3 Ways About It: A Demo Montage is a demo reel film created by Dozerfleet Studios with the purposes being to assist the Dozerfleet founder in obtaining a job in television upon graduation from Ferris's TDMP program and upon completion of a six-month internship at SWOCC Studios. It has been published to DVD since then, along with several sub-features packed onto the same disc promoting the Dozerfleet philosophy.
The demo reel opens with a late 2010 redesign of the Dozerfleet Productions logo showing, and credits that read: "Dozerfleet Productions presents...a David Stiefel production...3 Ways About It: A Demo Montage." The next few credits read: "Featuring content from: Ferris State University, SWOCC Studios, Dozerfleet Productions shorts." Actually referring to the Dozerfleet Studios division as "DozerfleetTV" (its name at the time) was avoided on purpose, as a way to not confuse potential employers at TV studios who would not be familiar with Dozerfleet's divisions system.
Credits roll over a moving backdrop, with the camera constantly tilting and panning through what looks like a small village in eastern Europe at nightfall. The village has been ransacked, and numerous bits of debris around stone houses are bursting into flames. The footage is implied to be a machinima re-creation of Ride of the Three Bulldozers, right at the part where Ivan and his revolutionaries attack their own town in an effort to push out the oligarchs and restore their small republic. The actual three bulldozers do not appear at the very beginning, since the opening was shot with The Sims 3 and the only bulldozer mods available were for The Sims 2.
After the initial opening, a Sim avatar of the Dozerfleet founder appears on screen. The avatar greets viewers, and informs them that they are about to watch a collage of various videos being referred to as a "demo montage." The founder's actual voice was dubbed in, and synced to the avatar's movements. A very short nod is followed up by a quick dissolve into the opening screen for depicting Ferris Invasion projects. The Ferris in Focus development lab in IRC 153 st Ferris, having been recreated with The Sims 3, features Sim avatars of the Dozerfleet founder and Tabby Young working on what appears to be segments of Ferris in Focus from the various computer stations in that lab.
These projects from Ferris featured in 3 Ways About It:
- Blood Over Water (Part 3)
- Ferris State Live: "Show #18"
- Ferris State Live: Men's basketball coverage
- Beyond the Campus: "The Ferris State Criminal Justice Program"
- Who's Who at FSU?: "Service Workers"
- Mancino's Pizza commercial 2010
- Ferris in Focus: Show #9: E-News: "Heroic Resolve"
- Ferris in Focus: Show #9: Versus: "X-Men vs. Heroes"
- Ferris in Focus: Show #9: E-News: "Heroic Resolve"
After the close of footage from "X-Men vs. Heroes," a dissolve leads to another machinima clip. This one features the Dozerfleet founder, but in a different outfit. His black jacket has been exchanged for a red one, and blue jeans have been exchanged for green cargo pants. This is to reflect that once the founder left Ferris, Dozerfleet Land had to be put on hold to make way for working at SWOCC in a real-world environment (sans the paycheck.) It also reflected the fact that SWOCC had a dress code which made it difficult to show the avatar wearing jeans to work Monday through Thursday. Instead, the founder wore his favorite pair of green cargo pants. These pants were capable of unzipping to become shorts. A real black jacket made for Continental Refrigerators was the founder's original black jacket in 2003. In real life in 2010, the founder's jacket was red. The avatar's outfit change was a response to that.
The avatar is seen standing by a blue car, one which serves as a stand-in for the founder's real-life 1997 Chevy Lumina LS. After standing by the car for a few seconds, the avatar runs towards a door and enters a building. The building was designed from memory to be a re-creation of SWOCC's backlot entrance and garage. This sequence soon transitions to a screen with the Swinecopter, announcing that the SWOCC clips have begun.
Clips are from the following:
- The SWOCC Studios Special Events Show: "Novi Heritage Festival"
- Election 2010
- Village Mall Ribbon Cutting
- The SWOCC Studios Special Events Show: "Farmington Run For the Hills"
- Hazardous Waste Removal Day
- The SWOCC Studios Special Events Show: "Hullabaloo Concert"
- Community Connection: "The Farmington Area Goodfellows"
- The SWOCC Studios Special Events Show: "Marshmallow Fly-N'-Fry"
A Sims 2-generated machinima clip showing Ivan's Three Bulldozers became the intro for Dozerfleet into the "3 Ways" formula. Due to time constraints and issues with video codecs and video quality on older projects, a lot of Dozerfleet Studios entries were scrapped from this segment. Instead, two items that had survived from 2010 and were in good condition were used. The first was an animatic test for "Crepuscular." It featured a battle between Cindy Martius and Nikolai Ripilski from season three of Stationery Voyagers. Alaina Pluff and Liquidon Ethereteel make cameos in that short as well. A short ad for Stationery Voyagers that was made around the same time also featured.
Once all video clips were done, a cube roll takes viewers to a pasture created with The Sims 2. The Dozerfleet founder's avatar, created with The Sims 3, was inserted in with digital chroma key. The avatar stands in front of the background, thanking viewers for watching while Ivan's bulldozers stand dormant in the background. Another cube roll takes viewers to the Dozerfleet founder's contact information.
However, due to the passage of time, some of that information is outdated. The Wikia version of DozerfleetWiki is not listed; the old Wiki-Site version being advertised instead. The Dozerfleet Forum is also advertised, though it was soon replaced with The Dozerfleet Blog. Annotations on YouTube help viewers understand when certain Dozerfleet divisions are defunct. A Twitter account, LinkedIn page, and cell phone number are also provided. These contact figures are provided over a backdrop depicting a driveway and a pole barn at night. Bright orange lighting dominates, intentionally creating an industrial feeling. This backdrop is actually the pole barn entrance for the Dozerfleet founder's Grand Ledge House.
