18 Nov 2008

No Place Like Dome, StudioDome

Lots of movement occurs over the summer, in lots of ways. For the break from school kids get that long period to unwind and in not having to do much but be themselves learn about who they are and how they want to spend their time in leisure. They grow because that unstructured moment lets them explore which they don’t with the more rigorous schedule of real life, school work & exams breathing down their necks. They stay up late and sometimes try what they can’t during times of have to get to sleep early.

And people move as well more in the summer, sure there are vacations and going places, but there is also the big move that happens when one changes a residence. It happened to me this summer. Moving house in real life is never fun, packing a chore, cleaning worse and trudging through boxes an obstacle course at best. Oh to just pack up everything as I could in SecondLife would have been a lifesaver. This would have been my dearest wish. And it would have been worse but something wonderful happened. And so I realized the nature of home.

The 2nd QuestioN! Has been housed at the SpinDome in the SciLands since its inception. The masses of people and activity that has occurred there made the place well, very busy, and Paradox Olbers, the Guru saw that it was time for the show to have a place of its own. He gifted me with the new venue from where the show is now seen. The StudioDome. My own place! I had tried to raise a site with the name StudioDome for some years hence, and though research, team and talent were there, the technology was not. I was at the time too far ahead of the curve, and then not far enough. I had done hundreds of shows and thousands of events on another virtual world. September of 2002 I did Romeo & Juliet in 6 acts. It took three hours, there were 2 Romeos, they fought in the balcony scene, one Romeo transformed himself into a lemon & lime and danced while Juliet wept. I learned a lot from that.

I had hosted a weekly poetry slam since March of 2003 where thousands of people came & presented their poems, songs and classics. Had a weekly talk show, wrote, produced and directed The ChrimboCarol every year for 5 years. launched the Wizard of Habboz, where people had to follow the yellow doormat road (we didn’t have bricks) to The Emerald City. Had A Brave New World book club, debates on policy, was Sandy in Grease and even hosted Improv and a Friday night Comedy Club. The Shakespeare festivals I produced would have made the Bard proud. And all in text, yes at that time, I was Home in a 2.5D world with no headset.

I guess Home is where you take it, what you make of it, give to it and you can travel the world real or virtual forever in search of beauty, or in search of home but you must carry it with you or you will find it not. Since March of 2008, I have found it here, finally and as so many of us have in a world where we can & do bring our dreams to bear, see the fruit of our many hours of devotion ripen in the unrestricted, summery days of SecondLife.

The StudioDome where my show is broadcast from represents a new beginning and truly the place from where I can make happen, the vision I have of viewer log in entertainment.

In getting my own place, as the song goes from where I shall never wander, I host a show which is the beginning of many a night of live productions. It is a place to grow from home is, and the safer we feel there the more we can grow. As if the soil can nourish a tree that spreads its boughs to become wings. Paradox has given this seed a chance to grow & establish myself in doing so I am unafraid I will have to move. And such is the nature of Dome. No place like it.

10 Nov 2008

Why Watch TV, when you can Star in your Own Cartoon Movie Every Night?

"Why Watch TV when you can Star in your own Cartoon Movie Every night?"

The shift from passive to engaged user created content of an entertainment variety.
Consumerism takes many forms, and encompasses many kinds of products. We tend to define consumption of a product when we purchase it or use it. For example we certainly consume electricity, and this is the basis for our links into the Virtual Worlds we inhabit. We also have been consumers of electricity for a long time in regards to our entertainment patterns. Indeed radio, television and movies are all imported to us with the use of electricity. We take this so for granted, that to state this truth seems rather simplistic. Perhaps it is, and we have been consumers of entertainments in an electrified form for so long, the adaptation to the computer was rather seamless.

Traditional or old media is now having to watch as its audience once held passive in front of so much current, now shifts its paradigm to a more active form for what is being sought for entertainment. Viewership is down across the board for traditional and so is the advertising support that has provided the monetary backbone for production.

People spent more on videogames last year than Hollywood Box office. CBS just announced a $14 Million loss in the last quarter, it's only bright spot was the recently acquired CNET, and in an effort to "not ignore its audience or current trends" has agreed to broadcast its shows on of all places, YouTube.

