Arrivals and Departures is a new machinima from CEH Productions, a collaboration between Caledonia Skytower from Seanchai Library, Elrik Merlin of Radio Riel and Designing Worlds, and Honey Heart of Elite Equestrian.
The 15-minute film, premiered in-world at a specially constructed theatre setting on Sunday, July 22nd, 2018, takes the audience into a moment of time in the lives of two people who come together for one last, shared moment. It reveals how their individual journeys have become intertwined, and the essential role each has come to play for the other. Though the word is never uttered in the film, it essentially addresses aspects of our attitude towards death.
He has accepted the journey on which he must now embark. His last act is to pass along that which has been most important in his life to someone who is remaining behind – requesting their commitment to carry on the work. She is dropped without warning into loss, grief, and accepting his legacy with no warning or time to become accustomed to its inevitability. She must choose to be present for him in this moment, accept the commitment with which he tasks her, and be prepared to continue on – while at the same time dealing with the shock and weight of it.
– Caledonia Skytower on Arrivals and Departures
The story was inspired by, and performed in, the superbly imagined Erstwhile Station, a Steampunk-inspired space port created by leading virtual world creators Sharni Azalee and Marcus Inkpen of The looking Glass fame for Fantasy Faire 2018. The build was generously donated to the project by Sharni and Markus, with Technical Director Honey Heart re-erecting it as a film set, using path-scripting techniques within the build required to realise the film’s action. For the premiere, Honey also provided a special theatre setting based on the film set, and which remains open for further viewings of the film.
Arrival and Departures is a transatlantic production; Caledonia Skytower, as writer based in Washington State, Honey Heart, who also developed the in-world animations used within the film, is based in Michigan, and Erik Merlin, who edited the film from footage he and Caledonia shot, is based in Scotland. Both Caledonia and Erik voice the principal characters.
The story itself is beautifully told. As noted above, it is a tale of passings and also of beginnings. It also highlights the vital importance of storytelling, harking back to an earlier time when tales were woven into a verbal tradition that was handed down by word of mouth from one generation to the next. Delicately folded within it is a reminder that while those who leave us in this life may physically pass beyond our reach, we can nevertheless continue carry them within us, breathing life into their passions and ideals by inspiring and teaching, loving and caring for those around us.
Eloquent and poignant with an elegantly told story, Arrivals and Departures is an outstanding film, and not one to be missed. You can see it on-line via the following links, or if you prefer, in-world through until 16:00 SLT on Tuesday, July 24th, 2018 at the Arrivals and Departures theatre in-world (Silver Sands, rated: Adult):
In addition, and with the producers’ permission, I’ve embedded the film at the end of this article.
About CEH Productions
- Caledonia Skytower is an artist and storyteller with over 30 years of experience as a theatrical designer, production manager, and non-profit administrator. Since 2008 she has worked as a volunteer presenting literature live in virtual worlds, logging in over 1000 hours to benefit a variety of charities, and develop engaging experiences to promote reading and literature, as part of Seanchai Library. She continues designing for the stage, works as project specialist, a small non-profit consultant, and has self-published ten titles of fiction, poetry and reflective essays.
- Elrik Merlin has been in Second Life for over a decade. Virtually from the beginning, he has been involved with in-world media, as a DJ, a presenter (and Technical Director) on Radio Riel, and on Designing Worlds, the popular weekly TV show on design and designers in virtual worlds, which he films and edits, and co-hosts. He is also involved in Fantasy Faire Radio and his voice can often be heard on promos and sponsor messages, and on several of the “Tales from the Fairelands” stories that are broadcast on FFR. He has frequently taken part in in-world and radio drama over the years, with groups including the Radio Riel and Fantasy Faire Players.
- Honey Heart is the owner of two award-winning in-world companies, Ladies’ Pleasure and Elite Equestrian, where she heads a team of highly talented designers and scripters specialising in developing innovative horse avatars and accessories for equestrian enthusiasts. At the same time, she also has a design practice in real life. She originally began designing in SL because she couldn’t find tack and accessories for her and her first horse, Dancer, so she started making them herself. Then others wanted to buy what she made, and it grew from there. She finds growing a business with her partners to be the best fun in SL.