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X3i (Fourth Episode): Divide and Conquer

Posted: Tue, 22nd Nov 2005, 3:15pm

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CX3

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The 4th installment in the X3i Series. Hope you all enjoy.

More Info
Posted: Tue, 22nd Nov 2005, 9:10pm

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Ice_Man

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Hell yeah!
I've been waitin' for this!


"Yeah, that dude's dead. Sounds like that dude's dead too."
Dialogue continues to improve, acting continues to improve, the effects keep getting better, and the story just becomes more and more intriguing!

And now, you force me to wait for number 5. . . . curse you. smile
Posted: Wed, 23rd Nov 2005, 2:27am

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CX3

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Hah, thanks Ice_Man for the compliments. I'm glad you are seeing the gradual improvment from me and the writer learning, each episode so far. Episode isnt far away, prob be out before mid december if not sooner, it will have more action than this one, if anyone was wondering. Hopefully it will live up to you expectations.

Thanks again man.
Posted: Wed, 23rd Nov 2005, 10:46am

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Simon K Jones

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Again, pretty good stuff. As with previous episodes, what I admire most is the ambition and the organisational skills to assemble such a large cast and the dedication needed to keep putting these episodes together.

I'm still finding the plot a little hard to follow, though. Could we perhaps have a 'previously on...' at the front of the next episode, to remind viewers of what has already happened?

Witty dialogue at the end was the highlight for me, informed character and story. However, elsewhere I still feel the dialogue is too obsessed with plot, with characters walking along or sitting in a room talking about the plot and doing little else. It's almost always better to show rather than tell, but the exposition in x3i seems to fall to talking heads a little too often for my liking. I think it's the masses of exposition dialogue that is making it hard for me to follow the series - when faced with such huge amounts of plot all clumped together, it's easy to miss details.

Still, looking forward to the next episode!
Posted: Wed, 23rd Nov 2005, 1:16pm

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Ice_Man

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I think I might have had a slight advantage in following the storyline, in that I had just downloaded the previous 3 again and watched them prior to watching this one.

The dialogue could definitely be smoothed out and simplified, but there was a marked improvement in the fluidity of this one, in particular with the cynical jocularity of Riven and Arsyn.
All the gals still need work.
Messenger has some issues with over-acting. Or was it that Gnosis' acting was too flat? Could be both.
Demize has had some odd line deliveries throughout the series. She's lacked dimension, but she's been a bit of a minor character anyway. She should have a feature episode later, to establish some background on her.
Azura actually wasn't played that poorly, but I think it might be a bonus if she wasn't trying to be such a b*tch all the time. She just exudes that "I'm playing you for a fool" aura. Her electrical effect is WORLDS better than it was when we first saw her!
One last thing about all the girls, they sound very uncomfortable when talking about anything technical, ie.: "I overloaded his circuits". It just sounds like they're pinching out a biscuit when they deliver those lines. Very unnatural.

Khalif is still cool. Arsyn has slowly gotten much cooler over the course of the show. Carbon seems to be trying to act older than he is, which isn't bad if it's natural, but with him it seems to be forced, I noticed that more in this episode than I did in any of the others (well, maybe save the first one, but I don't think that should count much).

To go along with Tarn's point, I think as a whole, you may be trying to pack too much story into each episode, a trend in each episode. A problem that can be remedied by either making each episode longer, or just making more episodes total.

One last thing, your conspirators seem a little too conspiratorial, a little too obvious. A good conspirator will make you question whether he's conspiring or not. In that respect, I'd say less is more. Try and play it down a little bit.

Overall, I think the show's enjoyability isn't marred by its flaws. That's very important.
Posted: Wed, 23rd Nov 2005, 1:28pm

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Simon K Jones

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Ice_Man wrote:

She should have a feature episode later, to establish some background on her.
I think you've hit on something there that's been bothering me - we've been introduced to all these cool characters, but there's so many of them we haven't really had a chance to take a breather and get to know any of them very well. Maybe it'd be good to focus in on specific characters, explore their histories and personalities and powers, rather than pushing the plot along quite so fast?