But the old media giants do not understand, or are reluctant to understand that this shift is not just away from one screen to another. People are not just moving from one dull old toy to a shiny new one, and this represents something of a more fundamental nature. We are moving from passive viewing habits to another much more engaging form of entertainment. To be sure we are defined somewhat by what we consume. Yes, the cars we drive, the clothes we wear, and indeed the media we consume. When the final drum plays, though we will be judged not by what we consume in this world, but by what we produce.

Part of the appeal of Virtual Worlds, is that the content we create reflects who and what we are and what are interested in. We do not have be dumbed down to accept what is being offered on the networks, or in the movie theaters. We are in many ways reaching up when we create what we do. Surely this activity is part of what makes Virtual Worlds so appealing, and so worthy of return. Perhaps even more so than watching reruns of "Seinfeld" 5 nights a week.
Perhaps because I started on HabboHotel where you are not allowed to create any kind of assets, or to script in any way I began using the text based form of interaction for traditional kinds of entertainment. I hosted weekly poetry slams, and wanted to do more, so I expanded quickly into doing plays. I produced Romeo & Juliet for the first time in September of 2003. I had to use my powers of creation, in a more traditional way. I put on shows, I did many more plays, and found willing participants, who wanted to experience the adrenaline rush of freezing cold fingers while awaiting a cue in what is “live” theater. And It represents a key into why, what I have been prototyping for the past 5 years with the now defunct tinyspaceplayers of Habbo, to that which I do on SecondLife in the StudioDome in the SciLands has so much appeal. It is exciting.

The term artificial reality, coined by Myron Krueger, has been in use since the 1970s but the origin of the term virtual reality can be traced back to the French playwright, poet, actor and director Antonin Artaud. In his seminal book The Theatre and Its Double (1938), Artaud described theatre as "la réalite virtuelle", a virtual reality "in which characters, objects, and images take on the phantasmagoric force of alchemy's visionary internal dramas"
Even though the medium of the tiny screen is electric, as we are acting live and in real time, the analogy is much closer to theater, or the beginning of the television age's live broadcast of shows. And of course with the production element of anything can happen, and this is live, we are in "The Golden Age of the Internet" as far as show production goes.

When we log onto a Virtual World, we are already taking part in a suspension of belief immediately which has been the hallmark of sitting in a dark movie theatre about to watch just about any film, except a documentary. We do not, in general log onto Virtual Worlds to create documentary. We do suspend our belief and take part in the fantastic. Accordingly, in SecondLife we can fly for example, walk underwater, be furry creatures and more. According to the SecondLife traffic report, October was a good month to lose oneself within the narratives of Second Life role play as hundreds of residents joined the ranks of Kingdoms of Sand and Remembrance. We are looking to create our own entertainment and if you will, role play is akin to theater. USG is also what we come here to do. As we already suspend our belief; inhabiting the element of the Virtual World is a prime place to construct theater, theater games and shows.
I am however a child of structured theater, not role play. And I do want others to play with me, learning as they do. Walt Disney famously said " I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained" and education when it encompasses entertainment remains more vivid and is retained longer. (Examples of this are the "conjunction junction" songs and all alphabet kind of songs which most of us utilized in learning and retaining the alphabet)In doing plays, in creating shows that have an element of learning something one did not know before, I engage additionally the participating audience. This happened with the Shakespeare plays, never was the Bard more vivid than when I was inhabiting one of his characters. That held true for all the actors, and when Shakespeare became the hottest ticket on Habbo, I knew I was onto something special.

Now I produce shows that people are thrilled to be a part of. The 2nd QuestioN! has a weekly audience which loves playing along as the show is taped, yes live. They watch it on the video on the site afterwards, and it has become a very popular show. It is the Quiz Show to The Stars! The audience interacts as if they are also the stars, and to be honest, they are. It is a fast paced hour with the audience voting along, and guessing the answers to the questions. Same is true with my new show The Dating Casino which encourages the audience to reveal their preferences to the questions asked as the contestants also answer in real time.

