HOW IT WAS MADE
"HARLEM AND JOHNNY"
Introduction: Harlem and Johnny is machinima which means it's made in a video game, specifically, Fallout New Vegas. This style of filmmaking is common on YouTube for both skits and web-series, most famously in Rooster Teeth's "Red vs. Blue", which was partly made in various Halo video games and also uses custom 3D animation.
The Specifics: The short Harlem and Johnny and by proxy the ShoesUntied web series, Fallout New Vegas: Vice & Sin (seen below), are made on the PC version of Fallout New Vegas by using mods, console commands (originally a tool the game developers used for debugging), and the G.E.C.K. (a toolkit for players to make their own content for the game). Through this, custom characters, sets, and locations are able to be created for the film. After each individual line of dialogue is recorded, the best takes are then placed into the GECK. From there, lip-sync is generated and then connected to the corresponding character. Once all of the characters' lines are implemented, they can be summoned for use in the game using the console command.
However, just having characters speak with no movement is rather dull to watch (and is why the first episode of Vice & Sin had so little character gestures while they spoke). So, in order to fix this, Julie put together a list of all the existing in-game animation ID codes that can be played during dialogue that she could find, and she would summon these animations right before a line was played back. This gave much-needed flair to the mostly one shot-one line dialogue scenes.
Takes were recorded using a screen recording software, and started when the game was paused, before the dialogue and animation, or in some cases, the scripted event had started.
Why it was made: The strength of Vice and Sin was also its weakness. Because of how much it improved, the older episodes didn't hold up as well, but the new episodes required the context they provided. Furthermore, Julie wanted to show off the show, but the issue of context and sometimes runtime became a problem. So, in between projects, she decided to put together an edit that tells a unique, isolated story from the rest of the show, while also allowing her to experiment with editing and color, improve old episodes, and show the best elements of the show.
Bonus: If you watched the first few episodes and then watched Harlem and Johnny, you may notice some scenes that look and sound familiar but are distinctly different in this short. This is because some of the scenes in the first few episodes were reshot and rerecorded after a character was recast. There was a planned remake/re-edit of the older episodes that never panned out to due lack of time working on other projects. However, when it came time to work on this short, Julie thought it'd be great to use the then unused reshot and re-edited scenes that were originally discarded.
FALLOUT NEW VEGAS: VICE & SIN 2016-2017
Genre: Machinima, Comedy, Post-Apocalyptic
Average Episode Runtime: 17.36 minutes
Synopsis: Five friends are trying to make it big in the Mojave Wasteland. However, no one ever said it was going to be a safe bet taking over an old casino. Only time will tell if the wasteland's bizarre characters' will kill them before they kill each other.
Director of Photography: Julie Tjalas
Producers: Julie Tjalas
Talent: Glenn Firm, Cassidy Friedman, Jordan Kerry Mitchel, Isaac Nunes, and Markel Toves.
Fun Fact: This show is made/animated with the video game, Fallout New Vegas. This style of filmmaking is called, "Machinima". Julie started this project her freshman year at ASU to teach herself more about writing, directing, and cinematography, after being frustrated with a film she directed that she was unhappy with.