I for one would like to see the fantastic Wolverine-esque guy in it more (sorry, haven't caught his name yet...the guy with the gravelly voice and fangs). He's brilliant! If he were a bit older I'd peg him to play Bigby Wolf from the Fables comic series (dunno if you guys are familiar with that one).
Posted: Wed, 23rd Nov 2005, 3:11pm

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CX3

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Iiii have not much on how to respond to those replies hah, not my area of expertice. I'll get Alex (Arsyn) on here to get back to those. Glad youre still watchin tho Tarn! smile
Posted: Wed, 23rd Nov 2005, 3:21pm

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ferral

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Great job to you and your crew on another fine episode. Chris I love your direction and style man. Love the camerawork and the grading. Keep 'em comin' : )
Posted: Wed, 23rd Nov 2005, 8:50pm

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LilCaesars

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really good episode I agree with Tarn that there should be a little more character development. I think that would help me to get into the story more instead of being confused like i am now haha. I love the camera work and overall look of the show. It also flows really nice. Keep up the good work.
Posted: Wed, 23rd Nov 2005, 9:07pm

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Ice_Man

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That's Khalif Savidge, Tarn, and he should definitely have more scenes! His actual physical prowess fits the character very well, and he's a surprisingly good actor, too.
Posted: Thu, 24th Nov 2005, 6:45pm

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Bryce007

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I liked this...However

The Acting. I Think you must have cast the Ladies without they're acting talent in mind as much as there..."Physical Prowess"..And, it shows. The same is true with the long haired chinese dude. It seems like he's stoned almost all of the time, usually not projecting his voice almost at all.

Now, on the other hand, The dude with the Striped bike jacket, the Feminine dude, the Evil dude that growls, and You, chris, Are doing MUCH better than before.


Some of the Editing could have been tighter, and same with some of the falls/hits could have been "Harder looking". The FX fit, but the Grading on them didnt seems similar with the rest of the movie.

The lighting was Great throughout most of the scenes, And the Soundwork was Pretty decent as well. Camerwork was good for what it was.

I think over all, some of the scripting got alot better and pretty entertaining, and some of the was...Out of place.

Your last episodes action sequences were simply badass, unfortunately, this didnt have as much, but either way, I look forward to the next episode.
Posted: Fri, 25th Nov 2005, 2:01pm

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RudyPicardo

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Chris:

Its always great to see your work. I don't know too many FXHome members that try to work on a continuing storyline, so I fully appreciate your challenging efforts.

By far your visuals and shooting have evolved. I'm really loving your locations you're choosing too; my compliments to your location scout.

There's definitely an improvment in acting from the previous episodes on some of your characters, espically you ("Yeah, that dude's dead....Sounds like that dude's dead too.") I literally busted out laughing when I heard that one!

I've been watching a few Asian cinematics such as JSA, Old Boy, Ong Bak, Izo, and the Last Life in the Universe. The movies seem to use more "bold" cinematography (like using a wide shot for an entire conversation, where the characters are framed on the left). Maybe you can try experimenting with this type of cinematography now since you're a seasoned veteran. I have no complaints about how its being shot now; it just might be something worth trying.

How long do you plan on continuing the series?

People have commented on the lack of character development of all these great characters; its easier if you watch the entire series before watching this episode. My friend and I are big on comic books or action movies. He's an aspiring writer; and other than my work on Episode Alpha, I don't have any other projects in the work. I'd love to do a writing collaboration with you to develop any one of the characters.

I gave it a 4/5, but only because I really liked episode 3 more than this one.
Posted: Fri, 25th Nov 2005, 6:46pm

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chase

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this is pretty good it's kept my interest and the effects look good...but i must say the acting is pretty weak and the music sounded good but didn't really fit some of the action and turned out being a little distracting. Overall i think you put out a nice flick.

keep on keeping on,
chase
Posted: Sat, 26th Nov 2005, 6:48pm

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Arsyn

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[quote="Bryce007"]Now, on the other hand, The dude with the Striped bike jacket, the Feminine dude

quote]

That's me. smile

Okay. I see a lot of attention being brought to the scripts (dialogue, character developement, etc.) which is my department. Trust me, i understand your frustrations. I watch some of these scenes (or read the scripts i wrote) and gringe. I wrote these scripts around a year ago, and if i had the time, i'd rewrite them all. Still, there *was* a method behind my madness...i think.

