Machinimators are not rapists

5 Apr

[youtube width="320" height="197"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hgcy6bsg4g[/youtube]

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Is online video going through its 15 minutes of fame?

24 Mar

What’s written here is my own personal opinion and not the opinion of my employer, Machinima, Inc.

Two years ago, all anyone could talk about was virtual worlds. I was working so hard on virtual video that I slept through 2008′s major trend. However, 2009 seems to be the year of web video. Given the depth of this topic, I’ll probably break up subject matter into multiple posts. The first subject I’d like to discuss is the absolutely major growth of online video!

We all know that YouTube has been popular for years, but it wasn’t until recently that online TV has been in the spotlight. With online ads tanking, sites are now trying different tactics with their video sharing. For some, like ABC.com, they display roughly 4-5 10-30 second ads during a 40 minute program. Others, like Hulu, sometimes give you the choice of a 30 second ad at the beginning of the show in order to skip the 5 ad circuit. The homegrown directors are taking to YouTube in order to get a piece of the partner program pie. For example, my employer, Machinima.com, is the 7th most-subscribed YouTube channel of all time, amounting to millions of views a week on YouTube alone!

Now I’m in no place to discuss company profit, nor do I know it, but that seems like a pretty interesting business model to me. In addition to site wraps and promotions on their own site, the only reason I can see that they’d touch their 3.85 million in funding would be if they wanted to use it for growth and special talent. I was hired on as the World of Warcraft Community Manager, but now I’m dabbling in Second Life production for them. Other recent hires include dedicated YouTube, Facebook, and soon, Twitter managers. In addition, they have Felicia Day, of The Guild, working on a project, and a whole boatload of writers for known comedies in their Comedy Lab.

The face of video is changing. Video doesn’t just broadcast anymore. It participates. When you comment on a video, they comment back. If you Tweet about a video, they find you and add you to their follow list. When you become a fan of their page on Facebook, you’re invited to the conversation in ways that forums hoped to participate. You’re combining the power of millions of people that already have accounts for existing services. When you view that page on YouTube, you become part of a statistic that tells them that x gender and y age prefer Halo comedies, whereas another group might prefer World of Warcraft. This allows them to deliver videos to you in ways that Neilsen Media Research would die to research so cheaply.

That’s right. It’s a buyer’s market these days, and the seller wants to cater to you. Not just Machinima.com, but video sharing sites in general. Hulu grew a staggering 33% last month, making it the #4 video sharing site on the internet. The public has spoken. We love our small doses of nearly ad-free online TV. ABC and MTV say they’re turning a profit from streaming video. In a time when they’re scaling back, BBC Trust upped their online budget while cutting their film and TV budgets. These are all major developments.

I can’t help but be slightly skeptical, though. I remember when virtual worlds had this wave of popularity. They could do no wrong, until the blinders came off and the backlash came back 100 times harder than the initial praise. That’s saying something, too, because they were very hyped. I’d love for online video, particularly machinima, to live happily ever after, but will it? What do you think?

Letting go of WordPress.com

23 Mar

I’d like to preface this post by stating that I adore WordPress.com. However, the lack of javascript, limited theme choices, and limitation on widgets left me totally envious of self-hosted WordPress users. I decided to make the leap over a year ago, but I never really got back into blogging then. People still read my WordPress.com blog, though! Talk about frustrating!

I finally had to bite the bullet and delete all entries from http://moomoney.wordpress.com in order to make a post directing people to this site. I’m going to be tweaking the CSS in the coming weeks to make it the site I want it to be for the future. I’ll still update the content, though. I have plenty I’d love to discuss with everyone. Please have patience and don’t forget to update this site on your feeds! Thanks!

The need to be me

19 Mar

Ages ago, I made a post titled State of the Moonion! The gist of that post was that I felt that my lives were converging and I wanted to separate them. I started my blog as a personal one, but peppered it with machinima tips, thoughts, and videos. It started to turn into a place people would go as a resource for machinima info. At that point, I felt paranoid about posting any thoughts on anything else.

I attempted to head this off by creating a portfolio site with the thought of doing more personal blogging on moomoney.net. It didn’t quite turn out that way, though. I ended up tapering off completely as I wrote for Massively and WoW Insider, then later for machinima.com. What I found was that after all that, I still had quite a bit to say.

I’ve decided that I’m going to merge my two lives again. Otherwise, I simply won’t do it. I’ve never pretended to be something else on the internet, so when you speak with me online, you’re getting me. I feel that you should also get all of me on my blog. This doesn’t mean I’ll be posting info on what’s in my purse or telling you random factoids about me. I know that many things should be kept personal. There’s a lot of social commentary I’d like to make, though, and I invite you to read that, or I’ll find a way for you to RSS by tag only if it’s really that big of a deal.

