Thursday, June 27, 2013

Educate Me in the Ways of Machinima

Summer 2013.  We have landed.  I am immersed in teaching an online course on my new sim, originating as a 3 year partnership with the University of Western Australia and my university in the heartland of the U.S.   I had no idea how similar the terrain of a new sim looked to the moon.  Pardon our tongue and cheek photos, for it is nearly 4th of July (Independence Day) in the States.  At present on that sim, a series of levels have been constructed and designed (in about 30 days, special thanks to my partner Belinda Barnes for all her work and creative savvy!) for an online course in sound studies this summer.  

Further, this fall we will partake on a series of educational machinima projects there.  We are testing ways to simplify machinima and make it accessible to educators, the mechanics and the magic you might say.   But this project is far from the first, nor will it be the last, to seek innovative ways to relate to the gaming generation and their mentors.   Details will be revealed soon on our project.   

Let's talk for a bit about what others are doing machinima-wise!

In particular, I want to share some machinima activities related to the educational world. 

Best of SL Magazine will feature Chic Aeon's extraordinary MOSP - Machinima Open Studio Project - LINK HERE - that not only provides many (really many, a plethora of) well crafted settings, furnished and unfurnished, but there is a classroom space for teaching machinima.   BOSL's renowned photographer Enzo Champagne will give you an artistic perspective into Chic's LEA 7, a sim designed for both pro and would-be machinima makers.  I interviewed Chic  for the article, and find her an extremely talented and articulate media artist and forward thinking person.   Coming soon - July 1st.  

And then there's the EduMachinima Fest 2013, part of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference that met in San Antonio RL and in Second Life this week.   The winners have been announced!   It is interesting to note the various themes and ideas expressed through machinima.   The skill levels vary, and whereas one might need to tweak this, another might need to tweak that.   The point isn't so much creating a Hollywood production, but it is the actual art of creation and elaboration of a concept for an educational setting.  When you view the winning entries, note that most of the machinima content of course is devoid of context, here, so you only experience the video, not really knowing what inspired the producer, and who it was intended to inspire, nor its objective.   It is just good to know that play is still an important part of teaching and learning, and that now includes video game play.  Here's one example, a short and funky piece using World of Warcraft.    It won Best Overall in the EduMachinima Fest competition. 

Invitation to Dance by Kae Novak-

Another winner, employing Second Life and mixed media, demonstrates Why Second Life? and was produced by Christel Schneider:

For the complete "winner" list, go here:


Less than a month away, once again Second Life will be host to the Virtual Worlds Best Practices (VWBPE) Conference, July 24-27th, a large component of which is dedicated to machinima.  The theme for 2013 is Beyond the Stage. Presentations will also be held in OpenSim, Unity/Jib and Cloud Party.  



And let us not forget the University of Western Australia's continual commitment to machinima - entry closes June 30th for REFLECTIONS - MachinimUWA with L$1.1Million in prizes.  For more info, or to view the machinima (as well as art in a related competition.

It would seem that machinima is very much part of the educational community, and it certainly inspires life-long exploration in the media arts, and its application to our real and virtual experiences are up to the imagination - or you might say, "open" to your imagination.   That is probably something Chic would say, I bet!   So go out and make some machinima, maybe even at MOSP - or mentor someone to do so.   Machinima resources abound and opportunities increase. Machinima is not only that value-added to the games we play, it is an innovative way to express ourselves. Attend some educational meetings, conferences, share your skills or just learn some new ones. Sometimes you can learn a lot from a student or someone only beginning - they can offer a fresh look at the virtual world, whereas sometimes we overlook the magic right in front of us.  It may be just a step to the left, or to the right, a second glance into the lens.   Study hard!  The rewards are great! 

*    *   *
The Professional Machinima Artist Guild and Lowe Runo Productions graciously host Magnum:  The Machinima Review.  Sonicity Fitzroy, author of Second Life, Media and the Other Society (Peter Lang, 2010) and Machinima:  The Art and Practice of Virtual Filmmaking (with Lowe Runo, McFarland, 2012).

No comments:

Post a Comment