The DVD version not only had 3 Ways as a main montage, but also featured three menu options for going to a submenu for each of the three ways. Submenus offered links for viewers to witness straight-play cuts of actual pieces which may or may not have featured in the montage itself. Each submenu was elaborately themed, with imagery and music appropriate to its subject matter.
The Ferris menu featured Part 5 of Blood Over Water specially recut for improved audio quality and color grading, which ended with an ad for downloading the Blood Over Water cast via Utterly Sims at The Dozerfleet Forum. It encouraged admirers of the mini-series to download Sims and use machinima to create their own fanfics. This was intended to allow viewers to develop their own expanded alternate universes based on the show.
Another feature under Ferris' submenu was Show #9 of Spring 2010's Ferris in Focus. The entire episode was used, but with chapter points inserted to allow viewers to skip to segments of interest. On the submenu itself, Ferris' Bulldog Battle Theme plays in a constant loop. Video selection options rest atop a Ferris background.
The Dozerfleet menu was more limited in this version than it had been previously. It prominently featured the two Stationery Voyagers tie-in shorts that had featured in the montage, and not much else.
With the exception of Community Connection, all SWOCC videos that Dozerfleet PC stations still had possession of were included under a SWOCC features menu. This menu contained not only every feature in the montage apart from Community Connection, but also featured the Farmington Hills Facebook Page ads. Menu options were given SWOCC symbol icons as navigation buttons, and the background consisted of a solid navy blue with a Swinecopter in the background, periodically making helicopter noises.
3 Ways was actually a second attempt at a follow up to the original "Dozerfleet Founder Demo Reel of 2010" that was released for Seminar Class at Ferris. Its immediate predecessor was A Decade of Ambition, which showcased all the same features as 3 Ways but included some of the Dozerfleet founder's 2003 video portfolio from Lansing Community College.
There were some early objections to Decade having too much emphasis on personal growth as opposed to appeals to employers' egos that they were in fact hiring the best. Therefore, 3 Ways stripped off all features that were made at either school prior to 2008. Volkonir-related features were also stripped, due to low quality on surviving files. While Dozerfleet Studios was originally set to feature more prominently, it became an afterthought in lieu of the need to emphasize more of the professional work done for Ferris and SWOCC.
Actual importing of video into the appropriate timeline spots in Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0 proved quite difficult, and actually delayed completion of the reel by several weeks. Original cuts of Ferris projects were in MPEG-2 format, which transferred reasonably well. SWOCC projects were in QuickTime format using DV codecs, but otherwise didn't prove overly difficult to transfer to Premiere.
The most difficult parts of making 3 Ways were its machinima contents. Sims 2 video capture notoriously dropped essential frames from animations, making it all-but-impossible to derive useful video for Premiere's timeline except from still shots used as backgrounds. Sims 3 video had to be shot uncompressed, which slowed the game to a crawl. Compression for Sims 3 AVIs uses a proprietary video codec that is incompatible with version 2.0 of Premiere Pro.
Once all video was finally imported, a generous and compatible video codec was selected for the entire timeline. Proper MPEG-2 export for DVD standards was not possible on the big station, largely due to proprietary codec issues. Therefore, video was exported in an AVI file and transferred to the laptop. All QuickTime files for submenu features likewise had to be converted to AVI for use in the laptop. Once transferred over, those files were converted in Premiere Pro 1.5 to the appropriate MPEG-2 settings and then imported back into the desktop.
The desktop, after testing all MPEG-2 versions of video files to ensure their proper function, allowed for importation into Adobe Encore for final DVD production.
The DVD cover was originally designed in Photoshop with the intention of being placed into Avery DesignPro and used from there to print from an Epson Workforce inkjet printer onto some Avery DVD sheets. Alas, the 32-bit DesignPro software would not work on the desktop's 64-bit Windows 7 regardless of compatibility maneuvers attempted. Instead, the image file was loaded into a Microsoft Word template and approximated for Avery sheet needs.
The Ferris Bulldogs' Fight Song featured on Ferris' sub-menu, and the SWOCC Swinecopter featured for SWOCC's sub-menu. However, almost all other music on the DVD and in the montage comes from Kevin MacLeod of Incompetech.com. Since this piece was going to be both streamed on ProductionHub and made into a DVD for viewing by prospective employers, royalty-free music was a must. Most notable of the Incompetech files used in the soundtrack for 3 Ways is "Devastation and Revenge," which plays over a crackling fire sound effect at the montage's beginning.
Files to be used were searched for amidst actual job searches on three different machines: Dozer Portable (Dell Inspiron 6000 laptop,) Dozer Main (HP Desktop,) and SAI's Macintosh. Music files were all converted to MP3 that weren't in that format already, and were placed into a Premiere Pro 2.0 timeline for assembly. Some music files were placed into a loop instruction in Adobe Encore 2.0, ensuring there was music for DVD menus also.
The original video was made available per the 21st of January. A DVD version was assembled in Adobe Encore almost immediately after all MPG files were together in one place, meaning that a working DVD was in place by the middle of February of 2011. Due to issues with how ProductionHUB streams videos, it was decided that the video would be uploaded to YouTube on August 14th of 2011. It was officially uploaded around 9:15 AM EDT from the Grand Ledge House to The Dozerfleet Channel at YouTube, and was fully online around 10:00 AM. It would take a few more minutes before full processing caught up, and the video was ready in high quality form for public viewing.
- 3 Ways About It at ProductionHUB