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VWBPE 2013 The Vowels of Machinima Production
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VWBPE 2013 The Vowels of Machinima Production


Tips on how to effectively make machinimas with your students using a vowels mnemonic device

Tips on how to effectively make machinimas with your students using a vowels mnemonic device

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  • Welcome. Take a seat. We’re going to be showing you vowels you can use as a mnemonic device to help you remember an effective way of tackling making machinimas.
  • For many, many years, Jens and I have been educators in the real world, and for the past few years we have been teaching in Second Life and making machinimas together although I live in California and Jens lives in Denmark. We recently facilitated the six-week MachinEVO machinima workshops, and that experience, along with our previous experiences, has led us to draw some conclusions about the best ways to approach helping other people make machinimas. Our insights on the work flow and what to do with the machinimas you and your students produce are what we want to share today.
  • In the real world, our students look like this.
  • In Second Life, our students look like this. Why do our students smile so much?
  • They smile so much because they are learning English faster than they had thought they would through immersive experiences in Second Life that are fun and unavailable to them or too dangerous for them to do in the real world.
  • One of those immersive experiences is making films in Second Life, known as machinimas, for a fraction of the cost and effort of traditional filming.
  • But how do we move our students from the beginning to the end of this process? It was a daunting task when we first tackled it, and one of our goals today is to share with you some of our problems and solutions, so you might more easily create machinimas with your students.
  • Here is our approach. This is not a version of the song about a farmer named Old MacDonald, even though it kind of looks like that: O, AI, O, AI, E, U.
  • Briefly, these are what the letters stand for. O is organize, AI is add interest, E is edit, and U is use.We’ll go over each letter in much more detail as a way of organizing this presentation and as a way that you can successfully make machinimas with your students.
  • Overt organizing is essential from the very beginning. For example, one of the problems we had occurred on day one. We said the students should get into teams of 4 or 5 by signing up on an Excel worksheet we had posted. But, for the most part, our students didn’t know each other, and they were on different continents around the globe, so they had no basis for making any decisions on who they should work with.
  • To avoid this problem in the future, we’d like to demonstrate a simple activity that can quickly help students make logical team choices. This activity has different names in different countries. In the United States it is referred to as “Four Corners.” I will identify what the four, colored posts in the corners of this stage stand for, and I want you to quickly move to the posts that represent you.
  • First, let’s see what languages you speak as first languages. If you speak Chinese as a first language, go stand next to the yellow post. If you speak English as a first language, go stand next to the red post. If you speak Spanish as a first language, go stand next to the green post. And if you speak German as a first language, go stand next to the blue post. If none of these languages are your first language, stand next to Jens on the rug in the center of the stage.
  • Now let’s try that for seeing how much experience you have in using Second Life.If this is your first time here, go stand next to the yellow post. If you’ve been using Second Life for less than a year, go stand next to the red post. If you’ve been using Second Life for one to two years, go stand next to the green post. And if you’ve been using Second Life for two to five years, go stand next to the blue post. If none of these choices describes you, stand next to Jens on the rug in the center of the stage.
  • Next we’d like to see how much experience you’ve had teaching.If you have never taught, go stand next to the yellow post. If you have taught for less than a year, go stand next to the red post. If you have taught for one to five years, go stand next to the green post. And if you have taught for five to ten years, go stand next to the blue post. If none of these choices describes you, stand next to Jens on the rug in the center of the stage.
  • Okay, now it’s time to see how much machinima-making experience you’ve already had.If you have never made a machinima, go stand next to the yellow post. If you have made one machinima, go stand next to the red post. If you have made two to five machinimas, go stand next to the green post. And if you have made six to ten machinimas, go stand next to the blue post. If none of these choices describes you, stand next to Jens on the rug in the center of the stage.
  • Finally, let’s see what time zones you live in.If you live in SLT time or North America, go stand next to the yellow post. If you live in South America, go stand next to the red post. If you live in Europe or Africa, go stand next to the green post. And if you live in Asia, go stand next to the blue post. If none of these choices describes you, stand next to Jens on the rug in the center of the stage.
  • This is a very simple activity with very visual and kinesthetic results. Just alter the questions to make them relevant to your students, and you will have quickly and efficiently helped them get information that will help them form machinima-making groups.
  • At this point you might want to pique your students’ interest in the film-making project by viewing a few examples of machinimas. You can watch a few machinimas together and assign some other machinimas as homework.
  • To make the students’ viewing experience more productive, have them brainstorm a grading rubric for machinimas, or use the rubric shown here, which is available in the gift boxes on our stage and on our Wiki, as are all the links to all the machinimas we refer to in this presentation.