In thinking about how people view video, it pays to think about how people already view video. The experience of watching is certainly not new, and there are loads to understand and appreciate about viewing patterns inherent in the traditional TV audience. The screen has shifted yes, but the same eyes remain firmly in place the species “video on the Internet” is very different from “traditional TV programs” but the species Human has not changed so very much, for example:

The average number of TV channels that people actually watch has only gone from 10 channels in 2005 to almost 16 channels in 2006, despite the number of channels going up from an average of 41 to 104. And people spent an average of less time overall on each stop, mirroring a dwindling attention span. The relevance here is that people have “viewing habits” whether on the Internet or television. People will go back to the same thing again & again if they get something they like there. The Internet caters to people’s tastes and, according to PodTrac, a high percentage of Internet audience members tend to listen or watch the same podcast “station” (for lack of a better word, or “site” if you prefer.) Think of yourself, what number of different actual sites do you go to willingly? Do you tend to visit the same sites over and over again? I think we all do. That’s why we have cookies.

The beauty is there are so many ways to engage the viewer, consumer and Interactive audience. The Virtual World platform is unique. One is generally alone at the computer, doing something that has, needs or wants to get done. When someone is in a Virtual World it is usually because they asked for it and wanted to go there. Here is an opportunity to involve and entertain an audience. People log in and play along, this is viewer log in entertainment. Having a specific show and destination for them to be a part of means they also will return. And they do. Here I build audience or customer loyalty today and encourage them to return and deliver customer value tomorrow. This business model also provides opportunities for advertisers to have a branded form of entertainment on the net, beyond what is just on their site. It is happening live on SecondLife, and people willingly are a part of the show.

Watching videos on the net is rising, according to eMarketeer, in 2006 63% of US households streamed video whether it was content or advertising, by 2011 this is projected to grow to almost 87%. In June of 2007 figures released by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers show that Internet advertising revenues continue to skyrocket. The 2007 first quarter revenues of US$4.9 billion represent a 26 percent increase over Q1 2006 at US$3.8 billion. “The continued growth of online ad revenues clearly illustrates marketers’ increased comfort with the extraordinary vitality and accountability of this medium,” commented IAB President and CEO Randall Rothenberg. “It reaches consumers with an unprecedented level of efficiency and measurability that provides marketers with actionable data. And the ever-changing landscape of new platforms and technologies that enrich interactive advertising guarantees that this growth trend will continue.”

The eyes are here, the money follows. And Virtual World participation is also very much on the rise. Recently, Philip Rosedale, former CEO of Linden Labs predicted at an Always On conference that within ten years the number of people in Virtual Worlds will overtake the number of web users.

Using this platform means creating more than precious moments, and full scale communities dedicated to learning, enrichment and having fun. The platform is perfect for launching all kinds of traditional and potentially profitable kinds of entertainment as well. According to a 2007 Morgan Stanley report, “longer term monetization should grow faster than usage, which should grow faster than users, recent very recent rapid growth of online video + voice + USG combined with a high probability of innovation bodes well for continued usage growth. Ongoing improvements in monetization are being driven by improved targetability / personalization / usability.” Not just microtransactions within a Virtual World, but also delivering the kind of game shows that have been around for over 20 years. And these will eventually be supported by advertisers as well, seeking to brand original productions with their names and product. I jokingly have said that I would, on the 2nd QuestioN! drink a martini of Bombay Gin and smoke a Camel cigarette. I might be put to the test one day with this.

Brand entertainment and Internet advertising has the ability to reach people fully focused and literally at the edge of their seats. With all eyes on the smaller screen, those in advertising must decide how to parlay active interest into time spent with the product. “Time is the new currency,” as it has been said, after which follows, “Content is King”.

Online shows will create opportunities for branding awareness, think of the old Kraft Mystery theatre but on the internet where you too can log in to participate in a performance, or watch someone you know. The new age also eclipses the old one in many unusual ways. We have idolized gorgeous film stars throughout the history of movies, but needing to look at Brad Pitt is certainly diminished when you can easily look like him, or better, in your avatars skin. And if your partner wants to look like Angelina Joile, well she can. If we worship beauty, and have been trained to want to look at better looking people, the ability to be that better looking person might be the best of all worlds.

Another factor for online production and return on investment is cost. Clearly the cost of putting on any kind of television or cable like programming is not only fraught with barriers to entry, (especially if your Dad is not Michael Eisner), but also that of cost. On a Virtual World platform, all the elements to create your own show, or machinima is there, and very often quite inexpensively. Consider it costs around $20,000 USD just to have a professional writer craft just a one hour episode of The Office, and this without any other costs such as hiring talent or production staff. The ability to create an online original program as I have done for very much less is a huge incentive for doability.