The point is, I miss writing. I miss having a place to share my thoughts on the downturn of Second Life, the upswing of machinima and the AMAZING trends I see with it, and social media in general. I’d love for you to join me in this journey of self discovery!

CNN discourages blogging, encourages Second Life

4 Aug

Just six months after firing Chez Pazienza and several others for blogging, CNN has released a policy regarding social networking. According to the news powerhouse, employees are unable to comment in public on topics and/or clients that they report on. This is to include MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, etc. If they want to blog on their personal site, they have to make their managers aware of it.

That sort of policy is understood. However, they actually encourage their employees to visit Second Life. That is a scandal and a half waiting to happen. CNN made a not-so-dramatic entrance to SL some time ago with their iReports. Much like the real life version, residents are able to send in personal accounts of events, stories, and whatnot. As is typical of companies entering the virtual world, there’s no word yet on how long they plan to stay.

[Via Mitch Wagner]

Read: Gawker

Zitefight wants your style

4 Aug

I love the sheer amount of homebrewed companies that are coming out of Austin. It seems like everyone is pushing some kind of product. It’s like a magical mixture of Disneyland, Willy Wonka, and umm … IKEA.

One of the projects that I recently discovered was Zitefight, which came from @hayesdavis on Twitter. Two pictures are pitted against each other in a manner not unsimilar to Hot or Not. Viewers then pick which one they feel has more style. When you’re done voting on that one, it gives you the results, as well as two new pics to battle it out. As of Saturday night, they received 25,000? votes on pictures since their launch on Wednesday, July 30th!

Conjunctured launch party was amazing

4 Aug

When I saw the number of people that had RSVPd for the Conjunctured launch party, I couldn’t believe it! 113 people said they were attending, and I’m willing to bet that at least 100 people showed. While that’s a nice sized group, it was quite cramped in the house. In addition, someone apparently bumped the air conditioner controls and turned it off, so it was hotter inside than out!

For those not in the know, Conjunctured is the first coworking space to open in Austin. They’re also supposedly the first coworking house in the world! The venture is run by four hip, enterprising young gentlemen. If there’s a geek meet, you can find them there, which is nice to run into the same people everywhere. It kind of makes me feel like Austin is home.

For more pictures, check out the Conjunctured Flickr photo pool.

www.flickr.com

items in Conjunctured More in Conjunctured pool

Thrall’s Crib

4 Aug

[youtube width="320" height="197"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzFrLXAYASc[/youtube]

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State of the Moonion

3 Jul

Wow. It’s been so long since I’ve actually posted here. I feel super guilty about that. I’m not sure if anyone still reads this. I guess it’s time that I clued all of you in on what’s going on.

I’ve been promoting and making machinima for over two years now. The time has really flown by. Since the beginning, moo Money and Sasha Rudie, my real life persona, have been one and the same. In so many ways, they still are. However, I need a balance.

I’ve actually splintered off and married myself. I encourage all of you to say hi to Money Moo, my new partner in SL. Freud would have a field day analyzing this relationship! Money Moo will be running the Bayjou Theater in the mainland Linden Department of Public Works city project, Bay City. She’ll be holding regular events, classes, premieres, and displaying machinima.

The 2007 Second Life Community Convention caught me by surprise in so many ways. I was shocked by all of the attention that I received. As some of you may know, I planned the Machinima track. It was attended by very few, as everyone was at the Business and Education tracks. Since then, I’ve been out of the spotlight. However, I haven’t been out of machinima.

What have I been up to? Well, I’m no longer working for Alt-Zoom Studios, but I still help manage Machinimatographers, the group BuhBuhCuh Fairchild and I started two years ago, as well as Lukanida, the free backlot island. It is now restricted to group members only due to squatters. I’ve been working on projects for Linden Lab, Cisco, PBS, and many more companies. In the coming months, I’ll actually put up a *gasp* portfolio, so that you can see all of the cool projects that I’ve worked on in my time in SL. August marks the two year anniversary of my being full-time in SL, and I’ve accomplished a lot. I’ve also been blogging machinima daily for Massively.com and WoWInsider.com.

Some of you may take this to mean that I’ve left all of you for World of Warcraft, but the truth is that since I blogged daily on Massively, the mutual leads over at WoW Insider thought that I could do the same for them. I played WoW years ago, but don’t currently play it at this time. In order to become familiar with the scene, I immersed myself in their community and got to know many talented machinimators, including Baron Soosdon, Ian Beckman, Selserene, Pinkhair, Gnomechewer, Dopefish, Malu05, Olibith, and many others.

In terms of the splitting off that I’ve mentioned earlier, I’m going to keep the professional side of me and the educational side of me separate. SashaRudie.com will be the host of my portfolio, as well as my resume, and professional accomplishments. MooMoney.net will be the host of my personal blog, which I will start trying to regularly update. There’s so much new technology that’s out there and I can’t wait to share it with all of you!