  • The videos listed on this slide are videos made by teachers to prepare students for a lesson or videos that can be used in the lesson as the main activity or as a way to review some tricky grammar issues.[Links list:The Numbakulla Island Mystery:  The Untimely Death of Peter ProfitPart 1: 2: Formerly Cool Kid: to the First Conditional: I Could Fly:]
  • The videos shown on this slide are examples of videos students might be able to make. They are mysteries or re-creations of great literature or explanations of different cultural customs.[Links list:Anatomy Class—a humorous mystery that reviews internal body parts: for a Killer— an unusualreview of commands and expressions, with a twist ending: Will Come Soft Rains—an avatar enactment of the Ray Bradbury story with the same name: Valentine Surprise—a funny review of ourvalentine customs: Midnight Mystery—a brief mystery that reviews phrases that describe the fears and actions that might occur during a home burglary: ]
  • And here are some very high quality examples of machinimas.  The first one is The Payback—the 4th and final part of a humorous mystery seriesmade in Japan for ESL students The second one is Pandemic—a parody of what might happen if the public and health officials become over zealous And the other machinimas are very poetic and artistic reflections on life.[Links list:The Payback--’s Gaze—asocial commentary on how we are destroying our planet:—an artistic homage to the wisdom we can gain at every age: with Scissors—advice that we live, laugh, and love rather than being overly cautious: Wisdom—a machinima-length poem questioning what is and isn’t wisdom:]
  • Let’s have you try using the Machinima rubric with one film. We’ll play the film here in Second Life, but if you have any difficulty at all viewing it, just go to the YouTube address we have put on our slide. We’ll also put that YouTube address in local chat, so you can just copy and paste it into your browser. I’ll send you each a notecard right now for you to tally your scores on during the machinima or immediately afterwards. [Play video at ]Did you find the rubric useful? Would some of you tell us what 100 point scale scores you gave the machinima? Volunteers?If you didn’t like our rubric, feel free to make your own. Our rubric was really just meant to get you started thinking about criteria you and your students might want to consider.
  • The next vowel you need to worry about is another O for Organize. After your students have viewed some machinimas and started to form ideas on what they like and don’t like, it’s time to make them aware of the many specific steps they need to take care of before they begin filming. In the gift box and on our Wiki are links to slideshows that you can use with your students to illustrate these tasks. Right now we’ll just briefly touch on what the slideshows contain so you can decide if they’re valuable to you or not.
  • The first slideshow you might want to use with your students is called “Script Writing, Story Boarding, and Site Selection Issues.” Links to it are on our Wiki and in our gift box. Let me quickly overview what this slideshow covers.
  • Your students will be eager to start filming immediately. Try to slow them down. For example, spell out the benefits to doing a lot of thinking and writing before filming. The more preparation your students do before filming, the fewer problems they’ll have with both the filming and editing. They’ll be able to get the shots they want without so many takes, and they’ll have everything they need ready when they need it.
  • Briefly, let’s review the steps involved in scriptwriting. The first step is brainstorming. It can be done in-world, as shown here, or with more common real world techniques. How you do it doesn’t matter. That you do it does matter.
  • Here are some example goals students might choose for their machinimas during the brainstorming process. They might illustrate the correct usage of grammar, language functions, or vocabulary, or they might tell a story or argue for doing something exciting in a future virtual world lesson.
  • The second step of scriptwriting is to expand on some of the brainstormed ideas with a simple outline or list of the major actions of the film.
  • An important third step of scriptwriting, that we highly recommend, is to ask your students to pitch their machinima ideas to their peers. This requires them to double-check that their ideas are relatively complete and clear, and it allows their peers to help them flesh out the storyline or spot issues that will need to be resolved. In addition, it hones the students’ speaking skills in a way that reflects a very common task in the real world—making sales pitches.
  • Step four is turning the outline into a script—the standardized film industry way of identifying what, where, when, and how words and deeds occur in a film. Some film-making novices are intimidated by the format that is typically used, but they needn’t be. On this slide and the next one, I’ve illustrated everything they need to know. This slide shows what information goes where in a script.
  • An example of a short bit of script that follows the format we just looked at is presented here. See, it’s not that overwhelming, and it provides lots of valuable information to the set designers, camera operators, and actors, so everyone will literally be “on the same page” when it is time to shoot the film.
  • The industry equation that matches the number of script pages to the minutes of final film time is one page of script will yield approximately one minute of film. So if the students want to make a five-minute film, they will need a five-page script.
