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Fan Group Creates Full-Length Discworld Movie 261

greenrd writes "'Almost No Budget Films,' a group of Terry Pratchett fans from Germany, recently finished a 9-month filming stint on a full-length dramatisation of pterry's novel 'Lords and Ladies.' A grand total of 300 euros were spent on this production, and all profits from this fan movie will go to the Orangutan Foundation. Check out the new English trailer for some grin-inducing special effects!"
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Fan Group Creates Full-Length Discworld Movie

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  • by Monx ( 742514 ) <MonxSlashNO@SPAM ...> on Friday February 25, 2005 @06:28AM (#11775407) Journal
    And another 300 euros will be spent thanks to the direct video link on Slashdot.
    • Re:Bandwidth Cost (Score:5, Informative)

      by Wirr ( 157970 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @06:34AM (#11775431)
      And another 300 euros will be spent thanks to the direct video link on Slashdot.

      Unlikely, those links point to a university.
      If you see a link with uni-*.de it's always a university.

    • Re:Bandwidth Cost (Score:5, Insightful)

      by -brazil- ( 111867 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @06:42AM (#11775459) Homepage
      Actually, it's hosted on a university webserver, which means it's taxpayers' money...

      I've always considered "Lords and Ladies" to be the best of the discworld novels. If only Hollywood would get its act together and do a movie that does Pratchett's genious justice. I do have the British animated features, but to be honest, those look like only negligibly more than 300 EUR were spent...
      • Re:Bandwidth Cost (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mboverload ( 657893 )
        However, that bandwidth and server are alreayd paid for. A slashdoting does not cause one to spend anymore money, unless you are paying by the megabyte, which I doubt a university would do.
        • At Cornell University, you do not pay for bandwidth on your personal website that's hosted on their servers. However, if you run a server on your own computer, it contributes to the bandwidth cost of your Internet connection, which is 2GB included per month, plus ~$2 per GB over 2GB per month.
      • I've always considered "Lords and Ladies" to be the best of the discworld novels.

        No, that would be "Nightwatch". Admittedly it needs the other 25 books standing behind it, but the power that gives the characters and the setting make Nightwatch one of the best fantasy books I've ever read. L&L's good, though.

        I do have the British animated features, but to be honest, those look like only negligibly more than 300 EUR were spent...

        The problem with those is there's no sense of timing in the delivery. It

      • Terry Pratchett writes a book that's a better movie than Hollywood can make using an actual movie. It's amazing how he does it. It's a combination of pacing, dialog, humor and grand vision. I don't know what's more amazing, the fact that he can do it so well or the fact that he's maintained this style and skill through almost 20 years and 30 books.

        Sure, some Discworld books are better than others (and "Lords and Ladies" is in my top 3 for sure), but they are all good.

        I was re-re-rereading "Men at Arms"
      • Oh, the best were the first two Rhincewind ones, back before he got all preachy and was fun to read. They declined in quality to the point that I've stopped reading them, which is sad since the first few showed such great promise.
  • Until (Score:3, Funny)

    by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @06:28AM (#11775411) Homepage
    A grand total of 300 euros were spent on this production

    Until they were hit with multiple times that in bandwidth costs after a slashdotting. Mohahahaha >:->
  • Well (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anv*l ( 665350 ) *
    Nice CG graphics :) Actually it's amazing how people can do something like this; and let the profit go to charity...
  • by SamSim ( 630795 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @06:34AM (#11775432) Homepage Journal
    I could hear their server exploding from England!
  • ook (Score:5, Funny)

    by flumps ( 240328 ) <matt,corby&gmail,com> on Friday February 25, 2005 @06:36AM (#11775436) Homepage
    Oook ook OOOk ook ook ook OOk ook ook ook ook.

    [trans. I for one welcome our oragutan overlords]
  • Lords and Ladies... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Isn't that the TV show on Max Payne 2? That was a funny show.

    my lord... my laaady...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 25, 2005 @06:37AM (#11775439)
    "Check out the new English trailer for some grin-inducing special effects!""