DIALOGUE: The witty banter is what i love. I think that shows. But there's that inherent fear with sci-fi that if i don't clearly explain what is happening in the story, no one will understand. A lot of the dialogue is geared towards achieving that goal, and, regrettably, a bit of characterization is lost. And yes, a lot of the actors (mostly the girls) aren't comfortable with the jargon.

CHARACTERIZATION: I miss it too. And season two has a lot more depth to each character involved. When i was writing season one i was primarily concerned with giving cowan all the cool action scenes he could want and somehow arranging that into a story. This is a very plot driven show, and even then, the plot itself can be shaky. i was inexperience with episodic writing, give me a break. smile I'm not surprised that everyone loves Khalif Savidge. Make a character that even remotely resembles Wolverine and he's a fan favorite. Not to mention people will *fill in the blanks* of his characterization. When you really think about, nothing is going on with that character. The only character i see having real forward momentum is Messenger. Come the final episodes, maybe you'll agree.

*Arsyn is slowly becoming cooler* I like that.

PACING: It's a lot of information and action in a cramped series where i was hoping for an orignal, complex story line. I also wish i could have padded it up some. But i wrote this a year ago, and now, i don't see any major script changes happening: too far into the story, too little time. Theoretically, there's a schedule we have to keep. Send your prayers that season two will ever see the production phase.


By Jove! I write a lot.
Ignore my botched effort at quoting.
Thanks for the feedback everyone!
Alex
Posted: Sun, 27th Nov 2005, 8:31am

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EddieOue5

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AS I have mentioned in previous threads regarding X3i, the videography and camera angles, along with sound are constantly improving. The dialogue as well (great job Alex). As a writer I can understand how you feel it necessary to explain all your plot points to move the story along. However, it's not always that necessary to let us know everything at once. Identify your plot points, and give the Audience 2, leave the rest for the next expisode. (This is similar to the soap opera style of writing). To solve the character development issue, the old faithful flashback can always take care this problem and can easily be written in to any script. ( the show LOST does an excellent job from bouncing around from past to present) I think this could serve your series well, with the amount of characters you guys have you could easily extend your series to utilize this method.

The flashback can be triggered by touch, smell, hearing, taste or sight. Your characters could hear a familiar tune that sets of their memory. A bump to the head, etc, etc.) Or someone could ask the question, "what's your deal?"

Answer: A voice-over coupled with a montage. (hint: very little exposition)

Overall: Your series is hot and you guys are learning as you go. You are learning more than most film students learn in four years. As a professional writer, I appreciate witty banter, so keep it up. Bottom line, so your best to tell the story visually and you will not fail to satisfy your critics. Flashbacks are useful, when not overused! THey can be re-used to cut to the horse, (but that's another discussion) to bail the writer out of a tight place.

Hope this helps, just my 2cents!

Peace!
Posted: Sun, 27th Nov 2005, 12:01pm

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EonPeon

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Rating: +1

On the whole, the idea and production is pretty good. My only problem is with some of the acting. Chris Cowan is clearly the lead talent here, but some of the supporting cast may be appearing in a carpentry workshop near you soon!

Seriously, acting is not about talking in loud voices and all in one emotion! The actors in this show need to get some lessons (acting lessons?) and work more on their thought processes, eye-lines and rhythmic changes. Most of them seem to 'lock' into one emotion (usually, 'serious') and play their entire performances as such.

They seldom give each other enough energy to work off, and don't really engage with each other in order for the audience to believe there's any relationship here. We just see people reading out their lines - loudly, and with that same 'serious' emotion. The counterparts patiently await their turn to read their lines back, no emotive reaction, etc etc.. Chris Cowan, I have to say, is the only real exception here.

The nature of the story allows ample opportunity to see some really 'unorthodox' elements to come into play, but we just don't get them. As a result, it all comes out rather flat and cliche.

Relax. Read the script, but don't be afraid to question it or make it make sense to you. Be the character and then think about HOW you can make this believable. Currently, there's very little 'truth' in the performances.

Chris Cowan - you're the director, don't be afraid to lambast your actors if they're not giving you what you want! It's no good being Mr. Nice Guy and telling them they did a great job when deep down you know it was lousy. You don't do your cast or your audience any credit for that.

