The Production Office deals with films when theyre ready to be released. When you complete filming on a movie, its icon will head to the Production Office, where youll be able to move it onto the Release tab to send it out into the world and start making back the money you spent on its production. Alternatively, if you wish to get an idea of how itll perform, then you can move the script directly to the Reviews tab to get some advance screening feedback. Alternately, you can move the script right to the Archives if you want to just shelve it entirely. This might be worthwhile if youve somehow produced a truly awful movie that youre afraid will drag down your studios prestige, but in most cases youll be able to avoid this with adequate planning.
When you first load up a game of The Movies, youll want to be sure to take the tutorial thats available to you. You can skip it if you want, but the tutorial is going to be the best way to learn the many nuances of the game, and will give you a lot of tips as you proceed through the first couple of years of your movie empire. It wont necessarily give you specific tips on how to make the most of your lot, though, so we thought wed go ahead and put out some pointers on how to start rolling in the cash fairly early on.
Whether its a Snack Van or a more posh eating establishment, Restaurants are a requirement for satiating your studio personnels desire for hunger-quenching refreshments. As far as your Stars go, they can relieve stress by eating, or date other stars at restaurants. (To force stars to go on a date at a restaurant, place one in one of the slots at a table, and then place the other star at the nearest slot to the first.) Note that restaurant dating is a bit intimidating for mere acquaintances, though. If youre trying to get people interested in one another, just have them talk to each other, or take them to a bar.
Since there isnt really much of a storyline to the game, a walkthrough is obviously impossible to write, but if youre looking for information, weve got plenty of that. For some pointers on getting started in the game and setting up your studio, check out the General Tips chapter. You can find a list of the prominent buildings and their functions in the Buildings chapter. For learning about your stars and how to keep them happy (and highly-ranked), check out the Dealing With Stars and Maximizing Prestige and Star Power chapters. The Maximizing Prestige and Star Power chapter will also give you some pointers on keeping your studio lot in good repair. You can find information on making films in the Making High-Quality Films chapter, as well as in the General Tips. Lastly, if youre looking for information on the games Certificates, check the Certificates chapter.
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After you build a Script Office, hire the scriptwriters that come to your door, then task them to relentlessly start churning out scripts as quickly as possible. Scriptwriters dont have moods, so you dont have to worry about overworking them, and indeed, the more they work, the better theyll get at writing scripts, resulting in higher quality productions down the line.
Even before you start laying down your initial buildings, though, youll want to start planning ahead by laying all of your sets in the same general area. Your sets, Casting Office, and other high-traffic buildings should hopefully be clustered together, with another nearby area set aside for the large number of trailers that youll need to build later on. Its most important that your sets be built near each other, though, to reduce the time it takes to walk from the Casting Office, or from set to set when films start using more than one set. It can be tough to lay out enough space for the sets, though, since they can easily wind up taking a third or a half of your total available land (if not more) if you insist on building one of each kind of set. Just set aside a lot of land for sets. If you hit the M button to bring up a birds-eye-view of your lot, its probably best to build the sets off to the left or the right, then start working your way up to the north wall, rather than have them stretch out east to west.
Note that, as soon as you put a script into the Shoot It box, the cast and crew will leave the Casting Office and head towards the set where the script will be shot. Thus, its best to have the casting office somewhere near your sets, to reduce the amount of travel that they have to perform. Note also that, if you dont want to shoot a movie immediately after its done rehearsing (or if youre incapable of doing so due to a missing actor or a set thats already being used), you can drag the script out of the Begin Rehearsing box, and set it down outside the building. This will let your crew and stars leave the building and do whatever they normally do in their free time; to bring them all back when things are more optimal, just drag the script back over to the Rehearsal option.
In addition to these tabs, the Production Office can also be used to check your Finances; to do so, drag the information icon in the middle of the building over to the Finance tab, which will pop up a full screen in which you can analyze your studios financial situation. From this screen, you can give check how much films cost versus how much money theyve made, check your talents salaries compared to their market value or give them raises, and so on.
The reason this is important is because you can command your directors and stars to practice in a given genre when theyre not filming or rehearsing a new film. If you task one director and star to practice on a lot, youll be told in a pop-up what kind of genre that theyll be working on; the generic Stage, for instance, will usually be tasked to romance films. If you make a director and a star practice together, theyll gather experience in the genre and will hopefully gain a better working relationship, as well, so that when you go to make a film of the genre that theyve been practicing, they should both perform better, which will result in a better film that gets better reviews and makes more money, all of which will help your studios prestige level.