What’s coming up? Well, in about two weeks, you’ll see what I’ve been working on for the last six months. It’s a project that means so much to me emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Many of you participate in the Second Life Relay for Life. I’ve been working on a 17ish minute documentary on how four volunteers spend their time fundraising in SL for this event. The few people that have seen the draft have told me they’ve cried, so that’s my goal. I want all of you to be reaching for your tissues! After it’s released, it will immediately start being refined to take out some branding and cleaned up for real life festival submission. I want the world to know what ACS/SLRFL is accomplishing in Second Life!

I will also be releasing a more detailed tutorial on making machinima. I’ve been seeing a whole new crop of SL machinimators that seem to be solely interested in machinima from the money-making aspect of it, rather than the art. Then there are the people that are blogging a lot of misinformation that I feel is hurting the machinimator community in SL. You’ll be seeing a lot of advice blogging and tips/tricks from me in the near future.

Another of my goals is to ease the transition of machinimators that come from outside of SL. We all know how huge a learning curve this platform is, so imagine how shocked they are! However, a lot of them have been working on machinima a lot longer than we have and have plenty of sage advice for the newer crowd. There have been monthly meetings going on in SL to discuss current events in machinima and I’d like to make the SL crowd more aware of them.

Money Moo was going to be teaching some classes at SL’s 5th Birthday celebration on behalf of Bayjou Theater and the FIlm Appreciation Society. However, not only was it too short notice, but when I looked outside of the plot, there were tons of self-serving machinimator plots everywhere. I saw signs and video screens as high as the sky, glowing, blinking, and rotating. It may as well have been the mainland and their for sale signs. I don’t have a problem with people making money, but I saw portfolios, links to websites, landmarks, and basically everything but giant “hire me!” signs, and I felt that it really took away from the community feel of SL5B. Has Second Life really become every person for themselves? I know and love a better community than that!

The AMAS Machinima Festival skipped last year, but is coming up again in New York in November. The awesome team of Friedrich Kirschner and Frank Dellario are heading it up. I intend to be there and I invite all New Yorkers and anyone within driving distance to check it out!

So that’s what comes to mind so far. If you’re reading this, let me know that you’re out there! I would love some helpers that can assist me in mass educating the general public about machinima. Spreading the word is time consuming! I am so proud of everyone that has taken up machinima. You’re doing a wonderful job, and at times it can probably be frustrating, but don’t give up!

Well, this has turned into a giant opus, but the point is, I’m here. I still very much believe in machinima and I want everyone to believe in it too. It’s not only a great tool for educators, but also corporations, individuals, and even as a form of self-expression! Machinima will only become more popular in the coming years and I want each and every one of you to be a part of that with me. What do you say?

Video card overheating, waiting for contracting sucks, not going to be in SL for a while

17 Nov

That about sums it up.  I know this post is odd, considering I’m planning a trip to Europe in just 3 months, but I’ll explain.  I’m not that tech savvy and, right before SLCC, my monitor started having this poltergeist thingie happening to it.  It would randomly blink on and off and I’d have no way to predict when it would or wouldn’t.  I refused to believe it was anything with my system, since it’s less than a year old.

Well, it looks like it’s my video card.  I’ve been bluescreening if I do anything intensive, and sometimes nothing intensive. I’ve logged in every now and then to record machinima, but even that is risky for now.  I’ve had a large number of people get angry with me for not being around and I’m actually getting kind of tired of it. Real life happens. I’ve been around for the last 18 months almost night and day.

Why can’t I just go out and buy a new video card? See, that’s the funny part about contracting. You agree to do some work for someone and then suddenly it takes over *4* months to even prepare the contract to start work. I thought it would be done in the beginning of November because it was prepared for final signature. I see no end in sight, but there’s still a tidy January 1st deadline on the project. Since it’s a time-intensive project, I didn’t want to take on a complicated assignment and be pressed for time.

While I have a boatload of money on the way in 20-30 days, I don’t have the advance I’ve been waiting on. Sure, I could RMA the video card, but then I’d be without an entire COMPUTER while I waited for 3-4 weeks. So I’m sure that you can see my dilemma here. I want to be there for people, but I can’t while my computer is flipping out.

I miss socializing with all of you, but I hope you’ll understand why I’m not there.  I don’t normally like to discuss this stuff in public, but I also don’t like the hatemail. If you want to contact me out of SL, I’d be happy to chat with you, but not if it’s something that requires me to log into SL.

See you sometime soon!

My methods of contact are as follows:

AIM: moomoneySL/YIM: sasharudie/MSN: mooofnapa@hotmail.com/Skype: moomoney

~moo Money