It does take commitment, comfort with being that much ahead of the curve, ability to withstand criticism and a very clear focus to produce, organize, motivate, write and direct. These luckily are my strengths. As far as scripting the voting board, or building the StudioDome, well I have to leave that to people who are far more talented in that regard. And with any great production for entertainment value, no one can write, film, direct, act and build sets. The difference is in a Virtual World there are people who want to do what their natural talents give them the ability to do.

There is opportunity to make this happen, it is low cost, it is immediate and it is available.
Machinima and video is more than a trend; it is a valuable way of connecting with an audience that in the case of the computer is literally and figuratively, at the edge of their seats. The intimate nature of the relationship between someone at the keyboard versus someone holding the power tool is quite different. The body no longer ends at the fingertips, but extends into the medium of the computer. If the fingers extend into the medium, then so does the mind in new ways. That is why entertainment on the web isn’t passive, it’s active. The brain itself is engaged in a completely new, active way. We are meaning seeking creatures, as Jane Goodall said, if we find meaning, we will return. We must keep this in mind in providing programming on the web worth watching.

We have an endless appetite for things to see and for things that will stimulate us; therefore engaging with meaningful video is essential. We have been trained now for over 50 years to respond to a moving image through the television. We are training ourselves as to what to look for with the InterVision we are presented with now on the net.

For those who don’t want to produce shows as I do, there is the opportunity to play within them as a contestant, or a member of the panel. For those who want to watch, there is the excitement of being at a live broadcast, and what is even more fun, the ability to really be a part of the audience interaction. This is why I create the game shows. On the 2nd QuestioN!, although the panel and myself and my co-host are on voice, the audience is not, but their constant chatlog comments is very rich, varied and entertaining. They are participating in the program as it is being filmed. We have left the passive to become active and star in the very real experience of our own cartoon movies every night.

This creates an added bonus for us in terms of entertainment. When you go to the movies, you are passively watching. On the 2nd QuestioN! you are actively engaged, and engaged in trying to guess the questions along with 60 other people all playing in the “room” at the same time.
Even Alec Trebek doesn’t have that with Jeopardy. I will take viewer log in entertainment on the web, for a million.

2 Nov 2008

The Master Builder - Felixx Sheperd

I meet Felixx Sheperd, the man behind the Garden of Da Vinci, at his build. If you haven’t seen it, then well you should for not many are as beautiful or complex as this incredible sim. From golden spires, to castles, to fireworks, an undersea complex, a desert tent and of course his space odyssey, it is unrivaled in beauty and design.

Pooky Amsterdam: I am amazed constantly at Kalepa’s depth & beauty.

Felixx Shepherd: I did it for people like you, so you can use it.

Pooky Amsterdam: Felixx you have created this masterpiece and retreat here on SecondLife- what made you initially want to do it?

Felixx Shepherd: I think there never was an initial point - it grew step by step.

Pooky Amsterdam: Where did you begin?

Felixx Shepherd: My job brought me here.

Pooky Amsterdam: In what way?

Felixx Shepherd: I’m a journalist, and I worked for a radio station and I tried to build up a presence for that station but unfortunately the station went bankrupt.

Pooky Amsterdam: You didn’t end that gig you began a new one then, were you going to do an inworld on air report for it?

Felixx Shepherd: I designed a few things for them here and I liked it and many people said that they liked my style.

Pooky Amsterdam: Funny how SecondLife can also bring out what one is most adept in, things you wouldn’t necessarily know unless you come here.

Felixx Shepherd: Yes, right.

Pooky Amsterdam: So you were encouraged by that. What was it that you built?

Felixx Shepherd: The first big project was the castle with the domes.

Pooky Amsterdam: Here on Kalepa? The castle does look like a great hub - the center of your atom so to speak.

Felixx Shepherd: No this was still in Apfelland - that is a German hotspot in SecondLife but soon I needed more space.

Pooky Amsterdam: Very soon I would think.

Felixx Shepherd: At first only a little part of Kalepa was mine. But piece by piece I conquered the whole island ;)

Pooky Amsterdam: How did you come to Kalepa?

:Felixx Shepherd: I came here by destiny ;) mmmh: I came here searching for a new parcel for me.

Pooky Amsterdam: Why here?

Felixx Shepherd: mmmh I can’t say exactly but I think it was really the best for me: since I was able to grow here and the land owner also liked my style: so I made a deal with her: I designed a sim for her - and in return she gave me Kalepa for a good price.