With two games hitting shelves in the space of as many months, one shouldnt accuse Peter Molyneuxs Lionhead Studios of being lax in their development duties. Although Black & White 2 hit shelves barely a month ago, theyre already following up that release with The Movies, a highly-anticipated movie mogul simulation / amateur filmmaking tool.
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The Makeover Department also acts as a costume change facility for movies that require your stars to change outfits in the middle of shooting, or so it would seem. Try to build it somewhere near your sets so that your stars wont have to travel too far to get changed.
Like Restaurants, bars help relieve stress by getting your stars drunk, and can also be used for dating as well. The atmosphere at a bar is a bit less intimidating than a restaurant, though, so a bar is a good place to bring a budding friendship. When two stars start expressing a desire for more intimate surroundings when they socialize with one another, bring them to the Bar, then the VIP Bar, then bump them up to a restaurant when theyre ready to become Best Friends or Soul Mates.
The Stage School is an interesting building, and is certainly vital to the well-being of your lot. With it, youll be able to recruit more of the movers and shakers that will contribute to your studios money-making endeavors. Namely, itll let you hire actors, extras, and directors.
Between all of the buildings that you need to build and some minor landscaping, such as laying down grass around your structures, you might find yourself outlaying quite a bit of cash in the first year or two of your studios existence. This isnt a bad thing, though, and in fact the investment you make in your studio now will pay dividends later on. After all of your initial construction and prettification is done, youll likely be down to around 20 or 30 thousand dollars in the bank before you release your first film and start making some of it back.
Although theyll probably be kept fairly busy, its worth noting that you should always, always have your extras practicing on a set if theyre not actively filming. While this kind of micromanagement might be a bit much to handle, theyll get experience for the genre that theyre practicing in (and this does affect the quality of a film, albeit in a minor way). This can be important later on in the game, when your stars are beginning to age and retire, as you can sometimes promote extras into actor or director roles to replace them, or just fire them as well to get new meat in your Stage School employment line.
When you first create a Stage School, youll see a line of actor wannabes line up outside of it, waiting for you to hire them. Before you start plopping them into roles, though, pause your game and right-click on each of them to get an idea of their particular strengths and weaknesses. Youll get two bar readouts right away: Looks and Physique. Each of these are important when it comes to the appeal of that star to your audience. While there may be room for unattractive character actors in the real world, things are a bit simpler in The Movies, so youll have to rely on your recruits raw good looks to help get them over in the world of film. Wannabes that have poor looks or physique will be better suited to extra or directorial work than they will be for starring roles.
Post Production is where you can add useful effects to your films and fiddle around with things like the scene order, subtitles, music, and so on. If youre only interested in playing as a tycoon, you can safely ignore the Post Production building, as the changes made here apparently have no (or very little) impact on the star rating of your films. If youre planning on uploading your film to the Movies website, or exporting it to show it off for your friends, though, youll want to explore the capacities of the Post Production Office, as this is where the bulk of a films personality can be brought to the forefront.
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By: Matthew RorieDesign: Collin Oguro
The Laboratory is one of the more important buildings you can build during the games middle decades. When you unlock it, build it immediately, and get your scientists right to work. You have four sections of research options available to you, but you can only assign four scientists to work on one section at a time. Thus, if you have more than four researchers, youll have to spread them out amongst different packs, but thats not such a bad thing, as youll probably want to be researching a couple of different topics at a time.
Note that this guide mostly focuses on succeeding in the tycoon portion of the game. The quality of your custom-made films revolve more around aesthetics than economics, so well let you explore the world of subtitles and post-production on your own. If youre playing in Tycoon mode, though, youll hopefully find plenty of information here. Enjoy!
The Publicity Office will allow you to raise the public awareness of a script or film before its rele
After a movies been released, its icon will sit in the Release tab for a while, as it constantly brings in cash during its theatrical run. Over time, the rate at which a movie brings in cash will slow down, and eventually stop, at which point youll have to move it to the Archive, which is mainly intended to save your previously-made films in case you want to watch them again at some point in the future.
