choose only one. My favorites are “The Room” and “Frosting Beard”, generally any of the funny ones with Brad Delfeld are awesome.

6) Favorite Llama actor to work with?

The legendary Mike Gjelsten. When we were on-set he would always do something crazy that would make it into the films and it’s cool re-watching those films and knowing why we added certain scenes or filmed them the way we did.

7) Did you learn anything when working with Insane Llama?

Definitely, I learned a lot about creativity and working with other people to create their vision. It’s hard to come together, see a project the same way, and then try to actually go make it. I became better at improvising lines on the fly which has made my rapping and lying games much stronger. I also learned how to not laugh as much while filming. I’ve killed a lot of scenes that way.

8) Do you still keep up and follow Insane Llama?

Lately, I’ve been slacking. I used to watch everything as soon as Evan posted it and I’d be the first comment/like on Facebook.

9) How do you feel about Insane Llama turning 10 years old?

It’s awesome that Insane Llama is still going strong after 10 years. I’m happy that I was there for most of it and I love watching the videos and will continue doing so for a long time.

10) Where do you see Insane Llama in another 10 years?

I hope to be watching the films in theaters in sooner than 10 years, so in 10 years maybe Insane Llama will be on to winning awards. It’s be really cool if the actors in the films now like Eliot, Mike, and Zach make appearances on the big screen.

11) Share anything you want to tell the Insane Llama Audience?

If you’ve only started watching the new films in the last year or two go back and find some of the old stuff on YouTube and see how far Insane Llama has come.

Bonus) Worst actor in Insane Llama history is?

Andy O’Brien. He happens to be a theater major and is very good at acting but it really just speaks to how amazing all the other actors are and how much shit we like to give Andy.

Filkins 11

Here’s to Mike Filkins!

That’s it for this edition of 10 Years of LLama, stay tuned in, we still have a couple more people we’d like to celebrate in these upcoming weeks. Consider following the blog to get updated when a new edition comes out, we also got all kinds of other post that might keep you interested. Also think about subscribing to the Insane LLama Youtube channels for video content for you to enjoy.

Thanks, until next time.



10 Years of LLama – Mike Filkins

Throwback Thursday – Facility Duo

Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday is back after a small hiatus! This time we go back to spring 2007 to look at a series called Facility. The shorts that started an era for us!


April 2007 saw Insane LLama create the short ‘The Alamo’, showcased in our previous throwback. The Alamo started what we consider modern Insane LLama and jump started our thirst to create short films. Nearly a week after The Alamo was released we all got together to film a new short; which ended up being ‘The Facility’.

The Facility is about an agent played by Spencer Morris who is tasked with infiltrating a secret cloning facility. Spencer successfully gets into the facility but once in is attacked by the clones played by Eliot and Evan. A massive shootout ensues with Spencer taking out many clones, but when one goes down, brand new clones come out to attack. After some battles Spencer tries to escape but is knocked out and taken hostage. The end scene sees Spencer confronted by the two original clones where they tell him their plan and that there will be a bomb going off, blowing up the facility and killing Spencer. After unmasking Spencer, Eliot and Evan leave, which then Spencer reveals he kept scissors in his pocket that he uses to get loose. Facility ends with an intense decision by Spencer to decide which wire to cut to stop the bomb.


This short was mainly made because I (Evan) had gotten some stock muzzle flash effects. The effects for the short were the first special effects we had ever done; which you can tell now by how shitty they are. I had no clue how to use Adobe After Effects and after browsing Videocopilot’s website for a long time I finally figured out how to do the effects.

Once completed we all thought the short was pretty fricken badass. Here’s the short for everyone to enjoy!

Link to Video – The Facility

We had enjoyed making The Facility so much that literally about two days later the sequel Facility 2 was made.

Facility 2 starts off right where the first one ended with Spencer cutting the wires to the bomb. Spencer regains his composure and finds a pistol in a closet, which he uses to break the lock to the room. The movie cuts to the main clones Eliot and Evan outside where they wonder why the bomb didn’t go off. In response they send in two clones to check out what is going on. A shootout erupts with clone Eliot getting  shot and killed by Spencer. Soon a fist fight breaks out between Evan and Spencer, with Spencer eventually winning and shooting Evan in the head.


Spencer makes his escape out of the facility where two more clones attack him. Spencer does a pretty cool slow motion jump off our patio, which upon landing a clone throws a grenade that explodes. Spencer easily avoids the explosion and escapes into the nearby forest, while the clones retreat to alert the generals or lead clones. Facility 2 famously ends with a cliffhanger where Spencer hears a twig snap and turns around to see what it is.


