Today, for the first time, I was on the staff side of a high-profile Second Life event put on by the Electric Sheep. Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary appeared for an in-world interview to talk about their upcoming film action-adventure film "Beowulf." The movie is completely computer-generated and will be shown on IMAX 3D, so it is appropriate that the creators appear in a 3D, computer-rendered virtual world to talk about it.
I was pretty busy handling behind-the-scenes logistics for my machinima team to pay much attention to the actual talk. But it seemed to go quite well, with hall-full of eager avatars, plus presumably many more at re-broadcast sites on other parts of the grid.
It made me think of all the talent and creativity required to put on these kinds of promotions.
To implement something like the Beowulf project, there are several kinds of activities that have to happen:
- A sim or island has to be reserved to hold the event. In this case, "Beowulf Island" was bought from Linden Lab for the event.
- Custom textures, objects, buildings and scenery have to be rezzed to create the proper environment. For this, a forested environment leading up to a rustic-looking hall was built, along with a Beowulf avatar, and avatars for Gaiman and Avary, among other things.
- The events coordinator has to handle all the logistical and technical arrangements for connecting Gaiman and Avary to the interview. She also has to make sure it gets promoted to the proper sites, lists and media sources.
- This event was rebroadcast on different sims, so someone has to arrange for filming and streaming live video of the interview to several other spots on the grid.
- The interviewer has to both keep the conversation going with the interviewees and attend to questions being IMed to her from avatars attending the event. And when typical Second Life glitches happen, like Roger Avary getting kicked out of the skype call, she has to be able to improvise on the spot. Pica Paperdoll is an old hat at this by now, and it’s neat seeing her in action.
- High-profile events like this require security measures to ensure they don’t get griefed. This interview was pretty well locked down, but I’ve been to so many where you have to wait for the particle attack to subside before the event can continue.
- My machinima team was on-hand to film the event for production as a promotional video later. For something as simple as this, you pretty much get out of their way and let them do their magic. Still, somebody has to run out and get the coffee.
All of these activities require a suite of specialized skills and tight team coordination, which is why metaverse development companies like Electric Sheep are in business. I basically knew all this before. But watching it all unfold "from backstage" is a totally different and fascinating experience.