World Premiere: Second Life Machinima Trailer to Promote a Book

My wife is launching her first book this week, “Les Naufragés de Chélon“. It’s an adventure book (in French) targeted to 9-12 year-olds. She has an editor that’s progressive enough to allow us to experiment with the launch strategy and we’ve decided we would try using some of the Web’s social tools to promote it.

The first thing we built was a machinima (see definition) trailer using Second Life. We hired a US firm, Riel Life Productions, to shoot it for us. It’s now available on YouTube or on the book’s web site. That was a fascinating process involving set building (most notably the huge volcano), hiring SecondLife actors and shooting the trailer.

Even though book trailers are used more and more, I believe using a Second Life machinima movie to promote a book is a world premiere. The book also has a Facebook group.

What it means: this will be an interesting social web experiment to try to measure the impact of social tools on an offline product. Like I blogged about a month ago, I suspect the intrinsic value of Second Life today is more offline than online.

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Machinima: Leveraging Second Life in the Offline World

(via the Washington Post)

HBO said on Tuesday it has acquired the rights to a short-form documentary shot entirely within Second Life, as entertainment companies increasingly turn to virtual worlds as a source for new content. “My Second Life: The video diaries of Molotov Alta” purports to tell the story of a man who “disappeared from his California home” and began issuing video dispatches from Second Life.

The popular virtual world, which has its own currency and a growing economy, has drawn millions of users who create alter egos called avatars and interact with people from around the world. HBO, the premium channel owned by Time Warner Inc, paid a six-figure sum for the rights, Douglas Gayeton, who made the film, said in an interview. Gayeton, who uses the avatar Molotov Alta in Second Life, said the documentary is scheduled for release in 2008.

Second Life has hosted dozens of real world companies in the past year, usually as a means of promoting products like cars or movies. However, Hollywood has been increasingly interested in using worlds like Second Life as virtual movie sets, a process known as machinima. (…) The pilot episode of “My Second Life” is available on YouTube.

What it means: There was a lot of excitement around Second Life in the last 12 months but it seems to be dying down. Wired even said: “The Internet will eventually be full of such 3-D environments; Second Life might even be one of them. But in the meantime, it’s just slurping up corporate dollars and delivering little in return.” But I wonder: maybe the big potential currently is leveraging Second Life in the real life?