Monday, 19 December 2011

Comedy and Machinima

It’s not true unless it makes you laugh,
but you don’t understand it until it makes you weep.

Comedy is difficult to do.
More precisely, *good* comedy is difficult to do. Shit comedy is perfectly easy to do!
Leaving aside the fact that most comedic events seem to centre around clown-like slapstick laughter at other peoples’ expense, creating good quality (and by that I mean *real* “laughing out loud” belly laughter) is actually very hard to do.
How much more so then in Second Life where avatar facial expressions are, at very best, basic and unconvincing, and most of the resident population do not use voice chat.
In a single stroke, two of the primarily mainstays of comedy – face making and voice intonation (which includes imitationary and onomatopoeic sounds) – are severely hampered when using SL.
Now, that’s not to say that there is not humour and laughter in SL – far, far from it.
I spend a goodly chunk of my time in SL sharing laughter with others. I know numerous people who are adept at using Second Life for “comedy” – a skilful combination of role playing, method acting, quick wit and fast typing; the Puddlegum Family being exemplary examples.
There are also Second Life “comedy clubs” which are almost always conducted in voice and try, as much as possible, to emulate the RL versions of such venues. They are popular and manage to create a fun atmosphere. The comedian could be a professional, semi-pro and there are even amateur “pass the mic” nights. It’s all good.  
But these are not quite what I want to address in this blog-post.
Today I am considering Second Life being used as a platform for the production of a comedy machinima, or perhaps even a sit-com.
And here it gets sticky. If comedy is difficult to do even under the best of conditions then how much more so in…well, let’s just say, “in Second Life”.
It ain’t gonna be easy!
But it can be done! And it *has* been done.
Although I have seen quite a few SL machinima which have made me smile or amused me, a number that have made me giggle or chuckle, I can only think of four off the top of my head which have given me a hearty-healthy belly laugh (happy to be advised of others!):
·        Man Vs Second Life’ by Sean Krueger
·        Man Vs Second Life Part 2’ by Sean Krueger
·        My Online Girlfriend’ by Scooby Mode
The fourth film 2nd Place Winner of MachinimUWA IV - is the subject of the remainder of this blog-post.
‘Artwashers’ (embedded blow) by Friday Siamendes is a very funny feel-good film. I am sure you’ll enjoy it.
But, I would be dishonest if I neglected to point out certain things about these four films.
The fact is none of them are particularly special or impressive cinemagraphically. There. I said it.
But the fact is most RL comedy films are not especially impressive cinemagraphically either – and they don’t need to be! What they need, above all else, is a bloody funny script! And these four films provide that aplenty.
I am trying to think of a film specifically billed as a “comedy” that *is* cinemagraphically impressive...’Time Bandits’ maybe? The Bill and Ted franchise perhaps? Woody Allen films are always funny and impressive but not quite what we are talking about here.
I am sure that there must be cinemagraphically impressive comedies. Tutsy is almost certainly going to supply me with a long list of impressive French-speaking comedies to watch to prove the point (but I haven’t even finished watching ‘Blue Angel’ with Marlene Dietrich yet!)
But what I am trying to say is that a good comedy script can easily make up for any perceived weakness in the technical quality of the filmmaking – in bucket loads, in fact!
‘Artwashers’ was awarded 2nd Place at MachinimUWA IV and I think this surprised quite a number of people, including me. In my MachinimUWA IV Top 10, I had it ranked at #7 (which is still bloody high, in a field of 80 entries!).
But it is a good film. A fun film. With a great script.
And these elements were strong enough to carry it to such a high ranking at a prestigious machinima award ceremony.
I hope to see more SL machinima comedies being created in the future – there is clearly a desire and a market for them – just look at the impressive view figures for the four films I have listed.
Please now enjoy Friday Siamendes’ ‘Artwashers’:

1 comment:

  1. Ha ha ha ! Man Vs Second Life made me laugh a lot, very well done.
    Remained me about the Guild's music video "Do you wanna date my avatar", what a pity none SL version good video has not been created out of it.

    Klute Coppola