Try more to 'manage' your cast and have them give you the performances you need! You can do this without hurting anyone's feelings. Just say "That was great, but you know what? I KNOW you can do better... here's how!", and then honestly tell them how you want them to do it. Be brutally honest!

At least spend more time rehearsing - as a group. Video the result and discuss it during playback to help your cast see the error of their ways.

In the long run, your actors will improve, your show will come across so much better and you'll be on the way to becoming a great director.

I hope that helps!

All the best,





Ian Nicholson

PS: I'm looking forward to the next installment - please tell me you took this advice on board.

PPS: I'm not having a go! In fact, if it was that bad I wouldn't bother writing! I'm trying to help - honestly! I know it isn't easy! Believe me, I do!
Posted: Sun, 27th Nov 2005, 6:48pm

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CX3

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Thank you all for your time in watching and feeding back to us on it. I have to say tho that Eon's post was one of my most helpful. (Even though I think that Alex Randleman -- The Writer/Arsyn and Steve Wolery -- Khalif Savage, are right up there in the good acting category ha.) But everything else you said was really helpful.

Most of the comments so far have been geared towards the script. I am definitely going to use your advice on our next shoot Eon. It prob wont show directly in the next few episodes because they have been shot already but when we start season 2, I will start doing so. Because me and Alex see it as well, some of it is just an ear sore to us. I just didnt want to be too strict because they are all friends.. buuut, I also dont want this show to reflect badly. So thanks again Eon, +1 for me on that. And thank you all again, Alex and I will be sure to take most all of the feedback into thought. Hope ya keep watching!

Chris

p.s. Bryce.. yyyeah.. I guess u could say I casted the audience, specifically the girls on looks because sometimes sex just sells. But I think we can get them into acting shape... hopefully...
Posted: Sun, 27th Nov 2005, 10:21pm

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Toshiro

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I'm afraid i lack constructive critizism right now, fellas!
But I'm curious to know that if you produce something like this.
And by "something like this" I mean something that appears to have been planned alot...and such, Why is it that you use Hans Zimmer-music (among other) ?

I mean, wouldn't it be better to produce your own music? It increases the production value and the uniqeness of your series/films.
As a filmbuff, i recognized every track and thought of its respective movie.

If you make your own music, It's gonna work alot better. (Won't be of Hans Zimmer's caliber, but it will still give your production more character.)

That's it.
Posted: Mon, 28th Nov 2005, 1:48am

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CX3

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This is a class we started up at Ohio State, not just a project we keep doing for fun.. I mean it is fun but you know what I mean. If I had time to make our own tracks I would but I dont. We are all full time students and this is my final year. X3i is keeping me busy enough. I tried making tracks last year for episode 2 and I ended up getting so far behind I said screw it. I might try and make a couple things over winter break but thats about it really. But i mean hey, if u wanna make some tracks for me thatd be great.. hah, but I sure like me, you dont have the time as well.
Posted: Mon, 28th Nov 2005, 10:17pm

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Arsyn

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I'm going to say that in whole, i agree with the generalization that the acting in our show could use some work. But i also have first-hand experience with the complications that come with our deadlines and schedulings. Most of the cast in X3i don't have time to take an acting class or to routinely practice. However, i do believe they have time to read and process the scripted material, but they don't. I've addressed this; Chris has adressed this; there has been little change. It was commented that some of the lines seem just read back and forth. Sometimes, that really is the case, sadly.

As frustated as the acting can make me, I also understand that the sheer number of characters i've tossed into the mix complicates casting further. We can't just walk into the theater department and take our pick. There are too many other projects going on. Most of our actors are good friends doing huge favors.

**Thanks, Chris, for the compliment. I also see that there are others in the cast who do really good work and have a great amount of potential, depsite being first-timers (mostly). I wouldn't go so far as to say anyone belongs at a carpentry workshop...**

Other things...
There is NO WAY Chris can do an original soundtrack for the show. I forbid it. lol. He's too busy as is.

I've considered the use of flashback scenes on previous episodes. They ended up getting cut for time constraints. Presently, I'm not sure how i feel toward flashbacks as a device. I've always considered them much more functional on a literary basis than cinematic. I don't see them having a clear purpose in the rest of season one or the upcoming season two either.

