E3 S70 Film Review: Mann Co: Employee Training Video (March 2023)

Phil Rice 00:10
Hi, and welcome to And Now For Something Completely Machinima podcast about machinima, virtual production and other related technologies. We're going to jump right in here. First of all, my name is Phil, and with me are my co hosts, Tracy, Ricky and Damien. Hey, how are you? I feel like it's I feel like it was just a few minutes ago we spoke. It's always good to get back together. So the film this this week is my pick. This is a film called Mann Co: Employee Training Video made by a guy who on YouTube goes by the name, the screen name, Tipsy Duck. And if I'm not mistaken, it's made in the Source Engine in like, it has a Team Fortress two type look to it. Right? I guess. I'm not actually not 100% sure that but I was so confident from the look of the models and the movements that it was that that I didn't even dig into it further. So if you know differently, let me know. But this is it's one of the one of my favourite formats. And that is satirical PSA, which I have great affinity for if you know my background, you know why? I love this type of humour. This is a you know, sarcastic it's a would be public service announcement type of video. But loaded with absurd humour. I'm not sure what the I don't think that there's like a unlike some satire, where you can tell that there's a point. I don't think that there's necessarily a statement being made here. It's just really having fun with that type of format and inappropriate humour. There is toilet humour, which is why it made my pick every every every film I've picked for the show has some kind of toilet humour in it. Of course. That's That's my thing. So anyway, I just absolutely loved this film. And there's one particular moment in the film that sealed the deal for me in terms of this is my pick. And that is the glare.

Ricky Grove 02:32
Oh, yeah,

Phil Rice 02:34
The glare is just, there's a there's a point where this this narrator in the film comes to a room where there's a child in the bed, kind of a Make A Wish Foundation kind of nod. And the child has just been asked what do you want and the child says, oh, I want to go home and then all sudden he looks over to the doorway. And there's the narrow with just this menacing glare and the music and everything just and it lingers on it for so long. And I've seen that before it's not a new thing you know, it's been done. But this was done so well. And I don't know if I've ever seen something quite like that done in machinima because it's so reliant on there's a certain thing you have to be able to do with the face and eyes to pull that off to pull off that kind of it's it's a it's saying something without saying anything. Right? Right. So and this isn't the world's you know, this isn't the most advanced facial engine out there not anymore. It at one time was pretty up there but this is by today's standards you know, leaning more towards the primitive and yet they really pulled that and many other impressive things off in this with the way that animations were used the voice actor that is the narrator is just terrific. Just perfect for this role so I'm very interested to hear what you guys thought of it.

Tracy Harwood 04:13
Well actually I really liked this we don't pay you to think we pay you to work pretty much sums up the approach presented here and as one of the reviewers commented it's really one great long list of human rights violations and its lot it's actually really close to the knuckle two with a lot of Source Filmmaker in jokes centering on these characters. So if you're not too familiar with Team Fortress and and source filmmaking, some some of it I suspect might pass you by a little bit. I tell you what I really liked though the facial animation I think is is stood up amazingly well. It's really quite interesting. And I'm guessing that's that's, you know, there's no mo cap in this at all is there but there's really good facial movement. I think lip movement maybe. But overall, I really liked the editing I thought it was. Well done the voiceover as you said, Phil was fantastic. That's what I could see. It was a guy called Keith Ferrell, otherwise known as Mr. Tush on YouTube. I think he was brilliant. Yeah, that that kind of sort of smarmy, evil training video voice, which could tell you absolutely anything at all. Which, you know, this guy. Some of the jokes I, you know, I'm not sure they stand up quite as well. Today, I mean, this is not that old. Is it? This is only 2017 2017. It's not Yes. Not sort of, like 10 years old. Some of it, I suppose a little bit reminiscent of what one might expect in the world of Musk at Twitter headquarters perhaps going on? Maybe, yeah, maybe a certain president's son's world. Maybe. Maybe you can imagine some of that being very reminiscent of, of how things are panning out a little. Some of it made me a bit twitchy, I have to say. But I guess I shouldn't really be all that surprised. I mean, 2 million views, since it was uploaded is pretty astonishing for this. The other thing I will say is it was it also tagged the Saxxies, but as far as I could see, it wasn't one of the finalists. So I'm guessing it was one of the entries? I don't know. Yeah, if you knew any more about that. I found a playlist for all the entries for that year. But I couldn't really find it on the playlist either. So I'm guessing there are 1000s that are on the on the play, you know, on the on the entries for it. But yeah, really enjoyed it. Thank you Phil.

Damien Valentine 07:07
Yeah, Tracy, you are talking about reminiscent of Musk at Twitter and other things. Recently, I've been involved with this campaign to save buses, this guy reminded me so much of someone who had to deal with

Tracy Harwood 07:22
The town council.

Damien Valentine 07:24
I don't want to go too far, because I don't want any names to come up with that. And even the way he looks.

Phil Rice 07:35
I won't say his name. But it begins with S with Rand Sua.