    Wearing too tight underwear can produce the same effect.
  • Bittorent copy (Score:5, Informative)

    by Faram001 ( 210613 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @06:37AM (#11775443) ksm.avi.torrent

    Site is nuked so get it from here.
  • Link slashdotted (Score:3, Informative)

    by shyampandit ( 842649 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @06:39AM (#11775450) Homepage
    Well, looks like their university hosting wasnt up to a good /.'ng :D

    Google cache of the webpage at - ds/downloads.html+&hl=en []
  • by Fox_1 ( 128616 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @06:44AM (#11775464)
    With so much power on the desktop it's becoming easier and easier to produce polished video products at home. There's even software to correct for shaky camera work, it's possible to redesign shots in the editing programs and digital effects are becoming very easy to setup now. (remember Lightsabre boy)
    I love the idea of more and more content being produced by hobbyists, enthusists and other non-studio persons. We are at that point where knowledge passes from a few to many - much like the printing press took the books away from the scholars and gave them to the people. Screw the RIAA & DMCA, we are gonna start producing our own copyrighted materials and they'll lose out.
    • by zalas ( 682627 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @06:54AM (#11775497) Homepage
      Overall, I think it looked pretty nicely done. The way the scenes are stitched together was really nice. Some effects looked really nice (the glowing eyes), but some looked really distracting (the starburst type effect, not sure what to call it). I liked the use of the miniature sized people. However, it seemed like sometimes the people look too "normal" in a sense, while at other times, they really fit in with the scene. Perhaps some better lighting/atmosphere could make up for it?
      • Yeah, I think that's lighting and costume. I think I also saw a couple spots where they were looking at the camera. That doesn't help either :-)

        There were some really great shots in the trailer and some really bad ones. I'm not sure why since the trailer drags on far too long and really says nothing about the film.

        Maybe a fan of the fan group could create a fan-group phantom edit of the original trailer.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @07:38AM (#11775636) Homepage
      Some of the really major stumbling blocks I see:

      1. Scenery/Models. Unless it is set in contemporary earth, this is one of the really hard ones. By models I mean models of castles, spaceships etc., which tend to look like they were made of Lego.

      2. Getting enough angles. Particularly an issue in action movies, where my impression is the shot lacks angles (i.e. it was filmed once from one angle, instead of a commercial movie often mixing and matching between overview shots, action "highlights", close-ups of key people, pans etc.

      All of that is used to form a good scene. It takes time, requires a good editor and provides very little screen time, but it really sets them apart. In particular, notice that you never see a "pan-up" scene done with rails/crane in an amateur movie. Same with aerial shots.

      3. Acting of B-class characters. The leads usually have some acting skill. But the fringe characters (i.e. not the extras) suck donkey balls.

      4. Cheesy CG/special effects. Yes, I know many of the effects are easy to make today. But more often than not, the program doesn't support (or it is too damn hard to figure out how) the effect you really want, but you settle for what you can. They tend to look plastered on top like a sticker from a Donald Duck magazine on top of your photo.

      5. Audio effects. The music is usually decent, but the timing might be off. But more often than not, the audio effects sound "unmatched" or simply fake. No, changing the pitch and streching/compressing it still makes it sound like a horse/pig/dog/bird/animal of the day, and that was just you screaming.

      • by Coryoth ( 254751 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @10:09AM (#11776443) Homepage Journal
        I'm not sure whether you are directly addressing the GP post on general filmmaking on a low budget (with the advent of digital video, editing on computer, etc.) or particularly the Discworld project. I'll assume you're discussing general filmmaking (with a lean toward science fiction/fantasy).

        1. Scenery/Models. Unless it is set in contemporary earth, this is one of the really hard ones. By models I mean models of castles, spaceships etc., which tend to look like they were made of Lego.

        Depends on who you know. I know people entirely capable of constructing extremely impressive models (he has another job, but could easily do model work professionally). Then again, if you are a good enough writer you ought to be able to limit what you need to depict without it seeming forced.

        2. Getting enough angles.

        That is still pretty tough. Digital video cameras are getting cheaper and cheaper however, so in a few years this will be the result of laziness rather than inability.

        3. Acting of B-class characters.

        Again, very hard, but it also hangs heavily on what you're doing. The biggest problems involve the filmmakers not bothering to understand their constraints before they start, then working within them. People can act surprisingly well when they have to play (essentially) themselves and they have halfway competent direction. Of course, I am not a film director. Then again, I do know some.

        4. Cheesy CG/special effects.

        This one really does come down to a lack of proper forethought and design by the filmmakers. Write something you are capable of filming with the resources you have. This is not as constraining as you might think. Some great science fiction films have been shot with minimal special effects (see Pi, or The Sticky Fingers of Time). If the filmmakers don't know how to go about constructing a good film within their means, is it any surprise it sucks?

        5. Audio effects.

        Are just plain hard if you have anything much to do in the way of real foley work. This is one area that remains relatively inaccessible to everyday people as it just requires a lot of skill (and imagination). On the other hand, the trick is to stay away from things that are going to require such foley work.