Facility 2 basically followed the same plot and structure as the first one. The biggest and most ambitious aspect of the second Facility was the grenade explosion effect. At the time we thought it was pretty dang cool with even friend and follow LLama Brad Delfeld saying that the grenade won him over. Like most early stuff when you look back at them now it’s obvious that the effect was badly done.

Here’s the video.

Link To Video – Facility 2

With Facility 2 ending in a cliffhanger we planned to make a third and final installment of the trilogy. The third one was in planning a pretty ambitious project for us with a massive battle at a big dirt hill in our local park planned. For unknown reasons the final chapter was never made, which is very unfortunate.

The Facility series is some of our earliest planned work where we learned a lot in the process. The series also started a period where we did many guns and shootout videos since what kids wouldn’t want to create action gun flicks.


Here’s to the Facility series! Well that’s our throwback to some of our classics. We hope you enjoyed reading a little about our past. Be on the lookout for future Throwback Thursdays; we’re starting to get into the good stuff of our past. Thank you and see you next time!


Throwback Thursday – Facility Duo

10 Years of LLama – Zach Williamson

Zach 10 Years


YEARS ACTIVE: 2014 – 2016


Welcome to another edition of 10 Years of LLama; where we take a look back and celebrate the people who have helped Insane LLama Productions over the past 10 years since our formation.

This time we take a look back at the history of a more recent person in our history. This person is of course Zach Williamson, seen in countless shorts since 2014. Zach has become one of the most reliable actors we have ever worked with; contributing in many different ways and roles. If Eliot or I (Evan) ever feel like making a movie, we know Zach is always down too.


Zach is much different than any other face to grace our screen in the early years; he is actually an actor. The way Zach met Eliot and I is much different than anyone also since he was casted in a project before we even met him.

In November 2014 Insane LLama started working on much bigger projects; these more ambitious short films required real actors, not just friends we call over to act. I made a post on my film school’s Facebook group looking for any actors or actresses interested to act in short films for us. I ended up getting over 50 replies from all kinds of people, which Zach was one of them. Insane LLama was getting ready to film our short film ‘The Signal’, which needed a male actor to play across from Eliot. I scanned through the actors who had replied and narrowed in on Zach Williamson since he was one of the first to reply.

Messages were sent and Zach was down to be apart of our project. ‘The Signal’ would be the first of a long and ongoing collaboration between us that would see Zach become the most used actor besides Eliot in our history. Since 2014 Zach has been involved in over 30 short films ranging from all genres.


We had enjoyed working with Zach on The Signal, he was a chill cool guy, who happened to also be from the Chicago area where Insane LLama originated from. He actually went to the same high school as some of our family had gone to. Shortly after The Signal shoot, we wanted to shoot a random short film and had no actors; so I decided to hit up Zach to see if he was down to act. He quickly said he was down and the short film ‘Blackout’ was made.


At this shoot Zach told me about a project he was writing. It was a crime film about a guy getting mixed up with drugs. Zach was looking for people to help him make it. I told him to send me the script. ‘A Dealer’s Iniquity’ was made 3 weeks later, then our next collaboration ‘The Actor’s Cut’ made a little over a month after that. The latter being a grand achievement for us since we shot a 38 minute short film in a day.

Besides these bigger projects between us, Zach began to appear in our random short films pretty consistently. Throughout much of 2015 he would be seen in countless shorts with very few gaps between appearances. Some memorable roles include: ‘A Moment of Clarity’, ‘Bill’s Pills’, ‘Soap Snatcher’, and the double crime duo of ‘Arduous Decisions’ and ‘Surreal Indecisions’.


Zach would also take on a role in one of our big projects of the period in the first western Insane LLama has ever made. This western is of course ‘Deal With The Devil’, shot out in the desert of Death Valley. Zach took on the character of a man leading a convict played by Eliot across the desert. The role saw Zach use a heavy accent which he practiced a lot up to the shoot. He also grew out a thick beard which we are happy he did. The shoot is notorious for what happened between shooting even took place and Zach stuck with us until everything was wrapped, showing loyalty and dedication that small productions need from all involved.


As spring 2015 turned into summer, Eliot went back to Illinois and Zach became the main actor for a few months. This period saw Zach take the lead role in shorts such as: ‘Apperceptive Connections’, ‘Finite Filler’ and ‘Transfixion Signification’.

