He's such a looming influence on me and my writing, I would promote anything that was directly related to the legacy of Philip K. Dick for its own sake, so it's strange (and strangely flattering) that people connected to the latest movie based on his writings are now buying ads on this blog. (They appeared here intermittently over the last few days.) If I were a character in a Dick novel, I'd start believing that I'd imagined them and their PKD site in Second Life into existence during a hallucinogenic session.
That full disclosure out of the way, here's a brief preview of the Second Life promotion for Richard Linklater's A Scanner Darkly, after the break. As befits Philip Dick, who made "What is real?" and "What is human?" his two recurring themes, bringing his vision into SL pretty much involved those very questions-- except they were asked by Warner Brothers' lawyers.
When you accept the hit of Substance D, your vision of the world changes through a strange (and branded) heads-up display. Your perception of reality is framed by shifting rainbow colors, blue clovers, and occasional aphids which crawl across your screen.
There's a lot of other elments to see in the Scanner Darkly site on the island called Infinite Mind-- clips of the movie, a rave site, and other surprises; I only had a chance to glimpse it on the weekend, as presented by metaverse developer MSGiro
Grosso. One particular installation caught my eye: it's a mural that's actually a frame from the film, depicting Keanu Reeves, Woody Harrelson, and Robert Downey Jr. at what looks to be a backyard barbecue. (Though actually, because the entire film is rotoscoped, they're animated versions of Keanu, Woody, etc.) There's an animation poseball embedded in the mural, so when you sit on it, it looks like you're in the middle of the scene with all of them.
The thing is, when they have the DVD release party tomorrow, you won't see Keanu or the other actors in that mural-- Grosso and his team have to replace them with other characters.
"Legal kaiboshed it," MSGireo Grosso tells me. "The whole talent approval thing." He means the lawyers at Warner Independent Pictures, which released Linklater's movie.
"So Warner Brothers would have to get approval of Keanu etc. to have their images uploaded into Second Life?" I ask him.
"Yes," Grosso answers. "Any time an image is changed with the talent in it, they need the talents' approval. Apparently, Keanu has a say over everything. I guess that is the trade-off when you do a cheap indie flick."
That confuses me, because being rotoscoped, Keanu Reeves' image was never really on the celluloid of the released film, to begin with, and certainly not on the film's digitzed version.
"[T]he movie is an animated depiction of Keanu etc.," I point out, "and then stillshots of that animation are uploaded into Second Life, and still, Warner Brother's lawyers say this is Keanu's image and likeness up here?"
"You got it," Grosso. "Power of attorneys... [T]he concern arose when they learned about [Second Life's] snapshot feature and people saving the images and possibly putting them on Flickr or YouTube. The attorney's didn't like that."
"-- and the chance of a furry with fully operational equipment making love to Keanu's cutout?" I ask, But Grosso doesn't really answer that one.