I'm Co-Judging a SL Machinima Contest With L$300K in Prizes -- Here's 5 Things I'm Looking for in My Selections
I'm proud to announce that I'll be co-judging a Second Life machinima contest sponsored by The University of Western Australia in Second Life, with L$300,000 in prizes for the finalists -- go here for all the submission details. The contest organizer, JJ Jega, has assembled a large panel of SL luminaries to help judge, so my input is just one among many, but here's five things that make for great SL machinima, that I'll be looking for in this contest, and in general:
- Visually or thematically arresting in the first 5 seconds: Convince me this machinima is worth watching immediately -- with a powerful visual, or sound/music/dialog cue, or even eye-catching titles. Generally speaking, if a machinima does not do that in the first 5 seconds, it won't do that in its remaining time.
- Full use of all Second Life's visually rich features: Dynamic shadows! Customized WindLight settings! Physics! Mesh, mesh, and more mesh.
- Minimal use of lip sync: I never tire of saying this, so I'll put it in caps: EXCESSIVE LIP SYNC IN MACHINIMA LOOKS HORRIBLE AND IS HORRIBLY DISTRACTING. Facial animations that convincingly simulate speech have still not been attained, not even in a next gen game like Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Not only that, but they tend to be a lazy way of conveying narrative which could otherwise be conveyed visually.
- Narrative structure: This doesn't just have to be a story per se. Even a montage that has a unifying theme or visuals can suffice. Simply turning the camera on and shooting footage, no matter high quality, does not a great machinima make.
- Superb editing with no lulls in pacing: I often say a machinima should generally be less than 3 minutes, but really, that mainly applies to montage/music videos. The truly important thing is this: Every single second of the machinima must be important and worth watching. "Harbinger", for example, is a great SL machinima, and it's 15 minutes long.
All that said, I can't wait to see all the entries that arrive. Deadline is November 10. Go here to submit your best, and good luck!