The Casting Office is where you decide who stars in and directs a film after you have a script ready to shoot. To begin casting a film, drag the script from your script office to the Begin Rehearsing room in the Casting Office; at this point, your crew and extras will automatically be assigned to the film. You will have to manually choose the primary actors and directors, however, but this is a good thing, as it will let you pick talent based on their relationships, star power, and experience with the genre thats being filmed.
(As a note, we found it handy to build two Stage sets at the very beginning of the game. A lot of the very first scripts that you produce will use the Stage, so its helpful to have a backup in case you need to practice Comedy on one of them while shooting an Action on the other.)
After you build your first Stage School, youll probably wind up attracting only four potential workers for that building. Most of the early movies youre going to be making will only have room for one star, so in our opinion, its best to make two stars and two directors with your first four prospects. That will allow you to have one movie in production and another one in rehearsal, or two in production at the same time, depending on how many sets youre willing to build for yourself.
Note also that your directors and actors arent capable of being demoted into extras; theyll simply refuse to be placed in that section of the Stage School. If you want to turn one of your stars into an extra, youll need to fire them, wait for the replacement actor to show up in your employment line, then plop them down into the extra slot. Note, again, that you can take individuals from any employment line and make them into extras, so if you have an excess of builders or janitors or something, you might want to make one of them extras, if only to fill out the rosters, especially if you have two teams of filmmakers going at the same time.
Running a movie studio is hard work, but GameSpots Walkthrough to the Movies has plenty of hints and tips for enterprising movie moguls.
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Your first Script Office will be where you task your scriptwriters to create their cinematic masterpieces. At the outset, youll likely only have a pair of scriptwriters to work with, and youll only be able to write one script at a time, but since writing a script takes less time than does rehearsing and shooting it, you shouldnt have any problems producing enough scripts to keep your stars and directors busy. Just be sure to create scripts in the same genres that your stars and directors have been practicing in to ensure that their ratings and reviews are as high as possible.
By the same token, you should also try to recognize which buildings can be built well away from the core of your studios. Were talking here about things like the Crew Office, Production Office, Script Offices, and other buildings that your people dont need to reach too often. You can drag scriptwriters back to the Script Office whenever they walk away, for instance, and finished films can be shuttled around between the Production Office or the Star & Script Selling Facility with your mouse, requiring little input from your peons. You can safely set aside a corner of your lot for buildings like these, away from the areas where your stars have to walk around. Just make sure that theyre well connected to paths leading back to the main portion of your lot, so that your Builders can come along and repair them as needed.
Every once in a while, you may notice that your stars Image satisfaction rating plummets. This usually indicates that new, more fashionable outfits are available to wear. This often occurs at the end of every decade, when you can switch all of your stars from one decades clothing to that of the next. Wearing out-of-date clothes will greatly distress your stars, so be sure to keep an eye on the date and bump them up to new clothes when it becomes appropriate. You should also do this when you hire new stars, to ensure that they have appropriate threads. Makeovers dont cost anything, but can have a large effect on your stars mood.
The Crew Facility will be where you hire and fire your movie crews. Thats pretty much all there is to it; just take as many people as you want from the unemployment line as you wish and hire them as crew, and theyll move off and start working on any movies that go into the Casting Office. They have no need to return to this building when theyre hired, so you can feel free to build it somewhere off to the side of your main working area; just make sure your builders can reach it to repair it when it falls into disrepair.
Of course, youll probably wind up creating more scripts than you can actually use at this point, so be sure to invest in a Star & Script Selling Facility. You can drag your excess scripts (saving the highest-quality scripts for yourself, of course) to the Selling Facility and dump them on other studios for extra cash. This is also true when you first build an advanced Script Office; when you do make a new office, youll be able to create scripts with a higher star rating. You can push the older scripts through production, if you wish, but you might want to just sell them and concentrate on the higher-ranked scripts as they become available.
If you want to make and film your own custom movies, then youll need to use the Custom Scripting Office to create a custom script. Its custom!
You can also right-click on the information icon to bring up a display of your studios prestige, and all the factors that go into it, such as sanitation or connectivity. You can learn more about each of these factors in the Studio Prestige section of the Maximizing Prestige and Star Power chapter.