  • Step 5 of scriptwriting is to create a storyboard of the script. Students may balk at this step because they feel they can’t draw well enough, and/or they feel that the script already does everything the storyboard does. However, a storyboard can be drawn in many very non-demanding ways, and it gives an easy-to-follow, visual double-check of everything that everyone needs to keep in mind during the filming. It also makes it very easy to catch if certain types of shots and dialog are being repeated or over-used, and also which props are most essential to each scene.
  • Here’s a very simple, stick figure storyboard for a very well-known movie. Do you know what movie this story board is for?The answer is Lord of the Flies from the plane crash to the finding of the conch shell and election of officers to the burning of the island and other survival problems that rear their ugly heads before the boys are rescued.
  • TheLord of the Flies storyboard we just looked at was done by having students fill in a simple form. Here’s a similar form with space provided for writing down the film’s dialog and other notes.
  • It is also possible to have students make simple drawings right on the script.
  • Some students might enjoy the process more if they use graphic novel software, likeComic Life. Here is part of a Comic Life storyboard I made for a murder mystery machinima I created with ESL studentsentitled The Untimely Death of Peter Profit.
  • An alternative approach for students who still resist the storyboard process is to have them at least complete an Excel worksheet containing some of the most basic storyboard information, like type and angle of shots, essential props, and the actors in the shots and their positions.
  • Despite your best efforts, some budding filmmakers may still hit walls in the creative process. One very typical wall is called “writer’s block.” So here are some ideas on how to move students past this type of wall. First, you might try having them do some improvisational roleplaying, as illustrated here with a murder scene on a Second Life luxury cruise ship.
  • You might also try having the students use roleplay dice or give them some opening lines to choose from. I have many sets of roleplay dice available in my Second Life marketplace store, Educator’s Paradise. You can use them or create your own, and I’m sure you can come up with or borrow plenty of opening lines, like Snoopy’s favorite, “It was a dark and stormy night.” Even a very simple and overused opening line like Snoopy’s can get students started along a path that could lead to something profound.
  • Another option is to have your students play a plot-creation game like this one that I made and put on the Second Life marketplace. The rules of the game are as follows:Roll the dice and move the number of spaces indicated.The color of the space you land on determines what happens next, as shown in the game’s color key. Each turn you must offer several sentences describing the story element you are adding to the plot by using your imagination or by using the information on a card you may draw that is the color of the space you have landed on.If you roll doubles, you may switch places with any player on the board.If you roll doubles two times in a row, you lose a turn.The first person to finish gets first choice of his/her machinima production assignment.I have purposely made the path on this board convoluted so that some students might erroneously choose to swap places with players who are actually further behind on the path.
  • Here are a few examples of what’s on the game’s character cards. Each card’s picture easily lends itself to many possible storylines.
  • And here are some examples of the game’s problem cards.A mischievous boy sending a man into the wrong bathroomCheating loversUnusual criminalsOverworked employeesDumb employees Dumb loversEtc.Would someone with voice please volunteer to describe the unusual criminal, what he did to end up in the police station, and what he’s thinking right now?
  • For more screenwriting ideas, you might want to check
  • Some really useful videos showing students working through the film-making process are available for free on the AFI Screenwriting YouTube channel.
  • Along the way to making a film, your film-makers will have to continually narrow in on some very important details. One of these details is which site or sites to use during filming. The film-makers may choose to film on an existing sim, use holodecks, or create their own simple sets. Each option has advantages and disadvantages. For example, choosing to film on someone else’s sim eliminates a lot of work, but you may need to get permissions, you may not be able to alter or add anything to the setting, and there may be problematic noises and avatars on the sim. Finding one location that can be used for many different scenes then becomes very important.
  • Holodecks are a nice alternative because they can be rezzed on any land you own or any open sandbox, and they can be customized to include all the objects you might need in a scene. Pictured on this slide is one of the many holodecks available for free in the EduNation sandbox. I’ve put pictures of many of the EduNation holodecks in our gift box to give you some idea of what is available. It is also relatively cheap to buy holodecks in the Second Life marketplace.
  • However, I’ve found it very easy to make a set from scratch by using simple cubes and adding different textures to the different faces of the cube. For instance, on this slide is the garden cube I made for my Alice in Wonderland machinimas. It literally took me less than ten minutes to make this using pictures of my real life backyard. It can take you less time since I’ve included full-perm copies of this cube in this presentation’s gift box. You can simply change the face textures to create any scene you want. Let’s take a field trip to the sky platform above us, so you can look more closely at this set and my other Alice in Wonderland sets. I particularly want you to see:How making different faces transparent allows film-makers to film from outside a set without being visible to the actors inside the setHow one, carefully planned set can lend itself to quickly filming many scenes when you learn how to reduce props to what is most essential
  • A final, wonderful alternative for sets is to go to the Machinima Open Studio Project (MOSP). I may have issues occasionally with Linden Labs, but I can’t applaud them enough for this project, and I’ve included a teleport HUD inside our gift box so you can easily explore the place. The project includes sound stages of interiors similar to my simple cube sets.
