Tony Dyson, the veteran film effects creator who built the original R2D2 model, is judging a machinima contest, The Machinima 48 Hour Film Project. Known as Azar Shelman in SL, Dyson designed the original R2D2 for Star Wars, then built eight copies of the beloved droid for The Empire Strikes Back. And speaking as a veteran filmmaker, he's now interested in machinima as a new platform:
"I think 'machinima' has the same untapped potential that we found when we switched over from early animated films using frame by frame drawings to Computer Generated Images (CGI)," he tells me by e-mail. "[T]he secret is not only to spot and learn what new potential this platform may open up to the film maker, but to also identify exactly what are the negative aspects of this new media, only then can we really move forward."
The benefits: "[L]ow investment and production costs plus speed of production will open up a vast new market place in today's digital world, for example in Education, Entertainment and Advertising fields..." The challenges: "[L]earning about the differences in camera techniques involved... [and working] in a totally new world, a 'virtual world' that has a very strong culture of its very own. This brave new world... has a very steep learning curve for many, but the rewards are and will be truly amazing for any one that has the imagination to meet this challenge.
Read all the details for the contest here, and more background on the blog of Chantal Harvey, who's running it.
Update, 9/12: Corrected original description from "Second Life machinima" contest, as machinima from other platforms are also accepted. Apologies for the error. See more details in Comments.