As productions get longer, you may find that some of your stars will begin to head out for drinks or food during a shoot, on their own initiative, even if their stress levels are pretty good. This will cause the usual array of red exclamation points to appear on the screen, so keep an eye out for them and drag the offending peon back to his labor.
Keep in mind that, if one of your productions is taking long enough to stress out your stars, you can always halt production on it temporarily by dragging the script off of the set its on and onto the ground. (Or over to a Publicity Office if youre willing to shut down production for a while, but gain some public awareness at the same time.) Doing so will allow you to plop your stars down to the bar or restaurant to quickly them a shot of the good stuff to buck them back up into working conditions. This is mostly a problem with stars with very low tolerance for stress, of course, but the longer a production is, the more likely youre going to be hitting the stress tolerances on a number of the stars involved. In general, if theyre running low on stress, but are still in a pretty good mood overall, you can just leave them be until they start to literally redline on stress, and only then drag them to the bar for a few shots.
Next up, youll also get a list of personality traits. Ideally, these wont come into play overmuch in the final product of your films, but these will determine how easy it is to work with the character. Youll be able to gauge your prospects mindset in a number of areas, including how tolerant they are of other stars, their overall calmness, their tolerance for boredom, how much they like to eat or drink, and so on. Some stars are just going to be more high-maintenance than others, unfortunately. Early in the game, youre going to need all the bodies you can get, but you might want to take anyone that seems like a real boar and cast them as extras, where you wont have to worry much about keeping them happy.
The SSSF is your place to sell off excess scripts or hoary old stars that you dont necessarily need anymore. In most cases, you probably wont need the actual cash thats generated here, as itll be relatively minor in comparison to what your actual movies bring in. However, since you need to get your scriptwriters a good amount of practice to increase their skill, youll probably want to have them cranking out scripts like madmen for most of your studios lifetime. This can result in quite a backlog of scripts outside your Script Office. If you dont want to film all of them, and you probably wont, you can just sell any scripts that are of an unpopular genre or are of poor quality (by dragging them here from your Script Office), net some cash, and clear up some of the script clutter on the right side of your screen.
After you get out of the growing pains section of the game, its time to start really working on earning the reward certificates that will periodically pop up. Doing so will unlock new structures for you to build, notably including new script offices early on, which are vital to increasing the quality of your films and thus the amount of money that you make.
Its not perfect, but it works; have your sets clustered together, and keep your low-traffic buildings out of the way.
Well confess to not using this much during our game, since we were focusing on excelling at the Tycoon portion of the game. You can certainly create your own scripts for the games story mode, if you wish, and doing so will allow you to do things like focus on sets with high novelty value, or use a bunch of different sets in a film. If you dont want to worry about all that, though, you probably wont get much use out of the Custom Script Office.
By: Mathew RorieDesign: Collin Oguro
As time goes along, it seems profitable to have actor/director pairings to concentrate in one genre of film and pump out those films over and over again, with periodic dips into another genre just for the sake of variety. If you have an actor and director that specialize in a certain genre, then youll find that they should quickly start imparting large bonuses to the quality of films in that genre; so long as you can keep them happy, keep building new sets for the novelty factory, and build better Script Offices to produce better scripts, then you should be able to steadily improve the quality of your films, which will make them gross more, and will also result in higher star power for your stars.
Your Makeover Department will let you enact costume changes during filming, or can simply be used to give your stars a new look when they become disenchanted with their appearance. You can either choose to produce a full Makeover, which will let you control all of the changes made to your star, or plop them down in the Auto selection, which will take longer, but which will let them make their own decisions regarding how they want to look.
After you start unlocking the advanced varieties of the Script Office, youll be able to start making more advanced films. The Intermediate Office will let you make scripts of around two stars, while the Proficient Office will bump that up to around three, dependent on the skill of your scriptwriters and (apparently) the amount of public interest in the genre youre working in. When you start to hit three-star scripts, youll find that the process of making films will become dramatically more complex than youre used to, with most productions requiring three crew members, three actors, three extras, and a director. Most of these films will also have nine scenes and require many months to film.
In our personal opinion, the one you probably want to focus most on here is the Movie-Making section. Unlocking color film or other advanced film technology before the other studios do will greatly benefit the appeal of your films for a long time, and if you build up a lead over the other studios in this area, you should be able to routinely release the highest-ranked film during the period between any given awards ceremony, if not the top three or four. After that, our order of preference was Star & Studio, to unlock new buildings, then Mainstream, then Cult. We didnt film very many sci-fi or horror films, but if you concentrate on those genres, feel free to emphasize the Cult pack over the Mainstream.
