WD Project Sci-Fi launches with L$230,000+ in prizes for machinima entries

If you had the power to choose to make a film in any time or place in the Universe – when or where would you choose? Another planet or perhaps another time or reality on Earth? Filmmakers, Animators and Machinimographers’ will have 30 days in November, to write, shoot, edit, produce and upload their creative masterpieces.

So reads the opening piece for the WD Project Sci-Fi challenge. As noted, filmmakers, animators and machinima makers are invited to spend 30 days from the 1st November 2013 through until the end of the month writing, shooting, editing and producing a sci-fi short, with a total of $10,000 Aus. in prize money for the winners.

Entrants must make a short film between 5 and 10 minutes for live action and a promo piece of between 30-60 seconds. Machinima must be between 3 and 10 minutes in length, promo piece optional and no longer than 30 seconds.

To ensure no-one gets a head-start in things, all films submitted must be on one of four colour themes – “everyday life”, “the environment”, “network/connections” and “speed and technology”. Entrants are asked to nominate two of the themes as the potential subject for their film as a part of the registration process. One of their nominated themes will then be allocated to them by the organisers at the start of the competition on November 1st, 2013.

Calling Machinima Makers

As noted above, Project Sci-Fi is open to machinima makers. This section of the competition is being sponsored by the University of Western Australia, and has $1,500 Aus. (L$230,000) on offer as part of the main competition prize pool, with $750 Aus going to the 1st prize winner.

In addition, further prizes are on offer for machinima featuring the UWA Centum created by West Australian Artist, Len Zuks and brought into Second Life by FreeWee Ling. The Centum does not have to be filmed in situ, copies may be taken for use in filming anywhere in Second Life.

The UWA Centrum
The UWA Centrum, Second life – right-click to obtain a copy for filming

Essential Points for Machinima Entries

  • Entry length to be between 3 to 10 minutes
  • If entering a promo – maximum length to be 30 seconds
  • All entries are to be made specifically for the ‘WD Project SciFi’ Competition
  • Entrants must register before the 1st of  November & nominate 2 of the listed themes (see below for how they might be interpreted)
  • Prizes for machinima will be awarded as follows: 1st prize: $750 Aus (+WD prizes); 2nd prize: $300 Aus; 3rd prize: $150 Aus; 4th and 5th prize: $100 Aus
  • Entrants can also win any of the overall prizes, including the $,3000 Aus first prize
  • Further prizes for the inclusion of the UWA Centrum in machinima entries.

How to Register – Machinima

Send an email (or a NC in world) with the following details to jay.jay@uwa.edu.au:

  • Second Life Name
  • Team Name (If Applicable)
  • Email Address
  • City & Country
  • The names of the two nominated themes (Blue, Green, Red or Black) in order of preference.

Alternatively, machinima entries can be registered via the competition website – if you do, please note that the stated entrance fees are waived as a part of the UWA’s sponsorship.

The Rules

The UWA wish to specify that the WD Project Sci-Fi challenge is not a part of the UWA MachinimUWA challenge series, and subject to different rules. As such, those considering entering are asked to read the competition rules (scroll down the page).


Entries will be judged by a selected jury, using the following criteria:

  • Artistic Merit (e.g., Story, Creativity, Entertainment Value) – 40%
  • Technical Merit – 30%
  • Adherence to and creative use of elements – 30%

Winners and Screening

The winning entries selected by the jury will be announced and screened at a special event on Friday December 13th, 2013 at the Wesley Conference Centre, 220 Pitt St, Sydney NSW 2000

The Four Themes

Each of the four themes can be interpreted howsoever entrants desire. However, suggested topics / interpretations for each theme are given by the organisers as:

  1. Blue – themes about everyday life
    • Sci-romance – love between aliens, robots and more
    • Soft science fiction – science and technology take a back-seat to character-driven plots. In soft SF, the how is much less important than the why. (Also known as Sci-drama
    • Sci-comedy – science fiction that is humourous in nature
    • Alternative Reality – a story that takes place in an altered or changed reality, but usually recognizable.
  2. Green – themes about the environment
    • Save the environment – a theme focusing on saving the dying planet ecosystem
    • Apocalyptic / post-apocalyptic sci-fi – stories about the extinction or near extinction of humankind either by forces of nature or by our own means, including telling the tale of the survivors of an apocalypse.
    • Zombie / disease – a theme focusing on the effect of a disease in the future.
    • Monsters & mutants – following either mystery/horror/thriller genres regarding monsters/mutants made from science, environmental disaster or from space.
  3. Red – themes about networks / connections
    • Time travel – a person or group of people travel either into the past or future.
    • First contact / alien – this sub genre imagines the various scenarios in which humanity makes contact with other civilizations.
    • ESP sci-fi
    • Cyber-Crime – crime themed Sci-Fi (especially using the internet or hacking)
  4. Black – themes about speed & technology
    • Cyberpunk – science fiction depicting the downside to technology and a bleak world, typically containing a dark atmosphere.
    • Spy-fy – science fiction about futuristic spies and espionage, and the effects of technological advancement on their professions.
    • Super hero – stories related to super heroes who get their powers from technology or because they are from another world. Focuses on characters like Iron Man, Green Lantern/Hornet, Men in Black
    • Robots / AI – fiction in which the science of artificial intelligence and robotics is a central theme, typically relating to work of Isaac Asimov and the ideas advanced in his Robot stories.)

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