This period also saw another bigger project that Zach would write, star and heavily produce. This would be the biggest and most ambitious short Insane LLama would ever take on in ‘Nobody But Me’. The project grew in size over the course of production, we ran into some problems, but in the end everything worked out and we had Insane LLama’s first movie over one hour out. Nobody But Me was a lot of work, feedback has been mixed, but overall we are all proud of what we did for it.


Fall 2015 saw Zach take on a television minor at Chapman University, which came with enrolling in the Visual Storytelling class. This course I would say is the best class to take at my film school since all you do is just make 2-5 minute short film projects. We helped Zach make: ‘Anger’, ‘Rise’, ‘Callings’ and ‘Rounds’. Zach’s classmates loved the final projects and it was a great experience all around.

Zach would also be seen in regular shorts in this period including: ‘Desistance’, ‘Obliging Necessity’, ‘Waiting’, ‘A Plan’ and ‘Medical Card’.

One of Zach’s pet projects he has been working on for a long time is a boxing flick; which in preparation saw us produce ‘Rounds’ mentioned in the visual storytelling projects, but also saw another boxing short made in tune of ‘One Title’.

e zach 8

Early 2016 saw Zach appear in short films such as: ‘Electro TigerClaw Dude’, ‘Pressure Sell’ and ‘Toilet Robbery’. All three roles saw Zach take on totally different characters which he did to his best of abilities.

We reach the present where Zach will continue to appear in short films. Zach has also took on his biggest challenge and role yet in a project that is still in progress called ‘Gone Hollywood’. Zach wrote the script but is also starring and more importantly is directing it. Be on the lookout for news on ‘Gone Hollywood’ in the future. Here’s a quick preview still to wet everyone’s appetites.


Zach has put in a lot for Insane LLama in only two years and we’re happy he did. The collaboration between us will continue for now. We end this history of Zach with a montage of some of his best moments. Enjoy!

Link To Video – Zach Williamson

Now for Zach’s LLama Profile which we are grateful he took some time to answer for us.


1) Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Zach Williamson, I’ve done acting roles and 3 scripts for Insane Llama’s projects.

2) How did you get involved with Insane LLama Productions?
I was approached by Evan(Schultz) to be apart of his first short film “The Signal”. I
commented to his Chapman Film Casting Call for actors and basically it all went from

3) What is your most memorable onset moment with Insane Llama?
I would say my most memorable on set moment was filming “Deal With the Devil” in
Death Valley, and having to climb that tall sand dune with Eliot for the initial takes. That
was an intense climb, it felt like I was on MTV’s The Challenge instead of “Deal With the

4) Favorite Insane Llama short film?
This is completely bias, but my favorite short film was the collaboration with my script
“One Title”(
about Trevor Rollins, a conceited boxer, running from the advice given by his
Trainer). There was a feature written for that story, for about 3 months, so I felt like I got
to talk with Evan & Eliot a lot more about the history of the characters and the objectives.
It was only a 3 day notice, but once we arrived on set, Eliot(playing the Head Trainer) and
myself(playing the boxer) were able to understand thoroughly what we wanted to show on
screen because of all the reviews, discussions, and analyzing we went through with these

5) Favorite Llama actor to work with?
I would say Eliot. It’s because hes very relevant with his improv and also helps me get
involved more with a character.

6) Did you learn anything when working with Insane Llama?
I’ve learned you can’t just parachute to the top of the mountain. Filmmkaing takes time
and obstacles will be inevitable to achieve results of high expectations.

7) Do you still keep up and follow Insane Llama?
Absolutely, I will always be open to work as an actor with Insane Llama and I’ve always
appreciated the opportunities presented.

8) How do you feel about Insane Llama turning 10 years old?
Keep it going, fellas.

9) Where do you see Insane Llama in another 10 years?
Whatever happens, I know Insane Llama will keep sharing creative content that they feel
to explore.

10) Share anything you want to tell the Insane Llama Audience?
Thank you to all Insane Llama Audiences for the support and time you all generously have
put aside to watch some of the work that’s been developed. My creative development
company A Shot Away Productions is excited to collaborate with Insane Llama on our
upcoming project, currently in production, “Gone Hollywood”.