        So in the end the main issue is having the core team of writer/director/producer actually having a decent idea of what can be done, and working within those constraints. You can make surprisingly good material providing you are creative within those restrictions, and have a few clues as to what you are doing.

        No, random people are not going to be making great films, but a small group of people with a real interest in film (the sort that actually read books on shot framing, directing etc.) can produce remarkably impressive material. I would suggest that there are enough people with such interests in the world that we will see more and more quality amateur productions showing up over the next 10 years.

      • Just some comments supporting the immediate parent post. I'd love to get my act together and make a short. Because of Mini-DV cameras being so standard and cheap, and desktop editing being well within the grasp of the common PC,it's as easy as it's going to get. All you need is 10 dedicated friends (some of whom can act), and lots of time!

        1/ Yes, amateur movie making has to be set in your neighbourhood, or one closeby. Forest settings may not be great due to lighting problems. I just watched an episod
    • Unfortunately, acting ability doesn't pass quite so easily. The trailer actually didn't look that bad, considering -- until the actors opened their mouths. *cringe* If that's the best line they could find in the movie...well, I'm not sure I want to see the worst.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 25, 2005 @06:47AM (#11775474)
    Wonderfully entertaining, kitschy trailer.

    For more stuff quite like this, check out Channel 101 [] and its New York sister site, Channel 102 [].

    For an example of how brilliant zero-budget filmmaking can be, check out their winner for this month's contest: House of Cosbys [].

    If you don't laugh at this, you're probably Bill Cosby. And even then.... well, just click.
  • Rankin (Score:3, Interesting)

    by leenoble_uk ( 698539 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @06:48AM (#11775481) Journal
    Screw Pratchett. We need a Robert Rankin movie. I vote for The Book of Ultimate Truths.
    • My God that's a beautiful idea! Which one was ultimate truths again? I can't remember, so long since I read his early (good) stuff. He's been a bit off lately. The Pooley and Omally series, they were fantastic, though I can't imagine who'd play them.
  • The turtle moves! (Score:5, Informative)

    by tchernobog ( 752560 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @06:49AM (#11775482)


    But I just hope in Terry Gilliam to find the budget [] to start Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman's "Good Omens"!

    Wouldn't that be great?


    Along with the standard computer warranty agreement which said that if the machine 1) didn't work, 2) didn't do what the expensive advertisement said, 3) electrocuted the immediate neighbourhood, 4) and in fact failed entirely to be inside the expensive box when you opened it, this was expressly, absolutely, implicitly and in no event the fault or responsibility of the manufacturer, that the purchaser should consider himself lucky to be allowed to give his money to the manufacturer, and that any attempt to treat what had just been paid for as the purchaser's own property would result in the attentions of serious men with menacing briefcases and very thin watches.

    -- (Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman, Good Omens)
    • Agreed. It's very impressive. Reminds me a bit of Knightmare (an old UK kids' show) but with better CGI.

      I don't trust a large company not to butcher Good Omens... particularly speeches such as Crowley talking about human nature... but a man from the same circle that produced Life of Brian has a better shot than most, I suppose...

      • ... but a man from the same circle that produced Life of Brian has a better shot than most, I suppose...

        Not to mention Jabberwocky, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and, most importantly, Brazil. I'd say that if anyone can get a movie as weird as Good Omens would have to be made, it's Gilliam. Or not made, if necessary. He's had more than his share of projects go up in smoke because someone thought they were too weird, probably some of them could have been saved if he was willing to tone down.

        • The only reason Fear and Loathing got out was because it was made and distribution handled afterwards. I suspect similar arrangements would be required for Good Omens. Things might be in a better position if another Pratchett work made it to cinema first.

          A smaller TV film would be feasible, I'd think. The animated ones are decent, and British works such as Gaiman's Neverwhere (or even Dr Who) are still popular despite being low-budget.

  • Since so many others have commented along similar lines, here's my tuppenceworth.

    Neal Stephenson's SnowCrash would be an Awesome film.
  • by lkcl ( 517947 ) <> on Friday February 25, 2005 @07:01AM (#11775520) Homepage
    somebody bittorrent it - next time _before_ announcing it on slashdot, please.
  • on a full-length dramatisation of pterry's novel

    Pterry? Sounds like a Pokemon.

    Back on topic... I sure wish real movie studios would pick up some of these Discworld novels to make a great expensive movie out of. I can see them as the next Star Wars or such, if they do it right.