  • There are also many completely furnished and modifiable environments, like the ones pictured here of a desert oasis, a snowy wonderland, and a metropolitan area. And while you’re at MOSP, check out their machinima library which contains many excellent machinimas you can view there any time you wish.
  • So, so far we’ve done O, AI, and O. It’s time for another AI. Your film-makers have got a lot of the basics out of the way. Time for some tweaking.
  • Many of you are probably familiar with this basic diagram of a plot. A story first establishes the who, when, and where of the story. Then a problem or problems occur. The climax is when you reach the worst point of the worst problem. After that the story winds down with illustrations of what happens as a result of the problems and an inkling as to what the future holds.
  • Here I’ve modified the shape of the basic plot diagram to make it clear to students that most stories include multiple problems. These problems are solved along the story’s arc to give the story more depth and to give viewers respite from non-stop tension since once a viewer reaches a tension threshold, he/she needs some release from that tension in order to fully appreciate additional tension.
  • The modifications of the basic plot diagram on this slide illustrate that even the falling action should have some twists, and the twists should be of varying intensity and duration.
  • An interesting piece of advice from the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, shows another way to play with tension. He famously said to give the viewer some extra, worrisome knowledge, that the characters in the film don’t have, so that even very ordinary scenes of everyday actions have tension. For example, let the viewer know there is a bomb under the kitchen table. The bomb never has to go off, but worrying about it will give a lot of tension to the idyllic scene that unfolds above the table.
  • When your plot, script, actors, and settings are ready, it’s time to film. To decrease the number of takes you will have to shoot, there are several filming tips to be aware of that are unique to filming in virtual worlds. For example, it’s very important to learn to use your in-world camera controls. Using these controls allows you to film what’s going on in a closed room from outside that room, so you don’t accidentally get yourself in your footage. One way to practice this with your students is to hide an object inside a box. When students correctly use their camera controls, they should be able to see inside the box and click on your hidden object to receive a copy of that object. Tell the students to wear this object once it appears in their inventories, and you will be able to easily see who did and didn’t manage to use their camera controls correctly.We’ve put the large Alice in Wonderland box on our presentation platform behind me for you to test out your own camera control abilities. Listen to us as we speak, but also try to click on and wear the object hidden in the box.In addition, note that we’ve placed this Alice in Wonderland box with a hidden object inside our gift box.
  • Another simple virtual world filming tip is to turn off the default typing animation your avatar uses whenever you do anything on your keyboard. Simply go to the Me menu, then Preferences, then the Chat tab, and toggle off the “Play typing animation when chatting” option.
  • Similarly, you can get rid of the name tags that float above the heads of avatars by going to the Me menu, Preferences, General tab, and toggling off the name tags.
  • An alternative way to hide all unnecessary labels, menus, and controls is to click on Ctrl-Alt-F1. However, only do this right before you start filming, or you won’t be able to use some of the controls you will need to prepare for filming.
  • With some software, like Camtasia, you can also resize your screen capture canvas before filming to eliminate unwanted objects.
  • Another trick is to improve how thoroughly and quickly objects rez by changing your Debug Settings. Go to your Advanced menu tab, type “rendervolumeLODfactor” in the search bar that appears, increase its value to 4.000, and then close the debug window by clicking on the X in the upper right hand corner of the Debug Settings window.
  • To change the lighting or time of day, click on the World menu, then Sun, and then choose the time of day you want. Everyone, please try switching the time of day right now to Sunset. Doesn’t everything look rosier?
  • Not being a video game player, I sometimes find it difficult to walk smoothly to a location while filming and saying my lines. I can eliminate this problem by altering what happens when I single click or double click on land. The options for this are in the Move & View tab in your Preferences window. Personally, I like to set “Single click on land” to “Move to clicked point,” and I set “Double click on land” to “Teleport to clicked point.” Watch how smoothly I move when I single click on land. In contrast, look at what happens when I double click on land.
  • It’s possible to get your camera to automatically follow an avatar. To do this, click Shift + Ctrl + Alt, and click on the avatar you want your camera to follow.