Bonus) Which Insane Llama short you’ve worked on did you least want to show other people?
I would say there are a lot, that I acted in, that I wouldn’t show to other people. Let me be
clear, I love working with Insane Llama. But there is a lot of work that I acted in and
written that I’m not proud, because of my past lack of preparation, mindfullness, and
naturality. Seeing those past mistakes is very frustrating and cringing, but it’s very
beneficial because it’s influenced me to fix layers of my acting style, one step at a time.
Which has helped me perform more genuine and land other roles outside Insane Llama.


Here’s to Zach Williamson! Consider subscribing to the Insane LLama Youtube channels for future content for you to enjoy. Maybe follow the blog. Until next time. Peace.


10 Years of LLama – Zach Williamson

Throwback Thursday – Halo 2 Machinima

Throwback Thursday

A day late but oh well, here’s our next Throwback Thursday! In this edition we’re going back to 2006 when Halo 2 was king. Everyone remembers LAN parties with Halo 2, long nights going into the early hours of the morning, zombies, matchmaking, mods, and whatever crazy game types we could come up with. All of that was great, but another aspect of Halo 2 that a huge community grew out of was machinima; or video game movies. Halo 2 was probably the greatest game for making videos with the ability to have no HUD and other small aspects like putting your gun down and the ability to move just your characters head to seem like it’s talking.

Insane LLama followed all of the big names in Halo machinima; from the big names like RoosterTeeth, Hollywood Halo, and my personal favorite Jamie98s, but also all of the small community machinima clans that posted their videos to the old Halogrid forums. I watched so much Halo 2 machinima during the period; at one point I became a movie reviewer on the old; there they had a system where people would submit their movies and 10 reviewers would rate and give feedback on the video, if the video got a 70% or higher, the video would be posted on the front page of the website, which every Halo machinima clan strived for since making the front page would gain you huge publicity. Like all things that sound good in principle this would eventually crash and burn, thus in the end be abandoned when the system became corrupt as reviewers started giving high marks and passing work submitted by friends, people they knew, and even their own work.  All of that is just some back story or history I thought was cool to share, back to Insane LLama at the time; we saw all of the amazing Halo videos coming out and decided that it would be fun to make our own. So we set forth on the task!

I researched into everything one would need to make machinima, a little looking and I noticed most people used the Pinnacle Dazzle series of capture cards, the Dazzle 90 to be exact was the most popular in the machinima community. I set off for the old Circuit City which ended with me buying a decent capture card, one part of the almighty popular Dazzle series, precisely the more upper end version of their capture cards, the Pinnacle 500 USB. For about 100 bucks, the package I ended up getting was a film-makers bundle that came with the capture card, a shitty microphone that we never used, and a decent sized green screen we would use as our primary green screen for about 10 years. It took me awhile to figure out all the inputs and wiring going from the Xbox, television and computer, but I finally saw the game pop up in my capture program and we were ready to get at it.

This was 2006/2007 so all of us were still pretty young teenagers that were just getting into film-making, so the films we did eventually make on Halo 2, I’d say are pretty shitty; but we had a complete blast making them, plus there were some lessons learned that would be put forth into our late live action movies. Anyway let’s show the magnificent work we drew out of Halo.


The first one I’m sharing is the first machinima we ever made, simply titled ‘Impossible’. Set in the Halo 2 map Headlong, it follows one spartan as he tries to rid the entire city of the elite enemies; or laughingly just the same 3 bad guys over and over. We or more me thought I can do some pretty ambitious stuff; things I saw the big film clans doing, one such aspect was a cloning effect to make more enemies onscreen. I couldn’t even get close to doing the effect because I had literally no fucking clue how to really do anything in my editing software, which at the time was still Windows Movie Maker. I even screwed up the connection from the computer to the Xbox, which in turn made it so no sound from the game was captured, to fix this I ended up putting some pretty terrible sound effects into the movie; but come on, who was able to find good sound effects on the internet around 2006, I know I didn’t. Enough random information, here’s the video.

Link To Video – Impossible


The second video here is a short horror flick I made for a editing contest on the Halogrid forums. The theme for the contest was to make a horror video or literally just something scary. I wanted in and set forth to make something good for the contest, which when I made my submission, I kind of cheated and used some mods for the video such as the night setting, custom paint jobs like the Black/Red warthog and bloody Spartan armor, and even a mod where I was able to shoot out whole Spartan characters out of the plasma pistol and set them where I want. I had seen some other film-makers use the technique to get more characters on the map; all in all it was pretty easy to do since I was a decent modder that knew how to change most aspects of the game, but also the Halo 2 modding community was pretty robust and had many guides and tutorials to do pretty much anything you wanted. I ended up making the video all by myself, moving every character, sometimes using two controllers at once.

