Tomorrow, and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

I have more digital fiction and multimedia authoring classes coming up so I’ve been playing some more with xtranormal – it seems one of the simplest 3D storytelling / video making tools around – the most effect for the least effort! The choices are limited for free accounts, and I’m not sure how much modding is possible, but for a simple introduction to 3D multimedia storytelling, film techniques, and so on, I’d definitely recommend this as a nice easy starting point.

Notebook Stop Motion Animation

I accumulated hundreds of stop motion animation examples during my research about DIY Stop motion trends, practices and literacies. I couldn’t use all of them (as it was I think my 20 screenshots might have been overdoing it for the publishers), but here is one of my favourites on youtube from a recently graduated arts student from the Netherlands who has won a ton of awards for her work – watch and you’ll see why!

Proposing A Machinima Canon

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was being interviewed (by William) for the journal Transformative Works and Cultures. I was hunting through previous interviews to understand the expectations and genre for an interviewee when I came across a great interview with Paul Marino about Machinima. I liked the discussion of gender in particular. The last part of the interview is Paul outlining what he proposes a potential machinima canon, where he offers 6 examples that showcase historical and technically diverse films. One of them is the Snow Witch (2007).

This Japanese ghost story is adapted from Hearn’s “Yuki-Onna” (Kwaidan)

This one uses a known story and adapts it to machinima form.

Another of his 6 examples is The Photographer (2006).

A lone photographer is searching for his subject through the crowded city. Filmmaker Friedrich Kirschner mixes various media elements in his machinima, thus emphasizing that the medium not only can be devoid of game assets but also can break free of its commonly known framework.

I love this one because of its artistry, and because you don’t need to be an insider of the gaming culture to appreciate it.

Yet there are some Second Life machinima which I think I appreciate most of all (which don’t make Marino’s canon suggestions) precisely because I am an insider and I “get” the pathos or the humour at a much deeper level. Robbie Dingo’s Better Life (2006) is one I cite all the time:

and of course, I always mention the one in which I was the leading lady, Lip Flap (2006):

Lip Flap has had almost 10,000 views, The Snow Witch has had about 60,000, and Better Life has had about 80,000. Nothing really in comparison to the other machinima I quote a lot which has had over 1.6 million views (!), the first episode of Red vs Blue (2003):

What machinimas would you add to a proposed machinima canon?

Stop Motion Animation

I’ve been a huge fan of stop motion animation since I was little and didn’t even know what it was called – do you remember seeing the operatic orange on Sesame Street?

Later when I took photography as an optional course at University I worked with a friend and classmate to make two stop motion movies. One was a melodramatic soap opera of a banana sacrificing itself to become a banana smoothie and the other was using the giant chess pieces in a local park to create a love / war film noir-ish drama (just imagine the image below coming to life!). If only we’d had the resources and technology and sharing opportunities then that are available today!


I’ve been doing research on DIY / amateur / classroom practices around stop motion animation for a book chapter and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed discovering all sorts of talented people (even 3 year olds!) participating and sharing their work. Some of the latest trends are amazing, awe-inspiring, exciting, and very clever. You’ll have to stay tuned for the publication details but here is a sneak preview of one I found just plain funny:

The Ancient Greek Village of Eleusis Suffers

Eleusis post-curse

The ancient Greek fishing village of Eleusis suffers since the Goddess Demeter cursed the land.

Eleusis post-curse

Graveyards are filled with freshly dug graves for the weak and the young who could not struggle any longer, their poor bodies giving up all heat after experiencing the first Winter known to mankind.

Eleusis post-curse

Graveside vigils are kept to protect the souls of loved ones until it is time to meet Charon, who ferrys them across the river and to the entrance of the Underworld. Safe passage requires a coin, but with the village in crisis, all coins have gone to the temple as offerings to Hera and Demeter, to remove the curse.

Eleusis post-curse

But some are too spent to pray, they simply lie on the grave with misguided notions that their body warmth can be exchanges. The epitaphs they’ve written a verbal reminder of how Demeter directly caused her young child’s life to expire.

Eleusis post-curse

How can these people’s dire grief be lifted? Perhaps never. But perhaps you – you YOU – would like to enter the world with me and try to help?

If you are interested in online role-play for educational purposes, please let me know! I’ll be organising some workshops in the second half of the year if I can find SL educators who are interested in taking part.

HUMlab Talk/Tour Video


Today I gave a tour of Macbeth for the HUMlab in Sweden! Click here if you’d like to view the video stream of the tour. It goes for about an hour. It was a bit of an experiment for us to do the live streaming, but it mostly worked well, except an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction in which I lost my hair! Thanks to Jim Barrett for the invitation to speak and for doing all the camera work.

Music and Sound as a Stimulus for Poetry

For my poetry class today we’re looking at all different kinds of starting points for stimulating poetry writing in the classroom. Here are some musical themes which could be used to evoke imagery and promote the poetic.




and here is a clip or two containing some interesting sounds:

Storytelling with Ghosts

Storytelling with Ghosts

Part of my Greek myth build is completed now! Here’s an image of the graveyard, where participants will tell and write stories in role. I’m going to also ask experienced students to make personifications of grief – I did a rather non-metaphorical example of a person expressing grief here:

"Grief" in 28 Prims

I have to confess I bought a “basic mannequins prim” set online and just positioned each prim to make this statue. I think the set is a great bridge for non builders (like me!) to start using the tools more creatively. It only took me an hour, and I have zero building skills. There was a full permissions set available so that means I can give copies of the set to all my students and send them off on a task. It really focusses attention on the body, and is a reminder that the body can be and is present in an online drama and role-playing session in all sorts of ways.


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