I bought a part on the corner of Kalepa and there I started building the castle with the domes. But this was just the end of one year of my SecondLife career ;)

Pooky Amsterdam: Why those?

Felixx Shepherd: The pictures in my mind become reality, prim by prim - that is what fascinated me. When I was a child I made castles out of LEGO. Now I do the same with prims.

Pooky Amsterdam: And you let your imagination move forward then like so many rezzing prims. So when did you realize you had few if any limitations here in building?

Felixx Shepherd: Good question :) I have a picture in my mind: then I try to come close to that picture, I try and try.

Pooky Amsterdam: Do you sketch it out in any way other than your minds eye?

Felixx Shepherd: Just in my mind.

Pooky Amsterdam: You must have a clear mind.

Felixx Shepherd: Sometimes when I’m not satisfied I’m getting somehow angry ;) and tear everything down I made for hours or days.

Pooky Amsterdam: As if the prims have a life of their own?

Felixx Shepherd: Haha yes maybe.

Pooky Amsterdam: Does that feeling of tearing it down also feel cathartic to you?

A release?

Felixx Shepherd: Sometimes lol, but there is something strange I build something and think it is ok then I go to sleep and wake up the next day and see it with other eyes: and find it ugly ;)

Pooky Amsterdam: Do you wait till after you have breakfast for your final decision?

Felixx Shepherd: Hahah :) no

Pooky Amsterdam: So you sketch by actually doing it?

Felixx Shepherd: I don’t think long: I’m very impulsive then but no fear ;) I’m not an aggressive type ;)

Pooky Amsterdam: Do you think in some ways we are like gods here in that we can manifest what we imagine in our minds & make it real? Because the level of creationism is both rich, detailed and varied?

Felixx Shepherd: Yes, if you like to put it this way …yes, yes you are maybe right ;) For me an important point is: To have the possibility to share my creativity with people from all over the world. I can also be very enthused about things others have made.

Pooky Amsterdam: Your favorite SecondLife sights then?

Felixx Shepherd: Yes but I have to confess I’m not far traveled in SecondLife ;) since I build most of the time.

Pooky Amsterdam: Limitations, if any?

Felixx Shepherd: mmh limitations? Scripting was a thing that was the hardest part for me as what my dreams concern, so far I was able to convert all my childhood dreams into SecondLife 3d reality. Sometimes it was hard, sometimes easier.

Pooky Amsterdam: How early did rebuilding Da Vinci’s telescope enter your childhood dreams?

Felixx Shepherd: Hahah

Pooky Amsterdam: Well I have to ask, from a young age then- 8-11?

Felixx Shepherd: Astronomy is one dream ;) Ancient times another. Leonardo does combine so many things. Yes I think that was that age.

Pooky Amsterdam: What was your biggest scripting challenge? AND do you think that scripting takes up another part of the brain than the eye & the hand of the builder?

Felixx Shepherd: Yes, I think I am more the creative, not as much the information scientist but I want to have these functions and so I had to learn by trial and error.

Pooky Amsterdam: But you took on the great challenges, I am amazed by this.

Felixx Shepherd: Yes, the rocket was my biggest challenge.

Pooky Amsterdam: The rocket…. tell about this part you have created now paradise on “earth”

Felixx Shepherd: :)

Pooky Amsterdam: What made you decide to go to Mars?

Felixx Shepherd: If I would have been given the chance I would have been an astronaut who travels to Mars and builds up there a station. I can not do that, but I can do it here.

Pooky Amsterdam: You said astronomy was an early love.

Felixx Shepherd: I like secrets, I want to know WHY.

Pooky Amsterdam: What did you want to know the why of when you built Mars?

Felixx Shepherd: mmmh maybe this is only part of the dream.

Pooky Amsterdam: You built also life on Mars I finally discovered the cave. You know the Phoenix has discovered water on Mars now. Do you think we will find life there?

Felixx Shepherd: Surely not the life I have on my Mars ;) but maybe in the depth underneath. We know from Earth that on the surface, life has conquered all corners, why not on Mars?

Pooky Amsterdam: & even in miraculously harsh circumstances.

Felixx Shepherd: Yes, I gave my Mars mushrooms ;)

Pooky Amsterdam: & why mushrooms Felixx?