*** Thanks Again Everyone for all the Feedback and Support!***

Alex
Posted: Mon, 28th Nov 2005, 10:27pm

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Arsyn

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F.Y.I.

The script writing for season one was entirely of my creation. I worked out the story line and turned out each script in maybe a few hours time. I was really pressed with my schedule. I'm not entirely pleased with the results, but it's what i have to work with now ( over a year since ep. 1).

Season two is also my creation, but with experience and some good academic progression, I feel like i have a much better grip of the feel and scope of X3i. I also have taken more time to explore the realms of characterization season one has lacked.
Season two is also a workshop. I have a few other artists (One co-writter in particular, Faith) offering me tremendously helpful advice and editorial assistance. Judging by the scripts I have revised and completed, I already know Season Two will be an overall triumph over the first season's failings.

Thank you all for your patience and support smile
Everything said on this forum has been constructive and amazingly useful.
Alex
Posted: Mon, 5th Dec 2005, 7:10am

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format-slut

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That was pretty damn cool. This question has probably been answered but what kind of camera were you using? It could just be the compression but the quality in lighting and contrast is a bit lacking. I could just be looking for things to complain about though, I enjoyed it despite some of the scarcely talented, yet generally foxy female cast. Other than a couple of sound issues it was pretty excellent, the kind of thing you'd expect to see screened after Buffy or Alias. (take that one how you want)

Also the long haired Japanese looking guy ( forgive me I don't know his name), he has a charming kind of Jason Mewes presence on screen. (Bryce007 touched on this and I am of the opinion that it makes his character a little slicker) Maybe get the mic closer to him though, the quiet voice suits him.

I'll rate it a 4, but generally I barely rate things so I suppose that says something in itself. Keep it coming.
Posted: Wed, 7th Dec 2005, 4:26pm

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Khalif Savidge

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Hey everyone. Thanks so much for all the comments about the show. I stayed up last night and read all the posts. Just wait for the next episode, I think you'll be pleased.

~Khalif
Posted: Fri, 16th Dec 2005, 6:37am

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arch evil

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...but seriously, you guys rock!!!

I've immensely enjoyed your episodic from the first episode, given the flaws in the series. I think it is admirable that you have taken on this venture. Each episode gets better and better, which is as it should be and you have done a fantastic job of using creative cinematography.
A friend has recently passed some scripts my way and we are looking at shooting them, and after watching your show I feel inspired once again!
Congrats and kudos to you all.
I can't wait to see more.
Keep me posted, I'll be waiting.

Kel MacKenzie
themilkexperiment@hotmail.com
Posted: Sun, 18th Dec 2005, 9:17pm

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CX3

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Arch - Thanks for the much appreciated compliments. I'm glad you are liking where the show is going. And also good luck to you and your future productions. smile
Posted: Fri, 23rd Dec 2005, 10:36pm

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Ice_Man

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So.

When can we expect the next one? smile
Posted: Sat, 24th Dec 2005, 7:43am

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CX3

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Haha, soon my friend.
Posted: Tue, 10th Jan 2006, 12:38am

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Marc4Def

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Hey, CX3

I just saw all 4 of X3i and I have to say, you go me hooked. In ways it remind me of that show MUTANT X, before it got all stupid in season four. The characters are very well done. And the story have cutting edge to them. I love the cliffhangers in the end of each episode. Got me wondering, "What the hell was that about?" everytime. I can't wait to see what happen next, man. Keep up the cool work, cause I think you got a hit in your hands... but, i guess you know that. smile

Marc4Def
Posted: Wed, 11th Jan 2006, 6:49am

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CX3

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Hey thanks a lot Marc. I'm glad you are liking the show. Hopefully the upcoming episodes will continue to please... And I hope we have a hit on our hands.. hah.

Thanks again man

-Chris
Posted: Tue, 16th May 2006, 1:55am

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Psychedelic

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When can we expect the fifth episode? What is Divinity, i saw this name in a short movie from cobra new site
Posted: Mon, 27th Nov 2006, 4:44am

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jaiboo

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I just finish watching the first 4 episodes of X3i and I have to say. NICE JOB!! Definitely a winner on your hands. I am looking forward to more from this series.