Monday, 28 September 2009

Movie Making Madness

Today I announced that Raglan Shire would be playing host to a tiny-centric film festival in February 2010.

On Sunday 7 February 2010 – precisely one month before the Oscars! – the Shires will host the first ever Raglan Shire Studios Film Festival!

More and more clever filmmakers are turning their hand to creating some wonderful mini-movies featuring tinies, and who can blame them? We’re a constant source of fun and entertainment and despite our obvious physical limitations (no facial expressions, for example), we have proven that we are able to portray a whole host of roles, from dramatic to comedic.

As such, we’ve decided that it’s way over time that we showcased the amazing movie-making talent that we have around the Shire in our very own festival early next year.

So why are we telling you now? Well, film-making often takes time (not always, but often) and we want to give everyone who may even like to try and do something plenty of time to practice how to do it and try and make something. What you shoot is entirely up to you (except for a couple of rules below), as long as it’s entertaining and creative.


How’s it done then? Well, I use Fraps to shoot my films. There is a free download option (which I still use), which only shoots 30 seconds at a time and leaves a name watermarked on the screen (you can see it in most of my films!), but it serves its purpose.

You’ll edit your film using whatever editing programs you can; I use Adobe Premiere Elements, and throw in titles, credits, effect, soundtracks or whatever you think works.

Then you’ll upload it to the web. Some good examples are already on YouTube, but you can use any video-sharing site you like. Vimeo is good; I know Blunt uses ATOM too.

If you know of any other filming or editing tools or applications or video-sharing sites, please detail them below and post any URLs that folk might find useful.


The exact details of HOW we’ll do all this have still yet to be worked out. We do want to have a panel of judges who will view and rate some of the films, and decide who wins what in certain categories (listed below), but we’ll have a few categories that members of the general public can vote for too. We’ll let you and your crew make posters to promote your film, and give up some hoarding space around the Shire nearer the time for you to display your posters on too!

Categories (so far) include:

BEST DIRECTOR (overall, of all entries submitted, judged by panel)

BEST FILM (between 2–10 minutes in length)

BEST SHORT FILM (no more than 2 minutes in length)

BEST ACTRESS (most alluring performance by a female tiny)

BEST ACTOR (best performance by a male tiny)

BEST ART DIRECTION (best use of Windlight effects, locations or creative scenery)

BEST MUSICAL FILM (serving as a video to a specific tune, e.g. Fuzznutz)

More categories may be entered later.

Winners of the categories will win some L$ and also a special gold-plated Academy of Raglan Arts & Sciences Award for Creative Services, which is a pretty long-winded name; I think they look like my pals Bo and Mutley, so we’ll just call the awards the Otters for short! Maybe we'll figure out a way to have the films available throughtout the week, and have a ceremony on the 7th to award prizes etc?


The rules – so far, this is not an exhaustive list and may be added to or amended as necessary - are as follows:

1. You MUST be a member of either the Friends of Raglan Shire group or the Artisans of Raglan Shire group to enter the contest.

2. Your film, when completed, must be uploaded to an online video-sharing site, such as YouTube or Vimeo (or others) and must be able to be linked for play in-world.

3. Your film must be finished and uploaded, and details of it submitted to the organisers (TBD) by Sunday 31 January 2010, one week before the festival. The organisers will then watch all videos and begin a judging process.

4. Your film must feature AT LEAST two tinies. The tinies that feature in the film do not have to be members of either of the Raglan groups.

5. The film content must be PG, in line with our community guidelines. No explicit language or text (e.g. subtitles) will be permitted. Any films containing either of these will be barred from the festival.


That’s it for now. We will continue to add to and amend this post as required, so do check back often. Please feel free to post comments, links, tips or anything else that might be useful below this post, so that we can make this the best in-world movie fest EVER!

Should be good fun, as long as we can get plenty of entries...that's why I've given folks 4 months notice!

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Engagements In The Fall

Wow, it's a cold day. I guess Summer is over. At least I had one great week of sunshine; however, it was in April, and it was in New York. Oh well.

