Second Skin Film Review

On Thursday, September 25, 2008, I saw Second Skin at a screening at The Calhoun School in New York City and was quite impressed. Second Skin is an honest and real look into the lives individuals whom are actively engaged in MMORPG’s, i.e. ‘Gamers’. The film, however, is not an all inclusive look of those in virtual spaces focusing heavily on gamers especially those involved with World of Warcraft, and Everquest. There are brief mentions of non-MMOG platforms such as Second Life, but not the core of the film. In reality Second Skin is a starting point in the discussion of MMOG’s by exploring the many aspects of gamers and their involvement in these worlds.

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2nd Second Skin NYC Screening, Sept. 25th, 2008

After missing the first Second Skin screening in New York City (and all previous screenings), I was delighted to find out there’s another screening this week!  The next Second Skin screening in NYC happens on September 25th, 2008 through the Calhoun School, in the Mary Lea Johnson Performing Arts Center, 433 West End Ave. at 81st St.  You can sign up for tickets through the Calhoun School ($10 for general admission/$5 for students).

I’m really excited to be attending this screening and shortly afterwards will have a full review of the film (I’ll try not to be too biased.)

SLCC 2008 Afterthoughts

Thursday Night Group Picture

“Wow” really explains my feelings after an SLCC. Planning for this year’s SLCC has been one of the most difficult things I’ve done, however worth every moment and turned out to be a success. It’s hard for me to say what the convention means and the sort of experience that is shared, I have come away with one thought and that SLCC is very important. Possibly more than I thought of previously. In conversations with several first timers, they express the same joy and excitement I have in organizing the convention. They are excited, eager to participate in discussions, and reconnect with others after spending so much time, working, discussing, and interacting together online, a feeling that also resonates with organizers, volunteers and SLCC veterans.

This year’s Second Life Community Convention was great! I wanted to recap the convention but I could not keep enough notes to detail everything that went on. There are many highlights that play throughout my mind, names of people whom cards I have scattered in my luggage (which needs to get unpacked), pictures that need to be Flickred and posted that would cause this post to run several pages. I would inadvertently forget a name, an experience and the post will come crashing down. The one I will note is that I did finally get some rest (for those of you whom worried!); throughout this weekend, I think I have operated on roughly 8 hours sleep. This was due to many late evenings participating in discussions and events with others, enjoying the company only to have to wake up near 7 to work on the convention is something that I’ve gotten accustomed to with the SLCC. It shocked me that I could perform on two hours of sleep but that in of itself is horribly destructive (read: children do not do this at home!)

There are many interesting highlights and developments concerning SLCC 2008, many things that will change in the upcoming year, and many things that will be better and grow. This experience shows me there is a need to connect with each other and that must continue to happen because it is rich, rewarding and educational. In conversation it was mentioned that the SLCC is a “user” convention and wondered about the benefits of having such a thing. While he was correct, the SLCC is created by Second Life residents (or users) whom volunteer time to organize, plan and develop a plethora of content, the user is much more diverse than any other platform. There are many discussions, sights and items placed on display for the first time at the SLCC’s. I remember after San Francisco (2006) I expressed concern among other organizers that SLCC’s would become an uncontrollable trade-show environment where launches would dominate and would not properly represent the community. What I forgot and continually reminded is Second Life and its “users” are not all made from the same mold. Residents are entrepreneurs, educators, artists, musicians, and in all honesty unlike those of many other software platforms available. This develops a rich connection between “users”, the introduction of new releases and the structure of Second Life; the SLCC becomes many conventions in one. The magic is once a year it happens in one space at once.

SLCC is important and I always enjoy my time there and come away with many interesting memories, connections and thoughts. It’s a rich bond that connects people virtually, reality, and as a whole making it a worthwhile experience.

I can’t wait to see everyone again next year!