Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Fantasy World of Star Wars' Tony Dyson

I had the pleasure of interviewing special effects guru Tony Dyson of Star Wars' R2-D2 fame and so many Hollywood blockbusters for the July issue of Best of SL Magazine.

Tony Dyson is definitely a master of machinima,  and now that he is teamed up with Chantal Harvey, MMIF founder and professional filmmaker, they have become the dynamic duo.

So what's their latest adventure - the BobbeKins, a wonderful journey into the fantasy world of children. You have to understand that both Tony and Chantal have a love for fantasy, positive storytelling, and inspiring and educating audiences through imagery.Powerpuff GirlsI think we often overlook the younger viewers when we think of machinima ideas.  When you really think of it, machinima is a form of animation, and animation has been enriching the lives of children for generations, from cartoons to Disney Classics to our newly emerging online characters in kids games.  Machinima has the potential to reach the young and old, and everyone in between.  Parents used to watch those Saturday morning cartoons with their children (on a television in the living room together - and enjoy them), if for nothing else the double meaning hidden in the dialogue and images.   Some of that still exits, but the movie industry has accelerated childhood to a great extent.   Few General Audience movies exist today.   Fantasy creatures and lands abound, yet few are inviting for children.

Machinima can reach out to some of those forgotten demographics and serve for not only educational uses, but just for fun!  If you are looking for inspiration, check out the top 50 cartoon characters of all time (now this excludes the great PBS children's programming that I grew up with, but it is an interesting browse back on what has captured our attention.)  I came across another site, called Common Sense, namely for traditional family values, and mind you I am not pushing any agenda.  But there's some good kids' shows in the mix.  Take what you want out - there's something for nearly everyone.   Pooky Amsterdam's crew has produced a wonderful teen series via machinima called Time Travelers.  She's get it.   But that is only one of the many genres that her company produces with machinima.  

So what's the point of this column.  Take some time out - and just think about all this.  Before you leap to your next project, take a moment and look at what some of your colleagues are producing - and what they are not producing!  Consider all genres for machinima, as you would any type of animated program and really any type of program, given that it seems appropriate to your audience.  All of us have grown up with animation, from cartoons, to music videos, educational programming, drama and so forth.

The thing is - there are no rules for machinima.   You have to be willing to put yourself out there, and see what works.   But that is the case of any filmmaker.   It helps to have passion on whatever your producing - passion about the story/theme and reaching your audience.  If you have that, and have the time and resources, then try it.  If you don't have time or resources, find someone who believes in your idea!  Just keep trying - isn't that something we would tell our children!    I guess that is our lesson today.   Keep moving ahead and know the future is bright, especially if you know the appropriate windlight setting.   Wink.   LOL.

What about machinima for girls!  Girls in the Sky was clever, and I would like to see more of that.  Then again, I was a Powerpuff Girl fan, and I love silly adventure starring girls.   Machinima is not limited by ages, and not limited to Second Life audiences.   Tony and Chantal have it right to go for a new generation of viewers, and their hearts are pure with good intentions in using Second Life, seeing a potential beyond what most of us consider.   Second Life is a meeting place for media makers, a social networks, but mostly a creative platform for bringing fantastic images and stories to the general public, given you understand the platform's weaknesses and strengths.

The Scissores Film Production Company is definitely playing to the strengths of machinima and Second Life.  The mix of fantastic sets, strong characters, and a large dose of fantasy works well here.  Much success to them!

Here are a couple of teasers from Scissores.  Enjoy!  and be on the look out more from this creative team!
It's Great to Be Alive
BobbeKin Chit Chat

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