Sunday, November 13, 2005

Machinima: The 5th Wall?

Check out an interesting article over at Wired News about the new digital film-making technique known as "Machinima." This is an artform where the creators utilize the animation engines of 3D games in order to create films. The article focuses on the upcoming Mackies Awards -- the equivalent of the Oscars for the genre.

There are interesting questions of artisitc quality vs. story quality, fanfic, cost-of-production, copyright law, etc. in the piece. Here's what really grooves my squirrel, though; we now have an art form that was originally designed as interactive -- computer games -- being turned on its ear by the players (the audience) to go back and create content.

We have gone from passive entertainment (videos, books, etc.), to active entertainment where the player is a character in a world created by the programmers (video games), to entertainment where the player becomes a creator him/herself, using content delivery tools to turn around and create content. The "4th Wall" of the theatre has truly been broken when the audience can get up, coopt the stage, props and cameras, and begin crafting an entirely new piece of art.

Reminds me a big of blogs; using what was once generally a content delivery mechanism (the Web) as a content creation mechanism. Much more interactive. Much more participatory. Much more 360-degrees-of-involvement.

In the words of Artie Johnson's "pop-up-German" character on Laugh-In... "Verrrry interesting."

You heard it here first, folks -- I'm changing The Rule from, "He Who Dies With the Most Toys Wins," to "He Who Dies With the Best Content Wins." And it's getting less and less important where your office sits in relation to Hollywood or Madison Avenue or Paris or Nashville or wherever... as long as you've got the Flux.

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