1: Hello who are you and what are you known for?
My name is Gage Allen, and I am known for creating professional game trailers, cinematics, and the likes for indie and AAA studios/publishers. Most recently I created the launch trailers for Conarium, Empathy, and Dawn of Andromeda.
2: How did you get your break into the industry?
It all began with Fallout 3, which had just come out. The gameplay trailer completely blew my mind, and was the first thing to make me consider combining my skills in video at the time with my passion for games. It inspired me to make fan trailers and practice my gameplay capture methods and such. Several years later, after creating a number of fan trailers and teaching myself advanced editing programs and such, I came across a popular indie horror game called SCP: Containment Breach. The game didn’t have an official trailer, despite how popular it was, so I offered to create one. I ended up creating two official trailers for the game, and they both went viral. From then on, I’ve been doing game trailers, cinematics, and such professionally.
3: What advice would you give as a mentor to anyone thinking of entering the industry?
I get emails from college students and people all the time asking about advice for entering the game industry and creating trailers and what not. I wrote an entire article on the piece, but essentially there are three things: Never stop creating, never stop trying, and never let failure own you. I only got to where I am by believing in a single philosophy: “The greatest calamity of all is not to have failed, but to have failed to try”.
4: How do you explain what you do for work to people not in the industry, say at a party?
It depends. For people not inclined in that world, I’ll usually just tell them I do movie trailers for games. That seems to be easier to understand for people.
5: Which title in recent history has really pushed new boundaries in gaming with their use of cinematics?
I’d say GTA V did an amazing job with the blend between gameplay and cinematics (Specifically gameplay cinematics). That game did so many things on so many levels that shocked all of us in the industry. Another big one would be Uncharted 4.
6: Best use of a 30 second game trailer segment you have seen?
Definitely one of the best ones I’ve seen has to be the 30 second trailer for Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End called Man Behind the Treasure.
7: Could you name the worst design scenario you were involved in? What would you do different if you were in that situation now?
I don’t know about worst design scenario. There are always trailers that present their own challenges. Some of the games I’ve done trailers for have been incredibly complex, which makes the process of conveying an accurate overview of the game in a cinematically appealing way very difficult. Dawn of Andromeda was one that was somewhat complex in demonstrating the concepts behind the game in a way that was unique. The publisher wanted something that hadn’t been done before with other 4x space game trailers, so I had to not only come up with something that conveyed the narrative of the game, but do it in a way that wasn’t normally seen with similar game trailers. That’s where the mix and beats of the opening archival footage sequence of the trailer came in to the mix, and the writing behind the voice over was created for. But that wasn’t a bad experience, I loved doing challenging design scenarios like that because it allows me to think outside the box at times. A link to the trailer, here.
8: How do you see game trailers compared to other media fields?
Game trailers are definitely a unique field. A lot of people compare them to movie trailers, and a few trailer houses try to mimic movie trailers and such, but the truth is the approach to high-end game trailers is a fundamentally different experience when compared to the approach to a movie trailer.
Now, the bar for game trailers however is a bit lower than a movie trailer, as a game trailer could be random gameplay sequences edited together, while a film has a bit more complexity to move into a trailer, even for basic users. This is why I’ve found that game trailers tend to have a bit of a larger variety, especially indie game trailers.
9: Best influences in your art/design that’s non-game related?
My life experiences. Growing up I spent 10 years of my childhood in a third world country, so I draw from that a lot in my film and game work when portraying the power of sequences. There’s also things like books, stories, films, etc..
10: Finally, how has the AR/VR field affected the way you create trailers and in-game cinematics?
Thanks Gage, for a great insight to the other creative side to games and the thought processes that go into their trailers for marketing!
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