  • You can improve the quality of your film by increasing the number of frames per second that your camera captures. The easiest way to do this is to decrease the memory demands on your computer by wearing and using low-prim items while filming. For those of you who don’t know how much memory your outfits and objects use, we’ve put a script counter, like the one pictured on this slide, in our gift box. In the upper script-counter picture, I’m wearing a fairly simple outfit with a script count of 17. Therefore, the colored dot near my name is green. Good. Go ahead and film.On the other hand, in the lower picture, I’m wearing a very complicated mechanical dress with rotating gears and noise and steam-producing roller skates. My script count is a horrendous 648, and the colored dot near my name is red. Danger! Bad! Abort!
  • You may also increase your frames per second by altering graphic speeds, draw distances, particle counts, mesh details, shaders, shadows, water reflections, and avatar physics. Sliders or toggle options are available for all of these qualities in the Graphics tab of your Preferences window.
  • Whenever possible, I recommend working with others when making machinimas. But sometimes you just can’t, or you simply need an even greater number of avatars visible on your screen. To solve this problem, you and/or each member of your film crew can come into Second Life with more than one avatar if you go to the Advanced tabs of your Preferences windows and toggle on “Allow Multiple Avatars.”
  • It can be very useful to get your film-makers to develop a work flow like the steps illustrated on this slide. I was using Camtasia here, but this work flow can be used with many other types of software as well. The key here is not to make a separate film for each of your takes. Simply pause the filming between the takes, and then “Save and edit” everything once, when you are finished filming for the day. Some software will automatically put an invisible marker at each pause to make finding the breaks between each take easier when you move on to editing. If you choose not to do this, at least sensibly name each take when you save it, so you can tell what the content of the take is and the order the takes were taken in. I especially like to know which take was my final take since that is usually the take that I am the most satisfied with.
  • Of course, there is a tremendous amount of additional knowledge about film-making that can be gained from film schools and books. But the number of items you absolutely need to know is quite finite.
  • Among the items you absolutely should become familiar with are the types of filming shots you can use to give your film variety and fit special filming needs.For example, an establishing shot is a long shot that shows the location and mood of the scene that is about to happen. Often a film begins with a long shot that zooms into a very close scene.A full shot is a shot that can capture an actor’s entire body.
  • An over-the-shoulder shot literally looks over an actor’s shoulder to show us the actor’s point of view. The difference between an over-the-shoulder shot and a point-of-view shot is whether we see the actor’s shoulder or not. If the shoulder is visible, it’s an over-the-shoulder shot. If there is no shoulder, it’s a slightly closer point-of-view shot.
  • A medium shot shows an actor from the knees up.A two-shot shows two actors from the knees or waists up.
  • A close shot shows any actor from the waist up.A tight shot is even closer, often having an actor’s head fill the entire screen.
  • And a pan shot is a shot in which the camera moves horizontally from one part of a scene to another part.
  • Beyond types of shots, it’s important to know the Rule of Thirds. The Rule of Thirds tellsyou to place important actors or objects on the intersectionpoints of a screen divided into three sections horizontally and three sections vertically. Do this because it is somehow far less interesting to see actors or objects that are dead center on a screen.
  • To help you quickly remember all the tips we’ve just mentioned and several additional tips, we’ve put the shortcuts list shown here in our gift box. If you know of other useful shortcuts or tips, please tell them to us now with voice or chat, or e-mail or IM them to us for inclusion on our Wiki and future presentations.
  • If you explore our Wiki, you’ll find the chart shown here that identifies and compares some of the common collaborative tools you and your film-makers might want to use while planning, filming, and editing your films. Again, if you know of other great tools, please let us know, and we will include them in alterations to our Wiki and future presentations.
  • Oops, I just said a form of the dreaded E word. E in our mnemonic vowel sequence represents the word “Edit,” and the two most important editing concerns are which software to use and how to manipulate that software to create the incredible films you want to create.
  • Editing is a very time-consuming process that can be made much simpler when you use appropriate tools during and after filming. For example, here is a simple chart comparing some very common products that many film-makers use. Some of these items are free, like Movie Maker and Audacity. Other items are quite cheap, like Fraps. And some items, like Camtasia and Space Navigators, may require you to spend a bit more money than you would like to spend. But, as is often the case, the more money you spend, the more functionality you get. Please note that this chart is the tip of the tool iceberg. There are many other wonderful products available; however, for this presentation, Jens and I are only attempting to make you aware of some free tools and the tools we personally prefer. Jens and I are both Camtasia and Space Navigator aficionados because Camtasia allows us to record and edit video and audio files with one piece of software that includes several interesting bells and whistles, and our Space Navigators allow us to make much smoother zooms and pans. If you talk to other film-makers, I’m sure you’ll get many more ideas on what software and tools are best to use.
