It's one thing to feel the satisfaction of you words in a finished composition. It's quite another when it stands up and walks about in front of you. Even more overwhelming when it takes on a life all its own. That's what happened to my short story Arrivals & Departures.
The power of it spoke to others, who also felt compelled to explore it creatively. It was a heady experience - like being in one of those transcendental productions where the entire cast loves doing the show so much, and the show is so good, that you truly regret the closing performance.
This was also a great medium for my writing, and I am hoping that more works may fit into this format in the future. If you would like to read the original story, you can find it HERE - the second one on the page. This was before I revised it for the audio recording which lead to the machinima. (i.e. film made "in the machine")
Arrivals & Departures was released on 22 July, 2018 and is available on YouTube, Vimeo, SLArtist.com and AView.TV.
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Here's the Press Release:
ARRIVALS & DEPARTURES, released on 22 July 2018, is a new machinima from CEH Productions – Judith Cullen, Richard Elen, and Honey Heart – based on a short story written by Cullen and recorded for radio as part of the 10th Fantasy Faire, an annual fund-raiser for the American Cancer Society held in the virtual world of Second Life®.
ARRIVALS & DEPARTURES presents a glimpse into two individual journeys that are brought together and shared for the last time. It is about the one who leaves, the one left behind, and the essential role of each. Though the word is never uttered in the film, it essentially addresses aspects of our attitude to death.
“He has accepted the journey on which he must now embark,” says real-life professional storyteller and theatrical designer Skytower. “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,” Caledonia goes on. “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.”
ARRIVALS & DEPARTURES 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.
The story was inspired by, and performed in, a superbly-imagined Steampunk-inspired spaceport created by leading virtual world creators The Looking Glass – Sharni Azalee and Marcus Inkpen – for Fantasy Faire 2018 in Second Life, and loaned for the shoot.
Technical Director Heart re-erected the spaceport as a film set, and used a range of in-world animations and path-scripting techniques to realise the action, which was shot by Skytower and Merlin, who also performed the two lead roles. The footage was then edited conventionally by Merlin.
The project was a transatlantic collaboration, with Skytower in Washington State, Heart in Michigan and Merlin in Scotland. The soundtrack recording and production co-ordination was carried out in Skype, sharing screens while shooting, and ‘dailies’ were viewed via the cloud.