Felixx Shepherd: They are one of the toughest beings on earth. They even live in the reactor of Chernobyl and are able to get their energy from the radiation.

Pooky Amsterdam: Mushrooms that grow on radiation? *eyes cross* what do you mean?

Felixx Shepherd: Yes there are black funguses that use the radiation like plants use the sunlight. It is really astonishing I have written an article about that.

Pooky Amsterdam: You have also created a Jules Verne experience. Are there any mushrooms in the sea?

Felixx Shepherd: No, that is not their habitat but they have conquered every part of the surface.

Pooky Amsterdam: I am also fascinated by the sea world you have created here.

Felixx Shepherd: Yes mystic things, and the sea is also mystic.

Pooky Amsterdam: Mushrooms are magical, yes?

Felixx Shepherd: Also yes.

Pooky Amsterdam: You looked to recreate the fantastic, the fantastic voyage so to speak

Felixx Shepherd: My undersea area is dedicated to Jules Verne.

Pooky Amsterdam: Yes why is this? Was he your 19th century hero then?

Felixx Shepherd: He also was a man with visions and many things he had in mind became true.

Pooky Amsterdam: If Leonardo was one of an earlier time

Felixx Shepherd: That is the case for both yes, and both artists too.

Pooky Amsterdam: You are also an artist most have to conquer one medium though- you have conquered many.

Felixx Shepherd: ;( Haha it would be somehow blasphemy to compare me with them, though I wonder what they would say to SecondLife. Sometimes the future is much more astonishing as you have thought of in your weirdest dreams.

Pooky Amsterdam: Who did Verne admire?

Felixx Shepherd: I don’t know but the one who built the first helicopter, he was a great fan of Verne. Imagination is the always the beginning of the future.

Pooky Amsterdam: Well you said it before, that you wanted to realize your childhood dreams too. Do you think actualizing them made them richer for you?

Felixx Shepherd: yes it gives me so much life quality, but I think I did not loose my real life. I also sell my creations, but the main thing about that is not that I’m so keen on money ;) It is rather like being a painter who can sell their creations. This is telling me someone finds my creations so beautiful they are willing to spend money on it.

Pooky Amsterdam: I was about to ask on the monetizing aspect of this for you.

Felixx Shepherd: It started with my first castle. Someone came to me one day and asked if he could buy it and so it all began that I created new things since people wanted to have them.

Pooky Amsterdam: I have every free thing you made here. I love every single one of them & often go on my feather for a ride. You are unbelievably generous & have given us all who come here incredible gifts: the submarine, the helicopter, the diving gear.

Felixx Shepherd: mmmh some say I’m expensive but I want my things to be a bit exclusive.

Pooky Amsterdam: Everyone on SecondLife is concerned with monetizing their content. Any challenge Felixx?

Felixx Shepherd: mmmh it turned out to be a real job ;)

Pooky Amsterdam: Hahha

Felixx Shepherd: I was on holiday for 10 days, and as I came back I had over hundred IM’s.

Pooky Amsterdam: for product?

Felixx Shepherd: Not all, but many of them are kind words about my work which I do appreciate much. Of course I answer all, but many are about products yes.

Pooky Amsterdam: Where do you find beauty & your sources of inspiration from here on so to speak?

Felixx Shepherd: This holiday… I was in Italy. Everyone who knows some of my builds knows what I mean. They are inspired by ancient architecture but as you know I have started building space environments, I already have seen beautiful space creations in SecondLife.

Pooky Amsterdam: Yes Inspire Park is wonderful.

Felixx Shepherd: It surely is, yes.

Pooky Amsterdam: What are you most excited about building now?

Felixx Shepherd: I would love to create a whole space themed region, unfortunately time is a constraint. On the other hand it is great for me as I start a new job, as a matter of fact next week.

Pooky Amsterdam: Well if you can get that mega time prim into your real life inventory, & expand the day to 26 hours, or 36 more like it.

Felixx Shepherd: A pill to replace sleep, but sleeping can be nice ;) And it gives fresh ideas

Pooky Amsterdam: Your new job?? Tell us please, I am sure people want to know what real life is like for Felixx.

Felixx Shepherd: I work for a scientific journal in Germany, it is an infotainment journal.

Pooky Amsterdam: You should mention the 2nd QuestioN! in it.

