Young Film-maker wins People’s Choice with a little help from Second Life

Radheya Jegatheva
Radheya Jegatheva – #MyFreoStory peoples’ choice winner, thanks to the help of Second Life users

In March 2016, the city of Freemantle in Western Australia launched the #MyFreoStory video competition. The challenge was for budding film-makers to produce a short video, promoting what the city means to them.

Run entirely on-line, the competition was intended ” to showcase the many different aspects of Freo through the eyes of locals, visitors and anyone else with an interest and passion for Freo.”

Films could be entered into one of two categories, adjudicated and People’s Choice. One winner in each category would be awarded Aus $2,250 in cash and a further Aus $1,250 in prize vouchers, with the winning entry in the People’s Choice category being decided on the highest tally of likes and comments received though social media platforms such as Titter (hence the hashtag title of the competition), Facebook, Google+,  and so on.

In April, I was one of a number of people friend and colleague Jayjay Zinfanwe contacted concerning his son’s entry in the People’s Choice category of the competition. Having previously witnessed Radheya Jegatheva’s narrative and film-making skills through his excellent Journey, I was immediately intrigued and, having watched the film, more than happy to show my support. 

I wasn’t alone. People from Second Life and around the world were liking and praising the video as word spread. Even so, as Jayjay reports, writing in the University of Western Australia’s SL blog, Radheya faced an uphill battle. His entry came just four days before voting closed, and the leading contender for the Peoples’ Choice award, Virtuosity by Harry  Jones & Jordan Swindell had been gathering points for some two weeks. Nevertheless, My Journey Through Freo – entirely filmed using an iPhone, I might add – quickly gained traction.

“In the first day [it] had cut the lead by half,” Jayajay comments. “This swift rise by the newcomer was quickly noticed, and the ante was upped by other contenders with varied posts on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Google+ and Instagram, among others, and the battle was on.”

Even so, it was a close-run thing between the two top entries, again as Jayjay relates:

A surge of support from Twitter then pushed Virtuosity in front, by a seemingly insurmountable margin one day before the close of voting. Twitter votes seemed to surge by the hundreds with every Twitter post. However, steady support across the following 24 hours a great number of which came from Second Life saw the lead change hands again leading to a tense final 12 hours where it remained close enough to go either way.

In the end, My Journey Through Freo pipped Virtuosity at the post, allowing Radheya to deservedly take #MyFreoStory People’s Choice prize.

In commenting on his son’s winning entry, Jayjay is convinced that it was the input from Second Life residents which gave Radheya the win. More particularly, it is interesting to now that throughout the voting process, Second Life users appeared to demonstrate greater involvement with the film than was perhaps witnessed through other social media channels, providing Radheya with a lot of direct support through comment and feedback.

This has led Jayjay to ponder whether research is warranted into the nature, strength and responsiveness of the various communities built via the various social media channels. It would certainly be interesting to see how effective a medium Second Life is in terms of providing a social platform on which to share news and information.

For now however, I’ll leave the closing words to Radheya himself, while congratulating him on a great little video and a great win. And who said Second Life users don’t have a voice? 🙂