I finished filming and moved onto what the contest was really judging you on: post-production or editing. By this time since almost every major editor in machinima was using Sony Vegas to edit their videos, I bought in and started using it too, Sony Vegas 6 was the first editing software I ever bought; which in turn I still edit everything on to this very day, 7 complete versions later, Sony Vegas Pro 13.

Once I got editing, I thought I did a pretty badass job with everything; including some sick sound design encasing a lot of foot steps and some gnarly screams. I included a Happy Halloween from Monkeyman91 (My old Xbox Live Acccount) at the end and happily submitted to the editing contest expecting some positive feedback. WRONG. I got last place in the contest and was dumbfounded. Well now that many years have passed I know why… My editing did suck in the video; bad cuts, out of sync sound effects, no progression, and the mods I used were unfair to the people in the contest who had the normal game to go by. All in all a learning experience that still has some entertainment and appeal to it. Here’s the video.

Link To Video – HGEC

In The Army

The Last Halo 2 and machinima short we ever made is this next one I’m sharing, sharply named ‘In The Army’. This was the biggest project we made with a bunch of Insane LLama regulars helping man controllers such as Spencer, Eliot, Brad, and Ethan. Basically it follows a lonely guy as he joins the army  and goes through a bunch of shit. We utilized about half of the maps in the game and again used mods, more specifically a custom built race track mod. Probably the funniest part of this short was I (Evan) voiced every single character, just setting different pitch effects on each one. Once finished I’d say it was our best machinima and easily the most entertaining. BUT sadly only about half of the video is available since the original file got corrupted, only letting the first couple minutes be seen before going blank. Like most middle 2000’s machinima, I uploaded the video to the well-known hosting site Mythica; which unfortunately closed down in 2009, abandoning all the files and videos to be gone forever. So sadly I present to you the first half of ‘In The Army’.

Link To Video – In The Army

Insane LLama’s machinima days were short, but had a lasting impact on us; we learned a few new aspects of film-making, but more importantly it was simply fun to do and being part of the Halo 2 machinima community is a memory I will never forget, I personally never felt so attached to a community, which has only happened one other time since, almost a half a decade later with a little game called MAG, but that’s a story for another time.

I hope you enjoyed learning a little about halo 2 machinima and Insane LLama’s small part of its history. If you enjoyed scrolling through this maybe consider giving us a follow on the blog, we got lots of entertaining post planned in the future, you won’t be disappointed. See you next Thursday for our next Throwback. Enjoy!

Throwback Thursday – Halo 2 Machinima

Throwback Thursday – The First Shorts

Throwback Thursday

It’s Insane LLama’s first official Throwback Thursday!

Where to start is the question, we have so much content we can share. Our first camera came way back in 2003 and there are countless mini DV tapes we have piled up of content; but I think we should really stick with what makes Insane LLama and that would be our shorts. So this first throwback I’m going to showcase the first short films we really ever did, 3 to be exact, so let’s get started!

The first one we have is part of a series where Spencer would always get busted by the cops. These shorts were always one take since we didn’t know about multiple takes and cutting yet. This one I’m showing you was the last of the series and probably the best one.

Here’s the link to the video – Bust

For awhile we just made stuff that was all one take with no editing what so ever; then late summer 2005 our brother Ethan found an old firewire cable and said we can put our videos onto a computer to actually look at and more importantly edit! This next video which we consider Insane LLama’s first official short is called Ninja. This was the first time where we actually cut the camera and had multiple takes, which when finished was also the first video we put onto a computer to edit. Like most people who first want to edit a video we used the classic editing software Windows Movie Maker.

Here’s the link to the video – Ninja

We had so much fun making Ninja that we made our next short later that very same day, simply titled Dinner. This short was the first time we added music to a video in post production. Also seen at the end was Ethan’s attempts to use the on camera fade effect, which he completely did wrong. Enjoy!

Here’s the link to the video – Dinner

There would be one more short to add this post which we made the next day after Ninja and Dinner; this was Ninja 2, which is somewhere on one of the many tapes. Ninja 2 was ambitious after the previous 2 videos, but the video ended up kinda sucking with takes going too fast and cutting at the wrong time. The video was actually kind of awkward.

But that’s that, I hope you learned a little about us and enjoyed seeing our early roots when we were young and had no clue that we end up doing this for a living. See you next Thursday for our next Throwback.


Throwback Thursday – The First Shorts