Felixx Shepherd: We convert the articles into radio format and these radio clips can then be used by radio stations for free with the branding of the journal of course - that is the concept.

Felixx Shepherd: I also plan something for children, I hope this concept will work, there is a radio station just for children. I would like to produce a science show for children. Infotainment for children

Pooky Amsterdam: The 2nd QuestioN! Is for adults who need to remember what it is like to be a child of wonder - Disney knew you needed to entertain to educate as well.

Felixx Shepherd: I definitely want one thing: That it should be interesting for adults too, a good crossover thing that parents will watch it with the kids.

Pooky Amsterdam: You have to have their eyes & hearts & the minds will follow

Felixx Shepherd: Yes that is the main idea

Pooky Amsterdam: You really must, if you have time, to come to the Naked Scientists tomorrow, the BBC radio show as it brodacasts also live in SecondLife at 10 AM SL time.

Felixx Shepherd: Yes I would love to.

Pooky Amsterdam: What is your favorite part of Kalepa? Is it a fair question? Or like asking a parent who is your favorite child?

Felixx Shepherd: mmmh hard to say, haha, it depends on my mood. You see I have taken you here since I think it is an atmosphere that fits.

Pooky Amsterdam: Object owned by Felixx Shepherd gave you ‘Tropical dream cocktail’Good answer.

Felixx Shepherd: but there is one thing.

Tropical dream cocktail whispers: MMm MMM good!

Felixx Shepherd: I love to be in my tree, lying on a branch and listening to the wind. It is 53 prims, I can show you my tree.

Pooky Amsterdam: Have you ever seen Botanicals?

Felixx Shepherd: Yes, I like it.

Pooky Amsterdam: oh yes please do show me the tree.

Felixx Shepherd: Let’s go there by canoe.

Logboat: Ready to go! If you don’t board me, in about a minute I will disappear.

Felixx Shepherd: My flying fish, see?

Pooky Amsterdam: I love them, wonderful, this is just so rich.

Felixx Shepherd: Please right click the tree and sit. Can you see me?

Pooky Amsterdam: Yes I just took a picture and I am now also in the tree

Felixx Shepherd: Yes I see you, I was very happy as a child in trees

Pooky Amsterdam: Did you build this tree?

Felixx Shepherd: Every prim on Kalepa, nearly ;)

Pooky Amsterdam: You just opened your mind to learning it all?

Felixx Shepherd: Yes, I think I like this place most. A whispering tree is one of the most beautiful sounds in nature. I use a radio sound data base … ;)

Felixx Shepherd: Did you already use my new rocket tour? To Mars?

Pooky Amsterdam: I really enjoyed it.

Felixx Shepherd: And the trip to the station near the sun?

Pooky Amsterdam: No I didn’t do that yet. I have now 3 last questions, your hero today- someone you find heroic in the present day, what is a perfect day for you? & what would life have been like without Secondlife.

Felixx Shepherd: Three difficult questions :)

Pooky Amsterdam: Not so much so!

Felixx Shepherd: I will try

Pooky Amsterdam: Thank you

Felixx Shepherd: Maybe a strange answer…: some days ago I was in the underground train. A bit away from me there was a woman, elegant about 50. The door opened and a homeless came in and he started talking to that woman. He was ugly but somehow not unfriendly. She began talking to him, very friendly and polite with nothing that gave him the feeling he was someone of less worth. She made this man very happy I think

Pooky Amsterdam: I understand Felixx- her talking to him equally brought all of us up a little bit, the greater humanity she showed spoke well of all of us.

Felixx Shepherd: That’s it. For me there is something very important and that takes us back to SecondLife. To react to people without prejudice, the same respect to all people and in SecondLife you even are not able to have prejudices.

Pooky Amsterdam: I also think prejudice says more about the person who is prejudiced

than the object of their scorn.

Felixx Shepherd: Human beings are somehow only the avatars of their souls, I do not mean that religious.

Pooky Amsterdam: I actually saw that so clearly one night, this man transformed into like 20 avs, all beasts etc & I thought well the skin, the ava is just a soul wrapper isn’t it

Felixx Shepherd: :) I like that, anybody can be freed from the chains of his Real life, sex, appearance colour…. and that is great but on the other hand also a source of danger.

Pooky Amsterdam: mmmmmmmmmmm what do you mean?