    Or, even better, a faithful recreation of Dune!
  • Trailer mirror (Score:5, Informative)

    by maswan ( 106561 ) <> on Friday February 25, 2005 @07:40AM (#11775645) Homepage
    Here is a mirror of the english trailer: []

  • lords and ladies (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DarkClown ( 7673 )
    i can't wait to see this after someone mirrors it or something. but i wish these kind folk had done one of the starter books, lords and ladies is definitely kind of into the series a little bit, although it pretty much doesn't matter with the discworld stuff.
    pratchett's about due for a new one seems like - going postal's been out a while now. been reading the bromeliad triology last few days, it's fun.
    what ever happened to gilliams good omens efforts?
    • Re:lords and ladies (Score:4, Informative)

      by Denyer ( 717613 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @07:52AM (#11775684)
      it pretty much doesn't matter with the discworld stuff.

      Well, Lords and Ladies is the first book where the author thought it worth including a note in the front to the effect that it helps to have read them in some kind of order. (And gave a short summary of events so far.)

    • Going Postal was released autumn last year. Terry has been doing two books a year of late but one of those at the moment is for kids. There should be a kids book in the spring followed by the next adult book in the autumn.
    • I guess a great first-discworld-movie would be 'Mort'. It can stand alone, has the full atmosphere and has scenes which would translate absolutely marvelously to movies. Plus it has anything a hollywood exec insists be in a movie, including a love interest :)

      As for Gilliam's effort to get Good Omens done...I think he's still trying to scare up a budget, last I heard.
      • Unfortunately, you may need to start your own movie studio. Here's how it went when they tried (taken from the APF []:

        Speaking of movies, what happened to the plans for a movie based on Mort?

        "A production company was put together and there was US and Scandinavian and European involvement, and I wrote a couple of script drafts which went down well and everything was looking fine and then the US people said "Hey, we've been doing market research in Power Cable, Nebraska, and other centres of culture, and th

  • This is the end of cinema.
    • Re:This is it! (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Chatsubo ( 807023 )
      I saw an interesting insert on TV a while back documenting the efforts of film-makers in Africa.

      What these guys do is write a "quick-hack" script, get some actors, a couple of (their own) cars, camera's, some lights, etc. And go make a movie.

      1. Shoot footage you need in about 3 days. 2. Edit 3. Make lots of VHS tapes. 4. Sell to street vendors. 5. Profit! Notice there's no ???, and that's because it's actually a booming business. Their clients don't want to see Americans blowing up aliens. They want
  • Watched the trailer! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Stalyn ( 662 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:13AM (#11775745) Homepage Journal shoulda used 16 mm film. But hey who cares if it looks like crap?

    A really good sci-fi movie shot for a very low budget ($7000) I recommend is Primer [].
  • by Ray Radlein ( 711289 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:33AM (#11775795) Homepage
    I noticed on LSpace [] that there's also a short of "Troll Bridge" [] being filmed by a bunch of Aussies [].

    They even got a quickie script rewrite from PTerry himself.
  • flamebait, sure (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by MOMOCROME ( 207697 )
    ...but I just can't see what you guys like about this Pratchett guy. He comes off as a wanky, half-baked Douglas Adams wannabe selling semi-ironically juxtaposed fantasy cliches by the gross.

    In my somewhat severe opinion, I'd say the classic M.Y.T.H. series [] is far more sophisticated, far more entertaining, and most importantly far more funny.

    Don't get me wrong- I've consumed all the works of both authors. It's just that I've come to the conclusion that Mr. Pratchett works at the same level as the likes of
    • Not that your idea of 'acceptable' bothers me much, but Anthony (rather like Tom Holt) tends to work with bludgeoning puns rather than back-referencing; Pratchett is more enjoyable the more of the source material you know.
      • Hm, I would never place Anthony at the level of Pratchett, but there is one similarity that I can think of -- both of them crank out huge volumes of books that rely way too heavily on self-reference and in-jokes. I read all of the early Discworld books with great enthusiasm, but somehow I just don't enjoy PTerry's latest offerings the same way...they've gotten too formulaic and predictable for my taste. My favorite book in the series remains "Small Gods", maybe partly because it doesn't substitute referen
    • Re:flamebait, sure (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Mac Degger ( 576336 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @10:15AM (#11776518) Journal
      The main difference between Pratchet and Asprin is that Asprin is just funny; Pratchet on the other hand is deeply funny. By that I mean that to fully appreciate Pratchet you need to know certain things: like Latin, or heraldry or quantum physics, to get the full efect of some of his jokes and puns (actually most of his humor works that way; one good example is Unseen's only after reading Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver did I realise Pratchet was riffing on the Invisible College, the precursor to the Royal Society).
      Plus there's some mayor commentary going on on modernday life on an anecdotal level. Asprin just does not have that; hell Aprin doesn't even have a simple theme (in the literary sense) going on in any of his MYTH books. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed the MYTH's just that it's like penny romance novels against Pratchet's more mature, 'real' literature.
      • Re:flamebait, sure (Score:2, Interesting)