  • Whichever editing software you use, there are eight very basic skills you should practice before and during your work on your masterpieces. These skills are:Importing multiple pieces of mediaAssembling this media on tracks within the softwareAltering what is visible on your film’s canvas to exclude unwanted items and shift focus points after filmingAdding motion to still shots (a very under-utilized skill that can rescue you when you discover your live footage is bad)And adding transitions, narration, titles, credits, and music to your footage
  • To aid you in this process, I’ve made several machinimas on making machinimas. Four of these machinimas are shown on this slide and can be found, along with a lot of other useful videos and examples of machinimas, on my YouTube channels. Links to these channels are included in a notecard inside our gift box. What is important about the four machinimas I show here is that Jens and I often start film-makers with films made entirely from still photos. We do this because editing and editing software can be overwhelming. In addition, students are often too distracted by any live footage they have to fully explore all the tools inside their editing software.Only after our students have mastered making movies from still photos, do we move on to working with live footage. Therefore, I have created a machinima on making machinimas from still photos and an example Alice in Wonderland machinima doing exactly what I ask my students to do. Next, I made a machinima with step-by-step instructions on editing live footage, followed by a second Alice in Wonderland machinima, this time made from live footage.
  • After mastering the basic editing skills, you might want to play with some of the extra bells and whistles found in many types of editing software.
  • For example, adding captioning to films made by and for ESL students is often very useful and easy to do. Captioning allows you and your students to check understanding of spoken words, and it can be toggled on and off once it’s been added.With Camtasia, you can turn all of the dialog of an entire sound track into captioning with just a few clicks. You’ll have to correct a few mistakes, but it is quite amazing how easy adding captioning to an entire film is.
  • Some editing software allows you to also add scrolling credits with just a few clicks. However, if your software does not do this, you can usually work around the issue by animating a callout box so that it moves from the bottom of the screen to above the screen.
  • Occasionally you might want to add films within a film (aka pictures within a picture or watermarks). These insertions can be used to show what’s going on inside a character’s head, they can animate what is on a TV screen or the view from a window, or they can simply increase the cinemagraphic beauty and complexity of your machinima. In the example on this slide, I inserted a short film inside a callout box that shows me thinking about drawing horns on Jens’ head. I did this by adding a second video track above my main video track. I then dropped my second film onto the new video track where I wanted it to start playing, and I resized it to fit inside my callout box.
  • The final vowel of our mnemonic sequence of vowels is a U. The U stands for how we can USE the machinimas we make and the machinima-making process in our classes. Once you’ve made a few machinimas, I sincerely believe you and your students, even ESL students, can make machinimas that you and they will want to watch over and over again.
  • While working on machinimas, your students can practice all of the skills shown on this slide.Following and giving instructionsAsking for and giving help Researching background informationProblem solvingArguing for ideasCollaboratingIllustrating grammar issues, vocabulary and idioms, and language functionsStory telling
  • And when the students have finished making their machinimas, they will have created something that they can proudly share with others. In fact, let me proudly share with you a few of the machinimas made by the people whom I’ve taught to make machinimas.In the upper left corner is a machinima that addresses an interesting pedagogical question: Why teach in 3D worlds? If you have administrators who question your virtual activities, you might want to show them this machinima.Next, in the upper right corner is a machinima that is part of a series of very well-done machinimas on animal idioms.In the lower left corner is a humorous roleplay on the small talk that might occur when two people try to recall how they know each other.And the fourth machinima is a thank you machinima made by a student who chose to illustrate her machinima-making learning curve with this comical review of what she had learned.
  • So in the course of this presentation we have seen machinimas used to:Introduce lessonsPose mysteriesMotivate the unmotivatedExplain tough grammarReview vocabularyRe-create literature and poetryIllustrate customs and idiomsComment on social issuesMake arguments for activitiesDemonstrate complex tasks Analyze story and film elementsDebate pedagogyShowcase progressDocument eventsExpress thanksWhat additional ideas do you have? I want everyone to type at least one idea in chat! Just a bit of brainstorming. No self-censoring. Name one machinima or use for machinimas that we haven’t mentioned that you would like yourself or your students to create.
  • Now, as if we haven’t already given you tons of links, here’s a chart of links with more links. It is, of course, also in our gift box on a notecard. My son teases me about my repetitiveness whenever I describe one of my jobs as “teaching teachers to teach,” so I couldn’t resist including a chart with links to more links. : )
  • Finally, we’d like to end our presentation and suggest you end your projects with pictures of happy film-makers receiving awards and partying with their new friends.