Felixx Shepherd: Since some become addicted to that to escape from their Real life.

Pooky Amsterdam: This is indeed a selected life & that begs a great question of course, if your life on SecondLife is somehow more satisfying than your real life, do you- leave SecondLife & try to make your Real life better or do you enjoy & maximize your life here?

Felixx Shepherd: In my case it is a bit different I think

Pooky Amsterdam: Tell me how Felixx

Felixx Shepherd: I’m very much myself here, I feel Real life here, not someone else. I even tried to make my avatar look very much as I do. But I do not say that this is the right way.

Pooky Amsterdam: Does it mean SecondLife has fewer emotional pitfalls then? Possibly?

Felixx Shepherd: Yes I think so.

Pooky Amsterdam: Fewer conflicts, very interesting that point.

Felixx Shepherd: It seems to depend on the character, for some it could be great to be a fantasy person here.

Pooky Amsterdam: Yes I think so too, if someone really feels at home in their skin- even the skin of a dragon or wolf or panda.

Felixx Shepherd: I think I could be a furry too since this is then something totally different.

Pooky Amsterdam: What furry would you be? An experiment maybe? Haha okay what animal?

Felixx Shepherd: I think a tomcat, I like the feline way of being.

Pooky Amsterdam: I would be a kitten *waves tiny paw* *chases imaginary mouse* *gets stuck in tree*

Felixx Shepherd: Hehe yes and being so happy to lie in the sun

Pooky Amsterdam: I am very happy person, I love being alive and now for the last 2 questions

Felixx Shepherd: I sometimes would like to be happier, I’m sometimes melancholic

Pooky Amsterdam: What do you think about that makes you sad?

Felixx Shepherd: I can’t tell.

Pooky Amsterdam: You know no rain makes a desert

Felixx Shepherd: its character I think

Pooky Amsterdam: There is so much trouble in the world today- you have depth & soul, blue eyed soul.

Felixx Shepherd: right ;)

Pooky Amsterdam: You can’t solve the problems of mankind yet know what could be made better at times it is frustrating. Yes, is SecondLife an escape or a beautiful refreshment of spirit?

Felixx Shepherd: But there are such times and those times, haha, that sentence also fits on that hahah. If I create something I forget all that, it is a nice thing but I am happy that I can say that I’m not addicted to that.

Pooky Amsterdam: Happiness is an achievement and not a constant state; we all like to feel good. That is it, isn’t it- if this makes us feel good we want to do it.

Felixx Shepherd: The ten days of holiday…also from SecondLife…were really nice, Pooky Amsterdam: That brings us to the last question then what would life have been like without SecondLife?

Felixx Shepherd: Do you mean for me personally, or generally?

Pooky Amsterdam: Well both then….

Felixx Shepherd: For me personally it is a little wonder, I can be creative and I get much positive feedback.

Pooky Amsterdam: & from all over the world & you could not possibly know 800 people in Real life could you?

Felixx Shepherd: For some I seem to be able to brighten their time here.

Pooky Amsterdam: oh yes Felixx you have given so very much.

Felixx Shepherd: What more can there be? :) And generally I think it is comparable with other media developments such as the first books, radio, television and internet. In each case some people had fears that this would be harmful but all has two sides and mankind will be able to adapt.

Pooky Amsterdam: How do you see mankind evolving in the next 100 years? Bonus question, S;-D

Felixx Shepherd: Hehe, I do think that virtual relationships will be totally normal and enrich our communication I hope so.

Pooky Amsterdam: Well they already have- letters are also not exactly virtual as people for hundreds of years wrote letters.

Felixx Shepherd: Yes I’m really thrilled what will happen to SecondLife I hope SecondLife will develop to a sort of 3d internet, I hope that no other portal will replace it.

Pooky Amsterdam: Yes me too, it is funny but I call this home now & feel I must defend it.

Felixx Shepherd: Mmh it will never completely replace physical meetings.

Pooky Amsterdam: No, people still need to hug.

Felixx Shepherd: Haha sure.

Pooky Amsterdam: & for business they need also to meet in Real life at some point.

Felixx Shepherd: Yes, I hope people realize the potential since many people meet also in Real life.

Pooky Amsterdam: It is a great thing to be able to meet & talk here. I do value this opportunity to talk with you. I know that people will be enchanted with the man behind Kalepa.