Damien Valentine 07:48
I could imagine the guy when interacting with talking like this behind the scenes in a way that made me a little bit uncomfortable. The video itself, though, is really well done. I think, obviously, this Team Fortress two is a quite an old game now. But because it's got the stylized graphics, I think that really helps it stand out because it never aim never tried to be realistic, like games at that time that some were trying to be as realistic as possible. This went for the cartoony style. And as you've seen from some of the other Team Fortress videos we've looked at recently, they all still hold up because yeah, they go for that cartoony style. And that can be a huge benefit for making a video that holds up many years later. And obviously, you're still and the humour was great. I was laughing all the way through it. I could definitely see why you are, why you chose that film.

Phil Rice 08:48
Yeah, it's my kind of humour for sure.

Damien Valentine 08:51
Yeah. I just really enjoyed it. It's a really good pick. Yeah, I don't know what to say. But I really enjoyed it.

Ricky Grove 09:02
I've always enjoyed your sense of humour, not only as a person, Phil, but as a filmmaker as well. You always have this wonderful sense of subtle irony to things and satire. Satire is not an easy thing to do, and you really have a real skill and creating the scene. Also, one of my favourite little genres of film types is the ephemeral film. That's the films that are not really part of a marketplace or anything like that. Training Videos would fall into that, PSAs, industrial films. There's a magnificent collection of them on Archive.org. Yeah, the archive, the procedure archive. And if you go through those you'll come up with some films that are unintentionally hilarious. Hilarious. I

Phil Rice 09:54
think one of them all. Yeah, no,

Ricky Grove 09:58
I you know stuff about sleep or dating or cranky children or safety in the factory. And this immediately endeared me to it because it was of that genre. It sure was. And I thought, what a great idea. And I think oftentimes satire and humour starts with a great idea or a great situation. And then it depends upon your craft. And in terms of how you do the writing, and how you set up the editing to support all that, and this guy did that. Tipsy Duck really did a fine job. It does push the edge of appropriateness sometimes.

Phil Rice 10:36
I think so too, there was there's lines, I wouldn't have crossed,

Ricky Grove 10:39
There's a daughter bit in there of the owner of the company. This kind of made me cringe, you know, but they, they didn't hold on it, they just kept ploughing right through. So it was an idea. They did it and they moved on. But that that was little, but humour has always been that way. You know, I mean, there's there's even stories of ancient Roman actors who did some such inappropriate things that the governor who would be in the in the theatre wants to have them stoned, or beaten on stage, you know, so you can imagine yourself performing, you do something tasteless, and the governor says go ahead and give him a few kicks. And they kick him, you know, I'm so sorry. I kind of wish there was a button on YouTube that I could push to kick the guy just once for the third. But hey, you know, it's funny, it was funny in a painful kind of way. But I love the look of the film, the animations are excellent. Believe me working in Source Filmmaker, the learning curve is vertical, is Everest type. If you can die, if you can surpass, if you could conquer that learning curve, you can really produce some great, great results with Source Filmmaker. And they obviously had done that and they really skilled. Perhaps the editing here and there was maybe a little bit sloppy. You found the glare, the long long take on the glare. Very funny, I found it just a little bit too much, they should have cut a little bit sooner. And there's a couple other scenes where they include walking as part of the edit. And it seemed like I'll padding or something or they just didn't cut it too soon. We watched the film, Lisa, my partner and I had recently with Christopher Lee was one of his Euro films. And I would say good 15 minutes of it were people walking from one place to the next. Obviously, you would cut that out. But they wanted to keep it in in order to pad the length to become a feature film. Now I'm not saying that's what they did here. No, they didn't. But maybe some judicious cutting might have helped the pace, just a little bit of the film on also, I found myself. While I mentioned that was a comfort uncomfortable sometimes. And maybe the pace was off here and there. But overall, I found myself really laughing through it finding the animation and being caught up. And it's not easy to do a glare with a completely inanimate object, a 3d representation to make sure that that face is alive. That's an extraordinary accomplishment. And I really stand up giving a standing ovation for Tipsy Duck for that one. But really interesting choice. Phil, I'm really glad you picked it and I enjoyed it. Quite a contrast to the other films.

Phil Rice 13:42
Yeah, yeah, I agree. Yeah. And if you like tipsy ducks work. This is not his only film by far. He's not only machinima film. And it's not even the only film with this character. In fact, there's one. There's one where it's almost like, like a biography behind the scenes interview of who is this guy? At least it's using the exact same model. I don't remember if it refers to him by a name that would tie in with this video, but it's the same voice. And yeah, the same actor. So there's, there's several of them in there. And some of them some of the videos go even further past the cringe line. So this was this was me paring it back a bit. And this one too. It's there's points where it's like, ah, and I'm not talking and like any kind of snow flaky woke sense of things. I'm talking about just general standards most people can agree on. But the way that I looked at it the way that I feel about those things generally is there's probably nothing more distasteful than safe comedy. Yep. You know,

Ricky Grove 14:57
how many have always been transgressive.

