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"The Dumb Man" Premiere with Lainy Voom

"The Dumb Man" premiere was held this last Sunday (Jan 27th) on Skype chat. The director, Lainy Voom, was present along with her friend (and machinima filmmaker), artcgrrl, and Surrealia Anatine (prefect Second Life name, IMO), who "acted" for her during the shooting of the film in Second Life. Lainy answered some very good questions for almost 2 hours before she had to hit the sack (it was 11pm in Enland). Also present was bllius, Ingrid Moon, Johnnie Ingram, Zuckerman77, Damian (Darth Angelus) and the mysterious, mute, biggstrek. While this was a smaller turnout than the last Premiere for "Among Fables and Men", it allowed for a more intimate session which led to some very good threads on the film and how it was made. My thanks to all who took the time to come and ask questions. I hope you enjoyed yourselves.

A beautiful art still created by Lainy from koinup.com

The premiere was also more successful due to the fact that we abandoned the voice chat, which was such a disaster in the last premiere, and stuck with Skype text chat. There are several advantages to using text chat in that it allows the director and attendees to consider their questions and answers a bit more carefully than with voice. You can also have a separate chats with members of the group as the larger, general text chat progresses. I used a private text chat to let Lainy know what was coming up in the premiere and to check with her to see if she needed anything. I'm still amazed at being able to hold two or three conversations at once in text chat. At first you think you can't follow the conversation, but then you just start paying attention and it's a lot of fun. I do like audio chat and we are looking into finding a reliable (and free) voice chat service (since Skype does so poorly with large groups), but to date we've had no luck as every service that looks promising either has poor quality, limited group size or costs too much money.

But back to the premiere: the conversation with Lainy covered some of her background as a filmmaker and the tech behind her film. Lainy started out in Sims2 (as tracechops) with the highly regarded "Annika" and a very well-done music video for "The Hives" (I'm also partial to her "Mothra" because I'm a nut for Japanese Monster movies), but gradually migrated to Second Life because of the freedom of the toolset and the ability to own her own work. Her "Images of Black Swan" took Second Life machinima to the next level. There was quite a buzz when that film came out. I hope to archive it at some point at machiniplex. You can see some of her work at her YouTube site and Truveo. There's a nice interview with her on the Second Life site New World Notes. She is a talented artist and a promising machinima filmmaker.

Another wonderful creation by Lainy from koinup.com

During the Q&A, Lainy in responding to the question of how she got the idea for "The Dumb Man" mentioned that the first image that came to her as she was listening to Alex Wilson's passionate reading of the Sherwood Anderson story (the story which is the basis of the film), was the woman leaning against the wall upstairs. She branched out from there and prepared a script in Oct/Nov. But coming back to the film after the holidays, she found that she wanted "The Dumb Man" to have a more dreamlike, surreal quality and so began to shoot the film that way. Frankly, I'm very glad she did this, not only because I'm always in favor of a more imaginative, experimental approach to machinima films (there are so few of them), but also because it fit perfectly the subject and style of the writing. Hard to believe this is the same Sherwood Anderson of "Winesburg, Ohio", one of the great American novels of realism.

Ingrid and I were very impressed with "The Dumb Man" as was everyone who attended the Premiere. The almost perfect blending of story, performance, animation, sound and style creates the film spell that all good movies do. And despite the surreal imagery, there is a definite feeling and attitude developed for each character. Of course, the film is backed (or fronted, as the case may be) by a passionate and nuanced performance of the story by Alex Wilson. I hope more machinima filmmakers will be inspired by Lainy's film to adapt existing literature or to seek out newer writers to bring their stories to machinima. I think many filmmakers could benefit from this approach while they develop their writing skills more. BTW, Alex's site "Telltale Weekly" is a great site for discovering other authors and listening to them via audio. Perhaps someone out there will use another of Alex's readings for a film? He seems to be very pleased with Lainy's film.

My thanks to Lainy and, again, to all of those who came to the Premiere. I enjoyed it immensely.

Here is the transcript of the Skype Q&A chat with Lainy Voom. You can scroll through the document here in this post, or download it for viewing on your computer. If you choose to read the document here there is a magnifying icon at the top of the screen that allows you to enlarge the text. Thanks to Scribd for the ability to embed this document.

New Machiniplex Film Premiere on Jan 27th, 1pm @ Skype

We will be featuring a new Second Life machinima, "The Dumb Man", directed by Lainy Voom on Sunday, January 27th @ 1pm (Pacific Time). A slightly revised version of the film will appear at Machiniplex.com on the day before (Saturday, Jan 26th), so be sure to drop by and see the new version before you come to the Q&A text-chat with the Lainy, myself and Ingrid.

We will be conducting the Q&A session using Skype text chat, as this is much simpler for us considering how awkward the last premiere was when we used voice chat. This is also something that the director prefers. So, look up rickygrove on Skype at 1pm (or earlier) next Sunday and you can participate in a live discussion with Lainy Voom.

Still frame from "A Dumb Man"

A still frame from "A Dumb Man"

I'm very impressed with Lainy's work on this film. The text is from a Sherwood Anderson short story which is read aloud (in a fine performance) by Alex Wilson. Music from magnatune.com and additional sound effects from freesound.net. Phil Rice posted some excellent comments about the film last week (along with an embedded Vimeo version of the film).

Her visual style is imaginative and poetic. We are very proud to host her film and would like to thank Lainy for making herself available for questions and comments.

Public Domain 2008

clip from M. Ophul's brilliant film "Madame De.."

I've picked up a nasty flu bug recently (thank you, Christmas bookstore shoppers) so I've basically been in bed for the last few days. Of course, I can still surf the web in between coughing fits. Came across this interesting post on works that are coming into public domain in 2008. There are some amazing names on this list. Artists like illustrator Kay Nielsen, children's author Jean de Brunhoff, muralist Diego Rivera, British novelist Joyce Cary, German filmmaker Max Ophuls, fantasy author Lord Dunsany, and American psychologist Wilhelm Reich.

Here's the post I'm referring to (he's got some smart comments on copyright as well):

Copyright Watch