The Drax Files: getting inside Second Life

Friday March 1st marks the launch of a new monthly series on YouTube, created, edited and produced by musician and machinima-maker Draxtor Despres.

Perhaps currently best known for his collaboration with Pooky Amsterdam and others in the high-successful (if now sadly defunct) Flufee shows, Draxtor has turned his not inconsiderable skills to looking behind Second Life and talking to the people who make it the vibrant, immersive world it is – its users. To quote from the press release accompanying the launch:

The Drax Files: World Makers, will be a monthly show on YouTube examining the creative people behind the avatars who continue to move the virtual world of Second Life forward with their passion and persistence.

The show utilises a mix of real-life footage, Skype interviews and machinima shot from within Second Life, to present a series of short, insightful visual vignettes of what SL means to content creators across the grid, from self-taught hobbyists to dedicated professionals from all walks of life, from all over the world, cutting across gender, ethnic and generational divides.

In the first episode, Drax interviews Kriss Lehmann, owner / operator of Botanical, a leading supplier of trees, plants, textures and landscaping items for Second Life users. In the 5-minute piece, Kris describes his work, his avatar and what Second Life has both brought him and means to him.

Botanical at Straylight: the focus of the first episode of The Drax Files
Botanical at Straylight: the focus of the first episode of The Drax Files

The mark of the piece is that it allows Kriss to present himself and Second Life with no overt editorial slant or prompting from Drax. This allows the potentials of SL to be explored as Kriss sees them, giving the entire video an entirely natural feel – a conversation, if you like, rather than a set-piece interview. Real-world video and machinima are interwoven beautifully, the latter almost completely devoid of the set-piece (and artificial) animations and gestures which are all too often the hallmark of LL’s own promotional efforts, allowing scenes to blend together seamlessly. Even where the machinima is staged, in the recounting of Kriss’ meeting and wooing of his SL partner (and now rl wife), Shai Delacroix, it is done so without unnecessary schmaltz, and simply adds a picture to Kriss’ own words.

Botanical at Straylight
Botanical at Straylight

That Kriss is given the freedom to express both his own work and what Second Life represents to him as someone who uses it to interact with others, offers an insight into Second Life which is so rarely seen in more traditional promotional videos. As such, and assuming the style and presentation of this first segment of the series is how the remaining five episodes will be handled, The Drax Files stand to offer a richer, more engaging promotion of Second Life than can currently be found in any of Linden Lab’s own attempts as seen either on their YouTube channel or on the SL WhatIs webpage.

So Rod, if you’re reading this, here’s a prime example of what I mean when talking about LL collaborating with users in the promotion of SL. The Drax Files – even one our two segments – could be a very positive addition to the WhatIs page.

But don’t just take my word for it – take five minutes and watch the show yourself.

Kudos to Draxtor for developing this series.

Loki’s Commemorative Hoodie

To mark the launch of The Drax Files. Loki Eliot has produced a special limited-edition hoodie in his glowing clothes range. The mesh hoodie is limited to a run of just 100, and is offered at L$250.

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9 thoughts on “The Drax Files: getting inside Second Life

  1. Thank you so much for blogging this! I feel very strongly that we must highlight the creative energy and pure passion that many in SL feel about the possibilities. With all the legitimate criticism that could be leveled against certain decisions from the corporate end & the debate we need to be having about what SL is, can be, should be we sometimes forget that there are many many individual stories that are untold! Stories of personal success!!!

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    1. You’re welcome!

      It’s a supurb segment; kudos to you for developing the concept and filming / editing / producing. Kudos to Kriss for bring such a very human – as well as insightful – narrative about SL to our screens.

      Looking forward to April 🙂

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  2. Nice post Ms. Pey, I particularly like:
    “That Kriss is given the freedom to express both his own work and what Second Life represents to him as someone who uses it to interact with others, offers an insight into Second Life which is so rarely seen in more traditional promotional videos.”

    Very good point and I think Linden Lab should take note, well they seem to have by blogging about this show.

    The concept behind the show is very interesting series and off to a flying start with this first episdoe.

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    1. Thank you 🙂

      To me, perhaps the most poetic crystalisation of what Second Life can offer / represent is the reply Kriss gives to the question, “Why trees?”:

      Because I can

      This reaches well beyond a simply acknoledgement of Kriss’ design skills as a 3D modeller, and reaches to the heart of Second Life. Why do we come here, why do we create, play, share time together? Because we can.

      When it comes to the directions LL are taking or the way in which this or that is implemented, we may grumble or snarl or get frustrated – but at the end of the day, Second Life is still Our World and remains the playground our Our Imagination. And that’s worth remembering.

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  3. Beautiful!!!!! Well done and great piece by Inara as well- Truly this series could change the public perception in many ways about what really this is and can be and and and!! Great show Drax!

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