Phil Rice 14:59
I want to watch Somebody who's taking some chances. And that means that sometimes they're missing. Sometimes the joke falls flat, or sometimes it's just like, Dude, that's, that makes me so uncomfortable. I, I'll laugh, but I'll feel bad about it. Or it's so much that I'm not going to laugh at all. But when they hit, it's like, wow, you know, the jokes land, that is good comedy. Now, people who hone that skill professionally, have learned to shave off the bits that either don't work, or that offend too much. And you end up with this extraordinary routine, but that is a world class skill. That very few, even in the comedy industry have very few. So, and I feel like that that the guy behind this film, the people behind this film, are aiming at that target. Yeah. And I like I agree. I appreciate that. That okay, you gambled a bit there. And I don't, you know, I don't think it necessarily worked. But I can admire the guy. Yep. Go ahead and go ahead and gamble. And it's, you know, it's weird, because it's hard to define. We've talked about this before, Ricky, that it's really hard to define what what's the difference between, you know, satire that's aiming and goes too far, and just plain old tastelessness. And it's really hard to pin down what that is. But you know, what, when you see it, is that lame? Yeah, the fallback?

Ricky Grove 16:32
Not at all. But I think the process of creating a you hit the key is that you write it without censoring yourself. But then as you're reviewing it, and paring it down, you react to it yourself. And you go, Oh, that might be a little bit too much. But then again, satire really helped us able to be able to say things that we really want to say. But if we said then they'd be mean.

Phil Rice 16:59
Yeah, it's everybody's, it's everybody's access to the court jester role. Right? Yeah. Which if you don't know what that is, historically, the court jester wasn't just some dude in a silly hat with bells. It was the one man in the king's entourage that could say anything to the king, without question. And so they would really push it and the king valued the man in that role, because a good king would anyway, he's the only one that says would realise, yeah, nobody else around me. Everyone else is too intimidated to tell me the truth. So and I feel like satire in some way is it's that it's that gesture, type of thing. And society now is, you know, there's very few societies now run by kings. So it's society itself that needs that gesture. And I think satire is the way that that gets done. So yeah, that's, that's what pulls me to it. I like I like being a part of that when I get a chance to

Ricky Grove 18:01
Great perspective. Great perspective.

Phil Rice 18:04
I'll mention here too. We don't do this very often talk about stuff that's part of like, you know, mainstream entertainment stuff. But this video, the the kind of really harsh satire on corporate environments. If you're, if that's your kind of humour, there's a show that is debuting this month or last month on Amazon Prime called The Consultant starring Christoph Waltz. And it's magnificent it's weird. It's really strange, very odd, but it plays very much into it strums the same chords as this humour wise, and Christoph Waltz. If if you'll know him when you see him if you don't know who that is, but to me it's He's like one of the one of the actors that just I go out of my way to see anything that he does. He's, he's quite magnificent. So

Ricky Grove 19:04
that series is based on a novel by an author named Bentley Little bet the little is a horror author hitter has been writing for about 20 years. Wow. On my part, my partner, Lisa is just absolutely obsessed with him. Because what he does is he takes a certain kind of thing, or a location or place, like the apartment, or the condominium. And he shows you how weird thing things are. They're how crazy and nuts they are. And they're all They're all like he has another one called the the association or no, the what is the like in a resident townhouse, they have the group of people that sort of govern it? Yeah, the association Association. Yeah, he did an association where he takes us absolutely mad group of people that do all of these things. So I was really happy. That Bentley little guy that gig not only for him because he gives him a nice chunk of change to keep them writing. But if you like that stuff, though, you've got to read those novels.

Phil Rice 20:08
I did add that too. I didn't I wasn't aware of his other works yet, but I did add that book to my list for next time.

Ricky Grove 20:15
Oh, he's been writing for 20 years. That's magnificent.

Phil Rice 20:19
That's great. I didn't realise that his the genre that he was put in was horror. But having watched the show, I binged it this week. I can see why. Yeah, it's it's, it's, it's more than a little disturbing the show, but just if that's your thing, it's it's an amazing mix of, of horror vibes, and biting comedy. And of course, again, Christoph Waltz, just a monster actor. So Ricky, the way that you're looking the way you're leaning right now, a little devils masks. The gloom, I'm full. I'm like, that's our thumbnail Tracy for this video. That's our thumbnail. Coming out of Ricky's had like a little boil. That's the thumbnail.

Ricky Grove 21:16
I'm looking at a shelf full of Bentley Little books that are right near me. Dispatch is one of them. The Store that's absolutely hysterical. The Town. The Agency, just really, he loves to take institutional things and then just turn them inside out with just madness. Kafka-like madness.

Phil Rice 21:47
I can't wait to dig into that. Okay, so anyway, that's, that's one to keep an eye out for as as as something to watch and also something to read. Yep. So that will do it for this episode. Thank you, Tracy, Ricky and Damien. Yeah, thank you for your feedback, and we look forward to the next episode. Great. All right. See ya.

Tracy Harwood 22:09
Bye bye.

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