The trials of being a famous movie producer

Whenever you make a famous movie, all the relatives start climbing out of the woodwork wanting a part in the sequel. RoboMom in my latest machinima Pieces of Your Heart has a distant cousin in the biz, and now he wants in. Sigh. ROFL

This Is Your Heart Speaking

One of the more astute watchers of my latest machinima Pieces of Your Heart is very troubled by it. “I wish they’d stop calling it sweet and beautiful,” he told me, referring to some of the online comments. “It’s one of the darkest movies in the whole bunch. You have a kid who runs away from home and fantasizes about going to a world of robots where everything is sweet and loving like he wishes his home was. And then there’s the note he leaves for his Mom saying he’s gone to another planet with a “friend.” What must she think? We all know what happens these days when a young kid goes off with a “friend.” I mean it has the poor woman in tears. But really, the kid just goes down the block to the park and hangs out on his own there. I’m not buying this trip to outer space with robots and all. He fantasizes all that, right? This is one disturbed kid. And then, who knows what happens to him in the park?  He just disappears in a flash of light. I hate to think.”

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Pieces of Your Heart, backstory & soundtrack

My little machinima Pieces of Your Heart has only been out a couple days, and already people are beginning to ask about  the music: where does it come from, how can they download it, and especially, what do these songs mean? “I can hardly listen to them without choking up,” one person said, “but I’m not sure I understand them at all.” Stronger Angels in particular seems to have struck this mysterious chord.

In response, I have posted a media player on this blog that plays the five pieces of music from the video. You’ll find the media player to the right of this post in the sidebar, titled Pieces of Your Heart soundtrack.

All of these wonderful songs are from the music-sharing site, and are available for free download and remix. They all have CC BY NC licenses, allowing reuse and remix, with attribution, in noncommercial works.

For downloads:  If you press the small arrow to the right of each tune, you will be taken to the page on the ccmixter site where you can download the tune. Or just use the clickable links at the bottom of this blog post.

For playing here on the site: The media player allows you either to click each song individually to listen, or click one of the tunes and let the player cycle through both songs in a continuous loop. You’ll find these instructions right below the player.

And now, I thought I would talk a little about the music and what it meant to me in the making of Pieces of the Heart. Continue Reading “Pieces of Your Heart, backstory & soundtrack”

Liberty’s Child, my new video, is back up

My new video Liberty’s Child explores the bewilderment that innocence experiences when encountering brutality and violence. The video contains graphic images that are not suitable for young children.There is an irony in using a children’s story to illustrate a video that isn’t suitable for children, but children live with us in our horrific times and see things that shouldn’t have to see all the time. This contradiction is the heart of this video. And I think we are all the child in this video, who cannot begin to understand the horror before our eyes.

Hubert Flattinger, the author of the brilliant and touching children’s story Stormy Night featured in this video, closed his letter granting permission for use with the words “Give Peace a Chance!”  This struck me as a poignant reminder of the goodness that exists alongside brutality in our modern world. Also, I am continually amazed and heartened by the increasing willingness of artists like Mr. Flattinger to share their work freely beyond the constraints of copyright.

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The Bunny Mafia and the Click Bots are after me!

I never meant to get mixed up with the mob. I know, all the molls say that. But in my case it’s true. All I did was sign up a few of my videos with Youtube’s Promoted Videos advertising program. And with that, I unwittingly stepped into the crosshairs of what I suspect is a bold international band of bot thugs out to protect their corner on the bedtime story market.

The Bunny Mafia: photo by TPJerematic on

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The Revolution Will Not Now Be Televised

With the death of American poet and musician Gil Scott-Heron last week, one of the great heroes of our time has moved on. I was tremendously moved by the very personal obituary written by his publisher Jamie Byng.

As I watch Scott-Heron’s famous work, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, I am struck by how much the times have changed since he released that fiery criticism of the media on his debut album, A New Black Poet – Small Talk at 125th and Lenox,  in 1970. At that time, TV and the media were perceived as mind-numbing and controlling forces. Fast forward 40 years, and we have citizen TV, Internet videos, Facebook pages and Twitter updates, plus websites like AlJazeera, which provides a platform for citizen videos, and Global Voices, a community website that reports on blogs and citizen media around the world. The inherent freedom of citizen media is powerful; it is literally pulling down tyrannies across the Middle East and will probably continue to do so around the world.

If I may suggest a small update edit, “Not” should probably be “Now.”

Show-and-Tell 2.0

I never get tired of watching these two videos. They are just two of many recent Internet videos in which children explain complex political situations with astounding clarity. These go far beyond the “cute kids” genre (although they are that :-)) to show the capability of children to understand and explain our world to us through the medium of video. For example, Nina is the first one who made me understand that the revolution in Egypt is fundamentally an economic one. I encourage children to start producing videos like these. Parents should supervise, of course, but making Internet videos is so technically simple these days that children in primary schools can do it. Internet videos might just become the new Show-and-Tell.

The daunting sport of SL machinima

I was feeling so low all day (yes, even tears) at my little “Twinkle’s Journey” video not placing anywhere in the MachinimUWAIII machinima competition this year. (See results here, heartfelt congratulations to all the amazing winners and award recipients).

But then I came across my old friend Rheta Shan’s hilarious description of the process of machinima in SL from her archived blog. Suddenly I felt quite brave at even attempting the daunting task of SL machinima at all. Things have changed a little bit since this was written, but not much. lol

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Tahrir Voices, my new video

Here is my tribute to the Egyptian people. A labor of love. Mashup of discussion among Global Voices, Harvard Law School, and Berkman Center for Internet & Society using live AlJazeera footage from Tahrir Square. (Thanks to AJ English Creative Commons repository of video clips)
This is my entry in the Wired for Change remix competition.

Inside Fukushima through the eyes of a robot

My new machinima goes inside Fukushima through the eyes of the robot who went into the reactor when human beings could not. My entry in Linden Endowment of the Arts June Month of Machinima event.