Speaking of sets, its probably best in the early going to concentrate your efforts on one or two genres of films. If youre playing with the tutorial, then youll have a couple of scripts show up at your studio gates automatically, but after you build your first Script Office (which will be available for building at the beginning of the game if you play without the tutorial, as a note), youll be able to instruct your writers to create scripts in specific genres.
After you unlock the Publicity Office, the Release tab will be upgraded to allow you to spend money on promoting your film when you release it. The higher the public awareness of a film, the more money you should spend on it. If you spend a lot of money on promoting a film that has low public awareness, youll garner negative reviews. See our discussion of the Publicity Office for more details on how to raise awareness of a film.
The research options are as follows: Cult Packs, which unlock new sets, costumes, and props for your Horror and Sci-Fi films; Mainstream, which unlocks new sets, costumes, and props for your Action, Comedy, and Romance films; Star & Studio, which unlocks new casual fashions for your stars and new buildings; and Movie-Making, which unlocks new technologies designed to increase the appeal of your films, such as color film and better camera technologies.
A good balance here for the bulk of the game will be to have two teams of stars, each consisting of one director and three actors, each specializing in one or two genres. Thats eight total stars to keep track of, which should be fairly manageable for most people, especially since youll really only have to worry about the star power of one or two of them at most. (Youll want to have one highly-rated actor and one highly-rated director, but the rest of your stars wont need to be highly-rated, just happy and proficient in a genre.) You might not be able to have both teams making films at the same time, especially if youre running short on extras, but thats not too bad, as itll let you focus on de-stressing one team while the others filming. If you really find the micromanagement tedious, then you can narrow your focus even more and just focus on one team of stars, with a director and three or four actors, and use them to produce all of your films, but this will cause cash flow problems as time goes on.
Over time, youll unlock new script offices, such as the Intermediate, Proficient, and Advanced Offices. These act in precisely the same manner as the Basic Office, but will automatically turn out better scripts, without further input from you; they do seem to require longer periods of time to create their scripts, though. When you obtain a new Script Office, you can usually demolish the older ones, but you may want to keep two Offices open at the same time. More advanced Script Offices do create higher-ranked scripts, but these scripts require much more effort to produce, meaning that theyll need more actors, more extras, larger crews, and substantial time investments. These are great for producing scripts in your strongest genres to try and create blockbusters with, but you might also want to use a less ambitious Script Office to create smaller films for your secondary team of stars to keep the money flowing in without tying up your sets forever.
Most of the packs that are available for research are locked until a certain point in time, which means that, if you research proceeds ahead of schedule, youll periodically find yourself with a Laboratory that has no available research in it. If this occurs, you can temporarily retask your Researchers into Builders or Janitors, as needed, then bring them back to their real jobs when more packs are unlocked for research. If you dont want to research a specific pack, then it will eventually become unlocked for use on its own, but this usually doesnt happen until 15 years or more have passed.
This section of the guide is intended to guide you through some of the various buildings that become available to you in The Movies. Most of these will not be buildable at the beginning of the game; many of them will be unlocked at certain periods of time, some will be unlocked through research at your Laboratory, and some will be unlocked when you earn Certificates.
Of course, youll periodically get more talent lining up outside your Stage School, both fresh young faces and stars that attempt to join you from a rival studio. If youre happy with the stars that you have, you can just make any incoming stars into extras (which you will need plenty of as time goes on). If youre trying to convert a star thats defected from another studio into an extra, youll need to hire them, then fire them, then wait for their replacement to show up; theyll refuse to become an extra themselves. Alternately, if you find that one of the new stars is a bit easier to manage than your own, you can fire or sell one of your existing stars and replace them with the new talent, then make the replacement for your older talent into an extra.
Practicing a genre will have long-term benefits for your stars.
Most of these early certificates revolve around increasing the star rank of your stars, films, and studio lots, as well as having a lot of cash on hand. The emphasis here is on quality rather than quantity, so youll probably want to slow yourself down a bit and ensure that you have just enough actors and directors to make films, but not too many to manage at once.