Interview – Skribe Forti

Skribe Forti is an Australian Second Life resident who’s got an established track record in machinima that we’ve covered previously. Last week we finally caught up with Skribe to talk a little more about the power of machinima.

Lowell: Can you give a potted history of your involvement with Second Life and more broadly your historical online life?

Skribe: I’ve been in SL since Jun 2006 and technically I’ve had a net presence since 93, but I’ve been mucking around on MU*s and BBS since 82-83.

Lowell: Can you also give a brief overview of your involvement with film production?

Skribe: I’ve been making films since I was 8yo. Before that I used to star. Dad was a home-movie buff =). I then worked as kid on some of the local tv productions both in front and behind the camera. That was when we used to make stuff in Perth. I went to uni, did film and writing there, and soon after graduating started my own business.

Lowell: What led to your passion for machinima?

Skribe: The fact that it is the best of both worlds: live-action and animation. You can inspire the performances from your actors like in live-action, as well as tell the range of stories you can in animation. And it is comparatively cheap compared to both.

Lowell: Can you give a basic run through of your creative process when creating a piece?

Skribe: For live action I storyboard like crazy because it’s an easy way to demonstrate to cast and crew what you need. With machinima I rarely storyboard. I find it too limiting. I know what I need from a scene and I like to be able to experiment to find the best way to achieve that. It’s very easy to experiment in machinima. Much harder with live-action or even animation because of the numbers of people – and budgets – involved.

Lowell: Do you work in any other virtual worlds beside Second Life and if you do, which ones?

Skribe: I have, but unfortunately I’m unable to reveal which ones.

Lowell: How do you perceive the role virtual worlds play in your overall life – are they a dominant aspect, a ‘work role’ aspect or just a minor part?

Skribe: Almost purely work, but I occasionally socialise too. I have a great group of virtual friends and enjoy chatting when I’m able.

Lowell: Do you find you come into conflict with other people in-world? And if so, why and how do you deal with it?

Skribe: Not generally. We had a griefer on set once who started hassling the lead actress. I hear he’s still in orbit =).

Lowell: One of our regular questions: three locations in Second Life that you keep coming back to?

Skribe: Conference Island, Alt7 and Greenies.

Lowell: You’ve done quite a bit of work with business – have you met much resistance to the idea of business in virtual worlds from those you approach?

Skribe: Definitely, but there was resistance to the internet initially too. I remember being told back in 94 that nobody would make a cent off the internet. Business is always conservative. It is after all their money. The owners aren’t in it for charity. They want to see hard results ending in fat wads of cash – preferably in their own pockets. What we do in virtual worlds is new and more than a little weird to most so there is bound to be some reticence. But as more genuine success stories emerge, as hard data showing the real benefits are revealed, business will start to embrace VWs. It’s only a matter of time. It’s too valuable a tool.

Lowell: How much of the work you do is coming from Second Life?

Skribe: Most of it. We still do occasional work in other worlds, and we still have clients coming to us for real-world projects, but most of our focus is on Second Life because that is where our client base is.

Lowell: What current projects do you have underway?

Skribe: I have just finished a video tour for a development and media company based in NYC and we’re working on 2 sets of viral videos.

Lowell: What are your plans for the next 12 months?

Skribe: Get monumentally rich. Not die.

Lowell: Any chance of a feature-length machinima?

Skribe: Find someone that is willing to make that sort of investment and a feature-length piece is always a possibility. We have enough stories we want to tell. Finding the funding is always the hard part.

Lowell: Who inspires you in Second Life?

Skribe: My wife. She always finds the best and weirdest stuff.

Lowell: What frustrates you the most about Second Life?

Skribe: The instability. Both with the platform and the management. I can usually deal with the platform problems – it’s new and that is to be expected. It is also better than when I started. The management is a much more difficult problem. There are too many kneejerk reactions to be entirely secure that you aren’t going to wake up in the morning and discover that your business is now banned. While I agree with the Linden Lab decision on gambling, for instance, I found the process unsettling. It came out of nowhere and there’s a small part of my brain that says, ‘it could happen to you’.

Lowell: What are your thoughts on whether there’s an ‘Australian community’ in Second Life?

Skribe: There seems to be but I’m not overly knowledgeable about it.

Lowell: The Telstra presence in Second Life has had a lot of success – why do you think that is?

Skribe: They grok what SL is about. It’s a marketing tool and whoever is the brains behind their project really knows how to make the most of it. The only problem I have with it is the build itself. There’s too much crud and the overall look is hokey. It also has too many breast domes – but maybe that is just me.

Lowell: And ABC Island – what would your critique of it be?

Skribe: No plan. No action. No chance. For a more in-depth critique check out my comments here on The Metaverse Journal or my blog.

Comments

  1. Wolfie Rankin says:

    *Writes down “Breast Domes”*

    I’ll do a full report on that and get back to you.

    Wolfie!

  2. Wolfie Rankin says:

    *Writes down “Breast Domes”*

    I’ll do a full report on that and get back to you.

    Wolfie!

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