        by circusboy ( 580130 )
        I think that one of the most enjoyable moments I've had regarding a pratchet book, was after reading, I think it was "Reaper Man," where there was a description of the magic detector that consisted of an urn with several elephants around the rim. When magic was detected, a pebble would drop (well, shoot)out of the elephant which was pointing towards the source of the magic.(pib)

        a couple of years after reading this, I was leafing through a catalog of ancient pottery, ( I believe it was chinese,) and there w
    • Re:flamebait, sure (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bwcbwc ( 601780 )
      Humor is in the eye of the beholder, so I won't debate which author is funnier. But I think you'll find that Pratchett has the best-integrated plot-lines of the three authors you mention.

      I wish I could figure out why you think Aspirin is more sophisticated. To me, his writing is the weakest of the three. Characters are almost as flat as Isaac Asimov's. Asprin's great contribution was his ability to skewer genre-fantasy conventions with a sci-fi or real world twist, but he rarely works the other way around,
  • Considered (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mark_MF-WN ( 678030 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:59AM (#11775873)
    Do these people ever consider the idea that maybe... just maybe... books don't translate well into movies? It's not exactly a strange idea. Look at how badly music translates into movies, or how poorly a sculpture translates into a song. I say let books stay books. Just come up with new ideas for movies.

    Hmmm. Now that I'm thinking about it, I'm going to start a project to convert Dali's "The Persistence of Memory" into a television series.

  • by Wirr ( 157970 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @10:16AM (#11776527)
    I have just managed to download and watch the English trailer.

    Why are the old people, like the witches, played by young people ?
    In the books, the witches are old.

    Couldn't they have found some grannies ?

  • You know who should do a Discworld movie and actually be able to pull it off? The guys who do the Harry Potter movies. I think they're just about the only ones who could pull off the style and keep the books intact.
  • worse even than awfulness itself, which is, you have to admit, pretty awful.

    and really... why lords and ladies? why not start at the beginning and do the colour of magic... i suppose L&L has elves. and the nac mac feegle. oh, and the witches. and cohen, it seems... can't remember that part...

    as long as it has DEATH, it's all good in my book.

    so, maybe not as awful as i thought.

    be great if peter jackson would commit to the whole series. maybe as a... what do you call a trilogy with 37 parts? maybe aft
    • be great if peter jackson would commit to the whole series

      Yes, why not have him shit all over every good writer's work? Commit suicide would be more like it. Talentless fuck.


    • Actually, It IS pretty awful

      I know it's kinda nice to see people doing things that involve getting fresh air and having good clean fun while getting some beer and delicious german sausage, but WOW!

      It actually looks like they've gotten the worst of both worlds - nac mac feegle didn't play a part in L&L, and neither was there a lot of fighting with men beating each other up and jumping out of windows - only magrat really got the ass-kickin on. So, it looks like a hollywood style mangling of the plot alo
  • I know this was probably already taken care of, and I can't really see him having any problem with it, but nowhere (with a quick skim through TFL and this slashdot article) have I seen anyone say that pterry actually approved this. Or are they keeping it in the Luggage, because I'm not going near that thing.
  • To quote the cast list:
    Magrat Garlick (Julia Knobloch)
    The German translation of "garlic" is "Knoblauch", only a little different from "Knoblauch - as "garlick" is different from "garlic"
    And in fact, "Magrat Garlick" really is named "Magrat Knobloch" in the German translation of the Discworld series :-)
  • Language (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Scutter ( 18425 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @11:48AM (#11777596) Journal
    I can't tell from the website. Is the film in English or German?
  • Is this the same group that did fanimatrix?

  • One minor nitpick (Score:3, Informative)

    by techno-vampire ( 666512 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @04:37PM (#11781099) Homepage
    A number of characters in the story, such as Granny Wetherwax, Nanny Ogg and the various wizards are supposed to be fairly old. Alas, you can see that the actors and actresses are much too young. Proper makeup would have helped, for those of us familiar with the series. Even so, it doesn't spoil the film, it's just a little bit of "that's not right; they're too young" when you first see them. I'm sure I'll stop paying attention to it quickly when I see it.

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