Monday, April 17, 2006

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THE HITCHHIKER OF AVALON

Characters from Disney films become SL avatars to assist in their promotion...

Marvin_by_the_shore

Last Friday I made the trip to Avalon island so I could see the Second Life prototype of Marvin from last year's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy for myself-- originally mentioned and full-disclosured here-- and as promised, he was the picture-perfect rendition of the bulbuous, depressed robot of the film.  During the movie's production, Fizik Baskerville and his team created the Marvin avatar based on the production designer's specs, using that to plan a marketing campaign for their client, Disney.  "We did that not only for Hitchhiker's... we did it for Pirates of the Carribean 2/3 and Chronicles of Narnia."  Using SL's avatar customization tools, "Within a short period of time we have [characters from these Disney films] walking around those ideas as avatars."

Some further notes by Baskerville on the process-- and the current state of film promotion-- after the break.

Fizik_shows_off_marvin

"We had it as an avatar," Fizik tells me, standing beside Marvin.  "We used Poser files."  A member of his team waddled around inside the Marvin avatar, to give them ideas.  "All the poses we made, we used for mock-ups for the advertising boards," Baskerville continues, "plus promo item development, interactive experience, etc.  About 12 different things."  And though this project was for the branding and promotion of the movie, the film's directors, the oddly-named team known as Hammer and Tongs, lent Fizik their insights.

Hamlet_vs_marvin

"The creative process is beyond the editing suite," Baskerville explains. "Most directors/production companies are totally part of the entire supply chain, from the script to the final poster. Good film marketing these days is about creating an extension to the film."

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» Marvin from HHGTTG moves to Second Life from Boing Boing
A resident of the Second Life virtual world who owns a UK branding company has started to move the characters he represents into the game, starting with those managed by Disney, one of his clients. The first into the virtual world is Marvin, the Parano... [Read More]

» Virtual Campaigns from plusnine.twoday.net
"The creative process is beyond the editing suite," Baskerville explains. "Most directors/production companies are totally part of the entire supply chain, from the script to the final poster. Good film marketing these days is about creating an exten... [Read More]

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Torley Linden

Two things quickly come to mind when I see this:

1) I'm glad you're writing about this, Jamlet, 'cuz it seemed to be oddly underreported, like a "submarine story" earlier. I actually didn't know about it until the last issue of the Second Opinion came out.

2) I wonder if this robot would play well with Kenzington Fairlight's MiroBot. Heh heh heh.

Rapid prototyping... kewl.

Pathfinder Linden

This was just picked up by BoingBoing, so the "submarine" may finally be surfacing.

UP PERISCOPE!

Jaycatt Nico

This is great! I'm especially looking forward to Narnia avatars. I wonder if these will be available for people to purchase, or just demonstrations of what is possible for Disney to review?

Fizik Baskerville

Hamlets edit on the 17th, a response:


I think the important thing here, is that this project is/was not a consumer focused project. It was developed and completed over 18 months ago. The definitive version is a lot longer and more indepth. It touches on a lot of aspects of how films are crossing the digital divide.

The new Creative process: Idea to Development to Creation to Marketing:

‘The new supply chain creative model we’re pioneering is unique, enabling the film making process to extend beyond just producing a film poster and trailer. Marvin was the catalyst for that work; we owe Second Life a great debt as a business-to-business solution. For the first time, we could envisage a character beyond costly post-production and model making.

Films live 80% of their lives in the marketing and communication. It’s vital that the marketing teams get to experience the film before a rough edit. Using new toolsets like Second Life, has enabled the film makers vision to be understood, accurately interrupted and inspire new ways for films to be experienced.


Film marketing and the film making process are becoming one. We’re
entering a new era in franchise filmmaking. A film director is now also
responsible for the brand. ’
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