We’ve moved


We’ve moved this blog to http://www.skribeproductions.com/.  Please update your links.  Both of you =)


Is the old adage that first impressions count still valid when doing business in virtual worlds? You better believe it. Just because you can have movie star looks and a 15000 item wardrobe doesn’t mean you can shirk on the basics. I remember reading about a programmer that was attending a job interview in Second Life. He showed up in a t-shirt and jeans and he was told, by the secretary, to go away and change into a suit. He did and he got the job.

Whilst not every business will demand such dress etiquette, when meeting clients or contractors for the first time it is important to make a good impression. It gives you a negotiating edge. If you look a million dollars people will notice – even if it’s only subconsciously. Especially when the people you’re meeting are stuck wearing freebies. It’s the old salespeoples driving sportscars trick. Look successful to be successful. Virtual worlds are no different.

Likewise, be prompt. Even show up a little early to show you’re eager. If you’re unavoidably delayed or detained, message ahead. Tell the person you’re meeting so they’re not waiting around for you. Being late or not showing up at all leaves the worst impression. Especially for those that are used to dealing only in the real world.

Doing business is a negotiated partnership. Use every advantage you can.

Marketing 101


We’re currently putting together a new marketing package for Second Life developers and their clients. It’s amazing how many developers don’t seem to understand the first thing about marketing – that their job doesn’t end when the build is delivered, and it’s amazing how many of their clients don’t want to pay for it. It’s just stupid to spend upwards of $20k on a major Second Life build and then have it sit mostly empty because you refused to market it properly.

It’s simply no longer good enough to build in Second Life and expect mass media coverage as a result. With a few clique market exceptions those days are over. So, in order for a business to be a success in Second Life you must go back to the basics: marketing 101 (ie. finding out what the consumers/residents want and providing it). Then you’ve got to get the word out, and that’s where we come in.

Video is such a fundamentally superior information source that it just gobsmacks me when a business fails to employ it. Especially when they instead choose to utilise another source: like a 4-colour brochure. A 30-60 second video can do a better job of advertising and informing your consumers than a brochure and it costs about the same to produce. Furthermore, a well-produced viral video can potentially reach millions.

Unfortunately, far too many business people have to be told this.

The Commercial


Recently a friend sent me this ad for a motion graphics artist:

We require artists to have strong design sense in term of graphic design and motion, be able to work as a team, have a good working attitude. Technique/skills required: Adobe AE, Photoshop, Illustrator, and 3D studio max (these are all compulsary).

Salary: talk later.

Working hour: mondays to fridays, 10 to 7.

Now seriously, would anybody who has any talent doing motion graphics – which is long, arduous work that requires immense talent in a number of disciplines – want to spend 45+ hours working with a boss that can’t even be bothered talking salary terms? Especially when the job is in a region that has massive skills shortages for these same disciplines.

The film, television and video industries are very seductive. Unfortunately there are people that prey upon that. The industry is full of them. While I’m not saying that this employer is a shyster, I’d be very wary of dealing with anybody that posted an ad like the one above. Call it a gut feeling. Or call it experience. It certainly has my spidey-sense tingling.

Recently a few people have been wondering why I made the shift from doing real world video production and take the incredible risk to move into making machinima, mainly in Second Life. Well here’s something I wrote 3 years ago that is kinda indicative of what real world video production had become for me:

You know you’ve made the right decision to turn down a job directing a commercial when:

  1. It’s exactly the same people that screwed up last year’s attrocity.
  2. One of the producer’s ideas for Harmony Week is a scene involving a burning flag.
  3. The 1st AD doesn’t know what a call sheet is.
  4. The DoP doesn’t think they need a call sheet on a project that is shot over three days using seven locations and a cast and crew of ten.
  5. None of the actors have done any acting before.
  6. The script involves a sparking electrical cable.
  7. The power company doesn’t want to be involved.
  8. One of the actors pulls out six hours before principal photography is due to start due to a religious belief.
  9. The grip has pulled out, because he hasn’t been paid by the producer for a past production, and hasn’t told anyone on the production team.
  10. The commercial was designed by committee.

The choice was actually kinda easy.

Another commercial for Clever Zebra. This time for their excellent 120-seat amphitheatre. Great stuff!