Monday, July 19, 2010

The Machinima Roundtables

So many of us are busy making films that we rarely have time to chat about the process, or even our dreams and aspirations for machinima as a profession and art. Of course there are those times when we gather for award shows hosted by the Machinima Artist Guild or more recently those sponsored by the University of Western Australia.

Of course, it is always a wonderful experience to rub shoulders with our colleagues at the MaMachinima International Festival.

But when do we just get to talk - to chat, converse, get down and dirty about machinima - the good, bad and evil (evil machinima, is there such a thing?! LOL), you can hear the pain and passion of being a pioneer on sometimes a lonely path. These roundtables allow producers to connect again to why they love machinima.

Over the past month, Lowe Runo Productions, Inc. has been the site for roundtables on various machinima themes. All have been well attended, productive and fun. Themes discussed have included -

ROUND ONE concentrated on MACHINIMA BASICS. Main questions included: What is machinima to you?, What are its genres?, What is the role of story in machinima?, Is storyline essential to machinima?, What makes a good story?, What makes a good machinima?, and other questions that pop up.

ROUND TWO focused on MACHINIMA PIONEERS - GOING ALONE OR TOGETHER. Discussions included what advances have been made through machinima - people, practices and technology, speculations about the future, machinima's role in advancing art and in advancing technology for commercialization (what are the opportunities now and ahead). Another related theme explores COLLABORATIONS (advantages/disadvantages on building a machinima crew; defining the various roles in machinima; considering how certain platforms encourage collaborations; looking toward partnerships with community groups or businesses).Then, finally, attendees were asked, Can machinima be an intimate experience for the producer and viewer and how so?

These sessions run about 60-90 minutes, with many people lingering to continue the discussions after the meetings. If nothing else, the roundtables have shown there is an interest in such gatherings - and although there are differing opinions, those involved have been respectful of each other's perspectives.

The Roundtable forums are open to the public, and all are invited to attend. Please join the SL Machinima Artist Guild inside the grid to receive notifications or contact me, Soni! Also, I am always open to future topics. Discussions are recorded and intended for public record, with some comments being published in a new book on machinima (Runo & Fitzroy) and some footage likely ending up for broadcast as well.

Next time, come to share your thoughts or just listen. It is through such discussions we come closer to understanding what machinima is to us as producers and viewers, and how to best create works that achieve some sort of intimacy and/or rapport with the viewer. Collaboration might come in the form of a production crew for a specific project or competition - or it might be coming together to explore new possibilities in machinima as a genre and tool.

:) Soni!