  • From the moment they arrived at our Machademy Awards in limos and fancy dress . . .
  • . . . til they got drunk on happiness or our Second Life beverages . . .
  • . . . til they danced until dawn, our film-makers smiled and laughed, just like we would love your film-makers to do. Any questions?


  • 1. EXCLUSIVE SHOWING: THE VOWELS OF MACHINIMA PRODUCTION - - Vowels as a mnemonic way to help you remember an effective machinimatic work flow.
  • 3. O AI O AI E U
  • 4. MACHINIMA STEPS O Organize AI Add Interest O Organize AI Add Interest E Edit, Edit, Edit U Use
  • 5. O Organize 4 corners activity Team choices/assignments
  • 6. Who? Where? Why?
  • 7. FIRST LANGUAGES Chinese German English Spanish Others to the rug in the center of the stage.
  • 8. PRIOR SECOND LIFE EXPERIENCE First time here Here 2 – 5 years Here < 1 year Here 1- 2 years Others to the rug in the center of the stage.
  • 9. PRIOR TEACHING EXPERIENCE None 5-10 years 1 year or less 1-5 years Others to the rug in the center of the stage.
  • 10. PRIOR MACHINIMA EXPERIENCE None 6 -10 machinimas 1 machinima 2 - 5 machinimas Others to the rug in the center of the stage.
  • 11. TIME ZONES SLT or North American Asian South American European or African Others to the rug in the center of the stage.
  • 12. Now answer who would be good for you to work with on a machinima project? In other words, who did you just end up next to at least two or three times?
  • 13. AI Add Interest Homework assignment: view example machinimas and rate them.
  • 14. • The Numbakulla Island Mystery • The Untimely Death of Peter Profit • A Formerly Cool Kid • Introduction to the First Conditional • If I Could Fly
  • 15. Anatomy Class: The Body Snatcher
  • 16. The Payback Sofia’s Gaze Pandemic Seek Wisdom Running with Scissors Colors
  • 17. GIVE IT A TRY!
  • 18. O Organize Assign tasks Outline Script Storyboard Set/location Props
  • 20. • Filming and editing become much easier since less takes and cuts are needed. • Finding an appropriate set/sim, costumes, and props is easier. SCRIPTWRITING BENEFITS
  • 21. Step 1: Prewriting—Brainstorming your goal and how to achieve that goal. SCRIPTWRITING STEPS
  • 22. * Illustrate: A grammar point—past tense, conditionals . . . A language function—expressing anger, ordering from a menu . . . Vocabulary terms—body parts, idioms, . . . * Tell a story. * Introduce a venue you would like us to go to. EXAMPLE GOALS
  • 23. Step 2: Creating an outline—the major actions that need to be covered in the different scenes of the script.
  • 24. Step 3: Pitch—especially useful for your students to do since it requires them to present their ideas to the class and get valuable feedback.
  • 25. Step 4: The script—the setting and dialog for your scenes. INTERIOR/EXTERIOR -- LOCATION -- TIME OF DAY Description of where characters are and what they are doing IDENTIFY SPEAKER Speaker’s lines OTHER FILM-MAKING NOTES
  • 26. INT. – BEDROOM – AFTERNOON Jenner leans on the wall next to the bed. James is in bed; his mother stands over him. She smiles a slight smile. MOTHER Doctor Jenner, could you please come here for a moment. DISSOLVE TO JAMES’ FACE. JENNER (V.O.) Just a second. FADE OUT.
  • 27. 1 page of script = 1 minute of screen time
  • 28. Step 5: The storyboard—simple drawings that illustrate camera angles and essential costumes and props.
  • 29. Storyboarding Examples Use a simple form.
  • 30. Draw right on your script.
  • 31. Use comic software, like Comic Life, to make your storyboard.
  • 32. If you absolutely don’t want to draw, at least use a detailed Excel sheet.
