'Grand Theft' For The Big Screen?

While parents might see video games as a waste of time and money, some young gamers could be training to be the next Stephen Spielberg.

Not in the glitzy world of cinema, but in the online world of machinima: Making movies and music videos using characters and settings from best-selling video games.

Machinima director April Hoffmann told CBS News correspondent Vince Gonzales, "Most people say 'machina-what?'"

With programs and tricks that control and record game play, machinima directors like Hoffman make characters act out a story set in their favorite games.

Her award-winning online series, "The Awakening," echoes the likely lament of all game characters.

"This world that we live in, it suddenly seems so calculated — almost pointless," Hoffman's film says.

Players worldwide are using games in ways their creators never intended, like turning one of the most violent games, "Grand Theft Auto," into a love story.

And favorite films such as "A Few Good Men" have been re-created almost shot-for-shot in machinima.

In the film version Jack Nicholson asked, "You want the answers?" And Tom Cruise shouted, "I want the truth." In the machinima world, the words are the same, but the characters are animated.

Also, classic comedy sketches have been given a computer animated facelift, such as "Who's on First?" with Abbot and Costello.

Paul Marino runs the fledgling Machinima Academy of Arts and Sciences — an important-sounding name he believes the new industry will grow into.

"We're going to see a lot more people creating machinima series based on these games that they spend so many hours playing," Marino said.

Hoffman's game-playing became a paying job when she made a game commercial.

Machinima is now used for car ads, and MTV-2 features machinima music videos.

And forget about hiring extras. Epic battles are being recreated with video game soldiers.

But so far there is no evidence machinima will ever be used to replace real reporters willing to go anywhere to deliver the news affecting the lives and livelihoods of real Americans.
  • Christine Lagorio

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