Xtian Bretz and Alik Griffin are the directors of the cult hits DayZ – “I’D KILL FOR SOME BEANS” Day01 and My First Experience Playing DayZ – Live Action. They also star in the very cool short films along with other actors. In between shoots for this DayZ project, and other work for their D Day Hollywood Youtube channel the survivors took the time to answer some of my questions about what got them started in film and what the heck is so inspiring about DayZ.
DayZPvP – What have you done in film before you caught the DayZ infection?
Xtian – I got my start in online video in 2004 when I released the viral video “how to be: emo” on my own website. From that, CAA sent me out on meetings where I met Damon Berger (now the executive producer of What’s Trending). Over the following years Damon and I worked together on several projects, at the same time I was doing freelance editing/visual effects for tv and film. Then in 2010, Damon Berger, Shira Lazar and I started Partners Project together. Partners Project is like the Inside the Actor’s Studio of YouTube. After meeting many of the key figures in the YouTube space (Corridor Digital, FreddieW), I was inspired to start my own channel “DDay Hollywood” with Alik Griffin. I really wanted to get back to my roots of making movies and having fun with my friends.
Alik – I’ve been editing and shooting since I graduated filmschool at UCSD in 2005. I moved to Los Angeles in 2007 where I was shooting freelance and cutting network promos until I landed a gig G-Net Agency where I’ve been cutting Game Trailers since. Chris and I have been working with each other doing various videos since about 2006 and in 2011 we joined together on our own Youtube channel DdayHollywood which has been a blast.
DayZPvP – Moving on to the DayZ videos what roles do you play? Who shoots the video and who writes the script?
The actors are typically our friends, roommates or other YouTubers. We live in Hollywood so pretty much everyone is an actor. I think our pizza delivery guy is an actor.
We both direct the videos together and switch off shooting depending on who’s in the scene at the time. Then we both share the post production process, for instance one of us will do the initial edit while the other does the visual effects or visa verse.
As far as the scripts go, we’ll usually toss ideas around on the phone, pick one then write it and shoot it!
Please click read the rest of this entry below to read Part 2 of the interview.
DayZPvP – What is the creative process? Is everything heavily scripted?
Every video is scripted, we come from an indie film background so that’s the process we learned from.
We try to draw from real life experiences as often as we can, when you do it that way it’s much more likely the audience will relate to it because they probably felt that way too at one point.
So with DayZ, most of the things we come up with are things we’ve actual done or experienced in the game; like the video where I’m trying to find my friend in the forest, pretty much happens on a daily basis. Does anyone have a compass they could lend me? I’ll give it right back.
DayZPvP – I love how he is describing the landscape and map in vague terms like “you have to go north from the forest” or “YEAH, I’m by the big green circle”.
What inspired you to become film makers?
My older brother, he would make home movies with his GI Joe’s and I was enthralled with it.
Alik saw Phantom Menace and from that point on, he just knew.
DayZPvP – Why is it that DayZ inspires so many creative people?
It’s probably the open-ended world, nothing in the game is scripted, and as the tag line of the game says “This is your story.” The bizarre result of this is that when you’re talking to your friends about the game, you describe the experience as tho it actually happened to you. I’ve even seen posts on Reddit about people having vivid dreams about the game. I’m glad I’m not the only one that’s happened to.
DayZPvP – That has happened to me too, people that don’t play the game think I am going insane.
Do you play DayZ as bandits, survivalists, a clan?
My moral’s seem to shift as the game evolves, at first I was trying to be friends with everyone, but now my attitude is more, I’ll give you my M249… when you take it from my cold, dead hands.
DayZPvP – I started just as the KOS era began so I like to think of it as “fire and forget”.
What makes DayZ so identifiable? Is it the clothing/packs, the aviators, the beans?
I don’t know what it is about the black hats and aviators, but maybe because of it’s simplicity? And yah, the beans are just funny.
DayZPvP – The real-world simplicity of the map, objects and models almost makes it like a “real world” simulator. No magic, dragons or giant anime swords for DayZ.
I feel like this game is changing the gaming world as we know it. I still play other games, but I’m far more interested in having a real experience in DayZ than going back to something with scripted sequences. I have fun just running thru a forest, because you know that at any moment, all hell could break loose… something always happens at the most unexpected moments and I think we crave those kinds of interactions.
We’re obviously going to see tons of imitators, like back in the Doom clone days. And there will be dumbed down iterations for console players, but what makes DayZ what it is, is the hard core, permadeath nature of it. You really care about your character because you’re risking it all with every move.
DayZPvP – Rocket should steal your last line there and print it on the game box!
Please give shout outs or plug anything you want.
I’d like to give a shout out to Ray Ray and Big Steve.
Our channel is: D Day Hollywood
Oh and I have another channel, Partners Project, where we interview people that make careers on YouTube, tons of very talented people!
Thanks a ton guys, good luck and keep your heads down out there!