  • 33. USEFUL SCRIPTWRITING TOOLS Roleplay Scenarios
  • 34. Story Dice Opening Lines
  • 35. Good News Character Setting Time Prop Problem Surprise Animal Plot Creation Game
  • 36. Example Character Cards
  • 37. Example Problem Cards
  • 38. Screenwriting Software • • RESOURCES ON SCREENWRITING
  • 39. =share&list=PLna7STDz_DyLBdlzcNWhChpCBZ5QVSG6u AFI Screenwriting YouTube Channel
  • 40. 1. Is it necessary to get permission to film? 2. Is the sim voice-enabled? 3. Are there useful or annoying background sounds? 4. Are there avatars on the sim that might be useful as extras or problematic? 5. Is it possible to shoot several different types of scenes on the same sim? SITE SELECTION CRITERIA
  • 41. • A holodeck stores scenes and lets you load them from a menu whenever you want. • Scenes can include any prim object, including furniture, pose balls, and particle generators. SITE OPTIONS Holodecks
  • 42. Easy to alter or build from scratch Simple Cube Sets
  • 43. Interiors Machinima Open Studio Project (MOSP)
  • 44. Exteriors
  • 45. AI Add Interest Plot tips Filming tips
  • 47. And from the master of suspense . . .
  • 48. FILMING TIPS Using Your Camera Controls
  • 49. Getting Rid of the Typing Animation
  • 50. Getting Rid of Name Tags
  • 51. Hiding Other Unwanted Items From Your Screen
  • 52. Or . . .
  • 53. Altering Your Debug Settings 1. Click on “Show Debug Settings” in your Advanced menu tab. 2. If you don’t have and Advanced menu tab, click Ctrl + Alt + D to bring it up. 3. Type “rendervolumeLODfactor” in the search bar. 4. Increase its value to 4.000. 5. Close the debug window by clicking on the X.
  • 54. Altering the Time of Day
  • 55. Smoothly Walking or Teleporting
  • 56. Getting Your Camera to Automatically Follow an Avatar Click Shift + Ctrl + Alt and then click on an avatar
  • 57. Increasing FPS Wear low prim and low script items.
  • 58. Ctr+Shift+1 = Shows current FPS Also, increase your FPS by: • Decreasing your draw range • Lowering your graphics quality options • Minimizing screens
  • 59. One Person Operating Multiple Avatars At One Time
  • 60. 54 3 2 1 2 1 FILMING STEPS 1. Set up 2. Record 3. Pause 4. Set up 5. Resume . . . 6. Save and edit
  • 61. FILMING RESOURCES All you really need to know is . . .
  • 64. COLLABORATIVE TOOLS Google Docs .html?usp=ad_search&gclid=CL_r2e GAv7gCFcKz3godCQkAgw Free shareable office tools that multiple people can work on at one time Skype Free voice and screen sharing. You can share your screen with one person for free, however, for group screen sharing, you’ll need Skype Premium. Google Hangout re/hangouts/ Free voice and screen sharing (up to10 people can be in the hangout at one time, but the live, viewing audience can be much larger) Adope Connect products/adobeconnect.html?show EduReq=no Voice and screen-sharing. Try for free for 30 days with up to 25 attendees. Then, if you like it, it's $12.50/mo. for educators. Twiddla Free, shareable whiteboard Titanpad Free, shareable whiteboard Scribblar Free, shareable whiteboard
  • 65. E Edit, Edit, Edit What to buy What to do
  • 66. FILMING SOFTWARE/TOOLS Movie Maker n-ca/windows-live/movie- maker#t1=overview Free Fraps Great, screen-capture tool (Free trial limited to 30-second recordings or $37.00) Camtasia Studio Great all-in-one, screen-capture and editing tool (30-day free trial or $220.00 Educator's price) Audacity ownload/windows Free recording and editing tool for audio files Space Navigator oducts/spacenavigator.html Hand-held controller for smoother panning and zooming/$99.00
  • 67. SKILLS TO MASTER INSIDE EDITING PROGRAMS 1. Importing media 2. Building tracks 3. Altering the size and focus 4. Adding motion to stills a. Zooming and panning b. Rotating stills 5. Adding transitions 6. Adding narration 7. Adding a title and credits 8. Adding music
  • 70. Adding Captions
  • 71. Adding Scrolling Credits
  • 72. Adding Films within Films
  • 73. U Use In classes Our ideas Participant ideas
  • 74. STUDENT TASKS • Following and giving instructions • Asking for and giving help • Researching background information • Problem solving • Arguing for ideas • Collaborating • Illustrating grammar issues, vocabulary and idioms, and language functions • Story telling
  • 76. YOUR IDEAS?
  • 77. LINKS WITH MORE LINKS Top 27 Free Tools 08/the-top-27-free-tools-to-collaborate.html Free & Simple Tools to Create Video 06/8-free-and-simple-tools-to-create- video.html 5 Great, Free Screen-Capture Tools 05/five-great-free-screen-capture-tools.html Some of the Best Free Screencasting Tools 12/list-of-some-of-best-free- screencasting.html Jen's Machinima Resources for Educators for-educators?page=2