It's been a few weeks of relatively little output again in-world. I don't know if I'm stuck for ideas again or just lacking the patience to start something. I did set-up a new store on Raglan Shire, moving my treetops vendors down into a larger ground unit on Bo's old Otterwise plot, next to Tiny Inc. (Bo has just downsized); I even continued my philanthropic import/export crusade by giving up a few prims for a hatchie named Carla, who has made a couple of cute little bits and was desperate for an outlet to sell them in. I was more than happy to let her take a corner of the shop for her stuff.

I am slowly putting together a new machinima video for Songbird Sorbet, to accompany one the songs she recorded a while agao, and now sells as part of an album in-world. She's a fab singer, and I'm really working very hard to get this video absolutely right. Am using a lot of effects, both in-world and in post-production, many of which I haven't tried before. This does mean it's been slow-going, because I don't want to make any comprimises - I want it all to be as good as my ability allows. Time will tell. It's a long song to shoot for, but so far, what I've done, I'm very pleased with. I intend to have it done well before Christmas, but at the rate I'm shooting, it may take that long!

After this is done, I have a couple more videos I need to work on; one for Zephyr at Lone Star Ranch to serve as a promo-style video for joust system, and the other another movie-trailer style piece. I'm very excited about both!

However, despite my inactivity on the building/creating front, I have managed to become the topic of conversation in group chat this past weekend, without actually being in-world. Me and Kitti (Natalie, my RL girlfriend) went to Paris for the weekend, and after 20 months of dating, I felt this was the time to go to the next level: I proposed to her last weekend and she accepted! Very happy! And we have both received a number of very lovely congratulatory messages, and I will take this opportunity to thank everyone for them! It means a great deal to know that such a small action by one person has had such a big impact on so many.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Heavy Hearted

The reality of how attached one gets to someone else simply via communicating in the exchange of messages typed on a keyboard to someone else out there has come crashing down on me again this week.

Two very long-standing in-world friends, Jaid Marsi and Hiero (he'll forgive me for not even attempting to spell his whole name!) have announced their intentions to leave Second Life. I cannot express properly how much this has pained me. Jaid helped me out so much early on with her most wonderful pictures that we used for past issues of the Shire Times newspaper. Their pictoral adventures in their guise as Fox & Wolf have never failed to amuse and have captured the essence of being tiny in a largely-biggy world absolutely perfectly. They have been sources of inspiration, both directly and indirectly - it was Jaid who asked me to make the Emergency Waffle Case! - to myself, and dozens of other in-world photojournalists and artists.

They have been wonderful supporters of Raglan in so many ways and personally in a million more. I have been genuinely saddened by their decision and I sincerely hope that they do look to other avenues of online networking to allow me to be able to stay in touch with them. They have come to a joint decision that suits them both (and in many ways is perfect for their legacy, as they were inseparable), but for reasons which are wholly personal to each.

It's made me feel really lonely. I don't know why. Every day I log on, I am surrounded by genuinely friendly and caring people; but recently, a feeling of isolation has come to haunt me. I can sort of put it down to a few reasons. Panacea refuses to speak to me these days, for reasons unknown to me. I used to get on very well with Pan, but she has distanced herself quite intentionally over the past few weeks. She was a good source of advice and help, as well as someone to banter with, and I miss that interaction a great deal.

I have upset Bo and Karma too, by speaking my mind over a recent issue around the Shires. I know both of them were hurt by my reaction; I kinda wish I had expressed myself more properly to indicate that I too had been hurt by the matter, but it didn't come off like that. So, partly my fault on that one, but I had my reasons for venting my frustration in the first place. Amazing how having someone just walk away or zoom off on their bike as soon as you get within speaking distance of them can feel like they've just drawn a knife across your throat.

There are probably dozens of other people I upset on a day-to-day basis. If any of them read this (doubtful - I don't know anyone who reads this! Ha!) then I do genuinely apologise if it upsets you, but it's just how I am sometimes. It is NEVER my intention to hurt or upset anyone. But I know only too well after this week that emotions in a virtual world can run just as strong, and yet can be just as fragile, as they are in a real one.